Shonnie, mentioned yesterday that the pain she experienced after her accident was excruciating….
Shonnie: For me, it seemed that pain was all that I was feeling. I had pain in several different places in my body, at varying degrees of severity, on any given day. One of the worst areas of pain is in my lower abdomen. I have suffered this pain for the last five years. It has increasingly gotten worse over the years, to the point of becoming debilitating – more debilitating than the paralysis.
I have sought the help of multiple doctors, tried several different medications, and have had quite a few medical tests performed. I even went the holistic medicine route for two and half years which required eating a very restrictive, organic diet, and shelling out thousands of dollars for supplements; nothing seemed to help me. The pain only continued to get worse.
This past summer was the worst it’s ever been. I use an electric power chair on a daily basis which has given back to me some of the independence that I lost. This summer my chair broke down and I had to use a manual chair which greatly limits my independence. I also developed a new problem. I began having severe muscle spasms in my low back. Even on good days, I was generally uncomfortable in my abdomen and I would think, “I can’t wait to get into bed to get relief from this pain in my stomach,” only to find that as I would lie down my back would begin to hurt severely. Finding a position that was comfortable was difficult to do, which made sleeping through the night an allusion.
I basically focused on surviving from day-to-day and praying that things would soon change. On the most severe days, when I was most desperate for others to pray for me, I would make a post on Facebook simply asking God to take away my pain and people responded to my posts and partnered in prayer for me.
At the end of August, I was approached by one of the leaders in my church who asked me to pray about being one of the leaders of the small group Bible study that met in my home. Before my accident I worked in full-time ministry and had been very involved in my church, leading Bible studies, disciplining and mentoring women. But the eight-year hiatus I had been on had left me a bit rusty; not to mention the myriad of changes that had taken place, not only physically but mentally, spiritually and emotionally, as well.
I immediately had several reasons why I could not be a Lifegroup leader, but I agreed to pray and ask God if I should or not. As much as I long to be the girl that I used to be – loving, serving, and ministering to people – when considering it logically I didn’t see how it could possibly work.
The amount of time that is required in dealing with a disability is like having a part-time job, plus the time commitment of being in school, add to that the debilitating pain that pops up on a regular basis and forces me to lie in bed the entire day, trying not to breathe because the slightest movement increases the pain.
I felt like I had plenty of valid reasons not to add more responsibility to my proverbial plate. But God would not accept any of my reasons. In fact, He told me “Yes!” not once, not twice, but three times! (I had to know beyond a doubt that He was really calling me to do this.) I remember having a conversation with Him where I told Him that between school and the pain I needed something off my plate if I was to become a Lifegroup leader. I didn’t feel like I could honor the time commitment and do my job well, especially if I was lying in bed unable to move.
But God, in His severest of mercies, didn’t see fit to honor my request. As I was beginning my fall semester in school, I informed my friend that I was willing, out of obedience to God, to be a Lifegroup leader. It seemed like God was testing my obedience to Him, because the day of the Lifegroup meeting that it was to be announced that I was going to be one of the leaders the pain in my abdomen was the worst it had ever been.
I was already lying in bed, praying that it would leave, before Lifegroup began. I got up out of bed to attend the meeting but only lasted halfway through the night. I went back to bed but couldn’t get any relief. Nothing I tried to do helped.
There are definitely so many things in life that I don’t understand about God, why He chooses to act in some situations and seems to sit on His hands in others. But what has bewildered me the most in my situation may surprise you. God choosing not to remove the debilitating pain before I became a Lifegroup leader didn’t surprise me much. It is a request that He has denied many times the last five years; not only a request from my lips but from many others as well.
It’s actually when God says, “Okay, you have carried this particular cross long enough, now I will take it away” that has bewildered me the most.
For you see, it has been nine weeks since the Wednesday night it was announced that I would be a Lifegroup leader and that was the last day that I suffered the horrific, torturous, debilitating pain!
I remember that as the first week went by I was surprised to realize that my pain had been mild to moderate the entire week. I honestly couldn’t remember the last time that was the case. When the second week went by and the same was true for it, I was so afraid to tell anyone because I just knew it was going to come back. I was so afraid to even dare to hope that I had been healed. It was a month before I really began telling anyone that the horrific pain that had plagued me for so long was truly gone.
I have cried so many happy and a few bewildered tears. I have walked with my God long enough to know better than to believe in coincidences. Do I believe that I would have been healed of the debilitating pain if I had chosen to not obey God and lead a Lifegroup? No, I don’t believe I would have been.
I have suffered a great deal in the last several years of my life, a lot of hardships and difficulties. I haven’t always had a lot of joy during this season, but I have had a lot of peace and security. Sometimes when we obey Him, God likes to surprise us with an added blessing when we least expect it.
There are still a lot of things that I don’t understand about God. But I do know one thing, whether I had been healed or not, it pays to obey Him.
Charity: Thanks so much for sharing your testimony Shonnie, it gives me the chill bumps everytime I read it. I agree, we don’t always understand God and His ways, but we can always rest, knowing that HE IS A GOOD and POWERFUL GOD!
Have you been encouraged and inspired by Shonnie’s story? Leave a message of encouragement to her in the comment section below!!!!!!