Pain-My Silent Struggle

pain-my-silent-struggle-tiffany-parkerPain. A word I have coexisted with on a daily basis for over 5 years. Suffering. A word that describes the depth of that pain. Pain I never knew I could feel or would have to feel or even knew existed. Sure, I had heard of tragedy and watched the news like any other person, but those things didn’t happen to me or my family or in my neighborhood. Somehow I was invincible. Somehow my life was going to go as planned without so much as a hiccup. Until a large hiccup hit. Ive been sick for many years now and every day I pray and believe that I will be better someday. That someday this nightmare will be in the past. The nights of screaming out in pain, the days of not being able to walk on my own or do anything but survive. Survival is not the sole goal that anyone wants to live for. My life has become a series of doctor visits, force feeding, emotional conversations, desperate attempts at getting through a day and at keeping me alive. Going an entire night without groaning in my sleep, rushing to the ER or up screaming in the bathroom is considered a miraculous night. A victory. 

The joy of having a baby and the bliss of  pregnancy and birth of that child was robbed in so many ways by complications, health issues, hospital stays, tough decisions, anxiety and all that comes with it. My baby boy is such a miracle and I am happy to say he is home and healthy as he could be, praise the Lord. You can read my story and his here. 

It was a journey I believe God will restore. What was stolen, He will bring back to me. He says in His Word that He will restore the years the locusts have eaten and I still hold closely to that scripture. 

I serve a God who came to give abundant life and I struggle with that at times. What kind of abundance is this life I live majority of the time? But then I remember the promise that He works all things together for good for those who love him and are called according to His purpose. That means that all this misery and despair that I have lived through will have a happy ending somewhere. That it will be used for good, used for a purpose. 

I can only pray and hope that what I have gone through and currently continue to walk through will be able to help someone. I understand pain. I understand grief. I understand the loss of dreams and hopes. I understand hopelessness. Because as defeating as it is to admit even with the intimate relationship with The Lord that I have, I have at times, lost hope. In recent months, more than ever. In Proverbs, Solomon tells us that hope deferred makes the heart sick. I can attest to that.

By losing my hope I began to give up.

Give up on my future, on fighting, I even gave up my will to live at times. There were months at a time that I begged for death. I wanted to be in heaven with Jesus where there is no suffering, crying or pain. Where my struggles on all fronts would be remembered no more. I would no longer have to fight for my life. I would no longer have to feel alone and isolate myself because no one understands what I am going through and the physical and emotional pain that I endure. 

There is nothing normal about my life. People don’t get it. They can’t. And that is the most isolating truth of all. Thankfully it’s a reality that many people will not have to face or understand. Even the people that walk through this with me on a daily or weekly basis can only understand so much. And that is where I believe a lot of the good from this whole situation will be manifested. In the fact that no-one can understand debilitating physical, mental or emotional pain and suffering, except those that have walked through it. I have walked through it. 

I have walked through, sometimes barely hanging on with a slow and pathetic crawl.

But I have gone through. I know what it means to be in debilitating physical pain so bad that you beg for death. I know what it means to be okay one moment and in a full blown panic attack the next. I know what it means to have nightmares so jarring that you wake up screaming and covered in sweat multiple times in the middle of the night. I know what it means to be completely broke. I know what it means to have dreams ripped out of your hand and heart. I know what it means to suffer with anxiety.  I know what it means to want to change, want to be set free, but seem to make little to no progress. I know what it means to have a hope filled exciting life with big plans for the future and have it all seem to be ripped away. I know what it means to be so terrified and unsure of what is going to happen or how I will make it through that it literally makes me sick. I know what it means to watch life from a window. What it means to watch people move on in life, meet goals, travel, have a career and live their life, meanwhile I am chained to a hospital bed, a toilet, my bed or a couch, a prisoner in my own body. I know what it means to feel bitter and angry that your life is not what it could be, not what it should be. I know what it means to have friendships and relationships fall apart because no one can understand the lifestyle that this season has forced me to live. I know what it means to suppress and retract from other people. You can only hear ignorant pieces of advice and comments so many times before you just stop trying to make people understand. I know what it means to wonder if you will ever have the life you pray and believe for. I know what it means to wait for heaven, to long for heaven, to dream of heaven. 

But I’ll tell you what else I know.

I know what it means to allow trials to mold you into the person you really are. I know what it means to build character. I know what it means to be compassionate. I know what it means to see someone hurting and cry with them, genuinely. I know what it means to have a drive to help someone. I know what it means to have an amazing husband who supports and loves me through it all. I know what it means to see a miracle amidst the worst storms I have gone through. I know what it means to find peace in the arms of the Lord. I know what it means to realize what is really important in life. I know what it means to find yourself, to find who you really are. To find someone you may never have had the joy of  meeting had you not had a trial or a season of suffering. I know what it means to trust the Lord and surrender. To take the results out of my own hands and give them to the one who is capable. I know what it means to desire that every person on the face of the planet know Jesus the way that I do. Because truthfully, there are trials in life, many of which I have walked through that would be impossible to go through and come out on the other side without Jesus. I know what it means to be a fighter. I know what it means to pray without ceasing. I know what it means to live a raw, real and difficult life. 

I thank Jesus for the way He has grown me through this all. I pray with every piece of my being that the suffering ends and He brings forth complete and total healing for myself and any one in this world who has been well acquainted with sorrow and suffering. But even if I must walk this road a little longer, I will praise Him, I will continue to hope in Him, I will continue to press on and find the meaning and purpose behind every moment. I pray that I can help just one person be encouraged to find hope again. That no amount of suffering or pain is too deep for the Lord to reach down and pull you out of. I pray that I would be an example to someone that you are not alone. That there is power in understanding and walking through life together. And that somehow in a small way I can be apart of your healing journey. That my suffering would not be in vain or for no purpose, but that God would use what I have gone through to make a difference. Because then, everything I have gone through will all be worth it. That is my prayer. 



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Jeanine Holloway

Hi Tiffany,
I love reading your stories. Your struggles in life, your sickness, your faith. You are right when people say they know your struggles, when in fact if they haven’t experienced, they DO NOT know, but I think sometimes they would like to understand, so they can be more comforting, feel like they are being helpful, so they can also go home knowing that they were there for you. Not all people are this way, as I of course, I’ve been through this with people in and out of my life. I struggle in a different way, but mine revolves more around how people perceive Kyle, and think they have the “parenting” advice. Some is valuable and some is more critising his actions when the ” understanding” is not being seen. Aaaargggggg!!!
With all of this, I have a question that you might be able to help with. Religion and cultures are two different things, but Kyle sees them as 1. being spiritual, but not having to go to church, why pray, when your praying to no one, since God is “dead”. I struggle to how to answer these statements that he makes. I try to tell him how Jesus died for us, but that is way over his head. Any ideas of a beginning moment of the reason why people pray, or why they go to church?
I’m so happy for you and Justin and your new baby boy! May you continue to get stronger everyday, may your journey in life continue in a positive way, with your disease settling down, and you continue to get stronger every day. I’m anxious to know what your new adventures in your life are going to be and Justins too. His photography is so beautiful and would love one day for me to get so much better than I am. I bought a new camera and just trying to use it in different ways.
Thinking of you three often.
Love, Jeanine

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Jeanine, thank you so much for responding to this post and for your kind words. I have given some thought to your question about Kyle. It is a very complex question and situation, so I will do my best with the little information I have to give you the way that I would try and go about it. I think the first thing to explain to Kyle is God is not dead. I’m taking a guess, but maybe when He is explained to that Jesus died for us, maybe he keeps seeing God as literally dead. But the real truth of the Gospel is the resurrection that God is alive. Jesus rose from the dead. As a starting point, I would start with the basic simple stories of Easter and the resurrection of Christ. Maybe if he can understand that God is not dead, some of the other questions like going to church, praying, etc, might be easier to tackle.

We pray because we depend on God and we have a relationship with God. Prayer is a conversation where we speak to God, we lean on Him and ask for help and guidance and he answers us and gives us understanding through the Holy Spirit. I would try to simplify that message and see if you can get anywhere with it. You would talk to somebody you have a relationship with. Prayer is just talking to God. We talk to God because we love God and He loves us and He is alive and saved us so we could be with him. We get to know Him and have a relationship through prayer.

The real thing I think is important to understand is that religion and Christianity are different. Christianity is a relationship based on grace and love. Religion is stuck in works, duties, requirements and rules with no relationship. Religion is essentially dead. But Christianity and Jesus is alive.

I hope this little bit of information helps. Let me know if I can help in any other way. I will be praying for Kyle, that the veil would be lifted from his eyes and that he would come to a completely understanding of the gift of Jesus.

Much love to you.

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