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When Chronic Pain & Illness Take Everything Away: How to Mourn Our Losses (Chronic Pain and the Christian Life)

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Chronic pain, illness, and disability take so much away. Sometimes it seems as though they take everything we have ever loved and held dear. Our physical abilities and our jobs. Our current passions and future dreams. Our finances and our friends. Our sense of community and our ability to engage the world in ways we could before. Chronic pain takes away our sense of self an Chronic pain, illness, and disability take so much away. Sometimes it seems as though they take everything we have ever loved and held dear. Our physical abilities and our jobs. Our current passions and future dreams. Our finances and our friends. Our sense of community and our ability to engage the world in ways we could before. Chronic pain takes away our sense of self and who we always thought ourselves to be. How in the world are we supposed to deal with this fact? In this book, I hope to teach you how to mourn your losses – everything that pain, illness, and disability has taken away. I hope to teach you what to do when life is empty and filled with grief. I hope to point you to the God who gives us Himself when nothing else in life makes sense.


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Chronic pain, illness, and disability take so much away. Sometimes it seems as though they take everything we have ever loved and held dear. Our physical abilities and our jobs. Our current passions and future dreams. Our finances and our friends. Our sense of community and our ability to engage the world in ways we could before. Chronic pain takes away our sense of self an Chronic pain, illness, and disability take so much away. Sometimes it seems as though they take everything we have ever loved and held dear. Our physical abilities and our jobs. Our current passions and future dreams. Our finances and our friends. Our sense of community and our ability to engage the world in ways we could before. Chronic pain takes away our sense of self and who we always thought ourselves to be. How in the world are we supposed to deal with this fact? In this book, I hope to teach you how to mourn your losses – everything that pain, illness, and disability has taken away. I hope to teach you what to do when life is empty and filled with grief. I hope to point you to the God who gives us Himself when nothing else in life makes sense.

30 review for When Chronic Pain & Illness Take Everything Away: How to Mourn Our Losses (Chronic Pain and the Christian Life)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Esther Smith’s book aims at healing the chronically ill individual on an emotional and spiritual plane. We generally address the physically ill with solutions to reduce the physical element of the illness which is great but it doesn’t hit the emotional and spiritual elements that are greatly impacted by a physical burden. One of the major missing components is the need to grieve, which Esther touches on beautifully in a refreshingly honest approach. An individual facing a physical infirmity need Esther Smith’s book aims at healing the chronically ill individual on an emotional and spiritual plane. We generally address the physically ill with solutions to reduce the physical element of the illness which is great but it doesn’t hit the emotional and spiritual elements that are greatly impacted by a physical burden. One of the major missing components is the need to grieve, which Esther touches on beautifully in a refreshingly honest approach. An individual facing a physical infirmity needs to be allowed the permission to “hash out” the horrors of a life altered from their illness with God, just as David cried with unabashed vulnerability to his Lord, and just like Job lamented his life turned to despair. Unfortunately, all too often in the religious community, we wish to bandage up the problem with quick Bible verses that are meant to heal but are not appropriate remedies in the moment. We forget to mourn with those who mourn. Esther Smith writes in a down-to-earth approach that allows the reader to grieve the life that once was and the life that could have been. Included in the book are her own personal struggles with chronic pain as well as input from others that are along a similar journey that is italicized throughout, all written with sincerity that does not refrain from allowing the reader to sense the palpable pain. Aside from the much admired Joni Eareckson Tada, I have found a lack of books that are both Biblically based and emotionally safe which are specifically targeted to the chronically ill. This book was so refreshingly real, that I could have read two hundred more pages of similar material and still would have wanted more. On that note, I hope to see Esther Smith use her useful skills in counseling combined with her superb writing to publish an in-print book that can be found in bookstores nationwide. If you’re looking for a healing read or if you are seeking to find material to help understand the world of a loved one I chronic pain, this is a perfect place to start.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

    I found a kindred spirit in Esther Smith. This is a great short book to share with a friend or family member experiencing debilitating chronic pain/disease who knows and loves Jesus. Smith discusses some of the specific ways chronic suffering affects life, what it looks like to practically walk through the grieving process with God (grieving the loss of what you once had, grieving the pain now, and grieving the healthy future you might have envisioned for yourself). Some might say that this is t I found a kindred spirit in Esther Smith. This is a great short book to share with a friend or family member experiencing debilitating chronic pain/disease who knows and loves Jesus. Smith discusses some of the specific ways chronic suffering affects life, what it looks like to practically walk through the grieving process with God (grieving the loss of what you once had, grieving the pain now, and grieving the healthy future you might have envisioned for yourself). Some might say that this is too much grieving— “be thankful for what you have and move on!” I don’t think any of those people have experienced long-term chronic pain. Smith focuses on experiencing the grief and loss honestly together with God, then points the reader toward the truth of Christ’s sufficiency despite the pain. And then, of course, our future hope of glory. Short and sweet, relatable and easy to understand. Not the last book I’ll read on chronic pain, but probably the most Christ-centered so far. Oh and this book is $8 on Amazon, and the audio version is about $5 on Audible. Worth the $ for anyone who can relate to the title.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mary Gonzales

    I loved it! Christian counseling, spiritually uplifting, and introspective. Journaling questions are my thing, they help me to process my thoughts and feelings. I have read both her books and plan to read the entire series. She is fast becoming my favorite author.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mikaela

    ~ Audiobook Review ~ Such a wonderful short book on mourning chronic illness, I can’t praise it enough! Grieving my illness for the first time last year was a pivotal point in my journey - I went from years of living in my head pretending it wasn’t impacting me, to finally bringing it before God. I wish I had this book back then, but mourning illness is a continuous thing and so I’m so glad to have found this book now! It’s nice to feel less alone and know that it’s normal to feel this way. I hig ~ Audiobook Review ~ Such a wonderful short book on mourning chronic illness, I can’t praise it enough! Grieving my illness for the first time last year was a pivotal point in my journey - I went from years of living in my head pretending it wasn’t impacting me, to finally bringing it before God. I wish I had this book back then, but mourning illness is a continuous thing and so I’m so glad to have found this book now! It’s nice to feel less alone and know that it’s normal to feel this way. I highly recommend this book to any Christian with chronic illness/pain. Gift Idea: I think this book would make a perfect gift, especially for a Christian friend who has been newly diagnosed. (I’d love to hear if you gift it!) Positives: Structurally well-written for people with cognitive symptoms. The chapters are clear and defined. The book is short and achievable yet powerful & helpful. The information is easily digestible and memorable. It was very practical and easily applicable. Had clear audio quality. And importantly the content is written by a Christian counselor who has chronic pain so she knows what she’s talking about. And it’s very Christ-Centered which is exactly what I was looking for. Series: This is the second book in Esther’s Series “Chronic Pain and The Christian Life”. Book 1 is called “But God, Wouldn’t I be more useful if I were healthy?” She also just released a new 31-day devotional called “Chronic Illness: Walking by Faith”. I can’t wait to read them both! Content: (view spoiler)[ Strongly Christian; Suggestions to read scripture & listen to worship music; Biblical Counselling; Grief; Mourning; Personal Stories; irreversible pain; Sacroiliac joint dysfunction; Sufficiency in Christ; balancing both grief & joy (hide spoiler)] My Book Recommendations: If you want to continue to understand your emotions from a biblical perspective I’d recommend Untangling Emotions: God’s Gift Of Emotions Or check out my good-reads shelf “my-CFS-journey” for more illness related book ideas. Audio Performance: 9/10 Sarah has a relaxing and nice voice, it was smoothly read with emotion which kept my attention. And most importantly good sound quality. I found it perfect for my current brain fog & short concentration span, having kindle+audio helped too. Author: Esther Smith Narrator: Sarah Carleton Length: 1hr 39min/50 pages (Unabridged) Audio Released: 4-Jan-2017 Publisher: Self-Published Platform: Kindle Whisper-Sync

  5. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Lundy

    This is a great book for anyone with chronic illness or chronic pain, whether they are newly diagnosed or have been living with a chronic condition for many years. In this book, Esther helps those with chronic pain and illness to acknowledge what has been taken away, and she encourages them to bring their grief and suffering to God. She offers practical tips for grieving losses, whether they are new losses or simply a new cycle of grief from losses sustained years ago. She helps the reader to mo This is a great book for anyone with chronic illness or chronic pain, whether they are newly diagnosed or have been living with a chronic condition for many years. In this book, Esther helps those with chronic pain and illness to acknowledge what has been taken away, and she encourages them to bring their grief and suffering to God. She offers practical tips for grieving losses, whether they are new losses or simply a new cycle of grief from losses sustained years ago. She helps the reader to move on with joy in the midst of mourning, reminding believers in the Lord Jesus Christ of the hope and joy they have in the midst of pain. Each chapter has journaling questions to help the reader process what they’ve learned. This is an encouraging, helpful, and practical guide for anyone who is mourning losses due to chronic illness or chronic pain. I recommend it to all my chronic pain and illness friends! I was given a free copy of this book, but that has not impacted my review. I am so grateful for this book. It is one I will keep on my shelf to read again when another cycle of grief comes.

  6. 5 out of 5

    S.G. Willoughby

    This was very good. It was a book I got but then forgot about, until one day I opened it and it was exactly what I needed to read at that point. I would definitely recommend it. :)

  7. 4 out of 5

    pudding

    Beautiful Truths I was blown away by this book. So many books about chronic illness focus on eliminating pain and minimizing symptoms. But what if you don't make progress with that? This book makes a life filled with chronic pain seem not only possible, but less lonely and in some ways uniquely redeemed. It is approached from a Christian perspective, and there are many Bible quotes and references, but doesn't seem rooted in a particular sect. I also very much appreciate the journaling exercises a Beautiful Truths I was blown away by this book. So many books about chronic illness focus on eliminating pain and minimizing symptoms. But what if you don't make progress with that? This book makes a life filled with chronic pain seem not only possible, but less lonely and in some ways uniquely redeemed. It is approached from a Christian perspective, and there are many Bible quotes and references, but doesn't seem rooted in a particular sect. I also very much appreciate the journaling exercises after each chapter. The text-to-speech functionality worked very well for me, and I find it very helpful to continue to read on days when I cannot focus my eyes well. Over all, a wonderful experience, and I plan to reread it several more times.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jenn

    I loved this book. I connect with it so well. My Mom read it too then she cried and she said ok now I understand you and why you are the way the way you are since you got sick. I wish all chronically ill patients and their families could read this book.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Wright

    Such a great book. I felt like I could have written it myself. It’s one I’ll read many times.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Claire Swain

    😽😻📚Claire Bear & Mel Mel's Book Reviews 📚😻😽 'When Chronic Pain & Illness Take Everything Away: How to Mourn Our Losses' by Ether Smith. Genre: Self Help & Christian. About the Book: The author explains her personal journey of chronic pain and loss. She also provides examples of how other's lives have dramatically changed due to chronic pain and illness. In addition, the book provides tips to support you through your loss of self via Christianity. My Review: The author provides powerful and accur 😽😻📚Claire Bear & Mel Mel's Book Reviews 📚😻😽 'When Chronic Pain & Illness Take Everything Away: How to Mourn Our Losses' by Ether Smith. Genre: Self Help & Christian. About the Book: The author explains her personal journey of chronic pain and loss. She also provides examples of how other's lives have dramatically changed due to chronic pain and illness. In addition, the book provides tips to support you through your loss of self via Christianity. My Review: The author provides powerful and accurate descriptions of what it is like to suffer from incurable chronic pain. There are too many books out there that use Toxic Positivity and Inspiration Porn. Yet, this book shows the genuine brutality of the ongoing grief a person can experience with chronic pain. I applaud the author for showing this awareness. You will gain the most out of this book if you are Christian. I am not religious but I am not an atheist either. I still found some of the tips helpful yet not all as many of the tips are heavily based in the Bible and the belief of Christian faith. Yet, I am still giving this book full marks as the author clearly states that the content is religious. Disclaimer: My Book Reviews are based on my own opinions and experiences only. If you would like to see more of my Book Reviews please visit - www.goodreads.com/clairebearmelmel Or clairebearmelmel on Instagram

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jodie Pine

    At just 47 pages, this book is the perfect length for someone who struggles with chronic pain. I would also recommend this short but comprehensive and hopeful book to those who want to understand their loved one's chronic pain better. Written by a counselor, the book has the compassionate element of being counseled by someone who "gets it" in the difficult journey of processing chronic pain before God. Exercises are included at the end of each chapter, like writing out all that you've lost and a At just 47 pages, this book is the perfect length for someone who struggles with chronic pain. I would also recommend this short but comprehensive and hopeful book to those who want to understand their loved one's chronic pain better. Written by a counselor, the book has the compassionate element of being counseled by someone who "gets it" in the difficult journey of processing chronic pain before God. Exercises are included at the end of each chapter, like writing out all that you've lost and all that you've gained because of chronic pain. There's a great balance in acknowledging the hard that might never go away while also recognizing the hidden blessings of the pain. "In grief, we dive in headfirst, experiencing our pain to the fullest extent, that we might know it, understand it, and move through it, believing God is with us every step of the way."

  12. 5 out of 5

    Bethany Peck

    Honest, hopeful, and biblically-grounded I am so thankful I stumbled upon this book (thank you Amazon recommendations). This devotional has challenged me and given me hope; it has helped me to feel less alone in my physical pain and grief. Esther Smith’s honesty about the trials of physical pain rang true for me, and the way she points to scripture gave me encouragement and hope.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mary Mattio

    I absolutely loved this author's first book, "But God wouldn't I be of more use to you if I were healthy?" and her second book did not disappoint! In her second in the chronic illness series, she walks us through grief and loss that comes with ongoing disease, while reminding us of God's ever present love and affection for us through the scriptures. This isn't a book about sadness, however, but how to come to peace once again even in the face of suffering and incredible loss. If your heart is wear I absolutely loved this author's first book, "But God wouldn't I be of more use to you if I were healthy?" and her second book did not disappoint! In her second in the chronic illness series, she walks us through grief and loss that comes with ongoing disease, while reminding us of God's ever present love and affection for us through the scriptures. This isn't a book about sadness, however, but how to come to peace once again even in the face of suffering and incredible loss. If your heart is weary, and you often feel alone in your struggle, I encourage you to read this book.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Simmons

    Another way of looking at chronic illness I find it interesting how chronic illness take so much from us in our lives. Learning how handle our pain in healthy ways. Knowing that God is with you though all. God work out our chronic pain for our good.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Hailey Hudson

    I received this for Christmas and read it that evening. It's short but has so much good encouragement packed in there that I really needed to hear! Will definitely be reading it over and over. I received this for Christmas and read it that evening. It's short but has so much good encouragement packed in there that I really needed to hear! Will definitely be reading it over and over.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Noelle

    Too religious Too religious. Not all of us hold faith with as high as a value in our lives. I skipped a lot due to this

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ginny Law

    “Physical loss is the just the beginning” Such an overwhelming and unexpected reality for those of us living with chronic illness and pain. In her latest book, Esther Smith helps the reader (and hopefully family and close friends) gain insight into the six additional types of loss. In this brief but inspiring book Smith shares her journey to understand her life with chronic pain, including her struggles, sadness, confusion, growth and joy with honesty and grace. Other survivors share their exper “Physical loss is the just the beginning” Such an overwhelming and unexpected reality for those of us living with chronic illness and pain. In her latest book, Esther Smith helps the reader (and hopefully family and close friends) gain insight into the six additional types of loss. In this brief but inspiring book Smith shares her journey to understand her life with chronic pain, including her struggles, sadness, confusion, growth and joy with honesty and grace. Other survivors share their experiences as well, adding depth and dimension to the book. Chronic pain and illness can lead to periods of isolation from others and even distancing ourselves from our faith. It is during those lonely times that guilt, shame, and fear often gather bringing painful questions, and anxiety, played on an endless loop. By sharing her own questions, doubts, hopes and reflections, Esther invites the reader to do the same. The reflection questions at the end of each chapter in this book and “God, Wouldn't I be More Useful if I was Healthy?” serve as roadmaps and gentle guides helping the reader navigate the “big” questions that many of us struggle to articulate. Because chronic illness and pain are well, chronic :) I know I will be re-visiting both books and using the reflection questions as a source of comfort and strength. This is a powerful and at times painful resource and tool for those of us who striving not only to survive but to thrive. I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair review.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Marline

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book! Esther Smith addresses the "whirlwind of losses" that people diagnosed with chronic illnesses find themselves in. Those losses include identity, one's future and even one's faith. Esther notes that for some people, pain draws them closer to God, but for others it creates distance. Grief is defined as "the process by which we release all that we feel."She maintains that it is by engaging with our feelings that we ultimately reach the point of acceptance of I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book! Esther Smith addresses the "whirlwind of losses" that people diagnosed with chronic illnesses find themselves in. Those losses include identity, one's future and even one's faith. Esther notes that for some people, pain draws them closer to God, but for others it creates distance. Grief is defined as "the process by which we release all that we feel."She maintains that it is by engaging with our feelings that we ultimately reach the point of acceptance of our limitations. The author's own vehicle of creative expression is "writing within community." She actively engages her readers by offering a series of questions for them to journal about. These thought-provoking prompts guide Esther's readers in confronting the "unanswerable questions" that arise when believers suffer the loss of their health. I highly recommend this book to anyone coping with chronic illness.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Roseanna

    Even if you think you have life with a chronic illness or disability sorted, there is always grief and pain. I found this book so helpful in working through some of things I feel I've lost to illness. The author writes from the perspective of a christian counsellor and as someone who has experience of chronic pain, which is so valuable. There were so many practical pointers or dealing with grief, and I found the journalling questions at the end of this chapter meant that I spent time thinking ab Even if you think you have life with a chronic illness or disability sorted, there is always grief and pain. I found this book so helpful in working through some of things I feel I've lost to illness. The author writes from the perspective of a christian counsellor and as someone who has experience of chronic pain, which is so valuable. There were so many practical pointers or dealing with grief, and I found the journalling questions at the end of this chapter meant that I spent time thinking about what each thing meant in relation to my own life. I also found it helpful that the book was split into small sections so that even on days where I was finding it hard to concentrate due to cogntive issues caused by chronic pain I could read just enough to think on.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Victoria

    When Chronic Pain and Illness Take Everything Away: How to Mourn Our Losses is a practical book for anyone who battles a chronic illness or chronic pain. Esther is an inspirational individual who has thrived in many aspects of life despite chronic illness, without a doubt she is a role model. Reaching out as a compassionate friend she gently teaches her readers about the grieving process and coping with chronic illness and chronic pain. She is transparent with her faith journey as well as her st When Chronic Pain and Illness Take Everything Away: How to Mourn Our Losses is a practical book for anyone who battles a chronic illness or chronic pain. Esther is an inspirational individual who has thrived in many aspects of life despite chronic illness, without a doubt she is a role model. Reaching out as a compassionate friend she gently teaches her readers about the grieving process and coping with chronic illness and chronic pain. She is transparent with her faith journey as well as her struggles and victories.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

  22. 4 out of 5

    J. ean Greathouse

  23. 5 out of 5

    Megan Gathany

  24. 5 out of 5

    Laura Wilke

  25. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne Herman

  26. 5 out of 5

    Victoria Guyadeen

    When Chronic Pain and Illness Take Everything Away: How to Mourn Our Losses is a practical book for anyone who battles a chronic illness or chronic pain. Esther is an inspirational individual who has thrived in many aspects of life despite chronic illness, without a doubt she is a role model. Reaching out as a compassionate friend she gently teaches her readers about the grieving process and coping with chronic illness and chronic pain. She is transparent with her faith journey as well as her st When Chronic Pain and Illness Take Everything Away: How to Mourn Our Losses is a practical book for anyone who battles a chronic illness or chronic pain. Esther is an inspirational individual who has thrived in many aspects of life despite chronic illness, without a doubt she is a role model. Reaching out as a compassionate friend she gently teaches her readers about the grieving process and coping with chronic illness and chronic pain. She is transparent with her faith journey as well as her struggles and victories. Grief is an overwhelming aspect of chronic illness that threatens to take over. It breaks a person down. Those facing chronic illness and chronic pain grieve the person he or she was before the pain, their past, broken relationships, shattered dreams, and the person they had hoped to become. Chronic illness alters every element of life. At times, with the pain and additional symptoms, those with chronic illness don’t want to deal with the emotions. However, emotions are healthy and a part of life. Personally, the emotions tend to hit me like a ton of bricks in a delayed reaction. Grief with chronic illness was no different. I get consumed with daily life not processing what I am going through on an emotional level. Maybe you can relate. Once the emotions hit it is overwhelming. I officially got my diagnosis in my late adolescent years. I took a season to grieve all the things I missed out on like prom and mission trips I had planned out. That season I grieved the friends I lost. I have worked through a lot of the grief but there is still some work to be done. Support is essential when working through it. This book provides a positive outlet for grief. One of my favorite things is that there are writing prompts to assist the reader in constructively working through emotions.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Dianne

  28. 5 out of 5

    Staci (BookMadWoman)

  29. 5 out of 5

    Julia Maestri

  30. 5 out of 5

    Audrey Stilwell

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