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Saturday, April 13, 2013

Healing is a Process

I remember the feeling. I was incredibly dazed, but I saw the familiar faces; Mom, Dad, Brother, the Boy. Their concerned smiles brought safety and comfort. Then it hit… the excruciating pain. I had just come through a total hip replacement.

I will avoid the gory details, but still I must help you wrap your head around this. The shaft of my femur had been hollowed out to make room for a metal rod that would be jammed down inside of it. Screws and bolts drilled in to the bone in hopes that everything would stay intact. Then add a metal ball and socket that would become the new joint and two blood transfusions.... 

My body rejected the foreign object and screamed its objection through pain. Every time that wonderful blue light lit up, I pushed it knowing a small bit of relief would come in the form of morphine. I smiled back at them all and squeezed the hand that was holding mine and slipped from consciousness once again.

Dread consumed me the day following the massive surgery. I knew what was coming. It always happens. It has to. Two overly - cheerful physical therapists make their way into my room. “It’s time to get up,” they announce. Everything within me screamed in pain, the task far too daunting to even mentally process, let alone physically accomplish.

But, I have no choice. For my sake, I have to get up – I have to walk. Multiple people are on deck to help. Once I have achieved the painstaking task of swinging my legs to the side of the bed, they clamp two belts around my waist and establish a firm grip. Mom takes charge of moving the IV. Dad nearby in the event he has to step in to catch me. Brother and the Boy in the doorway praying and chanting encouragement.

More excruciating than I can begin to convey, they hoist me up. I bite my lip from crying or cursing! Excessively weak, I grow light headed. The room begins to spin. My eyes lock on the chair across the room. The chair that I know provides a safe place to rest. The chair that when I reach it, these two goons holding onto my belt will leave me alone!

I made it. I collapse. I pass out. I don’t know how I made it back to the hospital bed… that was Step One of the healing process. The movement began to awaken blood flow, which awakened muscles, which in turn, made me stronger. We repeated the process the next day… it got easier. The next day, I used a walker to walk to the door of the room! It still hurt, but the strength I was gaining soon began to alleviate the pain. 

Healing is a process. Which means it’s a process; it takes time. A dear friend recently told me, “Heather, you don’t have to be 100% healed in order to live again…” Where are you in this process? Are you acting dead in the bed? 

In June it will be three years since the hip replacement. Guess what? I am still in physical therapy! But, I am getting stronger. Muscles that haven’t been used in nearly a decade are coming back to life! What the doctors said couldn’t happen is happening! Fox 34 News in Lubbock ran a YouTube video about my story called, Young Girl Fights For Strength After Hip Surgery. People take notice when healing begins! They rally, they support, they applaud. 

Are you sick physically? Maybe you’ve taken a hard blow emotionally? It’s likely that you have a deep wound somewhere… I assume this because you are a human being. (Maybe except a few of my family and friends in Roswell! We come in peace!) ; ) 

The pain inflicted upon me one year ago is still raw. Yes, I have been able to get up and walk. Yes, I have regained a bit of strength. The stitches are still there. It hurts when you poke it. Some things cause it to throb and ache.

Often I am too strong for my own good. Rarely do I admit to pain. Right now, I confess to you that it hurts… gosh dang it – it hurts! It still requires a bandage. I cover up the wound when I go out and about. By the end of the day however, it needs to be cleaned. It needs to be re-bandaged.

Thankfully we worship the Great Physician. He is capable of treating our wounds with the most amazing care the world will ever find! And, He does all of this for FREE! We just have to let Him. I hoped for, prayed for and expected instant healing; of my hip and of my heart. That’s not how the Doctor wanted to work.

Have you also prayed for that wounded place in your life to be miraculously healed. Get angry when it didn’t happen how you wanted it to? Mad because you still feel as if you are in intensive care and not getting better? Does God work that way? Yes. Does He always? No.

I have reached the conclusion that sometimes He might actually want us to put forth a little
bit of effort.  We have to be willing to go through the healing process. There is so much to learn during that season! Often, myself included, we throw a pity party simply because it hurts. We refuse to get up. We cry demanding that the Doctor do something about it “this INSTANT!” When He doesn’t, we become angry and bitter.

Lying in that bed longer and longer only makes us weaker… There must come a point when we choose to believe that the Doctor really does know best. His goal is to make His patients better. This week, my heart is aching. I know yours is too. Rather than get frustrated and grow weaker, I encourage you to get up. You can do this. There is a chair nearby in which you can find rest.

I can walk. I can ride a bike. I can pick up my little siblings. I can skydive. I’m not still lying in that hospital bed writhing in pain. There are still days when I feel the pain, but I am not where I was before.

Hand it over. Trust the annoyingly-happy therapists that come into your life and make you move. Something like Heavenly magic happens when we choose to believe that God’s strength is perfected in our weakness. That He might actually choose US to make HIMSELF look good. Wow! What an honor we have! 

Your heart might be in therapy for a long time to come, but, it’s getting there! Nearly three years since the last surgery and I’m still healing. Fourteen months since my broken heart and I’m still healing. It is a process. It comes in stages. It takes time. Don’t quit going to PT. Don’t quit checking in with the Doctor. Don’t give up on your own healing. Claim it. Work towards it. 

By His stripes, He won your healing and your heart. You can do it. Swing those legs over the edge of the bed and stand. His amazing grace hasn’t failed to uphold you once, has it?

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