Tag Archives: Chronic Pain

Making Straight Paths For My Feet (or brain)

Last night at Bible study, before we dug into the book of Hebrews, we each shared our “Red Dot” – where we are right now, as it pertains to our Christian walk and to life in general.

I shared briefly about how life has been hard for me lately. How I almost went to the ER Tuesday night with severe pain. How I was grieving the fact that we can’t (and probably won’t) have another child. That I wasn’t sure if I could live with this pain until my consultation and surgery this summer.

We proceeded to the book of Hebrews, and how the Word of God transformed my thoughts. In chapter 12 we read encouragement to run the race with endurance, and to not grow weary as we consider Jesus, who endured so much more (the cross). To remember that we are gaining holiness as we look up and go through these trials. To not drift away but instead to “lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet.

At the end of study, our entire group prayed over my husband and I. Specific prayers were said over each member of our family. I left with a full and grateful heart.

But this morning, I ashamedly found myself in the middle of a pity party. The pain was ratcheted up a notch or two. Sharp, stabbing pains under my right rib cage, and pain in my upper back and constant radiating pain in my shoulder. (These are classic diaphragmatic endometriosis symptoms.) We ran an errand and Rachel screamed a long time for reasons that will probably never be known (that’s life with a two year old). And then again at home, Rachel pushed herself away from the counter and tipped her bar-height chair over – causing her head to slam against the laminate floor (praise God with me that we don’t have tile, or else we’d probably be in the ER right now). And the pity sank in. Poor me. This pain is here to stay. Rachel is our last baby. You were hoping you’d be pregnant right now but instead you’re thinking about getting a hysterectomy.

Yuck. That’s all I have to say about my pity party. How it reveals a lack of trust. After all I’ve been through and all I’ve learned, I should be filled with nothing but hope!

And I’m writing this because I need to remember the rest of what I shared last night during the “Red Dot” discussion. I need to remember that when I look back over these past 9 years – fraught with endometriosis,  surgeries, infertility, pain, and doctor’s visits– what is the underlying current? JOY. Yes, joy. It’s not bitterness, despair, or loneliness. It has been joy – because of WHO Jesus is and how He has held me through all of these trials, and taught me to trust Him. And I’ve seen the good work that He’s doing in me. I just need to keep trusting that He’s doing a good work now. Hard times are never easy when we’re in the midst of them, and the battle is 95% mental. I’m reminding myself that it’s okay to suffer, and it’s okay to be in pain.

And now please pray with me like crazy that I can get in for surgery much sooner!

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Filed under Endometriosis, Infertility

Trusting God Through the Yuck

Valentines day or not, yesterday was a lovely day. I felt great almost the entire day! My husband brought me flowers and a Jamba Juice smoothie on his way home from work. We enjoyed a ‘gourmet’ meal of homemade sandwiches and store bought candy bars for dessert with our smoothies. (Okay, so it was pretty low-key as far as Valentines dinners go, but I was just so excited to be feeling better!) I felt good enough that I was even able tackle a few small projects I’d been wanting to get done around the house. It was great!

However, as soon as I woke up this morning, I knew I was going to be in for a hard day. I could hardly get out of bed. Plus, somehow I managed to get a nasty kink in my neck while I was sleeping (so much for turning my head to the right!). When I’m feeling this bad, I’ve found I want to do either two things: Hide/sleep and be impatient with my husband when he tries to help me, or to just start crying. Yup, those are my two defaults, and as you can guess, it’s the pits. Either way, my husband has to deal with me and my floundering emotional state and faltering resistance towards despair. So this upcoming part in this blog post is meant to be an encouragement not only to you but to me as well. When I’m struggling, like I am today, I have to preach to myself and remind myself constantly of God’s faithfulness. 

The other day I came across this really good article on infertility that a fellow blogger of mine (redeeminginfertility.wordpress.com) shared, and I wanted to do the same with you. I think this article, titled “Your Womanhood Is Not On Hold” applies to any woman who is simply “waiting” for the next phase of life to happen– whether it be marriage, children, or, like me, waiting to give birth in the midst of chronic pain. The author, Courtney Reissig, wrote something that really resounded with me:

“The ultimate mark of womanhood is hoping in God.”  

I know, it’s simple.

But isn’t it so true? How often have I told the Lord “I don’t know if I can keep living like this” and His Spirit has gently whispered to me “Do you trust me in this?” Because really, no matter what we go through in life, He asks us to trust Him, to rest assured that He can make good things come from the messy and hard circumstances of life. You may think your singleness is a curse, or maybe your infertility. For me my chronic pain often feels like a curse. But I have to trust that God is working out something beautiful in the midst of it. And I have to choose to rest in that when I can’t see beyond today or even this very moment.

So please check it out if you have time! It’s a quick read, and you’ll be blessed. 

 

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Filed under Infertility, Pain

Pain

Ah, pain.

I’ve had a lot of opportunities in my life to become better at dealing with chronic pain. But I just haven’t. It gets me every single time. I get to a breaking point, a time of despair. I pray, I cry, I ask for healing. Sometimes I am healed and sometimes I must keep living with it.

I feel foolish for saying this, but it never occurred to me that I’d be dealing with chronic pain while pregnant. Not even a remote thought went that direction. What I actually thought was “for once I’ll be pain free, since my endometriosis will be in remission!” (HA! I’m laughing right now.) For three straight weeks I have been dealing with right lower abdominal pain. I don’t have a clue what it is. Maybe adhesions wrapping around my bowel or endometriosis? I don’t think my doctor has a clue, either, other than that the “baby is squishing everything down there.” All I know is, it’s there and it makes me miserable most days.

I find my character tested again and again through chronic pain — and for the last three weeks I find I am facing a new test. How will I respond to this pain? For the things that I am fearful of (first, that it won’t ever go away, and second, that it could be something serious) — what will I do with those fears? Will I look to the Lord and say “Your will be done?” or will I become depressed and feel sorry for myself?

I have great admiration for people who have looked chronic pain or lifelong disabilities in the face and have learned to find joy and contentment in the Lord despite it. Joni Erickson Tada is one of those people. And there is a blog I follow (www.mundanefaithfulness.com) about a mother of 4 children who recently went through a horrific time of breast cancer treatment and is once again facing more insidious cancer. You would think the idea of leaving 4 young children behind would literally cripple her, but it’s not, because she’s not letting that happen. When the fears and sorrow start to creep in, she’s immediately putting those same thoughts to death. And that’s how I want to be when I am facing chronic pain and the fear of living with it daily, because I have learned that despair and fear can be more insidious than the cancer or chronic pain itself. I want to put those life-sucking thoughts to death, and trust the Lord to give me grace for each day.

Today we went to church and as we sang songs with words of truth and praise for our Savior, tears of sweet relief slid down my face. Ah, to get my focus off my pain and onto my Lord — this was truly the best medicine for my heart and my soul. And not only that, but then our pastor had those in the congregation who were struggling with pain to stand up because he wanted to pray over us. My husband nudged me (his way of saying “stand up!”) and I was prayed for. It was such a wonderful time– my burden being lifted off my shoulders and placed on the One who lovingly carries it for me.

Have you lived with chronic pain? What helps you keep your perspective and focus on the Lord, and not on your situation?

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Filed under Disabilities, Endometriosis, Pregnancy, Worship