“Mine is a story of hope while living with chronic pain. My journey began in grade school when I felt searing pains shoot down my legs at recess. By my early 20’s, I was told I had the joints of an 80-year-old. Ultimately, it took 40 years of doctors, tests, treatments, physical therapy, medications, side effects, depression and more pain to receive a correct diagnosis for my disease.

Throughout my life, I never had hope that I would be pain free, but I always had a love for God. Early on in my first marriage, my husband and I got plugged into a small group Bible study, where we were discipled in our journey with the Lord. It was an amazing time of growth and closeness with God. After a few years, we moved to another city and did not find a church home. Without the anchor of a church and small group, we fell away from fellowship and God. Severe family and marriage problems ensued and we eventually divorced. I felt such hopelessness in those years; not only was my body a wreck, but so was my marriage, my family and my relationship with God.

Eventually, I got plugged back into a church and small group, and later, I remarried. Participation in a small group again brought solid teaching and friends I could count on. As time went on and the pain became unbearable, I went ahead with spine fusion surgery after much prayer. It was a total success, and in the months of recovery after, I spent much of my time studying my Bible and praying.

Throughout my journey, I searched for years with no success to find a support group for people with chronic pain. After my surgery, I got involved in a couple of Facebook groups that dealt with it, and sharing with others who experienced similar challenges was incredible. As my recovery progressed, I wondered what God had in mind for my next chapter. I began training and learning everything I could about best practices for living a healthy life. That, combined with a lifetime of experience, led me to begin Fox River’s first small group for people with chronic pain.

Living with chronic pain is a challenge; but there is hope. God has shown me that joy can coexist with pain, and I’m excited to see what He will do next.”