5 Can’t-Miss Lessons for Walking with People in Pain

As many of you know, this has been the hardest year of my life. I’ve lost count of the number of doctor’s visits we’ve had, but it’s well over 70. The battle with depression and discouragement has been just as real. Along the way, I’ve asked you for permission to share some of the things God is teaching me. But this post isn’t only about me–it’s about someone else who has walked in tremendous physical and emotional pain, and the things we’ve all been learning as we walk this road together. This one’s a bit longer than normal, but it comes from the gut. Thanks for letting us share some of the lessons we’ve learned . . .

(Photo by vajdic at sxc.hu)

(Photo by vajdic at sxc.hu)

It’s hard to walk with someone through times of tremendous pain. And tremendous pain is what my sister has experienced for 14 years. In 1999, she suffered a severe head injury. This led to too many problems to count–chronic, high-level pain . . . extreme fatigue . . . constant nausea and dizziness . . . loads of spinal problems . . . . Then, just as she was finally recovering, nearly 10 years later, disaster struck again. While on a work assignment in Peru, a bus she was riding got in a traffic accident. Faced again with spinal problems and a head injury, her body went into a fully reactive mode, and began to attack everything. She developed off-the-charts food allergies, and then the life-changing burden of Multiple Chemical Sensitivities. It was–and is–heart-breaking.

In the first years after her injury, she shared her world of pain with me by writing. I remember sitting at my desk in university, crying hot tears of anguish as I struggled to type a response. I remember walking the neighborhoods of NE Portland, yelling at God at the top of my lungs. The pain she has felt has been real and fresh. The questions we ask in those moments are raw and unfiltered. I was doing everything I could to understand what she was going through. She would say that I was one of the best at entering her pain with her. 

But I still I had no idea. 

And then it happened to me–to us. [Read more…]

Good News


Last you heard from me on here, things were going very badly. Thick in the battle with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, I was reduced to 25–30% of my normal capacity for life. It was among the hardest seasons of my life.

Thankfully, I have good news to share! But first, a bit of the back story:
About a year ago, I started inhaling a prescribed antioxidant called Glutathione a couple of times a week. Your body naturally makes Glutathione to flush toxins from your system, but mine seems to make it in smaller amounts. It was supposed to help me feel better–and for the 3–5 hours after I took it, I always did feel much better. It also took away my chronic asthma (which I’ve had since age 4). It seemed to be working!

In May, I started taking it daily, as prescribed. At the same time, my struggle with Multiple Chemical Allergies suddenly escalated, which I attributed to the extra exposure I was getting during our trip to the states. This stayed in an escalated state for almost 6 months. It was brutally hard.

About six weeks ago, one of our prayer supporters sent me an email. [Read more…]

Caution: Change Ahead

Sometimes you see things coming. And other times, things are forced upon you. Last week it was the second one.

MCS, Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, Youth Ministry

(Photo by Christopher Whalen at Creative Commons)

Day one of summer camp for our denomination started well. After months of focusing on MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivities) I was glad to be back in a familiar role: camp speaker. Also familiar was the easy banter of being with students, the constant dunking attempts of middle school boys in the water (they were about 1 for 20 against me), and the dinner-time conversations of a camp filled with high school and university students. After a day of fun in the water, we settled into an evening of singing, teaching, and games. I was looking forward to digging into Philippians chapter one with the group the next morning. It felt great to be back at camp.

And then the fog rolled in. [Read more…]

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