by Whitney Wood
Sophia is the Greek word for Wisdom, and Propel Sophia seeks out the voices of truly wise women and asks them to share worked examples of how they express faith in daily life. Pull up a chair at Sophia’s table, won’t you? There’s plenty of space.
Much of my adulthood has been dominated by chronic illness. As a worship leader, singer and songwriter, I was able to travel the world and sing in some of the largest stadiums. I toured and sang background vocals for platinum recording artists who were known worldwide. I was singing on award shows and tv shows, seemingly living the dream I had always prayed for, but no one knew what kind of pain I was in.
Much of my life I had struggled with chronic migraines, IBS and other arthritic symptoms in my shoulders and hips, but they were manageable. It wasn’t until I got my biggest international tour that my vocal and body pain started to flare up.
I remember being in my hotel room in Rio de Janeiro, looking at the beautiful beach, weeping in pain. There I was, in Brazil, doing what I had always dreamed of doing, and yet wishing I could be home. The vocal pain became so intense it was terrifying, because my voice was what I needed to work to sing 3 hours every night. My body felt like it was rebelling against me. Everything hurt. Sleeping 10 hours a night couldn’t touch my fatigue.
I got home from that tour and began my journey with trying to fix whatever had gone horribly wrong with my health.
My life felt like it had stopped. The world around me kept moving, but I had lost my place. I kept trying to rack my brain thinking what I did wrong. Was God trying to teach me something? Was He trying to prove to me how little faith I had? These are the kinds of questions that started going through my mind. I felt useless. I felt like I was taking up space and adding no value to my own or anyone else’s life. What was my purpose? What was the point of living if this was going to be it? I prayed and begged God to take me in my sleep because I truly only found solace in my sleep. Being awake felt like a punishment. I just wasn’t sure what I was being punished for.
My health journey took me down the path that many take with chronic pain. I went to every kind of doctor imaginable, I took meds that made me feel worse. I went the Holistic route and was given different diagnoses of Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, possible lymes, mold toxicity, adrenal fatigue, and more. I did all the treatments, took all the supplements, did the IV’s, ate very specific foods, and nothing ever helped.
I started to settle into a life that would always include pain and sickness, and tried to give up hope of ever getting better.
I’ve heard Christine Caine say many times, “our trials expose what we believe.” Chronic illness made me see that my faith wasn’t in the God of the Bible, but in a God who did what I wanted Him to. When all my theology went out the window, I had to start rebuilding a faith based around Him and not around my present circumstances. It was brutal, isolating, and confusing. I asked the Holy Spirit to show me what my faulty beliefs about Him were and still are.
It was at that moment—when I gave up— God steered me in the direction of the Mind-body Syndrome. I began to learn how pain is actually a protective mechanism being used by an overly heightened brain and nervous system. Does this mean the pain was in my head? Absolutely not! The pain was very real. Genesis of the pain, however, was not being generated the way I always believed it to be. It wasn’t because of age or because my cells were attacking each other or because my body hated me.
I had to learn that the fuel for pain is fear. When we turn the fear down, the pain actually begins to go away.
I can now say I am chronic pain free and pursuing a life I never knew possible. I still have things to unpack with God as I walk out this healing, but it’s deepened my faith in unimaginable ways. He has created our brain and our bodies so beautifully, we just have to look at them in a new way.
Whitney Wood is a Worship Leader and Health and Wellness coach, trained in Pain Reprocessing Therapy, dedicated to helping people reclaim their life from chronic pain. She provides tools using Biblical truths and science-backed principles to help guide people towards profound healing. Find out more about Wisdom and Wellness with Whit through her coaching course, ebook, and podcast.