A Little Coffee Talk

Happy Friday everyone!

How has your first full week of the New Year gone?

Today is the first time this week that I have been able to sit down with a cup of coffee and write something from my heart.

I’m sitting at my childhood desk located in front of our living room window, looking outside at the bushes and trees moving around in the wind. You can’t see the wind, but in the movements of the leaves and branches you can see it’s work. It reminds me a lot of what God has done and continues to do in my life. I can see His handiwork in all that has transpired.

As many of you know, I had to have a cervical fusion in May of last year. This was a year after the initial “incident” in 2009 that brought on pain like no other that I have ever felt in my life. Simply pure agony. Through a series of decisions seemingly unrelated, we ended up with one of the best doctors in the country performing surgery on my neck, replacing disks and strengthening my neck with a metal plate.

I had a wonderful recovery. I had to do my part, moving even when I didn’t want to, stretching even though my neck muscles and upper back cried out “stop”, and slowly returning to normal life. I was pleased and I felt really normal by October.

The week of Christmas however I started experiencing muscle spasms again. And it has gotten increasingly worse. I have been extremely conservative at the gym. I can think of just a couple of things that may have set it off- picking up my daughter perhaps- that may have triggered the spasms. I am grateful that it is not the pain I had previous to the surgery but it is pain nonetheless. My family doctor thinks I may have some scar tissue that is causing the problem.

Fortunately, I already had my final exam with the neurosurgeon scheduled for this coming Tuesday, which includes a cat scan. We’ll see what the neurosurgeon says.

I share all this to make a couple of points that I think can be applied to life in general and may be helpful to you no matter what you are going through.

On Tuesday night I couldn’t concentrate because of my discomfort. I heard the voice in my head going to the that familiar dark place, “How am I going to take care of the kids like this? Why is this happening? Does this mean more medical bills? Am I ever going to be better? I love fitness. Am I never going to be the same in that regard again?” And I stayed with those thoughts most of the night.

And then, sometime that night or early in the morning I had a revelation. “I don’t have to go down this path of thought again. I don’t have to think of my situation this way anymore. I have a choice here.”

No I didn’t have some kind of miraculous recovery that led me tho this revelation. But I realized a lot of miracles had happened through 2010 and they led to a miracle in my realtionship with God.

I began thinking about what He had done last year through my experience of pain and surgery and therapy:

I saw how he brought people into our life who wanted to help and blessed us. This began new relationships and deepened old ones. People need community and I am no exception.

The prideful person I am, I finally learned that it was okay to say I need other people to help me.

I learned to soak in my children’s laughter, appreciate their attempts to make me feel better through hand made cards and just snuggling in bed together when I was laid out. Be in the moment.

My husband and I grew closer as we wondered at what the future held with no answers for quite some time, relying on God one day at a time to get us through. Marriage is a blessing in many ways and one of those is having a companion through hardship.

I saw God weave events, people, information we “stumbled upon” into a network that brought us to surgery and through recovery.

And I found God.

That might surprise those who know me because you know I love the Lord. But I did some wrestling, some questioning, some finger pointing, at and with God that shook me to my core.

I remember vividly thinking about Jacob and realizing that I too was ready to get on the “floor” and do some wrestling with God himself. I wanted to be in the mudof my emotions and thoughts and get real about how I was feeling. I was finally ready to expose myself to myself – to be honest that I had my doubts about the extent of God’s love and audaciously accuse God saying that “I didn’t deserve this”. I was putting it all out on the table. Not caring what He thought of me.

The funny thing is I discovered how very much God loves me. He knew all those thoughts and emotions I had before I said them. He was waiting for me to confess them to myself. He wanted me to admit to myself that I had this false image of life here on earth. I wanted comfort. I thought I deserved it. In my mind I had been “good” so that I shouldn’t have to endure these kinds of trials.

But what I learned was that the trials come because of love. God loves me. He never left my side the whole time. He used the pain to pull out weeds of wrong thinking. He used the time of rest to get me to appreciate slowing down and to streamline my life so I saw how few things are neccessary for a meaningful life. I appreciated what people with chronic illnesses quietly, daily struggle with…people I might pass by at the local store and have absolutely how much strength it took for them to get out of bed that day. I can speak to their pain with a little more knowledge and compassion than ever before.

And I learned that this life wasn’t meant to be cushy and comfortable. It is meant to prepare me for when I join Him in His heavenly kingdom. When I do have truly joyful moments here on this side of heaven I will recognize them. But I know when the rough times come that God can be trusted and as quick as I can I should run to take cover under His wings instead of standing out in the rain of self pity and pride.

He worked it all together for my good and He will do it again. In that I can trust…..because He loves me.

I don’t know what I will find out next Tuesday. I know He is with me today, offering me whatever I need to help me with today’s challenges if I will just turn my face toward Him. And that is what I am choosing to do.

God and I will deal with Tuesday when we get there- together.


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by aunt bonnie on January 12, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    Hi Heather,
    I don’t know if your getting this reply or not…..but yes, God is Good….all the time. In my difficult times His grace and His sovereignty continue to bring rest. I don’t know where I would be without Him. He is always teaching me in the difficult times and I thank Him for His patience with me.
    May He continue to show you and your family His love through the good times and the not so good times.


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