Sunday morning I woke up barely able to move. My back was locked up. Again. Geoff took the kids to church and then called me afterward to let me know they were headed to the church picnic.
A couple of hours later, my phone started ringing as I was recouping in an Epsom salt bath. My husband had dislocated his elbow playing a pick-up game of volleyball. Turns out he had gone for a dig with his arms extended, when a teammate backed up on his arm, hyper-extending & dislocating it. His team made the side out (yay), but Geoff was lying on the grass unable to get up.
His yells of anguish quickly got the attention of everyone around. It was one of those moments where I wish I had been there to support my man, but was a tiny bit thankful I wasn’t because I know it was awful. (It was hard enough seeing him lying in the hospital bed, still in pain, despite serious medication. It was even worse watching him elevate off the hospital bed in excruciating pain, under sedation, as the doctors reset his elbow. Sniff.)
Yesterday Sara sweetly asked Geoff why he told our kids he was “fine” when his arm was twisted and hanging limp by his side. We both laughed so hard we cried. Poor girl was even more confused by our response. (Grin.)
We reassured Sara her dad hadn’t lied. Of course he wasn’t fine in that moment, but everything was going to be fine in the end.
I have to believe God is the same way with us. He sees us in our moments of pain, whether physical, emotional, or spiritual, and assures us we are going to be ‘fine.’
Unfortunately, it’s difficult to believe God when the situation before us is screaming the exact opposite.
I won’t lie. The past few days have been challenging for all of us. It would be easy to focus on the negatives of this situation.
The physical pain Geoff experienced. The positive? His pain meds are working.
Geoff can’t use his left arm. The positive? He’s right handed.
This is the last week of his sabbatical. The positive? It could have happened at the beginning.
We were hoping to enjoy doing some fun things with Sara while our older two are off at summer camp. The positive? We’re getting creative and finding things Geoff is still able to do with us. And we are having a fun and laughing. A lot.
Geoff is unable to do a lot of things without help. The positive? This time I get to nurture him and be the care provider.
The ER has traumatic memories for both of us after I miscarried our twins just two years ago. The positive? Our kids prayed us through; and, as a family we are stronger for having gone through the experience together.
Tomorrow we meet with an orthopedic doctor to determine how badly Geoff’s tendons and ligaments were damaged. It’s still really swollen and surgery may be on the horizon. At the very least, we are looking at months of physical therapy and recovery.
Not what we had planned. But God’s got us covered. He will get us through this, and we will be stronger for it.
I’m so thankful for our church family who quickly jumped into action to pray for Geoff, transport him to the ER, look after our kids, and bring Geoff’s car back home. I’m also thankful for the amazing team at the hospital who took such great care of my husband. The doctor on-call actually called both of us yesterday. He wanted to let us know he’s been thinking of Geoff and wanted to make sure he was able to get an appointment with the specialist. (Don’t you just love people like that?!?)
So, friends, where does life find you today?
Does your arm (life) look like it’s anything but fine?
It’s OK to let out a scream of anguish. In fact, let it all out.
We know this life will bring us troubles. And it’s important to allow ourselves to feel and express the pain. We don’t have to pretend to be ‘Super-Christians’ who are immune to pain. (‘Cause, reality check, we aren’t.)
Life hurts. A lot.
So, go ahead, acknowledge and feel the pain.
But please don’t stay stuck there.
Verbalize the negatives and then seek out those positives.
I promise there are hidden blessings waiting to be found.
Press into the pain, press into God, and then allow Him to bring you through the pain.
It may take time. You may need to get support from others. But you will get through this.
You will be stronger on the other side of this pain. And, in the end, you will be ‘fine.’ (Even better than ‘fine.’)
Photo Credit: Geoffrey D. Ivey / St. Vincent Hospital, Portland, OR / August 9, 2015