The past 10 days have been a little bit of a roller coaster.
Back in high school, I played soccer year round, and year after year, I came up with several ankle injuries in my left ankle (broken foot, tendonitis, high ankle sprains, etc.). As soon as I could even remotely run, I was back on the field. I didn’t want to miss a second. Looking back, I’m not sure that I ever let me ankle fully heal after the multiple injuries.
Fast forward. College came and I played Club Soccer for OSU one year, intramural soccer for several years, and did lots of working out. My ankle always felt some discomfort during those years, but nothing that was going to stop me from being active.
Post college. I continued to be active, except now, my pain was increasing and my ability to be active was decreasing. I couldn’t wear heels anymore because it caused too much pain, running for more than 5 minutes was out of the question, jumping hurt, my ankle was giving out while I was simply walking, and even the way I was sleeping caused discomfort and pain.
At this point, I finally decided it was time to go to the doctor. This took awhile because I am stubborn and hate going to the doctor, which is hilarious because I’m married to someone who will soon be a Dr. LOL. At least I will have one right in my own home one day.
The doctor took a quick look at my ankle and told me that surgery was my only option to fix this and it was up to me if I wanted to make it happen. I sat on that for a long time, I didn’t want to do it. I didn’t want to have surgery and be out of commission for months. So for several months, I denied my reality and didn’t do anything. Eventually, I couldn’t take the pain and discomfort anymore and decided to bite the bullet. Lord willing, I have a lot of years ahead of me, and I want to have a usable ankle.
Now, here I sit, 10 days post surgery with a new ankle. These ten days have been quite the ride. This is my first real procedure (I’ve had my wisdom teeth out, but I don’t know if that really counts?), so I had no idea what to expect post surgery. The medication and anesthesia made me sick and miserable for the first 5 days. I felt so sick that I didn’t want to take my pills that would make me more sick, but then my ankle was in serious pain so I needed to take the medicine, and then the pain and sickness made me not be able to sleep, and I couldn’t do literally anything on my own… so basically I was a huge mess of exhaustion and misery, physically and emotionally. Then on top of that, I began having nerve problems that the doctors were concerned about, and I was battling serious anxiety in hopes that I didn’t have permanent nerve damage or serious issues.
I say all of this not to have a pity party or make you feel sorry, I say it to set the stage for the work the Lord is doing in my life.
In 10 days alone, the Lord has stripped me of my comfort and ease of life; he is shining a light on my misplaced trust and misplaced joy, my lack of dependency, and my desire to work for approval.
Life no longer looks like it did. I now need a driver, a cook, someone to help me shower, someone to help me get down the stairs, someone to help me do the simplest of tasks. This new world has illuminated some broken areas of my life. It’s easy to be joyful when you have a healthy body and can do whatever you please; but what about when your body is hurt? What about when your body isn’t functioning properly? I have had many days where I have struggled to find joy as I sit alone on my couch without being able to go or do much of anything. But here’s the deal, my joy is not dependent upon my circumstances, my joy is found in my Jesus. Period. Even if I were to be couch bound for the rest of my life, I can still have joy and hope in the reality of heaven and the gospel; we have a hope that anchors the soul (Hebrews 6:19).
This whole relying on someone else for literally everything has been hard for me. I like to be independent, I like to be the one serving. In fact, I often want to be the one working and doing to earn approval. So many times I find myself cleaning the house, or doing something for someone else, and I realize my motives are all wrong. I am doing whatever it may be in order to earn favor or impress man, instead of working heartily for the Lord alone. It’s not coincidence that the Lord has now put me in a season where I couldn’t do anything to try and earn approval even if I tried. I’m completely dependent on others right now. I see you, Lord, I see you.
Letting others carry my burden has not been easy for me to do. Isn’t it just like us to want to carry this heavy load all on our own? We don’t want to inconvenience others, so we exhaust ourselves with a load that was never meant to be carried alone. We have people in our lives that want to help, and we have to let them. The Lord created us to live in community, and he created the body of Christ to carry one another’s burdens. We have to stop being afraid to let others serve us, and let the body of Christ function the way it was created to.
Ultimately in all of this, the Lord is drawing me to himself, and for that I am SO thankful. A few months ago when I scheduled this surgery, I knew that the Lord has a special season planned. I knew he was going to use this unique time to draw me closer, to rid me of all distractions and comforts and pursue my heart.
The morning of my surgery, I was a little anxious. Currently I’m reading through Genesis, but that morning, I wanted to read a Psalms. I didn’t have a particular Psalm in mind, so I thought, “Well, today is the 21st, so I will read Psalms 21.” Except, when I opened up my Bible, I flipped straight to Psalms 121- close enough right?
I began reading:
I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD is your keeper;
the LORD is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The LORD will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
The LORD will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore.
Oh, the Lord knew my heart needed that passage, and He led me straight to it. “He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber”…Oh Lord, you’re funny! You will keep my foot from slipping, and no matter where I am, you are ever-watchful, never sleeping- even when I’m knocked out on meds.
This is the passage I have repeated from the moment I got hooked up to an IV, to figuring out my nerve problems, to sitting on the couch in loneliness, through 3 casts, and through emotional exhaustion, I will lift my eyes to the hills. And when I’m healed and back to ‘normal’ life in a few months, I will continue to lift my eyes–the Lord is my helper who is ever with me. Jesus, I will cling to you, come what may.
I don’t know where you are at today, sister, but know that wherever you are, God sees you and he is watching you in every single second of your life. He is with you in this very moment. Stop looking at your circumstances, and start looking to your Helper, The Maker of Heaven and Earth.
Lifting my eyes with you,