She sits looking at her reflection wondering where her youth has gone? A short practical hair cut has replaced her long locks, her laugh lines are now deep-set wrinkles. The dark circles under her eyes are hard to cover and the puffiness her face has developed after months of medications makes it difficult for her to recognize herself. Her eye lids have slipped down covering her eyes, that everyone once envied, making them dull. Her smile is different too. One side, slightly droops now though it is probably more noticeable to her than others.
As she reaches for a brush, her clumsy fingers send it flying off the counter to the floor. “Oh well”, she thinks, “A hair style just isn’t in the cards today”. Reaching with the other hand, she opens her seizure medication and downs the pills quickly. Soon her tongue will be numb, taste buds off and the mind haze the medication brings will begin. She thinks to herself, “I better hurry and eat before breakfast tastes like cardboard.”
She lets out a big sigh and pushes up on her wobbly legs. Tears fill her eyes as she feels the tremble. Leaning her head against the wall she questions out loud, “Why did you let this happen to me? When will this end?” There isn’t much time for a pity party though. Her bedroom door swings open and her son darts in. “Are you OK Mom?” Quickly, she brushes the tears away, remembers she needs to smile more and then does as she looks into his beautiful blue eyes. “Yes honey, I’m fine.” she answers as she puts her hearing aids timidly in her ears over the sores that have developed the past few days.
Those of you, who have walked my journey to recovery with me the past year, probably aren’t surprised to hear the woman I described in the above paragraphs is me. You may be surprised however to know the picture I painted happened yesterday. Even over a year after my injury, life can still be hard. But even though it is hard, because of God and His never-ending grace, it is never without hope.
… The story continues…
As she walks downstairs she watches her family rushing about getting ready for church. The pace is too fast, too overwhelming and well beyond her ability to keep up with. Curling up in her favorite chair she feels the cool breeze of spring wash over her face. She grabs her Bible and prays asking the Lord to carry through the discouragement into His hope. Within moments of her prayer, an idea comes. Go to the website of Joni Eareckson Tada. Yes, she ponders as her family rushes out the door, “There must be some wonderful perspective for me through the testimony of Joni…”
As she listens to Joni speak, she weeps. Only a living God who loves her would know exactly what she needs.
Joni update (click and see the beauty of God’s love for Joni, and for you and me).
With each word of Joni’s testimony, the darkness in her soul, the weariness and the sense of defeat slowly washes away. Soon the light and truth of God’s love springs forth anew. Again and again she says, “I have hope.” and remembers an inward, me focused view point often breeds a sense hopelessness. An outward focus in contrast, opens the heart to hear others wisdom, experiences and God’s transforming grace.
Over the next hour as she ponders the words of wisdom Joni shared, the struggles of the day melt away as her heart overflows with his love. When her son arrives home, she no longer needs to remind herself to smile – it comes naturally as she figuratively soars on the wings like eagles. Standing on the shoulders of Joni’s testimony and resting in God’s grace, peace was restored in the land of her soul. Hope blossomed like well watered spring flowers basking in the morning sun.
Isn’t the Lord Jesus amazing?
Just as I did yesterday (and many days before) we all struggle with sadness, discouragement, heartache and even moments of defeat. I have learned however by standing on other’s shoulders and borrowing from their steadfast faith, I can steady my foundation and refocus my heart on the everlasting hope of God’s enduring love! When we are willing to trust in the Lord’s never-ending goodness and love (like Joni) even when we don’t understand — His grace and peace will fill our hearts.
I have no doubt as I walk this journey filled with many unknowns, I will have more experiences like yesterday. I also know, that the Lord in his mercy and kindness will continue to meet me in tangible ways that fill my heart with hope, and renew my joy.
May we all learn to press into His loving arms when the days are long. May we all know that even on our darkest days – there is always hope and enduring peace! May we learn to overcome those dark moments and days by putting our hope in Him!