By Andrea Godwin-Stremler
RCA minister, Fort Belvoir VA
Breaking Barriers Summer 2014
Life with chronic pain is filled with blessings and curses. I am blessed with a full and busy life, serving as a minister of Word and sacrament and licensed therapist. I run my home as wife, mom, and grandmother. I am the full-time caretaker for my 6-year-old granddaughter.
Yet, I am challenged in this full and busy life with pain. Pain is my constant companion 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I go to sleep in pain. As I prepare for sleep, I ask, “Do I need to take pain medication, or can I relax and go to sleep without it and feel a little better by resting?” Throughout the night I wake with pain in one part of my body and change positions, seeking (temporary) relief until waking again.
Getting started is a painful process, but so is remaining in bed. So I begin the process of moving—a painful process that gets less painful if I can just get going. Throughout each day, I continually balance between standing, sitting, and moving. If I do any one of them too long, my pain increases.
Some days the pain is “off the charts,” making me cranky and short with those I love and work with. My body spends so much energy fighting the pain that sometimes I’m exhausted before finishing my to-do list.
Pain is a constant, left over from 32 surgeries and multiple tumors in my body—and a new pain companion has joined in, arthritis. Short of God’s miraculous healing, pain will always be present for me.
Psalm 139 is my life passage, and God’s predestined will for my life gives me peace and comfort. Daily I pray that his glory may show through me, and it does, even though the pain remains.
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