So, if you have perused my blog, you can see that I write a lot about suffering, grief, and other unpopular subjects.
Why? Because I know suffering can be a lonely place, and I don’t want others to walk that road alone.
I also don’t want people to think I am writing speculation or philosophy or theology disconnected to real life.
What follows is not boasting (except to boast that the Lord has brought me and is bringing me through all this). (And just want to assure you that I’m doing fine by the grace of God and the help of family/friends.)
What qualifies me to discuss suffering? Among other things:
- Our 9 year-old daughter faces her 10th surgery this year. It is extremely hard on this Mama, especially given my limitations (because of MCS) to what I wish I could do for her during and after surgery.
- For 4 ½ years, we have struggled with homelessness.
- Every day, I face disabling fatigue (sometimes severe) and a huge list of other symptoms from MCS that come and go.
- In 2010, we lost our home and probably more than 80% of our possessions (to mold and mold toxins). At the same time we lost those, we also lost full-time income (and have not regained it since).
- End of April until end of October this year, we lived in an old RV and camper with our three children. Not so bad until you realize that none of the water works in the RV (so had to go outside to the camper to use the restroom, even in the rain and cold—try that with IBS), couldn’t use the stove or oven (because propane makes me sick), and the refrigerator didn’t work either.
- There was no room in our RV for our little one to crawl, much less use her wheelchair, stander, etc. to gain independence.
- Because of encountering life-threatening chemicals, we had to change camping spots 7 times this summer.
- Put that together with our housing struggles, and we have lived in almost 30 places (including 9 full moves into houses or back into the RV) since April 2010. That’s actually much harder on the kids than on me, but then it’s hard on me because it’s hard on them….
- It’s also a LOT of time moving and trying to deal with logistics while still tending to our children’s needs, etc.
- I have been afraid for my life at least 7 times in the last 6 years. It’s scary every time it happens.
- My ability to eat is sometimes terribly affected by chemicals. Long story short, one time I became so weak from not being able to eat and getting too cold (I couldn’t solve the problem and was by myself) that I could barely move my legs.
- Because of MCS, I can no longer do most of the things I used to be able to do.
- Despite this, I work very, very hard at what I can do, but sometimes it’s frustrating.
- People have leveled false accusations against me that I am stubborn, crazy, neglectful, selfish, closed-minded, faking my energy problems, hopeless, and ungrateful.
- Once again, we don’t know where we will live next nor how long I will make it here (very good house but in town which is hard on me).
As long as this list is (and it’s not everything I’ve suffered of course :)), I’m sure I could come up with a longer list of blessings!!!
But anyway, now you know that I’ve lived some suffering. I hope that my experiences and thoughts can help others who are suffering, knowing that I have been through some difficult things, too.
Christa Upton Black Hills Picture Books PO Box 293 Custer, SD 57730