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.
- Share the short story of your chronic pain journey. Share some about the journey to this diagnosis.
- Throughout this time, how was your faith walk impacted? Did you lose faith? Get stronger?
- Was there a specific event that became a turning point in your faith during this journey?
- What scripture has become a comfort for you in this journey?
- What are some things that your family and friends do that bring comfort in your pain?
- Offer some words of encouragement to those who may be searching for comfort in their own chronic pain journey.
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?
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)
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
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You can find Bettie sharing from her multi-generational home in the far northern suburbs of Chicago. She is on a journey of walking forward with Jesus, in the middle of her own pain and weaknesses from multiple chronic illnesses. The beauty of nature is a joy that always calls to her, as well as the joy of her family and 9 young grandchildren. She and her husband have been married for over 40 years and take great joy in their weekend coffee breaks together.