I went to the doctors on Wednesday. I had been putting it off for…about a year. But, finally, my fiancé and my roommate made me call the advice nurse and I had an appointment set up.
I was quite upset.
Yes, my fiancé has his health problems, and yes, they are worse than mine, but I still have been having some issues. To list off a few:
Jaw pain // Leg pain (6+ years) // Back pain // Chest pains // Difficulty breathing
Heart palpitations // Headaches/dizziness // Fatigue // Digestive issues (acid reflux)
So, I go to the doctor, and this is now the third one I have seen in the past two months, and she says the same thing I have been told my whole life, “Well, I don’t see anything. Everything looks completely normal and healthy.” She shrugged her shoulders. She checks my jaw out, and immediately diagnoses me with TMJ, which explains my headaches and jaw pain (and now I need a night-guard and physical therapy, yuck). But everything else still had no explanation. Until…
She leans forward and puts her hand on my knee, looking me in the eye she asks, “Sweetie, do you have any history of abuse?”
I immediately turn very red as I sadly reply, “Yes.”
“When and in what ways?”
“My freshman and sophomore years of high school. Emotionally, physically, sexually.”
With tears in her eyes, she says “I am so sorry that happened to you.”
Now suddenly, I’m welling up and years of pain I had hidden suddenly resurface. My whole body starts to shake as I try to keep my composure.
She explains that, this is common among young women with a history of abuse. That as far as the mind can get from the trauma, our bodies handle it differently and the imprints can sometimes have life long effects. She reassured me that I am healthy, and normal; that my body is simply reacting to trauma that happened so many years ago (or for me, six years ago and then again, a year ago). That is where it roots. It’s why I grind my teeth when I sleep, it’s why I get shooting pains starting in my hips and moving all the way down both my legs, its why I have headaches, I can’t sleep well, I have nightmares, panic attacks.
So, I left the doctors office, keeping the tears down until I got into the car, and then I let it all out. It has been a long time since I have so freshly felt the wounds of what was done to me.
Later that night, I was spending some time talking to God. I wanted to avoid this topic with him, but well, we all know how avoiding God goes. And I ended up angry…again. I was angry and hurt that I now have to suffer with not only emotional, relational pains but physical pains as well because of actions done against me, not because of choices I made. I asked the question we all want the answer to, “Why?” It’s hard to understand sometimes. Especially in moments where I can physically feel the pain all over again. In moments where my wonderful fiance* tries to wrap his arms around me and I freeze up and become afraid. In moments where I am balled up on the bathroom floor, too petrified to move. Or waking up in the middle of the night in a puddle of sweat, heart pounding, convinced that they are right outside my door, waiting for me. Or terrified of a kiss, or of sitting in the passenger seat of a car, or of bathtubs.
It just doesn’t make sense sometimes.
And yes, this is difficult to write because these are little details I don’t think many people know about my life.
Physically and mentally I have a difficult time. I can only do so much before I burn out; there’s only so many times I can chant “mind over matter.” Sometimes the fear is too great, the pain too real that my little, weak human body really cannot overcome it. This is my battle, every day. I do not want to say it is my cross to bear, because as heavy as it is, I do not compare it to the weight of the sorrows in this world. But it is my battle. Each of us have our own, and there is a similar “solution” (if you will) for all of us.
I may not know why things happen, and I may never understand, but that is why Scripture is so wonderful. Because no matter what the circumstance is, the words are consistently true. So, in those moments of pain, I can say, “God I am angry. And I do not get why this is happening. But what I can rest assured in, is that You are good, You work things out for my good, and You are still in control.” And when I am grounded in scripture, even in the moments where my brain will not shut off the fear, my soul is rooted down with the truth. I may not FEEL it in that situation, but it is something I can depend on. Like this truth right here, one that I often cling to during difficult situations (as written by John Piper based on Scripture in 2 Corinthians):
“’I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh, I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions.’ This means, then, that Paul exhibits the sufferings of Christ by suffering himself for those he is trying to win. In his sufferings, they see Christ’s sufferings. Here is the astounding upshot: God intends for the afflictions of Christ to be presented to the world through the afflictions of His people. God really means for the body of Christ, the church, to experience some of the suffering He experienced so that when we proclaim the cross as the way of life, people will see the marks of the cross in us and feel the love of the cross from us. Our calling is to make the afflictions of Christ real for people by the afflictions we experience in bringing them the message of salvation” (Piper, Desiring God).
These kinds of reminders bring me comfort (though I am staring to realize that a vast majority do not see it that way). I do not understand, but I know that God is using this, even when I do not see it. I do not get why it had to happen the way it did, but I know there is a reason. It takes faith to have faith. I love the Lord with all of my being (I sincerely hope that is obvious by now), and reading that line, “…to experience some of the suffering He experience so that when we proclaim the cross as the way of life people will see the marks of the cross in us and feel the love of the cross from us.”, that just stirs my heart. God is the most important relationship in my life, and I DO desire others to experience Him in a similar way I do. And because I have reached a point in my walk with the Lord where that is my joy, I can’t help but feel so purposeful in my pain. So that when I sit here and write these words of hope, you would know that I have experienced deep pain, you would know that I have felt life without hope and when I say Jesus is Lord, God is good, oh how He loves me, you would know that it is true.
I couldn’t say it if it wasn’t.
I don’t know where you are at right now, and that is okay. Because truth is truth. No matter where you are at, God is moving. God is good, just, forgiving, merciful, loving, etc.…. YOUR circumstances and perceptions may change, but God and His word do not.
Rest in that, beloved.
NOTE: Similar story, similar battle? Connect with me through the Prayer Request section of this blog. I can connect you with wonderful resources that helped me through. See also blog posts, “Purpose of Pain.” and, “I Wrestled with God and He Won.”
*Thank you Jeremy for loving me through this, for being so understanding, and for holding me anyway. I adore you.