Rest – part 1

My church is preparing for our 2nd annual women’s conference / retreat and the theme is rest.

I’ve known for about a month that I would absolutely not be able to go because it’s about 48 hours after I get home from my next knee surgery. I’ve suspected I’d miss it since last May when I learned that I needed new knees.

I’ve pouted.

I’ve tried to figure out if I could push surgery out and squeeze the women’s conference in… giving me 3 short weeks until thanksgiving. I even contemplated if I could squeeze in making the thanksgiving food in advance. While I was at it, I could prep for Christmas too.

My “get the house ready for post op recovery” checklist is 3 pages long already. Typed. Single spaced.

The theme is rest.

Yesterday, my brain went there.

Huh. I really wish I could be there. I could tell them a thing or two about rest. I could even be a keynote speaker on the subject!

I was sitting in church at the time, but even that didn’t stop me from grabbing my notepad and pen.

Oooh… I’ve been wondering what to write about. I can’t be a speaker this year but I can still show them what they’re missing out on.

(Side note to my RLM friends – I’m not even remotely serious about the speaking thing. I’m not dropping hints and I promise I’ll communicate directly if I change my mind. Honest.)

I proceeded to write down a list of the major “rest lessons” in my life. Because that’s what sermon time is for, right? (No susan, it’s not.)

There’s scripture about rest.

Being the experienced blogger and social media junkie that I am, I decided to look a few of them up and get a head start on my “amazing upcoming masterpiece” that had somehow spun out of control in my head… and was now morphed into an international best seller with lecture tour.

(It’s ok to roll your eyes and think “oh honey, no…” at this point. I certainly am.)

And, because I was feeling so super spiritual thinking about the life changing lessons about rest I was going to share, I wanted to find some obscure scripture references instead of the common ones.

Y’all.

I got put in my place.

Yet they would not hear.

#ouch

Right there on the back pew, God put me in my place. My grand dreams went *poof* and I was left to face the truth.

I stink at rest.

I can tell you a LOT about not resting.

I’m an expert on avoiding rest, on pushing myself beyond my own limits, and on being super busy preparing to rest.

I’m the adult equivalent of a toddler who refuses to nap and then has an epic meltdown by 3pm.

I’ve repeatedly pulled the spiritual equivalent of running around like a toddler yelling “I’m not tired” right up to the point I fall face first onto the floor.

I can tell you just one thing about rest.

Don’t fight it.

The least bad thing

Full disclosure: I don’t want to write this.

the backstory

On August 27 2018 I had a partial knee replacement on my right knee. It wasn’t my first knee surgery and I had used the months prior to make sure I was well prepared. I had meals in the freezer, my house was clean, and I’d spent time praying. I even continued to strengthen my body with regular leg days all summer.

Not my first surgery. More like the 5th in 5 years. Plus two colonoscopies and a needle biopsy.

Partial knee replacement leaves the ACL alone, a full replacement doesn’t. For my medical friends, mine is the medial compartment.  But it does involve “messing with bones” and bone pain is THE WORST.

(You May need a cute kitten at this point)

To help control the pain, I was given a nerve block for the leg that was being worked on. The plan was to send me home to recover.

the nerve block failed.

it was the worst thing.

After a surgery, they take you to a recovery room. It’s generally a pretty calm space with very nurturing nurses. Based on my previous experiences, the surgical pain is always at a 3 to 4 on a pain scale, and quickly drops to a 2.

Five surgeries, remember? Plus:

  • 6 months of plantar fasciitis.
  • a broken foot.
  • 6 years of arthritis.
  • 2 separate class 3 sprains.
  • 5 days of active labor.
  • 2 c-sections, one was unplanned.
  • 2 torn meniscus
  • 2 bone bruises

I KNOW PAIN.

And until five weeks ago not once have I ever rated my pain as a 10.

I have no cartilage left in my knees and walked around all summer (ok hobbled) with my bones bashing together and I generally rated my pain as a 7.

I saw 10. It took 3 hours to control the pain.

(before you get freaked, I’m allergic to some pain meds. It wasn’t an easy task for them.)

(and I figure you need a kitten)

it. Was. Bad.

It was the kind of bad that lingers in the brain and in the soul.

Fear. Anxiety. Flashbacks. Depression. Anger. Powerlessness. Vulnerability. Frailty. Guilt.

Harder still, hiding from friends because I wasn’t strong enough to tell them how awful it was in my head.

Was.

im getting better.

Last week, I was finally strong enough to face the ugliest part.

god, why did you let this happen?

God, I’m angry at you… this wasn’t supposed to be how it happened.

There is something miraculous that happened as I began to pour out my heart to God and tell Him all the dark and ugly mess that was tangled deep inside me.

For the first time since surgery, I found peace.

I still don’t understand the why. But I know there is one. I’m certain.

God makes beauty from my ashes.

every single time.

It was the best thing

I will never view my failed nerve block as something I’m eager to repeat. It’s not going to get celebrated with an annual party.

But I’ve begun to see it as the “best bad thing.”

Of all the scary and life threatening risks from surgery, it’s the one I’d pick again.

It was just pain. It wasn’t life threatening. It didn’t leave me paralyzed. It didn’t require blood transfusions or months of antibiotics or an attorney.

God protected me from all of the truly horrible things. He only handed me one hard thing. Pain.

I’ll pick hard over horrible every time.

Unedited

If I don’t do this now… I never will.

Honestly, returning to writing after a 3 year gap is weird. I can’t ignore the gap. I can’t write a single post and play catch up. But what exactly can I do?

It’s like that silly “hello world” post that new word press sites come preloaded with.

Hello world.

Awkward.

Here’s a kitten to distract you.

[Read more…]

How M&M’s teach self-control

Right before Thanksgiving, I shared my super secret strategy for enjoying my hostess duties. It involved a small bowl of M&M’s, remember? Those same candies taught me a valuable lesson in self-control.

I struggle with self-control.

It’s an issue around my favorite foods (like chocolate). But it’s also a struggle when I wander through Target, or when I lay in bed long after the alarm goes off, or when I play Candy Crush instead of cooking dinner, or when I let the kids watch a Pokemon marathon instead of making them home school.

It’s bad. I realized that there were things I don’t even TRY to accomplish because I felt I lack the self-control to see them through.

And so, I began to pray.

In part, my prayers were answered with a tiny bowl of M&M’s.

[Read more…]

Three Steps to a Simpler Saner Christmas

Today’s the day to give myself a simpler saner Christmas! It’s Sharpie Day!

This is my fifteenth Sharpie Day, so you would think I’d have it all figured out by now.  I thought I did.  I really thought there was nothing about Sharpie Day that would surprise me.

But this year, things are a little different.

What is Sharpie Day?  (You mean you haven’t heard of this awesome day? It should be a National Holiday and you’ve never heard of it?)

Sharpie Day is a simple, 3 step process that simplifies Christmas and restores my sanity (and quite possibly saves my marriage).

[Read more…]

The LORD has done great things

Just a few quick thoughts on Psalm 126:2 for today.

The LORD has done great things for us, and we rejoiced.

[Read more…]

When a gift is not what it seems

This morning, as I was sorting through a box of “treasures,” I found them again.  They are faded and stained, they were imperfectly made, and quite frankly, they aren’t exactly my style. But they are a treasure.

They were a gift from an elderly relative, one I was reluctant to receive because they were useless and unwanted. But the real gift… was the story. [Read more…]

Dear Beginning Blogger, Learn

Dear Beginning Blogger,

It’s time for another tidbit of wisdom and encouragement from me to you.  Today’s message? LEARN.

Little by little, I’m writing to you with all the things I wish I’d known in those first months of blogging.

Step one: just focus on writing. Get comfortable with words and discover your voice.

Step two: just be awesome on social media. Engage in conversations and not just infomercials for your blog.

Step three: learn.  This blogging thing isn’t easy. There are a lot of different things to learn and you don’t have to do it alone.

It’s not just writing. It’s figuring out all the technical “hosting things”, the fiddly bits of HTML and CSS, and the incomprehensible logic of when to post what to where. It’s all the statistics you slept through in college. It’s the unspoken etiquette on Pinterest and Twitter.

It’s enough to keep you up at night. All night. Every night.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

[Read more…]

It’s OK to touch Jesus

I had a little guest in my home last week, and it was my delight to tell her calmly

It’s OK to touch Jesus.

She was transfixed with the nativity scene I had set on the hearth of my fireplace. I watched with joy as she reached out hesitantly and caressed baby Jesus. Just like my own kids, she scooped the tiny figure into her hands and cradled it as she sang him a lullaby.

That’s when her mom walked into the room and began to scold.  “No, No, No! We do NOT touch.”

I looked at the mom and calmly repeated.

It’s OK to touch Jesus.

[Read more…]

E is for Excellence

I’m so excited to get to FINALLY share this post! It’s the fifth installment of my “alphabet” series where I’ve introduced some big themes. I think this one is my favorite. Then again, I’ve felt that way each week.

But somehow, “E is for Excellence” is making my heart sing.

Want to know why? Because I finally figured out the big secret to excellence.

[Read more…]

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