imagesWarning: Forget about zombies…. we’re under attack of a two headed dragon lie. This dragon is trying to kill what God so desperately wants to create- community. Today we’re gone slay that lie like the warriors of love we are, and want to be. It’s the lie that if we compare our situations, pains and struggles  and joys and they don’t measure equal or greater than- we have no right or responsibility to share them. LIE. let’s take on one ugly head of this dragon at a time.

The first lie like sounds like this: “I feel stupid even sharing with what you’re going through…..” “It’s nothing compared to what you have going on…” And-the even sadder:  “I don’t even want to share this good news with them.. because I know how hard life is for them right now… my news will just make them feel worse.” The second ugly head of the lie looks like this: “That’s nothing. Really? Here’s what I’m going through- you should be thankful that’s all you have on your plate. Suck it up buttercup.” 

That first head is usually pretty noisy and vocal. It’s in your face- comparing pain, heaping on guilt and withholding joy. The second is usually a it more stealthy…. it’s often noticed in a look, an attitude a feeling and ocassionally loudly and proudly roaring to fend off connection.

Here’s the thing; this dragon needs to die. Both heads are damaging to relationships. The first self inflicts flaming guilt at the speaker and shoots smoldering guilt embers to the listener. The speaker feels like they shouldn’t be in pain or struggling with whatever they are struggling with. Or, they don’t want to share their joy as if their joy makes someone else’s pain somehow- worse. They feel GULTY for good news. The listener feels bad that their pain makes someone else feel guilty for sharing their struggles, and feel let out of sharing in someone else’s joy. It also has another insidious side effect- the listener feels like because they are struggling they are being judged as too selfish or  hurting to care for someone else’s pain or joy.  Both are left feeling guilty. Disconnected. Less than.  The second head is equally diabolical and destructive. It lives to compete for the martyr crown. This dragon head snaps and bites to trump everyone else’s pain. It minimizes the struggles of others it in order to be seen as some kind of amazing martyr. It injects a selfish venom in it’s bite.

The result of these dragon attacks are the same- separation.  Guilt, Fear, Judgment (or the feeling of being judged) all lead to destruction of intimacy. Killing (or at least )damaging community.  When people feel they can’t share their pain and  joy  they don’t feel connected. Because they aren’t. They are separated by a two headed dragon of lies.

its time to slay the dragon. It’s time to stop comparing our pain and start sharing it. It’s time to respect the struggles of others and be honest about the struggles of our own.

Here’s what we’re learning about this two headed dragon during our three year battle of cancer and other huge struggles: Shared pain is more bearable. Shared joy is more joyful. Sharing pain breeds compassion and understanding and intimacy, sharing joy breeds hope and joy.  It all creates intimacy and community.

It slays the dragon.

Today- as we continue through the holidays- I want to slay the dragon. I refuse to compare our pain or minimize the pain of others. I refuse to be unavailable to the joy of others. I choose love. I choose sharing- not comparing. I choose intimacy not isolation. I hope you will to.

Like all Dragon slaying- it will require courage and wisdom…. and maybe a bit of armor. Sharing in someone else’s pain can hurt, sharing in another’s joy when you are hurting can be bittersweet. It can sting. But it’s worth it to grow hope….it can be  the tilling of the soil hope needs to grow in.

Let’s do it-  lets slay this beast and built community. I already know I can’t do it on my own. I’m too selfish and human and have a heart that automatically judges and compares. I AM the two headed dragon. (With slightly better hair.) Or- I can be on any given day.  Somedays- both in the same day. (Trips to the cancer center can do that to you. It’s a bipolar mix of survivors and the sick. Trust me.)

“Dear Lord- I love you- it hurts when I see people comparing or withholding their struggles from each other. I can see the damage it does to relationships- and I know your heart is for us to love one another- give us courage and wisdom lord- give us a bit of armor to bear the sting that sometimes comes with the sweet. Lord help us share in joy and in pain- the way you do, help us create community – we are stronger and better together- we need each other as a body needs it’s parts- help us slay this dragon- I love you lord- amen.”

” Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.  Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge,my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[d] says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”[e]

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” From Roman’s 12

 

Photo on 7-16-13 at 8.51 AM“Oh….. I heal up fast. I’ll be fine in two weeks.”

Maybe, not.

I can however- dress myself and shower without a spotter in the other room in case of passing out or falling down. (This is good.) I can also: wipe the bathroom mirrors and counter tops if I’m really careful. The Swiffer is my friend (weighs nothing) but…. I need someone else to clean up the dust piles it leaves behind…. (Either- the commercial lies… or- our 2 cats 2 dogs and 5 people’s worth of mess is more than the poor little swiffer can handle.  I still can’t: vacuum, mop, do laundry, cooking is iffy, and actually cleaning toilets is kind of out of the question right now.

Post surgical rules: No bending, twisting or lifting… more than 5 lbs. People. My bible weighs 5 lbs or something….and my purse? Oy had to clear it out. Now: I feel totally un-prepared. I just hope the zombies don’t show up until I/m healed… I’m NOT apocalypse ready.

I have made it out of the house a few times. Once was for my nieces wedding shower… and then on Sunday we actually went to church and dinner!. ;)  Go me1

Every time someone comes over… Or I go somewhere.. I make sure I’m cleaned up and looking like “myself.”  (Well- except last night when a friend brought dinner and I was drooly sleeping in the recliner when she arrived…. oopsy.)

Honestly? For most of the pics I’ve posted, I made sure I’m as “together” as one can be when you can’t: bend twist or lift……Not to mention: lean forward to see how your applying makeup- or pluck the loverly strays that start arriving after 40…..(Bonus- the neck brace covers my chin… :P What you can’t see, won’t harm you.)

So- today I thought I’d post a real “How are you feeling pic”  This is it. I’m about as comfortable as I look. I wear the brace most of the time. (off to bathe and eat…. and for a few breaks during the day when i’m just lying back in the recliner.) Last night was a bad night. No real reason why…… it just: hurt. Lots of spasming.

Hopefully, today will be better.

I have to be honest….. (more…)

I will not be packing ALL of these.... At least I don't think I will be...

It’s not what shoes you wear- it’s how you walk….. Walk in love

Truth: I walk like a moose in heels. Or, maybe a like panda in platforms? Either way,  the years and physical mess that is my body, have snatched what little dance trained elegance, my gait once had. It’s gone like the Swallows of Capistrano-in October. That is- if the Duck Dynasty crew showed up with guns in hand. Let’s just say: My poise? Gone. And, it ain’t coming back.

Instead: I stomp. I stumble. (That’s what happens when your neck brace keeps you from watching where you’re walking.) I hobble and wobble. (Of course, I still wear cute shoes. because: duh- if I’m gonna hobble, wobble, stomp and stumble- it may as well be in cute shoes.) Maybe, you do too. Or maybe, you have all the grace of Princess Diana, Audrey Hepburn and Cinderella rolled into one. (In which case: I’m trying not to hate you….in Christian love- of course.) Or, maybe you’re a wheelchair maven, or a scooter driving momma. Whatever your mode of transport- today I want to talk about how we move through our days.

Nope,  I’m not (actually) talking shoes, mobility or grace. I’m talking about attitude. Motive. Jesus calls us to walk, but not with the poise of a runway model. He calls us to walk- in love.

Another truth: I find it easier to buy adorable shoes than to walk in love.  Honestly? It may be easier for me to train an elephant to walk in stilettos than it is to manage my attitude. (Am I a licensed elephant trainer? Don’t ask- I’m tempted to lie. Just go with me here….okay?)

Back to attitude. (Even though I’d rather talk elephant training….) It matters.

Because- love matters. (It must. That, or God had a lot of space in the Bible he was just trying to fill…..)

Ephesians 5      Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Luke 11     “Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. 40 You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? 41 But now as for what is inside you—be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you. 42 “Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.

1 Corinthians 13 “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,but do not have love, I gain nothing.Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.Love never fails.”

Here’s the thing: Love may not fail, but, I, do. Often. When it comes to walking in love?  I stumble, stomp and wobble more than I do in heels with the neck brace. (Trust me, no matter how long I’m in this thing, it’s not pretty.)

I am less than considerate of others. I say harsh things. (I think I’m hilarious- but sometimes? I’m just mean.) I assume the worst. I am impatient. I am critical. I fail.(The list could go forever.. I think you get the idea.)

But, Jesus loves me anyway. And that love? It picks me up, so I can try to walk in love again.

Ephesians 5      Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

I’ve read that verse hundreds of times– and all the verses that challenge us to be loving- and follow God.  (Sometimes searching for loopholes, if I’m honest.) Interestingly enough- He never demands that we KEEP UP with Him. He just asks that we follow. To follow- to walk behind. To move in the right direction. Toward Him.

Today- whether in heels, running shoes, ballet slippers or barefoot, with poise or with teetering, wobbly pain-filled steps- I ask you to join me in following God and taking the next step in love.  Wobbly, hobbly, stumbly or graceful….  Because You ARE loved.

Dear Jesus- I love you. Thank you for challenging me to walk in the love you’ve poured out to me. Thank you for the reminder that you don’t expect me to keep up with you- but to follow you. Today- where ever I walk- let me do so in love. amen

I reached back and struggled to lower myself into my long awaited place of comfort: “My chair.” 

Everything hurt and all I wanted to do was sit down, put my feet up and take the strain off my neck and shoulders in hopes that the spasming would stop.

It didn’t. Instead of sinking comfortably into my place of respite, I plopped. (Plopping is not good 2 days after neck surgery.) Instead of sinking into a comfortable position, the chair pushed back against the neck brace and made the pain worse. “Maybe it will be better with my feet up.” I thought- leaning back and pushing back from the arms of the chair.

It wasn’t.

Unbelievably, it made it worse.

“Help me.” I sobbed to my husband. I was desperate to get comfortable.

He helped me from the torture chair, and up to the bed. We tried stacking pillows behind me. I could’t even lean back without straining my neck. I never even made it into the bed. “This won’t work.”

I felt panic welling up inside. “If I can’t lay down, I can’t sit down and I can’t stand up…am I going to have to go back to the hospital?” Let’s just say that was not an option. I’d had enough of the “restful” “recovery” time in the hospital. (Which included being bothered every 13 minutes to see if I was still alive…. or something like that.)

I ended up on the couch with 16.9 bazillion pillows propping various body parts into alignment. Before getting up to go -where all women who’ve given birth to 3 children have to go every 19 minutes- I activated the early avalanche warning system- I had to. The pets and children could have been lost in a pillow catastrophe.

It wasn’t comfortable. It was miserable.

The next day- we headed out to the closest furniture store to find a chair that would work.

It was like a scene from the three bears- The first chair was too hard, forcing my head into an angle the neurosurgeon would have vetoed immediately. The second chair was too soft. My butt sank into oblivion. Which normally wouldn’t have bothered me, except for the whole- “every 19 minutes” thing that would require a hoist or a forklift to get me out before my bladder imploded….Not good. I was in bad enough shape- an imploded bladder would have been more than I could take.

Finally, I settled into a chocolate brown microfiber recliner.

Every part of my body said: “Ahhhhh…”  The muscles in my neck and back relaxed. The salesman flipped up the arm of the chair and I heard a chorus of angels sing the doxology. It had: heat, massage and a power mechanism to raise and lower the feet/head…….

Finally. Comfort. Sure.. I was still in pain. But, in that chair- I could relax into the pain instead of fighting it.

It made all the difference. I’ve been living in (and out of, that chair every 19 minutes) by the miracle of electricity… I’ve never been so thankful for a piece of furniture in my life. It’s bionic and I love it.

When you are in pain, finding the most comfortable position/ place to rest is more than just about comfort.. it’s about healing. Your body needs to rest in order to heal….

While my neck is healing up just fine..

I’m now in another kind of pain. Another season of waiting, healing…..another wave threatens to overwhelm  me like an avalanche. This one is worse than pillows.

I’ve been looking for a place to relax into. It’s not as simple as finding the right chair this time.

I’ve tried a few things…. cupcakes (too messy and I could outgrow my chair at this rate… that would suck.) Shopping… (too expensive- even on black friday.) I was tempted to get my bike out and ride off some of the stress…. but that seat could put me back in the hospital if I fall….(The truth is…lately? Everything that can go wrong, IS… So, I was smart enough not to risk it….) Nope. Not one of the chairs I tried was right.

I felt that desperation again…. “If I can’t get comfortable, I’ll end up in the hospital.. only tis time it will be the psych ward, not the neuro-surgery wing.” 

I put down the cupcake. I logged out of Amazon. I closed the garage door. (Where my beautiful bike has sat since before my surgery:( )

I sat. On a hospital waiting room chair. (my mom was having her hip replaced… we were waiting… again…)

(Side note- hospital waiting room chairs are probably the least comfortable chairs on earth. I think that’s a plot to assure return business.)

The tears came.

The pain came.

The fear came.

The avalanche hit.

Instead of looking for a more comfortable spot, I just sat.

The truth is- I couldn’t move. I was paralyzed by all that was hitting me at once.

I cried out. (In my brain- ok?  I told you I was trying to avoid the psych ward….I wasn’t screaming out loud… but people, in my heart I was screaming. Trust me.) “God you promised you won’t give me more than I can handle… and if you think I can handle this? YOU NEED YOUR HEAD EXAMINED. Your assessment is seriously off. I don’t WANT to do this. It sucks and I quit.”  

I waited for lightning to strike me dead…..(Some of my theology is entrenched in cartoons… justsayin)  To be honest- for just a moment the idea of being instantly in heaven sounded pretty good. I am exhausted. In that moment- I could understand Job’s wife’s admonishment to “curse God and die…” I always thought that showed she was cold hearted… but maybe…just maybe she was the Dr Kervorkian of the old testament…..maybe she thought cursing God and dying would end the suffering sooner than later….

Instead of a bolt of lightning …  two words struck me. Two words I know God spoke to me a long time ago….. (But not in a galaxy far far away….I’m not that crazy, yet.)

“Even there.” 

Maybe the words bounced back from my memory… or maybe they were spoken to my by the one I know as God…. But I heard them. And I remembered them.

Suddenly, I sank into that uncomfortable hospital waiting room chair, just like it was my chocolate brown-bionic recliner. Not because “even there” means so much… but because of the promise that surrounds those words….

Psalm 139

1 You have searched me, LORD,
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you, LORD, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.

7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

“Even there.”

“Even here?” I asked.

“Even there.”  The words were more than words… they were truth. And I knew it.

Right here. I am not alone. God is with me. He “gets” me.  He guides me. He holds me- more safely and comfortably and securely than any bionic chair….Even in a hospital waiting room, even when the emotional avalanche hits…. Even here.

Maybe, it’s not about the chair after all.

Dear Lord- I don’t know who’s reading today or what kind of pain they are seeking comfort from- but, I pray that your words would ring truth to each of us….Even there: In fear, in pain, in bad diagnosis’,  in times of loss, in times of  financial crisis….Even there. We can find comfort in pain and rest even in an avalanche…..or an awful waiting room chair….I love you lord and ask you to be present… even here.. in Jesus name… amen. 

“He takes the shackles off my feet, so I can dance”

Mandisa’s words mocked me and brought tears to my eyes. I was afraid. I was in pain. I was on crutches and waiting for answers about what was wrong. “Do I have bone cancer?  Will I need surgery? Are they missing something? Will I ever be able to walk without pain?” The thoughts invaded my time of worship… or maybe they became prayers.  I could not dance.  To be honest, I could barely walk. I desperately wanted to dance. I’m one of “those” people. I am as expressive in worship as I am in everything else. The truth is, I am as hyper in church as I am everywhere else. I can’t sit still. I’m the Tigger of Christianity. It was torturous to not be able to dance. I swayed. I wobbled. I tapped my feet and pushed my limits. But, I did not dance.

The tears streaming down my face, left mascara skid marks.(FYI: Not a good look.)

That was one year ago.

I was angry. I was serving Jesus and (to be honest) I was suffering as I did it.. and I could’t even dance. Something I love so much -I think it’s part of my DNA. I felt totally ripped off. But- as Mandisa sang…. I found hope and joy… there are bigger shackles that I’ve worn- that keep me from dancing more than physically. Shackles of shame, fear, doubt insecurity. As I stood there…. I thought about all the ways God has been removing those shackles.. My tears of sadness and fear and anger- turned to joy. I knew that If he could remove those shackles- he could removal the shackle of pain I was going through….

A few weeks later- I was referred to a new doctor- an oncologist. (Yeah, that was fun. NOT.)  In the first 5 minutes of our meeting she confirmed that it was NOT cancer- and that she could fix the stress fractures that had caused me so much pain. A week later, she did just that with a chunk of titanium and some screws.

Last week- Mandisa joined us again at MOPS International Convention and she sang the song again.

This year- I could dance. And I did. But, I had to be careful. I’m once again, in a season of sucktastic pain. Every time I try to get healthy-(Ive been biking- as per the doctors recommendation to give up the running thing- cause we know how that ended.)  my body falls apart. We recently found out I have some pretty crummy degeneration of discs in my neck. And bone spurs. And Arthopathy. And moderate to severe narrowing of and impingement of some nerve roots in my spine. It stinks.

I’m in pain. I’m having neurological symptoms. (pain, weakness and tingling in my arms and hands in addition to my neck and shoulder.) I am having a hard time doing simple things, like buttoning my pants, cutting my food and securing my bra. Sometimes I laugh about it. (I call it the Zombie hand) Sometimes I cry. I am afraid. Yesterday,I had an MRI and I have an appointment with a neurosurgeon next week. I have a family history of severe back problems.(My dad has Degenerative disc disease and has had several procedures and my mom had her spine fused from t3 to the pelvis in March, due to severe scoliosis etc…..)I honestly have no clue what they will find/ recommend.

But I know this: one year ago- I faced many of the same questions, fears, doubts and anger….and he took the shackles off my feet (once again) so I could dance. I believe he’ll do it again. When Mandisa sang those lyrics again this year- I left the session with mascara skid marks once again. And once again- I found hope in those words….He has a plan.. to remove our shackles…… not just to let us stubble around through life- but so we can DANCE.

I’ll be honest- I don’t like the current plan. I hate pain. I don’t want surgery. I am angry and afraid. Those mascara skid marks were made by a mixed bag of tears.. hopeful ones that God will help, and angry ones that I’m in pain again. along with some happy ones that my leg is so much better…

I may not like it- but- I  know this- God is involved. I can already see it. My primary care physician gave me a referral to a neurosurgeon. Who just so happens to be the neurosurgeon who changed my mom’s life back in March by fixing what so many doctors had said could not be fixed. Her spine.. He gave her life back to her when pain was stealing it. He removed the shackles so she could dance……He’s also the head of neurology for a hospital our insurance participates with. I have to believe it’s not an accident. It’s God’s presence at work in our lives.

I wasn’t expecting that the hand/ tingling thing was my neck. I thought I had carpal tunnel. (Web MD: FAIL) I went into shock when my primary care physician said he thinks I’ll need surgery. I didn’t hear another word he said. But- when he handed me that business card. Of the doctor I prayed would help my mom.. I felt God. I was still afraid- But I’m confident that God will remove this shackle to.  I WILL DANCE.

My favorite verse- “He who began a good work in you, is faithful to complete it.” I believe he is at work even now. Completing his plan for me.To remove every shackle. So I can dance. If not here- someday in heaven.

I don’t know how you’re feeling today. But – someone out there is probably feeling shackled just like me. Angry. Scared. Desperate to dance- but shackled by something that won’t let you.

  • Is it fear that keeps you from dancing into the call of God in your life?
  • Is it anger that keeps you shackled to hurt?
  • Is it an unmet desire that has you shackled to need that makes you feel like you are too needy to give- or maybe even live?
  • Is it physical- sickness/disability junk that keeps you from – literally (or figuratively) dancing?

You’re not alone.  Neither am I- this (and MOPS International) is a safe place to share our shackles…share them in the comments- I’ll be praying for you. Maybe we can even help each other shed them- so we can dance. Together.

Lord Jesus- I pray for each one who reads- your word says you desire to give us freedom… I pray that we can find it  and hope in you. Remove our shackles Lord, so we can dance… in Jesus name- amen.

Shackles-

Written by Warryn Campbell, Erica Atkins-Campbell, and Trecina Atkins-Campbell

Take the shackles off my feet so I can dance
I just wanna praise You
I just wanna praise You
You broke the chains, now I can lift my hands
And I’m gonna praise You
I’m gonna praise You

In the corners of mind
I just can’t seem to find a reason to believe
That I can break free
‘Cause you see I have been down for so long
Feel like all hope is gone
But as I lift my hands, I understand
That I should praise You through my circumstance

Everything that could go wrong
All went wrong at one time
So much pressure fell on me
I thought I was gonna lose my mind
But I know You wanna see
If I will hold on through these trials
But I need You to lift this load
Cause I can’t take it no more

Been through the fire and the rain
Bound in every kind of way
But God has broken every chain
So let me go

“So…. can I run?” I asked hopefully.

“Well, you seem to be having trouble walking..” Replied the orthopedic specialist.

“But, I need to exercise.  I’m trying to lose weight. I just got into a good habit.. I don’t want to have to start all over.” I argued .

“There are other exercises you could do. Biking and swimming don’t result in  running injuries.” He countered. “You can do what you can tolerate. We’ll schedule an MRI, and go from there. It could be a stress fracture, internal knee derangement, tendonitis or pes bursitis. Wear the immobilizer or don’t, whatever feels better. Do you want a prescription for pain meds?” He offered.

“No, I should be fine. “ I replied. I was convinced the pain would be gone, soon.  I’ve had sprains and tendonitis before.  I can handle it.  I thought.

I was wrong. Very wrong. almost 2 weeks and an MRI later, the pain is no better.  I walk like zombie. I lurch and heave and swing and wobble.  Every step increases the pain.

I’ve been icing so much, I worry I’m turning into a popsicle. Or, maybe a blood-slushie.  I seriously feared for my life, when I went to see Eclipse.  (If any real vampires were there..a blood-slushie would have been nearly irresistible in this heat, I’m sure.) Apparently, the only vampires present were on-screen. I made it home safely.

I have purchased and tried every type of wrap/ brace I can find.  Nothing is helping.

If I sit just the right way, (which  involves pillows and elevation and just the right degree of bending…it’s a new yoga pose: The IfIdothisitdoesnthurtlikeabear pose. ) and don’t move… it is more comfortable. After a bit in this new pose,  I start to think: “Hmmm, maybe it’s getting better!” Then, I move and the pain crashes back in like a tsunami.

*Sigh.*

I am having trouble concentrating on writing projects. I’m having trouble doing the basic mom-stuff. This weekend was my son’s graduation party.. it was rough and painful and wonderful.  I am VERY thankful I had lots of help. I could NOT have pulled it off without it.  I’m having trouble keeping my sanity.

I’ve been obsessively researching the potential diagnosis.’  I’ve been obsessively reviewing my MRI. (I have it on CD and downloaded a viewer- yup- that really IS my leg in the pic.) Did you know you can see your fat on an MRI?  Gross.  My brain seems to be convinced that if I knew what was wrong, I could fix it.

My brain is confused. I’m not a doctor. Every time I read another article, I am convinced it’s something different. Every time I compare the MRI pics to those I find online… I change my mind, yet again. (Funny how radiologists and doctors go to school for years to learn to read those things.. But, I think a few hours of online research will equip me to diagnose myself…Am I the only one who does that?)

I’ve been wondering if I’m a hypochondriac. Between hurting my back, and the lame liver stuff I had last month and  this, I’m feeling like a wimpy-whiner.

I want my life back.

Once in a while, I pray.

I’m a little (maybe a lot) frustrated right now. To be honest, it’s a toss up who I’m angrier at- myself or God. Myself, because I have a bad feeling this is a nasty stress fracture and it’s my own fault for over doing the running thing… and God.. because, well.. because I believe he could heal me and isn’t.  It’s entirely possible he’s allowing this to teach me to listen to my body and not over-do.  It’s possible I’m hard headed.

Or- it’s possible there is no huge lesson in this.. and it’s simply something I just need to limp through.

One step at a time.

When I started writing “A Mile in Her Shoes” I hadn’t considered having to limp through some of those miles….But that’s for a chapter in the book, I suppose;)

Dear Lord– I don’t know what’s wrong with this stupid leg.  I do know that it’s hurting and making me crazy.  Please give the doctor wisdom  to treat it. I hate drugs Lord- you know that- so if he could put me in a splint that would relieve the pressure..and allow me to at least walk.. that would rock!  I’m worried about being able to function at MOPS Convention, and I’m worried that if I keep walking on it this bone will eventually snap right through. I’m impatient, Lord, and need to get ready for vacation this weekend. Please either heal me or help me wait… let me lean on you during this time of limping… I love you Lord– even if I’m frustrated with you right now- amen

* for the record-I am convinced I see a fracture in this MRI. and also for the record: I will be sickly thrilled if I HAVE diagnosed myself. I’m like that.

**** And now- just for fun. And because I have an essay in it… how bout we have a contest?  Who ever diagnoses my boo-boo, most accurately, including whatever the doc recommends for a treatment plan wins a copy of “Momology“.. we’ll call this a scientific application of the book….. ;P

options:

Group A (choose 1)

Stress Fracture

Pes Bursitis

Internal Derangement of the Knee

Tendonitis

Hypochondria

Some combination of the above.

Group B (choose 1)

cast

surgery

brace/splint

Physical therapy

suck it up you whiner- call a shrink.

leave your answer in the comments. I have my follow up Ortho appt Friday morning.  I’ll announce the winner then;)

In an instant, I went from totally relaxed, sunning on the beach, to paralyzed by pain.  All it took was a gust of wind and a few children running past to kick up and spray the powdered glass that is sand into my face. One tiny speck (that felt like a shard) landed in my eye.

Time stopped. The beach disappeared and I was momentarily paralyzed by pain.  My eyes slammed shut like an oyster shell. I blinked. I blinked again. It scraped the grain across my eye. I clamped my eyes shut. Next came a flood of tears.  The tears washed the sand  away. I sighed  with relief.  (Funny how pain takes us INTO ourselves and stretches out time like a rubber-band- isn’t it?)

It’s strange that the same grain of sand that caused so much pain in my eye, can get into an oyster and become a pearl.  Of course, oysters are created with the ability to coat (with shimmering layer after layer of nacre) the irritating invader, creating a pearl. and  my eye  is not.

I’m learning that my heart, is.

Over the years, I’ve experienced plenty of oyster moments.  Things that had temporarily paralyzed me with pain and left me blinded, tears flooding my eyes, pain threatening to burst my heart, have, over time, with grief and healing and God, and most importantly with grace- both given and received, have been turned into pearls. To be honest,  I am amazed.

I can’t do a tutorial explaining HOW it happened. And  I know that it doesn’t ALWAYS happen… But for me, it has. I’ve learned to string the pearls and wear them for others to see. In writing, in speaking, in truth telling and in living with love and authenticity. For one purpose: to share hope.

I don’t know what today is like for you. Today may be the day the sand has hit your eye.  The pain may be paralyzing.  You may be blinking away tears while you try to read these words.  You may wonder if it will ever subside and whether you will ever be able to see past your pain.

The answer is YES. It can.  If you let grace and grief do it’s work.  I’m praying that it does.

Or- maybe, you have a box of your own pearls.  But are afraid to let them be seen by others– You won’t wear them… you worry about them..I pray you have courage to share them- they are beautiful and hope shared is an amazing thing.

You’re not alone. You’re not forgotten.  Don’t give up. I’m praying that God provides the grace, the healing, the time and the peace that you need. I pray that the tears help wash away the pain, and that when you can see again.. you find a pearl, of hope.

Dear Lord- I don’t know how you do it, but I know that you can bring hope to the most hope-less situations and peace and healing tot he most painful ones. I pray today that you would apply the nacre of your love and grace to the hurts of those who come here… and that someday they would find a pearl formed from their pain. I love you lord- and thank you for the string of pearls I can wear and share.. I pray we all can find that courage that comes from you-amen

One of my most treasured passages –