When I started this series “2018: A Year For Hope” in December 2017, chronicling my story was definitely not what I envisioned doing. And yet here I am, picking over and kicking over memories like rocks that haven’t been disturbed in decades. Truth be told, all this wondering down memory lane has been a little exhausting.
But I’ve also been rejoicing in the recognition of all that God has brought me through. He redeemed the pain of my childhood, rescued me from cruel and abusive husband, healed my/my children’s hearts, and completely re-directed the spiritual trajectory of my seed line. All that would be plenty enough – but He didn’t stop there. He also blessed me with a successful 20+ year career that I love, inspired me to Entrepreneurship in 2014, and continues to lead me into new and exciting adventures of business as a ministry including a side-gig that launches this month. He alone has transformed my life and truly given me beauty for ashes.
For those readers who know me personally, you can attest to the fact that I work hard at being a “glass-half-full” type of person. Occasionally, life will kick the stuffing out of me and leave me a bit ‘wobbly’, and I may take a while to rally back. But give me some time, and I’m gonna get back up, dust the dirt off my boots and hat, and get back at living life with a positive attitude. I’m gonna “take another swing!”
Hey, I bet you have ‘wobbly’ days too. We all do.
So today I’m going to take a short break from my life saga to share something else. A revelation or epiphany. I’ve had it before, but I had forgotten it (as we are prone to do).
Buckle up and get ready for another spaghetti trail story. 😊
A few weekends ago I went camping – the first time I’ve camped in probably 20 years. And along with a car load of borrowed gear, I took my rarely-used fishing pole and the saddest little tackle box you ever saw in your life. I was living the dream, baby! I fished Saturday morning. I fished Saturday afternoon. I even fished Sunday morning before it was time to tear down the campsite. It was liberating and refreshing, and I had such a great time I committed to going again in a few weeks.
I returned home on Sunday and by Monday afternoon, my right shoulder started hurting – and I mean REALLY hurting. Can hardly move my arm hurting. Winced and yelped a few times hurting. Can’t get to sleep hurting. By Tuesday, I seriously considered cutting my PJ’s off because I couldn’t manage the shoulder movements.
“PAIN IS LIKE A MIST”
Now most of you probably know where this is headed and what was going on. But I’m a little slow on the trigger sometimes, and I’ve also got an enemy. Oh wait – you do too!
Well that enemy (of my soul) was busy whispering into my ears everything that could possibly be wrong with me:
• I got a mosquito bite and am now suffering the initial effects of West Nile Virus
• I somehow dislocated my shoulder while sleeping on the hard ground for 2 nights
• Tent camping triggered a family history of arthritis and I’ve not got arthritis in my shoulder
• I’m an old woman and my body is starting to decline
• I have tendonitis in my shoulder that will take 8+ months to heal (that’s how long it took for my hand to heal after a gardening incident last year – but that’s another story)
And on and on and on. Taunting me. Ridiculing me. Trying to make me afraid. Trying to get me to open my mouth and come into agreement with him.
I’d like to say that I’m much too spiritual to fall for that old trick. Basically, it’s the same old trick he’s played me with about 5,497 times over the course of my life. And unfortunately, he’s had a greater than 50% chance of my taking the bait (pun intended) … at least for a little while. It was no different now. I’m not going to embarrass myself by telling you how fear-filled my response was, but I will tell you that at one point I broke down and cried a little for the frustration that my body isn’t doing as easily (and painlessly) in my 50’s what it could do in my 20’s and 30’s.
Eventually, I figured out that I had overworked some unused muscles with all that casting and reeling I was doing to haul in my ‘big fish’ pictured above! Pfft!
By day number six I was settling into a pattern of icing and muscle rubs and pillow cradling at night when the miraculous happened. I woke up one morning and my shoulder didn’t hurt.
And here is the revelation. My epiphany.
Pain is like mist. The more attention you pay to it, the more it closes in on you. Blinding you. Choking you. But if you will just relax into it, and breath through it, the wind will carry it away.
Isn’t that so true? Not only about physical pain (such as a fishing-shoulder injury) but true about emotional and spiritual pain. Our tendency when hurt is to recoil, withdraw, self-protect. But friend, you and I make lousy protectors of our own hearts and souls. We are easily duped and confused and misdirected to people and circumstances that are not really the source of our pain.
But there is One who is a most excellent Protector. One who will give you the strength to “breath through’ the pain of transitioning from the place of hurt and fear to the place of forgiveness and liberty.
In hind sight, I realize that what brought me to tears wasn’t the actual shoulder pain itself. It was listening to the voice of fear tell me that my life was going to be “less” because of this. That I would have “less” healing and mobility. That I would have “less” joy because I would be able to do “less”.
Grrr – I fell for it again!
But thank you Jesus, it was not very long before the Voice of HOPE spoke up in a louder (and more familiar and loving voice) and said “Not so, daughter. For I’ve purchased an abundant life for you, and you are Mine.”
I hope this truth (of knowing who you are and whose you are) is as much an encouragement to you as it is to me.
And hey – guess what? Yup, I’m going fishing again in a few weeks!
I’ll resume my the continuation of my childhood and testimony next week. Until then, be blessed and do this. Pray, Trust, Breathe.
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