5 things pain taught me

Pain has been my teacher lately. An MRI revealed that I have bulging discs in my neck pinching on my C-6 nerve causing numbness, pain, and twitching in my right arm, shoulder and back. 

The last several weeks, I’ve made trips to the chiropractor, physical therapist and a head and neck doctor. I’ve been referred for acupuncture and to the surgery clinic for cortisone injections. I’m even attending a “neck” class to learn proper posture.

And one thing is for sure, I’ve learned that pain is really getting on my nerves (literally speaking, lol)! Sorry, sometimes a little humor helps.

The pain was the worst in the middle of the night at a women’s retreat. I was sniffling tears back in my top bunk. I couldn’t move. Every position caused excruciating pain. I couldn’t lie down. Sitting up felt unbearable. I sat on a bed holding my head still and waited until morning so I could go home.

I prayed for God to take away the pain. But the pain was intense and constant.

Now several weeks later, I’m still dealing with persistent pain, loss of sleep and side effects from medication while I search for a way to relieve the pinched nerve pain.

I know that my pain is probably minimal compared to someone else. But I now have a better understanding of what it’s like to live with constant pain. 

 I’m doing my best to embrace it, make adjustments and learn from it.

Have you ever wondered why God doesn't take your pain away when He could very easily? Here are 5 things I learned from living with pain.

We may not understand pain, but we can trust in God’s love for us.

During Spring break, my family and I saw a wonderful movie called, Miracles From Heaven starring Jennifer Garner. It was heartbreaking to watch Anna Beam live in constant pain from an incurable disorder that leaves her unable to digest food. 

In a touching moment, Anna asks her mother, “Why do you think God hasn’t healed me?” Her mom responds, “There are so many things I don’t know, but I know God loves you.”

We will never be able to wrap our minds around the pain in this world. But the evidence of God’s love for us is poured out in His Word and in our daily pursuit of Him. Even though life can be unbearably painful, we can believe and trust in the fact that God loves us!

God shows his love through others. 

God may not have taken my pain away that night at the women’s retreat, but he placed me in a cabin where two of the women knew the exact kind of pain I was in. Women who have been well acquainted with chronic pain. They had compassion towards me and ministered to me and prayed for me. They encouraged me to take a shower to relieve the pain at 3 a.m. in the morning. One friend helped me pack and brought me home early in the morning. Another friend watched my kids all night long while I went to the ER.

Since then, I’ve received texts with friends checking up on me. My kids have helped carry the chore load at home. My mom and aunt drove an hour to come over and clean my house. When you’re in pain, it’s so nice to know that you are loved and cared for by others. God often shows his love for us through others.

God is compassionate.

Even though he may not instantly remove our intense pain, it doesn’t mean God doesn’t care. He hasn’t forgotten you. 

You may feel like God isn’t compassionate because He is allowing this pain when he could very easily take it away. But God, instead, often chooses to be present with us through the pain. 

Have you pleaded with God to take the pain away so you can sleep? Do you toss and turn all night long? I found this verse to be so comforting!

You have seen my tossing and turning through the night. You have collected all my tears and preserved them in your bottle. You have recorded every one in your book! Psalm 56:8 (Living Bible) TLB

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You see, sometimes you may not be able to sleep and even plead with God to help you. It’s comforting to know God sees your tossing and is with you through the night. 

He may not always stop the pain that causes your tears, but he is compassionate enough to know every single one that falls.

Surrendering is hard but necessary.

Pain forces you to surrender. Surrender you plans. Your list. Your chores. Your normal routine.

Pain forces you to slow down and rest.

Sometimes we have to surrender things that are good or that we feel like we need to do.

Like exercising. Chores. Our to-do list.

But I think the hardest thing for me to surrender was writing. I had lots of plans to grow as a writer. I’ve enrolled in a year-long class called Elite Blog Academy. I’m taking an email course in May. I’m working on redesigning my theme and logo. 

But, umm, It’s kind of hard to write with a numb arm. In fact, my arm is numb as I type this right now. But I knew I wanted to let you know, in case you see less of my posts, that I am not gone for good. But I am seeking the Lord for His direction. 

Surrendering doesn’t mean giving up our dreams. But it may mean slowing down our pursuit of them in… Click To Tweet

It may mean opening up our clenched fists and letting go of our own control as we place our deepest desires into the hands of our loving Savior and trust Him with the outcome, whatever it may be.

Is God trying to get my attention?

I used to believe that if I disobeyed God he might let something bad happen in order to get me back on track or teach me a lesson. I see God differently now. I believe that everything God does or allows is filtered through His hands of love. And sometimes when he allows pain, he uses that pain to get our attention. But it’s always out of love.

I don’t think God is always trying to get our attention by allowing pain. We live in a fallen world filled with grief and tragedies that happen every day. He grieves with us through those sorrows.

But since my “blogging arm” is numb and typing aggravates it, I had to wonder if God was trying to get my attention with regards to writing. You see, God loves me so much that He is jealous for me. When we are too busy doing “good” things and lose our communion with Him, he may get our attention. He just wants us back.

I know God led me to start this blog. Writing is an amazing ministry that has allowed me to face fear and share my faith with thousands of people around the world. 

Not being able to type has confirmed my love for writing. It’s confirmed in my heart that even though I don’t make money from my blog, it’s worth the investment of my time and money. Sharing the Lord with others through writing is such a huge blessing.

I read a blog post that asked, “What are you willing to do to have an encounter with God? What do you need to come down from?”

And so I surrendered this blog to the Lord. It’s His, not mine. It took some tears of letting go to tell God that if he wanted me to give it up, I would walk away from it tomorrow.

But I came to that place. It feels good to have that kind of peace. It feels good to know my relationship with Jesus is worth more to me than anything else. You see, I don’t think He’s really asking me to give it up. But I think He knew that I needed to surrender it into His loving arms. 

I’m so sorry if you are living with chronic pain. I would love to pray for you. You can email me anytime at valeriemurray@valeriemurray.com if you would like prayer.

What lessons have you learned by living with pain? Do you have any words of encouragement for someone who is struggling today? I would love for you to let us know in the comment section below.

This was the post I mentioned above in case you want to check it out!

 When You Feel Small: He Sees You by Shannon Geurin

 

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