Saturday, April 30, 2011

Realities of Life With Chronic Pain and Grieving

I love spring.  Being able to get outside and enjoy nature after a long winter always lifts my "spirits".  This spring has been different though. I am learning to accept that that I cannot do the things I used to do.  We are in the process of adding on to our yard which involves digging up bushes, busting concrete, building a fence, landscaping, etc.  It is very hard for me to sit stand around and do nothing. But if I try to squat, bend, or lift very much I will pay for it in the following days or weeks.  It's hard to watch my parents who are 20 years older than me be able to do so much more than me.  At the end of the day they are exhausted and sore.  I am exhausted and sore too but all I have done is swept the front porch, washed the dishes, and taken care of my daughter.

I used to love to run in the springtime. Every once in a while I run a few feet just to remember the feeling. I wasn't a real "runner", but I jogged 2-3 miles probably 4 days a week.  I thought after I had my daughter and got back in shape I might train for a 10K or half marathon. But I was never able to get "back in shape". My husband and I loved going to parks and running or hiking when we first were married. Now I am thrilled if I can walk 20 minutes on flat ground pushing a stroller. 

So what do we do when life looks so very different than we had hoped or imagined?  What do we do when we are unable to do the things we used to enjoy so much?  I'd like to act like I've "arrived" and no longer get jealous of others who can do the things I can't or get depressed thinking about the way life used to be. But that's not the case.  I'd like to think I am slowly becoming accustomed to my new "normal" and have fewer days of "woe is me" than I used to, but it's still a struggle.  Grieving is normal for anyone suffering from a chronic condition.  But when I begin to grieve, I try to remind myself that the things I've "lost": my strength, my hobbies, my future ambitions; were never really mine.  Everything I have comes from the Lord.  I am just a lump of clay, after all.

"But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand." Isaiah 64:8. 

In our grieving we want to question God and ask "why". Why did this have to happen? Why can't doctor's find a cure?  Why can't I enjoy life like other people my age?  Why can't I at least be able to  _______? And the list continues. But are these things really ours to question?

"But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, "Why have you made me like this?" Has the potter no right over the clay...?" Romans 9:20-21

Unlike us, God is sovereign. He is he all knowing, all powerful, and in complete control.  And while it hurts that I can't do the things I once enjoyed so much, I can trust my potter has the best plan for my life and is working for my good.  It might not be a plan that I particularly like, but it will be what brings God the most honor.  It may be that by taking away my strength it gives me more opportunity to reflect on the things of God.  Or by being unable to do the things I enjoyed I am forced to find new hobbies that glorify God.  He is the potter and we are the clay.

Some days I accept these truths better than others.


  1. I relate. Thank you.

  2. I stumbled across this blog entry as I was searching for articles related to how the grief process manifests in folks with chronic pain. I feel like I'm grieving the loss of the person I could have been. Thank you for reminding me that God still holds the future, and I can trust who He is forming me into. Limitations and all.