For when dreams increase and words grow many, there is vanity; but God is the one you must fear.
Remember the old adage “if you love something set it free and if it is meant to be it will come back”? It was one of those sappy clichés that made its way on to posters in the 70’s. It was usually right beside the poster of the kitten holding onto to the rope with the phrase “hang in there baby!”. I think everyone I knew had a copy of one of those posters. Can I just say that it still gets an eye roll from me when I think of them. Oh brother. I remember the optimism that I felt when I set a boyfriend “free” in high school and waited confidently for him to return. NEWS FLASH. He didn’t. He was obviously meant to be with someone else. And I have spent more time “hanging in there” over the last decade than I care to admit. By one fingernail. Over a moat filled with crocodiles. Who are starving.
I admit that I hold on way to tight to things that I want. Even when everyone around me is telling me to let go, I dig my heels in and clench my fist all that much tighter. Especially when it comes to dreams. You know the ones. Write a book. Get that job. Earn that degree. Buy that house. Swim with wild dolphins. Ok well maybe your dream is not quite that big. But you know what I mean.
A few years ago I decided that I wanted to run one of the Disney Princess races at Walt Disney World. Maybe even race on both coasts. I set out on a training plan, racking up the miles learning to run. To some that may not be that big of a dream. You wanted to run? Cool. Well it wasn’t quite that simple for me. I’m 55. Overweight. Struggling with insulin resistance. And….drum roll….I hate to run. Even a little. But I persevered and finally knocked out a 5K at the end of the first year. Then a doctor gave me Cephalosporin which has the strange side effect of causing your Achilles tendon to rupture. What? Yeah. Who knew. So a surgery later and a year off to recuperate and I started up again. This time I actually registered for the 10K at WDW. For this February. In a month. I also registered middle daughter so she could run with me.
Well you know what’s coming next don’t you?
Two weeks ago I felt a twinge in my back. And then another and another until I couldn’t stand upright. What the heck? Muscle relaxers and pain pills weren’t making it any better. Can I just share a weird fact here? I am so phobic about doctors. I don’t like taking pills to cover up the pain. I want to heal what’s wrong. I want facts. I don’t want guesses. I have had so much go wrong in my life when doctors guessed and misdiagnosed and prescribed the wrong drugs and botched a major surgery requiring three more surgeries. So yeah. I don’t have a lot of faith in doctors. My newest doctor, because I had to find a new one because my old one moved away and there is only one doctor in a 50 mile radius who takes our insurance (don’t get me started on that debacle), has not endeared himself to me with his constant desire to put me on some new medication in spite of me telling him that I am a “crunchy” grandma and I don’t take any medications long-term. If I am at the doctor’s office then there is something seriously wrong and my essential oils can’t fix it. He told me to take ibuprofen and call him in two weeks if it wasn’t better. Thanks. For that I paid you?
Enter phase two and a good friend who recommended her chiropractor. He got me right in where it turns out that I have an extra vertebrae in my back, an L6. (The irony here is that my spine is longer than most people’s but I am ridiculously short!) Also my L5 has fused to my pelvic bone on the left side. Combine that with arthritis all up and down my spine and a twist at the neck C1 which is pinching a nerve and I got another doctor to say “well you don’t see that everyday”. If I had a nickel for every time a doctor said that to me…….
So you know what I did? I made sweetheart drive across the street and I took my overweight insulin resistant self to Baskin Robbins where I had a 3 scoop banana sundae with extra nuts and whipped cream. (Which made me sick as a dog because I gave up sugar and bad fats and gluten and anything that tastes good 3 months ago but it was worth every spoon full)
Now I know what you are thinking. Why would I want to run 6.2 miles anyway? And you would be correct in thinking that I am a little bit wacky for holding on to that dream when I have so many other things I need to be doing. Like finishing my college classes and writing articles for the ministry and taking care of house and home. Or that I shouldn’t be upset because I am blessed in so many other ways. And you would be right. I am blessed. More than I can say.
I wanted God to bless the dream. I wanted Him to tell me He would heal me. That what I was doing would bring glory to Him. But deep inside I knew the truth. I wanted to do it for me. I wanted to do it so everyone would tell me how wonderful I was. I wanted to do it so that I would be cool in front of my grand kids. I wanted my friends to be impressed. God was pretty much on the outside of the circle that surrounded that dream.
So yesterday He pried open my clenched fist and I watched the dream filter through my fingers and disappear in a flurry of sparkling fairy dust.
Truthfully I don’t know what is next. The doctor says I can run again someday. I want to. But that’s up to God. Strangely I am not that upset. I know in my heart that there is a reason. God knows the tomorrows while I can only see the right now.
So my prayer this morning came from the Psalms which is where I go when my heart hurts and when I don’t know what to say to my gracious Heavenly Father.
O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise you.
So I will bless you as long as I live;
in your name I will lift up my hands.
I will lift up my hands which will be filled with nothing so that He can fill them up with things that only bring glory to Him. And if my hands stay empty that is ok. Because it’s easier to raise empty hands to the sky in praise to Him. Stay tuned tomorrow for a review of a book that God dropped in my lap last week. It’s about my favorite subject in the whole wide world. Hint? Think tomatoes and cucumbers!
©2015MichelleWelch, team member of Breath Of Life Women’s Ministries
photography by Michelle Welch, all rights reserved
English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.