You Are Seen - Even Though The Pain Is Invisible
I walked through the door into a spacious room, welcomed by a lady who was one of the speakers for this event. She seemed kind and had the name Caroline, like one of my friends. However, at first, I felt a little out of place. Though I was early, I glanced around the room and noticed the attendees were older. I didn't see other young adults. My introverted self wanted to walk out of the building, but God called me to stay.
Earlier this month, I attended a chronic pain workshop at a local church. The main speaker was a lady who battles chronic migraines and leads a chronic illness ministry.
After receiving emails about this event, I decided on registering and invited friends to join me. While I picture it as a time of encouragement, and discussions, as most people there lived with chronic pain, I was surprised at how much it made me think of the Diamonds Conference from January. That is once, I got over my thoughts of feeling out of place because I was one of the only attendees that were a young adult.
The Diamonds Conference is an annual virtual event for Christians living with health challenges. Last month's event was seeing the invisible. The speakers shared messages of hope and how God continues to see the pain even though it may not be visible to others. The community was also a beautiful part of this virtual event in January, so I felt refreshed with the encouragement and reminder I'm not going through my chronic pain and challenges alone.
I felt the same amount of encouragement as I attended a local event a couple of weeks ago. The women at my table shared that they didn't feel seen or heard because no one in their family or friend group understood. For those living with a chronic illness, the pain is invisible. No one can see how much it hurts to be present at a church service, family gathering, or meeting a friend for coffee. Now one can see the physical pain or the exhaustion of getting ready for the day. On the outside, we look healthy even if there is a visible mobility device used like a wheelchair.
The discussions at this event resonated with me because I thought back to the years without being part of a community like Diamonds or the CMTA. It felt isolating not to be around others that understood my pain and saw how much I hurt. Then as I attended this event, there were moments of joy as I remembered the amount of suffering Jesus faced and how He knew what the physical pain felt even though many others might not.
That was my takeaway from this chronic pain workshop. Not just the reminder that many others in my community understand the pain from a disease but how my Jesus can relate more than I recognize most days.
Friend, you are seen. Even though the pain, heartache, and suffering you are going through feels hidden. While those around you see a healthy, there is still hurting you are experiencing. And it's real. Though I cannot promise everyone will understand, one day, you will find support and encouragement from others experiencing similar struggles. More than that, God sees you even though the pain is invisible.