I can’t remember a time when I didn’t hurt. Some days the pain is bearable. Some days it hurts to breathe. I’m a military wife and mother to three very energetic little boys who rarely slow down to accommodate mom’s aching body. Medically speaking, I have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, bursitis, costochondritis, and osteoarthritis . . . and I am only 33 years old.
Physically I am not well. But what happens when the physical becomes so overwhelming that the pain seeps into the emotional? The mental? And even the spiritual?
I tell you this, not for your sympathy, but because over 100 million Americans suffer with chronic pain. Chances are many of you reading this is in this boat with me.
When Pain Threatens My Day
– Confessions Of An Unwell Mom
This post was originally posted on shannongeurin.com
Shortly after having our third child I reached a low point in my life. I was overwhelmed trying to juggle a 1 year old, a 2 ½ year old, and a newborn preemie. All I wanted to do was sleep. Sleep was the only way to escape the pain. Each day became a battle to keep from sliding down the slippery slope into depression pulling on me. I felt helpless and weak. As though life was just happening to me.
In the midst of it all I heard the word a military wife dreads the most, deployment. My precious husband was sent overseas for about 7 months, and there I sat with 3 boys. It was in those 7 months that I wrestled with God over my pain and self-pity to the point of complete brokenness. I physically could not get out of the bed to care for my own children.
When Pain Leads To Brokenness
In that brokenness I was finally still enough to hear God speak to me. I was forded to slow down enough to listen for His small voice that is always there with me. Instead of my usual pleas to take the pain away, I buried my nose in the Scriptures searching for hope. I finally began to see God for who He truly is. And who I am in Him.
In Job 42:5 Job, who endured unspeakable suffering, said, “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.” This was exactly what I had been doing over the last year. I knew the Sunday school answers but my heart was too focused on me, and not on Him. The first thing I learned about suffering is that it yields intimacy with God. My pain draws me closer to Him.
We see in Isaiah 48:10 that “…I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.” This verse makes it clear that pain and suffering have a way of bringing our strengths and weaknesses to the surface. Is this what God is doing when He allows my pain to come? Is He trying to refine me and shape me to look more like Him? Maybe my suffering is God’s way of refining me.
You see, when we seek God through His Word and prayer, we find Jesus. I sometimes forget that Jesus understands our pain because He, too, suffered. We read the words of Psalm 22:1: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning?” My Savior is no stranger to the pain I feel. Did He lay down and give in? No! He stood strong and pressed on in His Father’s will for Him. I began to see . . . I should too.
My husband is deployed in a war zone. My children need me. My body is failing me. The way I saw things, I had two choices. I could lay down and feel sorry for myself, wallow in my pain and depression, or I could choose to let God show off His power through me.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
A Shift To Becoming Well
In every sense of the word, I needed to become well! Not in my own strength but in His. I needed faith that He was always on my side and even though others can not, God always sees my pain. Nothing happens that He isn’t aware of. Faith isn’t thinking everything will go my way, it’s resting in the truth that God is in control, God protects me, and God is working for my ultimate redemption – even when the opposite seems to be true. It means I stand strong with God in the good times and the hard times. It’s a daily decision. One I have continued to make since that deployment.
Each morning as I pull my achy body out of bed, before my feet hit the floor, I am asking God for my daily portion. Just enough to get through this day and glorify Him while doing it. Are there hard days and tears of weariness and defeat? Absolutely! I will never understand fully why we face despair while others don’t. It isn’t my job to know why. It is my job to believe that God is who He says He is and He will do what He says He will do. He is my Redeemer and my Portion. He is my Strength and my Firm Foundation. I am weak, but in Him I am undefeatable. When I choose to stand in the hand of my God I discover exactly what momma wellness is!
Whatever pain or hardship you face today, know that God sees you right where you are. He has never left you and He never will. Stop trying to live in your own strength, it is too hard. Step out of your defeat and depression and step into His loving arms. Find your wellness in Him. He understands and His heart’s desire is for you to draw close to Him in your weakness. In the midst of your valley, dig into His Word. Slow down enough to hear His still and small voice. He is there. He is calling you to Him. He wants to refine you a little more today. Trust Him. He is worthy. And because of Him, so are you.
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