Tag Archives: pain

Not Yet

I’ve been out of state and mostly out of touch for several weeks. I participated in a mission of mercy.

Upon my return an over-sized envelope, mailed to me by a close relative, stunned me. Two paragraphs detailed how the person does not “want to associate” with me anymore because, in that person’s opinion, me participating in that undertaking was “wrong”.

A long, long time ago I would have agreed.

Back then the person I just paused my life to minister to had broken my heart, violated my family and then did everything possible to destroy me. For years afterward, staying close to my sons often took all I had.

 

But here’s the thing:

I didn’t mend my broken heart. I didn’t restore my demolished spirit. I didn’t drive away the demons or recover my life. Nor did my family.

Jesus saved me.

And then Jesus saved the same person who hurt my family and tried to ruin me.

What’s more, Jesus wants to save the person that now hates what I most recently did in His name.

“…And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world’s healing hinges, but on [Jesus]. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives along with the command, the love itself.”
― Corrie Ten Boom, The Hiding Place

I understand. If I allow myself I can still feel all the pain. Again and again I prefer to feel how Love wins.

Despite being rejected by a loved one, given the chance to redo the past month, I would do it again.

Had I realized the relative was still bound in the past I would not have mentioned I was away or why.

Not yet.

 

“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

Colossians 3:13 (NIV)

Images courtesy ABSFreePic.com

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Off Day


Semi-awake for what seemed like moments, but was actually hours, something told me today was going to be different.

There was no golden light flickering from the stove, so I’d slept far later than usual. Only my body’s natural functions urging me toward the bathroom roused the slightest inclination to move.

*

I tried to think… Soon enough I had all the numbers right in my head.

The fall happened 15 days before. For several days any movement sent bolts of pain rocketing through my left arm and torso. With that I re-evaluated my priorities. For the first three days you can believe I took Flexeril morning and evening. After that I needed my brain back.

14 Days ago:

  • I wake feeling thankful that God spared me any skeletal damage.
  • AND THEN I attempt to move. BIG MISTAKE. I’m certain everything from my lips down broke. Where’d that doctor buy his credentials anyway?
  • Despite the alarming scream Cole heard from the main house (barn cats – honest), I assure him he can leave for work – I have his number and am not afraid to use it.
  • I thank God I can walk. And I’m thankful for ice packs (and did I mention Flexeril).
  • I’m very thankful for all the leftovers I routinely store in the freezer. And disposable dinnerware can be a good thing.
  • Note to self: Replenish Cole’s picnic supplies.

12 Days ago:

  • Tried to tie my long hair with one arm. There are worse things than loose hair. Everywhere.
  • Keying hurts no matter how I position the keyboard. (Note to self: Practicing Speech-to-Text will help build the S-T-T vocabulary.)

11 Days ago:

  • Thank God for automatic transmissions! Drove myself to church.
  • Note to self: Get over yourself. Allow those who offer to help me. just say thank you

10 Days ago:

  • Stitches came out of my face.
  • I dare anyone to try applying ointment and butterfly closures twice daily – with one arm blocking the mirror.
  • Makeup?  Oh, funny girl! BwaHaHaHa!

5 Days ago:

  • I daydream about cutting and donating my hair sooner than I’d planned – before the fall.

4 Days ago:

  • Almost 50% range of motion on my left arm and shoulder.
  • This helps explain why the right arm aches too.

2 Days ago:

  • My Doctor and I got to chatting and forget all about my injured left arm. Until she raises it.
  • We’re both over it now.

This morning I realized that for 15 days I kept up with my routine single-handedly taking only two extra hours per day AND I’ve expanded my Speech-To-Test lexis.

Thanks God!

Once I fully wake today I shall enjoy a special day off to simply be.

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? Yahweh is the everlasting God, the Creator of the whole earth. He never grows faint or weary; there is no limit to His understanding. He gives strength to the weary and strengthens the powerless.”

Isaiah 40:28, 29 (HCSB*)

*Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville Tennessee. All rights reserved.

 

* Image (c) 2019 RapturePractice! Pub.

All other images courtesy Pixabay

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In the Pink – Red Faced Part 2

I like to say my vacation in Texas was pure joy. In some ways the time was heavenly, but…

An infection raging on the tip of my nose, cast an unsightly, frustrating, painful shadow on the long-anticipated departure. I’m not exaggerating, the slightest twitch, sniffle or sneeze sent painful shock waves radiating across what must have been the entire room or vehicle.

*

When I arrived late on Thursday, SecondBorn was pre-occupied navigating the back roads from Austin. If he noticed my extra makeup, he didn’t let on. Still, my apex nasi throbbed. Even as we rode I prayed for a quick, miraculous healing.

“Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” 2 Corinthians 12:8 9 (NLT)

That first evening seemed to fly by for us all. Pretty sure nobody was any wiser about my misery, I had a good cry in a hot shower. Later as I drifted off to sleep I remember wondering if it was something I said, or maybe something I didn’t say brought on this painful and obvious infirmity. Then sleep took over.

**

The next day checking in at the grade school office, if anyone noticed my nose the secret remained safe. Surprising my grand children and their friends with lunch together satisfied an old longing. By the time classes resumed I was so elated I forgot to look in the mirror.

AlmostSixYearOld can easily charm sugar from an ant. EightYearOld has nearly changed my mind about Ten-Year-Old-Boys being God’s perfect creation. For the next two days we played, explored, and streamed texts and photos with cousins in Illinois making everything seem even more fun.

Soon the heat flow had subsided, pain turned to discomfort, the vivid colors began fading and unless affronted by mirrors, I forgot about my nose. After full, active days, with everyone tucked snugly into bed, I thanked God for the rare, amazing contentment I had been experiencing. For a while I stopped wondering how the world elsewhere spun without me.

I swear the room immediately began to glow and the most delightful, perfectly conditioned warmth filled the space. One of the first Bible lessons I got my head around came to mind:

“…I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, [becoming uglified] and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10 (NLT)

God only knows why the infection happened when it did.  Sisters and I could joke about it for days, but reality check: my family and friends care that I’m healthy and happy – not about how I look.

I also like to believe they understand that whenever I finally show up God made it happen.

 

*Image courtesy ABSFreepix

**Image courtesy Pinterest

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New Vision

Farther back than I want to admit, I gradually began taking life on a need-to-see basis.

Remarkably, unlike my siblings who needed eyeglasses in grade school, I had exceptionally good vision well into my 30’s.

I remember one First Day of School in our newest neighborhood at the time. I wanted to look cool. I seriously was not, so I borrowed my sister’s new glasses from her. I can’t imagine what I was thinking, but after one morning looking through her glasses, imagining her worldview without them gave me a whole new understanding about Sister.

From then on I was proud of my amazing eyesight.

By twenty-five I had survived a parent’s suicide, became an abandoned spouse and a single, working mom. Blind, raging ambition driving me, I became a force to be reckoned with, and a Tiger Woman in the business world.

As a teen I’d turned my back on the God I’d heard about but didn’t see much of growing up in church. Decades later around the same time my eyes began changing, transformation also started in my stony, little heart.

As my vision began fading, the whole world seemed different.

After surviving a car collision that actually should have killed me, God had my full attention. I suddenly got over being angry at Him. Days later I longed to meet the Jesus I’d heard about years before.

Forget a nonchalant shrug, that day Atlas actually gasped. Sure, I didn’t suddenly decide to change. God had pursued me for years as He gently guided me along, but that’s a different story.

I began to realize all I had given up on as a child – thinking I’d imagined what I had once believed. I was thirty-something and already survived more anguish than most people can imagine.

Once I actually met Jesus I fell completely in love with Him. Weeks later I walked away from my high-paying, misery-generating job and law school. Hours afterward a heart attack pinned me to the floor, but I wasn’t afraid, worried or nearly done yet.

I was saved.

Everything in my life changed dramatically. Everything included needing glasses to read. And then for driving. Soon I needed trifocals.

Certain of God’s love for me and having good spiritual vision was genuinely life changing. I no longer needed to watch my back – for the first time since I was a kid, I knew God did. Like everyone, I continued to experienced more losses. Still, I stopped dreading what each new day might bring. And I no longer need my amazing eyesight to survive.

With God watching me closely, life on a need to see basis actually works for me.

How do you get through hard times?

“He (Father God, my Shepherd) renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.
Even when I walk through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.” Psalm 23: 3, 4 (NLT)

 

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Acceptance

I love it when You take over my mind as I wake.
Sincerely.

And usually I love Your perfect timing, especially with the extraordinary things You bring to my mind.
Seriously.

You consistently guide me toward peace in the madness. And You let me think its all my doing. You lead me to build and cross bridges I could never do alone. Your peace reigns freely in my otherwise nonsensical world.

You are marvelous.

And yet, to be honest I was angry and upset most of yesterday. I got used to Scout popping in after his “property inspection” every morning. All summer through late autumn I enjoyed his visits. Come winter, I liked opening the door to find him waiting to be let in, and how his circling through the cottage and then leaving again became welcome recesses.

You are Faithful.

Of course You know, me constantly missing Seagh had subsided. Then yesterday I remembered how every day he’d open the slider bringing Scout in the main house for his early morning nap. I cried and then laughed at how that routine – scant minutes after I’d finished cleaning the floors from the night before – annoyed me back then.

You are patient.

Now that I think of it that was all You, gently reminding me I’m actually not the boss of me, to take a break.

You are gracious.

And now that we’re talking about it – okay, now that I’m venting at You – I realize that was also You yesterday:

The storm broke just long enough for the sun to irradiate the landscape. In that breath before twilight my body seemed to become weightless – an answer to other post-holiday prayers, by the way – and I was transported almost into the blinding light, but stopped short of it.
All in a single, timeless heartbeat Seagh was walking with extraordinary ease away from me, just out of my reach. Scout trotted along at his side, tail wagging, ears up, lips stretched back and tongue dangling in happy anticipation. They were like two stark silhouettes against the brilliance and yet I saw their every detail. I wanted to walk with them, but without stopping Seagh turned to face me, one flat hand raised to his waist indicating I should stop. Walking backward he lifted his head in an upward nod. In our wordless manner I understood him, “I got this.” I raised my arm to wave an acknowledgement, but couldn’t move it any more.
Then he turned around again as Scout too did a full spin. I could feel their delightfully pain-free exhilaration. In that same instant they walked away together as their forms vignetted into the glorious light and then disappeared again.

 
You are indescribable.

I trust You understand my sob and those tears. I completely appreciate You giving us that wonderfully unexpected, but final goodbye. I understood instantly that I won’t see them again until heaven. And in that same instant Your amazing peace returned to me.

You are gentle.

So now I see how You consistently layer all the loss and heartaches throughout my life with immeasurable joy. I get it; the harder the hit, the greater the glory. Looking back at my tantrum over the previous day, I’m humbled – yet again embarrassed.

I am loved.

“Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.”
Romans 8:18 (NLT)

Feature Image by permission, (c) 2018 Julie Wetherby not for duplication without written permission.

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Fruity

Almost as soon as I rose, I was a mess. My bandage was stuck to my pillow case, not my forehead and my neck hurt from sleeping on my other side. I almost always begin my day by saying aloud, “Hey, thanks, God!” But instead I was all, “waa, waa, waa…”

Clearly I needed caffeine – and prayer.

Priming the pump, I thanked God for every little thing I could see. Soon that became a stream of praise. My physical pains dissipated into oblivion, and before long God and I shared a good laugh. Yeah, at my expense. Yet again.

Today’s confession: As I brewed a pot and got my prayer journal, my feelings made me miserable. The pain, the dread, the fear, would it ever end??? I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was as if a cloud of dissatisfaction blocked any light into my soul. I didn’t recognize the scary, haggard old woman watching me from the hat rack mirror by the door. And I didn’t care if she saw me.

So, what’s funny is I’d been writing about the fruit in our lives. And suddenly that morning I could see where a few of my apples had fallen and become wormy.

“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” Galatians 5:22, 23 (NLT)

I often wonder if the average person goes on this insane roller-coaster ride – or as frequently. Those of you that do can commiserate with me for a moment and then feel free to snicker or laugh out-right. It’s as if we don’t know from experience what we’re like when we’re tired, wrung dry, trying to live wholly holy without sufficient Holy Spirit time.

I can see it in the mirror when I need some one-on-one time with God. Those worry lines, the furrowed brow, shoulders sloping and neck bent… Not flattering, impressive or the image of a victor!

Laugh lines are so much better. So God and I laugh at me – a lot more than I like to admit. But as I learn to laugh at myself more, take myself less seriously, I also learn to forgive myself for not being perfect. Despite a rough beginning, thanks to God I’m quite content to be good today.

“A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. A tree is identified by its fruit. Figs are never gathered from thorn bushes, and grapes are not picked from bramble bushes. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.” Luke 6:43-45 (NLT)

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Changing Things Up

 

20170110_100153

This morning started out amazing.

First, I slept. Yay! Then I woke up feeling exceptionally happy for no apparent reason.

With my next heartbeat I felt extraordinary gratitude. Rather than bolting out of the bed to check the wood stove, I pulled the goose down comforter over my shoulders. Annnd that familiar pain shot through my arms.

I didn’t care. I snuggled in and had a long talk with God.

I started by thanking Him, beginning with the obvious blessings in my life: good health, comfortable bed, a warm home, firewood, a variety of food…

“Enter His gates with thanksgiving; go into His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His name.” *

Soon I asked for specific blessings for my family, friends and essentially everyone I know. Before long I was back to telling God how great I think He is, how good it is to know Him.

I gotta tell all y’alls, this scenario is rare. I typically begin my days with prayer and thanksgiving for my life – from my desk or armchair with a Bible, a freshly brewed latte or mug of tea, a good fire crackling in the stove…

Me lingering in bed rarely happens. During this exceptionally harsh winter my morning dialogues have started with “Thank You, Jesus. Now, please help me,” just to get out of bed – and then I hit the floor running. Today without thinking or planning I changed things up a little.

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What’s more, I think I’m better for… Wow. Sunshine!

And good just keeps on coming.

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow – not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.” Romans 8:38 (NLT)

*Psalm 100:4  (NLT)

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