When I started this website I did not intend to write about my health situation. Though it does deeply impact my life every day, it was not what I wished to focus on. Recently my husband Butch suggested that it would be ok to write about it every now and then. I’ve thought about it, and I’ve become more comfortable with the idea. Sharing some of my experiences about this trial will allow me to testify to God’s mercy and grace. Through all my suffering, he has been my rock and my shield. He has provided for me in many ways. I am happy to share the details about that to his glory. There is also the hope that others who are experiencing their own trials might be encouraged by hearing about God’s provision. God is ever present in suffering. He sustains and strengthens in the darkest times. In the moments when I slipped beyond the end of my rope, he was there. His presence and the promises in his word restored me and lifted me to heights my rope cannot even come close to reaching. Another reason for writing is that it might do me some good. Getting things down on paper can be healing. For these reasons, I have decided to write every now and then about my life on the couch.
I guess a good place to start is to explain my situation. I have been dealing with chronic pain since 1996. Things have slowly worsened over the years. Currently, I am mostly housebound and need to rest by lying down on the couch throughout the day. Things got to this point approximately 5 ½ years ago. I rest on the couch because the pain in my thighs and back makes it difficult to sit and the pain in my feet makes it difficult to stand and walk. The pain is primarily nerve pain that can flare on its own or when there is pressure against my skin. The pain fluctuates but is always present every day. Some days are brutal. We are not sure, but we believe this was all brought about by physical and emotional stresses. Doctors have labeled it fibromyalgia though I do not have the typical symptoms of muscle soreness and fatigue. Unfortunately in spite of seeing many doctors and trying various medications, no medical solution has been found. What has helped is regular physical therapy and special exercises whose purposes are to reset the way my brain processes signals. I hope to write about that in a future post.
As you can imagine this greatly limits what I can do. I am unable to take care of our home as I once did. Though I can still do some small chores each day depending on how I am feeling, the majority of the household responsibilities falls to my husband. Throughout my disability, my husband has run his own business and taken care of me, the house, and the kids without complaint. (Of course “the kids” are older now, so they are a lot more self-reliant these days.) Butch is an excellent example of a godly husband and father. He not only cares for me physically, but also emotionally and spiritually. No one knows the depth of my suffering and struggles better than Butch, and no one has done more to help and encourage me. He would say he is just doing his job. I could write volumes about that man. Our kids help out too, most of the time without complaining. They have been that way through all of this.
Thankfully I have been able to continue to homeschool. We homeschooled from K-3, and I would have been very disappointed if we had to stop. The Lord blessed our family by allowing us to continue. Our oldest went through her high school years with me on the couch. She is now in college and doing very well. Our youngest is in his junior year. It is challenging sometimes, but we find ways to get it done.
Through all my pain and suffering over the years, I have been sustained by the knowledge that God is sovereign and that he is merciful. I pray for mercy often, but in those moments I can see so many ways that he is already extending it to me. Yes, I am in pain daily. Yes, I am housebound and miss out on countless things. Yes, I had to stop picking up my son when he was 5 and running across the lawn with my girl when she was 8. I have missed countless moments of life with my husband because I was too sore. I cannot attend church weekly or go to the movies or out for anything but an occasional quick meal. It is heart wrenching that I cannot take care of my family and home the way I want to. I get sad and frustrated and angry sometimes, but … and that is a BIG but … I am loved and provided for by the Creator of the universe. All I have lost pales in compassion. That is what I focus on. I am saved. I am sure of heaven. I am married to a man capable of extraordinary love and selflessness. I am blessed with children who love the Lord, care for me, and stay out of trouble. I have a nice home and good friends. I have also been able to continue to experience the joy of witnessing about God through all of this, a joy I would not want to be without.
Because I was on the couch, I turned to my laptop for distraction. It soon became a gateway to various forms of ministry. Though I had to eventually start using speech recognition software because it became too painful to type while laying down, through my laptop I have been able to witness to thousands online over the past 5 ½+ years, all from the couch. I would not have been able to do that if I had not been here. I praise God that he provided those opportunities in the midst of my trials. Most recently, I have this new website. I am blessed to be able to have this new project. God is amazing. He is sovereign and filled with lovingkindness and mercy. I know that my health situation is in his hands and that it is not without purpose. He is my hope and that will be my song, Lord willing, until I see him face to face.
“The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.”” Lamentations 3:22-24 (NASB)