Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Wound in my Foot/The Wound in my Heart

So, I have this issue with my foot, and until it is totally healed, I have to see the podiatrist once a week to have it debrided. Essentially, that mean that the doctor takes a scalpel and hacks away at my wound in order to promote healing. It doesn't make a lot of sense -- I know -- but it works.

This week when I saw the doctor, he was quite displeased with the progress I'd made. He said some healing had occurred between appointments, but because of some callousing, he was certain that I'd been walking around putting all kinds of pressure on the wound. I assured him I had not been -- that I'd been wearing the horribly ugly surgical shoes he prescribed, those that are packed so full of pressure-shifting padding that my bones creak and my back aches at the end of each long day. I showed him the indention in said shoe to indicate that I spent my walking around time balancing on my heel. I showed him the muscles on my shin and how they've grown stronger by spending two solid weeks with my foot in flex. Even that did not make him happy.

"You need to spend more time on your crutches," he said.

I'm telling you, the man might as well have kicked me in my sore shin, because I don't know if you've ever been an overweight mama balancing herself on two sticks trying to wrangle two kids who've realized they can now outrun you, but let me just assure you:

It ain't fun.

But I was determined. The longer I've dealt with this foot thing, the more time I've had to spend on those scary medical websites, and not a one of them beats around the bush. They all blatantly state in some way or another, "Get this taken care of, or go around on one leg forever."

Now, I'm not at all, at all, in that position. Honestly, I could probably stop seeing the podiatrist at this point and everything would heal up eventually, but my seeing him will speed up the process. My following his orders will make the healing happen that much faster, so crutches it was.

It just so happened that the day I was commanded to be on crutches was a day with a very full schedule. From the podiatrist's office, we drove across the entire state of Texas to Presby Plano for Bub's opthamology appointment. Since we moved way west some time ago, we've considered changing doctors, but his doctor is just so fun and easy-going that we haven't. In retrospect, I should have just rescheduled the appointment, but I have this irrational idea that I am invincible and capable of doing it all -- even on crutches.

As it turns out, I am not invincible.

I didn't account for the bad parking and uphill walk hobble, nor did I account for the fact that the opthamologist offices at the very end of the furthest hall on the very uppermost floor of the hospital. Needless to say, it was not a happy day. After all the physical exertion it took to get in there, the doctor, kind and tender man that he is, asked me to not fall over until I left the building. So sweet!

By the time the appointment was over, I was exhausted. I'd propelled myself a long distance in a challenging environment, I'd hopped over an untold number of children in the waiting room, and I was partway through the journey back to to car when I felt this overwhelming sense of being done. I could not go any further. My hands ached from gripping, my armpits were bruising, my hip hurt, and my ankle felt like it would just give way any time. I teetered on my crutches, took a few deep breaths, and gulped back some tears. I thought of calling James to cross the Metroplex and come to my rescue, but instead, I decided to press on.

I marked out my path, and took the rest of the hospital in sections -- just to that corner, now to that doorway, a little more to the desk. It wasn't long until I reached the exit door and made my way out onto the circle drive. I leaned against a column, looked out onto the expansive parking lot, and thought, "I can't do this. I can not do this." I wasn't just that I felt I couldn't make it to my car on crutches, but moreso that I couldn't do what it would take as a whole to get well, totally well.

About that time, a woman walked by me pushing a man in a wheelchair whose leg had been amputated at the knee, and that was all I needed to make it to the car. Once I got there, however, I really thought about my struggle and my near breakdown there at the Presby Plano.

When Zachary died, James and I were ministry leaders of the Celebrate Recovery group at our church. Every week, we stood before people as examples of God's grace and healing power. When he died, obviously, we took a couple of weeks off, and during that break, I spent a good bit of time on my face asking God how I could once again stand in front of others and be an example of anything good. I had been absolutely obliterated. I was a worthless mess. It was during that time that this scripture became especially poignant:

"So take a new grip with your tired hands and stand firm on your shaky legs. Mark out a straight path for your feet. Then those who follow you, though they are weak and lame, will not stumble and fall but become strong." -- Hebrews 12:12 (NLT)

That scripture acknowledged that I was at the point of exhaustion. It saw me as I was there in the hospital, unable to go on. Ultimately, that scripture helped me to understand that it wasn't my responsibility to make sense of things for other people, but rather in my fatigue to hang on, to take hold again, and to keep moving forward.

And so I did. For a good, long while, I actively worked through various degrees of pain and frustration. In my grief, I cried and I wrote. I felt supported in my confusion and encouraged in my quest for comfort. But at some point along the path, I became overwhelmed by my shaky legs and decided to stop moving forward. I threw my tired hands up in the air and gave up. I leaned against some imaginary column and said to myself, "I can't do this. I can not do this."

I was too worn out to move any further, and no one was coming along to pick me up, so I stayed right there, feeling sorry for myself. I thought it would be ok to set up camp along the way -- God would see that I'd tried. That would be enough, right?

No.

When I sat down in the middle of my misery and refused to go further down the path before me, the wound in my heart became infected and began to fester. It bubbled over with anger and bitterness, fear and mistrust. I became weak and my heart became hard, atrophied. I doubted that healing was available to me, and I doubted the One who could heal me.

I was called to honesty this weekend at church, and I acknowledged the position I'd put myself in. I John 1:9 reads, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness," and that's what happened for me. I acknowledged to God, and now acknowledge to you, that I put myself in a position of complacency, being eaten alive by subtle sin -- anger, bitterness, pain, disbelief. Fortunately, God is gracious and was waiting for me, ready to forgive, and because He is merciful, He hacked away at those dying, infected parts of my heart. He helped me to stand once again, and I believe He walks beside me as I continue along the path ahead.

I don't know what that looks like, but I know God is faithful and will be present in my times of pain and times of triumph. That same mercy and forgiveness, comfort and grace is readily available for all who find themselves in need.


This Weekend at Church


Red Cards from Keystone Church on Vimeo.

9 comments:

  • Randi

    Amanda, I'm in tears reading that post and the only thing I can say is that you are one of the most open and honest people I know. You encourage me more than you can imagine to truly live the life ... you walk the walk and I have utmost respect for who you are. I'm so glad I know you.

  • Amy

    You're awesome! I love you! I love your writing! I love your crutches and 'columns' and super-cool shoes and most of all I love your honesty.

  • Happy Mommy

    Wow! I know those blowing moments when we have no where else to go but to our knees and ask our father in heaven to help us! I am so glad you did! He will lead you on now and I will pray for your foot!

  • In His Grip

    I hope your foot feels better soon. The Lord does love you and cares for your every need. I am so glad you recognized what you needed and are seeking that daily. You really do have a great gift for writing. Many have these same thoughts but to put it on paper is a gift. Thanks for sharing.

  • DeDe

    Wow, Amanda, I will say it again ... you are so articulate and you inspire me. I am so sorry for the path you were on and I am so excited for the path God has you on now. Thanks for your honesty and may God bless you with the desires of your heart. Also, thanks for sharing a powerful video! Love you!

  • Jenny James

    Amanda, your words are so good- just an honest look at yourself and yet a huge encouragement and challenge to us all. Thanks for sharing your heart.

  • Kendra

    Amen sister. Amen.

  • Awesome Mom

    This is so true!

    I hope that your foot does get better very soon. There is nothing like illness to make you appreciate good health.

    PS I love the new look.

  • Karen

    What a wonderful post - so glad you are walking down your path again as hard as it is. Be brave and trust trust trust.

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