This piece of writing started out as a Facebook post that I began to create in my mind earlier this week. However, as my thoughts deepened on the subject, I realized that I needed to write a blog post to share more than I had originally intended.
What initially was going to be a few sentences about how much I appreciate my boyfriend turned into something else. And, no, it’s not because we got into another fight and I no longer wanted to tell the world how great he is.;)
I have been thinking a lot about the gift I have in my boyfriend Jonathan. I can’t even begin to express my appreciation for this man.
When he comes to mind, I smile.
Today, I’m excited to share with you an article by one of my favorite writers, Glenna Marshall! Glenna has become a friend of mine through the Hope*Writers community and it has been a joy to get know her. Something we have in common is our experience with chronic pain. While enduring chronic illness can often leave one feeling hurt and discouraged, Glenna’s perspective and trust in Christ has been encouraging to me as I’ve walked in faith during this rough season. Let’s welcome Glenna!
Pain is white and blue, the hottest center of a flame.
Not a gently flickering candle, but an explosion of blistering heat, a fire that blazes without burning out. It starts at the base of my spine and reaches out to my hips, radiating down my right leg with fiery tentacles that entangle themselves around my bones, wrapping tightly around nerve endings and tendons. My ribcage aches while pain slices back and forth across my spine until I’m certain my body will snap in two.
It might feel better if it did.
I have an autoimmune disease called Ankylosing Spondylitis. There’s a long, scientific explanation of how my body attacks itself, but the primary result is an inflammatory arthritis that feels much, much worse than it sounds. I lived with AS for five years of bent-over, crushing pain that wrenched me out of sleep every night and pressed me with fear every morning as I sluggishly worked to stand up straight. I didn’t look sick, but dawn always found me uncomfortably dozing while sitting up, surrounded by ice and heat packs and pain medication. The continual, abrasive nature of my pain sanded down any hope that I would ever feel normal again. Like most autoimmune diseases, mine didn’t come alone. It brought a host of other chronic diseases and disorders, ranging from annoying to excruciating, depending on what day it is.
We’ve all seen it on social media. A friend is going through a personal struggle and asks for prayer. Tens, if not, hundreds, of their friends chime in with sentiments such as “I’m so sorry you’re going through this! I’m keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.” They might say they love the person or that they are always there if their friend needs anything.
Those who comment have good intentions. They truly feel bad and want to help in some way. Prayer seems to be the easiest way to extend a helping hand.
After the moment passes and they continue scrolling through their feed, they might forget about the request. Thoughts of the person they had said they’d pray for may later re-enter their mind. They’ll think of the situation or wonder how the person is doing. But, did they ever stop to pray?
For this post, I’m linking up with one of my favorite writers Emily P. Freeman to share what I learned this summer. Emily, along with an amazing team, runs the online writing community Hope*Writers. Hope*Writers came into my life at just the right time.
For the past several years, I have enjoyed occasionally blogging but never made a big commitment to consistency. Throwing health issues into the mix left me without an ounce of energy left for producing creative content. Now, though, even though by the end of the day I am usually drained to my core, writing gives me a breath of fresh air. It seeps life into me – life that had been lost in this dark season of health decline and the unknown territory of it all.
This summer has pushed me to my limits. On some days, I felt like I could do this. I could do this whole being sick and going through treatment to get better thing. But, on other days…I just wanted to give up. As sad as it may be to admit, I have had many days where I have wondered if life is even worth it. I know it’s the neuro Lyme leading to my emotional distress, but when I’m at my weakest, I can’t make rational decisions.
I’d like to write a blog post telling you about how great I feel now that I have been on treatment for about two months. I’d like to tell you how happy I am and how I feel confident everyday. I’d like to tell you a lot of things.
But, the sad truth is that life is still pretty rough and it likely will be for a while.
Yes, I have had some good days interspersed amongst the bad, painful, horrendous days.
Those good days make me smile. When things are good, I have energy and I feel more like myself. It’s delightful!
But, the bad days still leave me hurting. They leave me questioning. They leave me suffering.
My prayer life has been changing since my health took a decline back in February. During some points of this health journey, I couldn’t pray. I didn’t feel like God was there. I could barely process a thought, let alone speak words in prayer.
Now, though, God has been meeting me. It’s amazing, actually. I always knew I could go to God during hard times and he would be there, but I had never been to a point of sheer desperation like this before. Now, I literally need God’s strength to get me through the day.