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…]

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