It's hard to believe it's only been three years since I've had chronic pain. It's crazy to realize how much those three years have changed my views, my perspective, how I act, and even how I move throughout the day.
For the first two years I thought it had been my fault, as if God had cursed me because of the sinful things I had gotten myself into. I thought this was my punishment. I set myself up against marriage or any chances of happiness in life; with or without getting married. I thought I had ruined not just myself mentally, but also physically.
It's sad to think upon those two years, to think of how angry and shameful I had been to think I brought it upon myself. And to see how it not only changed my views, but also changed how I lived my life. Every few months the pain would get so bad that all I could do was stay in bed for hours.
So many times I would be depressed from the pain, from it all.
I think those were the days that got me thinking I didn't have a future. That I would be limited forever, that the pain would ruin my life.
But this year has changed it all. It wasn't because the pain randomly went away, it's because it stayed. It's because it got worse, and I had to learn to work through it.This year has been the hardest year of my life, but the best year, simply for the work God has done in my life.
And it's the power of perspective that changes everything.
I never realized how important perspective was until this year. I realized that for the first time it changes everything.
Over the last few months I have been hopeful about going to UCLA to see some specialists, I remained hopeful until the day after that appointment. My hope wasn't dashed because they had told me it was all in my head, or that I was totally fine. No, they think they found out what was wrong, and have worked on lessening the pain. But it was the days that followed that all of my past fears came racing back to me.
Those fears that had bits of truth to them. That reminded me that I may still never get fully better, that I might have to live with pain. Bits of truth that reminded me that the pain wasn't just staying at the same level, as time goes on it keeps getting worse. Truth that reminds me of how it has effected not only my sleeping, but now my walking too.
And of course, the biggest of all fears I have had with this pain was the one that I had no future.
Last week I fell in how I viewed my pain and my life. I stumbled and decided to see my life through the world's lenses. I saw myself how I used to. Not being able to do what I wanted with my life. Being useless in every which way I could come up with. Through those lenses I saw a wasted life, all because of this pain.
And yet, before I could dwell on these thoughts too deeply, it was as if God ripped those lenses off and showed me truth.
How these long three years have been so hard, and have changed me so much, how I wished at times that God would take this pain away. How I do hope for a relief in this life from this pain.
But looking back, I know if God had given me the option to never have had this pain, I would have let the pain stay.
Because what I've learned this year has been so powerful. It was the power of perspective. To not only realize that my life is all His to do whatever He pleases, and that He's given me this thorn out of love, but to realize that though I may end up being "limited" in the world's eyes, my opportunities are all the more boundless.
Through this pain God has given me incredibly opportunities to reach out to people who I'd never have reached before, and for even that alone it has been worth it.
Because if this is the way God's chosen to use me in a few people's lives, then I'm all for it. That's all that matters. My life is His. And through Him this life will not be a waste.
Through Him this life cannot be bound, through Him there is not such limit as there is in the world's eyes.
If He has this pain stay, and continue all my days till I go Home then what more opportunities I will be blessed with. What more matters when we are on this earth than to bring Glory to His Name?
What worth this life is when I view it through an eternal perspective.
I know with all my heart that I would leave those three years how they are, and I pray so earnestly that with all my heart I'll submit to whatever God does through me to bring Him glory. Whether that is staying in pain or not.
So this year I've learned much about perspective, more than I ever thought even existed. God has changed my views and my heart. Now to remind myself to not look through the world's lenses, but to view my circumstances and future through God. Knowing that I wouldn't have changed these last three years for a pain free life. Because through Christ, there is no limit.