Introducing my invisible companion – pain

A sweet member of Chronically Hopeful, Angela, is sharing a beautiful post with us today. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking the time and spoons to be here with us today.

Bio from Angela,

I am a christian and lay-preacher. I worked in finance for 25 years but I am currently unemployed and looking for a new opportunity when my pain is managed effectively. I enjoy writing, public speaking, mentoring young people and spending time with family and friends.IMG-20170818-WA0004


When you meet someone for the first time, what do you think that they see or observe about you? Maybe the color of your eyes? Your radiant smile? Your height? Weight? Or whether or not you wear spectacles, walk with a cane or use a wheel chair? It is possible that a person may see and notice all of these outward features but for me, there is one thing that whilst all-encompassing to me, it is something that no one sees. I consider that it is significant but it is also invisible (at least to the untrained eye), and that is my pain!

Pain, caused initially by an injury and then by disease. Pain that wakes me up and often prevents me from sleeping. Pain that dictates my activities or lack of them. Pain that varies, but is my closest companion. I have never asked for its presence, but daily I am forced to contend with this intrusion, this reality, something that cannot be explained and that has a devastating effect on the quality of my life.


My “relationship” with pain, for want of a better word, began in the autumn of 1989 following a serious road traffic accident. For about six months I was unable to leave the house alone and needed help with every aspect of my life. Over the months that followed, my father and the physiotherapy team at my local hospital helped me to recover my strength thereby allowing me to return to work.

It was my dream to return to the relatively pain free life with the energy and freedom that many of my peers in their mid 20’s enjoyed. Sadly this was not to be and I had to find and accept a new and unwanted reality. Even though I was a Christian, this was still a challenge.

I was truly grateful for life, after all, how many people do you know that have been knocked over by a fire engine on call and have lived to share their testimony? I knew that I was blessed, but somehow at the back of my mind, there were some nagging questions: Why did this happen to me? Did I do something wrong? Suppose I had taken another route home or left work on time would things have been different?


As I battled with questions that I could not answer, I had further complications as I encountered a modern-day equivalent of Job’s comforters. People came to pray, give thanks, and to comfort me but sadly a few came to discover what “secret sins” I had committed that had led to this terrible accident.

Over the next few years as I grappled with the effects of widespread chronic pain, I found myself dealing with people who demonstrated a lack of understanding about chronic conditions and whether or not my pain was real or imagined. I asked God for healing, friends and family came for special prayer sessions, but when healing did not come, my faith was questioned.


What do you do when the promises of God don’t seem to apply to you or when you look around and hear stories of miraculous healings? When people question your desire to be healed, to be whole, to once again contribute to your church, your community, your family or even take care of yourself?


I didn’t have the answers or the strength to cope with them alongside the fatigue, nerve pain and all the challenges that both fibromyalgia and complex regional pain syndrome, brought to my life.


Moving forward however, I try to encourage myself and others by what God shows me through His Word. No matter how hard it is, I still have HOPE! Why? Well after nearly 20 years in chronic pain, I had another life-changing accident, one that left me unable to work and crippled by excruciating pain. Yet in all of this time I have been able to eat, have a roof over my head and I have my basic needs met. Has it been easy? Absolutely not! I lost some things that were important to me but I held on to that all-important, life-saving ingredient, Hope! Here’s how the Apostle Paul describes it in Romans 5: 3-5 ESV:

“3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

Hope as described here keeps us from being disappointed. Life is difficult for those who are suffering, but believing that a better day is coming, gives us hope. The Apostle Paul also has a disability, we are not told exactly what it is, but we know that he prayed three times for it to be removed.  When God chose not to, Paul accepted that God’s strength would be revealed in Paul’s weakness:

2 Corinthians 9: 7-10 Message

7-10 “Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me, my grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness. Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.”


When I feel weak I go to God to receive strength from Him so that I am able to continue with the life that God has given me. I have lived with chronic pain for 28 years now and some days I am unhappy about the pain that I feel, that no one appears to understand and that no one sees. When my invisible companion tries to control my life, I try to reflect on better days and lift my heart to God who gives me hope.


Psalm 5

Today, we are going to take a more in-depth look at Psalm chapter five, furthermore, this post will build off the introduction to Psalm chapter five.There is an overwhelming amount of awe-inspiring beauty in Psalms. Cries to God of pure relatable emotion.

Bend Your ear to me and listen to my words, O Eternal One;
    hear the deep cry of my heart.
Listen to my call for help,
    my King, my True God;
    to You alone I pray.
In the morning, O Eternal One, listen for my voice;
    in the day’s first light, I will offer my prayer to You and watch expectantly for Your answer.

You’re not a God who smiles at sin;
    You cannot abide with evil.
The proud wither in Your presence;
    You hate all who pervert and destroy what is good.
You destroy those with lying lips;
    the Eternal detests those who murder and deceive.

Yet I, by Your loving grace,
    am welcomed into Your house;
I will turn my face toward Your holy place
    and fall on my knees in reverence before You.
O Eternal One, lead me in the path of Your righteousness
    amidst those who wish me harm;
    make Your way clear to me.

Their words cannot be trusted;
    they are destructive to their cores.
What comes out of their mouths is as foul as a rotting corpse;
    their words stink of flattery.
10 Find them guilty, O True God;
    let their own devices bring them ruin.
Throw them out, and let them drown in the deluge of their sin,
    for in revolt they brazenly spit in Your face.

11 But let those who run to You for safety be glad they did;
    let them break out in joyful song.
May You keep them safe—
    their love for You resounding in their hearts.
12 You, O Eternal, are the One who lays all good things in the laps of the right-hearted.
    Your blessings surround them like a shield.

The more I read this Psalm the more I fall in love with it. Prayer is not always expressed in words, but it is also “unuttered longings which abide as silent meditations. Words are not the essence but the garments of prayer.” ( Meditation is defined as prayer accompanied with deep thoughts and fervent affections of the soul by Wesley’s Commentary.

Pouring out my heart to the Father felt natural as a young child. However, I became frustrated with pouring out my heart to God because I thought it sounded too negative. I stuck to praising Him, thanking Him, confessing sins, and praying for others. It didn’t take long for me to be convicted, as the door swung open for me to pour out my heart once more. The issue with my thinking was me. I labeled myself as a burden even to God, but that is not how God viewed me.


While those other things are essential being honest with God is vital. If we can’t be honest with Him than really who can we be honest with? We don’t need to pretend to be perfect or to try to look pretty for God. It is reassuring that God encourages us to ache freely. He knows the deepest cry of our heart yet He desires beyond words for us to share it with Him.



This Psalm reminds us of the importance of beginning the day with Christ. Not only offering a prayer but to be expectant for an answer and expectant to see God at work throughout the day.

Verses four – six highlights our sinfulness. At times, it can seem like a contest who has the best redemption story or who is better at resisting sin. When we are honest we are all the same, all drenched in sin and only saved by God’s amazing grace.

Mercy is the foundation of verse seven. It is a privilege that we are able to enter into the Lords presence. Even though things were messy for David here we see him faithfully praising God.

We all encounter times of spiritual warfare.  It is vital during these times to draw close to God taking refuge in Him. Furthermore, trusting that He will direct each step according to His will. We have confidence that He is the righteous judge. He is our great defender. Lastly, God will provide all we need to thrive in spiritual warfare and every trial.

In closing, I would like to share this study guide on Psalm 5 with you. I hope it will encourage you to dig deeper into this chapter. I know the Lord is at work in Your life.

El Roi (The God Who Sees me),

I praise You for Your loving grace. From the depth of my heart, I worship You. The whole earth declares Your glory and rejoices at the sound of Your name.

You are my shepherd guiding my every step. You understand every thought. Thank you for allowing me to ache freely. I praise You that I can be transparent with You. I rejoice in You for always hearing my cry.

I delight to do Your will and to walk with You daily. Increase my desire for You. Thank you that each battle is dependent on you alone. You are my hiding place. I surrender all to You opening my heart to receive Your word.


Live Loved: Advent

 This is our fourth week of advent, which focuses on God’s love for us. In addition, our love for Christ and for others. God desires nothing more than your love.  He cherishes who you are today with all your imperfections. “The Eternal your God is standing right here among you, and He is the champion who will rescue you. He will joyfully celebrate over you; He will rest in His love for you; He will joyfully sing because of you like a new husband.” Zephaniah 3:17. God invites you in to have a deep personal relationship with Him. To live loved every day from here on out. God’s love for you surpasses human understanding it is that complex and beautiful.

The Christmas story is laced with love. Christmas points us to the cross where Jesus displayed His amazing love for us. Jesus lived loved in His ministry. God’s love is evident through Scriptures, creation, and our personal lives. “ This is the embodiment of true love: not that we have loved God first, but that He loved us and sent His unique Son on a special mission to become an atoning sacrifice for our sins” 1 John 4:10.

An element of living loved, is giving love. Christ enables us to love others. You can give love from where you are today. You don’t need to be wealthy or healthy. You only need a willing heart to serve the Lord and to give love to others. He will surely direct your steps. He will deeply bless your words. A hug, words of encouragement, or praying with someone goes a long way.

Additionally, living loved is praise God with a thankful heart for the simple blessings in your life this advent. Worship Him as the shepherds did in the Christmas story with a sincere heart. Mary also praises the Lord for His favor, “My soul lifts up the Lord! My spirit celebrates God, my Liberator! For the Mighty One has done great things for me; holy is God’s name!” Luke: 1:46, 47, and 49.

As Christmas draws near find someone to give love to; someone to encourage. Practice living loved this week. You are a child of the one true King. Reflect on His amazing love, which is evident in your life. Remember times this year that you felt His love and praise His holy name. Consider how you can live loved this advent season as well as in the new year.


We praise you for the gift of Your Son consumed with Your love. For His example of love. Thank you for loving us. Allow us to live loved no matter what events play out in our daily lives. Enable us to give love to others. Let us be a blessing to them. May our hearts forever sing Your praises. Bless these days leading up to Christmas. We love you, Lord.