When I was a kid, we got to spend a week during the summer with our grandparents in St. Louis. It was one of the highlights of our year. Usually when the time was over and we were on our way home, they would drive us the 7 hours home to Cincinnati. We were young and squirrely, and our cousin Kristin usually came with us. She was closer to a sibling than a cousin when we were kids. We would be stir crazy and getting sick of the long journey in the car. It never failed that my grandma in her wisdom, would open her purse and pull out Lifesaver mints, or fruit Lifesavers. She would ask us what color we wanted and we would get excited for the incoming treat. In those moments, the pleasant flavor of a lifesaver eased the fact that we still had more of a journey ahead. It was soothing and refreshing and suddenly you just felt okay about being stuck in the car. The Lifesaver left a sweet taste in your mouth and it made the treck much more tolerable.
I’ve been pretty beat down lately. I hurt my back severely about 5 weeks ago. In that time, I’ve had 3 major setbacks that have had me bedridden for about 9 days out of that time. When you are forced to lay on your back barely able to move, it really messes with your head. I’ve felt useless, discouraged, and frankly just done. There has been so much severe pain on and off over the last 9 years, that I am just beyond sick of this medical roller coaster. I am harnessed into this awful ride, regardless of the fact that I never consented to it in the first place. I’ve been so secluded and out of the loop that the loneliness weighs on my mind. I have several faithful friends who always show up for me when I am down and out. They are the same ones every time and I could name them for you because I know they are MY people. My people are the ones who notice my absence, reach out when I can’t, and they show up for me. They are my earth angels. The truth is, when you are gone for a long time, you realize who your people are. They are the Lifesavers on this long journey. Their texts, cards, visits, prayers, encouragement, and check ins, make this awful long ride a bit sweeter and more tolerable. I see repeatedly where God has moved on individuals I love. We received a delicious home cooked roast, a cake, brownies with my favorite peanut butter icing, a card from a friend with precious kid drawing inside, several visits from my Lifesavers, a Starbucks chai frapp, my Mom in law has helped me tremendously with getting the kids taken care of and she has cooked dinner for us multiple times, and most importantly prayer. Saturday I was administered to by my Dad in law who is a minister. While I lay weeping, shaking and sweating on my bed, unable to even put my legs down or use the bathroom; my children, my husband, and my Mom and Dad in law, gathered round my bed and knelt in prayer for me. I felt the Holy Spirit and knew He was with us. I was able to shuffle to the bathroom after that. It wasn’t pretty and I was still in incredible pain, but it was possible. You realize you are really messed up when you are too hurt to go to the ER and sit in their chair and wait to be seen. When you know you can’t even get off your bed, let alone into a car upright and then wait 6 hours to find out you aren’t dying, or paralyzed, it hardly seems worth it. I know they would just give you a few pain meds and send you back to your surgeon to have them figure it out. We know I have a compression fracture at T12, and a very messed up disc at T11/12, but we aren’t quite sure why my back keeps having these sudden severe setbacks or how to avoid them. On Sunday I was able to get back and forth to the bathroom better, but was still completely stuck in bed otherwise. I asked again for administration. A close friend of ours who is also a minister, came back with my Dad in law and they both administered to me again. I felt the Holy Spirit’s presence this time as well. Two good friends of mine came over and visited with me as I lay in bed. Before they left, we prayed together and I felt another strong rush of the the Holy Spirit. Each day has gotten a bit better, and today I can sit in my chair in the living room long enough to write this entry. I know Jesus makes intercession, and I know I’m not alone. Someday this will be okay, because Jesus said so.
In the meantime I am working on a perspective shift. I found an incredible person online. She has a youTube channel called “Real Elly Brown.” She was diagnosed with oral cancer for the second time and had to undergo an extensive surgery to rebuild her jaw, tongue and mouth. She shared this video of her talking about statistics and percentages. It’s called “Don’t listen to the heckin statistics!” She boils it all down to; the outcome of your life is not determined by the likeliness in percentages and statistics of success. Your cancer, your chronic disease, your mental illness, your marital struggle, your infertility, your grief, whatever it is; is not bound to end with the statistics. I’m going to add that the element I derived from her video, was that our outcome is only determined by me and God and what we make of this together. God is already so much higher than what is already probable and possible. We pray to Him and ask His help, because what we want is the impossible and the miraculous. Our God is miraculous and not mediocre. The probability that the Son of God, would choose to come to earth, live through the trials of life to set and example for us, and then die to tear the veil of separation between us and God…is miraculous and not probable. It’s not probable that Jesus would rise from the dead, ascend into Heaven and promise to return for us someday; but He will. Jesus is coming back for us either one soul at a time, or called up all together in the sky.
Ephesians 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
This knowledge, and the fact that we constantly have signs around us that God is moving in our lives and providing what we need; is truly miraculous. Each time a Lifesaver shows up and makes this journey a bit sweeter, it is miraculous. We are fighting this battle between good and evil every day. We are in the army of the Lord, and we are gonna win. My BFF Claire, FaceTimed me this morning and right as we saw each other’s faces; Claire say’s, “Ahhh! Look at us! Look at what we’re wearing!” We both had green camo shirts on. We started cracking up. It was so perfect because we have each other’s back in this battle. We prayed together before we hung up… fighting with our uniforms on. It still strikes me as so humorous, that God nudged both of us in a way that we both immediately recognized. It was a special Lifesaver moment for both of us. We are each so much more connected than what we realize, as the children of our Father in Heaven.
This back pain has me trying to gear my brain differently. I’m trying not to concentrate the bulk of my energy on the pain. I’m trying to shift my energy to the purpose. I may not be able to get around, but at the very least I can pray for the needs around me. I pray for strength to endure for all of us. This roller coaster is rough and unpleasant sometimes, but occasionally it changes our view and focus and we can see something beautiful ahead, and focus on the Lifesavers and the blessings that are along the way. I thank God for each of you. The shirt I am wearing in this photo means, “God is greater than the highs and lows.” So very appropriate to have worn for 3 days while I was trapped in bed. Even that was some humorous irony I don’t believe was an accident. It was yet another thing to focus my mind on instead of the long journey. God is greater than the highs and lows, and we are not bound by probabilities, percentages, or statistics, because we serve a miraculous God who is not bound by those parameters. Thank you to each for allowing God to work on and within you, and for allowing Him to use you as Lifesavers. You sure make this hard journey sweeter. Huge huge hugs!