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Excerpted from Ordinary People. Extraordinary Hope.™️


Psalm 121: 1-2

I look up to the mountains—
does my help come from there?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth!

Thea’s carpal tunnel surgery was rough but manageable. Then the knee surgery came and went but still, nothing she couldn’t handle. But somewhere between the neck fusion and spine surgery, the pain became unmanageable.

Each successive medical issue restarted the cycle of pain, surgery, physical agony, and prescription opioids. Thea became addicted to the narcotics she thought were helping her. With the addiction came overuse of the drug, which led to shortages of medication, which led to uncomfortable visits with doctors where she asked for more medication. Repeated emergency room visits and rampant spending jeopardized her marriage. Her husband threatened to leave her.

She was already estranged from her oldest son. The thought of losing more loved ones fortified her resolve to take care of things once and for all. Thea knew that despite supportive friends, the choice to get healthy, break the addiction, and deal with her emotional drivers was entirely up to her. She prayed for the strength to make the right decision.

“I knew I needed to go somewhere I couldn’t be rescued from,” she said of her decision to go to rehab several states away. “I just had to go and give myself completely over to breaking free from the addiction.”

The therapy delved into every part of her life, dredging up memories and emotions she had hidden away. She realized her father’s words and actions throughout her life had made her believe she could never measure up in any way. She needed to learn anew that she had inherent value and purpose from God.

“I prayed every day, several times a day, and found friends of faith there who I could lean on,” Thea said. “With them and my counselors, I slowly made progress.”

When Thea got home, she was ready to start new. She and her husband dove head-first into their finances. Thea committed to her husband to not only rein in her spending but also to find a way to increase their tax refund.

She found a doctor who helped her find new ways of dealing with the pain, and though she wasn’t ever pain-free, she could go back to work and provide for their family. Her husband agreed to attend counseling with her.

“Am I still tempted to ask for pain meds? Every day,” she admits, “but I know where that leads. I never want to go back there again. Simply being able to work, make my husband dinner, and spend time with family are incredible rewards.”

Thea knew she had a role and responsibility to play in getting healthy. Still, she also knew that God gave her the strength and the open doors to walk into the freedom she now enjoys.


How do you manage painful moments in life?


Lord, when the pain comes, help me keep my eyes on you alone, where my help and strength come from.


Do you know someone who battles chronic pain of some kind? Do something today to help them feel seen and understood.