“Pain is a pesky part of being human, I’ve learned it feels like a stab wound to the heart, something I wish we could all do without, in our lives here. Pain is a sudden hurt that can’t be escaped. But then I have also learned that because of pain, I can feel the beauty, tenderness, and freedom of healing. Pain feels like a fast stab wound to the heart. But then healing feels like the wind against your face when you are spreading your wings and flying through the air! We may not have wings growing out of our backs, but healing is the closest thing that will give us that wind against our faces.” ~C. JoyBell C.
“Do you feel the pain when wind blows against your face?” the doctor asked. “How about brushing your teeth, or a hand touching your cheek?”
“No,” my mom replied. “None of those trigger the pain. Changes in the barometric pressure, certain loud noises, and lying down in bed at night are what set my pain in motion. I have to start out sleeping upright, but then I can lie down later.”
What lesson is life teaching me right now?
That there is suffering in our world. People hurt. We can look at someone and have no idea.
My mom has been teaching me this for years, but now that she lives 30 miles, instead of 3,000 miles away, I have the honor of watching pain work its lessons into life. My mom is one of those people you would never know by observation that she has endured medical suffering for most of her life. So often, she chooses to smile and serve, but I know she’s getting tired. The pain caused by trigeminal neuralgia is taking it’s toll on her patience and endurance. Yesterday was spent with an entire team on neurologists and radiologists to discuss my mom’s atypical symptoms and possible treatment.
Charlie Brown said, “In the book of life, the answers aren’t found in the back.” I watched my mom stand before her own crossroads yesterday. The decision she faces is whether to run the risk of a procedure that could free her pain, but the side effects may cause facial numbness that complicates other things. God is unfathomable in His creation of the human body. The three (trigeminal) nerves that give us facial feeling are the very nerves that are affected in my mom’s case. It will take a destructive procedure to (prayerfully) eliminate the pain, but in that act of destruction there is the fine line of destroying what brings feeling.
Have you thought about how important it is to feel your face? The nerves prevent you from biting your tongue, burning yourself, or leaving a foreign speck over your cornea!
This is one of the qualities I love about God’s decision to send His Son. Sure, He came to save the world, but during those years of living in bodily form, God felt His face. He ate food and probably bit his tongue. Another human hand brushed over his cheek. He wiped tears from His eyes and removed dust from them too.
He suffers with us.
He sits upright by our side when it’s too painful to lie down. He is with us when we face a team of doctors and weigh our options. He walks with us through difficult decisions, never guaranteeing the answer or outcome, but most importantly, He takes it when we choose to trust those big choices into His care.
What lesson is life teaching you right now?
Are you journeying through a smooth and seamless season?
Remember, nothing is permanent. Breathe in the ease and comfort now. Acknowledge the giver of all good gifts.
Are you journeying through a season of intentionality and progress?
Remember to pursue those things that express your ultimate values and don’t get caught up in the temporal accomplishments of this limited life. Every decision we make has long-term impact. Know your purpose and live each day toward that end goal. Don’t end up anywhere by accident, just because it was the easier route to take. Also, those among you will not be there forever. Don’t forget them while running in the direction of your goals.
Are you journeying through a season of fear?
Feel the fear and move forward anyway. My mom had a difficult night’s sleep, as she wrestled with her decision, yet she called first thing this morning to begin her plans for the procedure. The pain she is experiencing keeps her from living her best life. She is ready to move forward, despite the fear of possible side-effects. Honestly, my mom’s tenacity through trials is mind blowing. At age 77 and close to 30 surgeries in one lifetime (including 3 invasive head surgeries to alleviate the pain of trigeminal neualgia–one giving her 15 years of relief), her ability to grab life and keep moving through adversity is worthy of my utmost respect.
People have told me I’m brave. My mom chose bravery first and I chose to follow.
Are you journeying through a decision making season?
Remember that it is not what happens to you that matters most, it is how you respond. Your choices create your future! What kind of choices are you privileged enough to make today? We can choose to hit a brick wall or remain flexible. We can choose to give up or work on the relationship. We can choose to play it safe in misery, or push past the fear. We can choose to make excuses, or pursue our dreams. We can choose to gaze down someone else’s path in envy, or blaze the unique path God created for us before one of our days came to be.
You have the chance to choose!
Are you journeying through a season of suffering?
Because of the incarnation, God hears our sorrows differently. Hebrews 5:8 says, “Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered.” And Hebrews 4:14 says, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are…”
As we move into Holy week, life is teaching me right now that He is in the midst of suffering. When electrical currents of pain shoot through my mother’s face, so a studded metal whip cracked Jesus’.
His trigeminal nerves were brutalized for our healing.
We may groan together, in the presence of Him who wailed on the cross, while we wade through the lessons of life, knowing that one day the stab of pain will hurt no longer.
We will be whole.
We will know full healing.
We will feel the wind on our face and fly on wings of perfection.
Photo credit: Flickr (Creative Commons)
Kim’s signature closing:
Welcome new readers, and those well loved! My blogs are focused on authentic Christianity and real life decisions. History proves that my readers interact most comfortably through an email exchange, rather than a public comment. You are always welcome to find me at email@example.com. I welcome your questions or comments and will do my best to respond in a timely manner.
My deepest desire is for you to know Jesus real. He is not just a positive thought, a model to follow, or a comfortable space to hear love. He is life. Adventure. He can be the very air you breathe with just one decision. I never knew Him until I ended up sitting on a dirty field in India. He met me there, and that gripping tale of redemption is found in my life’s work: The Chance to Choose: Become Who You Were Meant to Be One Choice At a Time. I’d love all my reader’s to know the story. It is there where you’ll understand me, and the One I serve, best. Click on printed/signed copy, or Kindle version (also available on Nook and Apple iBook) to purchase, and if you need more, check out the book trailer below: