Pain and Healing

from Pastor Abigail

Most of you who know me know I have lived with chronic pain for a while. Like 10 years. It started in my 20s and I was consistent in my need to heal but I never really thought of it as forever. Well, yesterday I found out it is a forever thing and probably has been for a while.

On this day I got the news from my doctor I cried, but I realized behind those tears was also anger. The onset of my pain was not a car crash or fall, it started when I sat at a desk for 40 hours a week, hunched in a manic flail to be great at my job.

Getting Help

I have sought diagnosis and healing from medical professionals since the pain started. And I never got these answers; and now that I have them, injections, pain management and surgery are what's offered. It makes me sick to think about just numbing the pain or having invasive surgery because what I really need is clear direction on how to live my life: what I can do safely and what I can’t. How can I, at the very least, not make things worse? Maybe this reveals my lack of aspiration, my belief I can be healed, but I have lived with the pain for so long and at times I have thought of it as a Wiser-Than-Me Companion that keeps from hurting my body even more.

In my head, I was supposed to sit at a desk 8 hours a day. This felt necessary and expected. But the world that gave me this expectation is also telling me now, “Hi, we’re the world that has broken you. We can’t fix you. We can only numb you. Deal with it. We sent you hunting for doctors, chiropractors, massage therapists, trainers, spending your own money and made you hide your pain in the process, questioning, ‘Is it real? ‘ You’re so young.’”

This is the world that normalized our very real pain saying, “Pain is normal. It’s all how you healthily deal with it,” while never dealing with what caused the pain in the first place. “Your healing is on you. Heal yourself…from the wounds we’ve inflicted.”

Praying for Transformation

I don’t have a spiritual nugget in this angry mess of fear I feel right now but I have a scripture, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.” -Romans 12:2 (NLT). You may have heard it as, “Don’t be conformed to this world, but be transformed.” I don’t know how I feel about conforming to a world whose societal norms have hurt me, hurt my body, tempted me to binge and overwork and age too quickly.

I hope there is a time when I don’t feel conformed by my body’s pain. To be honest, that’s hard to imagine in this life but it’s a beautiful prayer that I sometimes resist praying for myself because it’s so hard to believe in that transformation. (I’m crying as I write this.)

I pray God transforms my relationship with my body and gifts me with more faith than I have right now. I pray I can consciously resist the behaviors and customs of this world that keep me from loving myself and all others well.

If you have a similar prayer or story, send me an email at
Let’s keep the conversation going.
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