Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Fibromyaliga Effects Every Part of Our Lives - How it Effects My Church Attendance and Spirituality

The fibro has decided to let up a little bit!  I felt so blessed to wake up yesterday and my pain was down to a Level 4!   Not only was I able to go to church, I didn't have to leave the service  to go take breakthrough pain meds.  Often I have to get up and leave to walk around to ease the lower back pain and I didn't have to do that!

My church attendance and ability to take part in the services has drastically changed because of Fibromyalgia.  It's yet another example of how we have to reassess how to do things that before Fibromyalgia we did without thinking about it.  

Psalm 95:6 tells us to Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. Sunday, I was able to kneel at the altar for communion.  I was so happy.  My priest has told me for years that God doesn't care if I kneel or stand because God knows my heart.  While I know that to be true, it is important to me to kneel as a sign of reverence and to humble myself before God. 
St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, Collierville, TN
Our church was built in 1890 apparently without an altar rail. At some point a flimsy, low brass rail was installed. It was pretty low to the ground and hard to get up and down.  I learned when I had knee surgery several years ago that it was not sturdy enough to use as a way to help myself get up from the kneeling position.  Between my pain levels and Bill's work schedule, we were unable to attend services as much as I wanted to this winter/spring.  I was thrilled to walk in the door several months ago and see a beautiful wooden altar rail that matches the interior of the church.  When we went up for communion, I was pleased to find that not only was the kneeler higher than the old one, it was sturdy!  Now I don't worry about being able to get up without taking the rail with me.

While not being able to kneel has been emotionally difficult, it is nothing compared to the emotional roller coaster caused by the changes Fibro Fog has brought to my prayer life, Bible study and being able to serve as a Eucharistic Minister.

St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, Collierville, TN
As a Eucharistic Minister, I assisted the priest during the Eucharist by administering the wine.  I served for the last time in November 2010.  I had a dizzy spell and almost fell standing in front of the altar (and in front of about 100 people!) within seconds of stepping up to the altar.  A short time later, I forgot the words that I have literally said hundreds of times.  As you serve the wine, you say "the blood of Christ, cup of our Salvation."  Depending on how many people are in attendance, you repeat the line probably 50 times in a short window of time. That Sunday I had served 25 - 30 people and as I moved on to the next person, I forgot what I was supposed to say.  No matter how hard I thought, I couldn't remember it. My mind was totally blank. In reality, I'm sure I didn't stand there speechless for more than 20 - 30 seconds.  It seemed like hours.   I was fortunate that the person I was serving was a young child who didn't notice my mistake. The few minutes left in the service seemed to be 100 times longer than it actually was.  That day I lost any shred of confidence I had ever had in my ability to continue to serve as a Eucharistic Minister.  It was one more thing that Fibromyalgia and the accompanying Fibro Fog has stolen from me.

The Order of the Daughters of the King Cross
I am a member of a religious order, The Order of the Daughters of the King. The mission of our Order is the extension of Christ's Kingdom through prayer, service and evangelism. When I entered the order, I made a life-long vow to live by the Rule of the Order which requires a spiritual discipline of daily prayer, service and evangelism, dedicated to the spread of Christ's Kingdom and the strengthening of the spiritual life of my parish.   We wear our crosses at all times as a outward and visible sign we cannot live without Christ in our lives.  I no longer wear my cross when I'm at home because the weight of the cross and it's chain cause pain to my neck and shoulders.  That small pewter cross feels like it weighs 5 pounds when I have it on so I put it on immediately before leaving home and take it off as soon as I am back.

Fibro fog has changed my ability to pray as I once did. Many times I've realized that while praying my thoughts have wandered to thinking about doing laundry or cooking dinner.  Just as when I carry on a conversation, I will completely "blank out" on what i was saying.  In a conversation with people, they are able to prompt me so that sometimes I am able to complete the conversation.  When it happens during prayer, I try glancing at my prayer list.  Sometimes I see a word on the list that prompts me and I can begin again.  Other times I'm forced to ask God's forgiveness and go on from there.  My bedtime prayers are the worst because I'm pretty sure that I fall asleep in the middle of a sentence.  I am no longer able to do the intensive Bible studies that I once did.  It take numerous times of reading a verse to grasp the message in it.  This has progressively gotten worse because last year at this time I was writing devotionals dealing with pain.  Now it takes me forever to write anything that has any "meat" to it.  This blog entry is an example of that.  I started it yesterday morning and this is the third time I've written on it, trying for it to have substance.

Because it has gotten so lengthy, I'm going to close.  I hope I've given you an idea of how my mind works - or doesn't work - these days.  

PS:  I hope you enjoy the pictures and it makes this post a little easier to read.  I've read that pictures are good to keep the readers attention but I've been in too much pain to try gathering pictures related to the subject.  Since the pictures I used were already on my computer, It was much easier to do.  Hopefully, I'll be able to use pictures again.  Right now, it's time for my morning nap.


  1. The pictures do make a big difference for me. i do feel for you and as I blog too I know exactly what you mean by concentration, my blog this week was about the brain. The thing is no one knows how long my blogs take and i do enjoy the sense of achievement when i look back at them.

  2. Congratulations on being Featured Fibro Blogger of this week and next.


Life is all about learning. Sharing your thoughts will help us do that together. All I ask is that you keep the language PG and that you not leave mean spirited comments.