Raw pain. Open wounds. How does one learn how to live with these?
I remember back to when I was on Chemo treatments and the struggle that would come when Thursday mornings would roll around and I had to go into the hospital for yet another treatment that would leave my body heaving with nausea and thoroughly fatigued.
Everything in me did not want to wake up those mornings. I remember I would stay up as late as possible the night before and then sleep as long as I could before getting up and heading over to the “Chemo room.”
I remember asking my kind nurse questions about the chemo that was being pumped into my body; questions about how she would prepare it behind those big heavy doors—not because I didn’t trust her, but because I was curious and wanted to know. I remember how she told me that she had to wear a mask and gloves that went up to her elbows because if she dripped the chemicals on her skin, the chemicals would begin to eat away at her skin.
And that’s going into my body?
Yet, deep down inside I knew there was no way around it, and that ultimately these treatments that felt like poison dripping into my veins would be good for me in the long run. The doctors are far more educated than I am in understanding what was happening in my body, and they had my best in mind. They longed as much as I did to see healing. I saw the pain in my nurse’s eyes as she approached me each week with the hook needle and when she gave new “flushings” of saline and heparin. I felt her care and encouragement with every 3 hour dose of chemotherapy during those rough 18 months.
I remember how Mom and I would watch for rainbows and butterflies and other signs from God to remind us He was in control and was walking with us down the path He had chosen for us. Eventually, there was light at the end of the tunnel and my treatments came to an end. The long Thursday mornings, the nausea—it was all over and life returned back to “normal”. Nevertheless, I’ve always looked back on those days with the realization that, although I would never ask for them to be back, I would never trade the experiences God had given me because God had taught me so much—he had shown me aspects of Himself that I never would have seen otherwise.
And now God has brought me down a new path. He has allowed me to experience a new kind of pain. And He, the perfect Doctor, knows what’s best for me. He wants what is best for me, and He will only do what is best for me and will bring Him most glory.
He knows that in the long run it can produce beautiful results. But those beautiful results cannot be seen or experienced without the pain or the process of experiencing the pain—the weekly infusions…the intense nausea and exhaustion…
Just as the chemotherapy infusions were needed in order to stop the growing tumor in my brain, so also the wise and loving Doctor knows that this tragedy, this process of experiencing pain can produce the good kinds of growth that are needed in my life if I allow it.
This weekend has been one of raw pain as reality continues to show itself. Some days it is like receiving hourly doses of chemotherapy, and my insides want to completely reject it.
And I’m once again reminded of the power of choices:
The choice to believe even when I don’t want to, that God is good.
The choice to be okay with feeling and experiencing pain every single day—to accept this calling in life
without giving a deadline for it to end.
The choice to believe that for as wrong as everything seems at times, He’s in control—He has a plan and
knows what He’s doing. He sees the big picture. I don’t.
The choice to focus on Christ and see the confirmations that He’s given me in the past weeks to
show me that He’s in this with me.
The choice to receive the love and gentleness that He’s lavished on me.
The choice to kneel in the midst of all the pain and worship my God and King and to acknowledge that
He is Lord.
The choice to let this make me a better person.
Surrender. I want it. I want to know more about it. Lord, show me more—show me how.“Let all that I am wait quietly before God for my hope is in Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken. My victory and honor come from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me. Oh my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge.” Ps. 62:5-8