Ever since I was in Primary 6, I’ve been getting headaches at quite a high frequency.
Having no idea what was causing it at that time, my parents were extremely worried. The headaches got so bad that I missed school almost every other day, which caught my teachers’ attention because I was taking the national exam that year.
We figured out after some time that these were migraines, which unfortunately cannot be cured. Since then my parents have gone to great lengths and tried many methods to cure me of my migraines. Over the years we saw various specialists, did CT scans and tried traditional Chinese medicine. My mum even brought me to different church conferences to be prayed for by many different pastors.
But none of that worked. There were periods where would I get migraines less often, but they were never fully gone. And it got much worse this year, as a JC2 student studying for the A-Levels.
Recently, the frequency and intensity of my migraines have increased like never before. Maybe it’s because I’m so busy that I get migraines a few times a week, but it’s caused me to take about 10 MCs this term.
Honestly, I’m more affected by the pressure that comes with the migraine than the migraine itself. My teachers are concerned, but probably more for my grades than my well-being. Some of my classmates are gossiping about me, saying that I’m actually pretending to be sick to skip lessons.
And my cell group members, though out of a good heart, also often ask me whether I’m okay and why I’m sick again every time they hear that I’ve been absent from school. This has caused me to feel pressurised, to the point when I sometimes lie to them about my migraine.
My headaches have caused me to doubt my identity as well. I blame myself for being so weak, for always falling sick. And I blame myself that my studies and ministry are affected because of my migraines. And I feel very upset with myself each time I fall sick.
But throughout this season, there has been one Christian classmate who has always been there for me and made me feel cared for.
Every time she notices that I’m absent from school, she wouldn’t pressure me by texting me and asking me why I’m not in school. Instead, she would send me verses and prayers to encourage me. And even when I return to school, she wouldn’t force me to talk about my migraine. She would simply pass me the work she kept for me with an encouraging “jiayou” (press on).
Such gestures have touched my heart, especially because she gave me space.
With the help of this classmate who journeyed with me patiently, I managed to overcome the social pressure and self-condemnation. Though people may still say things, I have learnt that the things they talk about don’t define me. Nor does my migraine define me. Only what God says about me matters – that is the only truth I’ll hold on to.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 has been a great encouragement to me in this season. Sure, this migraine I have is a thorn in my flesh: I don’t know why I have it in the first place and I don’t know why God has yet to heal me.
But my migraine reminds me that I’m not God. Though there are many things in ministry that I’m passionate about and want to do, it’s impossible for me to do everything. I’m a human and I need rest, and above all, I need God. I have to pick my battles and I need God’s strength to do His work.
Because without Him, I’m nothing. There is no good in me. But in Him, there is hope.
- Is there a “thorn in your flesh” that you’ve pleaded with God to remove?
- How easy is it to trust in God in the midst of the struggle?
- Do you need grace for your health? Find someone to pray with to God for His healing and wholeness.