Ten years ago I could barely walk, sleep, or carry my own purse. I could no longer drive. That’s how intense the pain had become. I’d been a runner for 28 years. My motto was, “Why walk when you can run.” Now I had no choice. It was nearing two years, and over ten health care providers, but no one could help me. On top of it, I became pregnant and couldn’t take enough medication to dull the pain. It seemed I was trapped in a hopeless situation.
As I reflect back on that time, tears spring to my eyes. Not because it’s hard to remember being that unwell, but because of how grateful I am that I’m well now. Back then, I began to think I would never be okay again. My spine was badly contorted with the pain of a torn disc and degeneration that was causing excruciating pain in my back and down both of my legs. There was also numbness in my foot and leg that I worried would be permanent. Maybe you can relate.
I slept on my knees slumped forward over a chair when laying in bed became unbearable, my Bible spread open where it’s words and prayers intertwined until sleep enveloped me again. I don’t know how I shuffled through the daytime hours still trying to home school my three children. Every step, each breath, each moment was a mountain. But with mountains there comes a view. The view is spectacular, but you can’t always see it from where you’re standing. You need to climb – to scale it – to see properly. Once you do, returning to sea level is never the same.
We don’t generally choose hardship. Some of the things we endure, we’d never wish on anyone, but they can be the catalyst for extraordinary transformation – if we allow it. For me it was a deep-rooted bitterness problem (see my two most recent posts: Thoughts on Forgiveness from a Bitterness Survivor Part One & Two) that needed weeding out, among other things like fear, pride, and control. Funny how behaviour we excuse and deem normal can have such detrimental effects on our health.
Once I dealt with these, by forgiving and asking for forgiveness, my body took note and began a healing that no doctor or practitioner had been able to facilitate. Our bodies are miraculous and, given a crack a peace, joy, love, and forgiveness, respond remarkably well.
There are a plethora of events and situations that can lead to sickness, and I don’t want to pretend it’s all wrapped up in our thoughts or behaviour, but I also don’t want to underestimate our body’s natural, God-gifted capacity for healing when we choose His way of peace. We are remarkable image bearers of our Creator whose thinking can indeed impact our being.
Just as a mountain climber might use walking sticks to support their ascent, my upward battle was scaled with the support sticks of faith. With God holding my hands, and the prayers and support of others, I was able to forgive the worst of my offenders, and eventually bless them. The healing was first internal, then external.
The baby I carried during that time is almost ten now. Her middle name is Hope, named for the hope in God I had desperately needed and clung to during this time. She is a beautiful reminder of all I endured and learned – and also that miracles still happen. To hear the whole story in detail, I’ve included a talk I did at a ladies event a few years back.
I’ll leave you with a couple of verses as encouragement as you navigate any trials you may be facing:
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
~ Jeremiah 29
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
~ Hebrews 11:1
You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.
~ Isaiah 26:3
If you’d like to hear the full story, I’ve included it here:
- Take some time to note where your thinking might be affecting not only your behaviour, but also your body.
- Is there anything you need to make right with God or with another?
- I’d love to hear from you about any trials you’ve managed to overcome, or are currently facing, and how you cope through the struggles life throws at you.