I suffer from a facial disease called Trigeminal Neuralgia. I wanted to write a little bit about that, and today’s struggle I faced while at church. “Taking” about chronic illness can make others skittish, and I understand. Chronic illness is quite honestly very scary. Even as an outsider, it is scary. One of the reasons it can be so frightening is: it could happen to us. Anyone of us could get sick with some rare disease at any given moment.
Trigeminal Neuralgia–ack. I find it to be the hardest thing to talk about. Recently, I have been trying to occasionally “flood” (not literally) my fb newsfeed with information on Trigeminal Neuralgia. There are two types of “TN” (how I refer to it). I have atypical Trigeminal Neuralgia, which is worse and affects more areas. It doesn’t just affect one area. It can go from my face, head, neck, ears, etc. It is very difficult to manage. I have several triggers that can cause the pain to “flare up”. One of those triggers is sound. If Trigeminal Neuralgia is already kicked into gear, I have to be very careful. If I am struggling with TN (like today), music or other audible entertainment is out for the most part. Today’s attack is worse than other recent ones.
Today, while at church, my head was beginning to just throb. Noise is such a trigger for pain. In those kind of moments, it is such a struggle. In those kind of moments, all you are thinking about is telling someone to shut up. As someone who earnestly wants to glorify God and wants her attitude to be much closer to Jesus’ than her own, those are some hard moments. When I have a bad TN attack, I generally have to listen to a church service from the foyer. Depending on the noise level, I may be able to go and try to listen to the sermon. The last time where TN was heavily active and sensitive to sound, I was restricted to the foyer for about 6 months before TN calmed down. I can only assume that I am getting ready for another one of those seasons. Fellowship is so important. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you face, being with the Church is really important. I may not have been able to handle singing with the congregation, but there are other ways that I can fellowship (facebook, email, etc).
The thing about it is: A lot of us struggle to keep our minds on Christ- even at church. For some of us, that battle intensifies when battling a chronic illness. Yesterday while reading, that’s something that God reminded me of. Phil 2:5-11
What do we need to do to keep our minds on Christ, when we are in pain and suffering? For me, it may be stepping into the foyer to sit and worship my Savior during service….For others, it may be something else. We all struggle with different things. Maybe you don’t have a chronic illness, but you will battle with your thoughts and staying focused on Christ just as another believer in Christ will. Each of us walk a different road of struggling, but God can and will help us to be about Him and His will! We need to be challenging our thinking, to be more mindful of Christ, His tremendous sacrifice, and how we can place ourselves where we are being in His Word daily, in prayer daily, and surround ourselves with like-minded believers in Christ!
“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.
The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak (Mark 14:38)”.
“Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked for,
but that you may be rewarded fully (2 John 1:8)”.
My new favorite Bible verse to encourage me:
“Therefore we do not lose heart.
Though outwardly we are wasting away,
yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16)”.