Hope Amid the Pain

Desperately Alone in Your Chronic Pain? There is Hope Amid the Pain.

I find so much comfort in interviewing other chronic pain warriors. They encourage me to keep on keeping on. And while we know we have the Lord with us, it is also good to know that we have other fellow friends who are here to love and support each other.

Today, I interview Leslie McKee. Leslie is an author, editor, and reviewer. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and The Christian PEN. Her devotions have been published in compilations by Ellie Claire (2017 and 2020). And her flash fiction stories have been published with Havok, Splickety, and Spark. Her devotional journal (HOPE Amid The Pain: Hanging on to Positive Expectations When Battling Chronic Illness and Pain) was released in 2021. She enjoys reading, crocheting, spending time with family and friends (and her turtle Speedy!), and rooting for the NY Giants. 

Without further ado, let’s hear from Leslie!

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Cancer What's Lacking

Cancer: What Can a Friend Do?

I lack the words to tell you the effect this weekend has had on me. I went to visit my dear friend, Debra at the nursing home. She is fighting Stage 4 Brain Cancer. Besides the chemotherapy and some kind of radiation cap that she had to wear all the time, Debra has had two brain surgeries to try to stop the swelling and the growth of cancer. The doctors give her less than six months to live.

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light and temporary

No Light at the End of the Tunnel for Chronic Pain

Interviews with Chronic Pain Warriors #4

I know! It’s strange to write these words “light and momentary” when talking about chronic pain. I have been in an R.A. flair most of the past year and now facing some heart issues. I sometimes wonder just how much more I can take. Not that I want to end it all, but when I look at myself at 58 and then (judging from my family history) look forward to maybe 30 more years, it’s hard to see a light at the end of the tunnel. And I wonder,

“Is there a light at the end of the tunnel?” #chronicpain #endurance #lightandmomentarytrouble Click To Tweet

“Light and momentary” comes from the scriptures where the Apostle Paul shares that when we arrive in heaven this will all seem small and insignificant. (2 Corinthians 4:17) He shares that one of the purposes of our trials is that when we get through them we can encourage and comfort others who are experiencing the same type of pain.

So this year, I’d like to offer a series of interviews with chronic pain warriors. I would like us to all share and encourage one another so that we can “all patiently endure as we suffer.” (2 Corinthians 1:6)

 And then though “we were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it.” Even when we expect that we will die, we will stop relying on ourselves and learn to rely only on God, who raises the dead. (2 Corinthians 1:8,9)

And now Interview #4 with Terri Sutula.

Originally published June 9, 2020

light at the end of the tunnel

Terri is a certified Personal Trainer and Health Coach who also lives with fibromyalgia and IBS. She has made it her mission to walk alongside others with fibromyalgia to help them find what works for them to help them thrive. Find our interview below.

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curleque by Coffee at pixabay

Would you share the short story of your chronic pain journey? Share some about the journey to this diagnosis.

This is a little tough because I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have pain. Even as a child, I suffered debilitating headaches on a regular basis. Fast forward a few years, and I started having migraines in addition to regular headaches.

Finally, when I was around 30, I was diagnosed with endometriosis. These things made my life difficult at times, but I retired after 20 years in the US Air Force, then went on to work as a Finance Officer in a small town, then as a Personal Trainer for about 6 years.

Where’s the Light at the End of the Tunnel?

In 2011, I started having widespread pain (as in, everything hurt, all over my body), severe abdominal pain, and lots of other strange symptoms. I could no longer work. Some lab results caused concern, but then when repeated, the labs came back normal. I just couldn’t understand how I could feel this horrible and not have something seriously wrong with me. At one point, I was spending my days in bed, just waiting for each day to be over.

Eventually, in 2012, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and IBS. It was actually a relief to have a name for what was going on. Once I realized I didn’t have something that was going to kill me, I got on with learning how to live my best life in spite of my illnesses.

What a long journey. Throughout this time, how was your faith walk impacted? Did you lose faith? Get stronger?

When I was at my worst with my fibromyalgia symptoms, my relationship with the Lord was the closest it’s ever been. I had absolutely no strength of my own; I had to depend on His strength to even get through the day. The longer I live with it, the more I’ve learned to lean on Him for even the mundane things in life. He’s always there for us, through the big things and the small ones.

What scripture has become a comfort for you in this journey?

The scripture I mentioned below, Romans 8:28, has been a huge comfort for me because it reminds me that God is using this for my good in some way, but the one I cling to the most is Isaiah 41:10,

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

isaiah 41:10

One thing that has been especially difficult for me on this fibromyalgia journey has been the weakness I experience sometimes. There have been times that I wasn’t even sure my legs would hold me up, but I always know that when I’m weak, God is strong, and He will hold me up when I can’t hold myself up.

How do you find comfort during these ‘ light and momentary’ painful days?

I remember that God is going to use this in some way. He never wastes any experience or difficulty we have. Romans 8:28 tells us,

“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.”

I firmly believe that, and that’s what helps me get through the really tough days.

What are some things that your family and friends do that bring comfort in your pain?

I’m fortunate to have family and friends who try to understand and make accommodations when my symptoms are not cooperating. My husband has really been a Godsend through all of this. He does everything he can to make my life as easy as possible.


Are you involved in any ministries or community service to reach out to others with chronic pain? Share about this?

I consider my blog to be my ministry. When I first started experiencing all these weird symptoms and right after I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, I wanted some real, actionable tips for getting on with my life and I needed to reclaim my hope that I could still have a good life. Once I started figuring things out, I wanted to be that resource for others, Olive Tree Saints was born.

In conclusion, can you offer some words of encouragement to those who may be searching for comfort in their own chronic pain journey?

Sweet friend, I know this isn’t easy. I know there are some days that you feel you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, but you are not alone. You have others who have been where you are and who are willing to walk alongside you as you go through this.

And know that God is always there with you. He’s promised us in His Word that he’ll never leave us or forsake us. Life may not ever go back to the way it was, but you can still thrive in spite of your circumstances. You’ve got this!

Offering a light at the end of the tunnel,

~Terri

certified Personal Trainer and Health Coach 

Thank you, Terri, for sharing your story and these encouraging words.

Readers, I encourage you to comment below or connect with Terri on social media or her blog.

Mandy Farmer

Wellness: Becoming Intentionally Evergreen

It’s Your Turn

legacy link-ups

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Are you a Chronic Pain Warrior? Can you offer a light at the End of the Tunnel?

Would you be willing to share your faith story and encourage others? Contact Mandy for more details about an interview for this blog. See Guidelines Here

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Not your IDentity

Your Identity is More Than Your Chronic Pain

These Light & Momentary Trials are Not Your Identity

I know! It’s strange to write these words [light and momentary] when talking about chronic pain. I have been in an R.A. flair most of the last year and have arrived at the place where I wonder just how much more I can take. Not that I want to end it all, but when I look at my young life and then look forward to my future, it’s hard to see a light at the end of the tunnel. And I wonder,

“Is this all I have to look forward to?” #lightandmomentarytrouble #interviewwithachronicpainwarrior #chronicpainawareness Click To Tweet

“Light and momentary” comes from the scriptures where the Apostle Paul shares that when we arrive in heaven this will all seem small and insignificant. (2 Corinthians 4:17) He shares that one of the purposes of our trials is that when we get through them we can encourage and comfort others who are experiencing the same type of pain.

Interviews with Chronic Pain Warriors

So this year, I’d like to offer a series of interviews with chronic pain warriors. I would like us to all share and encourage one another so that we can “all patiently endure as we suffer.” (2 Corinthians 1:6)

 And then though “we were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it.” Even when we expect that we will die, we will stop relying on ourselves and learn to rely only on God, who raises the dead. (2 Corinthians 1:8,9)

And now Interview #2 with Stacey Shannon. Stacey struggles with “light and momentary pain” due to fibromyalgia and other UTI issues. Shannon shared on our Legacy Link-up about our father last summer. Greatest Legacy. She is a freelance writer and has her own blog Families with Grace. Find our interview below.

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notes of comfort

Light and Momentary Pain? I’m Not So Sure

Interviews with Chronic Pain Warriors

I know! It’s strange to write these words [light and momentary] when talking about chronic pain. I have been in an R.A. flair most of the last year and have arrived at the place where I wonder just how much more I can take. Not that I want to end it all, but when I look at my young life and then look forward to my future, it’s hard to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

And I wonder, “Is this all I have to look forward to?” #lightandmomentarytrouble #interviewwithachronicpainwarrior Click To Tweet

“Light and momentary” comes from the scriptures where the Apostle Paul shares that when we arrive in heaven this will all seem small and insignificant. (2 Corinthians 4:17) He shares that one of the purposes of our trials is that when we get through them we can encourage and comfort others who are experiencing the same type of pain.

So this year, I’d like to offer a series of interviews with chronic pain warriors. I would like us to all share and encourage one another so that we can “all patiently endure as we suffer.” (2 Corinthians 1:6)

 And then though “we were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it.” Even when we expect that we will die, we will stop relying on ourselves and learn to rely only on God, who raises the dead. (2 Corinthians 1:8,9)

Here is the first interview with my dear friend, Bettie Gilbert. Bettie struggles with “light and momentary pain” due to RA, fibromyalgia, and a host of other diagnoses. Keep reading to learn about her struggles and her faith.

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curleque by Coffee at pixabay
interviews with chronic pain warriors; notes of comfort
image created at Canva.com with free images

Bettie, Thank you for sharing your story. You are always such an encouragement to me so I know this is going to encourage many others.

Share the short story of your chronic pain journey. Share some about the journey to this diagnosis.


In the late summer of 2014, I noticed that my fingers and thumb had some strange swelling and aching, but did not think anything about it until later that fall. I had been helping my neighbor in her garden and I woke up with my right hand locked up in a fiery pain that was unlike anything I had ever experienced. This happened three more times before my yearly physical in December of that year. My G.P. sent through the blood work for Rheumatoid testing, and sure enough, 3 of the 4 markers came back positive for Rheumatoid Arthritis. They rushed me to the Rheumatologist the very next week, and I began this journey of chronic pain.
A year later I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Osteoporosis. Then 3 years later I was also diagnosed with Sjogren’s Syndrome and Occipital Neuralgia.

Throughout this time, how was your faith walk impacted? Did you lose faith? Get stronger?

I ran to God with my questions and my doubts. I didn’t have anywhere else to turn, because the doctors gave me very little information about what was happening with my body. But I am actually thankful for that because the Lord has become even more intimate and close to me than He was before my diagnosis.

Was there a specific event that became a turning point in your faith during this journey?


Early in my diagnosis, I found myself apologizing to everyone that I had gotten sick. It became such a constant response in me that one day I realized I had begun speaking that to the Lord also: “Jesus, I am so sorry I got sick. I am sorry I need Your help again. Forgive me for being so weak.” About a year into my diagnosis, I began to hear Him calling me, “Come to me, come inside (The Kingdom of God is within you.) I am already here, and I am not offended by your pain.” That whisper from the Lord began such a process of surrender and fellowship with the Lord that is continuing to grow to this day.

What scripture has become a comfort for you in this journey?

notes of comfort; chronic pain warriors
image created at Canva.com free images


But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Cor. 12:9

How do you find comfort during these ‘ light and momentary’ painful days?


Listening to Christian music with a heating pad wrapped around my wrist and arm has become a calming time for me. Reading books is so helpful, and I am blessed to check out the resources of hope offered at the Chronic Joy Ministry Website too.
Sometimes I watch silly YouTube videos when my mind is so foggy that I can’t keep track of anything. And on other days, when my pain level allows, writing and journaling help me to process what is happening inside of me. I try to begin every day by moving very slowly and taking the time to read the Scriptures. Even if I can only read one verse, just to know that His Word is still my solid ground brings me such help.

What are some things that your family and friends do that bring comfort in your pain?


Calling to check on me, and offering to pray with and for me is a huge blessing for me. Receiving and sending note cards in the mail has brought amazing blessings from God to me. When someone brings me a pot of soup, it feels like a gigantic gift! And my husband fills in so many things for me that I cannot do any longer. I am so grateful for each gift offered to me.

Are you participating in any ministries that encourage other chronic pain warriors?

Over the last year, I have joined the team at Chronic Joy Ministry as their Volunteer Prayer Coordinator. I am so blessed to be able to pray for requests as they are shared at the Prayer Pond and send out #PenToPaper notes and emails in response to those prayer requests. Writing posts on Scriptures and Prayer is a blessing to me as well.

Offer some words of encouragement to those who may be searching for comfort in their own chronic pain journey.


Our Lord has told us that He would never leave us or forsake us. So I would encourage you to put that Scripture to the test. Cry out to Him, ask Him for His mercy on your darkest day. And when you pause to listen, He will meet you right there to bring encouragement. Keep your eyes open to watch for moments of His beauty. What seemed small in the past, during your busy days, will shine so much brighter now, bringing God’s grace to you.

Bettie, thank you so much for this encouragement. It will help many of us as we face these ‘ light and momentary ‘ struggles. You are a wonderful reminder that one day, we are promised ‘no more pain’ (Revelation 21:4)

Readers, I encourage you to join Bettie at Chronic Joy. Click here for her latest Prayer Prompt. You can also respond to Bettie here on the blog by commenting below.

Mandy Farmer

Are you a Chronic Pain Warrior?

Would you be willing to share your faith story and encourage others? Contact Mandy for more details about an interview for this blog. See Guidelines Here

#painawarenessmonth #PainAwareness #fibroPainAwareness

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integrity Psalm 41

You May Feel Forsaken But God Will Uphold

My Word of the Year is Intentional. As I began looking for a verse that I might claim, I kept finding verses where messengers of God said, “But as for me…” I thought, “These people are intentional in their lives. I want that”. So we will start looking at these scriptures. I have some friends helping me out and they are already stepping on my toes.”

Let’s study Psalm 41, part two ~ Forsaken by Your Friends

We have looked at being a friend, but there are many chronic pain warriors who feel that their friends have forsaken them. Left them to die. Let’s read on…

But my enemies say nothing but evil about me.

“How soon will he die and be forgotten?” they ask.

They visit me as if they were my friends,

but all the while they gather gossip,

and when they leave, they spread it everywhere.

All who hate me whisper about me,

imagining the worst.

“He has some fatal disease,” they say.

“He will never get out of that bed!”

Even my best friend, the one I trusted completely,

the one who shared my food has turned against me.

Psalm 41:5-9

Forsaken by Friends

When I was first struck with chronic pain, friends came to my side to support my family and me. But as the days dragged on into months and years, fewer and fewer came to our aid. Very few asked about my health or how the family was getting along. In fact, the grumbling began about why I wasn’t pulling my weight in other areas of my life that I used to be quite involved in. It was not just true for me but for my husband as well. The church he pastored began to grumble about how he preached or that he wasn’t available to the people. He may have struggled in his preaching but he was always available to the congregation… just not at the office. He now worked from home which the board had agreed would be okay.

They didn’t question him about how we were doing they only accused him of being unable to fulfill his duties. It finally, came to a head when a few campaigned behind his back to oust him from ministry. This ended up causing him to take early retirement. Since we lived in a parsonage, we no longer had a place to live. And no way to pay for a home.

I Want Revenge

10 Lord, have mercy on me.

Make me well again, so I can pay them back!

11 I know you are pleased with me,

for you have not let my enemies triumph over me.

12 You have preserved my life because I am innocent;

you have brought me into your presence forever.

Psalm 41:10-12

But God, never let go of us. He provided for us and lead us to a safe place. We followed the example of Jesus. We didn’t try to defend ourselves. We quietly resigned and moved away. Although our family wanted revenge against them, we said that “vengeance belongs to the Lord. He will repay.” We knew we were innocent and had been faithful to God in everything.

It’s hard to walk away when you feel so hurt and deeply betrayed. But with God’s help, we were able to do it. God preserved our lives. Now 6 years later, He is still on the throne and we serve Him in new ways that we would not have thought of before.

Indeed,

Psalm 41: 12-13 As For Me Integrity
created for free in canva

As for me, You uphold me because of my integrity;

You allow me permanent access to Your Presence!

The Lord God of Israel deserves praise in the future and forevermore!

We agree! We agree!

Psalm 41:12-13 NET

Mandy

More Psalms for the Chronically Ill

Psalm of Mandy: a Pain Warrior’s Prayer

Psalm of Mandy: Prayer for Protection a Pain Warrior, continued

How to Pray in the Morning – David’s Reverant Prayer

friendship

How to Be a Friend to the Chronically Ill

My Word of the Year is Intentional. As I began looking for a verse that I might claim, I kept finding verses where messengers of God said, “But as for me…” I thought, “These people are intentional in their lives. I want that”. So we will start looking at these scriptures. I have some friends helping me out and they are already stepping on my toes.”

Today, I share another Psalm that uplifts the chronically ill. I hope that it will uplift you as well.

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Fibro and Finances

Fibro Friend ~ How Are Your Finances Holding Out?

Are your Finances holding out?

This is a question that most friends and family never think to ask, “How are your finances?” It’s a little personal and maybe that is why no one asks but the truth is that sickness can take a big toll on anyone’s finances no matter how much insurance you have. Not only does the patient lose work time but also the spouse or caregiver. I am told that sickness is the number one reason people file for bankruptcy. (See this article at CNBC)

My friend, Colleen Sullivan knows about the challenges in finance due to her own journey with fibromyalgia. I met Colleen through the Christian Chronic Illness Network. She has offered to share her struggles with staying afloat and the lessons learned.

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teeth and osteoporosis

Learning the Hard Way: Your Teeth and Osteoporosis

Learning the Hard Way About Osteoporosis

About a year ago, I learned that I have severe osteoporosis. I was literally, blown away by this news because I was a lover of all this dairy. But this was caused largely due to medications that were stealing calcium from my bones or not allowing it to absorb into my bones. On top of this because of my debilitating diseases, I was not getting any exercise. And if you aren’t doing weight-bearing exercise, your body is not being instructed to build bone.

Now, at my diagnosis, I’m sure that my doctors said to try to exercise some. But they never gave a “why” to exercise even though it hurts. No one said, “Look, if you are moving then down the road you will have osteoporosis.” And though it was the drugs they prescribed, they didn’t instruct me to get a DEXXA scan earlier than the typical age of 65.

Seriously, friends, when it comes to your health, you best be checking those medications and seeing what you are up for. You better take the things your doctors do say seriously. Do your research and ask questions. Don’t assume that your doctor is doing everything he can for you.

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