Well, I hear you! I have been there and far too often! And when we hear those things while we’re going through those things, we often want to strangle the person saying them to us.
But here’s the thing… as much as we don’t like it at the time, they’re right! God is right! And it makes ALL the difference when we turn our attention to what God says and not what our circumstances say.
I have extremely twisted scoliosis in my back. My spine looks like a Formula One racetrack with really amazing bends in it. I’m 3 inches shorter today than I was 10 years ago, and yet I haven’t reached the ‘age of bone degeneration’ yet. I’ve known about this since I was 13, and it has taken over 30 years to get to this place.
Because of it, I have always been hyper-conscious of my spine and the fact that my hips are at different heights because of it. I stopped wearing dresses or skirts because the hem line accentuated my hip levels and when I was in labor with my girls, I refused the epidural, an pain relief injection made into the spine itself, because my spine is not normal and I didn’t want the doctor to get it wrong.
It is something that I have always just accepted that I have, even with the physical aspect showing, until it started crippling me about a year ago. I got to a place where I was in so much pain in my lower back and hips that I could not stand or walk. It was at that point that I started to seek some relief from it all. I started seeing a chiropractor and having massage therapy twice a week.
The chiropractor took the first set of x-rays I’d had since I was 13 and I watched his jaw drop in amazement. He was shocked that I was even standing before him. I should be wheelchair bound.
The treatments started to relieve the pain I was in and I was learning what I could and couldn’t do. But I was believing, along with many of my godly friends, that a miracle would happen, my spine would be straight and I would be functioning fully again.
For the last year, I have just been in pain management mode yet living life as best I can. Daily my pain usually ranges between 5 and 10. When it’s raging at a 10, I can’t think straight, focus on anything, or do anything and there certainly isn’t much ‘joy’ – ALL I can feel is pain and it’s crippling! When it’s at a 5, life is manageable. There had been zero days in a year of treatments where the pain wasn’t less than a 5.
Over the last month, my prayer request to God and to others changed. It’s no longer the miracle of a straight spine I want, it’s for the pain to go away. I have lived with the curvy spine virtually all my life, but the pain – that’s what cripples me.
Two different sets of friends laid hands on my back recently and prayed over it. The first set of friends did it at a time when my pain level was at a 10 and instantly it reduced to a manageable 5. I was overjoyed! The next time, a few days later, friends laid hands on me when the pain was at a 5 and while it didn’t change at the time, the next day I woke up with ZERO pain for the FIRST time, and for the last two weeks, my pain levels have been between zero and 3. THAT’S a miracle!!!
-A week ago, I had new x-rays done at the chiropractor, and I was still expecting a miracle of my spine being straighter and better and so on. For a year, I had been hopeful and believing that it was possible. But that’s not what happened.
My chiropractor looked at me with all seriousness and said it was time I considered spinal surgery. (For a chiropractor to suggest that, it kind of another miracle, because they just don’t do that!)
I left his office deflated, dejected and pretty much feeling hopeless. I had hoped for, prayed for and believed for the straightening of my spine for a year. People were praying for that for me, people were standing beside me on this. So, why hadn’t it happened? Where was God? Was I meant to live my life getting worse and not better? Is this my thorn to bear just like Paul had a thorn to bear? After all, he prayed and prayed but he still had a thorn to bear… Into pity party mode I went… for about 2 hours…
When my husband got home from school that day, he had stopped to buy me a get well soon card, he was full of hope still, he still believed, he had lived this with me yet he was still filled with hope. My closest friends had seen the pictures I had taken of the x-rays and they were praying and hopeful still too. What was I missing?
I called my GP and made an appointment to see her the next day, to look at options. I decided (it was a conscious choice I had to make) that this was just news! Not great news, but just news. I STILL had a GREAT God and He was going to deliver on His promises to me that I had a purpose and a great life in Him. He was not going to let me down. This was just a new season and I could enter it grumbling or I could enter it with the freedom that comes when we truly TRUST God. I decided to take this news to Him, and leave it at the Cross. Jesus died for me and this I know very well.
My GP had sent me for a CT Scan of my back in December and had previously referred me to a spinal surgeon, but based on the massage and chiropractic care, and my pain having been reduced to an average of 5 at that time, and of course me believing in full recovery and a massive miracle, we decided to cancel the referral. And now I needed it again… so, she asked her assistant to make a new referral.
The day after seeing her, I received a call from her office. I had a date to see the spinal surgeon! And it was within two weeks! That was unheard of!! I was absolutely stunned at how quickly God was working on this news! It turned out however, and I believe this was totally the grace of God at work, that while we had decided to cancel the initial referral, it never was cancelled!! When my GP’s assistant called to place a new referral, the assistant on the other end of the phone said “I was just about to call you with a date for Adriene”. Now THAT is a God thing! He saw it coming, knew it was coming, knew I would need it, and it is ALL God!
I haven’t seen the surgeon yet, but I will be soon. I don’t know what she will suggest or what my options are. But I can tell you this… my faith has been tested, challenged and increased. I was once so freaked out and afraid of my spine being touched by anything sharp in case something went wrong, but I now see a God who has me in the palm of His hand and won’t let anything happen to me that isn’t in His plan for me. I am able to REST with complete peace that God is in control and that my life is in His hands. And I think that’s where the joy of the Lord being our strength comes from… in trusting Him. Having complete and total confidence that God knows what He’s doing and while we go through things that don’t make sense and we have hopes and dreams and prayers that can take what seems like forever to come to pass, we CAN live in joy while we’re waiting!!
Did I? Nope… not completely. Am I now? Oh yes!!!! Thank you Jesus for the lessons and the blessings!! You, my God, are so good to me even when I cannot see beyond myself!!