I’m just sitting on a slightly uncomfortable worn-from-too-many-people black stool surrounded by a pile of books. Books of all different colors, shapes, and sizes, filled with different amounts of knowledge and information. I have a problem of having too many glasses filled with various beverages at random times, but tonight I just have a half-full plastic cup of water and a nearly-empty glass of pineapple, apple, lime, spinach juice that I whipped up earlier. Now it’s just a glass of green foam that’s in desperate need of washing. Oh, and I also have a half-eaten bowl of warm quinoa with cilantro, pepper and feta.
I sound like I have a garden around me. Nah. Just delicious food that I proceed to make for myself when I’m home alone…like I am now. And when I’m home alone, my greatest enjoyment is being in the kitchen with an open laptop with music playing, cookbooks everywhere and pots and pants perched next to the sink, air-drying. And tonight I ventured into the world of starting to make overnight slow cooker oatmeal. I just hit the start button and I can’t wait for tomorrow morning. Usually I can’t stand breakfast food, but when I know I can wake up and exercise, read my bible, juice some good-for-me greens and indulge in a bowl of steel cut oats that have marinated in cinnamon and apples for hours, my heart leaps to cloud twelve. (probably doesn’t exist, but let’s pretend it’s somewhere between this dimension and the dimension of heaven).
It’s been um…let’s just say too many months since I’ve taken time to actually write. So let me fill you in a bit.
For those of you who keep up regularly, you know that I have Reflex Neurovascular Dystrophy. For those who don’t, well, now you know. It’s a nerve disorder that has resulted in forever-paralysis of six of my toes and has led to temporary paralysis of my legs. Imagine fire-burning needles being stabbed into your legs constantly…and not just into your legs, but into your feet and toes and nerve endings. It’s the most nasty pain I can describe. THAT said, I’ve been doing SO well in the last year. Well..until two weeks ago.
Funny thing is, during some alone time a little over two weeks ago I started thinking about the last two years and where God has brought me and what He has led me through. I was so amazed by His grace in my life and His protection in bringing me through some of the toughest, loneliest battles. And two weeks ago today, I happened to pull a dishwasher drawer straight over my toe. To some this might not seem like that big of a deal, but my toenail ripped off…root and all, and my RND came back immediately. Past memories and pain just flooded my mind and my body. It was amazing…watching my body react to such a silly injury. And it reminded me SO clearly of God’s power. His power can flood the smallest of situations and make them GREAT.
My legs turned purple, I sat in the same chairs at the doctor’s office that were so familiar to me several years ago. Needless to say, the last two weeks have been so incredibly painful but so incredibly reminding of His presence in my life. Some people might just react in anger, but for me, it was one of those, “fall-to-the-floor-my-God-is-greater” experiences. It was just like a smack in the face. I started taking for granted the things that I used to LONG for.
I used to DREAM about walking into a store and buying the cute shoes, or sleeping with the coziest sheets over my legs, or eating foods that didn’t make my pain worse. And because of God’s miraculous healing and my faithfulness in taking steps to re-train my body to walk and strengthen my legs, my pain went from a constant 9.5 to a 2. I was doing so well. My pain was nearly gone, I was only having the occasional twinges of pain down my legs, like daily reminders of what God has brought me through. I could sleep with sheets and wear cute boots and go for hikes without wanting to cry from the pain. What a privilege to do such minimal things!
And then two weeks ago, the pain of two years ago hit me like it had never gone away. My body started reacting. So, without hesitation, I did what I did two years ago. I thanked Jesus. I thanked Him for the powerful reminders of His grace. I thanked Him for equipping me and for blessing me with an invisible illness. I wouldn’t pray for it upon anyone else, because it’s lonely, it’s so incredibly painful, and it’s so tough for people to “get-it”. But I could stand in front of three thousand people and say that it is the greatest thing that has EVER happened to me. It’s humbled me in ways I never knew possible. It’s led me to comfort and empathize with those who have pain. And it’s made me SO incredibly thankful.
But like I said, my human nature started taking for granted the simple things…because, well, most people do. But the last two weeks have been the GREATEST and the most painful. I’ve learned that there is NOTHING in life that should be taken for granted, because it can be stripped away as quickly as a toenail by a dishwasher drawer. (ok, probably not the best comparison.)
I encourage you to take ANY and every battle and trial you face as a blessing. Sure, it might be a blessing in disguise. But there is NOTHING that God does NOT work together for good for those who love Him! I’ve been so humbled and so aware of that like never before.
He is above ALL things. Problems, pain, and trials of this world. And when we choose to be on His side, we can rise above those situations that want so badly to drag us down. Living in the light of His presence with a heavenly calling is what He wants of us! When we feel like we’re trapped in sinking sand, we can be reminded that our HOPE is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and RIGHTEOUSNESS.
For He knows our weaknesses, He knows what we are tempted by, He knows where are failures are, but He NEVER fails to forgive, redeem, protect, and encourage. What an honor it is to serve a mighty King who first saved us, and equips us with EVERY necessary tool for fighting the battles of this world.
“Behold, I am the one who has laid as a foundation in Zion, a stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation: Whoever believes will not be in haste.”
(for the record, it’s now 8:03pm and my quinoa is still half-eaten) ;)