Jun 24, 2019 • Written by Linda Wichman
ONCE UPON A TIME, I was an active wife, mother and an aspiring writer. That's until the car accident. And the two cervical fusions, chronic migraines, and the face pain that became my new norm.
Despite these obstacles I was a dedicated mom, a full-time sales assistant, and I published an award-winning novel. Years later, after a Shingles outbreak, I was diagnosed with the facial nerve syndrome-disease, Trigeminal Neuralgia, sometimes called the Suicide Disease for which there's no cure. Treatments are aggressive medications which fog your memory, coordination and speech, and or a brain surgery that is not always successful.
I chose the fog.
Each day I pray for healing and Elohim calmly replies, "Linda be still and know that I am God."
Honestly folks, I do try and be still. After all, He is the great I AM and everything happens according to His perfect will. And, yet, I flounder in Pity Puddles, because chronic illness isolates a person physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
Working careers are jeopardized and sometimes end. Friendships dwindle, even vanish. Oh, how I cherish the precious relationships that do remain.
With Trigeminal Neuralgia, my outside activities are sparse. The slightest breeze can drop me to my knees. Impromptu coffee dates, shopping, and weekly Bible studies get delayed or scrapped. Attending writer conferences, judging contests, and participating in critique groups--axed. Basically, I am no longer a reliable candidate for leadership or even as a participant.
But today's awesome because, hey I am writing!
And despite the gravity of this disease my humor crests above the storm--sometimes.
Take for instance, when my bottom right molar snapped off. Argh! Who knew that a spoonful of cereal could be that snappy? So, after a double dose of numbing agent and nitrous oxide gas, the deceased tooth got yanked. A normal procedure, right? Nope. The tooth's roots were locked to my jawbone and the surgeon had to cut and grind that bugger off--out.
We're all acquainted with the dreadful, "Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!"
"Now Linda, hold still," said my dentist as if drilling for oil. "No worries. I enjoy the challenge and I always win.”
In my dreamlike state one word registered. Still. How much more still could I get? The only things moving were my toes which I no longer felt. Still, I applauded her enthusiasm. I also wanted to punch her lights out. Because we knew the recovery would be worse than the extraction.
Two hours later another chapter in my life unfolded. As with most twisted subplots, once the numbing agent wore off, my face exploded like Nero striking a match to Rome.
In the midst of this, He calmly spoke, "Linda, My grace is all you need. My power works best in your weakness."
So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Weaknesses…Abba Father, can you omit a few of them?
At times this weakness (pain) is so horrible that I can't breathe, let alone pray. And yet prayer should be at the forefront of our battles, right? Too often I forget to trust Jesus, and how He's always with me. And that without Him I am as ashes in the wind. But when I meditate on His comforting words, I realize that yes, He is all I will ever need.
The hymn, ‘Be Still, My Soul,’ performed by Kari Jobe is on my daily worship playlist.
Be still, my soul: the Lord is on your side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief and pain;
leave to your God to order and provide;
in every change God faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: your best, your heavenly friend
through thorny ways leads to a joyful end. -- K. von Schlegel
Wow, I'm excited to boast that my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is enough! Another praise: I love how my family chips-in, most of all, with prayers of intercession. A supportive family is a blessing and vital to helping chronic pain sufferers cope.
And one last praise: this battle has produced positive changes in me. Whenever I am stripped of wellness, disconnected from earthly things, my spirit grows more sensitive to others and to their life storms. I’ve never considered myself a gifted prayer warrior, but God has showered me with opportunities to pray for and to encourage other hurting individuals.
Life storms. We all have them. Amidst my tempests, God rescues me from the lonely island of me. And when I focus on Him my pain gets swapped-out for His unconditional love. Jesus holds me close and whispers, ‘Oh, my beloved,’ “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).
For now, my life storms are calmer, and I am thankful for every breath that I breathe. Sure, I’m not writing novels. But hey, I am writing.
To God be the glory!