When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. (Isaiah 40:2)
There is a danger in saying that I am writing “after a season of struggle,” because it implies an end to trials. Ha.
My current book project has the working title Beyond Surviving. This stems from my observation that when women emerge a safe distance away from an event or series of events which caused emotional or physical trauma, some of us experience an awakening in which we realize we have exited survival mode and can enter a new phase of reflection and emotional healing. In that phase we are better able to process through our pain and what we can learn from it about ourselves and God.
In July of 2013, I underwent a “routine” surgery in which a surgeon performed a critical error. That error prompted five additional surgeries, culminating in a rare and risky reconstructive surgery in February of 2014. It was a brutal surgery and an even more brutal recovery, with painful spasms and chronic infections. For two and a half years I lived with the palpable fear and conscious awareness that my life was in peril.
On February 11, 2016, two years after the reconstructive surgery, I had an intense reaction to seeing the date on my calendar. It took me days to decipher the constant flow of tears. For two and a half years I had been on ready alert, checking my pulse, monitoring my body temperature, noting any unusual twinges of pain. Finally, on that two-year anniversary date, I realized that I was, at last, safe. God had carried me through the refining fire, and I was out of its flames.
When we are in survival mode, we must give all of our attention to surviving – emotionally, physically, spiritually. Just getting through the day requires all we can muster. If you are in that place, sister, keep going! I pray that something I say in my posts can provide you with some hope. But know that I do not expect my words to resonate with your spirit. I am writing from the other side of where you are now, from a safe distance away. You will get to that safe place, one way or another. Trust that. Cling to that.
There is a danger in saying that I am writing “after a season of struggle,” because it implies an end to trials.
One week after the two-year anniversary of my surgery, just seven days after the realization that I was safe, I was in a four-car collision while stopped at a traffic light. I was the fourth car hit, so I anticipated the collision by bracing myself and tightening my grip on the steering wheel. I emerged from the accident with whiplash and a jammed elbow. The whiplash lifted with treatment. But the elbow injury damaged my nerve, which six months later, continues to send continual electrical impulses down my arm into my fingers. I have been told by two doctors in the last week that this will require surgery to correct.
Surgery. Again. The fears are rushing back. Of the six surgeries I had in 2013, three of them went dangerously wrong. Surgery? Again?
The season of struggle does not end. But we serve a God who does not grow weary of carrying His children through the fires. So today I lift up my arms like my daughter used to when she was a toddler and say, “Carry me, Daddy. I’m scared.”