Battle of the Inner Voices

What a mess.

I can't believe this is happening again. I thought I was done with hip and back pain ruling my life- telling me where I may and may not go, adding stress to my daily activities, and squashing my plans for vacation, an outdoor summer concert, or even just a trip to the supermarket. 

I've been hustling in physical therapy for months, doing my exercises at home with the diligence of a law student studying for the Bar, and I still can't walk easily. 

This is hopeless.

I can't even see the light at the end of the tunnel.

This is beyond what physical therapy can fix. I'm probably going to have to have surgery again.

This is serious.

I've been in this place before, and I regained my freedom. I will again.

It isn't fair. I work hard to take care of my body, and this is how I'm rewarded.

In the depths of great adversity, I will remember that God has always been faithful to me.

I thought so at first, but a few years ago when I had the same issue, I recovered after only two months. This time, it's been over a year. My back has probably been out of alignment for so long that it will never return to its proper place in my frame.

Prayers aren't answered in the same manner every time. Similar injuries don't always heal in the same amount of time, even when it's appertaining to the same person. Just because it's taking longer this time around, doesn't mean it won't happen. 

My body is capable of healing. It isn't stuck in place.

My case is just too unique. My doctors and therapists are merely guessing. No one knows what to do for me. 

I believe in my physical therapist, who has been teaching others about the components of the pelvis, hips, and back, her entire career. I'm in good hands. Literally.

My bones are strong, and my muscles are in tact. They're simply not working well together. They want to, but they don't know how. I will show them, with tenderness and patience. They won't learn overnight, but they'll grasp it eventually.

At times my body feels worse than it did a year ago, even though I've dedicated myself completely to overcoming this.

It sounds cliché, but it's true: Sometimes it has to get worse before it gets better. I understand that now.

What if I'm not on the correct path to healing?

If this is not my course, God will direct me to where I need to go for answers, because I've prayed specifically for guidance.

I obviously need to pray harder. I'm clearly just throwing spaghetti at the wall, hoping something will stick.

This situation is temporary. 

I am open to receive healing.

God's way is better than my way. 

I'm doing everything I can in this moment to change my circumstance and influence my tomorrows. 

My stupid, scrawny legs are good for nothing.

Despite their unrearkable appearance and lack of definition, my legs have carried me far. They've climbed The Great Wall of China, twirled across stages, and endured three surgeries. They may not be operating perfectly right now, but they fight hard to take me to where I need to go each day. They grow stronger with every step I take. My legs are magnificent.

I fill my body with protein and anti-inflammatory foods to help me acheive stability.

I'm grateful that I'm still able to go to work, drive a car, and walk short distances. 

Ha, very short distances. I can't even cook dinner for my husband, because I'm not able to stand for very long.

I'm so lucky that Mark doesn't mind helping prepare meals.

I just feel badly that he married someone who is able to do so little.

Even if he knew this was going to happen shortly after our wedding, he still would've married me in a heartbeat. Besides, this obstacle has only made our bond stronger.

I'm ashamed that he has to do so much around the house. That was supposed to be my role.

We both vowed to stick around in sickness and in health. He knows I seek to do what I'm able to, and I'm learning to ask for help when I need it. In the mean time, what a gift that he is healthy enough to do laundry, take out the trash, and clean the floors...and he does it all with a generous spirit.

Unloading the dishwasher shouldn't be this arduous.

It won't always be this way.

No one understands what this feels like. I am so alone.

Why don't you talk to God about it? He gets it. I'm pretty sure He's been through far worse. (That whole death on a cross thing?)

I've tried that, but I don't really feel him right now. I can't find him.

The presence of a storm does not equal God's absence.* Just seek Him out.
Talk to Him even when it hurts, even when you don't feel like it.

Deep down I'm mad at him for doing this to me.

Sometimes we blame God for doing things to us that we would normally send people to jail for! (Can you imagine a loving God taking you down and botching up your back? No way...that wouldn't happen.) He didn't do this to you, but He did allow it to occur. You'll discover why later on.

Illustration by:  Mari Andrew                          

Illustration by: Mari Andrew                         

I will not let my emotions lead me. This could be a benchmark moment for me. This won't be wasted. What if what I thought was holding me back is the very thing that God wants to use to propel me forward?*

Sometimes obstacles arise, because God wants to bring something about in our lives that He couldn't do any other way.* This was proven a few years ago, when I was devastated to be home in Indiana, yet again, for a third hip surgery. I now know that if I hadn't been here, I wouldn't have gone out with the man who became my husband. I won't forget the blessings that were initiated by turmoil in my life.

When I walk in the hallway or in a store, people grow impatient with me, because I'm so slow. My injury is invisible, so they can't understand why I'm so pokey. They think I'm lazy and annoying. Heck, I think I'm annoying. I'm such a snail.

Most people are so tied up in their own lives that they probably don't notice my pace and lack of dexterity as I make my way from Point A to Point B. Besides, they can walk around me if they really need to. If they find me irritating, this will help them grow their patience. I'm here on this earth for a reason. I'm here to take up space. I'm not annoying.

Tell that to the vicious woman at Target who nearly ran over me with her van as I gingerly made my way inside, sharply yelling for me to "Move it!"

I know that was upsetting, but it's in the past. I send her peace, blessings, and... perhaps a dash of restraint, so that she doesn't hurt another person- someone who isn't as strong as I am. Someone who doesn't have the love and support that I do.

Yeah, I'll pray for her alright. I'll pray for her to get a bad rash in a sensitive area...

Jenna...

Some people go through their whole lives without having to worry about walking. Why can't that be me? I should be able to take a walk with Mark around our neighborhood after dinner. I long for that so badly.

Taking leisurely walks is not my current reality, but if I keep working hard, it will be. Many people have never experienced the joys of sand between their toes, skipping, or even crawling. I've been so fortunate to have a beautiful collection of enriching experiences, even through my struggles.

I couldn't even hunt for Easter eggs this year, a fun tradition in my family.
That was pathetic.

Maybe I'll be able to next year. Anyway, I had the cutest pinch hitter hunter ever.

       My precious mom, Joni, off to a great start on Easter Sunday.

       My precious mom, Joni, off to a great start on Easter Sunday.

This is quite a battle I've been facing, and I can sense an equally large blessing ahead. I won't give up before I get there.

There just isn't time for this. I'm already well into my thirties. I want to start a family, but right now I wouldn't be physically able to carry a child in this rickety body for nine months, much less take care of one after its born. This never-ending pelvis problem is wrecking my dreams.

There is plenty of time for me to get to where I want to be.

As long as I'm alive, my body is repairing tissues, developing new cells, and restoring. I am healing as I sleep. I am healing as I breathe. I am stronger and healthier each minute that passes. My body is a living, breathing miracle. I was made to be a mother, so I will be. I can relax.

When this season is over, I will be tougher, wiser, and more compassionate.

My current situation is not my final destination.**

This timing just really sucks. 

God's timing is perfect. Anyway, is there ever a good time to be injured? I'm so grateful that I wasn't burdened by this ailment throughout my engagement, and I was able to dance at my reception and frolic through the tunnel of our favorite people, waving sparklers through the air in celebration of our new life together. I will never forget that memory. Pain and dysfunction were the furthest thing from my mind. 

I'm just so wobbly and unsteady. Walking feels dangerous.

When a child is learning how to walk and falls down 50 times, does she ever think to herself, "Maybe this isn't for me?"** Of course not! I have muscles that need to relearn the process of walking. I will keep trying with the innocence and determination of a toddler. 

In the mean time, I choose to take Jude 1:24 literally:
Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling.

I create peacefulness in my mind, and my body reflects this.

I will celebrate the small victories. A month ago I always took the elevator. Now I'm able to throw a few staircases into the mix, and it makes me feel like Wonder Woman.

All of this makes me so sad.

It's okay to feel down, frustrated, concerned, and even angry. I will not deny my experience. However, I'll remember that hardships can be valuable. I will embrace the balance, knowing that in order to appreciate pure joy, I must endure heartache as well.

I will allow this circumstance to make me better and not bitter. 

This has been a really difficult year. 

I won't paint this season solely with shades of gray. I'll remember the brilliant splashes of color that have accented each week. I'll remember the sparkling, aqua water that my nephews giggled and splashed in all summer. I'll remember the bright orange basketball they passed back and forth with my dad, husband, and brothers. I'll remember the golden rays of sunshine that melted into my skin while enjoying morning tea on my balcony that overlooks the city. I'll remember the royal blue, velvet seats of the movie theater when I saw The Big Sick with my husband and held his hand like it was our second date. I'll remember the soft pink icing of the birthday cake I baked with my mom and what a ball we had making it. I'll remember the crimson blanket that I rested on with my baby niece on a beautiful Sunday in Fairland, Indiana. I'll remember her rosy, plump cheeks and her caramel, feathered hair.

I'll remember that it wasn't all bad. It wasn't all hard.

In fact, a lot of it was wonderful, and all of it was just as it should've been. 

"Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it."
-Helen Keller

"Life is only as good as your mindset."
-Author Unknown

"I promise you, these storms are only trying to wash you clean."
-Jessica Katoff

"Remember how far you've come, not just how far you have to go. You are not where you want to be, but neither are you where you used to be."
-Rick Warren

"Trust the wait. Embrace the uncertainty. Enjoy the beauty of becoming. When nothing is certain, anything is possible."
-Mandy Hale

"Positive people also have negative thoughts. They just don't let those thoughts grow and destroy them."
-Author Unknown

 

Illustration by:  Mari Andrew

Illustration by: Mari Andrew

*Idea borrowed from Chad Lunsford's message,
"When Life Is Uncertain."

**Author Unknown

Two brains image: Shutterstock
Wedding images: Angel Canary