Chronic pain

He sees you

During this beautiful spring season, I find myself standing in my closet, just staring at my clothes. I wonder what shirt I can wear that won’t hurt my skin. That one is too tight, that one has material that is too rough, and that one requires an undershirt which hurts my skin…this dialogue can last 5 – 10 minutes every day.

Four and a half years ago, the shingles virus became active in my body along the left side of my abdomen and back. Though the rash was mild and only lasted two weeks, my body has never been the same since.

I can’t lie on my left side while sleeping. I have had to change my wardrobe to items that don’t rest too tightly along my skin. I’ve had to reduce my physical activity. Every day I wear two large lidocaine patches on my skin and take 3 medicines just so I can function. The pain still remains and is felt daily, but I can care for my family again.

If you looked at me, you wouldn’t know anything about my daily struggles with chronic pain. Lately I try to ignore it, because I’m tired of giving it any more time and attention. I’ve moved on in my head and tried to erase it from my story, but my body daily reminds me that the pain is still ever present.

From January of 2013 to August 2014, I was unable care for my family, to sit upright, stand up, or walk any distance. Every move was painful and breath-taking. But through doctors and 4 medicines, God rescued me from that life. I can care for my family again, exercise, and enjoy outdoor activities with family and friends. God has given me so much that I want to continue to be grateful instead of focus on what I have lost.

I realize though that it’s ok to grieve what I have lost. God wants me to entrust my pain and my hurting heart to him. He sees my pain and wants to come alongside me. My Father wants to be my comfort and my safe place. I can rest in Him and let Him hold me close.

Isaiah 40:30-31

He gives power to the weak
    and strength to the powerless.
Even youths will become weak and tired,
    and young men will fall in exhaustion.
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
    They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
    They will walk and not faint.

I know I can lean into the pain instead of run away from it. I can stop trying to erase chronic pain from my story and instead embrace it. For it’s in my most painful moments, where God’s love and kindness have been the most visible.

You may not be going through chronic illness, but perhaps you find yourself nursing an old wound that you have grown tired of caring for. Perhaps you have pain lying under the surface that no one sees. Lean into the painful circumstance and embrace it. Know that God sees your wound, your pain, and your loneliness. Your good father sees you and wants to love you right where you are.  Allow him to breathe His breath of love onto you today, and let His presence comfort you.

8 thoughts on “He sees you

  1. Sue, I’m so sorry that your struggle with shingles continues! I live with daily pain as well and know that it can be very draining and discouraging at times. 2013-14 were very hard years for both of us! But thank you for the reminder that it’s ok to grieve the losses. “Sucking it up” seldom works very long for me! God IS present with us and can comfort us if we let Him. Thank you for taking the time to write this –it was an encouragement to me. (I think your blog looks great, by the way! I hope to find time to read thru more of your posts!)

  2. Not only does God see us, but He also sees what we don’t. Thanking Him for rescuing you from the worst of it and using this painful part of your life to minister to others. It did me ???

  3. Thanks Becca! Yes it’s hard to fathom all that God knows and sees. As always I appreciate your continued encouragement and support!

  4. Oh my friend…I truly hate that you are still daily walking in this pain but encouraged that you are allowing God to work in you during these difficult times. Continuing to pray for healing and rest. Love you!

    1. Thank you friend! I’m trying to see God’s grace through it instead of just be frustrated by it. I covet your prayers.

  5. I had no idea you were dealing with so much pain Sue. Have you read the story of Hagaar in Genesis. This story of God who sees is my lifeline often. And the name Ishmael means “God hears”. So powerful.

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