I broke my toe two years ago. Actually, it was Election Day, 2012, to be exact. I know this because, not only was it Election Day, it was the day before I was to leave for Nashville to attend the Lifeway Women's Forum. Crashing into a suitcase in the wee hours of the morning turned into a bit of an inconvenience. After dragging my foot around town in search of a boot, then to the doctor for x-rays, then to be fitted for the by then much-needed boot, (somehow managing to squeeze in standing in line to vote) then back to the podiatrist for a deeper inspection of the multiple breaks, I headed home and limped my way to Nashville the next day. You see, I was determined. I was not going to let the injury keep me from the blessings that were waiting for me in this gathering of Christian women from all over the country. The injury would not prevail-- the glory would be given to the Lord for the ability to...go. In hindsight, I probably should have stayed home. And healed. I was injured.
As time marched on, or in my case, limped, the toe and foot began to give me...issues. Pain and such. It continued to swell, to ache, and it caused me to change the way I walk. Having kept the boot, I dug it out a few months ago and reluctantly eased into it. I didn't want to wear it. It was like taking a step backward. Admitting defeat. Opening an old wound. Here we go again.
The boot and the pampering didn't work. As much as I wanted to avoid it, I needed to take action. But it would mean multiple processes applied to my foot-- breaking bones, inserting metal pieces and parts, A ROD STICKING OUT OF IT! Did you hear me?? A ROD!
There are certain things that you see in life that Other People have to endure. Some are things that you know you could handle easily. Others leave you wondering. Then there are those things that make you cringe. The things that make you whisper a prayer asking the Lord to never let you go through because you know, you just KNOW that you will throw up the minute you have to see it.
That's how I am about rods sticking out of conscious people. I am so very sorry that they are having to go through this and so sad that they had whatever accident has led to this and so scared that I would bump into them if I even got close and so many other things that I don't even know because every time I see them I avoid eye contact because Ow and it's A LONG PIECE OF METAL COMING OUT OF THEM. So you can imagine my reaction when the surgeon told me that I would have to have one. The very thing. The grossest. I know I must have shocked him (big understatement) when I
So here I am six weeks later. Six weeks. SIX. I know I have been not been easy to live with. Oh, I admit that right off the bat. I'd rather admit it first before anyone who has had to put up with me does. I beat them to it! But I have tried my best to be a good patient. I have done everything the doctor told me to do. I have not put even a little bit of pressure on this poor foot. Who would want to? It hurt like crazy! I took pain meds when I needed them and stopped taking them when I didn't need them any more. I elevated it (the real kind of elevation--above my heart) so that I would minimize swelling, and even though I really really wanted to ice it I didn't because I was told I was a risk for frostbite. What? Ok, whatever. I trust you. And I did ice it once I was allowed. I did what I was told. Ok. One thing. I took the splint off at night. There. Honesty. Why did I take the splint off, you ask? Velcro. Across the scars. You try to sleep. No more explanation necessary.
In all of this recovery I have received the Best Care. The very best. I can't say enough wonderful things about my sweet, patient, caring, amazing husband. He has had to see me sad and scared and weak and frustrated more in the past six weeks than in all 30 years combined. Only God has seen me like that before. Only God gave him the strength and patience to endure...me. The rod is out (according to the surgeon, the removal procedure was uncomfortable.) Yeah. I am now counting the days until my next appointment where I will possibly be allowed to begin to bear some weight on my foot. I know it will hurt. I know it will probably cause more swelling. But it will be necessary, much like addressing the old wounds. But this time, I am allowing them to heal properly.
Life is never without trauma. We endure pain and disappointment and hurt from the time we are born because we are not perfect and we are living in an imperfect world. This isn't heaven. Hear me again, I'll say it to you like you are mine:
THIS ISN'T HEAVEN.
We are going to have pain. There are going to be wounds. And sometimes the wounds don't heal well. Sometimes it's because we keep them from healing. We don't follow doctors orders or we don't follow Jesus' instruction and offer the other cheek. (Matthew 5:39) Sometimes it's because others won't let our wounds heal. When an old wound is opened up it reminds us of the past hurt. The ache becomes fresh and almost worse than the original offense, for it is a reminder of all we went through as well as the fact that-
here we are again.
To keep perpetuating the pain of old wounds is to take the healing power away from the Lord and take it upon ourselves to control it. And when we do that, we always mess things up. Folks, seek Him first. In all things. When you do that you are led to places you cannot find on your own. You will find forgiveness, grace, mercy, and the clarity that only He can fill you with. His love will consume all the voids in your heart. You will not have room for the pain.
Forgiveness is a choice. It's a choice we all face at some point in our lives, some of us more than others. I have been told that I am a very forgiving person. I should be. Not only have I had to do a lot of it in my life, I've also had to ask for forgiveness more often than I wish.
One insight into forgiveness that I have learned is that we don't have to wait until we feel like forgiving in order to forgive. In fact, if we wait until we "feel" like it, we're probably in for a long wait. Forgiveness requires conscious thought and action. It necessitates that the wounded party act upon the choice that was made, in this case to forgive. If you only say that you forgive someone, it's empty and hollow. You must follow through on your decision.
The more you leave emotions out of forgiveness, the better. Your emotions will tell you to stand your ground and wait until an apology is offered and, even then, not to give in. The enemy wants you to think that forgiving someone is a sign of weakness, losing the battle; the real battle is with the enemy!
For the Christian, forgiveness must occur. Like love, it is not an option.
"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." Ephesians 4:32NIV I have several Bibles in many translations and none of them say "when you feel like it." Believe me, I've searched.
Nor should we force ourselves to say the words, "I forgive you." It's like forcing an apology. Unless it is true and heartfelt, it is meaningless. So what does forgiveness really mean? And do we have to "forgive and forget?"
I don't think we have the capability to forgive and forget. Not in the way most people interpret it. Only Jesus does that. Psalm 103:12 tells us that, through the mercy of our Redeemer, our confessed sins are cast as far as the east is from the west. He can do that. He's God. What we can do is ask Him to help us to be like that. We can beg Him to release us from the pain that makes us pick up where we left off when we are confronted with something that reminds us of the hurt. We have to rely on His strength to keep us from bringing up the past. And He will. Because He's God.
Conversely, when you encounter someone who is hurting, you need to validate their heartache. Often you have no idea what has led them to this point. None. Only the Lord knows their heart like only He knows yours. Therefore you must be as kind and as loving and as forgiving as you would want them to be to you.
Do unto others...
Or you could just delete them. Or hide their posts. Or unfriend them. After all, they're not saying what you want them to say. They don't agree with you. So, why bother? If they can't see fit to agree with you, then just eliminate them from your electronic life. There. One click and you are free from a differing opinion. No time for that in your tidy little life. Now everything is just fine. And they are as far from you as the east is from the west. And so is their hurting heart.
Aren't you glad He doesn't unfriend us?