The Ministry of Lisa Copen

Lisa Copen, Founder of Rest Ministries which serves the chronically ill, shares about mothering, illness, ministry and more.

Archive for Personal Prayer Requests

Reflections From RM Founder While Recovering From 4 Joint Replacements

cast-2Thank you so much for your prayers and encouraging e-mails that I have received since my hand surgery on November 4, 2009. I had the 4 knuckles that connect my fingers to my hand replaced with silicone joint replacements, due to their disintegration from rheumatoid arthritis which I have lived with for 16 years.

This is my first joint replacement, and although I have taken the prescribed pain medication as necessary, and it has not been fun and games, thankfully the pain itself has not been unbearable. In the last two days, the pain has increased, but evidently this is a good thing since it means the tissues are connecting to the new joints and I am in phase 2 of the healing and recovery.

My new bionic hand

My new bionic hand

As with any health challenge like all of you, living with this splint that resembles what my son says is “C3PO from Star Wars,” is inconvenient and therapy takes up about 15 hours a week including , the drive which is 20 miles one-way. My mother is here to help and I cannot do without her, however, I know that it has not been easy on her to see me and pain. Not being able to type is driving me a bit nutty too.

It is also an interesting journey for me as I am trying to find time to work on my next book for Christian moms with illness. As an author, it is easy to write about how one should ask others for assistance and organize their family life so that is easy for someone else to step in and help you out –but on a practical level, it is a very difficult challenge, especially when people don’t show up or have to cancel at the last minute.

I am far from understanding parenthood with a chronic illness, but I that God will use the many experiences I’m having to make it a better and more realistic book.

And I have discovered that such an odd looking contraption on my hand catches many glimpses from people as I am out and about at a store, etc. It has been the source of many conversations where I have been able to pass along information about the ministry and my Christian faith to others who are struggling.

For example, yesterday my mom and went to a secondhand store ran to by a church. When I shared with the cashier who asked about my splint, she shared about her own family’s health struggles. I had a couple of copies of my books in the car and when I brought them in she said she recognized the name of the ministry and that she was also studying to be a Stephen minister.

Today I met a Christian mom who lives with Graves’ disease and who also has a teenage daughter with a chronic illness. In less than seven minutes we exchanged conversation about some of our deepest struggles and I gave her our web site and hope to hear from her soon.

Please continue to pray for Rest Ministries and that I will be able to represent the Lord and his glory.

There are moments that I think my brain is not working. For example, the other day at the parent/teacher meeting, I tried to tell a teacher Joshua was in karate and the character trait they were learning right now was “focus.” The definition of focus according to his karate instructors is “keeping your goals in sight.” But I accidentally told the teacher it meant “keeping your girls in sight.”

She looked at me and said “girls?” And I laughed and said “Mommy has had a little bit too much pain medication today.”

Our family continues to take one day at a time like many of you. My sister has been going through a very difficult time as well and although no family is perfect, I do know the blessing of having a family who turns toward each other during challenging times and I’m extremely grateful for this.

I updated most of the web site before my surgery so please continue to visit for daily encouragement as well as our daily devotionals and our weekly issue of HopeNotes.

cover-175x135I am also excited to say that’s our newest issue of HopeKeepers magazine is now available via digital format. You can read 18 sample pages of HopeKeepers Magazine here (enlarge the box for access) or read the whole 64- inspiring pages for a $5 donation. And for all the chronically ill guys out there. . . you may be especially encouraged by the story Casey Martin – golf pro – turned golf coach.

Thank you again for all of your loving support. And I couldn’t do without you!


Preparing for Hand Surgery Next Week

ashridge snow #3 - oak tree
Image by slimmer_jimmer via Flickr


Thank you, friends, for your support in the last few weeks as I have been recovering from Invisible Illness Week, then trying to get organized with “life”. We’ve got a “chore sheet” for our son on the back of the bathroom door and he is getting a weekly allowance. I’ve attended parent/teacher meetings, and have been flaring badly through it all. I bought a big thick daily planner, and then I copy all the stuff for the week over to the dry erase board. I am just about organized, and now it wil all soon be going haywire!

Yesterday as I limped through the house I had my own little sports commentary going on in my head, “And she’s coming around the corner, folks! She’s building speed! Oops, look out, she’s losing her balance. . . oh, she’s back in the race!”

Ever feel like you are barely moving and yet in your head you are running? (Like when people wait in their car for you to cross the street and then they look at you like,  “Could you maybe pick up the pace?”)

And through it all I’ve been visiting many doctors. January or February I will have cataract surgery, as I have a big one on each eye “bulls eye” over my retina (glad I can do something so precise!)

I am scheduled to have hand surgery November 4–next Wednesday. If all goes as planned, (no infections!) surgery will just be out-patient and I will be home that day, with a cast– for six weeks! They are rebuilding my left hand, likely doing some joint replacements and trying to put a few fingers and tendons back into place.

As much as I would love to have some of the use of my hand back, I am not looking forward to any kind of cast on my arm, as my shoulder bones are “bone on bone” and need replaced themselves; and the cast will go above the bent elbow. A couple of years ago a simple hand surgery sent me into the deepest flare I’ve had for weeks, so please pray that it will be more smooth this time.

My parents arrive soon. Dad will be here just a few days and mom will help me around the house and. . . (please pray) with driving. (Sorry, mom, but you know you hate the freeways here is San Diego.) I don’t know how good of passenger I will be as she drives me to hand therapy 20 miles away (the closest hand therapist.)

I have newsletters ready to go out to you in coming weeks and the web site will have new content every day. I’ve been doing lots to prepare for this time I will be off the computer more than on.

Answering emails will be difficult, but I will do my best. I have a voice program, but it doesn’t work when I am on pain medications because my voice slows down too much!

Any way, that is the scoop!

I read this scripture the other day from The Message:

Matthew 5:14-26 says, “Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand-shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives.
By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.” (The Message)

I am going to try to “be a light.” I think that means a “lattern” kind of soft glow, or a bright light, but not the red adn blue spinning lights that we see behind our car. I anticipate not feeling terrific, but I still have the ability to influence everyone I come into contact with – and I get to choose if that influence is positive or negative. I get to decide if I let people walk away from me encouraged or discouraged.

As you prepare for winter and pull out your heating pad and comfort items, remember that God doesn’t want to hide you under a bucket (or in your home.) And sometimes that even means ASKING for help from others. I am going to try to take my own advice and do this (unlike last year when it seemed like everyone assumed someone else was helping-including my own church where I fell through the cracks when I most needed them.)

Know you are not alone in your struggles – with people, spiritually, even with yourself! I am walking that rough road right beside you and learning some things the hard way.

I pray that you are blessed in coming weeks and that the Lord pleasantly surprises you with His light this season.

I think I can manage 140 characters picking out the letters with one hand so you keep up with me at or
in coming weeks.

God bless,

Lisa Copen, Rest Ministries Founder
Rest Ministries Chronic Illness Pain Support

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