My Agony and My Writing

Seventeen years of chronic back pain coupled with lots of emotional issues plunged me into an impossible situation. It seemed like a future without hope. Each MRI report showed further deterioration of my disks. Even daily tasks were a painful process. I finally asked my doctor: “Will I eventually be crippled for life?” He struggled to slip out of that question.

Flight Writing

The Impossible Happened

After about two years of emotional healing coupled with a miraculous touch from God, my back was completely healed. I was able to resume all my previous physical activities just as before.

Working Through Mental Agony

The two-year process of healing involved lots of journaling. Issues from my childhood through adult years were expressed in the journaling process. Lots of reading (specifically a book on back pain), lots of agonizing, and lots of prayer went into the writing of those journals.

The Facebook Push

After my back was healed, I posted a photo of me playing basketball on Facebook. Through posts, messages, and emails, people began asking about the healing. That led me to write out my story in detail and I posted it on my “dormant” blog. This was the kind of push that I needed to get me on the writing path.

An Ongoing Quest for Freedom

My healing was really a quest for freedom. It wasn’t a freedom from others and their words and actions. But it was a freedom from my own victim mentality and emotional quagmire.

The process of healing and quest for freedom continues even now. My blog is an ongoing expression of that quest. Although I write on a lot of topics, most of my posts are written from this perspective of living free.

Living Your Potential

I believe that only when you move toward freedom can you live your potential. Otherwise you will be stagnant and dragged around by all the emotional hang-ups.

An Invitation for You

Do you have a strong urge to please everyone, do everything, and be everywhere? I want to help you live with freedom and focus. Join me in the Journey as we process life and how to live it with freedom and focus.

When you subscribe to receive updates from my blog, you will also get a free copy of my book Living Your Potential.

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When There Is No One Else But God

We were in the mountains of Sikkim, near a town called Namchi. My wife, daughter, and I visited this area for the first time. It was after being healed of chronic back pain that I had for 17 years. With every step, I thanked God for healing and restoration. I could never imagine climbing and walking like this before. The hills and mountains around Namchi were quite steep, and every step was amazing to me. In fact, one of the villages we visited required a climb of more than 260 steps (pictured below).

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The mountains were beautiful and I enjoyed every minute as all my prior expectations were blown away. Before my healing, I was never be able to move my body as I used to. One by one, each MRI revealed that my back was falling apart. I could barely stand, sit, or lie down without excruciating pain.

I finally asked the doctor, “Does this mean that my back will eventually collapse and I’ll finally be crippled? The doctor struggled with that question and stumbled for words as he explained that the damage was irreversible. Then he said that an operation may help, but the success rate was too low and the risk too high.

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I felt like my body was giving up on me. It was as if there is still life left in me, but my body was giving up too early. I experienced somewhat of a feeling of betrayal. My body should have stayed with me for the rest of my life. It was a deep internal struggle that was unexplainable.

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When David was betrayed by his own son Absalom, he had to flee. David realized there was no one to trust except God. Thus he responded: “But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. I cried aloud to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy hill” (Ps 3:3-4). David had lost all hope, and in the midst of his distress, he reminds himself that God is his hope.

In my utter helplessness, God in his mercy, put me through about two years of emotional healing and finally experienced his miraculous touch in June 2012. The pain was miraculously gone and I was able to resume all my former activities. You can read about the healing at this link.

The mountains of Namchi were a testimony to God’s faithfulness and healing power. What is impossible with people is possible with God.

Please leave your response in the comments section of this blog post by clicking here.

It Began Like a Flash of Lightening

Like a flash of lightening the pain shot through my lower back up my spine and down into both my legs.  It was so severe that I could barely move my legs.  This happened in 1995, as I was driving a delivery truck from Ft. Lauderdale to south Miami down Interstate 75 at about 4:30am.   Since I could barely move my legs, I waited for the vehicle to gradually come to a stop on the side of the road.  It took several minutes for the pain to ease a little and I was able to stand up and move around a bit.

In that one moment of pain, many thoughts went through my mind.  Along with church planting, I was working two jobs since I wanted my wife to be home with our son who was one year old at that time.  I really thought that this was the end of my working and earning years.  But so early, I thought.  Instead of wallowing in self-pity, I began quick calculations in my mind about the future.  I had just reviewed my disability benefits during the previous week, and now I viewed that as a bad omen leading to this tragic event.  Within a few seconds, plans were made to sell our home and move back into an apartment and scale down on many things including the new car we had just purchased.

About doing the ministry?  I had no Idea about that.  At that moment, my only thought was survival.  Will I be able to somehow take care of my family?  Will there be any hope?

The pain was so intense that within seconds, my dreams of achieving my goals and aspirations were shattered.  I resigned myself to simply surviving and waiting for the end.

That experience in Florida was seventeen years ago.  Physical pain has been my constant companion during the waking hours of almost every day.  Now I am discovering that along with the physical, there was lots of internal pain that I never knew about.  It was in 2011 that I began reading a book by Henri J. M. Nouwen, The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming.  That book opened my mind to the pain that was within me for so many years.  In May 2012, as I read a book by Dr. Joseph Bowles, I learned how this emotional pain within me had a direct impact on my back pain.  I thank God for the healing of my back, but the internal healing continues.

Would you share your experiences of pain and healing? You can share that in the comments below.

Please read the accompanying article. Click here.

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What No One Would Believe

I keep on saying it, I keep on repeating it, but it seems like not one believes me.  No, they don’t take me for a liar, but maybe they think I’m just being hopeful with a keen positive outlook.  Several people asked me “are you sure its gone?”

The reality is that my chronic lower back pain is now gone.  The pain stopped in June 2012.  I’ve had this pain periodically since 1995, and five years ago, it became consistent all day and all night long.  In fact its hard for me to remember a time without pain in the last five years.  I think that as I suffered through all those years of pain, it was my wife Annie who took the brunt of the load at home and in every way as my condition worsened consistently.

As it is with milestones in our lives, several important events led to this freedom from pain.  The first of these was a reading of the book by Henri J. M. Nouwen, The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming.  My friend Kevin Baker gave me that book as we visited a monastery in Buffalo NY.  That book took me on a journey of deep searching within that I have never experienced before.  Numerous times as I read that book, I could not continue as I had to allow my emotions to settle down.  Of course, God’s spirit was doing an awesome work within me.

The second event was in November 2011, as my wife and I were attending a Vineyard Church gathering in Cebu, Philippines.  During one evening, Brian Doerksen was leading worship, and the Spirit of God was all over me.  I sat on the chair since there was no way I could stand.  Lots of emotions and memories surfaced and I began writing (on my phone) in between sobs.  Several people came by and laid their hands on me and prayed for me.  Phil Strout spoke one of those days and touched on the idea that God’s ultimate purpose was to transform us into the image of His Son.  As my back pain began to increase during that conference I missed several sessions while I rested in the room.  Then Sukit Wangtechawat and the team from the Bangkok Vineyard came to our room and prayed for me extensively.  They were helping me to look deeper within, and nothing seemed to make sense.  But their visit to my room was also a significant aspect in opening those things that were closed for so long.

In April and May of 2012, my third event was the reading of a book on back pain by Dr. Joseph Bowles that had a great impact on my thinking regarding the whole issue.  The focus of his book is that chronic lower back pain is caused by stress and unresolved issues of the past.  Wow, what a thought.  And what about all those MRI reports, X-rays, and all the other tests?  Man, I am clueless on all that, but the pain is gone!  Now I continue to read his daily reminders for stress free pain relief.

The fourth and major event that capped it all was while I was taking communion.  I was speaking at a service at the New Life Fellowship in Bangalore in June.  During the communion, I saw a vision of the cross (something like that picture above) and heard an inner voice telling me that on the cross, Jesus not only carried my sins, but every offense against me as well.  This was an answer that I really needed all along.  The issues are so deep and personal that it would be impractical to mention such things on this blog, that that thought really had a powerful impact on me.

Of course I cannot forget the many who have prayed for me and encouraged me on this path toward healing as I had spent weeks and months bed ridden. There were many non-judgmental ones who were an inspiration for me to continue. A special thanks to them as well. 

Now I am on a journey.  I keep exploring more “stuff” hidden within me from the past.  As these issues of brokenness resurface, I experience more pain, but as I deal with each one, that pain goes away.  Daily, along with my devotions I take some time out to write in a journal about my previous day, specifically about how I am handling my emotions and stress.  And as i mentioned earlier, Dr. Joseph Bowles’ daily reminders are stored on my phone and my Kindle and I read them several time a day.

Thank you Lord for a new life.


In the comments below, feel free to share your experiences of healing while you are on this journey as well.

Please read the accompanying article as well: Click here.

www.barnabas.in

Going “hi-tech”


This “hi-tech” device pictured here is intended for my back pain. That bag contains four kilos of sand to provide a consistent traction to my back, by way of a belt strapped around my waist. The MRI report shows that I have three disks that are bulging.

Problems with my back began in 1996 on the highway from Fort Lauderdale to Miami, FL. I was half-way to my destination on I-75 when a sudden excruciating pain flashed through my back to the rest of my body. Within seconds, the pain was taken over by feelings of fear since I had no idea what was happening to me. I could barely move my legs, and somehow, I got the vehicle pulled over to the side of the road. I finished that day of work just suffering through the day with the severe pain. Since then, these bouts of pain would return periodically. But in the last two years, it has been more frequent. Of course, our challenging road conditions here in India would add to the problem, especially for a back that is not used to such roads.

So far, the best solution is rest and traction for my back. After the pain is gone, I would need to resume my lower back exercises and walking. God’s work shouldn’t be limited with back problems. I’ve got to do whatever it takes!

www.barnabas.in