Thru The Darkest Valleys-About Suffering - Home on the Range Blog at - 307105

Home on the Range

Thru the Darkest Valleys-about suffering 
Jul. 23, 2013 9:56 am 
Updated: Jul. 31, 2013 7:23 am

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths" prov 3:5-6

It has been a summer, indeed a year, of ups and downs as far as my autoimmune condition has gone. I now go to town hours away and spend 4 hours in the hospital having a drug infused slowly into my bloodstream to try and stem the tide of this disease.

It’s hard to say if it is helping or not. I have had some of the worst flares ever, when the barometric pressure drops. I sleep more than I am awake and have no stamina. Walking through the house winds me now. I am weaker than I have ever been in my life and flares are incredibly, unbearably painful, swift and oppressive. I bounce back in between, however, although the weakness and fatigue stays with me. 

Luckily, Randyman walks this valley with me. He understands when I am unable to function and instead of berating or becoming discouraged with me, he supports me and picks up the slack, caring for the animals, yard and our personal needs. I can be practically comatose for 24 hours, then suddenly wake up feeling refreshed and ready to do something. On those days I do laundry, can foods, bake bread, fix a nice dinner or whatever I am able to do. Yesterday was the highlight of my summer so far. Sushimoo, my yearling heifer, jumped the fence and wound up in the pasture with the bull and his harem. Being much too young to be bred still, she had to be captured and separated again. The first time in months, I was strong enough to walk out to the milk pasture where the horses are, not just once, but THREE times. I captured my old Quarterhorse, got him saddled up, rode down and in the space of about half an hour or so managed to bring all the cattle up and separate Sushi and EmmaLouMoo and put them in the corral. The rest of the day I spent recovering, as it triggered a great deal of pain in my shoulders, wrists and hands and I was worn out, but emotionally I was riding a wave of joy that I cannot even describe. For a brief moment in time, I was able to once again do what I most love, with the desired result and uninjured. Life is made up of these kinds of moments.

Pain is relative. Everyone experiences it, be it in the form of disease or injury, failure, betrayal, death of a loved one, loss of a job, insecurity, death of a child... it comes in many forms. Many people who have not met the Savior ask, “How can a loving God allow such suffering in the world?”

It’s a valid question and one I used to ask, myself. The answer can be complex, but simply put, we live in a fallen world. This is not paradise. It is neither Eden nor Heaven. When sin and rebellion entered the world, it separated us from God and His perfect creation was damaged. Disease, death and wickedness took root and grows, still, today. But He is yet in control. He holds back evil, allowing in only what can work toward His purposes. Death is a loathesome enemy, be it the death of a child or adult, wild animal or beloved pet. But He defeated death. Death does not have the final word.

As far as human suffering goes, there are a couple of things someone told me early in my walk that helped me understand suffering’s purpose. The Roman Centurion was not convinced Jesus of Nazareth was who He claimed he was. After observing His crucifixion, in excruciating pain and agony, offering grace and redemption to the very world who tortured and murdered him, the Centurion said “Truly, He must have been the son of God”. It was watching how He handled suffering that opened the Centurion's eyes.

 As my friend said “It is not always how we live, but sometimes how we die, that convinces an unbelieving world”. When others see He sustains us in our suffering, they see the awesome power of God. Joni Eareckson Tada, who became a quadriplegic in a diving accident at the age of 18, says 
“I would rather be in this wheelchair with Jesus, than on my feet without Him.” 
Pretty powerful words coming from a woman who has spent 40 years in that wheelchair, unable to do the things most of us take for granted. 

Unlike the televangelists who promise all manner of wealth and comfort if we only follow their formula, the Bible says, in fact guarantees, we will have tribulations in this life. 


Finally, the best explanation of the true purpose of suffering was given to me by a friend when she explained to me the refiner’s fire. This is a term used over and over in the Bible, referring to the crucible of suffering.

A woman stopped to watch a silversmith at work. He was smelting down silver in a crucible, burning off the dross to purify the precious metal. As she was asking questions of him, he explained it was necessary to pay constant attention, so as not to overheat or damage the silver. It had to be done with great care. She asked him how he knew when the process was finished. His reply was
“When I can see my reflection in it”.

As the silver reflects the image of the silversmith, so we begin to reflect the character of Jesus as we come through the crucible of suffering. Notice, that He never once takes His eyes off as we are being perfected, but stays close, ever watchful, until all the impurities are gone and He can see His own image in us.

Take heart, your suffering has purpose.

"...being confident of this, that He who began a good work on you will carry it on to completion..." phil 1:6
Jul. 23, 2013 11:25 am
Petey, you are truly inspirational. I love reading your blogs, your strenght and character are amazing. You and Randyman are lucky to have found each other. You have such an interesting life. Your outlook our your pain and all that you do all in a days work, is unimaginable to some of us. God bless you and your entire family. I hope that your treatments finally give you some relief and allow you to enjoy the things that you love. Thank you for enriching our lives with your wonderful blogs.
Jul. 23, 2013 11:28 am
Thank you vanillabean for your well wishes. We are truly blessed to be together and to be able to live in this amazing place! And thank you for taking the time to stop in and comment. It's always uplifting to hear from people! :)
Jul. 23, 2013 12:41 pm
As always petey, lovely.I really hope that those treatments your going through bring you relief. When your feeling good and telling us what you do in a day tires me out reading it, never mind doing all of what you do. You take good care of yourself.
Jul. 23, 2013 12:49 pm
you too manella. Thanks so much for the class/paperwork!
Jul. 23, 2013 12:57 pm
Beautifully said, petey. I believe, truly believe, all you have written and am experiencing God's grace and presence during a different kind of suffering.
Jul. 23, 2013 1:54 pm
Bless you Paula. He's so good!
Jul. 23, 2013 5:41 pm
Your very welcome petey, glad I could help.
Jul. 23, 2013 6:45 pm
Thanks for sharing so beautifully, petey. Reading your story reminded me of the words to a lovely old song. "O soul, are you weary and troubled, no light in the darkness you see? There's light for a look at the Savior, and life so abundant and free! Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of Earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace."
Jul. 23, 2013 6:54 pm
Love that song, Bibi!
Jul. 24, 2013 7:11 pm
Thanks for your inspirational words Petey. I wish you comfort and relief from pain and suffering and many more days enjoying the beautiful ranch that you live on. Take care kid!
Jul. 24, 2013 8:01 pm
so many things to say after reading this....thanks for sharing petey...hopefully i can sum up the words to comment properly. feel better, hope the treatments help.
Jul. 25, 2013 6:54 am
Thanks Mauigirl andmjom. I hope and pray you both a fabulous week!
Jul. 27, 2013 3:09 pm
His eye is on the sparrow - and I know He watches me - - you too Petey.
Jul. 28, 2013 8:01 am
Oh Petey, I am so sorry you're having such a difficult time. I wish I was on here more often. From what I have read and feel about you, I think you're one of the most sweetest people in the world!! I really mean that. I wish you all the best in the world and you're in my prayers. I pray things will get better for you. Do they know how you got sick in the first place? Were here for you, Petey. Always!!
Jul. 28, 2013 8:36 am
I'm doin good Cheoah, thank you. No, they have no idea what causes these autoimmune diseases. THey have theories on triggers but really no clue. No one else in my family has ever had any of them.
Jul. 28, 2013 10:23 am
Oh Petey, I am so sad to here that you are once again having so much pain. I can't even imagine what you are going thru. I think of you so often. This morning I didn't feel like getting dressed for Sunday School and church due to some out of the blue vertigo.I feel like it was satan working in my life. After I read your blog I felt so much better. It is so easy for me to feel sorry for myself these days.I have no right to do that. I have my health and I do still have my husband.I have wonderful children grandchildren and great grandchildren. When I am feeling down I need to just think of you and all that you endure daily with the pain, weakness and fatigue yet you are able to accomplish so much. You are an inspiration to me.
Jul. 28, 2013 4:29 pm
ack...I accidentally banned someone and don't know how to undo it!
Jul. 28, 2013 4:31 pm
Since posting this, I have had a few really great days. The good come with the bad. We have the key to contentment in both :)
Jul. 29, 2013 5:48 am
You are an amazing Lady. I always look forward to your blogs. You will be in my prayers every nite. You always give me courage when my own aches and pains come..
Jul. 29, 2013 8:26 am
thanks ginger2. Bless you and I hope those come with less frequency and less impact!
Jul. 29, 2013 10:30 am
It shames me when I read your blog and hear of your suffering. I am so blessed with health and I don't appreciate it as I should. Take care.
Jul. 29, 2013 2:28 pm
Petey, your life is a testimony and God is using you to reach others. What you said made me think of the upcoming movie "Unstoppable" (Kirk Cameron)- all about why God allows evil and suffering in the world. Cameron is a former atheist. :) Anyway, you are an inspiration to me and I love reading your posts! Keep up the good fight and thank you for blessing us with your words~
Jul. 30, 2013 5:08 am
this is truly inspirational and motivating, kind of needed that and thanks for showing light to others and keeping your own torch burning, my best wishes and prayers for your health and a happy healthy ,sturdy and blissful life.
Jul. 30, 2013 6:41 am
I know your feelings. I have spinal disease and spinal arthiritis as well as arthiritis in the rest of my body. It much I can only cry but fear the tears because it only seems to make it worse. Sometimes I can spend three or four days in bed hiding from light and fearing any one position for long periods. The spinal disease gives me migranes and cluster headaches. Sometimes it feels like every bone in my face has been crushed and yet I have to get up and work, I teach art and I work for Marshalls part time. I also homeschool. But my pain is a mere moment in time and gives me compassion to others and the drive to help them in their suffering so in a way it can be a gift. On most times I would rather not have but a gift all the same. I'm sorry for your suffering and pray that our graiouse God will give you comfort, strength and understanding that suprasses all knoweldge and praise Him for the love He has given to you and the daily help and comfort of your husband. May God be with you as you as you are with HIM.
Jul. 30, 2013 6:50 am
Thanks Petey! You are amazing & inspirational and I always look forward to your blogs. No matter how your days are going, you are so uplifting. Thanks so much for another lesson in gratitude. Hugs & prayers, Maggi
Jul. 30, 2013 11:31 pm
Hi, wow incredible story! I suffer from Fibromyalgia syndrome. I have been going through a constant flare for almost 2 years now. I often wonder and you contemplate on the existence of god even the existence of reality. Thank you for wring honestly about you feeling. So often we all hide in the shadows and have become masters of acting happy or at the least ok.
Jul. 31, 2013 7:19 am
Thank you everybody. Goodfood4ursoul-I'm sorry to hear about your suffering. It can be so overwhelming sometimes to be in constant pain, although I do have some days that are pretty much pain free, it just leaves me weakened so I can't do the things I want anymore, but I won't stop trying. I know I could not go through this without Him. He not only sustains me and comforts me, but He gives my life and my pain, meaning.
Jul. 31, 2013 7:23 am
Alycia1982-Fibro is one of my Dx's as well. It's such a difficult disease to deal with, and I am sorry to hear you have been flaring for so long. It is so difficult to function with that kind of chronic and constant pain. I pray that you come to know Him. I was an atheist myself until the age of 43. My life changed dramatically after 'meeting' Him. I know He says He is a' rewarder of those who truly seek Him". I hope you know His presence and comfort soon.
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About Me
Kids are raised, we are ranchhands on a 250,000 acre working cattle ranch 110 miles from the nearest small town, so we raise a lot of our own food, vegetables, fruits, milk,eggs and meat. Love riding and working cattle, but find myself spending a lot more time in the kitchen, and the garden.
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Having 2 Jersey cows as well as milk goats, playing with fresh milk is a hobby, making our own butter, yogurt, sour cream, cheeses, soap and all the other great stuff you can do with fresh raw milk.
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Homemade from scratch...anything! All traditions are sort of gone by the wayside, as we live so far from family now
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A layered Jello dessert...the middle layer never set, so it did the 'ooze-wiggle'...and...well..I liquified a couple of chickens on 2 different occasions, turning them into a black gel. Moral of that story is, don't start cooking then go clean barns!...and there was the time that my kids were helping me make Thanksgiving dinner and SOMEbody (who resembled my youngest son) forgot to put the sugar in the pie!!!
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