Tag Archives: broken foot

In the Stretching Moments

17 Nov

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For over three years, I’ve been walking on a broken foot.  Every step towards something or away from something was taken on a foot that wasn’t healed. Because I didn’t know it was broken, I walked on it anyway.

Often times, my foot would was sore and swollen. My podiatrist assured me I was fine, just suffering from tendonitis.  She told me to keep doing my normal activities and gave me a strong painkiller.  So I worked out, jumped, played, drove, shopped, and swam.  I walked on a boardwalk, on a sandy beach, on the sides of beautiful rivers, chased children and puppies, and I stood.  When I stopped taking the painkiller, which masked what was going on in my body, it hurt too much to stand. It hurt so much to walk, at times I would fight back tears.

Right now, it hurts too much to stand.  Sometimes I fight back tears.

So I’m in physical therapy, learning how to stretch my muscles and tendons because my broken foot doesn’t work properly.  It can’t do what it was designed to do—to roll from the heel to the toes—to carry me from place to place.

The muscles in both feet are atrophied. Therefore, they’re learning how to be strong again through stretching and bending and pulling and aching.

And the stretching out hurts.

As stiff muscles are pulled this way and that, they burn and the burning makes me nauseous.  Yet I keep stretching because I know my foot won’t always be broken.  I know that the stretching will provide the healing I need.  I know the muscles will become strong.

My foot isn’t the only thing that’s broken.  In fact, in many ways it has taken a back seat to my broken heart and crushed spirit.

See, I was doing life broken and crushed I didn’t realize it.  From the business (busyness?) of doing ministry and life, my spirit had become atrophied.

And now I’m in the place of the stretching out—finding a new place to belong, putting myself out there to make new friends, healing from wounds that are still bleeding, and pulling on  muscles that are rigid. 

I’m opening my hands before God, for He is the One who gives and takes away

The stretching out is uncomfortable, but I’m trying to see it as a gift.  Everything God gives me or allows to happen in my life is part of the stretching.  He is making the hard places malleable and builds strength in the weak places.

The stretching is necessary if I’m ever going to walk right again…and I don’t just want to walk, I want to run!  I want to run the race He has given me to run.

It is strange how God still allowed me to walk broken and to do ministry so crushed, yet that’s His mercy.  Maybe we’re all broken, but He only makes us aware of the areas of brokenness as we can handle them, as we become ready for Him to heal them in our lives.

I’m walking broken—physically and spiritually and emotionally—but I am still walking.  Isn’t that really the point of this race we call life?  Whether we rest or run a marathon, we keep on going.  Whether we’re warming up for a sprint or drinking Gatorade on the sidelines, we look at what is ahead, not behind

And sometimes we’re in the stretching, the waiting and the trusting for the moment God will let us run loose.  We will be stronger, faster, and more like Him because of the stretching.  The brokenness and the stretching is all part of the life race. 

Unlike other races, It’s not about who wins.  It’s about how we get there.  Because we were made to run.

*This post was heavily inspired by Jennie Allen’s RESTLESS Bible Study and Ann VosKamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts.  I highly recommend both resources!

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Worn

8 Aug

“I’m tired.  I’m worn.  My heart is heavy from the work it takes to keep on breathing…”

The lyrics to Tenth Avenue North’s latest radio single, “Worn,” seemed alien to me a week ago.

What a difference a week makes.

The thread holding me together unraveled when my foot doctor told me that I would have to wear my walking boot for another 3-4 weeks.  It didn’t come completely undone until I was fitted with a new walking boot because the one that was guarding my left foot was falling apart.  Tufts of stuffing were sticking out from the places where the fabric wore thin.  The heel wasn’t quite so high and there were visible scraps from where my boot fought the sidewalk.  The copper permanent marker declaring me as “LOVED” was fading from the front toe bed and the velcro straps didn’t hold like they used to.

The boots were only made to last 6-8 weeks, my doctor explained, as I stared at her in disbelief.  My boo t had lasted me for 12 weeks, and it simply wouldn’t not hold out for another month.  Instead of ridding myself of the old boot, I was given a brand new boot.  Then the technician who fitted me with the boot threw my old boot in the trash bin.  I wanted to pull it out.  I’m not sure why.  Was it a sentimental attachment?  After all, we had spent the past 12 weeks together.  Was it a rejection of the new boot?

I left it in the trash can and hobbled to the car.

I was worn.  Worn out.  Worn down.  Worn to the very fiber of being.

A few days have passed, but the feeling of being worn still lingers around me.  It’s not that I doubt God will heal my foot; I know He can and He will.  My faith isn’t lacking and I don’t believe God isn’t in control of this detail.  I know He will use this for my good and His glory.  I know it is better for my foot to heal in this boot if that’s what it needs, even if it’s not what I want.  I KNOW all this.

I am just worn.  I’m tired of hobbling around with a walker or cane.  I’m tired that going out of my apartment requires extra planning.  I want to go shopping at places other than Walmart and Target because they have the riding shopping carts and I don’t want to ask Sarah to put the heavy transport wheelchair.  I don’t want to sit alone in the narthex of the church during the 9:15 AM service while the rest of the praise team chats outside at Lemonade on the Lawn.   I want to take my dog for a walk or just be able to walk to the mailbox.

Instead of getting closer to these goals, I feel like I’m trudging along the same path.  I want to be grateful that my right foot is finally healed or that I have the ability to drive and get out on my own.  I want to be thankful for medical treatment for my broken bones.  I want to sing “Blessed be the Name of the Lord” without tears streaming down my cheeks.  I know God is good; I know He is.  Some days, like days when I’m worn, it’s harder to feel like I believe it.

Even though I feel worn, I am making a conscious effort to remember that in my weakness, God is my strength.  I can’t do it anymore, and really, that’s a beautiful thing because this is something only God can do.  To Him be the glory.

On my own, I am worn out, dried out, and hopeless.  Yet God promises to never leave me, never to forsake me, and to renew me.

When I got home from the doctor, I found my copper Sharpie and began to adorn my new boot with words including Habakkuk 3:19, “He makes my feet like the hind’s and enable me to go to the high places.”  The Amplified Bible says it like this: “The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds’ feet and will make me to walk [not to stand still in terror, but to walk] and make [spiritual] progress upon my high places [of trouble, suffering, or responsibility]!”

I may be worn, but God is not.  Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

Broken and Not So Broken

6 Jun

This is my walking boot. I decorate it, of course.

“God, I’m in the place again/I’m trying so hard not to fall/But everything keeps coming down with the rain.”–Everyday Sunday

I’ve always appreciated melancholy songs.  There’s something about the toned down, raw nature of a rock band that grips my heart and makes me pay attention, like KISS’s “Beth” or Five Iron Frenzy’s “Every New Day.”  (Yes, I just mentioned KISS and Five Iron Frenzy in the same sentence.  Incidentally, “Beth” is the only KISS song I know.)

Since lyrics and song melodies move me, it’s understandable why I’ve danced my way into the genre of singer/songwriter in my old(er) age (though I still enjoy Southern rock, like Credence Clearwater Revival and more recently, NeedToBreathe.)  Lately, it seems, I find comfort in the likes of Bebo Norman (surprise, surpise!), JJ Heller, Audrey Assad, Josh Wilson, and Andrew Peterson.

See, I haven’t had an easy go of things lately.  In mid-May, I broke my left foot. Yes, friends, another broken foot.  As you may recall, I broke my right foot about 15 months ago…and the healing process for the right foot has been excruciatingly slow.  After a couple tests, my foot doctor discovered my Vitamin D level to be pitifully low and started me on a regimen 50,000 units of Vitamin D weekly.  That’s the boring medical part.

This happened a week after I made some changes in my life, after all night prayer sessions, talks with my pastor, and weeping before the Lord, I felt Him saying to me, as He said to Elijah as he ran for his life from evil Queen Jezebel, “The journey has been too much for you.  Rest now, My child, I will take care of the details.”  Two weeks after resigning as lead of a ministry and falling into a more manageable role on the leadership team, I broke my foot simply by getting up from (or rather down) from one of our counter height dining room chairs.

This started a longer-than-I-anticipated journey of rest–no driving, walking around with a rollator (rolling walker), going down the stairs with a cane, needing assistance with normal tasks like showering, shopping, and getting here and there.  Oh, and of course, resting with my legs elevated to improve healing time.  Alone all day in my apartment.  It sounds perfectly lovely to harried people who could use a day off, but it’s house arrest for a social, relational woman like me.

So I’ve been spending a lot of time talking to God and listening to music.  At first, I was struck with severe anxiety, which I believe was my anxiety disorder as well as a spiritual attack from the enemy.  I cried–wailed actually–and copied psalm after psalm from the Bible into my journal.  My fervency for God was strong and trust was a moment by moment walk.  While I don’t miss the panic attacks and tears, I wish I could maintain the level of urgency for God and His Holy Word when I’m not in the throes of fear.

I don’t always listen to music.  I like silence, too.  I can hear the birds singing merrily, the engine of the mail truck, laughter and screams from neighborhood children, the clink of my dog’s tags as she roams about the apartment, and my cockatiel’s own chirps.  So many ordinary sounds that make up the backdrop of this orchestra called life…and most of the time, I barely notice.

And I’m reading.  As much as I love to read, I don’t always make time for it.  Besides my Bible study reading (The Story and Crazy Love) and my daily devotional, Jesus Calling, I’m juggling three books right now–One Thousand Gifts, The Parable of Joy, and The Covenant Child.  My attention span seems to have increased as a result of my sitting in this stillness.

My writing life has been rich, though much of it has come alive in my journal–private conversations between God and me.  While this isn’t a measurable source of earthly wealth, it is the most important writing that I can do.  I call it “holy writing.”  If my purpose here on earth is to bring glory and honor to God, then my writing–for Him and Him alone–can have no higher calling.  Face down before the Throne of God, I write and write, like some ancient, inspired scribe.  Perhaps I will pick out thoughts to blog about here.  Or maybe write that book I’m always thinking about.

Don’t get me wrong.  I would never have chosen this path, but I am learning to be thankful for it.  I am grateful for the friends God has given to support me in this time.  It’s funny how my One Word for 2013 is LOVED and He is showing me how LOVED I really am! (Even when I start to believe the lie that no one cares, including God.)  Who would have thought the path to knowing I am LOVED would come with so much pain and brokenness–the actual physical breaking of another bone?  It seems all paths are littered with sorrow and suffering.  Is it any wonder that these are little Much Afraid’s guides to the high places in Hind’s Feet on High Places? (I plan to re-read the book as soon as I finish The Covenant Child.)

I am loved.  It rings loudly and clearly throughout my days, and it is revealed through so many ways and so many people.

If I hadn’t broken my left foot, my small group leader wouldn’t have moved our Bible study into her living room so I could attend showing me that I am LOVED.  (Thanks, Amanda!)

Nor would I have received a ride to the Bible study I lead from one of the attendees.  (Thanks, Patty!)

I would never have trusted God to help me make it up to the choir loft for praise team or give me strength to sing when my jaw ached with TMJD pain.  (Thanks to the Praise Team for their encouragement!)

I have moments of despair, when I feel God’s touch or receive a phone call or text or Facebook message.  These are precious things I gather into my heart.  Someone is praying or God is teaching me to trust Him more and more.  I hate the aloneness, and I love the intimacy with God.

If this hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t be writing this blog post.  Perhaps I’d write something else, or maybe nothing at all.  I know not the path I would’ve taken and it hardly matters because this is where I am.  Everything around me is speaking to me–the book One Thousands Gifts, reading the book of Ruth this morning (I was struck that Naomi was so very bitter and yet so very blessed through Ruth in the end.  In the middle, it seemed she would never have joy again), and in watching The Fellowship of the Ring last week. (Frodo never CHOSE for the ring to come into his possession, yet it did.  Yet he carried the burden anyway.  He chose to do the right thing in the midst of his circumstances.)

It’s a conscious choice, this choosing to be thankful and grateful in the midst of this disappointment.  Perhaps it’s a divine appointment to receive greater joy.  That’s an encouraging thought, isn’t it?

Tell me, how has God taught you to be faithful or thankful in the midst of something hard or disappointing?  What have you been reading lately?  Do you miss the fervency of intimacy with God when you aren’t going through trials?

So…it’s been a while.

24 Apr

After more than three weeks of silence, she speaks!  The first post after a long respite always seems to be the most awkward.  I have a lot to say,  and yet so much I want to keep close to my heart.  Pardon me, as I work it all out and return to the happy world of writing/blogging.

Two days after Brinley (now Bailey) went to her new home, I broke my right foot.  While I wish there was a fantastical story that accompanied this injury (like when I got bit by a werewolf), there isn’t.  I could say I tripped over a gnome, but I wasn’t even outside when it happened.  I was walking in a store, heard a loud snap, and that was it.  When I’m out I’m accompanied by my mom’s rollator (who I named Tobey), my chariot of fire (transport chair known as Elijah), and Stella/Gloria my non-wheeled original walker that I only use on the stairs and to get in/out of the shower.  (Of all the devices, Stella is the most fun.  My friend Shari and I decked her out with ribbons.)

Mostly, I’ve just been sitting around hoping and praying for visitors, who sometimes show up, spending time with God (who always shows up), listening to a lot of music, and social networking (the way home bound extroverts feel connected).  But I feel like I SHOULD be doing something more.  The should’s get me every time.  I guess there are things I would rather be doing, like feverishly writing something so powerful and so amazing that it’s truly and wonderfully from God or fleshing out the great ideas that are constantly bouncing around my brain (including my book, which I am worried my never get written, at least I’m not under contact, right?) or diving into book after book.

I want to do more, dream more, be more…and that’s all very exhausting!  I can’t keep up with my dreams, and I know my dreams and ideas need to be yielded to God or they’re destined to fail.  I mean, plans will always fall apart and some dreams are not meant to be.  I’ve learned that so clearly, and the pain is still fresh. 

As I sit here, struggling to pull my thoughts together, I realize that this is a good moment.  Maddy the Shih Tzu is warming my lap, the afternoon sun is casting an ambient glow across the room, and I am doing what I love–writing.  In this moment, I find serenity and purpose.  God is in this moment, just like He as in the last and just like He will be in the next moment of my life.

There is something about aloneness that inspires lessons in moment by moment living.  Maybe it’s because moments seem longer, less fleeting, and full of emotion.  In busyness, moments slip by unnoticed.  I believe, despite it all, I am learning to live a contented life–one of joy and, yes, of happiness.  Sometimes that just takes a while to learn.

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