Endless fire and invisible knives mercilessly attack my joints. With no relief in sight, I cling to the Lord for His strength and grace, and my own sanity. Most of my larger joints (wrists, knees, ankles, back) are wrapped in soft freezing gel packs, which only dulls the pain. Some of the packs are not very cold as I have already used them throughout the day. I am supposed to be sleeping, but my joints are on fire. What did I do today to make make the pain so bad, I wonder to myself. Oh, yes, I picked up groceries. It is so late, I cry out to God for mercy and finally He brings me sleep.
These past many weeks have been a time on my journey where the Lord, while focusing on the Him and His word, carries me through a deeper level of yet another adjustment period.
Up until my mid-twenties I was strong and very physically active. I loved the feel of pushing my body, the sweat, the burn, the strength. Being the third and last daughter of a farmer, with no sons, I constantly pushed myself to prove that I was worthy of my place. This pressure did not come from my parents, but from my own insecurities. You could say I was prideful then, but that was slowly carved out of me, and replaced with compassion and understanding the more limited and pain-filled my body became.
Now for over the last 20 years I have lived with the chronic pain of arthritis (Ehlers Danlos III, Osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease through-out my spine) and it’s limitations and challenges that it adds to being a single-mom of 2 boys.
Psalm 68:19 ” Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.”
My boys pay close attention to how I am feeling throughout the day. They are like little, now big, thermometers that take readings of my well-being. I believe young children do this naturally since they are completely dependent on a parent for their own emotional and physical well-being. Taking a reading of us, their parents, can determine how their day will go. Have you heard the saying, “A mother sets the mood for the family.” ? A child who has been through any trauma (divorce/death/absence of a parent) seems to have a heightened sensitivity in response to their environment.
I worked hard to put my own emotional trauma of divorce aside and walk with them through theirs. (The Lord walks with me through mine) But chronic pain/arthritis, and debilitating migraines, they notice. I have kept every “feel better” card or picture that they have made me and I cherish them. ❤
My boys, Evan and Madi, have learned compassion. One day, when Madi was four years old, I was flat out on the couch while some mean, invisible person hammered on my head. Ok, it was a migraine, yet that is how it felt. The boys played quietly on the floor. I just closed my eyes to block out the light and then felt the sweetest little kiss on my forehead. I smiled and opened my eyes to see Madi. He said, “Just like you do to me!”, with an adorable grin all over his face. It was such a blessing to me!
Philippians 4:13 ” I can do everything through Him who gives me strength”
Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”
It is a fact, Christians suffer. Whether it be a consequence of sin or from God’s Hand to bring repentance, or to bring Him glory and live as Christ’s hands and feet. We live in a fallen world. When I was a little girl, in the 70’s, my church showed the Joni movie. To say that Joni Eareckson Tada’s faith and dedication to God, in-spite of of her quadriplegia, inspired me is an understatement. Her excellent and Godly example has prepared me, encouraged me and taught me how to face the disabling pain that I now live with. But many years ago, as a young christian, I thought suffering would never happen to me. Or rather, I just had really hoped that it would not because I did not want it and I thought I could not handle it. How scared I was then of “something” happening. Well, many “things” have happened since then and I have felt his tender mercy and love, His very real presence through every trial.
Do not misunderstand, I have fallen before Him on my knees time and time again overwhelmed because
- I can’t write or edit photos due to the pain in my fingers and hands
- light house work or throwing a ball or playing with my boys brings sharp lasting pain in my elbows
- when I can’t go for a walk today because my legs are still in pain from whatever I did yesterday
- when climbing the stairs takes so much effort and time
- when I need to lay down, missing time with family, due to a migraine caused by the osteoarthritis (and degenerative discs) in my back and neck
- whatever I use, I loose
I collapse and cry and I want to say ” No…How much more? I can’t do this. I just want to be able, again.”
Then He comforts me. He holds me. He dries my tears and surrounds me with His love. He knows. He knows my heart. He knows suffering. He suffered, for me.
The Lord tenderly wraps His arms around my pain-filled body and lifts me up. He will carry me in my weakened body and lend me His strength (mentally, physically, spiritually) making me stronger than I would be in an “able” body. (2Corinthians 12:10)
He is kind. He is caring. He is gentle and compassionate . I trust Him, He is worthy. God has never, ever forsaken me.
I am willing, my life is Yours my Savior! I will fight for You, my King. I will walk the path that You have created for me. You will give me the ability to do Your will, and I keep at the front of my mind the endless joy that is to come!
Lamentations 3:21-24 ” “Because of the LORD’S great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.””
2 Corinthians 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
2 Corinthians 1:3 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.”
Psalm 28:6-7 “Praise be to the LORD, for He has heard my cry for mercy. The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to Him in song.”
I do not know if these new physical limitations will become my new normal, but I know that God will help me. He has so many times before. And I do not know how limited I will become, now or in the future, but I know whose Hands my trials are sifted through. God is Sovereign over all and faithfully loves me.
I now need to live as an example for my boys. They also have Ehlers Danlos III, which is a type of arthritis and most who have it will develop early onset osteoarthritis. God knows our path, and He is worthy of our trust and our faith, no matter what.
He is our Sovereign loving God whose desire it is to see us all come forth as gold.
Dear friend, be encouraged and may the LORD bless you today! Check out some of my other favourite spriptures! ❤
- Zephania 3:17
- Psalm 42:8
- 1 Peter 1:6-7
- Deuteronomy 31:6
- Isaiah 26:3
- Hebrews 4:15-16