My son had an emergency appendectomy last week that required a hospital stay. When he came home, it was clear that his recovery was just beginning. At first, all he could do was lay down. He’d make progress and then his pain would increase. He was resistant to doing even simple things that would help prevent complications in his recovery because they were uncomfortable. Yet, we encouraged him along, validated his discomfort before pressing the need to be proactive and celebrated his tiny victories.
After a couple of days at home, I realized that his returning to normal would be a longer process than I had first anticipated. We kept moving slowly forward while counting our blessings for all the “could haves” that didn’t happen. And then, when I thought I could not make it through another night of interrupted sleep (how did we survive the infant and toddler years again?), my son took a big leap forward. He started interacting with us again, his clever wit was back in play and he wanted to delay his pain medication doses. It was sweet, and it felt like perfect timing even if it was completely unexpected. Of course, there is still much work to do in his recovery, but I think some of the hardest parts are behind us.
The experience has reminded me of my own healing – though in regard to a very different affliction. As I’ve walked with Jesus toward becoming the “Melanie” He created me to be, I’ve had slow starts and unpredictable leaps forward. I’ve begrudgingly done the right thing and then realized the abundant grace involved in Him cheering me on. I’ve experienced complete newness in an instant and liberating depths of understanding and compassion that only unfolded over the course of time. I’ve wrestled with God in muddy ditches and been surprised by lighter loads that served as affirming sign posts along the way. And I’m not done yet.
None of our journeys look the same, but we are all on one. None of us have the exact same combination of physical, emotional and spiritual bents and wounds, but we all have experiences, expectations and wrong thinking to surrender to Jesus. We are all called to healing. In that, we can all relate and cheer one another on no matter where we are in our own journey.
This is a time of year that makes some of us more aware of our wounds. It’s also a time of year that causes some of us to pause and take account of how far God has brought us, just how much He has healed and changed us. May He be at the center of it all.
Whether healing from an appendectomy, acknowledging the hurt someone inflicted on you or unpacking the ramifications of choices you’ve made, healing isn’t easy. No one is exempt from the hard work and surrender required. Becoming who Christ created each of us to be is a lifelong journey that takes endurance.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. – James 1:2-4
I think that endurance comes from God’s Spirit living in us, from supportive spouses who give us room to attend to our hurts and from living in a sometimes messy community with others who desire to become who God uniquely made them to be, too. Wherever you are on your own journey, know that you are not alone. There is much to be celebrated. You are to be celebrated! Cling ever closer to Christ and be amazed at the wholeness He offers you. Becoming who He created you to be is the best gift you can ever give your spouse, your kids, your family, your friends and yourself!