My husband sent me a couple of quotes from a guest speaker he heard at a conference yesterday. The speaker was a man named Jason Schechterle. He was a police officer who survived a horrific crash about 17 years ago. He was severely burned over more than 40% of his body. Jason has an incredibly inspirational story. One of the quotes my husband sent, clicked like a puzzle piece into the jigsaw I’ve been toiling over in my mind for the last couple months. A quote from his talk today was, “Don’t let the pain of today, blind you from the promise of tomorrow.”
You all know I’ve been kind of wresting with my spine situation lately. For the last year, I’ve been able to hike, take care of most of the household needs and take care of my family. I have been building muscles in my legs and core again. I’ve had freedom back. I’ve taught Bible School, gone out with friends, and even held my infant nephew. I had started feeling like the 7 years of endless surgeries and doctor visits, had slowed and hopefully was coming to a close. I was so ready to shut that book, put it on the shelf, and move on. I was trying to. I just didn’t get very far.
A couple months ago, on the night my spine shifted on me again in my sleep, I jolted awake in panick. I sat on the edge of my bed sweating and shaking. This can NOT be what I think it is! No. This is not happening. It has to be some sort of nightmare or fluke. I tried to talk myself down, but I knew deep down exactly what this was. The popping and snapping and sometimes crunching, I’d been feeling in my spine over the last several months, was indeed spinal instability again. I know what this road means, and I have no desire to walk it again.
The hardest thing for me, is the knowledge of not only what my body will go through, but what my family goes through. It’s stressful when Mom is down, Dad has too much lopped onto his full plate, and normalcy has been disrupted. I feel like I’m not going to be able to do anything of benefit. I no longer feel productive, I feel like a burden, I get restless and worry that I’m not doing enough. I still fight the deep rooted worry that I won’t be able to do anything for God either. I know that not all of that is logical. You’d think I’d have learned something by now. God probably watches me learn, and sits there prodding along decades of time, wondering if I’m ever gonna get it. Somehow I’m realizing that the chapter of the book I have been dying to have a happy ending to…is my life, and it ain’t over, so it’s not time to shut it. Obviously the story that God is writing about this journey, is not over yet.
Sometimes it feels like our life is going wrong or moving in the wrong direction, because what we are experiencing is devastating, or painful, or something we never wanted. We question what went wrong, if we are doing something wrong, if we misunderstood the direction we were supposed to take, or even feel like we don’t understand why God is allowing it at all. I think this is completely normal, because I hear it coming not only out of the dark recesses of my thoughts, but out of the mouths of others as well. It’s hard for me to say this so casually because I feel it so deeply and even unpleasantly, but here goes…God can use this difficulty to bring about good. No, I don’t think that God halts every tragedy that isn’t supposed to happen or even allows every tragedy that is supposed to happen. Some things may be because we live in a fallen world, with influences out of our control, and because we live in an environment and in bodies that were never made to last eternity. What I am saying, is that God can use these things, these tragedies for good.
This last Sunday, one of our minister’s was telling us a story about a difficult time he lived. He was frustrated at a situation that he wanted God to deliver him from. At the time he had a 6 hour drive ahead of him, and he chose to pray and talk to God about this problem. He said that he wanted a sign. He wanted an answer to reassure him that God was going to take care of this. He said he got to where he was traveling to, and he opened his scriptures. The first thing he saw when he opened the scriptures, was this verse, “and it was as if it was a billboard with glowing neon lights”:
- Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.
I had just made the comment to a friend, that I wished God would give me direction on a billboard with glowing neon lights. Well…wish granted Amyrella. Wait on God. He will deliver you from your trial when the time is perfect. Have courage.
I love Corrie Ten Boom. One of my best friends introduced me to her books. She has a quote from her book, that I have printed on canvas above the commode in my hall bathroom. It says, “The experiences of our lives, when we let God use them, become the mysterious and perfect preparation for a future only He can see.”
There is great wisdom and experience in this thought. Some things can only be taught in grief, in the valley, on the mountain, wading through the muddy swamp, and even in a concentration camp. Some things you can hear and not understand, until it sinks in slowly during suffering. Some things you can feel and understand and never be able to articulate. Hopefully I’m able to articulate what I am feeling.
The work I’m supposed to do for God, isn’t around the corner, in the future, or already behind me. If I’m still breathing and trying to do God’s will…I’m doing the work He wants me to do. This spine problem, is only a problem to me. This is not a problem to God. He will do His work in whatever way He deems fit. I just have to trust. We all know how easy that is for me. Ha! I look like this kid.
Yeah…that’s me. Why does my human self always worry that this time is the time that God will let me drown? I logically know He won’t, but I go into distress each time I face a trial I didn’t know was coming. I’m getting better about it, but I wish I could just be totally peaceful about it and be like, “It will all be okay. I know it’s all still going to be okay.” I mean, I do say that, but I say it while I’m crying and floundering like this poor kid.
The truth is, that God has given us such unique jobs in His kingdom. I can’t do your job, and you can’t do mine. We have each been chosen, shaped, groomed, tried, and prepared for this very day we are breathing in. None of us are the same. We can’t stand in for each other in the work to be done. If God was finished with my work, I’d be dead. I didn’t get to know what this job would look like, but I do have the guidelines in which to do the job by and it’s been handed to me in the scriptures. I do however know that if I do what the boss asks of me…payday is gonna be GREAT! I just have to wake up every morning ready to go to work in whatever situation I’m faced with. That is the work I have to do, whether it’s from a delivery truck, my living room, a school, a store, or a hospital bed. Work has to be done, and if this obstacle wasn’t in front of me, another one would be. Life is adversity. Adversity doesn’t end while we are on earth. Adversity is what challenges the spirit and forces us to give up or rise above. When nurtured carefully, adversity is the seed to inspiration. God can still use me. I just have to be willing and to trust.
I think I will wrap up my thoughts with a quote from my Dad. He said that when he was a kid and had done something crazy, his mom used to say, “What on earth are you doing for Heaven’s sake?” That is such a great question to ask myself. So in the words of my Grandma, “What on earth are you doing…for Heaven’s sake?”