Wednesday, August 27, 2014

I'm Satisfied

I feel like I've lived in a bubble the last six weeks.  I've been playing it safe, following ALL of the surgeon's instructions.  I'm 6 weeks "post-op" and yesterday I was cleared to go back to work.  I have to follow up with physical therapy, but can finally be released of the hard neck brace I was wearing and return to normal activity.  I was very happy to hear this, as I had become frustrated at the uselessness I was feeling.  Unable to do many things for myself over the last 6 weeks, it became difficult to believe that I contributed to anything in society.  So I was eager to go back to work.

I started out by easing back in, a "short" five hour day yesterday.

Two hours in, the aching shoulder pain that had disappeared and stayed gone for the last six weeks crept back in.  And it just kept getting worse.  To the point that at the end of those five hours, though I got up, stretched, didn't sit longer than an hour, did ALL the right things, I was in the same pain as before surgery, minus the aching in my neck.

I had a short little vent on Facebook about it, knowing that after some time, I'd bounce back.  In the moment, I was frustrated to the point of tears and wondering how I could keep my job if it was going to continue to cause me to live in pain.  Obviously whatever nerve issue was going on at C6&7 was not causing the pain in my shoulder.  I thought for sure it was - because as soon as I had surgery and was doped up on pain meds, then spent six weeks at home taking it easy it was instantly gone.

And now, it's back?  I just couldn't understand it.

I don't know what the answer is, practically speaking.  Do I get a different chair at work?  Do I continue to adjust my posture, even though I am doing everything right, according to now the chiro, previous physical therapist, and surgeon?  Am I just destined to be in pain the rest of my life?  All of these questions have been playing through my mind.  I have a limited supply of pain pills, and I really don't want to have to go back into pain management when I run out because the pain is too much to tolerate an 8 hour day at work.

And then God spoke.

I got up a little earlier than usual this morning, as today marked my first full day back at work, which would entail dropping Kaleb off at school first.  So I read a short devotional, and not feeling "satisfied" I looked down on my phone, to the verse of the day.  What a great app to have.  If nothing else, if you don't look at any other form of Scripture that day, you can at least be fed a tiny piece, you know?

So I read Isaiah 26:1-6, in the Message.

At that time, this song will be sung in the country of Judah:  We have a strong city, Salvation City, built and fortified with salvation.  Throw wide the gates so good and true people can enter.  People with their minds set on you, you keep completely whole, Steady on their feet, because they keep at it and don't quit.  Depend on God and keep at it because in the Lord God you have a sure thing.

Okay, God.  I hear you.  Loud and clear.  Keep at it, and don't quit.  With You, I have a sure thing--no matter what I face, You are my sure thing.

Interested in reading this verse in the New Living Translation, I touched the screen to take me into the Bible app.  But instead of going to the verse of the day, like it ALWAYS does, it stayed on Psalm 34.  I hadn't realized that the original wasn't even in Psalm and it only showed me Psalm 34:3 - which didn't seem like what I had just read.  So I went into the entire chapter of Psalm 34.  Then I realized that it wasn't even the verse of the day.  So I backed out and went back in.  Psalm 34 still.  So, it just made sense to read Psalm 34.  This is what I found:

I bless God every chance I get;
my lungs expand with his praise.
I live and breathe God;
if things aren't going well, hear this and be happy:
Join me in spreading the news;
together let's get the word out.
God met me more than halfway,
he freed me from my anxious fears.
Look at him; give him your warmest smile.
Never hide your feelings from him.
When I was desperate, I called out,
and God got me out of a tight spot.
God's angel sets up a circle
of protection around us while we pray.
Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see--
how good God is.
Blessed are you who run to him.
Psalm 34:1-8

What a blessing it was for me to read that this morning.  It was a good reminder that I needed to be thanking God for all that he has blessed me with.  That no matter what state my physical body is in, my spiritual body, mind and spirit need to be focused on him.  The phrases that put things back into perspective for, in the midst of the continued pain, were these:

  • God met me more than halfway
    • MORE than halfway.  Because I couldn't even get halfway.  I was still all the way over here focused on the pain.

  • He freed me from my anxious fears.
    • This was a reminder of all the work that God has done in my heart regarding my anxiety and fears that I experience on a regular basis.  He reminded me that He is my anxiety control.  He is the one who calms my fears, even these ones about whether I will ever be pain free.

  • Look at him; give him your warmest smile.
    • This immediately made me shift my focus from my pain to all that God has done in my heart these last two years and I am so grateful for where he has brought me thus far.

  • Never hide your feelings from him.
    • I don't have to keep my frustrations and fears and pain from God.  He knows and he hears.  He wants me to tell him how I'm feeling.  Unless I am honest with myself, which in turns makes me honest with him, I don't allow him room to work in my heart.

  • When I was desperate, I called out, and God got me out of a tight spot.
    • While I can't say that the pain issue was resolved in this way, when I look at the bigger picture and how God has restored my heart and marriage, the pain seems to pale in comparison.  God rescues those who cry out to him.  He rescued my heart.  He rescued my marriage.  And he can rescue me with this pain.  Rescue doesn't always mean he'll take it away.  I want him to.  But I want, more than anything, to live and breathe God.  I want that to be my first and last thought; before, during and after the pain.

All of these thoughts were going through my mind as I drove to work this morning.  I was listening to Sandy on the morning show at JoyFM talk about how someone had called in about hearing "the right song at the right time."  And it filled me with joy as I thought back to how many times God had done that for me through that radio station.  And as I neared my exit, a familiar song by About A Mile came on.  Never in all of the times listening to it, though I have always loved the song, have I ever began weeping when I heard the words.  Because I wasn't just hearing lyrics written by a member of a band.  I was hearing God's voice, speaking directly to my heart.

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