This first quarter of 2015 has been anything but dull. On January 9th, one day before my 60th birthday, I awoke
with debilitating pain from my buttocks to the bottom of my foot. Now, 10 weeks later, the neurosurgeon I waited a
month to see has told me to just go back to my normal life and if I hurt again, come back to see him. Otherwise, he
couldn’t help me, even though the MRI showed a herniated disk. Don’t get me wrong. I am very thankful I am no
longer in that awful pain. And I am so ready to get fully back to my life. But you’d think he could have shown a little
compassion and given me a few minutes that didn’t feel like I was a bother to him. I went prepared with questions
and left with most of those unanswered. He simply didn’t have time for me. Obviously, he is only about
the surgery! What makes it even more aggravating is that he isn’t the doctor I asked to see, but that’s another story
for another time.
The MRI didn’t come until I had a steroid shot, a steroid pack, and 4 weeks of physical therapy. I just wasn’t getting
better so we had to search deeper. During these weeks, I had an almost permanent frown on my face from the pain.
Looking in the mirror was a disheartening event. I felt like I had aged 10 years. 60 seemed like 100! My best friend
became an ice pack and I won’t even tell you how many ibuprofen I have taken since January 9th.
After about 20 years of teaching Bible study, class had to be cancelled 3 times due to the crazy weather we have had
here in eastern North Carolina. I’m sure there have been other cancellations, but other than when Les died, I honestly
don’t remember one. Yes, it did cause some loss of momentum in our study, but it also allowed me time to heal. It
was hard to lead the class in that pain, but I was determined to keep going and the time off was a welcomed relief.
I know it didn’t snow and ice just for me, but the timing couldn’t have been better!
During some of the most difficult days, I had dinner with a nice gentleman whom I had never met, but my sister knows.
I had not been out to dinner with a man other than Les since I was 19, so it was scary, nerve-wracking, and exciting all
rolled into one. My old-feeling self needed the boost it gave. He said I was even more beautiful than my picture! And
this was after I had hobbled into the restaurant and squirmed to find a comfortable position, all the while trying not to
grimace too much from the pain. During these past 3 1/2 years, I have felt anything but beautiful. Lost, confused, loved,
scared, content, unattractive, lonely, happy, sometimes invisible, but never beautiful. In fact, that might have been the
first time a man ever used that particular word to describe me. Jesus sees me as beautiful even though I’m not.
My heart on its own is ugly. Anything “beautiful” about me is because of Jesus. But those words did my heart good.
They were balm to my weary soul and once again, the timing was perfect.
Down time gives you the opportunity to reflect on your life. What difference are you making? Does your life reveal
the love of Jesus or the love of self? It helps you become aware of some of the sharp edges that still need to be rounded
by laying your life on the altar and following Christ in obedience. In the quiet, we are able to hear His still, small voice
as He speaks truth and life into us. Life is loud and busy. It is easy to get wrapped up in the things that don’t really
matter and that causes us to miss the things that do. Sometimes, God sets us in a spot that may not comfortable, but
is made just for us. He does that because He loves us and wants to spend some real time with us. There is always
something good in the midst of what doesn’t seem so good! We just have to be willing to see it.
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces
endurance, the ability to bear up under. And let endurance have its accomplished purpose, that you might be
more and more like Jesus.” (James 1: 3-4, Sharon’s version!!)
Lots of love, Sharon