Migraine Chronicles: A Matter of Focus

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
Colossians 3:1-3

I remember just a short time ago when my three-year-old responded to my admonition that he behave with an outburst somewhat, ahem, telling of his personality: “I am being have!”

Oh, wait… that only seemed like a short time ago. In actuality, it was thirteen years ago, and that same little boy is now driving, holds a purple belt in Wado Ryu karate, and is navigating his first boy-girl relationship that is not based primarily on who is ‘It’ in a game of hide-and-go-seek.

My how time flies…  And time has also softened the edges of that memory so that the humor stands out clearly, unencumbered by the emotional barrier of dealing with a defiant toddler.

Often these days, I look back with fondness at the years when my children were small. However, I have to admit that at the time I often felt overwhelmed by the sheer mass of needs that ruled my day, particularly since it was when they were all small that I first began to struggle with chronic migraine.

Yet today even the towering needs of three toddlers seem trifling in the face of the more complex emotional needs of teenagers. And I know that someday, I will even look back on these hormone-fueled clashes with some degree of nostalgia – as well as with a better understanding of which battles were truly important and which only seemed critical at the time.

Hindsight can be so illuminating. pict0460

To be honest, this is the very thing I have to remember when I’m in the middle of a bad migraine cycle. I must remember that time marches on and one day the long, dreary days of pain and fatigue will be mere memory, softened by time and no longer full of sharp spikes and energy-depleting edges.

Although now the battle against pain is furious and intense; although now pain may color the days in  browns and grays like a typical overcast Tennessee winter, it will not always be this way.

Here in Tennessee, spring has already made an early incursion, and on its heels color slowly seeps back into the landscape until the days are once more awash in lush greens and deep blues with every imaginable shade and combination of reds and yellows mixed in.

Even so, at least for those of us who are in Christ, the pain-filled days are merely the winter of our time of exile here on earth. But spring is coming.

And for those who do not know our God, the invitation remains open to you as well. Come, cast your cares on the Lord, and He will sustain you.

For there will come a day when, just as we look back on the previous trials of our lives, we will look back on all of this life through eyes of experience, and though it is difficult now, it will be but a little moment in the vastness of Eternity.  Then we will remember the days of weariness and toil and be glad of the lessons we learned in the midst of them. Then, too, we will be fully aware of the glory of God which we once overlooked while keeping our eyes locked on the next step of the tiresome path at our feet.

But we do have another option.

Instead of keeping our eyes downcast now, fixed on these earthly problems of pain, why not set our thoughts on the things above?  Through His power at work within us, we truly can shift our focus from this small, shrinking self and onto the eternal nature of our glorious King with full assurance that all of this – even the most agonizing moments – will be used for good in His perfect and eternal purpose.

As a matter of focus, we can learn even now to see slivers of beauty peeping through the links of affliction, for even in pain, our King has walked before us and knows the way.

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12 thoughts on “Migraine Chronicles: A Matter of Focus

  1. We praise Him that He is able to draw us to focus upon Him, through His Word, in prayer, through everyday experiences, seasons and even and especially times of pain and trial. I, too, when I was younger, had migraines, but can praise Him for His grace to deliver in His timing. I look forward to reading how He continues to work in your life, to increase your faith and focus. ~ Fran

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  2. This is a really beautiful post. I am so sorry you in the middle of this, with the intensity and pain of the migraines.

    I chuckled reading what your son said, ‘I am being have!’ Oh I love that, reminds me of my son. And as stressful as sometimes it may get with little children, there is such a special place in my heart foe even in the difficult times.

    Love how you showed your focus to be toward our inheritance…truly we are exiles here. But you are setting a great example of how to keep that in perspective under the most difficult of circumstances. I will continue to keep you in my prayers to be relieved of this 🙂

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    1. Thanks, Joel! This week is much better and mostly pain-free, but I had a pretty nasty time last week. Still, God uses every bit of it, and I am His, so all I want is to be sure I’m keeping His name honored no matter what (although I have to say I am much better at it when there is less pain…). 😀

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      1. Same here Heather…I had an ugly bout with tinnitus the other month. I really, really did not want to go through it. But the release I got from worship even during the uncomfortableness, of just releasing myself onto Jesus, changed everything.

        So glad to hear this week is better and mostly pain-free. Any news on the upcoming contest? How are you feeling on the book? And…have you thought of your next one?

        I’ve really just stagnated on the writing myself the past two weeks. I can’t seem to get a good night sleep so I’m hesitant to pull a late nighter when I’m already so far behind on rest. I need to bite the bullet and do it one night this week so I can make some progress. My sleep clock is messed up I think…I’m thinking about trying out melatonin at an earlier hour and seeing if that will help reset me to a more normal schedule. We’ll see. I had an interesting conversation with a guy at work about tenacity to do projects while being really busy with work and family. At some point, I just have to do it and get it done. Hope you are having a great day!

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      2. So sorry to hear about your bout with tinnitus. You know, I’ve had that as long as I can remember. I literally did not know it was a thing until I was in my 30s! I think sleep was the game-changer for me last week. I had one of the worst prodrome phases I can remember followed by a killer migraine, but I slept a ton and felt so, so much better afterwards. I really need to be better about getting enough sleep, but I honestly don’t know how.
        As far as the contest, I ended up joining the ACFW, and a lady from the organization emailed me with some formatting tips along with making some corrections on the formatting for my contest entry (I did enter it last Friday, I think). Oops! I honestly thought I’d done it correctly, but she was super helpful and hopefully it will save me time in the future! However, for now I am going to have to basically manually reformat my entire manuscript before I send it to any publishers. A pain, but I am so thankful to know now rather than after I have sent it off! I guess I won’t start on the next one until I’ve waded through that… I do have an idea but it’s still pretty vague, so this will give me time to pray about it more.
        Mine took me forever to write, mostly because of life and writing in snatches here and there with a million stops and stalls. You’ll get there. It just isn’t easy to carve out time when it’s not your full-time job. Basically, I am leaving it to God concerning whether or not this will be an income source for me! If my youngest decides to go to the private school next year, I will need to get a job for sure, so in some ways, I guess this is my ‘fleece.’ 🙂
        Anyway, all that to say – you’ll get there. I’ll pray for God to show you how and where to fit it in. It may be that you just have to give yourself a break on the deadline and let it be a long project if need be. He’ll show you the way!

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      3. I’ve had tinnitus for about 4 years, on and off, God has taken it away and let it come back. It’s a whole experience with him honestly, usually ties in to whether my spiritual ears are listening to him. Even when it’s at its worst for me, it’s not too bad. God has been gracious to me in that area, still not fun though at times.

        Oh wow, so you had to reformat it?! Ugh! I would be frustrated. But agreed, better to know now then know later. It would be super cool if it was a source of income for you. I’d love to be able to do that myself one day if I ever get published…that’s totally in God’s hands though. I’m not even thinking about it (secretly keeping my fingers crossed though!). Agreed, when it’s not your full time job, it’s hard to find the time. So true. Well I hope the fleece is dry and the ground is wet for you through this! And vice versa the next day!

        Weather here has been warm lately. I saw you write that Tennessee has been pretty overcast lately? OK has been too, but we’ve had some lovely blur sky days too. I kinda feels like winter is a thing of the past with as warm as its been.

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      4. Well, I haven’t actually been able to reformat the whole manuscript yet. That is going to take some time – probably a lot of time! All that has been done is the 15 page contest entry.
        In a way, it’s neat that your tinnitus is linked to spiritual hearing. Mine comes and goes, but it literally has done that all my life, so it isn’t even something I ever thought much about. It is pretty random, though, and it’s less frequent now than when I was a kid, oddly enough.
        Tennessee is typically overcast in the winter, but this winter has been far from typical! We’ve had a few gray days, but aside from that and a weekend or two of winter, this year has been mostly springlike. In all my years, I’ve never seen a winter this consistently warm. It’s been weird but we are enjoying it for the most part. We are just hoping that doesn’t mean we are in for a blazing summer!

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      5. Our winters the past several years, at least, have been much warmer. It’s just not cold like it used to be. I love temperature extremes. I like it really hot or really cold. The middle range is boring for me. I’d rather it be 90+ than 75. It’s pretty warm here today, especially for February.

        I can definitely understand that taking awhile to reformat! What was the deal with the formatting though? Did they have an online reference for the preferred formatting or tips or “no nos” on what to do and not to do?

        It is actually really cool how my tinnitus is linked in spiritually…God uses it to get my attention. I think I have more of a spiritual tinnitus problem than physical!

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      6. Well, as for the formatting, it would probably be easier for me to just forward you the email. She was saying that industry standard is to have a .5 inch indention and some other specifics – I’ll just forward you the info. 😉

        Our winters have been erratic and so have our summers. Last year was a pretty normal TN summer, but we had a couple of almost freakishly cool ones. However, I’m not much for extremes! Really hot weather tends to equal more migraines for me, and really cold weather triggers Raynaud’s, so I’m happy with the middle range. 😀

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      7. Thank you so much!! I just saw it, I’ll go through it today and start making some adjustments. I really appreciate it Heather 🙂

        Our summers have been so hot here lately! Oooh, ouch, you’re getting it from both sides there. Well, I hope you have a mild summer and winter this year in TN! Erratic is a good word though for Oklahoma.Today it’s low 80s, tomorrow a cold front comes through and its back to jeans and sweaters. Wild weather!

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      8. No problem! I hope it saves you a headache later. And haha -yes, temperature extremes aren’t kind to this old body! 😉 Oklahoma sounds a bit like Tennessee weather-wise. It’s in the 70s here today, but tomorrow is near 80 and then it is expected to drop into the 40s for highs on Saturday. Wild indeed.

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