(Previously published July 26, 2010)
It was a hard night...or shall I say wee hours of the morning. I ask for your prayers today. So many of you have shared that you are praying and I truly believe in accordance with James 5:16 "that the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much." Your prayers are carrying me. I thank you from the uttermost part of my heart. Please pray for God's strength for me today.
Yesterday, despite the physical pain running through my body, I so desired to be among the fellowship of the saints. To go to church and sit in His sanctuary of praise. To sit under Pastor Chris's teaching, to be near all of my brother's and sister's in the Lord. As I've shared before, I'm not a loner. I love fellowship. I love to be gathered together with those I love. I love the body of Christ.
So, with pain meds armed and ready, off we went, with the realization that I would only last for so long. After awhile, the Valium starts to make my eyes heavy, the body gets tired and I knew I would need to quietly slip out the back door. I jokingly said to my husband before entering church, "please, let's try to quietly slip in and slip out." As he opened the sanctuary doors and lead our line of 7 down the aisle....he kept going....and going and going all the way to about the fourth row. I about died thinking, "this is not what I meant about slip in and slip out!!" But it all faded away as once again, I was ushered to Jesus's feet in worship and praise and it was as if I was standing at the throne of God, just me and Him, with my eyes closed and heart crying out.
It was such a treat for me to get so many hello's, hugs and smiles and be able to reconnect with so many of you.
As we had pulled into the parking lot that morning, I had seen a special acquaintance entering the back door, and was reminded that her bridal shower was being held that afternoon. In the myriad of surgery, doctor's appointments, fuzzy brain and just being outside of my normal routine, I had totally forgotten of this date. Oh, how I wanted to go and love on her in support of this most precious day celebrating her upcoming union with the other half God has designed just for her. I quickly called a close friend of mine, who again, by the grace of God was leaving to get this precious one a shower gift and again so graciously agreed to let me go in with her on the gift. One less thing to do, and one more passageway for me to attend. She also offered to be my transportation, as I still can't drive. Another sweet gift from God. He had made the way possible to attend that afternoon.
So, I came home from church pretty tired physically, but rejuvenated spiritually. I slipped into bed needing to regain strength for the afternoon. Another dear friend stopped by later that afternoon, to say hello. She was a ray of sunshine.
4:00 hit and again armed and ready with my pain meds, I was off. It is actually nice to add a little bit of normalcy back into this life that has begun to revolve around doctor's appointments, resting, medicine schedules, and pain from healing that is constantly before me. I stayed a little longer than intended, but so loved to once again be among my sisters in the Lord. I loved hearing about their lives, being surrounded by laughter, to join hearts as a large group of women praying over this new to be bride and just to have fun.
The day held more than I have done in the last two weeks. But was so thankful to partake. I quickly retired back to my bed upon returning home. I drifted in and out of sleep from about 7:00 on. Barclay gave me my final round of pain meds around 11:00 PM or so and I assumed the new sleeping position....flat on my back. Due to the two drains on either side of me and the pain in my chest, I can't change position when I'm sleeping. It is quite a sight as I've got pillows piled behind me, pillows under my right arm where I had the lymph nodes removed and for the most part, God has given me restful nights.
Well, I awoke at 4:45 AM with pain and aches so intense, all I could do was cry out to God to take the pain away. If you've ever been put on bedrest with a pregnancy, maybe you can kind of relate...the body just doesn't want to stay in one position. I remember being on bedrest with 3 of my pregnancies and the pains that would take up residence in my body from lack of movement were intense. At least with pregnancy, you could roll from the left to the right and get a slight change. In the wee hours, I just sat on the side of my bed and cried. It hurt from the middle of my shoulder blades down to the small of my back. I stood up. I sat down. I laid back down. I considered just getting up and going downstairs, but was so tired and weak. And finally I had to wake Barclay for more meds. He laid his hand on me and prayed that God would just take the pain away and give me strength. He got the heating pad, rearranged the pillows so I could sleep upright, put a pillow under my knees to relieve the back pressure and some relief followed. Thankfully, I drifted back off to sleep until about 8:00 this morning.
Not sure the take home message and maybe there doesn't need to be one. There are going to be the good days and the bad days. I'm really trying to take it easy and let my body heal. For those of you who know me well, know that I don't stay down easily. But I have never felt pain as I have with this surgery and recovery, and so with this surgery, I have easily retreated to my bed thus far. I definitely did more yesterday than I have since surgery, but I think the movement was good, as the bed is not so welcoming anymore and I don't think our bodies were made to be stationary. But I felt like I had hit a wall, literally and figuratively.
I am up at my desk this morning, which feels good. But I am tired. So, I ask you to please pray for me today. Please pray for strength and endurance today. Please pray for the pain to be relieved and for my body to heal. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
And on a separate note, thank you all for your encouraging words through email and FB. You bring tears to my eyes as you share the encouragement that God is bringing you through me (by the power of the Holy Spirit) in your own trials. I know He has so much to teach me and already has been through the daily struggles and surrendering of my will, and through the pain. And I praise Him that He is ministering to your hearts through my feeble words and open heart. (I warned you that you probably would learn more about me than maybe you would care too!!)
There is no mask. There is no barrier. This is me. This is who I am in Christ. Outside of Him, I am ugly, I am weak, I am can't run the race. This is the cross that He has asked and allowed me to carry and we each have a cross. Let us together take up our crosses in surrender to the God who made us and the God who sustains us and follow Him.
"Then Jesus said to His disciples, 'If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me." Matthew 16:24
God gave us relationships. God gave us community. God made us to love. It is a privilege for me to share my journey with each of you. It is even more humbling to know that anyone is actually reading. As I pray anytime before I teach the Thursday women's Bible Study, "Lord, may you hide me behind the cross of Jesus Christ. May my words be Your words. May You, Lord, be seen and not me. May you touch the hearts of those listening and give to us intimately from your hand. " That is my prayer. I love you all.