Monday, November 28, 2011

It Is Well With My Soul 2 - The Only Way is Through the Storm

My last post ended with a pulled muscle. What happened next?  I spent three years visiting doctors around my state, but no one knew what was wrong. As soon as I tried to start exercising again I’d pull a hip muscle.  Eventually, I went to a big clinic in Seattle and they told me that I was in the bottom 5% of all athletes in flexibility. They also said that if I didn't stretch and exercise regularly I’d wind up functionally cripple by the time I was 40. 

Well I never was able to sustain any type of exercise program.  I’d get started but then I’d have muscle trouble. Over time I got all caught up in the busyness of job and family and stopped doing my stretches, too.  That was plain foolish… my tight muscles caused back trouble. I had back surgery in 2000 and missed a quarter of the school year.  At this point I thought I was “all better” and was able to walk for exercise.  Even though I was faithful with walking, in 2005 I started having hip trouble and was diagnosed with an autoimmune that attacks the connective tissues and joints of the body, Ankylosing Spondylitis, or AS.  At least we found the source of all the muscle problems! My real relief came in the form of a physical therapist. She was the fifth one I’d tried and she was awesome! With her help I was able to become active! I could actually walk for an hour, bike, ski, dance.  I’ve continued to have stiff and challenging muscles, but I’ve made incredible improvements.

I thought I was home free until June of 2010 when I pulled my hip flexor (same one by the way) and it just wouldn't heal.  I spent the summer trying to rest it. My poor daughters, they spent the summer fetching and carrying for their mother!  When the school year began I still couldn't walk on it so I had to start in a wheelchair! I’ll never forget the day I wheeled into the school office, looked at the secretary and my teaching partner who were standing there and burst into tears. I couldn't believe it had come to this.   

“This is not my life!!!” Have you ever said that? Have you ever demanded a refund? “This is not the life I picked!!” That’s where I was at. I was an active, athletic person--not a cripple! I’m determined, but all the determination in the world wouldn’t help me. I couldn’t tough my way out of it. The only way was through.  I desperately needed God.  This is when I learned to embrace the old hymn, “Whatever my lot, thou has taught me to say, it is well, it is well with my soul.”  It’s the moments when we are desperate to change our circumstances, but are powerless to do so, that we find out who our God is.
More to come……

“It is Well With my Soul” by Horatio Spafford
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

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