The past few months I have struggled to find words and ways to write. My life hasn’t looked very positive on the outside and things have been harder for me than I ever imagined back in January 2014. While I groped around in seeming darkness for something to write about it hit me the other day that I should simply write about my year. Since then I have been finding words to put to this most recent “leg” of my journey so that I can share with you how I have been this past year and about my desire for 2015 to be a more pleasant and cheerful year.
On January 6, 2014 I felt the Lord wanted to speak to me about my upcoming year. I sat with a pen and the following flowed forth:
“This is a year for shaking. 2013 was a year for roots. 2014 is shaking and strengthening those roots. Know who you are called to help and who must find their own way with Me.
Your roots are sufficient for this time but they are not complete yet! They will continue to grow as you take to heart the importance of the shaking around you. Respect me but do not fear. I am around you and my spirit is within you!
Wisdom this year will be granted freely along with my power. You will need the former to operate in the latter. Expect miracles to start. Expect boldness in your faith. I will shift things and level the playing field this year.
The desires of your heart are also mine. I say to you: MY TIME. You will fall on your knees and rejoice, you will cry out to the lover of your soul as of yet! You have been afraid of the intensity in me…in you. But let go. Abandon All!
Friendships that are in me will last. Others let go and allow me to work.
Don’t wait until the end of the day to approach me. I will walk you through every transition. Be a fragrance, be a light, my presence will engulf you in intimacy.”
About nine months ago I embarked on a journey to find a new prosthetist and get a more comfortable leg for walking and for living the highly active lifestyle I desire. I wrote about this in “A New Leg of My Journey – https://crutchprints.com/2014/05/21/a-new-leg-of-my-journey/” and now as I look back at the fresh and vigorous approach I started with I wonder how I got to this point of being so tired and worn down.
Since June I have been in and out of the doctor office between one and three times every week. I am blessed to not have a job during this time because I simply could not have taken the amount of time off. Each time the leg was adjusted or changed my entire way of life changed with it. The things I could do around the house last week suddenly had to be done in a new and different way. It was exhausting finding different ways to do laundry, carry groceries, weed my gardens, and exercise. With every small adjustment to the leg my entire body shifted and my back would ache, my good leg would have pressure applied in different and sometimes painful ways, and new muscles would need to be broken in. Just as I would begin to adjust to the new changes I would go back for my next 4-5 hour appointment and the process of finding a new “everyday normal” would begin all over again. As I watched my dog chase his tail the other day I realized I no longer laughed at him but rather felt the depth of his frustration since I have literally done the very same thing for over 30 weeks at this point.
The past six months I have been forced to face some of the grief that comes from having one leg and the loss of not being able to complete tasks as a “normal” person. Post Trauma issues flared in the midst of the very real physical and mental stress that was placed on my body. The issues that flared came in the form of headaches, nightmares, depression, flashbacks, stressed relationships; more tears than I have ever shed in a short time before. If ever I was on a boat forging through a typhoon it has been the past six months.
Hopefully by now you get the picture. This journey has been a very lonely one. I mean, how do you express to people around you what you are going through? How do you find words to express the pain when all that your friends want to hear is positivity? Was I positive throughout this? Absolutely. Did I know it would all work out because God was in this process? Of course! Did I have the promise from God given to me in January to hold onto? Yes. Yet somewhere and somehow I needed to express some of what was happening to me without judgment or without someone trying to “fix” it or point out the positive light in it.
Yes, I know everyone has seen someone on TV a year ago that could jump 8 feet straight up in the air and clean their chimney, drop a few presents down and hop back down with their mechanic leg…but that’s not me or my life. The marathon runners everyone sees are not hip disarticulate amputees. The special legs that link to the brain are so expensive my insurance company would find it cheaper to assassinate me. And before I hear it again of course I know there is always someone “worse off” than me! Those weren’t the answers that I needed the past six months. What I really truly needed was someone to hear my pain and respond in three simple words, “Wow that sucks.”
In this process boundaries became a critical glue for me. Not to keep others out but to keep me in. I needed to stay contained and in a place that I didn’t run all over the place like jello (the words of a friend). Sticking close to home, spending a lot of time alone, not seeing many people outside of a very small group and learning to say “no” even if it meant cancelling plans were some of the boundaries I had to allow myself freedom to use. Unable to walk for exercise I found outlet in using a stationary bike, canning my garden produce, and knitting/embroidery. All of these things created space around me for God to speak to me and meet me right where I was at so that He could be the glue in my life during the time when I was nothing less than a sticky and unglued mess.
This year has caused me to grow in ways that I never expected. I learned how amazing God created my body to be. After reviewing a lot of the statistics about hip disarticulate amputees and their activity level I was able to get a lot of confidence in my willpower and progress over the past 25 years. For the first time I felt freedom to really ask “who do I want to be with and without a leg?” It was a little scary to face some of the answers and sift through reality vs dreams. I examined my heart to find who God created me to be as a disabled young woman and what ways I could bring Him glory right in the midst of my pain.
There is a tunnel I drive through every so often and as I start through the tunnel I always am excited for the adventure of traveling under a mountain. As I continue through and darkness surrounds me I usually feel a little anxiety creeping up as the pavement passes underneath the car yet I do not see an end to the journey because there is no light shining from the other end. It seems that the majority of my year was spent in that very part of the tunnel. I questioned if I had made the right choice changing doctors, if I found the right doctor and if he could truly help me at all. I became anxious about my physical and mental stamina and whether I could hold course at the rate I was traveling. I watched so many pass me in the other lane as I maintained a seemingly slow motion speed. But as the year came to a close I hit the point where I could see the faintest glow of light shining back at me in a ray of hope from the end of the tunnel. Closer and closer I am still inching towards that light and now feel the reassurance of this journey and the decisions I have made throughout.
Surprisingly the biggest hit to my year has been a tie between my body and relationships. The wear and tear on my body and mind has me in a place where I am looking forward to the beginning of the year being a time of rest and refreshment to regain my physical and mental strength. As I mentioned in the beginning I am exhausted. The other big hit that this journey has taken was on my relationships and friendships. There were several friendships that did not withstand the shaking of this journey and while I was sad to let them go I knew I didn’t have a choice. I knew I could either chase after friends at the expense of my health and sanity or continue on the path that God chose for me. While none ended on a bad note I know that God has called each of us to our own path and I most certainly look forward to the day when we can have unlimited time and energy to gather our friends around us in glory.
God has known from the very beginning what this journey would be for me. And so much has changed this year. It has been a year of shaking just as He promised. As the year comes to a close and things that have been shaken continue to fall and lay where they land I feel as if a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. Chains of bondage have fallen off and I am closer to the King of Kings than I have ever been. Instant Miracles happen all the time but this year has been one slow and long miracle of freedom. I have received the miracle of the freedom to walk, freedom to hopefully dance, and freedom in Christ.
In and through the struggles God also sent us just the right amount of blessing seasoned through all of this. As I inventoried our year of blessings I could see that while the struggles may be prominent in my mind the truth is that our Lord was faithful! My leg was paid for ($54,000), Rick was baptized this year, we both joined church, I turned 30 this year, I reconnected with several people from the past, and many more things! Every place that we hit a bump God was right there with “Road Work” signs smoothing them out.
On March 28, 2014 I awoke to a song in my head that has played over and over in my spirit this year. It carried me through walking with all the painful legs, it carried me through when I couldn’t even think for the frustration and it always pointed me to Jesus. As a friend in church pointed out, “It is so amazing how man’s absolute best [technology, science, effort in prosthetic devices] cannot even come close to what God could create in one word.” In closing this year I will share the simple song with you and look forward to the exciting and new writing topics that will come from my time of R&R this New Year!
“Every Day I live…I will worship
Every Day I breathe…I find time to break
Every Day that’s new…I will give to You
For Nothing is too big
Nothing is too big
FOR MY GOD!”