Tuesday, March 3, 2015

We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.  Hebrews 2:1

My toe drifted. I had the surgery, did what I was supposed to do, the surgeon did what he was supposed to do, and my toe...drifted. 

When I first noticed the "leaning" I talked it over with the doctor. I remember him telling me,"You have very aggressive scar tissue!" It was said almost like a compliment and as though I had actually had something to do with the internal growth that was now crowding my toes. Maybe I did.

You see, I am good at "scar tissue." I am good at building "walls." Because of some painful things that have happened to me at an early age, I am really good at creating barriers that are very hard to break through. And I can feel it when it begins to happen. 

I feel myself closing off, shutting down.  Granted, sometimes it can be a very good thing. Some of the barriers that I have created have stayed, and will stay, in place. I know they're there for a reason and I am not ready or willing to spend time trying to take down something that is protecting me from pain, heartache, distraction, and emotional destruction. But there are times when we don't want the scar tissue to grow. There are times when we need to be soft, sensitive, and malleable. 

I tried massaging my toe. I tried exercising it, even ignoring it. (that was obviously NOT going to help anything, but I hoped it would just...pop back up) Physical therapy helped a little; the therapists did the best they could.  But any time there is a cut into the skin there is a scar. And that, my friends, is about the extent of what I know about scar tissue medically. I do understand from my own experience, that some people develop really strong scar tissue that can harden and become a real problem. The tissue can take over and undo any positive work that had been done by the surgery. It's as though there is a whole new problem because of the attempt to heal. 

So more work needed to be done to my foot, my scar, in order for it to be properly aligned. A new incision had to be made and thus a whole new wound! "How do you know more tissue won't grow?" I asked the surgeon. I thought it was a very good question. I mean, if I tend to heal rather radically, won't you just be throwing a party for the scar tissue to invite its rowdy friends to come and set up camp in my foot? How then, did the surgeon respond? He had a plan. His plan was to rid my foot of the aggressive, damaging growth and then to have me walking and moving it immediately, therefore not allowing any further development. Up and walking right away. I liked the sound of that. I liked it a lot. 

But then came the pre-op consult. I knew when two doctors entered my room that something was different. Upon reviewing my new x-ray, the decision had been made to insert a rod (they call it a pin) into my toe extending into the foot in order to hold it in place while it heals. The dreaded rod. Again. You see, there was more work to be done on my scar. I couldn't manage it all on my own; I needed the support of the rod to stabilize it. A rod to guide my toe in the direction that it needs to go in. Correction. Guidance. Stability. 

We are all familiar with the many references to the "rod" found in Scripture. The one I always lean on is from Psalm 23:4, "Even when I walk through the darkest valley I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me." The idea of a rod comforting rather than being used for discipline appeals to me very much. So along with the surgery has come several weeks of being non weight-bearing. Granted, this time there are no broken bones, fewer stitches and swelling, and much less pain. But I am still home, out of the loop, not driving, and not doing a million other things. But I am doing exactly what I am supposed to do. I am being obedient.   

For it's sometimes when we are not obedient that we find ourselves drifting. We allow the scar tissue of life to grow and to move us off the path that has been established for us by God Himself and onto a path designed by one who wants you to stumble. The enemy would much prefer you to have no ability or desire to follow God's plan for your life and he will make it seem very desirable to stray from it. 

I had second  thoughts about having this surgery. Doubts about the success of bringing my toes back into alignment. But I had to do it- you see, the one toe was causing the others to lean as well. Because it would be easy to hide behind the scar tissue. I could create a multitude of excuses to keep me from allowing this rod to correct me. But then I would be out of alignment and unable to function fully and with confidence. And because of my mis-alignment, others may suffer. 

So I am here, I am being obedient, and the rod is in its proper place. I learned yesterday that it will be removed soon and that the joint is clean and free of the damaging tissue. And little by little I feel that wall, that barrier, coming down. Just enough to let the light of the Savior shine in and out. Obedience has a way of doing that. 

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