Monday, July 3, 2017

persevere... for our hope is in the Lord!

Because of my chronic pain, I've been tracking my sleep patterns to see if there is anything I can do to get more rest.  Here are last night's notes (mirroring a pretty typical night for me).
  • 11pm: Fresh new sheets.  Bedroom cool/dark/essential oils diffusing.  Took two Advil PM's.  Definitely am tired and ready to sleep.
  • 12am: (1 Hour Sleep)  Woke up with acid tummy, stuffy nose, and really bad leg cramps.  Sciatica is shooting fierce!  Uncomfortable.  Now what?  Took Benadryl, Prevacid.  Don't want to take pain killers until morning because of the Advil earlier.  Removed all clothes.  Raised head with second pillow.  Left knee throbbing like a toothache.  It hurts so much, I can't even stand the feeling of the blanket touching it!  Kicking exercises from physical therapy to try and help.  Frustrated!
  • 12:35am: (15 Minutes Sleep)  Dozed off for about 15 minutes.  Still kicking when I awoke.  Sigh.  Will try to lay still and hopefully fall back to sleep.  Legs hurt!
  • 12:48am: Gave up on the bed and moved to the jet tub.  Added Eucalyptus epsom salts.  It's now 12:53am and I'm going to close my eyes in tub.  Hopefully will sleep.
  • 1:40am: (1 Hour Sleep)  Just woke up in tub.  Moving water really helps, but sciatica is still a burden. Can't remain in this position any longer but love the water.  Slow to get up.
  • 2am: Clothes back on.  Giving up on trying to sleep for a while because pain is pretty bad and I'm frustrated.  Grabbed a Greek yogurt and am now watching a House Hunters International re-run.
  • 3am: Eyes heavy again so I'll try to sleep. Praying I get a few hours in before morning.
  • 4am:  (1 Hour Sleep)  Dozed off but not remarkable REM.  Giving up and going into my office to paint/pray/study/write.
I've decided that the worst outcome in living with chronic pain is not necessarily the pain... it's the lack of good sleep due to pain.   People always ask me how I am able to function and remain upbeat when I'm always hurting.  Well, in truth, I just do the best I can in the moments I'm given.

I can say this, however...  I do believe that the Lord only gives us what we personally can handle.  Furthermore, I know that if God gives us the gift of time (albeit time I'd prefer to be sleeping/resting), that we should do our best to use our moments wisely and for His good.

When 4am came about this morning, I was frustrated with my health AGAIN.  I'm tired, you see.  I hurt from arthritis and sciatica and can't seem to get it together... to keep a consistent sleep schedule... to feel physically rested and refreshed come each new day.  Yes, my circumstances are definitely difficult.

But here's the thing... God says that he will ultimately give my spirit the rest it craves.  He will come through.  He promises me this hope throughout scripture - and His promises are true and trustworthy!  Because of this, I know I must consider today's trial a joy.  Why?  Because it is useful in testing my faith and teaching me perseverance.

I know that this life will dissipate as quick as a vapor.  This life is short after all.  But Jesus has promised to give me so much more.  He has come to save us from all hardship known in this life and lead us into a new life, a new home, a new health!  No matter the test we face today, we can still look ahead in faith toward Him and know victory.  For those who are in Christ are indeed promised His peace and a future where He will wipe away all tears and pain.  Thank you, Master!!!

I've decided that the worst outcome about living with chronic sin is not the deserved death it demands of all mankind.  Rather it is the unbearable separation away from the Creator.  I can't even imagine living without the Holy Spirit's spiritual upbuilding.  We need God in order to function and survive!  Thank goodness that He loves us!  Thank goodness that He sent His only son to save us through His own sacrifice!  In Christ, God promises us true peace.  In Christ, He will bless us and keep us free from death and destruction.  In Christ, God is gracious to us and lifts up His countenance upon us.  He redeems us from the pain and discomfort we face today and gives us the hope of His future.  Hallelujah!

So friends, no matter what trial you find yourself overburdened and exhausted by this hour... do not let it sway your focus away from the Savior.  Instead, use it to build your faith.  Use these moments for His good.  Choose to rejoice and be glad despite this suffering and seek Him.  Seek Him and He will bring the rest you crave.  He will see you through to holy completion.  Persevere, and you will hear Him say, "Well done."

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. (Romans 5:1-5)

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4)

Persevere... for our hope is in the Lord!

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

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