Lisa Copen, 41, began Rest Ministries in 1996 following a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis. “I was looking for a way to connect with others who were living with a chronic condition, for encouragement and support for what my life may hold,” says Copen.
After a few years of networking people who live with chronic conditions through online ministry and support groups in churches called HopeKeepers(R), Copen saw many people who were suffering from feeling misunderstood.
“Even those who coped the best with their physical limitations had a lot of emotions about feeling like no one understood how great the pain was,” shares Copen. “National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week was a way to be able to validate the pain people were feeling, and create more awareness overall, including in the faith communities.”
When you sign up for daily updates from InvisibleIllnessWeek.com you receive a free 80-page ebook written by Copen and other illness experts, “Chronic Illness Tips: 263 Ways to do More Than Just Get By.”
Rest Ministries provides a variety of resources and programs such as online daily devotionals one can receive via email. Copen has authored a dozen books for the ministry such as “Why Can’t I Make People Understand? Discovering The Validation Those with Chronic Illness Seek and Why.”
With nearly 1 in 2 people living with a chronic condition, about 96% of those people are suffering silently with invisible illnesses where their pain cannot be seen. Through Invisible Illness Week Rest Ministries hopes to let people know they are not alone and that someone does understand and care about their struggles.
Rest Ministries is an affiliate of Joni and Friends International Disability Center , the ministry of Joni Eareckson Tada. Copen is a popular speaker who has been a guest on TV programs such as “Heroes Among Us” and “Peace in The Storm,” and radio programs Family Radio, Joni and Friends, and Billy Graham’s Decision Today.
Do you ever feel a bit emotionally stuck? Whether you have the blues or have gone through some major depression, some our favorite marriage and family therapists join us with their seminars, as well as some illness advocates. All of these women Lisa is honored to call friend.
Here are some of their workshops we know you will enjoy and hopefully get something wonderful and helpful out of!
A bit about these women:
Georgia Shaffer is a licensed psychologist in Pennsylvania and a certified life coach. For over 15 years, she has enhanced people’s lives by teaching how to identify: “What needs to grow? What needs to go?”
Author and speaker Maureen Pratt lives with multiple illnesses, including organ-involved lupus, cardiovascular disease, osteoarthritis, hypothyroidism, and chronic back pain. Through her books, including “Peace in the Storm: Meditations on Chronic Pain & Illness,” she encourages others to deepen their faith and Christian walk in spite of and with living with chronic illness.
Mary Yerkes is a professional life coach who specializes in working with the chronically ill. Diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases in 1997, Mary combines years of practical experience with her professional training to help the chronically ill build meaningful and significant lives.
Leslie Vernick shares with us something we all encounter at one time or another: “Dealing with Hurt Feeling and Mixed Up Relationships.” Leslie Vernick is a Christian counselor who doing most of her work with relationship problems. She focuses on improving relationships with others, God and self, teaching people how to address conflict, speak the truth in love, handle adversity in a God-centered way and negotiate through difficult and destructive relationships with biblical principles.
Regardless of your faith, Leslie will give some practical tools and tips to help you with the people in your life. When things go wrong in relationships, is someone at fault? Do you feel like you would have responded differently if your illness didn’t get in the way? Leslie will explain how to respond when things don’t turn out the way we’d hoped.
This year instead of having a live virtual conference we are featuring some amazing workshops from past years. You can find them all here on Blog Talk Radio or, if you use itunes, enter “invisible illness” under “podcasts” and then download them to a music player to listen to anytime. > More instructions here