I did not intend to take the entire week off.
But, it happened.
I was forced.
Sunday, we decided to forgo church. It was a beautiful day, the boys were getting along--it was delightful. "I'll just tidy up a bit." I began to sweep and saw some dust bunnies beneath a small side table. I bent low to scoot the table over.
(translation: I killed my lower back and made it very angry with me) I've never felt pain like this. Having three babies was a walk in the park.
A slightly OCD, ADHD, neat freak mom with three little boys doesn't do well being forced to sit.
Sit and stay and not move and not pick up those Legos and cars and half eaten crackers and rumpled socks and that stick laying on the floor. Not clear surfaces and get snacks and make beds and fold laundry and clean coffee grinds out of the sink. Not walk, not bend, not anything.
This was not on my to-do list for the week.
My first thoughts were all about me: Really? How stupid! Who is going to care of everything? What about the kids? What about work? How am I going to pee?!? How is the world going to survive with out me?!?!?!?!
Me, me me. As it should be--pain usually turns our focus inward.
But now, four days later--my focus has settled on where it should be. Not on me--but outward. On God. On my husband--who bathed me, helped me on and off the potty and didn't blow up the house. On my children--who are more than capable. On others--who stepped in and up to help, for which I am so grateful.
It's hard to remember, and to accept, that everything happens for a reason.
Have you ever been bent low?
Let me tell you a story: Way back in 1991, I tore my ACL playing high school softball. I had orthoscopic surgery, but as time went on, my knee was still giving me problems. So, in 1997, the doctor said it was probably time for reconstructive surgery. Since I was in college, the best time to schedule it was during the Christmas break. I could stay with my parents during my recovery and they could give me the help I would require to heal properly.
I was on crutches for two weeks, physical therapy for another two. My mom had to help me in and out of the shower. Quite humbling. My life was on pause for a month. No biggie, let's watch lots of movies. Plus, my mom is a great cook.
So, I had been bent low, yet, I didn't know the real reason.
It was Christmastime, so I went to church with my parents, a lot. I had no choice--I was on crutches, remember? There were carols, it was dark and it smelled like pine. A man got up to speak and tell his story. I cannot tell you what was on my mind just before, but what happened after he spoke, changed my life forever. He was all blah, blah, blah, and then I heard, loud and crisp and clear, "Jesus died for me and he died for YOU."
*@#!&%$#@!*!#$%@*!! There is was again. That sharp pain. This time it was in my heart. I heard. I understood. I wept. I believed. I was born again that moment. Forced down low. Unable to take care of myself. I hobbled out of that church a new, different person.
It took a while to shed the skin of my old self. I'm still shedding. Sloughing off the old bits and dust that keeps me from being the best I can be. And every now and then, God helps that shedding process--ushers it in--forces us to become low.
I was born and raised in the Episcopal church. My home town church was the Good Shepherd. I remember seeing images on a banner of a shepherd with a little lamb draped atop his shoulders. I read once, not sure where: A shepherd's job was to protect his flock. He would use any means necessary to help keep them safe. If there was a wayward lamb that constantly strayed, the shepherd would gently break its leg. The shepherd would hoist the lamb upon his shoulders and carry him. The lamb was forced to give up his will and depend on his master.
I was that lamb. The Creator of the universe forced me to bend low. Whoa.
Are you being forced to bend low?
Is it physical? Emotional? Financial? Relational?
It's tough. I know. I had plans for this week. A husband and kids and a household to run. A job and errands and stuff that needed to be done.
When the pain subsides, stop and look. Listen. Why?
There's a reason you've been forced to bend low.
Hang on. Hold on.
Sit and stay.
I'm right there with you
The Good Shepherd and His Sheep
“Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.
Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” JOHN 10:1-18