Anyone suffering with chronic pain knows that though they would be done with it in a heartbeat, there are nevertheless many treasures to be found because of it.
One of the most significant works of grace God has been doing in me on this journey through chronic pain is shoring up the amazingly freeing truth that I am not my own.
For so long, I railed against this. I wanted my own life—to be left to pursue my dreams, goals, ambitions, to make of my life what I viewed as significant and meaningful.
But, as I have come to fully embrace the truth that I am not my own, but belong to a God who is far more loving, generous, kind, compassionate, intentional, and wise in His dealings with me than I could be to myself, there is a new-found freedom, rest, and joy in just allowing my life’s purpose to roll out as it will without having to strive for something other than what it is, without having to explain or defend all the hard, messy parts of it, without having to be angry about any injustices done to me or my family.
I get to rest in the knowledge that God is going to and that He IS working out all of it for my good, and that one day, He will make all the sad things about my life untrue.
All the missteps? He will reveal His faithfulness.
All the ways I feel broken, quirky, or inadequate? He will show His power, purpose, and strength in it all. And I will rejoice and be in awe at the glory of it all.
This has had a particularly profound and practical impact on me as I think about my physical health and the health of my children.
For years, I have read all I could get my hands on, watched as many documentaries on the food industry and the impact nutrition has on our health. I became deeply mistrusting and vilified conventional western medicine and the standard American diet.
I embraced a more holistic approach to health and found so much security in the idea that our bodies were created to heal themselves, that the pharmaceutical industry in our country is nothing but a greed-driven industry, making Americans sicker and increasingly dependent upon their products.
To a degree, I still believe some of these things. But I no longer allow them to be my source of hope, security, or sense of well-being.
God has taken me on quite a journey this past year—with a host of medical issues, one after another, sometimes one on top of another. And I noticed as each issue arose, I would clamor for a natural, holistic answer to each one. I would avoid the “band aids” offered by conventional western medicine.
I always found, however, that my spirit was not calm, but frantic as I sought out information and solutions from the natural/holistic camp. I found myself often driven by fear rather than faith as I implemented various protocols and remedies.
When I surrendered my health and the health of my family to God, I was able to access a peace about His directing, His provision, and also what He withheld. Sometimes He directed our steps to more natural remedies. Sometimes He led us to embrace “bandaids” in the form of steroids and narcotics.
Ultimately, when I fully embraced the truth that my life was not my own, and that this life is really not all there is, that I am not trying to live forever in this life, I found a new calm about the many health challenges we have and continue to face here in our home.
My ultimate goal is not to live forever. It is ultimately not even to avoid as much suffering or pain as possible. My goal is to walk intimately with God and to pursue my highest joy, which is intimacy with Him. I don’t know all the places that journey will take me.
This year, it took me to an acupuncturist and a surgeon, to a pain management office and an essential oil distributor, to using steroids and narcotics, to drinking bone broth and probiotics.
It is ALL under my good Father’s rule. And all of it can be used for my good. I am grateful for this peace.
Briana writes privately to order the chaos in her head. She writes publicly to offer solidarity and encouragement from the trenches versus a podium. She and her husband were gifted with twin boys and a daughter, all of whom have ongoing medical and/or mental health needs. She finds catharsis in pulling weeds from the plethora of flower and shrubbery beds on her wooded lot in Maryland and will squeal with delight to be offered dark chocolate with nuts.