Living a life with chronic pain is a unique challenge set before us. We must make choices constantly, often regarding the most simple and taken for granted types of things. It requires a lot of forethought, and often, it requires a lot of patience.
When I was first diagnosed with Fibromyalgia I was not relieved, I was not hopeful, I was not grateful. I was devastated. For quite some time I had been feeling miserable and I wanted an answer. I wanted a solution and a course of action to take that would return me to my former self. I wanted to go back to the person I knew before. . . before the fatigue, before the pain, before the insomnia. I wanted to know myself again.
As so many of us come to find out, God has plans for us that just don’t line up with the ones we have had for ourselves. His wisdom surpasses our own, and in His wisdom, we are often led to challenges and paths in life that are strange and unfamiliar. This path of chronic pain He set me on felt all too uncomfortable and I longed for the path that I had paved for myself prior to my diagnosis.
A time came though, after incredible grief and depression, that I found myself able to see beauty in my circumstance. Finding any part of this new path and life beautiful was impossible at the time I received the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia, but a day did come, where I noticed the first surprise God had tucked away in the nook of chronic pain.
It was close to a year ago, as I sat at my kitchen table on a Saturday afternoon. Still in my pajamas and knowing that my children would like to go outside and play, I was feeling sad that I did not have the energy to do this. I felt lonely and misunderstood. Something urged me to look for companionship and support, on the computer! I did a google search for “Christian chronic pain support”, not knowing what to expect. I stumbled upon Rest Ministries. I found myself intrigued and saw hope and friendship calling to me through the Rest Ministries Sunroom. I am so grateful that I answered that call.
For several months and often several hours a day, I spent time on the computer meeting friends and fellow Christians who understood the plight of living life with chronic pain. I had not ever experienced this kind of understanding since developing Fibromyalgia. I found a treasure trove of friendships awaiting me and ready and willing to share life with me. I found others with similar situations as I; I found others dealing with much more challenging circumstances than I, and I found that we all shared Christ’s love with one another. I formed relationships online as deep as any friendship that I had ever known “in person” and to say I was surprised would be putting it mildly.
I was delighted by this gift the Lord had given me. I no longer suffered in silence. I was able to speak about my challenges, comfort others challenged themselves, and be a part of a community that seemed to want and need me. It was an enormous blessing.
Through Rest Ministries I have met so many others facing chronic pain and I have expanded my horizons on the internet. I am actively participating in things that I would not have dreamed possible for me a short year ago. I am still a member at Rest Ministries, but I am also actively involved in a smaller community that shares some particular areas of interest of mine. I am pursuing ideas and dreams that God has blessed me with, that I was unable to even remotely entertain before.
I am mystified by the Lord’s ways of working things out for good in my life. My diagnosis of Fibromyalgia has given me gifts I would never have received if it weren’t for this new way of life that I live. In many ways, my life has just begun. It is a new beginning, on a new journey, and around each bend there is likely to be a beautifully planted surprise.