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…]

Change Your Questions, Change Your Life . . .

Questions. They rattle through our heads like a string of cans tied to a scared dog’s tail, bouncing, crashing, skipping around erratically. The more noise they make the faster our mind goes . . .

What questions do you ask?

Will I have enough money in 2013 to pay my debts from 2012? Where should I go to college? Will that business deal come through this week? Will that person ever like me? What am I going to do with this medical situation?

For me right now, its
Will Liz fully recover soon? Can I learn this language, and soon? What next steps should we take in ministry, and will they work?

(Photo by photoloni at Creative Commons)

(Photo by photoloni at Creative Commons)

Questions. I wonder what questions you and I ask. And I wonder how those questions control our stress levels, our faith level, and, ultimately, our actions. What questions do you ask? [Read more…]

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