I’m pleased to report that I am pretty much recovered! There’s not space to tell of how your notes, gifts, texts, and visits came exactly when I needed them. I have felt incredibly supported and cared for. Thank you all so much for being God’s hands and feet.
These last couple of weeks, I have seen improvement by leaps and bounds I didn’t think were possible. At first, I was getting my mental energy back, although I still couldn’t stand for long at all. And then, suddenly, I could.
I can’t tell you how amazing it felt to not count my trips up and down the stairs… or worry when I head out that I’ll run out of energy before the drive back…or feel like my body is shutting down if I do a tad too much…or have to not go to something simply because it required walking up another flight of stairs…or constantly have to cancel plans because I ran out of energy. Life is filled with ever so many gifts, and it’s been such a joy to rediscover them :). I have felt like a little kid at times, overwhelmed with the wonder of it all. I have been completely awed many times that God has chosen to heal and restore me.
I had my final post-op appointment on Tuesday, and the nurse removed all my restrictions. I celebrated by exercising at last—it felt SO good to stretch my muscles (they’ve gotten tight and were starting to cause migraines). So I’ve a little bit of minor healing (such as calming down/building up my muscles) left to go, but I’m pretty much back to normal. Thus this is the last update I plan to send out.
While many of the struggles of recovery already feel like a distant memory, I’d like to share a glimpse into some of the ups and downs in the hopes that it will be an encouragement, because I don’t want to forget the gracious way God carried me through the dark moments, and to let you know how your prayers and encouragement were both needed and appreciated.
There were so many bright spots and blessings during the recovery time. I was truly well cared for and blessed.
But there were struggles too. A few weeks ago—four weeks after surgery—were some of the toughest couple of days. While I thankfully didn’t have a ton of pain most of the time, I had intense pain then. I could hardly stand without feeling like I’d faint. And my emotions were completely wacky due to all the effects of the surgery.
A dark cloud pressed down on my spirit. I couldn’t put it in words at the time, but it was as if all I could see around me was darkness. Friends suffering. Pain everywhere. I remembered back to a long concussion recovery I’d had years before. I had just finally completely irradiated those migraines when I began experiencing symptoms leading to the surgery. Would pain never end?
I knew Heaven would be different—that the pain and suffering would finally and completely end. I knew there was purpose in telling others of the way to Heaven. But I couldn’t see past the darkness here on earth. It didn’t help that every time I tried to make a plan, my body forced me to cancel it. I felt like giving up.
And then I had to spend hours simply resting. I couldn’t bury the frustration in work or activity. Fears pressed in on every side. My mind kept going to all that could eventually go wrong in life.
That Sunday, I simply couldn’t pull it together. In being vulnerable and honest with God’s people, though, I finally found relief as they prayed over me and reminded me of truths I wasn’t able to see.
And there was the ABF class (my church’s version of a Sunday school). Do you ever experience times where you’re certain that everything said was meant just for you? Well, that Sunday was one of them for me. The lesson included a look at 2 Peter 1:3 (“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness,” [ESV]), and the observation was made that it doesn’t say eternal life but simply life—that Jesus came not only to save us for Heaven, but also to give us His life right now.
That was it—the piece I wasn’t seeing. Yes, there’s pain and suffering in this world—but Jesus is with us in it and brings life and light in the midst of the darkness. A weight began falling. Light began shining. I began forcing myself to play Scripture or hymns during the long rest periods to chase away the fears with the truth. And the peace and joy returned.
Fast-forward a week. That next Tuesday, God gave me an opportunity to share with a young lady who was wrestling with the same thing I’d grappled with: the suffering in the world. I had shared the gospel with her (God had given me energy to visit campus and strike up a few conversations…provided we sat down to chat), but she couldn’t get past why God would allow suffering. We talked about how apart from God, we’d have no basis to call suffering bad—how it’s an intrusion brought into the world by sin.
Yet we also talked about how on a daily level, we often don’t understand. But we don’t have to! If we want to see God’s love, we just need to look at Jesus. We need to encounter the God who became a man, suffered, and died. In looking at the cross, we know God’s love, His goodness, and His mercy. It’s in Christ Jesus Himself that we find what our hearts seek.
Jesus is indeed our great high priest who can “sympathize with our weakness” and give us “mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:15-16 ESV). We can run to Him in life’s messes (and ordinary life too—working on that piece now :) ) and watch Him bring beauty in this dark world.
Anyway, there’s a little glimpse into the recovery journey. Hopefully that makes up a little for being so bad at writing updates during the recovery :). I hope you will join me now in praising God for all He has done. Thank you again ever so much for your prayers and support through this journey.
“I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4 (ESV)
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:1-4 (ESV)
 Referencing Paul Tripp, How People Change intro video.