(By Lois Robinson)
I’m not sure if any of you have ever described yourself, your circumstances or your relationships as “What a Mess,” but I certainly have- just recently, as a matter of fact. And on the heels of that realization, I thought, “Gotta write a blog about this one!”
Below is a little summary of the set of circumstances that enabled me to have such an insight on my “beautiful moment of self messiness.” Maybe this can become a new diagnostic code in the DSM-V, who knows!
Along this physical journey there have been many twists and turns, a lot of unexpected developments and diagnoses, new specialists to meet with that I never dreamed I would have a need for, waiting rooms with people that are in deep levels of physical, emotional and psychological pain. All along, I’ve been trying to weigh how to live on mission in all these different venues God has allowed me to be in, with the very present reality of my own deep levels of pain and loss.
About 9 months ago, my orthopedic surgeon let me know that I would have to be referred to a pain specialist in order to develop a plan to manage and control the high levels of pain I live in, with the right leg and back, due to the Arthrofibrosis/Ankylosis Disorder I have. It is a collagen disorder that causes my body to produce massive amounts of scar tissue each day, which I must battle on a daily basis to break adhesions, particularly in the knee itself. Due to this condition, my kneecap frequently gets scarred down, stopping the whole right leg from having any strength at all as muscles atrophy and reflexes stop. Therefore I am in the need of the crutch(es) constantly. There is no cure for this rare condition that was triggered at the time of my total knee replacement. All I can do is continue to have surgeries each year, if I so chose, to remove all of the scar tissue and free up the knee cap, so the leg can begin working again and build muscle back. But that will trigger the scar tissue to build again from the surgery procedure. Some have had up to 15 surgeries to beat it. I explain all of this because some of you have been so kind to ask what is really going on while some felt uncomfortable asking.
So, as I went to my first pain specialist, I was VERY nervous. Though I kept saying verses, praying and talking it through with my community of people I surround myself, I was still very anxious. Here is a glimpse into my thought process. Maybe you can relate.
1. The doctor thinks I am crazy?
2. The doctor blows me off when this is such a HUGE thing in my life?
3. The doctor really doesn’t understand and takes me down a wrong road?
4. The doctor acts like he gets it but doesn’t?
........and the list goes on and on and on......
Do any of you relate to this wonderful rabbit trail of WHAT IF’s?! Notice none of it was founded on truth of any kind. Also notice how much POWER I was assigning to the doctor, as if he were the only one who could SAVE ME in this. WOW! I’m just sayin’. What a MESS!
So I went, and he was wonderful! He was very compassionate, listened to my story, reflected back that he showed he understood, made his recommendations and we both agreed to the plan. The plan was great! And it managed things as well as can be expected. I got levels of healing because of that experience.
I went each month, followed the agreed upon treatment plan with an added dry needling technique that the PA would perform into all the trigger points across my thoracic back area to control spasms. As I walked through the door last month, they informed me they didn’t take my new insurance which would mean I had to find a NEW doctor. UGH!
I also needed to follow up with my primary doctor, and the nice lady at the desk told me my primary had unexpectedly retired. I had him for 35 years. UGH!
I got new health insurance, needed a new pain specialist and a new primary doctor all at the same time! What a MESS…or so I thought.
Well, as the story unfolds, I have honestly been so anxious inside from having to find the right doctors for my particular set of circumstances. It is not an easy task. But through it all I continued to pray for wisdom, discernment and the right doctors, while I gathered recommendations and surrounded myself with community, leaning into Jesus and His promises. This last month was a very stretching time for me. The price of medications as well as doctor’s visits had climbed into triple digits each month. The new insurance had brought a whole new set of deductibles, etc. UGH? What a MESS…or so I thought.
You will hear it said over and over again here at LFA, “Jesus specializes in our MESSES!” This is a huge truth to hold onto. I know these things, teach these things, pray these things and believe these things. But somewhere deep inside me, I did not believe these truths; otherwise I would not have been giving so much power to the doctors and stressing so much.
This Hymn came to my mind today after I picked up new meds, saw the new pain specialist and made a first appointment with the new primary doctor:
1. What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry
everything to God in prayer! O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.
2. Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? We should never be discouraged;
take it to the Lord in prayer. Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer.
3. Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care? Precious Savior, still our refuge;
take it to the Lord in prayer. Do thy friends despise, forsake thee? Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In his arms he'll take and shield thee; thou wilt find a solace there.
What occurred was this:
1. Medications were reduced in price by 50% due to new insurance. Praise God!
2. New pain specialist visit was reduced in price by 50%. Praise God!
3. New pain specialist has new options to try as we go along to help manage pain better. Praise God!
4. Will visit new primary doctor in the next couple of weeks. Maybe I will update you on the blog next month!
Friends, it is not enough that God showed me where I was going wrong; I now must ask for forgiveness because it is sin in my heart that fears man and assigns them any kind of ability to save me. Only Jesus can do that, so that sin is idolatry. I must also actively take steps of repentance in these areas of anxiety and idolatry. It would be wrong for me to celebrate the insights without recognizing it as sinful patterns in my thinking that needs to be repented from.
What I do celebrate is these verses:
Romans 8:1- "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,"
James 5:16- "Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective."
Blessings to you, Friends, and be a Blessing to someone else!