August 15, 2006
Return to the stronghold, You prisoners of hope. Even today I declare that I will restore double to you. Zechariah 9:12
After being in the cave for so long, returning to a "normal" life presents challenges. God wants to restore all of us, and I must allow Him to restore me. This means I must take risks; I must step into a life of purpose.
I was working on my master's degree in rehabilitation counseling when the trigeminal neuralgia became unbearable. When I was more than half-way into the program, my pain level peaked, and I could not concentrate. I might have seen this coming if I had listened to my doctor's advice. They were encouraging me to take a semester off. But I did not want to do that. Each course was offered on only once a year, and I thought that the degree was taking long enough. After all, I was not getting any younger. I was planning to start in a new field and would be making even less than I did as a teacher. I was determined to get back on the ladder of success.
My cohort graduated without me, but I was too busy to give it much thought. I was managing my pain. I had a pain management program designed specifically for me. It was called Get Closer to Jesus , and it is the best program I have encountered.
After I was healed, I felt God leading me back to finish things that were left undone. After months of enjoying life without pain, I registered for classes. It proved to be one of the most difficult things I have encountered, from registration to the final. The course work was not difficult, but the anxiety was tremendous. I had returned to the very thing that had spurred my exhaustion and the escalation of pain. My friends were gone. I was in a cohort where people were friends with one another, but not with me. Susie, my best friend from my cohort had died without warning just a few months before class started. I sat in a classroom where I had never been without her.
Finally, I completed the last class. Soon I will begin an internship that allows me to advocate for people with facial pain. My hope has grown, and I want to share it with others. I am one step closer to a "normal" life and one step farther from the cave.
Have you read With Great Mercy?