Thank you for giving us the opportunity to share our stories, our faith journeys, and our pain–of living with chronic illnesses. We are honored to share a bit about ourselves.
If you wish to contact our devotional writers personally, (rather than leave a public comment on their blog) they will have provided contact information if they wish. Each writer does check the comments on their devotionals as well.
Pat is a retired elementary teacher of 34 years who lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and Harrisonburg, Va (Shenandoah Valley). Patricia and her dear husband, Richard, will move full time to Harrisonburg, when Richard retires in 2 years. Patricia has been dealing with pain from peripheral neuropathy for over 12 years. She is thankful that God has given her the strength to draw closer to Him during this time. Patricia enjoys church activities, reading, gardening and many volunteer activities where she can serve Him by helping others. Rest Ministries has been a real source of support and comfort. You can contact her here.
Julie resides in Wisconsin with her husband, whom she married in 1977. She has one grown son who was a miracle child born at 28 weeks’ gestation and a lowest weight of 1 pound 8 ounces. She worked from home as a medical transcriptionist for 28 years, which was the perfect job for someone with physical limitations. Her hobbies are reading, drawing and being out in the woods. In her spare time, she teaches a preschool Sunday School class as well as doing puppets for church.
In 1995, after several misdiagnoses, she was diagnosed with mixed connective tissue disease (scleroderma, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and polymyositis) by Mayo Clinic. After struggling physically and spiritually for many years, her relationship with God has grown tremendously, and she has a passion to share what she has learned with others who have the same struggles. She has a blog site called Healthy Souls to help people achieve health spiritually, even if they are not healthy physically.
Fiona lives in Melbourne Australia. In her mid 20’s she was involved in two car accidents that caused damage to her neck and back. More than 20 years later she is still learning how to live with chronic back pain and the other challenges and limitations it has brought to her life. Whilst no longer being able to work full-time, at present she still works part-time and enjoys being able to help people as part of her role as assistant to a Financial Planner.
She has enjoyed writing over many years, and more recently has been privileged to share some of the words God gives her, through the Devotionals at Rest Ministries. Rest Ministries has been a source of great encouragement for her. Her prayer is that what she writes may be an encouragement to other people and that they may see the wonderful God who gives her life a meaning. The one who makes it possible for her to get up each day to face whatever the day holds, knowing that He is there with her and that it too, is a part of His plan for her life.
Vicki understands special needs as a patient, parent, and professor. She has had multiple sclerosis since 1993. She lives with her husband and her adult son, Chris who was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Her other son and his wife practice medicine. Vicki has over 34 years of experience teaching in public schools and in Christian schools, in regular classrooms and in special education classrooms. She was one of two administrators who founded a Christian school which grew to 1,000 students by the fifth year. With multiple areas of certification (elementary education, special education, and vision) and a master’s degree, she’s often asked to serve as a parent advocate and consultant. She also does teacher training at Christian teacher conventions. Vicki enjoys photographing God’s creation. Through her online community she reaches out to other parents of children with special needs.
Lisa is the founder of Rest Ministries, which she began in 1996, to help people find others who were also living with daily chronic pain and illness, but who also believed God was still the foundation of their lives–even if He didn’t heal them here on earth. She has lived with degenerative rheumatoid arthritis since 1993 and also has fibromyalgia, osteoporosis, and other secondary illnesses. She is a survivor of the flesh eating bacteria which she contracted in 2008. Lisa has written a number of books on behalf of Rest Ministries and finds her joy in writing, speaking, and teaching.
She lives in San Diego with her husband and son and she has recently become a (reluctant) homeschooling mom. You can find her in the Sunroom or on the Rest Ministries Facebook page. She also loves Pinterest and maintains a Rest Ministries Pinterest account and her own Pinterest account as she shares her love of mason jars and beach decor.
Kay Davis lives in Fort Worth, Texas with her husband Ron. They have three awesome daughters and sons-in-law who have blessed them beyond measure with their eight precious grandchildren. For more of Kay’s writings you may visit her blog http://singingbirdcage.blogspot.com that is titled Songbird. She finds solace in writing and prays that God uses it to draw others to Himself.
Pamela Doheney lives in Northern California with her best friend and supportive husband of 42 years. Together they have two grown children and two grand children. Pamela used to enjoy riding horses but had to release that to God just two years ago. After being throw from a horse in 1997 and breaking her ankle, she was soon after diagnosed with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. She also suffers from chronic sciatic pain. Pamela now enjoys her Maltipoo Abby and traveling with her now retired husband in their little fifthwheel and wondering where God will lead them to a new home. She currently lives on 5 acres that has become too much for her and her husband. She lives and walks, as best she can, by grace and the Spirit.
Karlton lives in Ohio with his lovely wife. A devotional writer for Rest Ministries for many years, he has learned through his afflictions and diseases to rely upon the Lord.
Debs Edwards lives in South Wales, UK with her husband Simon and her two children aged 9 and 14. photo aggravated rosacea for 18 months. She is able to continue to work on a part-time basis as a health researcher for 2 days a week at Cardiff University. After being a busy person for as long as she can remember it has taken her a while to adjust to having to slow down and to allow herself to rest when she needs to. Debs says that she is enjoying spending more time with her family. She is so thankful to God that she has been able to enjoy a deeper relationship with Him through her illness.
Debbi Farmer lives in North Carolina with her family. She suffers daily from chronic pain. . . and knows the struggles we face in suffering.
Bridget resides in the beautiful West Michigan. She struggles with Fibromyalgia, Endometriosis, IBS, Arthritis, and Migraines – but she doesn’t let that hold her down too much. Her main job as a Business and Finance Specialist and side job as a devotional writer and artist keeps her very busy!
She loves writing and has had over 200 devotionals and a few articles published since 2003. She also designs fabric art and had a craft book published in 2005. Bridget has the best of both worlds as she now puts mini-devotionals on the back of all her cards.
Bridget’s prayer is that readers who come across her writing or fabric art would see that she allows God’s creation to be her inspiration. When she has a free moment, Bridget likes to spend time with her nephew, friends, worship at church, sing praise songs, and spend time in prayer and Bible study. Contact Bridget at email@example.com or visit her Business Facebook Page.
Cynthia Giles is twenty-four years old and attends a university in Kennesaw, Georgia. She will graduate with a degree in Integrative Studies, with concentrations in English and Writing. She is also a spoken word artist and public speaker whose performed at coffee shops, youth conferences, and university events. Her accomplishments include opening for an Emmy award winning journalist, competing in a slam sponsored by Relevant Magazine, and receiving publication in Share, an art and literary magazine.
Her accomplishments give her hope that God is the author of her life story. She believes that God will take every circumstance in her life and turn it around for her good. As a result, she is using her chronic pain as a testimony through devotional writing. She has persevered through chronic pain in her back and neck for over six years. The pain is due to a car wreck and other circumstances. Often, young people feel alone in their pain and she thinks it’s important for others to know that she can relate to that feeling. She desires to give a voice to young people who deal with chronic pain and other health issues. She believes that suffering cannot compare to the glory that will be revealed through all of us. She hopes that her writing becomes a light in a dark place for those in need of hope or healing. You can learn more about Cynthia Giles at her website, www.cynthianicolegiles.com or connect with her on Facebook at facebook.com/cynthia.spokenwordartist.
Diane Kalata lives in Florida. She has three grown children, and a wonderful husband who offers much support. She enjoys leading a women’s bible study group as well as a chronic pain and illness support group. She enjoys art and writing as well. She is a colon cancer survivor, but deals with chronic digestive illness and pain. Her greatest joy is encouraging and sharing with others all that God has done in her life and continues to do.
Dorothea Love is blessed to come from a family of believers. She gave her life to Christ and was baptized at an early age. Currently, she lives in California with her husband and their two adult children.
She has lived with chronic pain and illness for over 30 years. Her struggles have taught her to trust in the transforming power of God’s love. She relies on God to strengthen her and help her. She lives her life based on the promise that God’s grace is sufficient for her weakness. She believes that God can use the very illness and pain that she once thought made her inferior to encourage and uplift others.
Her goal as an author is to inspire her readers. She prays that anyone who reads her work will give God the glory for His love and faithfulness.
S. L. Payne
S.L. Payne lives in North Carolina with her family. She has had fibromyalgia since preschool, but is thankful for God’s faithfulness throughout her entire life. The fibromyalgia makes life interesting when chasing after her three young biological sons and foster kids, but it has taught her to see God in everything. The three boys have supplied the humor.
Formerly a Southern Californian, she graduated from Biola University with a degree in Psychology which has proved immensely valuable as a foster parent. While not easy, she feels strongly that God can use each of us despite whatever challenges we face; God is bigger than the pain. She loves to do home design projects with her architect husband and laugh with her kids because they are usually up to something “creative”.
Her blog is The Proverbs 31 Project at adventuresofaneverydaygirl.blogspot.com where she writes about what God is teaching her, often in hilarious ways, and her attempt to follow God in every aspect of life. You can also follow her on Twitter @saralynnpayne .
Sandra Platt is a freelance writer who has been in the ministry with her husband for nearly twenty years and has two wonderful young adult kids. She lives in a beautiful area of rural Indiana.
Sandra graduated from Toccoa Falls College, and has taken a course from Christian Writers Institute. She enjoys cross-stitching, baking, and being outdoors. She has written for Rest Ministry for six years and has enjoyed the fellowship and friendships she has made there. You can read more about her illness from her 30 Things Meme.
Laura Seil Ruszczyk lives in Western New York with her husband and three children. She retired in 2012 from a 23-year career as a school counselor due to chronic illness and is thankful for all the children and families that enriched her life.
Laura always loved writing and studied journalism in college. She spent four years as an editor of a weekly newspaper.
She is amazed that her dysautonomia diagnosis –deregulation of the autonomic nervous system- has taken her life in a new, but familiar direction. She runs a HopeKeepers group and is parish advocate for those with chronic illness or disabilities at her church and writes for Rest Ministries. This wouldn’t have been possible without a diagnosis and nudge from the Holy Spirit and for this she is grateful.
In her spare time, Laura enjoys spending time with family and friends, listening to music and is currently in the market for a recumbent trike bike so she can get back to her beloved biking – something she had to forgo due to balance problems. She can be reached through the Sunroom. You can get to know what Laura’s daily life is like from her 30 Things Meme.
Rhonda Sawtelle lives with chronic headaches and pain due to failed back surgery syndrome. Her philosophy is “Create a positive day!” She enjoys watching football, NASCAR, and golf, and creating digital scrapbooking, and reading. To read more about how Rhonda creates a positive day, even while living with pain, visit her blog: http://createapositiveday.blogspot.com.
Lynn is a former elementary classroom teacher. She retired in 1992 for health reasons after 27 years in this beloved career. She is single, never married, and lives in an apartment in Lynnwood, Washington, grateful to still be able to live on her own.
In 1983 she awakened in a full fledged vertigo attack. She has lived in constant dizziness since that moment. A last attempt at therapy in 2005 left her body in a total collapse having taken away compensating mechanisms that had helped her function since 1983. She is currently in “God’s rehab.” Lynn underwent surgery in 1987 for an aggressive form of breast cancer with 6 months of chemotherapy treatment. Thankfully all is still well. She loves music and reading but with limited visual energy has discovered the joy of audio books. She thanks God for His daily strength and care and is finding it a great privilege to be a part of the Rest Ministries writing team. Contact via Sunroom.
Jackie Smith lives at the foothills of the magnificent Smoky Mountains in Knoxville, TN. She has Sjogren’s Disease and migraines. Sjogren’s is an autoimmune disease that attacks moisture producing glands, particularly the eyes and mouth and causes debilitating fatigue. Jackie had a bilateral mastectomy over 25 years ago. She is so blessed to be a survivor. A few years ago she had her colon removed, necessitating a permanent ileostomy. The good news is that it wasn’t cancer.
Jackie has her master’s degree in Child and Family Studies. While she has never been able to work using her degree, it comes in handy with the 5 children and 13 grandchildren she and her husband of 35 years share. She finds writing about her Lord a joy and privilege. She is described best by a phrase in the song, MY TRIBUTE, “The voices of a million angels cannot express my gratitude. All that I am and ever hope to be, I owe it all the Thee. To God be the glory.”
Bronlynn and her husband Rick live in Virginia and have three grown daughters. As well as home-schooling her daughters, in her healthier years she worked at a public library and for a pediatrician. She plays the piano for her church worship team, leads a Bible study and pain support group, and co-leads a handmade card ministry for her church. Bronlynn enjoys family, her cat, gardening, crafts, reading, and birding. She has had thyroid cancer and has lived with chronic pain for 26 years. She struggles with headaches, back pain, depression, fibromyalgia, and eye problems. Her life verse is II Timothy 4:17 – “But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength.” You may view her blog of devotionals at www.aplaceofsprings57.blogspot.com
Elizabeth Vendley is the wife of David, 51 years old, and lives in North Central Michigan. They have raised seven children now ages 18-28. Elizabeth has lived with severe Interstitial Cystitis since 1996. Her passion is glorifying the Lord by writing out the lessons He has taught her. She would love to hear from readers through the Sunroom. Elizabeth knows what trying to raise children while ill is about; her children were ages 12-1 years old when she became a “medical anomaly.” The Vendleys are homesteaders and try to produce as much of their own food and clothing as they can. Home canning is a favorite aspect of this for Elizabeth. She enjoys reading, water aerobics, and her American Eskimo dog Mindi.
Elizabeth has enjoyed writing for several Amish/Mennonite publications, contributing essays, stories, and how –to articles. Humor is a major tool in coping for her as well as journaling. Elizabeth and her husband David had the unusual calling to join the Amish faith in 1991. Five years later a complicated surgery left her with disabling pain and medical involvement. The response of the plain communities has proven to be an excellent model of Christians bearing each others burdens. She welcomes readers to see her musings and gleanings in her blog http://evendley.blogspot.com/
Deni lives in Indiana with her husband, mother, sons, daughter-in-law and grandchildren. She is challenged by Ankylosing Spondylistis, Celiac Sprue, Atrial Fibrillation and other chronic conditions. Deni and her husband are raising her late daughter’s children and homeschool them. Though sidelined for now by her illnesses, deni writes, draws, and is working on several tools for use with Special Education children. She is finishing her second book Out of the Darkness, revealing how God held on to her through the loss of her daughter. Deni sees God leading her on a “parade of daily adventures ” affirming that all the events in her life lead her to a more intimate knowledge of God’s grace, mercy, and abundant love. Visit her blog, “deni’s ramblings” at http://www.pathwaysforchange.com
Rev. Charles Wells
Charles is a minister, ordained in Sept. 2007 through the Association of Evangelical Churches. He is originally from Warren, Pennsylvania but relocated to Paris, Texas in July of 2012. He has been married to his wife Lori for 11 years and has two children, a son named Matthew who is 10 and a daughter named Kelsey who is 7. Charles has been actively involved in nursing home and church ministry. He currently is ministering in a men’s Christian drug rehab center in northeast Texas.
Charles has had three major back surgeries that in the end resulted in the fusing of his whole lumbar spine. He still deals with chronic pain due to the nerve damage and a condition called drop foot in his left foot. God has used these physical thorns in great and mighty ways to minister to countless people for Jesus. Charles enjoys to spend time with his family and his black and silver dapple dachshund Annie. He likes to read and loves to watch sports, especially his beloved Pittsburgh teams (Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins). He also enjoys web site design, as he has designed websites for several different ministries. You may contact Charles through his blog at http://revcawells.wordpress.com.
Kerryn lives amongst the gum trees, in South Australia, with her husband and 3 young adult sons. Prior to illnesses, Kerryn was very involved in leadership, in her church, using creative ways of presenting worship. Her career was as a special education teacher. This background has helped her to look at new and different ways of doing things now that she is chronically ill.
Her wonderful husband is carer for their family. Their youngest son has a mild intellectual disability, amongst other needs. Kerryn and their middle son have spent a total of 10 years (combined) with severe chronic fatigue syndrome and multiple chemical sensitivities, amongst other illnesses. The Lord’s sense of humor often causes their family to chuckle amongst the pain. God has always guided them through life’s challenges, often in surprising ways.
Being a “shut in” Kerryn is confined to her bed or recliners, but it doesn’t confine her heart, soul, passions and faith, which she loves to share. She feels humbled and privileged to express her life and the joy of the Lord’s presence through her devotionals on Rest Ministries. Contact via Sunroom.