Thank You, Severe Neck & Back Pain, You Brought Me Closer To God And People

Thank You, Severe Neck & Back Pain, You Brought Me Closer To God And People

Learning to be thankful for pain and resting in His promises.

Hello, world! I’m writing to share with you that this will be my last article for the Odyssey. If you’ve wondered where I’ve been, it’s been quite a story, and God has taught me a lot about life along the way. My schedule and circumstances have forced me to have to say no to some things I love, and this was one of them. In order for us to focus on our dreams sometimes we have to say no to other things, even if it’s just for a season, and that is okay! We have to realize we aren’t Superman and we can’t do everything, no matter how much we really want to.

Back in May, I had really intense chronic neck pain. I had been dealing with back pain too, but the neck pain got worse in May. My neck started to burn. It was a pain so bad that it made me cry and I thought that the pain would never go away. I went to see a spine specialist, and she said that this has to be a muscular problem. She did X-rays and MRI scans. There was no sign of a bulging disc or pinched nerve. However, she did see that my neck and spine are now straight as a stick. How did it get that way?

My plans for the summer quickly changed and I was basically forced to stay home, close to my parents to get the help I needed. I wasn’t babysitting. I wasn’t working, and it was tough. I went to physical therapy, a chiropractor and two massage therapists weekly. Each person along the way helped me, and I know God used this summer to help me lean on Him, to grow in Him, to rest in Him and to see His giant, overflowing, gargantuan heart of love for me.

My neck pain has gotten better, but I’m still dealing with lots of back pain. So with that being said, I know this story is still being written. Back at the beginning of June, I did get to go to church, and Levi Lusko spoke these words, “I know this may seem weird, but if you're going through a trial right now, consider it a blessing and an honor.” He showed us the symbol of the FedEx Logo. He said, “Does anyone see anything different about this logo? Does anything stand out?” I thought, “Ummm, no.” Then he said, “OK, take a second look at it. There is an arrow in-between the E and the X.” I saw it. I saw it loud and clear.

And then I started thinking about the people I’ve encountered throughout the way. My spine specialist, my physical therapist, the chiropractor and the two professional massage therapists. One of the massage therapists was also a personal trainer who encouraged me to work out again. Once I found out that working out helped my neck and back feel better, I was so happy. He invited me to a workout group called Unity Fitness in my hometown, and it was so much fun! We would play soccer and football, and in the middle of it all, I started to laugh again and regain joy in my heart. I even went with the Unity fitness group to feed the homeless, and when we did that, I had no pain in my neck or my back. I dove into the word of God more and more and was learning something new every day.

Though my summer didn’t go the way I had planned for it to, I know it went the way that it was supposed to – God’s way. Which is exactly what we want, isn’t it? His ways are higher than ours and his thoughts are higher than ours too. (Isaiah 55:8-9)

You see, this summer I needed to rest. I didn’t know the busy schedule this semester of student teaching would entail. I thought I could do it all, but I had to say no. Saying no is something that’s hard for me, and as I’ve talked to other friends, I’ve found out that it’s hard for a lot of people to say no too. I had to say no to babysitting jobs, college leadership team and writing for the Odyssey. It was hard, because those are all things I absolutely love being apart of.

And here I am, almost at the end of my first semester of Student Teaching, and I’m thankful. I learned in the middle of this trial that I need to be thankful for it. I didn’t know what was in store and the people that I would meet, but if I hadn’t gone through any of the physical pain, I wouldn’t have met the spine specialist, the chiropractor, the physical therapist or even the massage therapists. I wouldn’t have had the experience to meet these wonderful people without the pain. I stopped in awe and wonder, “Wow, God. I had no idea. Thank you for this pain.”

Pain launches blessings in disguise. You may not see it at first, but take a second look, you'll see the arrow. And all the while God kept telling me this summer, and He keeps telling me now, “Keep going, sweetheart, keep going. I’ve got you. Trust me.”

Cover Image Credit: Jordan Belle Brittain

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Infectious Compassion

Give a Stranger Hope!

    

I am definitely no newbie to this; doctors, hospitals, medications, therapies, insurance, paperwork, and the waiting. The dreaded waiting. Often the cure is worse than the disease, but the wait amplifies the symptoms of said disease. 

Like I said, I am no newbie, but I also am not an expertise. If I were an expertise I wouldn’t need the doctors, and all of that goes with being ill. But one might come to believe that after 26 years, one would at least develop a thicker skin. I try to imagine how a great spiritual leader might advise me when I fall through a crack in our system. I ask myself what lesson can be learned, for my future, and the avoidance of other cracks. I even try to learn from others who have fallen, and pass forward any pertinent knowledge I have accumulated. 

Knowledge is power, unless you’re sick. Money is power, unless you’re sick. Knowledge and money give the sick more options, but sick is still sick. Dying is still dying. Death is still death. 

With all of my knowledge, all of my wants, all of my needs, and all of my wishes, only one thing has been a constant in dealing, coping, and even healing. It is actually very basic, but often the most elusive. A placebo of sorts, amazingly it is still in short supply, but high demand. 

One cannot bottle it, market it, sell it, or cure the sick with it. But it is the most contagious agent I have ever been exposed to. A touch, a smile, a hopeful gesture or word, and I am instantly infected. Once I am infected my only desire is to infect all around me. 

So here is the big secret, the elusive placebo, the virus I covet more than any cure some specialist, drug rep, hospital, or guru peddles: Compassion. 

Devastating news is just that much easier to take in when compassion is bound to it. I accepted a long time back that I would either die from my diagnoses, or with them. No cure in sight, just a hindered life. Even though I don’t like my illnesses, I’m okay with this, I am okay with me, who I am, who I turned out to be. 

We humans don’t have to like disease, or even accept it, in us or others. But could we at least show a little compassion? For a few seconds? A fake smile? Something? 

The next time you are having a wonderful day, think back to a day that was the exact opposite. Now, the stranger next to you? That just might describe their day. Would you have liked a miniscule amount of compassion on the day you remember? Might a slight exposure of infectious happiness have helped you? 

Commit a random act of kindness and infect a stranger with some compassion! Pass it on! 

   ?

  

I am definitely no newbie to this; doctors, hospitals, medications, therapies, insurance, paperwork, and the waiting. The dreaded waiting. Often the cure is worse than the disease, but the wait amplifies the symptoms of said disease. 

Like I said, I am no newbie, but I also am not an expertise. If I were an expertise I wouldn’t need the doctors, and all of that goes with being ill. But one might come to believe that after 26 years, one would at least develop a thicker skin. I try to imagine how a great spiritual leader might advise me when I fall through a crack in our system. I ask myself what lesson can be learned, for my future, and the avoidance of other cracks. I even try to learn from others who have fallen, and pass forward any pertinent knowledge I have accumulated. 

Knowledge is power, unless you’re sick. Money is power, unless you’re sick. Knowledge and money give the sick more options, but sick is still sick. Dying is still dying. Death is still death. 

With all of my knowledge, all of my wants, all of my needs, and all of my wishes, only one thing has been a constant in dealing, coping, and even healing. It is actually very basic, but often the most elusive. A placebo of sorts, amazingly it is still in short supply, but high demand. 

One cannot bottle it, market it, sell it, or cure the sick with it. But it is the most contagious agent I have ever been exposed to. A touch, a smile, a hopeful gesture or word, and I am instantly infected. Once I am infected my only desire is to infect all around me. 

So here is the big secret, the elusive placebo, the virus I covet more than any cure some specialist, drug rep, hospital, or guru peddles: Compassion. 

Devastating news is just that much easier to take in when compassion is bound to it. I accepted a long time back that I would either die from my diagnoses, or with them. No cure in sight, just a hindered life. Even though I don’t like my illnesses, I’m okay with this, I am okay with me, who I am, who I turned out to be. 

We humans don’t have to like disease, or even accept it, in us or others. But could we at least show a little compassion? For a few seconds? A fake smile? Something? 

The next time you are having a wonderful day, think back to a day that was the exact opposite. Now, the stranger next to you? That just might describe their day. Would you have liked a miniscule amount of compassion on the day you remember? Might a slight exposure of infectious happiness have helped you? 

Commit a random act of kindness and infect a stranger with some compassion! Pass it on! 

   ?

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With The New Year Already Gone, How Can We Improve Ourselves?

Its Never Too Late To Make A Commitment To Making Yourself Better

As January begins, people always talk about how their news years resolution never work out. Most of the time, they are right. But finding a good balanced resolution can be key. The resolution shouldn't be impossible but it also should be able to challenge you and prove to yourself that anything is possible. Here are 3 resolutions that I think all of us should begin a February as a way to make ourselves the best people.

1. Being kind to those around us

This one can be quite tough. Sometimes we just have those moments where nothing is seeming to go right and there is only a few people to blame. Overcome those emotions of anger or hatred and instead focus on improving yourself. If you got yourself into the situation, you are more that likely to get yourself out of it. This will not only improve your image to that person who you know, but also to others who may be trying to get to know you better.

2. Don't be Lazy

Not gonna lie, this is one of the hardest resolutions for people to follow. A long hard day at work or at school can often be the breaking point for people and might force them to stop doing what is necessary. For students, it might be putting in the extra work or in my case, going downstairs to get something. Being lazy is a problem for all of us and I think the best way to fix it is to start thinking of ways to keep this resolution.

3. Keep a Positive attitude

When times are good, a positive attitude is easy to keep. But as obstacles cloud our path, our negativity grows more and eventually can't be stopped. Being one of the biggest pessimist I know, keeping a happy attitude can change more than just in our own personal lives. A smile or a laugh is all it takes to brighten up someones day. Remember if you are going through a hard time, someone else also is. Showing them a sign of faith and belief in them can give them the final push to overcome their conflict.

These three resolutions are meant to help us make 2018 a year full of laughs, memories, and improve on 2017. Each of these commitments to improving ourselves will also affect others around us. Good luck keeping these resolutions.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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