Fibro AFfects the Senses

5 Ways Fibromyalgia Pain Assaults our Senses

You probably know by now that someone with fibromyalgia is very sensitive to touch. Many times the slightest touch or the gentlest hug can cause great pain. I have had people tap me on the arm and it felt like that hit me with a bat. This pain lingers for quite a while before my arm will settle down. This is called Hyperalgesia. I have written before about how this pain feels. But there is more to the pain than this. Fibromyalgia is a sensitivity that extends to ALL the senses.

Fibromyalgia Pain – Making Sense of Other Neurological Issues

images created in canva.com at no charge

1. Fibro and our skin

According to Very Well Health, there are actually 7 different types of pain that one can experience due to fibromyalgia. The first you may be aware of is Hyperalgesia. “Hyper” means excess and “algesia” means pain. This is when the level of pain is turned up. Messages are sent to your brain as saying the pain is much worse than it actually is.

Myofascial Pain is widespread muscle pain. It is “commonly described as a deep and gnawing soreness, stiffness, aching, or throbbing all over the body, including the arms, legs, neck, and shoulders—is a hallmark feature of fibromyalgia. This includes what is called costochondritis which is tenderness in the chest wall. I experience this just from getting an ultrasound breast exam.

Allodynia pain is an itching, burning, tingling, or numbness in the arms. Sometimes I have felt like I have a bad sunburn. Other times, I can’t stand for moving air to touch my skin. I can feel cold on a hot day.


2. Fibro affects our eyes

The way fibro affect my eyes is dryness and sensitivity to light. At times it feels as if someone has stuck a needle in my eye. Over time, it can affect your vision because you are squinting. It is important to see your eye doctor (ophthalmologist, not just an optician) on a regular basis. Don’t neglect your eyes.


3. Loud Noises are Painful to the Fibro Warrior

Noise can cause pain as well. One reason I had to stop working in the children’s department was that the noise level was too high and it hurt my ears. I can’t be in the same room while the vacuum cleaner runs either. Thank goodness, I have a husband who runs the vacuum for me!

Ringing in the ears and dizziness are also problems that can arise since your ears can affect your balance. Make sure you visit an ENT occasionally as well. Fibromyalgia and Hearing Problem: Fibro Affects your Ears – Women With Fibromyalgia (fibrowomen.com)


4. Our Nose Senses the Pain

Scented perfumes, detergents, and cleaning agents can make someone with FMS feel ill with everything from fatigue to nausea and headaches. Foods smells can also make the fibromyalgia sufferer so sick they don’t want to eat anything, or start eliminating certain foods from their diet, even if they are healthy items.

I can acquire a serious headache when women who love their perfume walk into the room. Some people cannot use anything in their home that has a smell: ie. candles, soap, air fresheners, cleaners. Attending church on Easter can be a horrible experience with all the Easter lilies.

Fibromyalgia and Sensitivities: What’s That Smell? (fibromyalgianewstoday.com)


5. The Mouth Senses the Pain

Sometimes, spices are too hot for me. It is strange that it is random. One day I can eat a pepperoni pizza just fine. Then the next day, the pepperoni burns my mouth as if I have eaten a hot pepper. Trust me, I haven’t eaten a hot pepper. 🙂

All the Senses Are Affected

As you can see, Fibromyalgia affects all of the senses. It can be pretty frustrating and many of these issues have no way to help the problem other than avoidance. I hope this helps you understand a bit more about the Pain Warriors Plight. Come back again for more explanations.

Are You Feeling My Pain?

Mandy

Have More Questions?

Please leave you question in the comments and I will try to answer them.

fibro affects the senses

Suddenly Still – Journeying with Chronic Pain

scripture JOhn 15:5 suddenly still


“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

John 15:5

Suddenly Still

I’ve never been able to stay STILL. I can’t even watch a 30 minute TV sitcom without getting up and moving around. I have to either be crocheting or have something to do with my hands. Otherwise, I’m up at every commercial whether I have something to do or not.
My son inherited the same thing from me. He is always going and going. As a baby, my husband had to literally hold him tight in his arms to get him to go sleep at night.


God had to do the same with me.

He had to take me in his arms and hold me tight. I was doing so many things. To name a few …

Suddenly Still pin

  • not only was I a pastor’s wife,
  • homeschooling my daughter,
  • Children’s Ministry Director,
  • leading classes at the home school group,
  • Office Manager at the church,
  • and who knows what else.


Until one day in September, I was Suddenly Still

God said “Be STILL” one last time and I could do nothing else but be STILL.

It was a normal Sunday. I had been dealing with Dis-embarquement Syndrome from a cruise earlier in the year; so, that afternoon I decided to lie down and rest before evening services.
As I went to lie down, I had a sharp pain in my back, I couldn’t finish lying down, nor could I raise myself to upright. My husband had to help me into the bed. If I moved the least bit, I had excruciating, contracting pains in my back.
Long story short, I spent the next month or two laying on my back in the bed-Suddenly Still. It took a year and one half of doctors visits trying to find out what the problem was.


During those days of  STILLNESS

God stripped all the things away that were getting my attention instead of Him. The church office, the children’s department, the home school group. Thankfully, my daughter was self-directed enough to keep her schooling on track. She also amazingly picked up the housekeeping and cooking.
While I lay there, STILL, God was finally able to begin to speak to me. That’s when I began to actually spend time in the Word. Over the next three years, I read the Bible through in three different versions.
God has allowed me to get back on my feet, but not back to doing all the things I wanted to do. I’m not sure that He will because when we discuss it, He asks me …

“Can you guarantee that you won’t forget to GET STILL and hear my voice?” 

GOD

So this pain is my “thorn in the flesh” to remind me about what is most important.
The message I tell people the most now is, 

“If you are too busy to have a quiet time, you are too busy.” 

ME


Don’t let this happen to you.

Put God first and everything else will fall into place. (Matt 6:33)

These years have brought me so close to God. I’ve realized how far I was from Him and how much I was doing things in my own strength. And how much I had been missing.

If you have been “SUDDENLY STILL” from your “responsibilities”, I wonder if it is not God calling you to come, get STILL, and fellowship with Him.

Do you hear Him calling?

-Mandy

Ways to journey with me as I write about my pain

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Embarking on the Chronic Life

Just when you think you have arrived,

God changes the map.

It was Valentine’s Day of 2011.

We were finally taking a cruise with friends. They had been begging us for years to go to the Bahamas with them. We were all set to go the previous year until my father had a heart attack just weeks before the embarquement.

cruise ship embarking
Mandy embarking on a cruise

So we waited another year. And finally, we embarked on the ship. The first few days were wonderful. I wasn’t even experiencing expected nausea from seasickness.

We arrived on the cruise island for a fun day of bottomless boat rides, parasailing, and a huge BBQ picnic. What fun it was. But it was to be my last good day for a long, long time.

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

Embarking the Tender

A tender is a small boat that carries you to and from the port of call, or island stop. On this particular day, we need to take the tender to get to the scheduled shore excursion. The trip to the island was fine. However, returning was not so great.

We took the very last boat to the ship. So did “everyone” else. We were packed on there like sardines. This would not have been so bad except There was a backup of tenders taking people to the ship. We sat on the water bouncing about for nearly an hour amidst a lot of diesel fuel fumes.
I was already a bit nauseous from that bottomless boat, but this “little” trip did me in. I pushed my way to the edge of the boat just in time to lose my lunch over the side.

Things did not improve on the ship. We dressed for our Valentine’s Dinner but my stomach just wouldn’t settle down. I remained sick for the entire return home to Jacksonville.

I was never so happy to set foot on land. But my body decided. Nah! I’ll just keep bouncing around for a while. It’s what they call Disembarkment Syndrome. I had a feeling of bouncing about in that little tender boat for the next 6 months.

~Mandy

embarking on the chronic life

my life with fibromyalgia; fibro warriors, letters to friends about fibro life

Fibro and RA ~ Mandy’s Journey with Pain

It’s been a while since I shared my journey with fibro and RA pain. A new friend and fellow pain warrior asked if I would do an interview on her blog, so that gave me the chance to update my story.

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curleque by Coffee at pixabay

When did you notice that something was wrong, at what age do you think the first symptoms appeared?

My first symptom was severe chest pains at the age of 11 or 12. Of course, after chest x-rays and such, nothing was found to be a problem, so it was diagnosed as “growing pains”. I had these pains all through high school. In retrospect, the more I learn about fibromyalgia the more I see that I have probably suffered all my life. Fatigue has always been an issue for me.

Normally it takes a few years to get the diagnosis. What was it like for you? 

No other research was done until after we returned from a cruise in February 2011 (49 years old). I acquired dis-embarkment syndrome which is when a person never gets their land legs back after leaving the ship. I still have a feeling of bouncing in a boat (10 years later). Months went by as doctors tested me for the problem.

In August 2011,

I had an episode of shortness of breath. No diagnosis was found. Then I awoke one morning with a crick in my neck. I went to a chiropractor who tried to give me an adjustment. My neck would not move at first but when it finally did, it shot pain down my neck and body. 

September 2011

My journey with pain really began one Sunday in September; I laid down to rest but only lay about halfway down when pain shot across my lower back. The slightest movement would cause excruciating, contracting pains across my back. I was confined to my bed for about a month. No medications except large amounts of prednisone were helpful. 

October 2011

After visiting several doctors, I ended up with a blood clot in my left leg because I had been immobile for too long. Visiting these doctors entailed being carried out of my house in a wheelchair by four men. After recovering from the blood clot, my doctors decided to send me to Mayo Clinic. (Happy 50th birthday!) The doctor sent me home and said wait for Mayo Clinic to call.

December 2011

Mayo Clinic called me within a month just to get my information and give me instructions for setting up an account. They said that it would probably be 6 months to get an appointment. I thought, “No way I can have this kind of pain for six months”, so I asked to go to Emory University. We went to the spine center at Emory but they found nothing wrong. Fortunately, after a month or so, Mayo Clinic called and had an opening.

January 2012

The first appointment at Mayo was with one doctor. I brought him all my records and shared my entire story. We returned 2 months later for 3 days of testing and seeing several specialists.

March 2012

I went home with a diagnosis of Central Sensitivity Syndrome with indications of Fibromyalgia, Myofascial Pain Syndrome, and Chronic Pain Syndrome. What a mouthful! That was sometime in March 2012 – a year and one month after our cruise. When I talk with other fibro patients, I feel that I was fortunate. I am thankful that I was so quickly sent on to Mayo Clinic. It is quite an amazing medical center. I wrote a post about Mayo Clinic.

June 2012

After a few months of medications for the fibromyalgia, I was able to begin to reduce the steroids. At this point, my knees began to swell and have a lot of pain. So I was sent to an orthopedic specialist. He diagnosed a torn meniscus and arthritis.

January 2013

Knee Surgery. Repaired the meniscus and cleaned out some arthritis. But things were not looking good in my knee. He wanted a second opinion. So we were scheduled to return to Mayo Clinic. Once you are a patient, It doesn’t take as long to get an appointment.

March 2013

Returned to my rheumatologist. He agreed that it was likely just osteoarthritis. But he decided to schedule all the blood work again. It turned out that I have Rheumatoid Arthritis. I wrote about the difference between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis here. The RA was caught early. The doctor said that I was fortunate and would probably not have the disfiguring that most have.

More of My Journey with Pain

I answered more questions with Bettina on her blog, Me, Myself, and I

I also did a more detailed series of my journey back in 2015. You can find that series at my personal family blog, The Farmers Place ~ 31 Days of Waiting and Trusting

Thanks for Caring;

Mandy

journey with pain
images created by Mandy at Canva.com

Finding Purpose with Chronic Pain & Link-Up

Finding PUrpose

I’ve been struggling with chronic pain for nearly 10 years. Finding purpose is key to having a fulfilled life in the midst of pain.

One of the good things about that is connecting with so many wonderful chronic pain warriors. We have such a wonderful support community online.

One of those places is the Diamonds Conference where I met Paula Short. She recognized my blog and knew she had read some of my posts in the past. Now she knew where to find me! So she jumped right over to the blog and signed up for the newsletter. I have asked her to share a bit about her life with chronic pain and how she found new purpose.

Mandy

Legacy Link up Time! Finding Purpose through trials. Click To Tweet
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curleque by Coffee at pixabay
PAula Short interview finding purpose
photo provide by Paula

1. Share the short story of your chronic pain journey. What is your diagnosis? Share some about the journey to this diagnosis.

Paula: I distinctly remember sitting on my mom’s bed crying because my legs hurt. That was at age 9. I could never go outside and play long because I had to come in and lay down because of the pain in my legs. My parents took me to the doctor and were told it was growing pains, my parents were told then that I had anxiety. Well, the pain never stopped, it stayed with me as I aged. Then in my teen years, my pain was spreading to other areas of my body. I began getting headaches at around age 4 and having chronic diarrhea since childhood. Of course, the doctors did not say it was IBS but just a nervous stomach. I still have belly pain and IBS today, even though I take medication for it.

I spent my 20’s going from doctor to doctor each area of illness required me to see different doctors. Finally, I was diagnosed with migraines, IBS, TMJ, and at the time MS. Fast forward to my 40’s. I was then diagnosed with degenerative disc disease, degenerative joints disease, and chronic pain. Finally, in 2016 MS was ruled out as a misdiagnosis, and then I got the fibromyalgia diagnosis. I also got my diagnosis of Complicated migraines while some people get auras, I get stroke symptoms. I am told it is a rare type of migraine. It was in 2016 that I had to retire, early at the age of 45.

Losing Purpose

I was devastated to have to leave my beloved Social Work. I felt like I lost my purpose. The constant pain and daily migraines (that cause me cognitive issues) had taken over. In addition to being in pain all the time. I am always in some state of migraine; my baseline pain level is 3 during the days but can rise to an 8. Balance and mobility issues, as well as, the dreaded fatigue and fog have been an issue, causing me to be labeled a fall risk.

So Much Chronic Pain

I don’t remember what it feels like to have no pain. I can’t forget to add in I see a psychiatrist for severe anxiety, depression, and panic attacks. After three years of therapy, I phased out of counseling in August of 2019.

 Grieving and then on to acceptance. I continue with medication management now. Everything seems to get worse as I age. I take a lot of medication and prednisone is my friend. 

I don't remember what it feels like to NOT have pain. #chronicillness #fibro Click To Tweet

2. Throughout this time, how was your faith walk impacted? Did you lose faith? Get Stronger?

PAULA: While I had grown up in a Christian home and followed Jesus all my life. Looking back, I see that I was a lukewarm Christian for a lot of my adult life. It was during my 30’s that my faith began to grow. It wasn’t until my 40’s that my faith began to develop into a relationship with God. I found and still do that during my worst times it leads me to draw nearer to God. It was during self-isolation and not wanting to go out of my house that I suddenly had an awakening if you will, I had to surrender not only my illnesses but my life to him. I said,

 “God, I can’t do this on my own, every time I tried, I failed. May your will be done.” 

I am a work in progress

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

PAULA: No. I really can’t pinpoint a specific event that was a turning point along my way. The best way I can describe it is since it has been a long journey, I continue to be a work in progress. If anything, this journey had led me to have a relationship with Christ. Emphasis on “relationship

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

PAULA: 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 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV).

 Although Jesus has not removed my physical condition his power is displayed in my weakness. It reminds me to trust and rely on God instead of myself, admitting my weakness affirms God’s strength. 

Another Scripture that I rest in is Isaiah 40:31, NIV. It gives me hope and reminds me that his promise of strength will help me rise above life’s distractions and difficulties. 

5. How do you find comfort on especially painful days?

PAULA: I remember that God is omnipresent, He is always with me day and night throughout my journey of this thing called life and illness. It brings me great comfort in knowing that. Also, I love listening to Christian music such as K-Love radio. It leads me to sing praises and worship him despite the pain. And thankfully, I am uplifted.

I love to read and prefer reading over TV, and I get creative by Bible faith bullet journaling. 

I also find great comfort in my friend that Jesus blessed me with to journey with me, my ESA dog’s a little beagle named Little. 

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

PAULA: Well, that depends. My family and friends have not read about my chronic illness to educate themselves on how my fibromyalgia can affect my body and cognition. When I try to tell them how it affects me, sometimes, they listen and sometimes they dismiss or marginalize me.

They do, however, know how my complicated migraines affect me and are receptive towards me through those. Someone always goes with me to my neurologist appointments, so they hear what the doctor has to say. They are accommodating and compassionate when my migraines escalate.

My family and friends do not understand how #chronicpain, #fatigue, and #fibrofog affect me.   Click To Tweet

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

PAULA: First, I need to tell you how God gave me my purpose back. If you recall above, I said I felt like I lost my purpose when I had to retire early from my beloved Social Work. I had been thinking of blogging for a long time, my heart was, and is convicted, in sharing more Jesus.

I kept feeling a tugging. Like God was calling me for something. But at the time I couldn’t recognize for what. Then when I did, I resisted saying “But God I’m not a writer.” Well, he had plans for me, and here I am writing hence Simply Chasing Jesus was born in November of 2019.

created by Mandy in canva.com

My new purpose was sharing him. Then I began to feel that tug again, still to blog. This time Simply Coffee and Jesus were born in September of 2020. This is where I began to hone in and write more specifically on chronic illness among other new topics for me. I never considered my blogs my ministry, but pausing and reflecting on it, it really is my ministry to help others and share Jesus’ good news. 

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

Dear friends, living with any chronic illness is rough. I know there are days when you are wondering how you’re going to make it through. I know there are days when you simply can’t function. I get it. Whether you are newly diagnosed with a chronic illness or have been a long-time warrior, educate yourself. 

Try your best to educate friends and family. Some may not understand nor want to understand and that’s okay too. There are many great websites out there about living with chronic pain and illnesses. It was just recently that I was able to connect with other Christian bloggers who have and write about chronic pain and illnesses. So, you see, it may have taken me a while to find fellowship and community with others who understand but I finally did.

Friend, there are others out there, we are out there for you. We support you; we care. You are not your chronic illness you are not your chronic pain. God chose you and called you by name. Keep digging deep into God’s word. All Scripture is God-breathed from beginning to end. The answers, comfort, and hope are there in Him. The Psalms are filled with every emotion and lament you may have. God breathed hope from beginning to end. Dearest friends pray to him with honest abandon.

 God’s got this!

God’s got you.  

Paula


Thank you, Paula for this encouraging interview. Though I don’t have as many diagnosis, I could relate to so much of your journey. Especially the “I can’t write”. But God has a great sense of humor doesn’t he?


It’s Your Turn

legacy link-ups
Share your own post about finding purpose. (Not neccesarily though chronic pain)

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Is Chronic Pain Stopping you from an Abundant Life

I recently met Alexandra through the Fibro Bloggers Directory. She has only recently been diagnosed with fibro; however, when you hear her story you will see that she has been suffering for quite some time.

NOTE: It’s Legacy Link-up time. Once your finish reading the interview, be sure to link-up your own uplifting post this month.

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curleque by Coffee at pixabay

1. Share the short story of your chronic pain journey. What is your diagnosis? Share some about the journey to this diagnosis.

pain warrior interview with Alexandra Henry acceptance journey

My chronic illness journey set off when my feet were swollen (individually at different years) in college. My podiatrist reassured me that lymphedema is not something to worry about. He said that I should just keep my feet elevated. He didn’t see it as a big deal, so I didn’t either. (One of my feet is still swollen…!). At that time I was going through a period of depression because of my low self-esteem.

My depression transformed into anxiety when I contracted TMJ Disorder and pain from my neck, shoulder, wrists, knees, etc. I literally thought that I was going to die because of my pain. I had vivid nightmares of my body becoming flat, shapeless, and deformed! Finally, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 2019. So, that cleared up some of my questions about my nerve pain and other symptoms. But it was very hard to see me as a young woman in her 20s who has a chronic illness.

2. Throughout this time, how was your faith walk impacted? Did you lose faith? Get Stronger?

My father had recently passed away from cancer, so this made my own chronic illness harder to manage. I didn’t know what was going on with my body, my life, my mind. How was God present in all this? “Not knowing” what God was doing or if He was even with me throughout my struggles made it hard for me to trust in Him. I consider myself a very faithful woman, but to be honest with you, my physical challenges caused me to doubt His presence. Although I was doubting God, there was still a little internal nudge that pushed me to not lose hope.

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

Throughout my experience of desolation from God, I turned to poetry which I eventually published in 2019. The publishing process of my book, “Songs of Freedom”, was a spiritual and emotional healing process. Writing and publishing my book helped me to face chronic trauma from my childhood memories that shed light on my negative and unreal perceptions of myself.

I sat with my thoughts and feelings and intentionally invited God to sit with me. This was a turning point for me because, for the first time, I was truly and authentically seeing God as my Father and not as an unruly dictator in my life. This unveiling process of my subconscious mind helped me to also start the healing process from my relationship with my dad who had passed away.

I, now, wholeheartedly, believe in the power of my thoughts. For me, chronic illness showed up due to unmanaged anxiety and unresolved chronic trauma in my life. All this time, I had a laser focus on physical healing when it was really my mind that needed the healing.

Although my body was still experiencing intense pain and stiffness, a little door of freedom was being opened in my mind and it was helping me to have a different relationship with my chronic pain issues.

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

It’s hard to pick one scripture verse….but the Passion of Christ has been near and dear to my heart in my journey because of the pain and suffering Jesus actually went through for me and for you. Imagining Jesus looking into my eyes as he carries the big and heavy cross all the way to Calvary sends me shivers to my spine. And it makes me think of his love that never gets tired of me.

5. How do you find comfort on especially painful days?

On especially painful days, practicing gratitude has saved me from playing the victim of my pain. I try to be as accepting of the situation as much as possible; choosing not to fight with my pain. I want to respect my journey, my body, and even my pain, so if I need the rest, I choose to love my body by giving it the rest it needs. God wants me to take care of my body and my health conditions. I can be grateful to cooperate with Him in this little “reroute” in my day. It’s definitely not easy, and it takes prayer, practice, and consistency to create the mindset of gratitude and surrender of one’s chronic illness (or anything!).

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

This is a really good question. Sometimes it’s good to distract your mind from your pain, so they are so helpful in picking out movies, praying with me, making me a nice smoothie, or just hanging out with me. Company is such a gift when you are going through pain. Especially if they understand or try to understand your chronic illness.

Company is such a gift when you are going through pain. #fibromyalgia Click To Tweet

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

I recently started a blog called The Acceptance Journey which focuses on the mental and spiritual wellbeing of people with chronic illness. From my blog, I hope to build a community in which we can share about our relationship with our chronic illnesses: is it positive or negative? Our relationship with our own chronic illness and the perception we have of our own chronic illness can positively or negatively impact the healing process. I hope that The Acceptance Journey can be a source of light and inspiration for those who feel like a victim of their illnesses.

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

It's Your Choice Acceptance Journey

No matter how bad your chronic pain is, it can be a big wall or a big door in your life. It’s up to you to decide if you are going to let chronic pain stop you from living the life you are called to live or to walk through that door and see what good things are in store for you. It’s a daily decision.

Jesus says, “I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). Yes, Jesus calls you to live an abundant life–even with your chronic pain.

It's Your Choice ~ Is #chronicpain a wall or a door? #fibro Click To Tweet
abudant life John 10:10 Acceptance Journey
image created in Canva.com

How does that look? It’s going to look different for each person because we are all unique, but don’t resign to a life that lacks peace, joy, order, freedom, creativity, connection, and God’s loving Fatherhood.


Thank you, Alexandra, for your encouraging words! I’m looking forward to following your blog, The Acceptance Journey, and getting to know you better.

Readers might also be interested in Alexandra’s poetry.

She has already published a book of poems. I downloaded a sample from Amazon and my first impression is that she is quite a poet. Check it out on the link below.


IT’S YOUR TURN!

legacy link-ups

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter
pain and suffering

Pain and Suffering: An Indication of God’s Love

This is Going to Hurt me More than it hurts you

Have you ever heard your parents say this to you? I can remember a time or too when it was said to me. However, it wasn’t until I had children of my own that I saw the truth in that statement. We never had to discipline our children much but when the need arose, it broke our hearts.

It’s the same with God.

pain and suffering

He loves us so much and He wants to keep us on the right path. And as we know there are times that the only way to keep us on the straight and narrow is to apply the rod of discipline.

I learned this lesson when I was hit with chronic pain in 2011. It was excruciating. But as time went by I realized that God was trying to get my attention. I was “working for the Lord” … very busy with children’s ministry and other things that draw the attention of a pastor’s wife. But in retrospect, God was saying to me, ‘Hey, you going out on your own and forgetting to rely on Me.” It was then that I turned my attention back to God. I got serious about studying His Word. And I found this statement from David.

It was good for me to be afflicted

so that I could learn your statutes.

Psalm 119:71

God Allows Pain and Suffering for Many Reasons

Certainly, God allows pain and suffering because He loves us. But there are other reasons as well. C.S. Lewis states in The Problem of Pain,

“We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts to us in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

Have you ever noticed that when tragedy comes, this is when people turn back to God? (At least for a while). And this is God’s purpose. .. to draw us back to Him. He did it time and again in the Old Testament. We may need to repent of sin or just develop our faith. You see, He doesn’t want us to stay infants in Christ. He wants to bring us to maturity.

Like a Shepherd, He gently guides

We, humans, are like sheep. dumb and ignorant. God places us in a green pasture and we start gobbling up the grass, never looking to the right or the left. Until that moment, when we look up and we are nowhere near the rest of the flock and now we don’t know how to get back.

So we need a shepherd to guide us and correct our paths. Just as David said in the 23rd Psalm. He allows us to go through the shadows of death, but He is right there to guide us and comfort us. He never leaves us alone.

Not long after my illness began, a friend reminded me of a wonderful book, Hannah Hurnard’s Hinds’ Feet in High Places.

a timeless allegory dramatizing the yearning of God’s children to be led to new heights of love, joy, and victory. In this moving tale, follow Much-Afraid on her spiritual journey as she overcomes many dangers and mounts at last to the High Places. There she gains a new name and is transformed by her union with the loving Shepherd.

Hind’s Feet in High Places, Hannah Hurnard

One surprising element in the book was that the Shepherd gave her a guide named, Suffering. Why would she want this guide? But the Shepherd assured her that Suffering was the best guide she could have. I have found it true as well. My pain and suffering has kept me at the feet of Jesus and caused my faith to continue to grow.

Even Years of Pain and Suffering are for our advantage

I just reached year 9 of chronic pain. LIke Paul I have talked with God about taking the pain away. But God and I have come to an understanding.

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

2 Corinthians 12:9
2 corinthians 12:9  My Grace is all you need

You see, I have found that through my pain I have many blessings.

  • I am maturing in Christ daily.
  • Writing and blogging have been my new ministry.
  • Friendships around the globe have been cultivated.
  • I have more empathy for those who suffer.
  • Becoming an advocate for others who suffer.

I previously wrote about these things and came to one conclusion, If pain is what it takes to keep me in the center of God’s will, then …

BRING ON THE PAIN!

Mandy Signature
Savannah, GA


I agreed to review this book because of my own journey with pain. What a great reminder of the reasons God allows pain and suffering in our lives. Just as we discipline our children when the veer off the path of righteousness, God also loves us enough to direct our path on the straight and narrow.

All of us will at some time, experience a bit of pain and suffering. That is when it is time to remember that God is with us in the Furnace of Affliction and it is for our good.

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light and temporary

When You Don’t See the Light at the End of the Tunnel

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.

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 that 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 the 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 of 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, Reclaiming HOPE 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

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pain is an opportunity

Chronic Pain Can Be a Powerful Opportunity

This Tuesday, May 12 is Fibromyalgia Awareness day. I thought it would be appropriate to share another encouraging post of how chronic warriors hang on to their faith to get through the worst of days.

I was greatly encouraged to hear Olivia Wolfertz story about her struggle with Lyme Disease. What an incredibly strong women she is. Please read on…

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curleque by Coffee at pixabay

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

I was diagnosed with Lyme disease in May 2016. After several months or so of increasingly bizarre symptoms—chest pains, stiff neck, headaches, stabbing pains in arms and feet, and severe trouble walking, I was officially tested and diagnosed by a rheumatologist. I was fortunate that my diagnosis was relatively quick and that I had a positive Lyme disease test even by CDC criteria, as that is actually somewhat rare.

From there, I went on the pretty typical goose chase of finding the right Lyme-literate doctor and treatment combination. Unfortunately, even though I was treating my illness, symptoms continued to spread and expand to affect more and more of my body and mind. Throughout this four-year timeframe, I’ve seen several specialists and explored numerous treatment protocols ranging from conventional antibiotics and herbals to more unconventional methods like rife machines, essential oils, and now a nebulizer treatment. While I’ve seen tangible bouts of improvement and had seasons of “better days” in the mix, I continue to suffer daily with symptoms that largely impair and limit my life.

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

Olivia Wolfertz #chronicpaininterviews
Oliva Wolfertz

At the start of my treatment journey, I felt a strong conviction that God had given me this illness very intentionally. I felt like this was God telling me it was my time to walk through one of my first “major trials,” as I had never before had a serious health issue before. At the time I thought I would go through it, get treated, get better and move on and be able to look back at it as a story of how I joyfully clung to God during a hard time.

I subconsciously was viewing it as a test and thought that if I just stayed positive and did my best to fully trust God, he would soon enough heal me, and then I would move on with life and have this story to encourage others with. I viewed it as very transactional if I’m being honest. Needless to say, I didn’t have the slightest idea of what I was getting into.

I didn't have the slightest idea what I was getting into… #chronic pain #lymedisease #interviews Click To Tweet

Little did I know at that time how devastating and long-term this illness would be or how much it would affect every other area of my life. I would say for the first two years or so, I wasn’t terribly worried about this being the rest of my life and I was able to trust God relatively well all things considered. Of course, there were many difficult battles and symptoms and challenging times that I struggled more, but I felt very supported in the beginning and continued to believe healing was around the next corner.

It wasn’t until probably three years in that I really started to experience more sobering doubts and struggles in my faith. Not only was I still not where I thought I would be after 3 years (still unable to work or be financially independent), but I was feeling a lot of new and difficult symptoms, including serious mental health and sleep struggles, that were very challenging to live with.

Not to mention I was getting emotionally exhausted from the day-to-day struggle. With my worsening symptoms, it became a lot harder to be regularly plugged into a community where I could be spiritually supported, and the isolation made everything a lot harder.

I also wrestled with a lot of shame over the fact that my life isn’t “normal” that affected my self-image and ability to make friends and be vulnerable. Even still, God provided the right people at the right time and sent me some incredibly supportive believers whose prayers were a huge factor in keeping my faith from crushing beneath the pain.

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

As I mentioned above, the anniversary of year three was a turning point where I really started to struggle with doubts and fears that this might actually be the rest of my life and I may never get better. When I realized I wasn’t even close to getting better or even if I was on the right track with treatments, I began to wrestle with anger and disillusionment towards God and a lot of fear that things would never change.

Accepting the Inevitable

I also began to realize that all that I lost might never come back—

  • financial independence,
  • the ability to take care of myself and work a full-time job,
  • live on my own or at least away from my parents,
  • be able to have a normal social life

-all of those things suddenly seemed like things that may never happen again. This realization was the beginning of a very dark season of depression and increasing hopelessness.

Letting Others In

What made the most difference in turning from despair to surrender and trust, though, was taking small steps to let people in my struggle more. Whether that was being honest about my doubts, struggles, or the extent to which I was feeling lonely or needing support, that act of humbling myself opened the door for more people to encourage me in ways I actually needed.

This was such a hard lesson and one that I likely will continually need to relearn, but God definitely wanted me to get to this point.

God definitely wanted me to get to this point. #lymesdisease #chronicpain Click To Tweet

Keeping a Strong Faith is Critical

Keeping a strong faith and hope is absolutely critical to fighting a chronic illness—but there are times where we can’t get there without inviting others in to help. Sometimes the struggles are too hard to emotionally or even spiritually deal with on our own and the turning point doesn’t come until others are invited in the mix and given the opportunity to pour their strength and hope into us. I continue to pray for a supportive community to walk through whatever my future has in store.

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

There have been several different scriptures that I’ve turned to during different stages of this journey. Here are some:

#sripturecomfort
#chronicpain
  • 1 Peter 5:6-7
  • 1 Peter 4:19
  • 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
  • Romans 4:18-22
  • Isaiah 40:29
  • Proverbs 15:15
  • Psalm 34:19

Not surprisingly these are all verses that shine a light on suffering or trials and trusting God’s deliverance. Widening my scriptural vocabulary to include more specific truths to apply to pain and suffering has made a huge difference in my outlook during rougher patches.

Sometimes when everything seems to be falling apart, it can be all too easy and natural to feed into self-pity, anger, and overall exhaustion with our circumstances. It can feel like we are at the end of our rope and don’t know how we will get through the next hour let alone the rest of our lives if things don’t change.

I’ve found it absolutely critical at those moments to turn to a verse like one of these and allow it to penetrate my despairing thoughts.  It does make a difference, and meditating on or carrying around these verses proactively help arm me so that I am more prepared when those despairing thoughts come and can be quicker to replace them with truths from Scripture.

How do you find comfort on especially painful days?

That’s a really tough question to answer and it definitely depends on the type of bad day I’m having. Sometimes a bad day might mean a ton of pain, in which case I will usually try to rest my body laying down but can find comfort in reading a good book or doing some Bible study if my mental energy is there.

Some days a bad day might mean an extreme excess of fatigue or dizziness or headaches in which case I am not up for reading or blogging or anything but can find comfort in closing my eyes and listening to a good podcast or sermon or take a bath. I find that this will be a good way to encourage my soul and heart even when I don’t have the energy or mental ability to read my Bible or an encouraging book.

Then a bad day might be where I feel more depression or anxiety or discouragement and something that brings me comfort on those types of bad days is talking with a friend or journaling my feelings or painting or getting fresh air if I am feeling up for that physically.

Chronic Pain  #opportunity
Olivia’s Painting

Painting has become an unexpected yet powerful channel for encouragement, as the feeling of tangibly creating something beautiful to share with others is rewarding when you feel like you can’t be productive in other areas of life.

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

The best things my friends or family can do for me during harder times are going out of their way to practically help me or take time to ask me how I am doing and listen to me. I live with my parents, so the best ways I feel comforted by them is when they respect my needs, whether that’s for space or independence or the freedom to not be okay all the time. It is also very comforting when they help out with practical things like meals and laundry or giving me rides to places on days where I can’t handle it.

I moved a few states away to go back home about a year and a half after getting sick, so a lot of my good friends are states away and it’s been hard to get involved and socialize regularly enough to make good friends here as easily. A great way that these friends have comforted me over the distance is through phone call check-ins, cards, and other gestures to show me they are thinking about me. And especially prayer!

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

Olivia's cards #comfortothers #chronicpain
Olivia’s cards

I’m not in any formal capacity but it’s something I really have a desire to work towards. One way that I have started to give back towards others who are suffering (in any way) is to create and write sympathy or encouragement cards for people in my church or community.

I’m involved with a Bible study where the leader is very involved with the church community and she often notifies me when there are people in the area who are going through something hard. Since I love to paint, I love the opportunity to create a card and then bring it to Bible study for the whole group to sign. It’s a great way for me to feel like I’m giving back and tangibly support others with my unique talents and passions.

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

Chronic Pain - a Powerful Opportunity
Olivia’s painting

Something I would say to someone who is struggling in his or her chronic illness journey (whatever that may be) that I hope might be encouraging is that I believe suffering in this kind of way is a unique calling. I would tell that person that they are very brave for carrying a burden that is much harder than most people realize.

I would affirm that they were chosen with this particular trial for a reason that I believe comes with it a special opportunity for God to work in a very powerful way if they let Him.

suffering in this kind of way is a unique calling #chronicpain #paininterviews Click To Tweet

I would encourage someone in the thick of their suffering to find inspiring examples and role models in the faith that triumphed through immeasurable hardships. I have found inspiration in people like Charles Spurgeon, a nineteenth-century preacher who struggled with deep depression and Elisabeth Elliot, a twentieth-century missionary who went through devastating loss and hardship in her life.

1 Peter 4:19 comfort powerful opportunity

I would also recommend reading the testimonies of Christians who have suffered or are suffering immense persecution or incarceration for their faith in Christ around the world. Hearing about how other believers have walked valiantly through deep trials always gives me strong motivation and inspiration to keep fighting the fight to trust and hope in God no matter where my health may be.

Olivia Wolfertz

Thank you Olivia for your encouraging words.

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Not your IDentity

Chronic Pain is not Your Identity

Interviews with Chronic Pain Warriors #2

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 too?” #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)

And now Interview #2 with Stacey Shannon. Stacey struggles with the “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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curleque by Coffee at pixabay

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

interviews with chronic pain warriors
created in canva.com

I was 3 years old when my bladder symptoms first started. I kept feeling like I had a UTI, but the infection didn’t always show up. By the time I was 5, I’d been through every test possible for my bladder and kidneys and nothing showed up as abnormal. Everyone basically shrugged their shoulders and told my parents to have me avoid citrus and caffeine.

I continued having symptoms off and on, then when I was 13, my symptoms increased. That’s when I first got the diagnosis of interstitial cystitis (IC), which is basically chronic inflammation of the bladder. After going to a few doctors, my parents were able to track down a specialist who really helped me and prescribed a medication I still take nearly 30 years later.

My symptoms improved and stayed pretty well through high school and college then came roaring back with a fierce vengeance at the end of graduate school. By that time, I was married to my high school sweetheart. Instead of graduating and finding a job with a magazine as I had planned, I was mostly homebound because I was so miserable.

I was blessed to have a remission through most of my pregnancy with my daughter 10 years ago. After her birth, I developed uterine prolapse. When I was pregnant with my son seven years ago, I had remission again until the third trimester when my pain level went up significantly, thanks in part to the prolapse. Each time, any sort of remission ended with the end of pregnancy and breastfeeding hormones.

Throughout the years, I’ve tried an array of medications and treatments from medicine put directly into my bladder to physical therapy. I’ve driven hours away to see a leading IC urologist.

In 2015, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia as well, which made all sorts of other body pain make sense. The two conditions often go together. These days, my bladder is mostly cooperative if I maintain my medicine regiment and am careful to avoid caffeine, citrus and vinegar (my dietary triggers). My fibromyalgia is a different story. It causes me the most issues these days.

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

When I was 10 years ago, I asked Jesus to live in my heart. My husband and I both sought God’s will for our lives and got married young – while I was still in college, in fact. My husband knew about my bladder issues and was around at the end of my last really bad flare as a high school freshman. But neither of us expected IC to rear its ugly head again within three years of saying “I do.”

I had just graduated with two degrees in journalism since I’d felt God calling me into a career of writing faith-related articles back in high school. I was confused about why my health got so bad right when I had finished school and could get a job in a career that He’d led me to.

While I never lost faith in God, I did learn what it means to struggle with Him and how to be really honest with Him. I learned that I had to trust Him even when it didn’t make sense. He heard me whine and carry on. My husband encouraged me and often gave me the perspective that I needed. Each time I’d have a bad flare, I’d be shocked, having thought that I’d never had one again. Or I spiral into thinking I’d never, ever feel any better and everything was awful.

I also learned how isolating chronic pain and illness can be. All of my friends were starting their careers and I struggled to even go grocery shopping. I felt God leading me to connect with other people going through similar journeys, so I started a group for chronic pain and illness through my church.

For a few years, we met once a week. We went through a variety of Bible studies about chronic pain that helped me grow in my faith. In leading the group, I had to study the lessons more than just read them. I can look back now and see how God used that to help me grow in my faith and understanding that He was still at work.

God reminded me that His plan and my plans don’t always look the same. I learned through the years that my calling was still writing, but I was going to live it out in a different way as a freelancer than I had originally thought. Actually, my plan had been to work at a magazine for a few years and then freelance once we had babies. God just had me freelance sooner and, as a result, blessed us to be able to stay in the same city as my parents and my in-laws, which has been invaluable to us.

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


One of the biggest turning points in my faith happened one day when I was 25 or so. IC is a disease diagnosed through the process of elimination. Symptoms can vary from one patient to another and no one treatment plan works for all of us. (In fact, only one medication has been FDA-approved to treat IC, and it now has been shown to have some horrible side effects for eyesight.)

I’d try whatever my urologist thought might help. I went through one treatment after another. Each time I’d start a new prescription or treatment, I’d feel hopeful this would be the one that would give me relief. When it didn’t, I’d feel disappointed and let down.

Then one day, I was driving my car when I felt God saying to me, “Put your hope in Me.” It was the reminder I needed that even if none of the treatments ever worked for me that I could always trust God would be with me. I’ve carried this life lesson into many scary situations since then. I can place my hope in God and never be disappointed in Who He is.

That day, my prayers began to change as well. I began to realize I needed to come to grips with not being healed. I had prayed for healing. We had talked about healing many times in my chronic pain group. I fully believed (and still believe!) that God has the power to heal. I have seen Him heal people. But God was gently telling me time and again that healing wasn’t going to happen for me on earth.

I began to pray for healing from my need to be healed. Since then I have continued to wrestle with healing at different times when it’s come up in church services and such. I know it’s possible that God may heal me before I get to heaven, but even if He doesn’t, I know He will heal me then and that’s the promise I cling to. That’s what I can truly put my hope in.

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


When I was a little girl, we had a dark hallway at our house that scared me. In third grade, I learned the first part of Isaiah 41:10, “Do not fear for I am with you.” I repeated that verse over and over walking down the hallway.

It came back to me when my bladder issues began in full force as a young adult. I looked it up and found the rest of the verse, which says, “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.” I have clung to that verse during dark moments and times.

isaiah 41.10

I’ve gone into the ER repeating that verse to myself. I have clung to His promise to strengthen and uphold me on my hardest days when I have been ready to give up. It has brought me comfort and strength so many times.

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


 I definitely repeat my Bible verse for comfort and have used it as a breath prayer: “God, strengthen and uphold me.”

I also find other ways of comfort. Sometimes physical comfort leads to spiritual comfort. I sit with my heating pad. I work from the couch with my laptop instead of at my desk. I listen to uplifting Christian music. I watch shows I enjoy. I listen to my body when it tells me I need to rest or slow down.

I also remind myself (or sometimes my husband gently reminds me) that flares don’t last forever. Each time one hits, I worry it won’t go away and this is how I’m always going to feel. I can spiral quickly through anxiety and worry about how I’m ever going to be able to take care of my kids and such. Thankfully, I have years of experience to tell me that flares don’t last forever. And even if this is the time it doesn’t ease up, God will be with me. Do I always act like I know this? No, but I’m getting better at it.

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


 My husband has been awesome throughout this journey. I have gone into surgeries with him in the waiting room sporting a shirt that says: “My Wife Rocks.” He has never questioned my pain even though there is no physical proof of the pain or even the diagnoses. He has pushed me to get better treatments.

When my local urologist was out of ideas, my husband is the one who insisted on driving 4-1/2 hours to the leading IC urologist was not only worth it but doable. He’s driven there and back in one day many times to help me make those appointments.

My chronic pain also helped us learn to communicate even better earlier in our marriage. We learned the importance of approaching life as a team and not as opponents. Those lessons have helped us in other situations and the difficulties we’ve faced. I appreciate how he’ll do small things he knows will help me feel better like turning on my heating pad after a hard appointment while I go put on my PJs.

Along with my husband, my parents have also been incredibly supportive. They were the ones who first believed me when I was a preschooler who insisted I had to go to the bathroom again right after I had just gone or that it hurt when I went to the bathroom. They were the ones who found an IC specialist in a nearby big city when the pediatric urologist we saw said I was fine and just needed to learn how to urinate correctly.

I’m now 40 with kids of my own, but my parents still look out for and take care of me when they can. They offer to take the kids places when I don’t feel well.

My in-laws are the same. They have been so supportive and encouraging. Both my mom and mother-in-law have cleaned our house when I was recovering from surgery. They have helped take care of my kiddos when I needed extra help.

And my kiddos have been incredibly kind and understanding. As a mom, I wish they didn’t have to understand that sometimes mommy doesn’t feel well, but that’s my reality and so it’s theirs as well. I think they are more compassionate as a result. At 7 and 10, they’ll do things for me when I don’t feel well. My son is quick to want to carry heavy things, so I don’t have to. They have both prayed for me at different times, which blesses me beyond measure.

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

Chronic pain is a part of your life, but it’s not your identity. My IC and fibromyalgia are part of who I am, but they are only a part. I am so much more than my pain. I am a mom, a wife, a writer, a follower of Jesus, a friend, a daughter and on the list goes. You are more than your pain, too.

Chronic Pain is part of your life, but it's not your identity. #chronicpain #lightandmomentary #paininterviews Click To Tweet

While it’s hard to say that pain is a blessing, pain can teach us many lessons. God has used my physical pain to connect me with people I wouldn’t know otherwise. Those people have blessed me and encouraged me. God’s used my pain to teach me so many lessons and grow my faith. I am thankful for all of that. I wouldn’t have chosen to live life with pain, but I am blessed by the good things that have come from it.

In the end, on both good and bad days, God is good. He is our hope and will never let go of us.

Thank you, Stacey, for sharing with us today. I know I have connected with you in your story and others will as well.

Families with Grace
http://familieswithgrace.com/

Readers, I encourage you to comment below or connect with Stacey on social media. Stacey blogs at Families with Grace.

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

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