Hello, friends! It has been awhile. I hope that all of you have had a wonderful summer and my friends in the South haven’t suffered from a heat stroke yet! I’d forgotten that August here is almost hotter than June or July! This summer, I have been pondering how far the Lord has brought me. I am so thankful that He doesn’t leave us as we are, but teaches and grows us.
About a month ago, I was walking and thinking about how far I’ve come. How far the Lord has brought me. Seven months ago, I could not walk without my immobilizer (who was affectionately named “Peg.” Yup, we name everything!) Six months ago, I could hardly walk with Peg. My right leg was so weak that it was easy to see how much smaller it was than the left. For months, I worked hard at physical therapy and doing the exercises at home. Then, slowly, the progress started coming. To start with, literally all we did was take Peg off, I would stand on my left leg, and then slowly transition some of my weight to my right leg while someone held onto my knee with their hands to keep it from moving side to side. I would try to keep my knee from shifting out, which made my leg look like a “C,” or inward towards the other leg. Over and over again. Slowly, I could do the exercise without anyone holding my knee. Now, my legs are officially the same size and I can walk without any bracing! I am trying to build up enough strength to walk farther because I struggle to walk a mile at a time. But goodness gracious, what an improvement! It still makes me so happy!
It has been not quite a year since my shoulder first came out of the socket. Since then, I have had thousands upon thousands of dislocations and subluxations. One day, I believe it was last October, I decided to count how many times it came out in a day. I stopped counting at one hundred thirty. ONE HUNDRED THIRTY! Since then, I have seen multiple orthopedists and been in physical therapy since December with little breaks here and there, the biggest one being when it was dislocated for seven weeks. That was the longest seven weeks of my life! The hardest part was there was no end in sight, no one knew what to do, or I was just told I was doing it on purpose. One doctor even recommended I see a motivational speaker. Seriously?!? For a dislocated shoulder due to severe muscle spasms?! Mama and I walked out of that place frustrated and laughing. What’s a motivational speaker gonna do? Motivate it back into socket?! Needless to say, I’ve gotten some interesting suggestions! 😉 Now, my shoulder is in the socket. What a relief-I’ve never been so happy to see a perfectly round shoulder in my life (it was a weird square shape dislocated)! It is still extremely lax and comes out of the socket with any movement. We’ve tried bracing, but they aren’t tight enough to hold it. So tape is my new best friend! Peretto, the amazing physical therapist who got my shoulder back in the socket, discovered that, by taping the mess out of my shoulder, I have a significantly better range of motion. It is incredible! Taping has literally changed my life!
Then the doubt creeps in. Satan, whispers, “A year ago, you had no idea. A year ago, you had a little joint pain, but nothing like this. A year ago, you did not even know what connective tissue or a subluxation was. Look at you now. What if you didn’t have EDS? Think of what you could do! You poor thing! Now you are forever doomed to live in pain.” (I know, I can be a little dramatic, but doubt is a dramatic thing. It makes the molehills into mountains by making everything a worst-case-scenario.)
I start to feel sorry for myself, sad that I can’t do more than I can, and the future becomes bleak because it is dampened by doubts and “what ifs.” Isn’t it crazy what doubt and fear can do to you when they take over? I am only beginning to realize what an affect the mental state has on the physical state. The Lord made our bodies to do amazing things, but no one ever did anything amazing by giving up. So, what if I flipped those feelings back around? What if I let faith and hope take over instead of fear and doubt?
When I face hard things (as in anyone in life must), I grow. The Lord uses everything for a purpose. He does not leave us as we are. He grows us. He changes us to be more like Him. It is often painful. We must die to ourselves over and over again. Elizabeth Elliot used the analogy of an acorn. An acorn must die for there to be a magnificent oak tree. But no one ever looks at an oak tree and wishes for the acorn. That is what the Lord has done with EDS. It has changed me, it has grown me, it has taught me lessons I never would have learned otherwise. And I am thankful.
Sometimes I look at this fragile body of mine and I am frustrated. I want to run. I don’t want to be so fatigued that it is hard to function. I don’t want to be in pain. Then the Lord shows me- I am fearfully and wonderfully made. He knit me together for a purpose. He allowed me to have EDS for a reason. And I am thankful.
This summer, I have been reading The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. It has really made me see things in a different light. I love it! It is a little bit hard to read because you have to think about it, but it is worth it! One thing that it has really made me realize to a whole new level is this- don’t be distracted. I am distracted. So distracted. But in my distractedness, I am missing out. If I am distracted, I am as good as not here. If I am distracted, I am not doing what the Lord has created me to do. We have a higher purpose than being distracted. So I am trying to get rid of things that might distract me from living in light of eternity. My big one is my phone. If I am mindlessly scrolling, I am not investing in what matters! Now, phones are wonderful, they allow me to communicate with people I wouldn’t otherwise be able to. But, scrolling through Pinterest, Instagram, or Facebook more than once a week is distracting and unnecessary. So, I am trying to be less distracted so that I can honor the Lord with my time. Also, I highly recommend The Screwtape Letters! 😉
Thanks for reading this long, squirrely blog post! Happy Sunday!