We always want our circumstances to change our seasons, but it is God who would rather change the seasons in our souls to change us to be more like Him. In these ever-changing seasons of the soul, we learn to sing, I have tasted and seen that the Lord is good! It is well with my soul. And we are surprised because we mean every word!

At 15, I was pushed into the world of chronic pain. Headaches had always been a part of my life since a very young age, but by the age of 15, the headaches became a permanent fixture in my life. I lived as the girl with the headaches and I couldn’t see past the pain–not really. You can read more about my struggle and the emotional onset of my chronic pain in my book, A Pygmy’s Life for Me.

But throughout these nine years of pain, the seasons in my soul have shifted drastically and for the better. Nothing has stayed the same though I am in the same trial of physical pain. There has been an ebb and flow of chronic pain, many incredible life events, added trials much harder for me than physical pain itself, and yet nothing in these nine years has placed my soul in a stuck position–because God doesn’t ask His children to live stuck lives. Ever.

The spiraling darkness of acute physical pain felt backward to any sort of full life, but that same darkness propelled me nearer God–the best Place to be. The more pain I felt and the longer it lasted, the more I realized my life wasn’t made of pain. And the longer this pain lasts, the less it destroys.

Those sentences don’t even make sense, but that’s life with God–healing in all the ways you never imagined, meeting the kindness of God in circumstances you never wanted, and living a rich life in God though there are parts of life you never get to live.

Nine years is an overwhelming number. Add in the extra trials that come with more life on earth, and it’s a scary equation. If you’re only looking for what you understand, if you’re only looking at the passage of time, and if you’re quite sure that your expectations are the golden standard, then nine years is a terrifying number.

I bet you’ve got nine years of something too.

It’s impossible to ignore the years–the thousands of days–and I don’t believe God asks us to ignore the pain we feel and walk through. He grieves with us! But we are also to renew our minds in Him. God desires us to live in victory not defeat. If I’m going to look at nine years of something, I better be looking at it the right way.

Nine years of physical pain. Yes, unavoidable. Nine years. There is grief in there. And I can grieve with God.

But also,

Nine years of God revealing Himself to me in ways I so desperately needed.

Nine years of miraculous provision.

Nine years of tears that I’ve long since forgotten, but tears that God still remembers.

Nine years to know I am weak, but God is strong–so absolutely strong. And He loves to give me His strength.

Nine years of limitations that have cultivated an awareness of life.

Nine years of living life better because of those limitations.

Nine years of common ground with others experiencing deep, unavoidable pain.

Nine years of gifts and blessings undeterred by physical pain.

Nine years of knowing the kindness of God and His love to me in a personal way.

Nine years of fragile hope in God which bore confidence which bore joy.

Nine years of this new kind of life.

Nine years of God. Yes, unavoidable. Nine years. An eternity to go. And pain doesn’t get the luxury of sticking around for it.

Circumstances don’t often change the way we imagine them to, but God is changing us. Deep down. All through. There are so many seasons for the soul, but stuck is not one of them.

The physical pain that has been around for thousands of days has given me a solid foundation for the new and harder trials in my life. It’s as though the physical pain has transformed into the knowledge and experience that God is kind and faithful, great and powerful, strong and present.

Nine years of physical pain has born in me a certainty and confidence that everything to come also comes with the reality of God. And the reality of God is kindness, goodness, joy, strength, comfort, help, deliverance, hope, miracles, transformation, beauty, and wonder. I intimately experience the reality of God every new day that breaks. There’s not one day of pain that enters into my life without the reality of God being in my life too.

What began nine years ago as a terrible darkness has transformed into a foundation for the truth, a gentle entryway for scarier valleys, and a fixed place that reminds me God is kind. He is kind. God is good. He is good. God remembers. He remembers. God is making all things new. God is doing wonderful things. God is with me–always for me.

Nine years of God changing the seasons in my soul. Nine years of God moving my struggling heart to Himself. Nine years of God transforming me–the girl with the headaches–into a woman who sees the kindness of God.

This is healing.

Nine years. Unavoidable. Praise God.

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