“What does a migraine really feel like?” my pastor asked me while we were having a meeting about the ladies ministry. “It is just head pain?” I could tell him a thing or two! I have had migraines for about three years and some of them are quite memorable. Recently I had a debilitating migraine that lasted from 9 am to 5 pm…8 LONG hours.
When I experience a debilitating migraine, I am not only in pain but extremely weak and forced to be in bed. When I have to get up to use the bathroom, I am like a 90 year old woman holding on to the furniture, door frames, and walls to safely get there. This is what I look like:
On this eight hour migraine day, my teenage daughter helped me to the bed around 9:30 am. She set up me up with everything I might need: my water, the landline, some magazines and books to read, my dog Coco, and all my devices (my iPhone, my iPad, and my iPad Mini). Then my daughter left, and I was at home alone.
That was when the fun began. I stayed in the bed for a few hours trying to distract my brain from the pain by surfing the internet. Around lunchtime I managed to totter to the kitchen and thankfully there was a bowl of leftovers I could eat. After eating my lunch, I craved Sprite and saltines because to me that is comfort food. I knew that the Sprite was in our upstairs mini fridge and there was no way I could make it up the stairs. I called various friends, family, and neighbors and no one was answering their phone.
No one could come to help me. I struggled with feeling so utterly helpless, but I kept my emotions in check and held onto hope. That is, until the dog jumped off the bed and started vomiting something orange on my creamy white carpet.
It’s not a pretty picture, but imagine a very sick but sobbing woman in her Tshirt and underwear cleaning up orange dog vomit from the carpet.
“Really, God?” she tearfully demands as she scrubs the bright orange spot until it fades, “Was the migraine not enough?”
I know that you’ve been there too. We angrily question God when we are at the end of our rope and another disaster happens. We have reached our limit and we cannot emotionally or physically handle anything else and something more gets put on our plates. And we cannot fathom why a God who loves us so much would allow hardship after hardship to fall upon us like raindrops from heaven.
At this point, it would be very easy to become angry at God, start blaming Him for our problems, and fall into the trap of self-pity. It is at the point of “Really, God?” and “Why me?” that we have to tread carefully.
The author of Lamentations could relate. He had disaster upon disaster fall upon him. We see in Lamentations 3 that his skin and flesh had wasted away and he was besieged and desolate. He says that his strength had perished along with his hope. He whines and complains (“Really, God?) for 20 verses and then he makes a discovery. When he recalls God’s love, mercy, and faithfulness, he rediscovers hope:
But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:21-23 ESV
When we get to the end of our rope and another disaster happens, we have a choice: we can allow our soul to lead us into anger, blame, and self-pity or we can allow our spirit to lead us into hope. Hope says, “Today was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, but tomorrow will be better.” How do we know that tomorrow will be better? God will have new mercies waiting for us there. His mercies are new every morning and never come to an end.
When your strength has perished along with your hope, know that you are not alone. I’ve been there, sobbing and cleaning up vomit. I understand. Call to mind the truth of God’s word as the author of Lamentations did. “This I call to mind, and therefore I have hope.” As you turn your thoughts towards God’s love, mercy, and faithfulness, you will be filled with new hope. And hope will allow you to get up and embrace another moment and another day.
You can do it…I know you can.
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PS Congratulations to Ruth D for winning the note card giveaway!