Thursday, 17 May 2012

All Change.

So I mentioned in my last post that I had made a big decision.  It is something that has been rumbling away for a few months now.  As my regular readers may know I have a condition called rheumatoid arthritis.  It is a condition that is always just there.  I'm fortunate enough to have great medication which has kept it reasonably stable for about 3 years now.  However, as well as aching joints always just there and preventing me from doing anything too active, the biggest effect it has on me is fatigue.

I will have had this condition for 16 years come this autumn.  It arrived 6 months after I got married (it's our 16th wedding anniversary tomorrow).  I don't very often think about what life was like before hand, that is one thing that can really bring me down.  Suffice it to say, I was very active, I used to run several times a week, go to the gym 3 or 4 times a week, walk and swim, just to name just a few acitivies.  In fact just weeks before I first became unwell my husband and I brought our first ever mountain bikes.

As well as having this condition I have also had 4 years of enormous stress.  This started with my sister suddenly dying, then becoming a kinship carer for her only almost teenage daughter.  After two years of constant anxiety while we tried to care for an extremely damaged child along with our two younger children we had to make the decision to hand her over to local authority care.  Then my father died, then my mother had a mental breakdown and spent 3 months in hospital, then my grandmother died in January this year.

Amazingly my arthritis has not got much worse during this time however the fatigue has.  For the last 4 and a quarter years I have been working my 20 hours a week as a children and youth Pastor for our local parish (2 churches).  I did take some time out to have knee operations 3 years ago and also 6 months unpaid leave to help with my recovery and the changes to home life with my niece living with us.  The parish I work for has been amazingly supportive, through much of the times of great stress (eg, my mum in hospital) work has been my escape.  It is something I felt called to do almost 10 years ago.  It started in a voluntary capacity for the parish where we live and after a short period of working for the local council when I decided to go back into paid employment I was offered the current parish in a neighbouring parish.

It has not been all plain sailing in the post, it has had plenty of challenges, however it has always felt like a Gift from God and I have always tried to treat it as such.  For the last few months however I have been having to come home from work and go to bed for several hours every day as my fatigue has increased.  Whether it is pain that increases and causes the fatigue or the fatigue that makes me more aware of the joint pain I have I don't know, but my joints are presently very very sore.  My breathing has become poor as my fitness levels are falling.

Being away on holiday in Orlando, Florida was great, what was not so great was the fact that I had to use a wheelchair for all the days out that we did because of the pain and fatigue my body has.  God has been speaking to me.  I finished 8 months of counselling last month, during that time I have been learning how to listen to myself without the critical voices that roam around me head interfering.  This has also enabled me to listen more carefully to God.

I am currently on sick leave from work and last week I finally realised it was time to stop working.  I know that if I don't have a go at getting fitter and loosing some weight now as I amble towards my mid forties, it is only going to get harder.  I might manage to loose weight and get fitter and still be in as much pain and suffering the same fatigue, but if I don't try then I will never know.  The way things are heading at the moment I feel I am going to end up spending more and more time using a wheelchair, if there is anything I can do to prevent this I have to give it a go.

So last week I had my resignation accepted, they have very kindly wavered my 3 month leave period due to my current health issues and so I will finish at the end of May.

The only problem I am now left with is how we are going to manage financially.  My work did not pay all that well, but it did pay for all the little extras we have come to enjoy.  The occasional spontaneous meals out, spending money on our holidays, buying extra things for the home, garden and the children without having to save up - all these things and probably a lot more are where my wage was spent.  Giving these up, and learning how to live on our reduced income is going to be a challenge, thankfully I do feel that God is with us.

So it's all change, on the whole I feel quite excited to see where God is going to take us and this new journey.  Hopefully it will include keeping on blogging :o).


  1. Frankly Jane, I'm amazed you can still stand up after the four years you have just described.
    You really are a very strong woman and I'm certain you will be able to lose the weight you want to.
    I hope it will have the desired affect, and that you will begin to see an improvement in your health.
    You are on my prayer list anyway, but I will increase the volume.
    If anyone deserves success, you do.

  2. Thank you for your lovely words Ray, your prayers mean a lot to me x.

  3. I think you have made a brave and beautiful desicion for yourself and your family.
    There will always be pros and cons to anything we do it life.
    THe Holy Spirit leads us to the best places though, the ones our soul really needs.
    You have had an incredibly hard four years.
    You deserve this time now :)