August 02, 2017

on sciatica and choosing joy

By nature, I am a positive, happy-go-lucky person. I tend towards sunshine and bright colors and kid giggles. Therefore, I like this blog to be about happy things- kids, easy crafts, good food, fun adventures, and the general blessings of day-to-day life.

But right now, life is a little rough.

I have been in pain for the past five weeks, with no end in sight, and it just plain sucks.
I am experiencing sciatica in my left leg and my lower back, so I cannot stand for more than a couple minutes or walk (hobble, really) more than a few feet before the pain is too excruciating and I have to sit down. It also makes sleeping difficult.

I have had multiple massages and chiropractic adjustments, as well as acupuncture. I have seen two primary care doctors and two physical therapists and tried five different creams (including cannabis cream) and four oil blends; heat and ice and epsom salt and every stretch in the book as well. Additionally I have been on a high dosage of ibprophen to take the edge off.

I have cried more in the past month than I can ever remember crying- sometimes due to pain, but more often due to frustration.

BUT, God is good. All the time.
He is teaching me so much through all this.

My first lesson was to accept this pain, count my blessings, and choose joy. 
(Coincidentally- or not so much- our church has been doing a series on joy. I have yet to listen to any of the sermons. I should probably think about doing that.)

I am ashamed to admit that my first reaction was anger. I have been frustrated that this pain is seemingly keeping me from a fun-filled summer with my family, and robbing me of the ability to fully be a mom and homemaker.
I would give anything to be able to stand in the kitchen long enough to make brownies with my kids, or to take them to the park and not have to sit on the bench, or stand in the shower long enough to wash my hair, or even to vacuum a room without having to fall down on the ground in the middle of it and lay there for a few minutes taking deep breaths before I can continue.
I cancelled my gym membership (meaning no pool days this summer) and cancelled a family vacation and a trip with Lane.

But I realized that instead of being frustrated and angry, I need to act out of joy and gratitude. In the grand scheme, this trail is nothing. I am still blessed far beyond what I could ever deserve- a handsome and loving husband, four healthy, sweet kids, a comfortable home, wonderful friends and family... on and on the list goes...

In the interest of saving time (I could write a novel on all the past month has meant for me and this post is already too long) I will bullet point a few more reminders that the Lord has been giving me:

- God wants me home to enjoy this time. At first, I accused God of robbing me of a fun summer with my kids. I like to be on-the-go all the time, and I would have been, but I now see that He instead has blessed me with a time in which I couldn't leave the house, or focus on housework, or really do anything else beside to sit around and stare at my beautiful baby and watch my kids play (and write blog posts, apparently). That is not my style at all, but that is what I am learning to do.

- God timed this just right. If this had been during the school year, or when we had a tiny newborn, or when we were moving (or while we were doing all three of those things this past spring), it would have been especially awful. But as it is, God allowed this to happen during a time when I could be home to deal with it.

- God provides. Our wonderful neighbors moved out this past week (we will miss them so much!), but they gave us a HUGE fun pirate ship to play with, a swing set, and some other fun, new toys. So the kids have new and exciting things to do at home! Not to mention, we have a nice big yard to play in finally!
We have also been blessed by such an incredible community of people who have been praying, bringing meals, and offering their help. We are so thankful for our friends and family, and another huge lesson for me has been to humbly accept help (something I am not good at).
(also not good at: writing thank-you notes. sorry about that. working on it, ha!)

There are just a few things God is reminding me of (along side what constant prayer looks like, how to listen to His voice, giving myself some grace- this post really could go on forever!), and I hope this short list is encouraging to someone else as well!
I don't know how long this pain will last, but I understand that this is where God has me now to teach me so much about Himself.

Trials are no fun, but they sure are a blessing!

PS two years ago
five years ago (evidently blogging doesn't happen much in August!)