Think back over your life. What have been the “ah-ha” moments of your life? The times when you have found yourself changing the most? Usually it’s after a big life event. Starting college, getting married, having your first child, or fourth, starting a new job, becoming an empty-nester, or maybe even losing a loved one.
We can all pinpoint times in our life when there has been a moment when life will never be the same again. A time when really, you don’t even want it to go back to the way things were because you know what the process and change that God has brought about in your life, was worth it (in the end that is). Let’s be honest, who likes the process?
That’s what I’d like to call chiseling.
This time of recovery has not been easy. At all. I’d love to sit here and say that everything has gone smoothly, that my days are filled with utter bliss and rest. Far from that. I sometimes feel I am on this endless journey of healing. I was told it could take at least 6 months to fully feel like myself. Guys, that is a long time if you really think about it. But in the grand scheme of things, it is just a snippet of my life.
Before my first surgery, I really wanted to get our Christmas picture taken. Not that I feared not being here, but just for the mere fact that I wanted to work on addressing them during my recovery. Even though I was going to be pretty much on the road to good health by November 30 after that surgery, I wanted to make sure, just in case. That’s my planner self coming out at it’s finest.
Then my world snowballed. My life, hanging on by tubes and medications. Then surgery #2 happened.
I have still upheld my desire to address my Christmas cards during this recovery, but I have a hard time looking at that picture (below). I sometimes find myself addressing the envelope and then quickly stuffing the card in the envelope, not wanting to even look at it. It’s this picture that I truly treasure, yet it’s a picture that I look at and don’t even recognize who I am. At times, I’m not even sure I know who I am – because God is doing a great work in me.
I look at that picture and see 3 bright smiles. My beloved family! Call me narcissistic, but then I glance over at myself. I see a scar that is barely noticeable, until some form of light bounces off of it. But I also see a body filled with fluid that I had no clue I was carrying for years and years. A body dragging, struggling to hold the very childI hold, the very child I gave birth to, 2 1/2 years ago. Just look at her smile! Little does she know, that her mama’s heart, so broken and battered, is needing repair? This is the last family picture we took before all of our lives were changed.
For the better.
But I also don’t recognize that person because internally I not only have a new cow’s valve, but a large part of my spiritual heart has been chiseled away at as well. Like I said, I sometimes don’t even recognize the person coming out. I cry so easily. Moments that to many would slip away, I hold onto so tightly, as my emotions get the best of me. Life is just too fragile. My heart yearns to see others love and come to Christ. My heart internally screams on behalf of those who are struggling, to keep holding on. It’s worth it. Don’t give up.
God is teaching me that I’ve had a lot of things wrong. The things I cared about before, during this time of my life, just aren’t as important as they used to be. The latest styles – when all I can wear is my revolving closet of button up shirts, well, I have 3. That’s all I’ve got folks! Oh, I threw in a cardigan the other day and that seemed to work. 4. That extra flab of skin – I don’t recognize my skin and bones, but the flab I once cared about, well, I am just thankful to be alive. My body looks like an artist’s tapestry, painted all different colors with bruises and scars. I hope to never obsess over that little flab that showed up unexpectedly one day, but just care about taking care of me overall. That toy on the floor. I feel for our family, less chaos on the floor of our house, the better we all function, but to the extent I had it before? Maybe not so much. I can’t clean (but boy am I blessed with a mom who so givingly and graciously stays on top of that for me), I have a hard time picking up toys, and dusting, well, my body doesn’t allow for the movement. And here I sit all day everyday, with it staring me in the face. And it’s GREAT and GREAT for me. God knew I needed a little dust in my life.
Believe it or not, I have spent LESS time on Facebook and Instagram and I’ve never felt more “free.” I know, commiserate with me that I spent enough time on those social media sites that I felt I lost “freedom.” Do you know the bondage that those sites can have on you? It’s called comparison. It’s called guilt. It’s called mom-guilt. It’s called envy. I suppose call it what you want, but what are ALL of the reasons you are on those sites? Don’t get me wrong. I get my daily dose of what my peeps are up to and seeing what’s new. But I’m not checking NEAR as much as I used to. Thanks to the hospital when I physically couldn’t even scroll through my phone. And I’ve found since being home, it’s something I don’t want to revert back to (cross my fingers). More or less, this girl just needs a lot of prayer!
There is a whole lotta chiseling going on. And I should say, this idea I did NOT come up with on my own. I shared this video on my Facebook page a few days ago. It’s from the Skit Guys (icons in the youth ministry world). It doesn’t need explaining. If you need any chiseling done in your life, just grab a Kleenex too, okay? Check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3QCkBL2DfVg
Well now I want to go back to this picture:
I am not the same person. But God created me in HIS image. I am physically broken and spiritually being made anew, and God is NOT done with me. If anything, all of this has taught me that God is NEVER done with us. God needed to take a hold of my life once again, and do some serious work. It’s not easy. It’s been tearful. It’s been hard. Forget the physical pain (okay, it shouts at me if I don’t take my meds, so maybe not forget it…) Sometimes the changes God wants to do in me, is much harder. I’ve believed lies that our world has told me and I’ve allowed them to become my worldview. Instead, I want GOD’S WORD to shape my life. I’ve allowed the excuse of busyness to take time away from God. I needed this down time to help me refocus. To truly allow the words of His Word, to envelop my heart. To rework it. To chisel it back into the person He created me to be. I AM HIS MASTERPIECE.
Wow. Thank you God, for loving me enough, to not leave me where I’m at.
Dan has often said when asked how he’s been holding up during my surgeries: “I’ve given up trying to hold myself up a long time ago. God’s holding me up.” That has really challenged me, his very own wife. I can’t do ANY of this alone. God’s got this and He’s got me.
What does God need to chisel away at in your life?