Today I’m coming out of a couple of months of migraine fog culminating in a few days of pain I cannot describe. I am seasoned at functioning smoothly through migraines that make childbirth look like a relaxation exercise, so know that it really was like coming to the end of myself. I say this because it fell at a time when I was trying to accept a painful truth about something in my life and what the end result would be. I was already feeling a little helpless. Then, the nausea, dizziness, blurred vision, fuzzy memory, and fatigue were just icing and had been coming on so slowly that I almost accepted it as normal, until the real headache began. Trust me, the headaches weren’t psychosomatic and I wasn’t being melodramatic ( I saw the x-rays of my neck- I was injured on vacation.) So, it was all hitting me at once and making it almost impossible to think, much less function. I did finally focus enough to go see the doctor (though I went in with my shirt on backwards- no kidding) and was following his orders, so there was nothing else I could do. But, it was one of those times where too many bricks are stacked on top of me and no matter how calm or thorough I try to be, I can neither take them off nor keep them stacked. I was just going to get a little flattened before it was all over.
At one point I knew that if this pain shooting through my head didn’t stop soon there was no other place this could end but the emergency room. Who would pick up the kids? Could I drive like this? What is wrong with me? I remember saying to God, “I need you now” when I thought I would pass out, and I kind of wanted to.
In those moments I would remember fragments of verses, some I learned as a child, about His comfort and His purpose in my life, even if that purpose requires enduring some pain. I remembered “On Christ the solid rock I stand. All other ground is sinking sand.” I thought about how we sang that as children without realizing that in this song He was very much aware that we were on slippery ground. It implied that He allows it, even orders it, so that we must stand on Him alone. Kids never think about things like that.
I had flashes of part of Acts I’d been reading where Jesus’ apostles are flogged for speaking His name and they are so excited about it because they were counted worthy enough to suffer for Him. My problem with that has always been that my personal suffering wasn’t Christian martyr stuff. I live in America, I’m not under persecution. This month it was headaches and pinched nerves. How does this bring Him glory?
But here’s the thing, I am learning that any suffering we endure the right way- not getting mean or too frightened or relying on some thing to medicate it that can’t really, but instead relying on Him- brings glory to Him. There may be no benefit that I can see with my eyes, and no other soul may know what we’ve done, but if I love Him (and I do) knowing I did this well is enough. I am almost scared to write that, because it sounds like the most adult thing I’ve ever said. Plus, I may turn around and act like a total baby about something else tonight. But, there it is.
Someone once told me that we are likes tubes of toothpaste and we have to be squeezed to see what is inside. Well, I’m glad that, under this pressure, these were some of the thoughts that came out and that it wasn’t all, “Woe is me!” and expletives. Make no mistake, “Woe is me!” was definitely in there too.
Thankfully, things are being straightened out and I am not in that kind of pain anymore. But, I have to say that I felt like I was being given a physical, literal picture to how I have to withstand pain of any kind. That I may feel the most incredible pain for a long period of time but still have to choose what I do with my thoughts and with myself during it. I hope I’m ready.
Today I was able to walk without pain in the cool morning air and I was very grateful.