White flag

Jesus calls usCan you do me a favor? Can you think of something precious that you hold sacred? Really sacred guys. Not a vase, or a pair of shoes. I’m talking a person, your physical ability to move, living pain free, or your livelihood. Now, take a minute and put it in a box. Now I want you to completely give up control of it with the knowledge that it’s possible you will never get it back. Hand it to God and let Him decide what to do with it. You are probably thinking, “Oh well it’s God. Of course I can give everything to God.” So I will ask you…then why am I struggling? 

Did you ever get the wind knocked out of you as a kid? There is a moment where you have to catch your breath before you can do anything else. That’s where I am. Yesterday I had an MRI and X-rays to take a look at my spine. I have a real love hate relationship with my own body. I love that I have been gifted strength back into my legs. I have been able to hike, and walk and hold my nephew. I feel overjoyed when I reach the top of the mountain. Each time I feel overwhelming thankfulness to be able to get there. I’ve felt that over the last year, I’ve regained some of who I am. I’ve been overjoyed at this. Precious independence and freedom. Just when I’m feeling more independent and capable than I have been in 7 years, I am thrown another curveball. I feel a deep hatred for the betrayal I feel coming from under my own skin.  

Right now it’s looking like a birth defect of the facet joints we found in my lumbar spine 3 years ago. Though I had it stabilized with a fusion at L5S1, it must also exist at least at the level above it at L4/5 as well, because the same misery has surfaced again, but this time the shifting is higher. The birth defect makes my spine unstable. I don’t totally understand it, but somehow the facets didn’t fully develop and they are shaped abnormally allowing one of my vertebra to suddenly shift hard and painful. The thing that is even harder to swallow, is that we don’t know if it goes higher than that. I won’t know if and until a next level does or doesn’t fail. Barf. Just barf.

My gut reaction is to stare off into space, wondering how to escape from what I feel is probably an impending surgery that is truly grueling and makes me cry just thinking about it. The alternative means having my sleep suddenly excruciatingly disturbed repeatedly and indefinately. There is something deeply anxiety provoking to know that if you don’t get your body’s positioning just right, you will be backstabbed with what feels like a dagger in your spine. It involuntarily jerks my legs, jars me alert, and causes sudden racing heartbeats and sweating. My adrenaline fires, and it’s very hard to go back to sleep any time soon after that. No matter how many times I calmly talk myself through this cycle, it sets off the same response.

The truth is, I am in the process of coming to terms. I felt denial and shock already. I begged and hoped for this to be a fluke. I didn’t even say it out loud for a bit because I was afraid it would make it more real. It’s real though, and now I’m battling flat out dread. I know God can take this. No problem has ever been above His power. I know He has the power to calm this storm. I’m praying He will accomplish His will above all.  I am not losing faith or hope that He is ever present and as good as He always has been. I just need time. It’s not like grieving a person, but I do grieve for myself. I grieve the hope of my body working the way I want it to. I grieve the stress it causes on my family. I grieve the normalcy I constantly fight for. I grieve the loss of physical comfort. I grieve my will in my life. I want my hopes and dreams to be what happens next…not this. This hurts. It’s flat out stinking torture sometimes, and the surgery to fix it is no joke. This is a long haul fight I want no part of. Having rods and screws and donor bone put in your spine, and a big fat long incision…will set me back a good deal. Hiking will be a far off goal yet again. Getting to the bathroom will even be a feat. Relief is so far off right now, that I can’t even start a healing time clock. I don’t even know if this is the last time I’ll face this or if more are ahead. I don’t even know what my surgeon will want to do. I’m gonna be here awhile unless God calms this storm. 

I feel pretty defeated when I think of this in accordance with the plan for my life that I envision. The only thing that makes this even remotely tolerable, is the knowledge that my plan was never the plan from day one. I am here for God’s plan, for His purpose, and for His pleasure. It’s not bad though. God is good, so His plan is good. He loves us, and if He is good and He loves us, His plan is ultimately merciful. He doesn’t take pleasure in His children suffering. His plan is the map to get me to heaven. I know I have to place this in God’s hands with an acceptance of His will, knowing that His will may look nothing like mine. 

A college friend of my Mom’s is in town to visit this weekend. I’ve known Jenny my whole life. I have memories of her taking my sister and I for a long walk and telling us the names of tree’s and plants and birds. We were probably like 8 and 6 years old. She was at most Christmases when we visited my Mom’s family in St. Louis. She used to make trains out of candy. It was like the greatest thing ever. Being handed a candy train with life savers for the engine, a dove chocolate bell for the top, and Rolo’s for wheels. A handful of candy being handed to you when you are a kid…it’s awesome. She has always been a joy in my life. She told me about something that started a train of thought. She said she went to a women’s conference that Joni Eareckson Tada spoke at. ( Here is a bit of info about her https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joni_Eareckson_Tada.) She is a very inspirational person. She has been in a wheelchair paralyzed from the shoulders down for most of her life. At this conference, there was a good portion of women complaining about the chairs they were sitting in. They were uncomfortable and not up to par with expectations. Joni rolled across the stage in her wheelchair and joked that she heard that some of the guests were not satisfied with the comfort of the chairs. She said she didn’t really like her chair either. Ooof perspective. Nothin like a reality check to change some perspective.

I will only find peace when I look at this situation from a different angle. Maybe my worst case scenario is God’s best case scenario. Maybe this is the only path I can walk, or crawl…that will lead my soul to Him.  To an eternity in Heaven. God has always held me when I couldn’t go forward, opened doors I needed to open and closed doors that needed to be closed. I need to let go of this. I need to let go of the agenda I’ve created for myself, the plans I was making that didn’t include this, and the desire for control over this situation. I have to give this package of my desire, my wants… to God and accept the plan He has instead. God asks me, “Amy, do you love me more than everything else?”

Mark 12:28-34

28. And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?

29. And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:

30. And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

31. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

32. And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:

33. And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love hisneighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.

34. And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question.

Do I love my physical abilities more than God? Ouch…no…uhg…but it is so hard. I really really want to keep them. I find that it is so hard to push my natural desire away and make God’s intentions for me my heart’s desire. I know He wants what is best, but sometimes the pain of what I need, is hard to choose when stacked against the things that I want. It’s so hard because I have to murder my will. I have to grieve myself and what I want for me.

It’s a whole like eating only vegetables when what I want is CAAAAAAAKE. Sometimes I handle it as well as a toddler. I want to have a fit. This is not what I want, I hate pain, I am sick of this and I feel like it’s not FAIR. But do I want fair? Really? I don’t think I really do. Fair would mean I never had a Savior who was willing to pay the ransom for me. Fair places me and my natural man in an unredeemable fall. I don’t want fair. None of us want fair. How can I complain about the path I have to walk, when my Savior gave up his whole life for me? He hung on a cross at 33 years old…for me. I’ve lived a longer earthly life than He did. He was innocent and he paid for my crimes, and I am forgiven. How is that fair? It’s not! It’s not fair! It’s a plan of pure unfathomable love, from a Father who will do everything He can to help His children.

Amy, hand God the package. Hand Him the outcome of this trial. Hand Him all the things that are most precious. Love Him more that ALL of it. 

Mathew 19:6-26 

16. And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?

17. And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

18. He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,

19. Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

20. The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?

21. Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

22. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.

23. Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.

24. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

25. When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?

26. But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

 

Amy Michelle, get your eyes on the prize. Build up your treasures in Heaven.

 

Mathew 6:20-24

20. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

21. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

22.The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.

23. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!

24. No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

Live for God, Amy. 

God is only ever good.  He has held me, comforted me, led me and blessed me. He has done all of those things even in times I did not recognize it. Even when I have wailed in pain, grief, and even anger…he has never left me. He has been there for it all and for some reason he still loves me. I don’t deserve that measure of love. Me who forgets what he has done for me. Me who complains about manna in the desert. Me who sinks in the waves, and me who loses sight of the goal and builds a golden calf. I am a short sighted and fearful daughter of God.

I am laying this burden at the altar of God. I surrender. I surrender all. It was only ever yours God.

Thank you for calming my heart, even if you don’t choose to calm the storm. Do what you will. Have your way with my life. I will try to remember it’s yours. Please gently remind me when I forget and try to wrestle it back. You are good. I want what you want. Your son gave his life for me… I want to live for him. You have my surrender.

Someday when I can even listen to this song, without ugly sobbing…I want to sing it with my bestie Laura at church.  She sent this too me as I stared at the ceiling this weekend with tears rolling out of my eyes. She didn’t have any way of knowing that was where I was, she just sent it. You can call that God’s timing. 

 

 

 

 

 

 


10 thoughts on “White flag

  1. Love the song, Amy. That’s my heart too. Roughly two years ago, in the middle of a similar battle
    in my life, I went through what you are going through……In the sense that one night after much
    prayer while laying in bed, I raised my arms toward heaven and I told God what you are telling
    Him now. I said, take me Lord and do whatever You want with me. Take my body and my brain
    and use me however You want to. So you’re doing this at a much younger age than I, but the
    process is very similar. God be praised, Amy for doing what He desires from all His children!
    Your story is a powerful witness, whose to say how many you will encourage to do the same?
    Regardless of your present physical posture, in the Spirit you are enduring hardness as a good
    soldier of Jesus Christ! Your obedience to His Word gives a powerful testimony!

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing that. I know we each lift each other up when we share our blessings in the midst of trials. It’s so hard to give up control, but I know that I can’t control this. Only God knows the right outcome for the good of each of our souls. He is good, and He has a plan for good.

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  2. Amy, even I can’t stand the thought of you facing another surgery. I will be praying for you, your family and the doctors.
    Surrendering your life saves it! I think of all of the flood victims who have been told to wave a white flag to be seen and rescued. Amidst all the stormy waters, that white flag stands out and waving it is a desperate human being filled with much emotion. Some have decided not to wave the white flag and I am here to suggest that is a most defeating proposition and one that will likely not end well. Behind the white flag is one who is willing to face the realities that there is One much stronger than self Who can deliver us from the trial by carrying us to safety. Wave that white flag Amy!!!! We will be praying for you!!!!

    (I sent you an email a couple of weeks ago. I hope you saw it.)

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  3. Thank you for sharing this – I needed to raise a ‘white flag’ also and God used this to clearly remind me. God Bless You!

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  4. Let us all hold hands and walk our walks together. Let’s be encouraging to one another. Joni was the first person who came to my mind before I read down to her name. She lives in deep abiding faith and hope. I stand in awe of her. And my heart truly goes out to you because I have walked in some of the few steps as you.

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