Fight or Flight

I haven’t updated on my hips in a while, and for a while that’s because there wasn’t much to tell. My recovery was going well, my pain was manageable, and I felt really good about things. I last saw Dr. P for a check up on May 11, and he confirmed that I was doing great at 6 weeks post-op and that I should continue doing physical therapy. However, somewhere along the way since then, things have gotten worse. The pain started to creep up. I ignored it at first, thinking it was temporary. But then I started to have problems in physical therapy. I didn’t feel like my pain was getting any better, and any time the therapist tried to add new exercises, I struggled and had increased pain. This week my therapist actually called my surgeon and explained the situation, and now I’m scheduled to go see Dr. P this Friday morning. At 12 weeks post-op, I didn’t expect to be in this situation, especially since the surgery on my left hip was less extensive than on my right hip. I had already been discharged from physical therapy at this point post-op with my right hip. To complicate things further, the pain I’m feeling is different than what I’ve felt with my right hip, AND my right hip has been quite achy as well. Basically, things are discouraging in every possible way, and so with the physical pain has been added emotional pain.

I have found myself wishing that I could just run away from my problems, but it’s hard to do that when my problems are within my own body. I’m tired, deep-deep-down-in-my-bones tired, and I want to forget all of these problems exist, if just for a day. Unfortunately, I can’t run away from my pain because it’s literally a part of me. If I can’t run away, what choice is left? I have to fight:

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. -Ephesians 6:10-18, ESV

Though I am weak and do not feel like fighting, my Lord is strong, and He will be my strength. I have to focus on what I know to be true when my feelings are lying to me and telling me that I’m all alone, that no one understands, that there’s no hope. So I fight by choosing to believe that God is good and loves me and wants good for me. I fight by choosing to stay in His Word when I’d rather do anything but read it. I fight by choosing to pray when sometimes I feel like all I can do is cry, for I know that even when I do not know what to pray, the Spirit prays on my behalf with groans too deep for words.

What is the result of all of this fighting (besides lots of crying)? The Lord has met me in my place of despair. He has been kindly and gently showing me that He walks with me. I am not alone in even my darkest nights of the soul, for there is nowhere my mind can go that Christ has not already traveled. There is nothing that He cannot understand. He was tempted fully and yet resisted completely. Not only that, but He suffered in ways I can never begin to fathom, so that I could be rescued from hell and spend eternity with Him. Jesus asks much less of me than what He gave for me. What a comfort, what a gift!

I will be honest: the temptation to sit and wallow in my misery has been great, and I have done my share of that. The only thing that has kept me from succumbing to it completely has been the grace of God, holding me fast. He who began a good work in me will carry it to completion. He wants me to grow in Christ-likeness, and this path is an opportunity to learn that most important of lessons. And honestly, would I learn any of this during a season of relative ease and comfort? Maybe, but probably not. Charles Spurgeon said it well when he said, “I have found that there is a sweetness in bitterness not to be found in honey; a safety with Christ in a storm which may be lost in a calm. It is good for me that I have been afflicted.” It is only when I am at the end of myself that I know I can do nothing without Him. It is only when I am so desperately in need of Him that I realize I needed Him desperately all along.

I wish I knew if one day all of this will be a distant memory. But it is not for me to know the future, only to trust in the One who does know. So I trust, and I fight.

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