How I'm Turning My Pain Into a Positive Force
When I was 17 years old, I woke up one day with a fierce back pain unlike anything I had ever experienced. Days passed, and then weeks, and finally years, and the pain never went away. Developing chronic pain at the young age of 17 has taught me a lot about life and determination, and it also made me grow up fairly quick. But despite all of the lessons and time, I still was struggling with the idea that I was going to have pain for the rest of my life. I seemingly was unable to cope with the idea that this was how my life was going to look.
I repeatedly prayed for understanding, read inspirational books, wrote about how I felt and reached out to friends and family for comfort. In ways it was helping, but at the end of the day I would sit in my room and cry and sometimes even scream because it all felt so pointless. Now being 20 years old, I felt lost. I could not fathom why God had given me this pain, why he had placed this lifelong burden upon me. I wondered what the rest of my life would be like. Would I be able to do the job I loved? Would I be able to have kids one day and be an active mother? Thousands of questions ran through my head, and as I was questioning all of this I began to realize that something was growing on my heart. Somewhere deep inside of me, acceptance and understanding were forming, even though I didn’t quite know it yet.
During this year, I was really struggling with coming to terms with my pain, even more so because the pain had gotten significantly worse. I felt helpless and alone. Every day seemed pointless to me, because in my eyes, I had this pain for no reason and nothing good would come from it. But slowly, I was beginning to understand this wasn’t the case. The more I thought, the more things were beginning to make sense. I called my mom one night and asked her, “What if God gave me this pain so I can help others?” She agreed I likely was onto something, and I immediately thought of the verse in the book of Isaiah which reads, “I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born.” I was finally beginning to understand what this meant.
After all of this time, I have finally come to terms with my pain, because I have learned to accept I was given this pain for a reason. Sometimes I still get upset, and I still have bad days, but I know now I’m fighting a good fight with an end goal. I fully believe I was given chronic pain so I can help others who are struggling with chronic illnesses and chronic pain like me. I’m currently enrolled in Occupational Therapy school so that one day in the near future, I can do exactly this for a living. I believe I’m called to help people understand that chronic pain/illness isn’t a curse, and it’s not the end of the story. I want to help these individuals live their best life possible and help them learn to bring forth something new and beautiful from their pain.
Charles Spurgeon once wrote, “Sickness has frequently been of more use to the saints of God than health has.” I absolutely adore this quote, because it speaks to what I had been longing to know for years. As those who struggle with pain and illness, we need to be reminded that our story doesn’t end here. We have the ability to help others through what we’ve experienced. What if we thought of our pain as something that can help heal others, rather than burden ourselves? What if we took our pain and used it to show love and mercy to others who are struggling? As for me, I’ve learned a lot over the past year alone, and I’ve come to understand that it’s our job to remind people that pain isn’t where the story ends, it’s where the story begins.
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Thinkstock photo via DragonImages.