… or are they??
website of author Paula Offutt
Ways to Deal
There are places to go and people to talk to about this healing thing and how it relates to your faith. Or is it the other way around?
There are some online places:
American Chronic Pain Association: another group you can join but they also have some wonderful online resources. This is a nationally recognized group, not related to any particular faith.
InfoMIN: “Chronic Pain, CFS, FMS and other Medical Resources”. Huge listing of places, books, articles etc.
Resources for the Caregivers and/or Spouses:
Caregiver’s Health, part of Intellihealth.
Nat’l Family Caregivers Association: “education, support, empowerment, advocacy”
The following is an essay I wrote.
I asked to be healed
and God told me to Sit Stay
Ask and you shall receive.
Go and sin no more. You are healed.
And here I sit, in my powerchair, popping pills for pain control, hooking my cervical spine up to an electric impulse gadget to assist with muscle spasms, unable to work, unable to sleep regularly, unable to stand long enough for a decent shower.
I prayed to God for healing. I begged God for healing. I asked in Jesus the Christ’s name for healing.
And here I sit.
I cried and argued and cursed and cried some more. I begged and pleaded and even tried to bribe and bargain.
And here I sit.
Then I got angry. Why not me? Why aren’t I healed even a little bit? Why am I still in pain, still unable to do the most mundane of daily chores? Why did you do this to me?
And here I still sit.
Then, a series of events started:
I heard in a conversation that God set into motion laws – the law of gravity, of nature, of relativity, etc. And these laws are what keep the order around us. Sometimes, God interferes in these laws, but that is the rare occasion. The burning bush – the law of nature says that bush should have been charcoal, but it was not. The parting of the Red Sea for Moses and the Israelites to cross should not have happened, but God kinda tweaked with the laws of gravity a little bit.
I heard in a sermon something I had heard many times before, even used it myself to share Jesus with others. "Nothing can come between you and the grace of God." Or something like that. "The enemy uses what it can to make a wedge between you and God. What in your life is the enemy using to cause problems on your end between you and God?"
A wonderful preacher woman, Rev. Delores Barry, once held my hands and said a prayer. She said, among other things, that the joy had been stolen from my life and I had to get it back. That life was like an onion and I needed help from God to get it peeled back. She asked God to empty me out and to refill me with Joy. She asked that my each breath out be the catalyst to empty me and may each breath in be full of Joy from God.
I attended a workshop that dealt in praying with the whole body. And in it, we were told that one of the best ways to empty yourself for prayer is to first concentrate on the breathing out. To breath out all the crap in our mind. And that when we feel that we are empty, we then concentrate on the breathing in, and to have each breath be full of God and to fill that empty space inside us.
I had a "psychiatric" episode. I went into counseling and started taking a medication for my immense depression. Once I emerged onto the other side of that experience, I found new energy and, better yet, new gumption.
In counseling, I learned that healing was like an onion. Sometimes the wound is near the surface, other times further down. And each layer peeled back was exposed and explored and learned from and, yes, healed.
So why doesn’t God heal me? If God can part the sea and cause a bush to flame yet not even wilt, why can’t God change a simple little gene?
It’s the wedge. The enemy uses a wedge to get between us and God. No such wedge exists – but we can perceive that it to be there.
My pain is not from God. The genetic blunder that causes my disability is not from God. Life happens. The law of chance said that one out of who-knows-how-many would have a mutation in such-and-such gene. My genes have a mutation that causes the collagen of the cells to be hyper-elastic. Which means certain cells in my body are too stretchy, going beyond the limits set on them by yet another law. This extra stretching causes problems with my body, primarily my joints where the connective tissues allow the joints to go further than they were designed, doing damage each time. If I joined someone in raking the yard for an hour, my body will be similar to the body of someone who did it for 2 or more hours.
God answered my prayers. I was healed. The mental instability I had been having for many years was finally leaving. Depression can hide in crevices and cracks for a long time, slowly eroding away at a person’s life.
God answered my prayers. I was healed. I now faced my daily pain with spunk and more humor than usual. I found that I was actually closer to God on my bad days. Not much else but God could fit in what was left of my Self at such
times. We talked quietly, usually about not much, sometimes about heavy stuff.
God is not the cause of my pain. God is not there. God is in what I do with my life, how I deal with life, how I deal with others. God is the source of my joy. And I find joy in the doing, not the getting it done. I try to find joy in the short showers, the powerchair I sit in, the dog who is my constant companion now.
I try to find joy in as much as I can. I am not a bubbling optimist but I am not exactly Little Miss Stoic either.
The enemy lost its wedge. Once I saw that God was not the cause of my pain nor my disability nor in my depression, I was able to see that wedge need not be there. Once I started counseling and was put on medication, the fog of depression lifted. God was not the cause of that either. And that wedge is not there anymore.
Often, I try to evaluate what the enemy is doing to keep me from God. I sometimes feel that my anger toward inaccessible churches and non-inclusivity is a wedge the enemy is trying to create. Adds a taint to my message.
Healing is in layers. Someday, I will stand among the Saints in Heaven and that final layer will be gone. I will stand and run and leap for Joy as I make my way to God. In the meantime, I work on examining my life and what life gives me. It really is the basic premise to being a Christian. To be Christ like – to do what we have to do for the glory of God. If Jesus could allow himself to die on the cross, then I can suffer through life at waist level.
The enemy had a hard time finding something to use as a wedge. And I just recently stumbled across it. I was so busy arguing about the mote in another’s eye, I missed the plank sticking out of mine. I have been fighting for inclusivity within my Christian siblings. I want to be able to attend any church but sadly I cannot. Many of the churches are inaccessible to anyone in a wheelchair, deaf, blind, and many other forms of disability. And the enemy used that anger as a wedge. By placing something between me and my Christian siblings, there was a wedge between me and God. My anger does nothing good unless it is channeled right. I am now back on the better path. If Jesus could put up with 12 of the biggest blockheads (man, what a wedge the enemy came up with there!), then I can put up with churches that are not inclusive or accessible. Someday, just like the Disciples, God’s churches will see the truth.