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And then it was time…

January 31, 2008

to come home from my Mom’s to my sister’s to my house. You can read here for the first part of the trip. The additional complicating factor that made the trip so much more interesting is my back–and where it went.

Apparently the back comprises major muscle groups that are key to virtually every bodily function, activity, and movement that a wife and mom of three would like to, need to, or be required to do. Except for maybe wiggling your ears, which is something I couldn’t do beforehand anyway. I may have time to learn now.

Over the last months I’ve had some back soreness that I attributed to that thing called “life.” And I chose to keep on living. The laundry, the meals, the moving of furniture, the picking up babies and toddlers at church, the carrying of library book bags and grocery bags are all details of life, my life, and I enjoyed doing it. Maybe not the laundry every time, but still it was my laundry.

Well, apparently I am a camel, and the straw that broke my back became the trip to my sister’s and then my mom’s. Packing and unpacking, twisting and turning, and riding for some hours put me into a weird sort of lower back muscular spasm that began to prohibit normal sitting, standing, or walking. The “I just hit my funny bone” feeling in my right leg began to insistently scream at me instead of just be an annoyance.

End result: Husband had to get a ride with friends to my sister’s house so he could drive his family back home. On the way home he called the doctor who prescribed a steroid pack, muscle relaxant, and pain medication. I went straight to bed. Tuesday’s appointment revealed that the back spasm has pulled my spine from normalcy to abnormal–which has a bunch of unpleasant side effects.

I’m on strict bedrest for at least a week.

This is where the rubber has hit the road. It’s not about the fact that I “feel” worthless to my family, that I’m frustrated beyond description for this snag, that my will has been thwarted, that I’m hurting, and that I’ve lost all control over the details of my life.

It’s about the fact that as a Christian, I still only have two choices for my response. I either repent of my will and accept His will, or I rebel in my will at His will.

And it has been difficult to say the least.

I love the Lord. I gave my life to Him years ago, and I’ve tried to walk with Him in faith for many years. Imperfectly, I know, but my desire is to glorify Him above all others. He has ordained many difficult things in my life, and my faith has not always been strong. But as He has continued to draw me, to refine and sanctify me, I’ve known not only His great power and love, but also His covenant faithfulness and gracious goodness.

I do adore His sovereignty and know that no affliction touches my life without His allowance and perfect purpose. My back did not escape His notice, and did not occur while off His watch. As I’ve had copious amounts of time to lie here and think the “what ifs” and the “whys,” I’ve thanked Him for this trial, I’ve praised Him for His mercy in it, I’ve rejoiced in His abundant provision of family and friends bringing meals, caring for my children, and babysitting me.

It still requires though, a step by step, thought by thought obedience to His will. Persevering as a saint is not a sign one time on the dotted line proposition. An hour filled with thoughts of faithfulness and trust can just as easily be followed by an hour filled with feelings of discouragement and frustration. Jesus is still Lord. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Unless I continually remind myself of His character and His word, of His Person and His work, and of His power and might, I will do nothing but crumble. Again, how this reminds me of His sufficiency and tells me of my deficiency.

May His Name alone be great.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. January 31, 2008 6:28 pm

    Amen! As our mighty King, He knows just how to speak to us of His power and sovereignty. And as our great High Priest, He knows just how to comfort us.

  2. January 31, 2008 7:35 pm

    Yes and amen. Being flat on one’s back for a period of time, dealing with pain, losing control over daily life events, making us dependent on other people, (oh, so hard!)—it’s all a sure sign that God is at work and there’s much to be learned about reliance on Him for and in all things. Having experienced it, when I see it happening in someone’s life, I eagerly watch to see what God is up to!

    Wish I could bring you a sumptuous dinner!

  3. January 31, 2008 9:15 pm

    I have often thought, when I’ve been incapacitated for a while, that there were so many times in my life when I would have loved for someone to tell me to go to bed for some weeks — yet when it happens, I stew over all I need to do — and, as you pointed out, mainly over the fact that this was not my will.

    I so agree that spiritual victory and yieldedness aren’t constants and that a battle fought and won once doesn’t mean it’s won forever, but it takes moment by moment trust.

    Wish I could do something for you!

  4. January 31, 2008 10:06 pm

    Praying for you and wishing there was more I could do… Please let me know if there’s anything you need.
    Isaiah 40:31

  5. Veronica Mitchell permalink
    February 1, 2008 2:52 am

    I am so sorry to hear about your back pain. My father has had back trouble his entire adult life, and I remember a fair bit of drama from childhood.

    My father would say that suffering is a part of the Christian life, and our job isn’t to avoid it or get out of it, but to reflect Christ in how we handle it. It sounds like you already know that. I hope you receive the comfort of a job well done, and that you heal soon.

  6. February 1, 2008 3:25 pm

    As I mentioned when we spoke on the phone, it reminds me of something Elisabeth Elliot would say on her radio broadcast…”Acceptance with joy.” So much easier said than done, but oh, how true.

    p.s. I’m on my way with a Tater Tot casserole.

  7. February 1, 2008 4:27 pm

    This post really hit home with me. I have learned a lot this year about submission and surrender. It has been hard for me in the past to give up control–to acknowledge my weakness. Much less be joyful about tough times! Thank you for this beautiful post about considering it pure joy to face trials–that we may be made more like Him!

    Praying that you will heal physically and that you will be blessed by your surrender to His sovereignty!

  8. February 1, 2008 8:30 pm

    Amen and amen. Acceptance with joy – oh, how I need to learn to say that without gritting my teeth.

    I am so sorry to hear you are out of commission for now. Thank you, though, for taking the time to write this up. Great truth.

  9. February 1, 2008 10:40 pm

    I’ve heard it said that there is nothing so humbling as chronic pain, and I would think back pain is among the worst.

    Your desire to view this season of pain and discomfort (and may it be brief!) through the lens of God’s sovereign design is both challenging and inspiring.

    May He grant you comfort and relief, in His time (but sooner rather than later!)

  10. February 3, 2008 4:03 pm

    PLEASE give your friends/family/church congregation the opportunity and honor to provide support to you during this time. I know how difficult it is to accept help – much more difficult to ASK for it, but think about it.

    When a friend or family member needs YOUR help, do you begrudge it? Don’t YOU do it without a second thought?

    I’m praying you give them this opportunity to bless YOU!

    I’m praying for ya!

    p.s. You said “strict” bed rest. Don’t push it.

  11. February 3, 2008 5:13 pm

    oops. I missed “I’ve rejoiced in His abundant provision of family and friends bringing meals, caring for my children, and babysitting me.”


  12. February 3, 2008 7:53 pm

    Thank you for sharing what you’re going through and what God is teaching you. This post is excellent and a timely reminder for me. And the quote you have for Sunday is right on.

  13. February 5, 2008 2:58 pm

    I’m behind on blog reading, so I’m just now catching up with you. I’ll be praying for you, dear one! Thank you for what you shared.


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