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Thriving with Chronic Illness

with Jennifer Slattery

Thriving with Chronic Illness Episodes
Episode 13: Knowing When to Push and When to Rest
October 05, 2020 - 31 min
Balancing our time and energy with chronic illness can feel challenging and confusing. If we never push through when feeling unwell, we’ll likely never accomplish anything. However, we can easily overdo things, stealing our “jelly beans” as Jennifer terms it, and thus leaving us too fatigued for our highest priority tasks or activities. In this episode, Jennifer Slattery speaks with her Wholly Loved Ministry partner Victoria Mejias on how Victoria manages her time, energy, and symptoms as a single mom with progressive multiple sclerosis. Find Victoria online at: https://www.VictoriaElizabeth.com Find Jennifer Slattery at: http://jenniferSlatteryLivesoutLoud https://www.facebook.com/JenSlatte Find her and Victoria’s ministry at: http://whollyloved.com Additional Resources: Faith Over Fear: Living with a Limp: https://www.lifeaudio.com/faith-over-fear/episode-4-the-courage-to-live-with-a-limp-embracing-our-weakness Faith Over Fear: The Courage to Have Hard Conversations: https://www.lifeaudio.com/faith-over-fear/the-courage-to-have-hard-conversations-ep-18 Group Discussion Questions: 1. How unpredictable are your symptoms? 2. What are some ways you can leave margin for unexpected difficult days? 3. How accurately does your schedule mirror your priorities? 4. What most challenges your ability to “push through” difficult days when necessary? 5. What most challenges your ability to rest when necessary? 6. In what ways do you struggle with guilt related to your limitations or necessary boundaries? 7. What lies are tied to your guilt? 8. What truths regarding Christ, His plans and power, and who you are in Him, can speak to your guilt? 9. What other fears are tied to your limitations or necessary boundaries? 10. What truths regarding Christ, His power and plans, and your identity in Him, can speak to those fears? 11. Is there anything God might be asking you to do in relation to what you take on and what you release? Episode Image Credit: Getty/Biscotto87
Episode 12: How Chronic Illness Can Deepen Our Intimacy with Christ
September 28, 2020 - 28 min
Our greatest struggles with chronic illness often result in beautiful and ever-deepening intimacy with Christ. He’s constantly pouring His love upon us, and He’s continually speaking to us. While we shouldn’t let our emotions dictate our faith, if He consistently feels distant, we should question why. In this episode, Jennifer discusses our greatest prize—intimacy with Christ, and how we can experience an ever-growing closeness with Christ on our worst, sickest, and most painful days. Chronic Illness Discussion Questions: 1. How would you define divine intimacy? 2. When has God seemed closest? 3. How often do you compare your interaction with God to how He interacts with, responds to, or guides someone else? 4. What are some ways you intentionally draw close to Christ? 5. Do you struggle with feeling as if you should do or be more as a Christian? 6. Considering your answer to the previous question, have you unknowingly slipped into a works-based relationship with Christ? 7. In what way is God using your current struggle to draw your closer? 8. How do you tend to respond when you experience doubt? Resource mentioned: Life Audio’s Faith Over Fear Podcast Episode 13: The Courage to Face Our Doubts: https://www.lifeaudio.com/faith-over-fear/episode-13-the-courage-to-face-our-doubts Visit Jennifer online at http://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com, find her ministry at http://whollyloved.com, and connect with her on Facebook and Instagram. Episode Image Credit: Getty/MargaretW
Episode 11: Thriving with Chronic Illness in Marriage
September 21, 2020 - 29 min
Chronic illness can put a strain on our relationships, but it can also lead to increased health and intimacy. In this episode, "Together Through the Storms" co-authors Sarah and Jeff Walton share their journey with Sarah’s illness, how her illness revealed lies that God wanted to replace with truth, and how holding tight to His character and truth has strengthened them individually and as a couple. You can find Together through the Storms here: https://www.thegoodbook.com/together-through-the-storms Visit Sarah and Jeff online at http://setapart.net/ Connect with Sarah on Marriage and Chronic Illness Discussion Questions: 1. How has chronic illness challenged your relationship? 2. Have you discussed those challenges openly and honestly as a couple? 3. If you have discussed those challenges, have those discussions strengthened your relationship, and if so, how? 4. When or how has your experience with chronic illness (yours or your spouse’s) triggered guilt? 5. Is there a lie attached to your guilt? 6. How can surrendering to Christ in the middle of your challenges help eliminate your guilt and your discouragement? 7. How can your marriage, specifically related to all you experience in relation to chronic illness, proclaim Christ and the gospel? Visit Jennifer online at http://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com, find her ministry at http://whollyloved.com, and connect with her on and . Episode Image Credit: Getty/Ponomariova_Maria
Episode 10: Growing Intentionally Instead of Giving Up
September 15, 2020 - 31 min
Check Out Our Episode on Grieving Your Illness: https://www.lifeaudio.com/thriving-with-chronic-illness/episode-1-the-stages-of-grief-and-embracing-all-god-has-for-you According to Warren Wiersbe, when we experience difficulties, we can attempt to escape them, endure them, or enlist them. Our response determines whether we become bitter or better, discouraged and defeated or strengthened. Scripture tells us God will use every experience, our illness included, to mold us into the warrior ambassadors He created us to be, men and women who steadily advance against darkness and flood our world with the light and life of Christ. Chronic Illness Support - Questions: 1. What are some ways people try to escape their pain or hardships? 2. What is the difference between enduring a hardship versus enlisting it (learning from it)? 3. What does thriving mean to you? 4. What does an immature Christian look like to you? 5. What do you think contributes to spiritual and emotional immaturity? 6. Hebrews 12:1 tells us to throw off every weight that hinders our “race.” What are some weights that slow you down or hold you back? 7. What is one thing you can do this week to run lighter? For More Chronic Illness Resources: Visit Jennifer online at http://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com, find her ministry at http://whollyloved.com, and connect with her on Facebook and Instagram. Episode Image Credit: Getty/aurielaki
Episode 9: Pursuing Health in Our Relationships
September 07, 2020 - 30 min
Chronic illness can drastically change our relationships with others. We and our loved ones go through an uncomfortable and sometimes painful transition as we try to find our new normal. In this episode, host Jennifer Slattery and her daughter Ashley talk about all the ways Jennifer’s chronic illness impacted their family, how they processed all the changes, and how God brought them to a place of emotional healing. You can listen to Jennifer and Ashley's episode of Faith over Fear, Group Discussion Questions: 1. How has your illness impacted some of your closest relationships? 2. In what ways might your friends and/or loved ones be in a state of grieving due to your illness? 3. Have you and your friends and/or loved ones been able to have healthy conversations regarding your illness and how it impacts you and others? 4. Consider some of the outward reactions your friends and loved ones have, especially in relation to your illness (or conversations surrounding it). How might those reactions point to deeper pain? 5. How can we allow others to grieve and wrestle through their own emotions related to our illness without owning those emotions? 6. Why is it important to circle back, after an argument or relational conflict to get to the root cause? 7. What are some ways you can facilitate healthy conversation regarding your illness? 8. Has your illness become the center of your attention? If so, how can you begin to shift your focus onto others and cultivate a genuine interest in their lives? 9. Has your illness become the center of your family’s or friends’ attentions? And if so, what are some steps you can take to create a healthier emotional give-and-take? 10. When might counseling be helpful? Episode Image Credit: Getty/Ponomariova_Maria
Episode 8: Living Beyond Ourselves
September 01, 2020 - 31 min
In this episode, Jennifer sits down with Sarah Conaway, the tri-founder of , a ministry for Stroke Survivors. Sarah shares how God has ministered to her through her chronic illness grief and the ministry he has given her as a result. Chronic illness can make us feel as if our world has shrunk, and maybe in many ways, it has. But that doesn’t mean God can’t and won’t use us. In fact, our illness might lead to our greatest ministry. Two-time stroke survivor Sarah Conaway’s life changed dramatically after her stroke. She had to relearn how to walk and speak, while also dealing with lupus. But she stepped out before she saw where God was leading. Discussion questions: 1. What has God been saying to you lately regarding your chronic illness? 2. Do you sense a prick in your heart that might indicate God’s leading? 3. What are some lies about your disability or illness that hinder you from fully living out what God is calling you to? 4. What are some ways your illness has shifted your sense of identity? 5. Think of an area God has been nudging you in, but that you’ve resisted. What makes obedience hard? 6. What is one way you can live beyond yourself, finding a way to love others, this week? 7. We receive guidance through our intimacy in Christ. What is one way you can grow closer to Christ this week? Chronic Illness Resources: Visit Sarah’s ministry, Stromies, online at https://stromies.com/, connect with her and her ministry on https://www.facebook.com/stromies/ and Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/three_stromies/. Visit Jennifer online at http://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com, find her ministry at http://whollyloved.com. Episode Image Credit: Getty/SaimonSailent
Episode 7: When God Doesn't Heal
August 25, 2020 - 30 min
What happens when you and everyone you know has prayed for you, for years, maybe even decades, yet you remain sick? Do you simply not have enough faith? Did you maybe do something that disappointed God, or perhaps fail to do something that would’ve pleased Him? If you’ve been sick for any length of time, you may have wrestled with these questions. Someone might even have told you, “If only you had more faith, then you’d be well.” And maybe those words still sting and cause doubt. Jennifer Slattery understands what that feels like. She’s prayed for healing for herself and others. She’s seen God’s miraculous works, but she’s also seen numerous prayers go unanswered. In both, she discovered key truths about God she hopes will encourage you in your journey. Discussion questions: 1. Have you ever felt as if your prayers went unanswered? If so, how did you respond? 2. Has anyone told you, or insinuated, that God would heal you, if only you had more faith? 3. How can an expectation of healing distort our view of God? 4. How can an expectation of healing indicate we’ve begun to overestimate our wisdom and perception? 5. How can an expectation of healing over-emphasize our experiences or time on earth? 6. Does God always respond as we think best? Explain. 7. Have you witnessed a miracle? If so, share. 8. In what ways has God been glorified through your experiences? 9. What do you think God’s greatest priority for you is? 10. How does knowing God’s faithfulness isn’t dependent on ours encourage you? Visit Jennifer online at http://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com, find her ministry at http://whollyloved.com, and connect with her on Facebook and Instagram. Episode Image Credit: Getty/image_jungle
Episode 6: Setting Boundaries, Part 2
August 18, 2020 - 31 min
In order to set boundaries, we must believe we’re worth protecting. In this episode, Jennifer Slattery shares a biblical example of how one woman courageously resisted societal expectations to take the time with Christ she needed and how she handled the aggression that followed. Jennifer discusses the importance of living with a “team” mentality and how to manage our illness and energy well without feeling the need to explain or defend our actions. Discussion questions: 1. Pause to consider: Do you believe you are worth protecting? 2. Do you prioritize your rest, and if so how? 3. If you don’t prioritize your rest, why is this? 4. Do you get the rest that your body needs, and if not, why? 5. How often do you own other people’s actions, reactions, and opinions? 6. How often do you allow other people’s poor behavior to pressure or manipulate you into allowing them to cross your boundaries? 7. Does your illness and energy level tend have an ebb and flow, and if so, have you taken the time to estimate how many good (or “better) days you have in a given month? 8. What resonates with you most, in relation to setting boundaries, in the Mary and Martha account? 7. Who is someone you can role play with this week as you practice setting boundaries and/or saying no? Visit Jennifer online at http://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com, find her ministry at http://whollyloved.com, and connect with her on Facebook and Instagram. Episode Image Credit: Getty/gmast3r
Episode 5: Setting Boundaries, Part 1
August 11, 2020 - 30 min
Our sickness cannot prevent us from accomplishing all God has assigned to us—unless we let it. However, though God has given us everything we need to accomplish the good works he has prepared for us, we don’t have time to take on responsibilities and tasks He hasn’t prepared for us. In saying yes to those things God hasn’t assigned, we’re likely forcing ourselves to say no to those things He has. If we want to truly thrive while chronically ill, we must learn to establish and maintain God-led, healthy boundaries. In this episode, Jennifer Slattery shares common reasons we struggle to set boundaries, what we potentially forfeit in the process, and some of the precious things we gain by stepping forward with courageous obedience to God above all else. Discussion questions: 1. What resonated with you most in today’s podcast episode? 2. How easy or difficult is it for you to establish and maintain healthy boundaries? 3. When you do struggle with setting boundaries, what tends to be your key reasons? 4. Do you tend to struggle with one or more individual more than others? 5. Honestly evaluating your schedule, who do you most seek to honor? 6. How often do you pray for God’s guidance before taking on responsibilities or accepting invites? 7. What are some truths regarding God’s nature and character that can help give you courage to set healthy boundaries? 8. In what ways might or has your behavior made it challenging for others in your circle to set and maintain healthy boundaries? 9. What is one action step you can take in the week ahead to more fully align your day(s) and calendar/agenda with Christ’s leading? Visit Jennifer online at http://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com, find her ministry at http://whollyloved.com, and connect with her on Facebook and Instagram. Episode Image Credit: Getty/Anna Semenchenko
Episode 4: Honestly Facing Our Anger
August 04, 2020 - 31 min
Many of us have grown to fear anger - anger expressed by others and our anger as well. As a result, we’re tempted to suppress these intense emotions, but that can keep us stuck and cause us to distance ourselves from God. We can hinder our ability to heal and fully experience the emotional and spiritual freedom He longs to give us. In this episode, Jennifer Slattery interviews counselor and author Tanya Glanzman. Find Tanya here: https://www.myfathersdaughter.com/ Discussion questions: 1. What are your views on anger? Do you tend to see all anger as bad or do you view some types or expressions of anger as bad and others as healthy? 2. Have you experienced anger in relation to your illness? If so, how did you respond? How did your relationship with God play into this? 3. What are some healthy ways one can express their anger? 4. What are unhealthy ways to express anger? 5. How do you believe God responds to our anger, and why do you feel this? 6. Why might it be important to express our anger honestly? 7. Why might it be important to express our anger honestly to God? 8. How might unexpressed anger lead to deep-seated bitterness? Visit Jennifer online at http://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com, find her ministry at http://whollyloved.com, and connect with her on Facebook and Instagram. Episode Image Credit: Getty/Malte Mueller
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