Life’s Interruptions Are Just a Change in Direction

Life interruptions don’t have to end your purpose in life. Here’s my life interruption story of chronic pain from fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis. This piece was originally written in 2017. Follow [Mandy’s Journey with Chronic Pain] at this link.

Life’s Interruption … New Year’s Eve 1989.

wedding picture
Wedding Day December 31, 1989

This was the day we were married. God had done an amazing thing to bring us together. (Read this story here). Just suffice it to say that I went from being a single girl, on her own, programming computers to a pastor’s wife and a mom of two boys, 9 and 14! What a change!

But that is not the interruption I want to share about today.

Life Interruption – February 2011.

embarking on a chronic life
The last time I have ever felt great.

My husband and I were watching God do many wonderful things in our lives and in the lives of our parishioners, but we were about to have our own life interruption. Some dear friends invited us on a Gospel cruise. More blessings. But when I stepped off of the boat to come home, the land still moved beneath my feet. This is typical; however, the rocking never went away. I have what is called Disembarkment Syndrome. Doctors investigated, medicated, and shook their heads but nothing helped. [Embarking on the Chronic Life]

Life Interruption – July 2011. 

I woke with a crick in my neck. Medicines nor chiropractic adjustments seemed to help.

Life Interruption – August 2011.

Up to this point in our ministry, I had been a very active children’s ministry director. Always on the go with the children. On this day though, I actively lead the children in a song and then could not catch my breath. Again, doctor’s investigated and medicated. They did find that my thyroid levels had gone way off, but this was not typical.

children's ministry before chronic pain
Leading a children’s program

Life Interruption – September 2011.

Still suffering from sea legs and a stiff neck, my back began to bother me. So much pain that I found I could not move without excruciating pain. [Suddenly Still – Journeying with Chronic Pain] While pain medications did help me live my life, there was no apparent cause for the pain. The pain traveled down to my back.

I was referred to Mayo Clinic, where I was diagnosed with Central Sensitivity Syndrome with indications of Myofascial Pain Syndrome and Fibromyalgia. [Wait, Wait Patiently]

Life Interruption – June 2012.

I had gone from being an active children’s worker to one who could not get out of bed in the morning without assistance. After several trials of medications, we settled on one that seems to be helping. I seemed to be making headway, able to get around a fair bit with the assistance of a walker or cane. But a new problem arose. Now my knees began to swell to the point of being unable to walk without aid, but we stuck with it at it. I kept moving and going to therapy in hopes that my range of motion would improve. [Diagnosis Knees – Osteoarthritis or RA]

November 2012. I went to see an orthopedic specialist and we decided to have surgery on one knee. In the meantime, I acquired a frozen shoulder and could not raise my arms above shoulder height. The exploratory surgery found some gnarly-looking bones and cartilage, so we went back to Mayo Clinic. Diagnosis – Arthritis, but let’s do your blood work again. This time it revealed the beginning stages of rheumatoid arthritis. So we added another medication to the regiment. This medication is also doing a good thing, but the process is slow to get it up to the dosage needed. And we have to watch to be sure my body can handle it. [The Difference Between Osteo and Rheumatoid Arthritis?]

Back Story

August 2013. Now let’s back up a bit to show you how God has been working. Just after the cruise, my pastor-husband asked me if I would consider taking over the women’s ministry at our church. Now I had never led adults at all and have always felt too intimidated to do so. I loved the children, it was really my niche. But God saw that I was getting along “without Him”. He was already working on me about moving into adult ministries. I had several good workers in the children’s department, so I agreed to change over if one of the girls would take over with the children. She did and I begin phasing myself out of the children’s department. Now I faced the challenge … leading women.

Fun Ladies’ Masquerade Party

Why this Life Interruption?

In dealing with my pain issues and facing a new ministry, I kept asking God “Why are you taking everything I love away from me?” (The children, my volunteer work, I couldn’t cook and bake, I couldn’t sing or play the piano, I couldn’t even drive). But there was one thing I could do .. get to know Christ again. I spend most of my days reading the scriptures, studying the scriptures, praying.

Mandy 2020
Mandy logging and writing Bible Studies in 2020

God has drawn me to himself and now, while I still have my issues, I am able to lead the women’s groups. I can encourage them through e-mail, letters, phone calls. Then in the spring, He helped me lead a Bible study with the ladies. I accepted the challenge thinking maybe I can lead 5 or 6 ladies. I had the ladies come to my house to ease my physical challenge. What a surprise when 17 ladies signed up. With encouragement from friends and prayer partners to stick with it, we made it through the study!

Praise God for his guidance as he continues to draw me to him.

And has now allowed me to bless others through writing.

I have been learning so much through this pain challenge.

My husband & I have grown a deeper empathy for those in pain. A greater understanding for the sick AND their caregivers. I really had no idea what they were going through. 

I do now. 🙂 

Feeling Your Pain;

mandy signature
Tybee Island 2017

This wasn’t my last life interruption.

Follow Mandy’s Journey with Chronic Pain for more of the story.

You might enjoy Grieving My Former Life Before Chronic Pain

I recommend Priscilla Shirer’s book, Life Interrupted, on the Prophet Jonah. {affiliate link}

About Mandy Farmer

Pastor's Wife (retired) &  Chronic Pain Warrior blogs about how to make it through anything by relating her own life experiences to her writing. She is passionate about her love for the Lord and desires to spread that passion to others. She has a great desire to encourage women who are following behind her.

View all posts by Mandy Farmer

8 Comments on “Life’s Interruptions Are Just a Change in Direction”

  1. God is amazing how He will use us when we let go and trust Him. God provides and equips all He asks of us to be available. He needed to take you out of your comfort zone of leading a children’s ministry into a women’s ministry where He lead 17 ladies to say they wanted to be part of the group. Blessings on your journey with these women and blessings on your life as God uses you in spite of the pain. Praying you are feeling somewhat better and can manage the pain. Go’d blessings on your journey in saying Yes To God.
    Marilyn V (OBS Group Leader)

  2. What a beautiful story, GiGi! It’s amazing how those interruptions can be used by God to grow us into something we never imagined. May God continue to use you and grow you!

  3. Thanks for sharing your story, it is hard for me because my interruption has meant that I have had to stop attending Church and singing with the church choir which I loved, I need all of my resources to get to work and do my day job (assisting the unemployed) that when it comes to the weekends I am nearly housebound recovering my energy levels and and resting my painful body. It has taken a lot for me to get my head around this but I always try to find the positives in everything and reaching out to the large Fibro Family is just one of the new things I do during the weekends. Advanced Easter Blessings to you.

  4. I understand. It really broke me heart to give up all the things I was involved in. I attend only one event on the weekend and then Monday is pretty much a wash. I miss some of the things I used to do. But like you the blogging community has been a great support for me. God bless. Have a wonderful Easter.

  5. Thank you, Anita! Priscilla Shirer said in her book, Life Interrupted that Interruptions are Divine Interventions! Yes, If we allow God to do His work He will do something amazing with our interruptions

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