Kara’s Collection: Pain

From an article originally posted April 1, 2014…

Do all things without grumbling or complaining.
— Philippians 2:14

I have an ulcer in my mouth from my new drugs. It’s this horrible open wound. It hurts to eat, it hurts to talk, it hurts when I’m doing nothing. Sleep helps it to stop hurting—sleep. I’m suffocating a bit over this, as this is the drug we are hoping will work for the rest of my days. So, the rest of my days, I will be battling with this pain. I keep reminding myself this sore is a part of killing cancer, but it’s hard to remember.

I have lived face down. I have lived bald, burned, cut, broken, but this pain is new sharp, horrible. I have been given lots of ideas to numb it, but very few for healing. My sister in law sent me some natural ideas that feel hopeful, but I feel desperate.

I was thinking on the verse from Philippians as I was doing laundry this morning. When I was a camp counselor at Eagle Lake Camp, I had my campers memorize this verse the first day. I found it to be a great tool with the girls when they were asked to do something they weren’t excited about. We all have places in life we are not excited about. All of us, in every season.

I thought this morning on this verse, and quietly cursed to myself. I could manage all that other mess, but I’m flattened by a tiny mouth sore. Flattened. The nurse called me this morning to check on me and I could only cry to her. This verse couldn’t mean this, right? Last night I brought my dinner to my room as each bite brought big painful tears to my eyes I didn’t want the kids to see. I fill my mouth with the numbing liquid before I’m going to talk to them so they don’t see me wince. But could I, could I not complain? Oh Jesus, that is a high calling. A very high calling.

How does this verse challenge you today? We all walk in areas we would rather not, and in the place of our struggle we often complain instead of seek the grace to walk through what is hard. I have lost my happy heart over a pile of laundry or a sink of dishes. I have complained things big and small. I look at what is before me, and instead of living the high calling of this verse and showing grace and Jesus, I show unkindness and ugly. I write things that feel so much greater than my ability to embrace. Sometimes the writing feels too much, like a pastor that preaches a sermon he struggles to take hold of in his own living. This post feels like that—beyond my strength. But maybe that is the point.

God’s goodness does not abandon me in the places I am weak; no maybe it’s these raw edges of today that find me at the end of me and beginning of Him. Some days I want to learn a different way.