The Pain Life
I've lived with chronic pain for nearly 30 years. For me, it's been a lonely journey. You know the drill. Say you're "OK" when anybody asks. Smile through the pain. Try your best to look healthy in front of others.
Small Group Idea
For the past few years, I have been leading a women's small group for my church. I've really enjoyed having something important to do in my life, and feel blessed to serve these ladies in this way.
At the beginning of this year, I started thinking that the church should have some kind of small group for people with chronic pain. I didn't know if it should be a Bible study group or a support group—I just felt the need to start something.
Unfortunately, in the spring my mental health wasn't under control. I suffered from severe anxiety nearly every day and felt overwhelmed with daily life. So I knew I couldn't start a group right then. Over the summer, the church and I went back and forth about what kind of group it should be. Finally I decided the easiest thing to do was to use the small group infrastructure already in place and start a Bible study, but incorporate elements of a support group within our meetings.
In one study I had done last fall, 4 out of the 7 of us had chronic pain. Plus with the statistics that 20% of Americans have chronic pain, I knew there were people who needed this.
So before fall small group semester started, I e-mailed the people from my group and a couple other people I know who have pain and asked who would be interested. I got instant positive feedback! One lady said she felt so blessed about the timing of my group, and that I didn't know how much she needed something like this right now.
My New Chronic Pain Group
My group just started and we have 9 people, which I'm very excited about! In the first meeting, where we just introduced ourselves, the theme of trauma came up a few times. Since I know that trauma and chronic pain frequently go hand-in-hand, I will be doing a brief presentation at our next meeting on how trauma affects the brain and body.
For now, instead of doing an icebreaker question at the beginning of each meeting like I usually do, I'll be providing some kind of education beneficial to people with pain.
My New Podcast
My friend, Julie, recently encouraged me to put as much good into the world as I could. So I got over my fears and launched a new podcast two weeks ago! I found a social media group for podcasters to find guests, and posted about my new podcast. So far 11 people have messaged me that they want to be on my podcast!
I'm researching or talking to each person to determine what their episode should be about, and so far it's going really well. I have a variety of topics that will hopefully help and encourage others.
Message from a Stranger
One other endeavor has been my social media platform. I'm not very active on social media personally but am trying to do more with my It Hurts to Mom platforms.
Last week, a lady I don't know messaged me saying she cried when she saw the "It Hurts to Mom" name because of how true it is with chronic pain. She thanked me for the courage to begin this project and assured me that I will help many people, whether I'm aware of it or not.
I think I needed to hear that. The whole reason I started It Hurts to Mom was to encourage others, and help people in chronic pain not feel so isolated. She reminded me that even if I'm just helping one person, that's enough.
So thank you to anyone who is reading this, following me on social media, or listening to my podcast. I hope what I have to offer is helpful to you.
You're not alone!
Today I will remember...
God has a divine purpose for me, and right now it's to help and encourage people who live with chronic pain.