my former life

Grieving My Former Life Before Chronic Pain

Do You Think You Will Come Back to Work?

I’m grieving my former life before Chronic Pain. Fibromyalgia and other Chronic Pain illnesses are classified as “Invisible Diseases”. For the most part, one can look at a Pain Warrior and not see anything wrong. And yet this person stops working, turns down invitations sometimes at the last minute. They seem to be checking out of life. But in all reality, they want nothing more to be in the middle of life. Often grief is part of their illness because they want so much to have their life back.

So what are we to do as a friend? Do we continue to include them in our lives and plans? Most definitely! Here’s a bit from my point of view.

divider
curleque by Coffee at pixabay

About this time of the year, in 2011, I lost my former life. I grieved for quite a while because I truly did miss it.

I was busy, too busy really

Let me share a list of the things I was involved in.

too many irons in the fire
Too Many Irons in the Fire
  • Mom – two children still at home
  • Homeschooling – be this time only one high school student left
  • Homeschool Co-op – Director, teacher
  • Pastor’s Wife – ’nuff said
  • Children’s ministry director
  • Sunday School teacher
  • play director – two a year
  • Bible Quiz coach
  • Regional Bible Quiz Moderator
  • Church Office Manager
  • Women’s Ministry Leader

Now, just writing these things makes me tired. But back then I was quite a go-getter. I always had several irons in the fire, so to speak. They say that those with fibromyalgia seem to be Type A personalities. I don’t know if it’s true but it is certainly true with me.

Grieving My Former Life

Grief can be very real for the one who loses everything they once loved. It’s a process and just like losing a loved one, there are seasons that are harder than others. For instance, after my husband and I left our full-time ministry, we grieved the hardest during the holidays. One thing we loved to do was create exciting services, especially at Easter. It’s probably still the hardest time to go to worship and only be a participant rather than the leaders. I wrote about this not long after Michael retired.

It Just Takes Time

The rawness of one’s loss can be very difficult to bear. Dealing with the “why’s” and the “how did this happen” and “what did I do to deserve this?” On top of that, we just missed those activities just as you would miss your loved one when they are gone.

One of the first things I did was start a blog. I came across a challenge to write every day for an entire month. So, I decided I would write about my journey with Chronic Pain. I wrote about the pain, the waiting, the doctors and more doctors. I dealt with the process of the Why’s and the How’s and the Now What’s?

This turned out to be very therapeutic. Not only have I been able to help people become more aware of my illness but it turns out that writing about the frustrations of chronic pain helps relieve the pain.

Plus, I have met a world of new friends, literally from around the world, an unimaginable support group full of love and understanding. They also became my greatest cheerleaders, encouraging me to keep writing. They shared new things they had learned and connected with me because of our similar issues. (I also found that I didn’t have much to complain about because there are many people who have much worse issues than I have.) Two of my favorite Facebook groups, Fibro Bloggers Directory and Medical Musings with Friends.

Lessons from Flat on Your Back

For the first few months, I was flat on my back, unable to even roll to my side without a great deal of pain. I had to drink my meals and have assistance doing all those normal life activities like using the restroom and taking a bath. Believe me, this was hard to take for this Type-A girl.

But while on my back I did a lot of reading and assessing my life. I found myself getting much closer to God, realizing that in some ways I had left Him completely out of my life. Instead of placing Him in full control. I spent a lot of time reading The Holy Bible. I set to reading it through in a year and ended up reading it three times in three versions.

My favorite book was suggested by a friend. I had heard of it but never read it, Now that my pain is managed well, I sometimes slip into grieving my former life. I begin to wonder, “If God is my Healer, Why Am I Still in Pain?“. I wrote about that recently.

But I know this new life is much better. Walking with Jesus step by step, day by day is wonderful. Having this pain is like having a reminder of WHO is in control. And it’s not me!

People will often quote Romans 8:28 claiming that God has a plan. And yes! He does have a plan. I don’t believe that God caused my disease, but He did allow it “for my good”. I may not see the reason why in this lifetime, but I will see it from heaven and rejoice. So I will do as Jesus did as he faced the cross.

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author, and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Hebrews 12:2

God can take anything that happens and turn it into good. Are you trusting Him with your trial today? Whether it’s pain, or sickness, or loss He can turn your tears into rejoicing. He sees the whole picture and His plan is a good one! Trust me on that.

Mandy Farmer

P.S. I have created a verse of the day calendar for October. The scriptures are all about comfort. Download it for free by clicking on the image below.

October Calendar

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12 thoughts on “Grieving My Former Life Before Chronic Pain

  1. Tara says:

    Grief doesn’t just come from death. It comes also from losing other things too. This is such an important post!

    • Mandy Farmer says:

      You are so right. It’s something people need to understand. Don’t deny that your are in grief when you lose a job or your health. IT can be treated the same. And you go through the same cycles.

      Shock stage*: Initial paralysis at hearing the bad news.

      Denial stage: Trying to avoid the inevitable.

      Anger stage: Frustrated outpouring of bottled-up emotion.

      Bargaining stage: Seeking in vain for a way out.

      Depression stage: Final realization of the inevitable.

      Testing stage*: Seeking realistic solutions.

      Acceptance stage: Finally finding the way forward.

  2. Caz / InvisiblyMe says:

    A relatable post, Mandy. I’ve found working towards acceptance to be a continual ‘work in progress’, and sometimes this grief, thoughts of life before chronic illness and pain and that person I used to be, can sneak up out of nowhere and sucker punch you. xx

  3. BettieG says:

    Oh yes, Mandy, I have found Jesus so very near as I’ve been flat on my back too. He has been so full of mercy in every one of those stages of grief. I’ve also learned that sometimes He takes me back around through those stages as He takes the lesson deeper in my heart. His Word really is alive and active for us! I am so thankful we can pray for each other, Dear Friend!
    BettieG recently posted…God-SightMy Profile

    • Mandy Farmer says:

      After 8 years of chronic pain, I’m finally learning that my former life is just that, former life. God is blessing and using me in different ways now and I am happy that he has redirected my life!

  4. John Gatesby says:

    When I started reading this article, I understood your pain, frustration over why me but after reading about your struggle and your rediscovery of God and the amazing thing that you did, left yourself in his hands, this kind of faith is really difficult to have. But you are a living example and inspiration for everyone!
    John Gatesby recently posted…WHAT IS ORTHOSTATIC INTOLERANCE?My Profile

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