EVERYDAY IS A NEW BATTLE
BY CARISA STARK
Living with chronic pain is an interesting thing. It is an invisible life stealer. Your life is consumed by this thing completely outside of your control, yet so few of those that live outside of your home will ever understand the battle that you face every day. Due to a sprinkling of good days, pulling up your bootstraps and pushing through, and pain medication, the pain is invisible to everyone but you. On most mornings when I wake up, as much as I would like to get up, spend time in the Word with a hot cup of coffee, make breakfast for my 5 beautiful children, and begin a day just like many others, I cannot. Chronic migraines now dictate my day.
Typically, I wake up to a piercing pain in my head feeling as if my head will split in two. It is a pain so familiar that it brings tears to my eyes to even think about. Getting out of bed is not an option. Thankfully one of my sons will come in with a cup of coffee and encourages me to stay in bed because he will take care of his siblings by making breakfast. This will buy me a little more time to rest until I have to pull myself from the sheets and drag myself to the living room where I try to be present. Depending on the time of year, we somehow get through homeschooling, have movie day, or sometimes, things get a little better as the day progresses. Around mid-day, again one of the boys will make lunch and then put the twins down for naps and get them a snack when they wake up. Finally, as the day is drawing to an end, Zac will arrive home and I get to return to my dark cave (my bedroom). He would make dinner, give baths, and put the kids to bed. Then like ground hog day, we do it all again.
I have dealt with migraines from a young age, but it was not until about two and a half years ago that they became chronic. When it comes to treatments, I have tried them all. The list is way too long and very disheartening.
While only being 33, I have missed so much of life in two and a half years. Birthdays, anniversaries, parties, church, kids sporting events, and school things. At times I have missed them all. And, then to think about what my kids have missed out on makes my stomach churn. I have learned to cope with the pain. I have mastered the ability to put a smile on my face and get through life. Though the pain and debilitation is real, I will not let the enemy rob me of my joy and the life I am called to live. I have held on to Romans 5:2-5, “Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” I will not lose focus on my call and rejoice in the hope the Lord has for me. Through my suffering the Lord has shaped my children. When they see me in pain they pray, they lay hands on me, and we trust the Lord will heal me. It might not be in our/my timing but in His perfect timing. In the midst of this storm I trust Him.
This past month while I was taking part in the Freedom Challenge, hiking in Wyoming, I had a taste of freedom that I have not had in a long time. It was beautiful. I was migraine free for the majority of the trip. I had healing on those mountains, and I am so grateful and thankful for the Lord to show me His perfect love and mercy in my time away. On my first morning away I opened my bible to Psalm 41:3, “The Lord sustains him on his sickbed; in his illness you restore him to full health.” I clung to this scripture. Since returning home the migraines have come back, but I will not lose hope. I will continue to fight for myself, and most importantly my family. As a mother, the best way I can lead my children through my health issues is to show them to always trust, take heart, and know that the Lord has a plan. In the midst of our storms. He knows us by name, and with our sufferings, He is producing a beautiful character.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Carisa Stark is a 33-year-old lover of her Lord, life, and her family. She has been married for 12.5 years to her best friend Zac. They have five incredible children, Ezekiel 11, Ethan 9, Violet 7, Joy & Hope 3 years old. She enjoys hiking, crossfit and finding new yummy vegan recipes. She spends most of her days homeschooling and running a very busy house of 7.