“Life consists of learning lessons and passing tests.” ~ Francis Frangipane
I broke my leg again this week. Stress-fractured it. Again.
(Sometimes I say “knee,” because that’s where the fracture is — at the top of the tibia, where it connects with my much-operated-on knee.)
The first time was in February of this year. I had to stay on crutches – no weight-bearing – for over three months. I’d only just started walking on my own, and now it’s broken again.
I wish I had a great story about how it happened… that I was doing something really exciting or adventurous. Or even that I survived some terrible disaster. But I wasn’t – I didn’t. I don’t really know and neither does my doctor.
Our best guess is that this repeat stress-fracture is caused by… well, too much stress on a bone that’s already had enough of it. I had six surgeries on it a few years ago, and it’s supposed to be healed. It looks like it’s healed, on the x-rays and the MRIs. It feels like it’s healed, until suddenly it doesn’t.
Hours after I was diagnosed, I was on my way to a speaking engagement – a women’s retreat. All weekend I was so focused on accomplishing what God sent me there to do. It wasn’t easy, but I’ve been in these kinds of circumstances so many times before. I was so absolutely confident that Jesus would be there and that He would give me the grace and the strength I needed. And He was. He did.
Now I’m back home and facing what — for me — is always the hardest part. The hundreds of minor little trials, frustrations, and exasperations caused by my now-limited mobility and the realities of everyday life. Facing the fear and the pain and the discouragement and not being defeated by it. Being patient with myself and others. Not grumbling or complaining, not throwing myself a pity party. Being wise – instead of stubborn and determined to do things I can’t or shouldn’t.
Letting go of all my plans, my expectations, my hopes and dreams for the next few months, especially those that are now totally unrealistic. And yet not wasting even one of the precious days I’ve been given.
[Believe it or not, I just wrote a book about this. It’ll be out in March: What Women Should Know About Letting It Go. Guess I’m getting more opportunities to practice what I preach!]
Instead of thinking about spending another three months on crutches, I’m looking for what I can learn from this or how I can grow through it or how God can be glorified somehow in the midst of it.
Right now, I’m reminded of how often we think we’ve healed from something life’s thrown at us. It looks like we’ve healed. It feels like we’ve healed. And maybe we have. But there’s a weakness there that we may not see. All it takes is the right amount of stress or pressure and things can crack or splinter.
The reality is that we’re not Home yet. We’re not completely and forever healed yet. Sometimes we go through stuff that leaves us walking with a limp, like Jacob. Battling a thorn in the flesh, like Paul. There may be things we can do to guard against our weaknesses, protect our vulnerabilities. Strengthen and improve. But not always.
Some things are beyond our control. No amount of effort on our part can prevent or circumvent or determine the outcome. All we can – by the grace of God – control is our attitude, our response.
“Our walk with God progresses from learning lessons to having what we just learned tested… How do we pass the tests of God? There is only one answer, one result that guarantees our triumph: to become more like Jesus in the midst of our test.” ~ Francis Frangipane, The Stronghold of God pgs 44-45
Earlier I shared one of my favorite poems about passing these tests – “In School” by Susan Coolidge. Looks like I’m going back to school this fall… I’ll keep you posted on what I’m learning. I’d love to hear what you’re learning, too.
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