It’s midnight, way past my usual bedtime, but pain meds have a way of keeping me up and making me groggy at the same time. Since breaking my leg in a soccer game three weeks ago, followed by surgery a week later, I’ve had plenty of time to consider what faith looks like in a season of trial. We’re right in the middle of one.
Rewind to right before the fateful game: I was at the apex of stress. I had two upcoming business trips in July and August, a massive book launch, and a book deadline. Emails. Oils classes. Singing in a wedding. General life scheduling and hosting and cooking and cleaning. My eyelid started to twitch and a quick Google search confirmed: I was stressed and fatigued.
It takes a LOT to get me to that point. I am generally a high-capacity person. But I found myself spending evenings on AirBnB, searching for a cabin in the middle of nowhere for us to escape life, if only for two days.
In this state I went to my soccer game and, in the first five minutes, fractured my tibia in two places. It was the worst pain of my entire life (and I’ve had two natural childbirths). Josh rushed me to the ER where I was told I would need orthopedic surgery in a week. July 3rd, I went in to have a plate and eight screws added to my skeleton.
For the past three weeks our community has cooked, cleaned, and cared for us. Blog readers have sent me coffee gift cards, mailed care packages, and even donated money to cover the cost of the surgery (which was extensive). I have been enormously blessed. God gave me the vacation I needed!
Yet, it has been a difficult season to accept.
Anyone who has followed me long knows how much I believe in grace-driven productivity. I love routines, and I believe discipline really blesses us with freedom. Work and productivity give me great joy! I love tending to my home, my business, and my kids.
But in these last three weeks, these things I love have been set aside. I have five more weeks to go on crutches or in a wheelchair, and more therapy after that. I will not be back to normal for some months. My life is nothing like it was before.
We have had tough seasons. When we moved to Pennsylvania at 36 weeks pregnant (and Addie was born 5 days later). When Josh lost his job in the 7th month of our pregnancy with Eva. When I went 3 weeks overdue with Eva and struggled with depression. When our marriage sank to its worst state of all time. My continual struggle with chronic illness. These seasons taught us a lot, and this is just another step in that process. But it’s also the most challenging trial I have faced to date.
For the first two weeks, I couldn’t bend my leg or move without assistance. Because of this, I couldn’t even put on my own underwear. Josh had to dress me. One morning as he went to get my clothes, I lay on my back with tears streaming down my face. All I want is to do SOMETHING for myself, and I can’t even do the most private, basic things. In that moment, I realized the depth of trust I would need to make it through this season with joy instead of sorrow.
I fully realize that a broken leg lands pretty far down the totem pole of suffering, but as I shared on Instagram, what’s extremely difficult for one person may not be as difficult for another. I’m not someone who likes to sit on the couch all day watching Netflix. This is not fun for me. Pain is pain, loss is loss – we don’t compare it. What God is teaching me through MY version of hardship has a lot to do with relinquishing control and trusting His goodness, even when everything in me wants to despair.
So when my circumstances mean I can no longer:
- Keep my house as clean as I want
- Accomplish the fun summer I had planned
- Enjoy the northern Michigan beauty at the beach
- Attend a convention with all my Young Living friends
- Choose my own clothes
- Have my bedroom back
- Sleep without pain
- Meet certain deadlines
- Do things for myself…
The real question is not, “How soon will this be over?” but “Lord, show me Yourself in this season.”
2 Corinthians 4:7-9 says,
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”
Paul goes on to say that the LIFE of Jesus resides in us. That the little deaths we die to ourselves, to our plans, to the Way We Wish it Were – these allow for a transfiguration. The rending of hearts, in God’s kingdom, is always followed by restoration.
Paul finishes by saying,
“All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.” (2 Cor. 4:15)
Perhaps you’re in your own “fiery trial” and the idea that it’s “for your benefit” sounds absurd. I get it. I didn’t ask for this. I didn’t ask for anything we’ve gone through in the last few years. But if you’re reading this and encouraged, that’s GRACE reaching “more and more people” so God may be glorified. And chances are, the more you press into the sufficiency of such a grace, the more your story will encourage those around YOU.
Sometimes I sit on my sofa and think about another day and feel that familiar lump in my throat. “When can it be normal again?” is a human question.
But maybe God isn’t after normal.
Maybe he’s after holy. Maybe he’s after strong.
Maybe asking “How soon will this be over?” is keeping us from the greater work of grace He’s attempting to do.