Friday, August 22, 2014

Choosing Joy over Pain and Self Pity.

I have lost count of how many close friends have commented to me over the last several years that they do not know how I can keep a smile on my face when I am living with such intense chronic pain. All I know is that everyday I have to make a choice. I choose to live my life with pain rather than let my pain live my life. Sure, there are days when I spend a large portion of the day on the couch with my foot propped up. I can still have fun with my kiddos from the couch. I can still snuggle them and play games from the couch.

The one nice thing about Oklahoma is that it doesn't rain very often in the summer. We can go weeks without a drop of rain! Rainy days usually mean I am stuck on the couch with my foot propped up because of my pain. The weather significantly affects my pain. On rainy days I still hobble around the house taking care of my kiddos but I don't do grocery shopping or zoo days when a storm front is coming close. 

I am currently reading 'Choose Joy' by Kay Warren. I chose this book because I had been struggling with my attitude BIG time. I started noticing how grumpy and mean I was becoming. By 10:00 am everyday, I was in a foul disposition, I was tired and just plain moody! I do not want my husband coming home to a grumpy and miserable wife. I shutter at the thought of giving my kiddos a Mama who is always in a bad mood, tired and irritable. Nor do I want to be short-tempered and giving my family the complete opposite of what God has called me to be.

I had to acknowledge deep within my heart that I will always have pain. Unless God supernaturally heals me, and I whole-heatedly believe HE could, I will always experience nerve pain every single day. While this is not something I would have chosen for myself, I have come to accept this aspect of my life. After truly accepting the pain, I had to take a serious look at my heart. Why was I so grumpy, always on the verge of a freak-out moment?

While having quiet time I came across this passage:

2 Corinthians 12:9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses so that the power of Christ can work through me.
Vs 10. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

I have read that verse so many times throughout my life but have never had it hit my heart like this. I am such a weak creature. I am nothing without the grace and mercy of my God. It is Him and Him alone who gives me the energy and joy that I need to face every single day. Living with chronic nerve pain is hard. From the second my eyes open in the morning until I fall asleep at night (and I frequently wake up at night because of the pain) the pain is there. It is always there.

While I am not signing shouts of joy that I am in pain, I am able to boast in my God for getting me through another day. I can boast about His never ending love for me. I can use this pain for His glory. I can rest in the joy that God has filled my heart with. Only God can fill my soul with peace and comfort when I am suffering in pain. He alone can give the peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.” Phillipians 4:7 There is absolutely nothing comparable to the peace that God offers.

In 'Choosing Joy' Kay Warren says, “God uses dark times in our lives to reveal his majesty, to show us that he is the Creator, the Sustainer, the Deliverer, the Redeemer. He is the one we can run to. Meditating on the measure of his worth shifts our attention away from the seemingly insurmountable circumstances we are facing to a God who transcends them all.”

Quiet time with God has become the most important time of day for me. It is in those moments with Him that I am able to take the focus off of me and put it on Him. Reflecting on God and His goodness starts my day on the right foundation. If I start my day in Gods word, I am able to handle life with more grace and love than if I started my day on social media.

I want to encourage you, whatever you are struggling with, give it to God. Start your day in His word. Don’t have a Bible? Download the Bible App. Its free! There are so many reading plans- pick one and see how God uses it in your life. Change will not happen until you take responsibility for your own life and take the next step. Seek God, open the Bible and let Him fill your heart with joy!