*This may be a futile attempt to explain what has been going through my mind since the day I realized that healing had (finally) found me, but here is my best shot…*
restoration – freedom – joy
These are words I’ve heard, I’ve spoken, and I’ve studied in my walk with Christ, but through my journey over the past 6 months, and especially in the past month, Jesus has brought them to life. Recently I was telling a few people a piece of my story, and I realized in that moment that I had hit the 6 month post-op mark, and honestly it took me a lot of restraint not to cry ugly tears of joy that the struggle is over. But one question that has lingered (after abandoning the “why did this happen” question) is “What if this hadn’t happened?”
Without going through the sleepless nights, the tear-filled mornings (and afternoons and nights), the unrelenting pain, and the darkness that seemed to surround me throughout the days, would I have found my way to knowing my Jesus as I do today?
Because today, I feel alive. I feel as though I have seen and experienced the Lord in ways I never knew were possible. And in response, I want to shout to the world that my God is so good. My God is powerful. My God is Jehovah-Rapha, the God who heals.
In the pain and the recovery I’ve walked through these past 6 months, I’ve accepted that I will never get back to the me that I was when this year began. I’ve realized that God has not only restored my physical health; He has done a new thing in my spiritual life…and Hallelujah for that because y’all I am overflowing with gratitude and joy like never before. So I’ve come to this place of accepting that I won’t be who I was, and the incredible thing is – I don’t want to. I wouldn’t trade this closeness that I feel with my Healer, even if the trade was to never have gone through what I did.
I’m thankful for that part of my life. I’m thankful for this newness in my spirit that I can only explain as the Holy Spirit filling more of my heart than I honestly thought possible. I’ve realized that even in the absolute misery and pain I felt, God was carrying and sustaining me (Isaiah 46:4). Every minute of every day He would pick me up and guide my feet as I put one foot in front of the other to just keep moving.
As amazing as it is to look back and see the strength of God keeping me going, I felt a little (or a lot) uncomfortable being in that state of dependence. Being someone who loves control and independence, it was difficult to feel as though I was giving that up because it felt like I was giving up my freedom along with it. But let me tell you now how completely wrong I was.
The freedom I gained by realizing that God can handle me (all of me) much better than I can handle myself is far, far greater than the appearance of independence I felt before. He can handle my life. He can handle my pain. He can handle the honesty of my anger and frustration. Realizing this helped me to see that the independence I claimed as freedom for so long was just another chain keeping my heart away from the very One who knit it together (Psalm 139:13). I don’t need independence, I just need God. This is freedom.
So I want to encourage you. You who lives in pain, temporary or chronic. You who is weary or weak. You who is fighting to stay above the waves. You who is struggling with anxiety or depression. Trust in God. Abide in His presence. Hold tight to His promises. And whenever you, like myself, catch yourself thinking “I can almost see the light at the end of this dark tunnel” please just look up. There is not only light at the end of the tunnel, there is light more powerful than any darkness in the tunnel right where you are. You are not alone. Depend on the Lord of your life, and when He leads you out of that tunnel, remember that you now have a testimony to share. You now have a reason to walk outside, freedom in hand, and shout to anyone who will listen “Look how He lifted me.”