9 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.This post is for those of us who are living with pain: injuries, disease, disorders, you name it. Pain stinks! You know my history - herniated disc in the lower back, two surgeries to fix it, re-herniation, and now more sharp, insistent pain in the low back and down my right leg... again. It's frustrating and maddening and all-consuming! When every move you make shoots pain through your body it is hard to think through it. It's hard to focus on things you need to do because you hurt and your pain recepters are going to make sure you know that you are hurting and they aren't happy. My question today is: how do I find the love through the pain?
Does that make sense? Let me try to explain. When all your brain processes is pain it's very easy to become irritable. I find that little things will just set me off: toys on the floor, kids knocking my chair, more toys on the floor, someone else knocking me off balance - you get the picture! Every nerve in my body is on edge right now and it takes so little for one of my beautiful treasures to step right on it and set me off! Since I can't put myself away in a padded room full of pain relievers, what can I do? How do I love through this pain?
First, I have to acknowledge that there is a problem. I am hurt... again... and need to take steps to make it better. This means regular Motrin, not sitting too long, icing, and using my "Mini-Masseuse" machine. Nothing new, but these are activities that eat into time I'd much rather spend doing other things. This is all a big pain in the rear (literally!) but very necessary. I can't just sit back and play the victim. If I want to feel better - and I do - I have to take steps that will help make that happen.
Second, I have to watch the attitude. Yes, I hurt and it stinks and it would be great if it would go away, but I also have a family that still needs care and loving even though I don't feel good. I think my frustration has come from a perceived lack of empathy from the younger girls. They see me hurting and it translates into an inconvenience for them instead of an opportunity to help. My struggle right now is to teach a different attitude without just being mean, crazy mom and losing my mind. If I can learn to look at my situation like Paul did I think I could really do the girls a lot of good. I can honestly tell you that I have a really hard time looking at this physical weakness as a strength or opportunity for God, but it can be! If I can take my own thoughts and perceptions out of the equation and focus on how God can be glorified through my situation He will make my weakness a strength! The question is: can I do it?
Third, I have to keep on track. This setback can't affect my forward progress. I still need to write and work on my ongoing projects. If that means working in snatches as my back allows, that's what I will do. Yes, it'll stink and it'll wreak havoc with my "Zone" time, but I have to make it work! I know from experience that the best way to stave off the depression that would love to creep in is to keep myself in God's word and in close communion with Him every day. My favorite way to do this is writing, so I have to keep it up. If that means writing for 15 minutes and taking a 5 minute break, that is what I will do. If that means using paper and a pen while I'm icing and typing later, I'll make that work too! I can stay on my positive work track and keep my forward momentum if I fully rely on God to get me through this.
Finally, I have to keep God close. Having done this same routine a few times before, I know that falling to my knees in front of God and His mighty power is the only thing that will let me love through this pain. If I have to be weak in order to be strong in Christ I will take it! I would much rather be strong for Christ and feeble in body than strong in self and weak in Christ! I know that He is stronger than my weakness and He will carry me through this. So, how do I love through the pain? I put my arms around God and let His love radiate through me to those around me. I can't do it on my own, but if I let Him do the hard part I can't lose!