Posts filed under ‘chronic pain’

3 Grief/Pain Poems by Emily Dickinson

After Great Pain a Formal Feeling Comes by Emily Dickinson

After great pain a formal feeling comes–
The nerves sit ceremonious like tombs;
The stiff Heart questions–was it He that bore?
And yesterday–or centuries before?

The feet, mechanical, go round
A wooden way
Of ground, or air, or ought,
Regardless grown,
A quartz contentment, like a stone.

This is the hour of lead
Remembered if outlived,
As freezing persons recollect the snow–
First chill, then stupor, then the letting go.

Pain Has an Element of Blank by Emily Dickinson

Pain has an element of blank;
It cannot recollect
When it began, or if there was
A time when it was not.It has no future but itself,
Its infinite realms contain
Its past, enlightened to perceive
New periods of pain.

I Can Wade Grief by Emily Dickinson

I can wade Grief

Whole Pools of it—

I’m used to that—
But the least push of Joy
Breaks up my feet—
And I tip—drunken—
Let no Pebble—smile—
‘Twas the New Liquor—
That was all!

Power is only Pain—
Stranded, thro’ Discipline,
Till Weights—will hang—
Give Balm—to Giants—
And they’ll wilt, like Men—
Give Himmaleh—
They’ll Carry—Him!

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Friday’s Favourite’s – 9/17/2010

I have been living life more intentionally these past few weeks. Now that I participate in Friday’s Fave Five,  I pause throughout the week to savour the moments of blessings as they occur. One reason I do that is so I will remember what happened so that I can share on Friday. To share your blessings go to Living To Tell The Story to link your post.

1. Friends. This week I spent time with a woman I’ve known for several years. She is a young mom with four children. Her life has been very different from mine in regards to culture, familial relationships, and religion. Her life, at times, has been difficult, but she perseveres. She laughs, loves and listens to me. And I listen to her. We are friends.

This week I also spent time with a woman who I am getting to know. Her background and culture are also different from mine. But we are the same in our devotion to our family and our ministry. Her eyes sparkle when she talks about her little guy and her husband. She is devoted to her pre-k students (in Sunday school.) We also shared laughter and conversation. I am going to like developing this friendship.

2. Secret Friends. The Secret Sister Program at CNC concluded last Saturday with a Reveal brunch. The 35 participants were able to find out who was praying for them these past 6 months. The woman (Barbie) who prayed for me also became a new friend because she was new member of our women’s ministry team. We’ve been doing things together, like kayaking and eating from recipes that she just has to try. I never knew that she was my secret sis! While this is mainly a prayer ministry, Barbie’s notes, and little gifts, like fresh cherries and popcorn, were thoughtful, inexpensive, and made me feel liked and appreciated. I loved knowing that someone was praying for me daily!

3. Alumni Friends. Thursday I talked to two students who graduated with me from William Jessup University. We went through the 2 year program in the same cohort. Van was at my church on Thursday doing a bike tune-up on our youth pastor’s bike. (I introduced them.) I get to catch up on news with Cindy next week. We graduated in 2006 and have hardly communicated with one another since. I hope today’s conversations change that lack with these two relationships and with the others in our cohort.

4. Preaching Class. Pastor Mike is teaching us about expository preaching. There is no agreement on a singular definition. We did agree that expository teaching is on the decline. Respect for the ministry is on the decline too. Hopefully our instruction will help us reverse these declines at least in our spheres of influence. I am so excited because my sista is going to join the class. That will make it 3 men and 2 women in the class.

5. Job interviews. My daughter went to SF this week for two job interviews. One was a framing shop and the other was a ceramics shop. Both interviews went well. DD should hear today whether she’s been hired at one or both places. I am praying that dd’s job search comes to an end soon and that the right job grabs her and hires her! I’d love to hear her carefree laughter again.

Your Turn

What blessings have you savoured this week?

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Visit My  Sista’s Website:

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35 Reasons It IS Beneficial To Attend a Group

Support can come out of any group that meets regularly whether or not it is called a support group.

  • Support groups can be purposeful and formal like a 12 step group, a Bible study class, a diabetes care group, or a weight watchers meeting.
  • They can have an informal agenda like a group of folks who meet every Sunday morning before the second service at church, moms who meet at the park in the afternoons after school, or seniors who meet every Thursday morning for coffee.
  • Bible study groups, informal groups, or topic-generated groups can turn into a support group.
  • On Tuesday, April 13th we started a new class for folks dealing with chronic pain/illness. In honor of that class I generated a list of potential benefits for attending that class.

Read on for 35 reasons it is beneficial to attend a support group.

  1. To be around others who are experiencing a similar life experience
  2. To hear others say what you are saying/thinking
  3. Figuring out how you are feeling/thinking because of hearing about others’ thoughts/feelings
  4. Relieve isolation
  5. A place to give voice to your hopes, fears, losses
  6. And for those hopes, fears and losses to be heard!
  7. Place to be understood
  8. Place to speak openly and honestly
  9. Learn what to do to have a better, more peaceful lifestyle
  10. Learn how to live with a disability, disease or new situation
  11.  Studies show that people who attend healthy support groups tend to live longer.
  12. They are also less depressed and more motivated to take care of themselves.
  13. Finally they often feel less overwhelmed and more in control of the disease and/or pain.
  14. Place to find and give inspiration, support, exhortation, hope, and information
  15. Friendship with like-minded individuals
  16. Feel helped and guided not attacked and belittled
  17. Help in applying your faith to problems
  18. Reminder to live one day at a time
  19. Reminder that this is not all there is to life – Heaven is coming!
  20. Reminder that you are more than your disease/pain/situation
  21. To be around others who’ll understand the  fear, anger, resentment, grief, and /or helplessness you feel about your changing body/situation and that you are not “you” any more
  22. Be around people who will not belittle you or take you too seriously because they have been, are, or will be where you are emotionally, physically, spiritually
  23. Be around people who won’t coddle you
  24. Place to learn effective self-care techniques
  25. Model taking care of yourself
  26. Learn how to love yourself
  27. Share experiences, information, encouragement, support and hope
  28. Help you understand yourself
  29. Be with people who don’t see you as a problem to be solved
  30. Be around others who didn’t know you “before” and so aren’t sad/grieving with you about that loss
  31. Be  around others who show that “this” disease/pain/situation is livable
  32. Be able to go on this journey with someone else
  33. Be around those who have realistic expectations for you and your life
  34. See what realistic expectations look like
  35. Feel a sense of belonging

Your Turn. Which ones do you identify with? What has been left off the list? What makes you mad?

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Laughter Quiz

What makes people laugh is an unexact science. What makes you laugh might not make me laugh and visa-versa. I tend to be a serious person and not prone to laughter. I’d like to change that especially after experiencing a day of laughter at our Thanksgiving feast.

“You laugh at me because I am different, but I laugh at you because we are all the same” (anonymous).

Have fun taking this True or False Quiz on Laughter.

  1. True or False. The study of humor and laughter is called humology.
  2. True or False. People laugh thirty times more often when they are with others compared to when they are alone.
  3. True or False. As children go through developmental stages what makes them laugh changes.
  4. True or False. Laughter is contagious.
  5. True or False. Laughter is physically good for you.  
  6. True or False. An adult laughs 400 times a day whereas a child laughs 17  times a day.

Click below on (more…) to read the answers.


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Memory Falters When Dealing With Pain or Grief

Pain has an element of blank;
It cannot recollect
When it began, or if there was
A time when it was not.

It has no future but itself,
Its infinite realms contain
Its past, enlightened to perceive
New periods of pain.

By Emily Dickinson

Grief disrupts your mind and thinking abilities. Confusion moves in and memory takes a vacation. . . Just as your leg can experience a cramp and not move, it’s as though your mind has a memory cramp. Your mind is paralyzed and shuts down…” (Wright, 12-13)1

Constant pain can also interfere with memory retention or recall. Fatigue, lack of sleep, depression, stress, and some medications also contribute to memory issues. This article about memory loss cites studies that show how disturbed sleep patterns and chronic pain affect memory.

Remember to cut yourself some slack if you are dealing with grief and/or pain. Your mind is working very hard right now trying to cope.You are not going crazy.  

You don’t have to wait for your memory to right itself. There are a few things you can do now.

  1. Get adequate sleep. Figure out how to overcome your sleep issues. Getting the proper amount of sleep is necessary for your brain and body to function well.
  2. Get adequate exercise. Do more than exercise your body though, exercise your brain too.
  3. Manage your stress level. Prayer, exercise, practice gratitude, and journaling can help. Click here for 20 Ways to DeStress Your Life. Talk with a professional, if you are concerned about your memory, talk to your MD and/or a therapist.
  4. Practice your faith. We have a God who loves and cares about us. Even if you don’t understand your “why’s,” you can still find great help from God.

Works Cited

1. Wright, H. Norman.  Experiencing Grief. Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2004. 

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Grief Affects Behaviors, Feelings, Thoughts (Including Memory), & Body

I Just Gotta Read About Jesus Every Now & Again

Love is not a feeling; it’s a verb.

Mother Teresa’s Faith Crisis: Similar to Mine?

Mourning is a Choice

My ABC’s of Gratitude

my heart is soooo sad today

Understanding God Through (some of) His Attributes

Why I Have Sleep Issues

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Recovery Actions for Woman in Chronic Pain

Chronic pain/illness can be a sneaky intruder. It can sneak up on you and throw you off-balance, send you into a tail-spin, or plunge you into a deep depression. Take steps to prevent the pain/illness from taking over your life and defining who you are.

The following five steps are a good place to start.

  1. Grapple with God until peace is found.
  2. Find new meaning for living – finding and embracing a new normal. Change is not necessarily bad.
  3. Learn new coping skills.
  4. Grieve well and each time losses come up.
  5. Keep current with communication so that relationships remain strong or get stronger.

Recovery is not a one-time arrival at a set destination. The process is ongoing and ever-evolving. Life will be different because of the pain and the losses suffered. Remember you don’t have to navigate this life alone. My goal as a shepherd and friend is to help you (a woman in pain) to become healthier in spirit. Give me a call.

When we go through any significant grief experience we come out of it as different people. Depending upon the way we responded to this event we are either stronger people than we were before or weaker-either healthier in spirit or sicker.” Granger E. Westberg

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Ministering to the Chronically Ill: 20 Ways That Take 20 Minutes

505 casserolesMinistering to the Chronically Ill: 20 Ways That Take 20 Minutes
by Lisa Copen

Rest Ministries, the largest Christian organization that specifically serves the chronically ill, recently did a survey and asked people to “List some of the programs or resources a church could offer to make it more inviting [and/or] comfortable.” They have provided a sampling of some of the 800+ responses, all of which could be done in 20 minutes or less.

1. Encouragement emails.

2. Make sure the handicapped stalls in the restroom are functioning and clean.

3. Padded chairs or cushions, room for wheelchairs, and plenty of room for my family to sit with me.

4. Be open-minded about a support group for the chronically ill like HopeKeepers. It would make me feel very special, knowing that there is an understanding of people’s needs that are not always visible.

5. Add more disabled parking, even if they are temporary spots.

6. Educate the ushers that people arriving late may have difficulty walking or getting out of cars and will need some assistance.

7. Ask volunteers to call people with chronic illness just to check on them when they don’t make it to services.

8. When suppers are given, recognize that I may need help getting my meal–or at least understand that I won’t be able to wait in a long line.

9. Be gentle when giving people big hugs. It can topple over or hurt a person.

10. Have a video tape of the service, not just a live web cast. Not all our computers work that well.

11. Make sure that the church doors aren’t too difficult to open or at least have mechanical assistance if they’re unusually heavy.

12. Stop telling me that if I really believed and had faith I would be healed by now. Please don’t insist how good I look, because I know for a fact that I look terrible and miserable that day.

13. Offer me ways to serve within the church that can be performed regularly, but not on a set schedule. I still want to contribute, but I need some flexibility so that I can do a job when I feel well enough to do so.

14. Have sermon notes available so I can listen later or even just review what I didn’t catch the first time.

15. Acknowledge National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week. Rest Ministries has a nice book list of top 100 Christian books for the chronically ill. It would make a nice display in your bookstore that week.

16. Just mention chronic illness occasionally! Don’t forget to talk about it in sermons as one of the challenges many people face just like unemployment or divorce.

17. Have Christian volunteers from church that will clean house for small fee. Some have offered to clean my house, but I cannot accept charity yet, but neither can I afford to pay a regular house cleaning service.

18. Help with some of the small costs of providing encouraging books and resources for the church library the chronically ill can check out.

19. Remember how many caregivers are in the church, not just caregiving for their parents, but also for their spouses or ill children.

20. Have copies of sermons for free on CD or computer.

Find over 500 ways to encourage a chronically ill friend in the book “Beyond Casseroles: 505 Ways to Encourage a Chronically Ill Friend” at

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