Held in the Fire

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.

Held in the Fire

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.

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