Saturday, October 9, 2010

Dream Big

There are days when having fibromyalgia sucks for lack of a better word. This morning was one of those times. I woke up feeling good, finished 2 days of my Beth Moore study workbook, even wrote in my journal how grateful I was to have less pain this week, and then I left to go shopping and run errands with my mom. I got to the first place and I picked up a few items and then completely out of no where got hit with very intense neck pain and fatigue so strong it felt like I took a sleeping pill! And now even hours later the pain is intense and sending numbness down my arms and fingers. Even for me this sudden attack is strange. Last night I slept 8 hrs and while that might seem like a normal amount for most people, or even a lot for some of you, it’s less than I need. Usually to keep my pain & fatigue under control I need more like 9-9 ½ hrs of sleep. But still 1 night or even 2 nights of 8 hrs or less of sleep shouldn’t produce such a strong attack of pain & fatigue.

I was so frustrated and upset and went to the car to lie down while my mom paid for our items. Is this the way it will always be? Will I go through everyday with one of 2 questions going through my head-when will this pain stop? And what can I do to make sure it doesn’t return? Just adding to my frustration was the fact that it’s an unseasonably beautiful weekend here with temps in the high 80s-exactly the type of weather I love and know won’t last long and I knew this pain would mean another day on the couch missing out on life.

Most days honestly I’m fine with the pain. I wish it was gone but I’ve accepted it. I’m very aware of my limitations and schedule my daily plans accordingly. I’ve learned the hard way not to take on more than I can handle. For example, I know if I wake up early or spent the day working that I will need to keep my night free to lay down. Or if I have to work at night or have plans with friends I need to make sure to give myself a few hours in the afternoon to relax. It’s only rarely in the week or for special occasions like vacations that I’ll push myself to be busy day and night. That’s my life & I’m ok with it. I know it could be so much worse and I’m blessed to even have the opportunity to rest. There are so many people for various reasons that have the same type of limitations I do for whom regular resting is not an option.

But I must confess I wasn’t feeling especially content as I sat in the car with tears falling down my face this morning. But it didn’t take long for God’s Word to snap me out of my pity party. The verse that came to me was:

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.”

And all things include my chronic pain and many times I’ve been blessed to get a glimpse of God using this pain in my life. In the Beth Moore study, Jesus One and Only, that I’m doing through my church-in a workbook lesson from last week Beth Moore said something that really resonated with me. She said on page 69:

“Although I don’t pretend to understand how or why, some illnesses may serve more eternal purpose than healing, while other healings serve more purpose than illness.”

The thing I know to be true is for whatever reason for this time in my life God is working more through allowing me to have fibromyalgia than healing me from it. This blog and the people I’ve been able to talk to are evidence of that. My walk with the Lord is undoubtedly stronger because of my pain. I need Him every second of every day. Jesus is the first person I talk to in the morning and the last person I talk to at night. Countless times a day I pray for relief of pain, strength to work, clearness of mind through the haze of fatigue and joy in the midst of my circumstances. He is my everything and I can’t imagine trying to get through 1 hour much less 1 day without Him. And if it gives Him more glory, makes me more like Him and brings more people to Himself for me to continue to have pain then as much as my flesh cries no- I will say ok. And if one day God heals me totally of this pain and fatigue I promise to shout the praise to God to as many people as I can but I know that just because I’m in a body that seems to be at war against me I can still do mighty things for God. I refuse to believe the lie that my life doesn’t matter because I know it matters to God. I know I’ve said it before but chronic pain is a terribly isolating condition. The pain makes it so some days I only have a few hours a day when I feel good and since I must support myself those hours have to go to working. In all my working years I don’t think I’ve ever called off work for pain. But this also means unfortunately many of my non-working hours; I spend a lot more time than I would like lying down in pain. It can be so hard to see other people my age living life and to feel like I’m invisible and nobody knows how I feel. But in these times of quiet desperation, I remember something my pastor once told me.

A few years ago I had a meeting with my pastor. I was helping with a ladies event at our church and I had never really met the head pastor before and he wanted to get to know me better. We chatted about a variety of topics. He was interested in hearing more about living with chronic pain at a young age. In the midst of that conversation he said something to me that I have never forgotten. He told me to dream big in terms of the possibilities of what God would do in my life. That encouragement and permission to hope and dream has been a gift to me but as time has gone by it’s something I constantly need to remind myself of and it’s something I want to encourage in those of you who read my blog. Maybe like me you are in pain everyday and wonder how God could possibly use you? Or maybe you are stuck in the routine of life and think God could never intervene in the life of someone so ordinary? Well I have good news for you and me. The Bible is filled with stories of God using the weak and ordinary-the kind of people the world pays little attention to- to do extraordinary things! I’m trying in my own life to remember that and to not limit God or put Him in a box. I believe in the God who parted the Red Sea, the God who saved my soul, the God who heals the sick, gives sight to the blind and raises the dead. He’s mighty a God and I believe He will do mighty things in my life. He already has. And while I’m tempted to believe “doing big things for God” has to look a certain way, I’m realizing God writes the stories of each life differently and it’s our job to yield to His leading. So that’s what I’m trying to do day by day. So how about you? What is God teaching you? How has He been leading you lately? I would love to hear any feedback you have. I’m laying her on the couch resting up to go to dinner with friends tonight. Hope you all have a lovely weekend!