Moms' Health Conditions

Chronic Pain is Not My Life Sentence – by Tamika Collick

As we stood there looking at the x-ray of my spine, I saw what looked like “Jenga” in the shape of the letter S. My orthopedist sat back in silence, looking at the screen while my husband Darian and I fearfully waited for him to say something. While my husband may have been confused, I wasn’t.  I knew exactly what I saw because I’d seen it for the first time when I was nine.

I was in fourth grade. One day during physical education class, I found myself hunched over being evaluated by the teacher.  It seemed like my turn took much longer than the other girls in line ahead of me.  Weeks later, my mom and I took public transportation to AI DuPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware to see a pediatric orthopedic doctor.

That walk to the yellow pod is still so vivid; I can still visualize all of the twists and turns as we journeyed to see Dr. Jayakumar, or better known as Dr. Jay to his patients and families.  As I sat there on the examination table for what seemed like forever, I remembered seeing the x-ray of my spine for the first time.  I’d never heard of the phenomenon of an s-shaped curvature of the spine called Scoliosis.  No one that I knew had heard of it either. Since it wasn’t visible from the outside, it became this silent disorder I spent many solitary years dealing with on my own.

My diagnosis was Congenital Idiopathic Scoliosis of the spine.  My treatment required a body cast that stretched from my neck through my lower back, and into my pelvis, preventing my spine from curving further. The technician planted his knee right into the wet plaster that would eventually become a hard, plastic back brace with an indentation on my left side. I was prescribed to wear the brace for sixteen consecutive hours daily.  I mentally calculated the twenty-four hours in a day minus the sixteen, which left me with eight hours free from the cast. “Great, I don’t have to wear this to school,” was all I could ponder. 

I couldn’t walk comfortably with it on, as it caused me pain while making my body do what it wasn’t used to doing.  It couldn’t fit over my clothes, so it was stressful trying to figure out how to wear it and still look normal. Yet, I was obedient and did what was necessary (for the most part) over the next seven years and through two more braces, which were needed as I grew.  There were many nights that I subconsciously unhooked it or took it off in my sleep because it hurt.

It was during my formative years, after my parents divorced, that my mother introduced me to the Lord. We would attend various churches as we grew in our personal relationships with Him.  I’m so grateful that I had a God-consciousness at an early age, which allowed me to embrace the Word of God, prayer, and the church community.  In the same year of my diagnosis, I was baptized on December 13, 1985.  Soon after that, I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. 

I was ahead of my time, but I knew exactly what I was doing.  I wanted this life that God promised.  I wanted so badly to be healed, and as I listened to sermons, I took it all to heart.  I prayed for my spine to be straight.  I envisioned my spine being straight, and I had faith.  I did all the things that I was taught to do as a believer. 

After years of bracing, the prognosis was good. By age 21, the curvature decreased from 31 degrees to 28 degrees.  I transitioned from A.I. duPont to an adult orthopedist.  Because I had no pain or issues, I felt like I was dismissed by my new doctor. He looked at me confused when I asked about the next phase of my treatment. Because I had no pain or mobility issues, there was nothing for him to do. After that visit, I was on my own. But I knew there was nothing too big for my Father!

As the years passed and my spine never straightened, I questioned where is my divine healing?  Why did this not work for me?  I see other people being healed. Nothing is impossible with God, right?  I spent many days at the altar believing for healing.  The thing I didn’t realize then, but know now is that I was already healed because, by His stripes, the Word of God says so.  My body just needed to catch up.

Now don’t get me wrong, there were days that I was in despair. As I secretly dealt with the medical condition, issues of life were concurrently happening around me.  Nevertheless, during these moments, I cried out through my tears, “This is working for me!” (Romans 8:28)

Here is where God gets all the glory.  During my twenties, I faced a myriad of personal attacks.  Though I understood that no weapon formed against me shall prosper and that I have kingdom authority to withstand every attack from the enemy, it was and felt like, an all-out onslaught of battles against me.

In addition to the Scoliosis, I also faced Amenorrhea, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, infertility, obesity, migraines, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety. I also suffered through miscarriage, separation and divorce, bankruptcy, grief and loss, abandonment, rejection, and employment changes. 

As I spent time in the presence of the Lord, I concurrently improved my physical health by exercising, eating healthily, and taking time to care for myself.  1 Thessalonians resonated within me because while my spirit and body were being nourished, my soul (mind, will, and emotions) still needed work.  I prayed about it, and after speaking with two dear friends, I began seeing a Christian therapist.

Therapy allowed me to process my experiences and emotions through a different lens.  My prayers had gone out, and I knew His Word would not return to me void. During my treatment, I engaged in a lot of self-reflection. I was hurting within – I had this unyielding compulsion to control things around me, I had this debilitating practice of pleasing people, and I had a horrible sense of self-worth.  For most of my young adult life, I hid behind overachievement.

In this season of my life, when my world crashed all around me and there was absolutely nothing I could do to change it, I sought to experience God like never before.  I wanted my “Moses and the Red Sea” miracle – one that only God could get the glory for. As daughters of the Most High, God hears our prayers.  He used those experiences to sharpen me, strengthen me, and empower me…in Him. 

Another scripture that was a rock for me was:

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Ephesians 6:11-13 (NKJV)

This taught me life is a process. Although we know we will win in this life, we still have to overcome and be transformed through the process.  We cannot skip steps on our road to our victory. To endure, I had to:

“Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”

Ephesians 6:14-20 9 (NKJV)

Scoliosis was not an issue during my childhood and the early parts of my adulthood.  My spine has not straightened to date, but I can also say that no one would know that my curve has now increased to a severe, 54-degree “balanced” curve.  Furthermore, the doctor reported degenerative osteoporosis-arthritis, disc herniation, and nerve compression in the sacral and lumbar areas. 

His detailed analysis revealed mild to severe narrowing in S1/L5, L4/L3, osteoarthritis, shifted bones in L1/L2 (the bones are not stacked on top of each other), bone spurs, bulging discs; etc. Glory to His name; that’s a whole mouthful, but whose report shall I believe?  I walk in wisdom and do all the things I need to do naturally; spiritually, it’s in His hands.  He’s been too faithful not to attend to me now.  I see myself restored, and I declare divine healing. 

Restoration is a process.  I discovered Dr. Myles Monroe, and my life hasn’t been the same since.  When I entered my thirties, I was single, whole, unique, and separate.  I grew into a woman who knew my identity in God, and I began to revisit my purpose.  I was in a whole different place and experienced God like never before.  Living with Scoliosis and chronic pain is not a life sentence – it’s a condition that has not stopped me from overcoming numerous trials of life and celebrating each and every victory I’ve achieved. 

While battling with chronic pain, I have learned to slow down and enjoy the moments, stop to take a breath, thank Him, and rest (and I mean rest) from all the work that I do day in and day out.  My family is adjusting to my changing needs, and we have become closer, more in tune, and compassionate with one another.  While I don’t like the process, I surely appreciate the outcomes!  The young lady who used to feel the need to control everything is now a more mature woman, a wife, and a mother who accepts the imperfections that come my way as unique qualities to embrace and cherish.

Throughout my journey, I have asked the question, “Why did this happen to me?”  The Word of God tells us to:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” 

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)

As I have been on this journey of healing, I’ve developed a strong village of prayer warriors who have helped to sharpen me, build me up, encourage me, and also remind me to trust in His promises.  Little victories are manifesting every day.  I no longer need to know the why; I’m enduring, I’m progressing, and I’m built for the win!   I am more than a conqueror and God knows my end from my beginning because I’m fearfully and wonderfully made…on purpose and for purpose.

Prayer for Moms:


Thank you for doing in me that which is Your will and good pleasure.  I invite the Holy Spirit to intervene on behalf of every mom who deals with chronic pain.  No matter what level or condition, chronic pain is not a life sentence.  Chronic pain is not your will for our lives.  You promised us divine health and long life, and we receive it.  We align our behaviors with our heart-felt prayers and will start (or continue) to be intentional about our overall health – spirit, soul, and body.

Let each of us see You through every situation and remember Your promises despite any diagnosis.  Father, Your faithfulness abounds, and while we may not understand everything, we trust You with all of our hearts and minds.  We release every stress and burden that so easily distracts us, and we look to You, the Author and Finisher of our faith.  You are our Alpha and Omega.  We rebuke every device of the enemy that comes against us.  No weapon formed against us shall prosper.  We have the victory and are overcome by our faith. 

As faith-filled moms, we walk by faith and not by sight, and we know that what we see and feel is temporary!  We will not allow a condition to dictate our lives nor distract us from our purpose in You!  We thank You for opening our eyes to see as You see and for sending us people for our lives to sharpen us and encourage us as we fight this good fight of faith!  For we know the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through You.  We decree and declare victory, and it starts in our hearts and minds.  We carry Your promises of healing with us, and we use wisdom in our daily living by making good food choices, activity choices, and we are being intentional, especially with the words we speak.  Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and we speak life!  We speak life over our bodies, in Jesus’ name.  We are healed and whole – spirit, soul, and body!  

Father, I thank You for wisdom and Divine health; I decree and declare wholeness, righteousness, and favor so that we may fulfill purpose and be a light to those around us.  Chronic pain is not our life sentence, but it is a condition through which we take back our lives with strength, courage, and boldness to live abundant lives, all for Your glory! 

In Jesus’ name, Amen!

Want to hear more of Tamika’s story? Watch out Moms Night In Conversation here:

Or watch on Facebook here.

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