Chronic pain is a rough way to live. No end in sight and no relief had me really doubting everything. I had lived with mental illness for 25 years and was finally just freed from it. And now chronic pain was my new reality. A permanent back injury and then a tear in my hip that may not be repairable. I was a little over half way through my wait time to see a surgeon about my hip. I was learning pretty quickly that my faith wasn’t in God as much as I thought it was. This is why it is so important to have a solid foundation in God, to know who he says you are and to %100 believe the good promises he has for you. That way when these big circumstances or storms come, we don’t fall. Well, I was falling and falling fast. I had those ugly thoughts and feelings that we don’t like to admit. The ‘why me? Haven’t I been through enough? Are you punishing me?’ I had a rush of self pity and I felt completely alone, as if God had just thrown me away. These thoughts were not from God because that is not who he is, but I slowly let them take over and I went into the darkness. My thoughts were going to those scary places. ‘What is the point of believing in God? I’m not meant to be happy, so why would God tease me with hope. What is the point in living?’ This is why it is so important to be mindful of our thoughts, and to gain control of them before they gain control of us.
I let these thoughts consume me. I stopped caring about myself and living for God. A deep debilitating depression came over me, so fast that it felt as if it had never left. I began to harm myself by cutting. This was a coping mechanism I had used in the past to try and stop the thoughts, knowing it would bring nothing but pain, but that is the desperation I found myself in. Things I was freed from years before were taking over and starting to make sense to me again. I needed a wake up call. Well eventually a few friends discovered how far and deep I had fallen. I was beyond embarrassed and ashamed. I could no longer keep up the appearance of being ‘a good Christian’ which is something I felt I needed to do. I needed help. My group of friends, who had become my family over the years, rallied around me and fought for me when I couldn’t fight for myself. I had no reason to get out of bed, my mentality was ‘why bother?’ Wether I’m in pain in bed or on the couch, what is the difference? My world was falling apart. Chronic pain in my hip and then muscle I built up to support the back injury from years earlier slowly disappeared and I was now at the point where the back pain was worse than before I first injured it. My finances were cut in half due to having to go on disability, I was also putting on weight rapidly and hated everything about myself. I knew how God saw me and who he said I was, but knowing and believing are two different things. My faith was not in God. I was very careful who I let into my new reality because I was so ashamed. You know, God never gives us more than we can handle, although in this chapter or season of life, I have really felt stretched to my limit.
I started to see a little light again when I received a surprise call to see a hip surgeon in my city, 4 months before my other appointment. I was so excited, that was until the fear hit. What if it was my brain like my doctor thought? What if he can’t fix it? I went in March 2016 to see the surgeon about my hip and he told me the pain was definitely due to the tear, not my brain and faulty nerves as my doctor had thought. He then went on to tell me he was going to do surgery to try and repair it. Wow! What a relief, there is a chance that this can be repaired. I praised God for being so good to me, even though I had done nothing to deserve it. That is how God is, unfailing perfect love. I had a new fire in me but again I struggled to trust God. Wait times for surgery are at least 9 months and then recovery for this surgery is 6-9 months due to the amount of physio required. I let the weight of my circumstances keep me from surrendering it to God. Depression still had it’s strong grip on me. I found myself still falling, I found the negative in everything and let every situation steal my joy. I was compromising my standards left and right, little slips here and there. I made excuses but said there were certain lines I would not cross because I still had a small part of me that wanted to be faithful to God. I knew that if I crossed those lines, I probably wouldn’t be coming back from them.
Well, I crossed a line, I numbed myself with alcohol and got wasted. Not only did I do this, but I did this in front of someone who is a friend, and who I had been telling about the goodness of God months earlier. I felt like the biggest hypocrite and I was! Some may ask what’s the big deal with drinking? For me, numbing is something I used as a drug to cope with life. This is not how I intend to live and I had declared to never live like that again. I was shaken to my core that I could so easily slip over a boundary I had set and was confident in. After falling so hard in so many areas I knew I had two choices. Walking away from God and giving into the darkness, which would ultimately lead to death. Or finally surrendering it all to God like I prayed and asked for. I’ve learned that asking God to take control and willingly giving it to him are two different things, that require different levels of faith in God, who cannot be physically seen. I made my choice, and in the next part of my story I will tell you what I chose and how things have changed.
Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2