When Easter Feels Overwhelming: Sometimes It Gets Worse Before It Gets Better
Bonnie Gray is author of Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul To Rest, garnering starred review praise from Publisher's Weekly, named as one of PW's top 6 notable new religion authors. Bonnie is a featured contributor at (in)courage and her writing is nationally syndicated, spotlighted by Relevant Magazine, Catalyst Leadership, Today's Christian Woman, and Christianity Today. A UCLA graduate, Bonnie has been a missionary, ministry entrepreneur and Silicon Valley high-tech professional. Bonnie serves up shots of faith for the daily grind on her blog Faith Barista.com. Bonnie lives in Northern California with her husband Eric and their two sons.
- 2013 Mar 26
"You see, there are two very different types of hope in this world. One is hoping for something, and the other is hoping in Someone." ~ Pete Wilson
I didn't see it coming.
I went to bed like I always had, ate dinner with my chopsticks and brushed my teeth just fine.
The next morning, I got dressed and drove into work as usual. Logged into my account and started checking my emails.
I started typing.
Needles of pain shot through my wrists. My fingers felt numb and tingly, like they'd fallen asleep. Confused, I tried to mouse and click around. My forearm started hurting even more. My fingers refused to hit another keystroke.
Two hours later, I found myself sitting in front of a doctor who specialized in treating work related injuries.
"You won't be going back to work for a while. You have RSI (Repetitive Stress Injury). Might be carpel tunnel syndrome. We won't know yet, until you get some therapy."
How long will I be out? I asked, thinking a day or two.
When it all was said and done, combining full and partial disability, my road to recovery took nearly three years.
Getting Better Or Getting Worse?
When I first started physical therapy, I was very optimistic.
I was determined to heal fast. Take my meds, get my therapy, do my exercises and wear my wrist braces.
The problem was healing isn't a linear process.
I was progressively hurting more week after week. My pain extended to my upper arms, my shoulders, neck and even my back.
Was I just falling apart?
My physical therapist Tom educated me. You're actually getting better, even if it feels like you're getting worse.
Tom drew a swirl of concentric circles on his note pad. He said that healing is like peeling an onion. He said that I had ignored the fatigue initially in my muscles so well, that it caused my body to compensate in other areas.
Pain, Tom explained, was a healthy indicator that my body was finally speaking to me.
My path to recovery was to swirl out first -- to understand exactly how far my injury went.
Tom gently pointed out that as one muscle group got better, I would start feeling the pain in other areas that had been masked on top of the other.
I have found myself in the same condition for many Easters.
I wanted so badly to celebrate the joy of Easter Sunday resurrection, I ignored the layers of stress and unanswered questions from my everyday life.
The Saturday In-Between
Don't get me wrong, I've been filled with joy for Jesus on Easter Sunday, in praise and thankfulness for the sacrifice and love He poured out for me on Good Friday 2000 years ago.
I am always brought to tears meditating on the suffering our Lord endured emotionally, physically and spiritually by taking up the cross. But, I was often heart heavy waiting to taste the power of resurrection in some difficult circumstances.
It seemed whenever I thought of Easter, I thought only of Easter Sunday -- the celebration of resurrected life -- or Good Friday -- the death Christ suffered on the cross.
"Saturday... It seems like a day when nothing is happening.
It's a day of questioning, doubting, wondering and definitely waiting...helplessness or hopelessness.
Is it possible that Saturday is actually a day of preparation?
... Saturday was the day God was engineering a resurrection."
My One Thing
This year, I'm celebrating Easter Sunday with a lot of my story resurrected from my "Saturday" life. Not in a way where everything has worked out. A lot of the questions I've been asking for a very long time haven't been answered.
In fact, some of the problems I've asked God to solve haven't gotten better.
But, I have learned one thing through my time in this extended season of waiting.
That one thing is this: Jesus' love continues to be one thing I can always say yes to.
In lieu of answers and resolution, I had to continually make a choice. Do I let my pain and hurt shape my faith -- or do I take my faith and run into the arms of Jesus?
This has been my greatest joy: Not that my life is perfect, but that I can choose love -- because Love chose me.
I've been able to find when I couldn't possibly wait any longer in dissonance and lack of closure -- the love of Jesus continues to heal me, carry me and attract me to Him. I can continue choosing to love God, love others, and pour myself out -- even in weakness and imperfection.
All because Jesus loves me.
Because of the cross.
I had given up hope of ever getting better. Then I got up one day, not feeling any pain.
But, it took me many years to get to that one morning.
I will always remember who got me through it.
It wasn't hope in recovery. It was hope in Jesus.
I don't know how long our Saturdays will last, friend.
But one thing I do know, Jesus has walked that Saturday into eternity for us.
His love will never leave us and His love will get us through to our Easter Sundays.
He knows all about the Saturday-in-between. And He won't leave us all alone in that time of waiting.
He loves us all the way.
"The God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ,
after you have suffered a little while,
will himself restore you
and make you strong, firm and steadfast."
~ 1 Peter 5:10
How is Jesus speaking to you this Easter?
Pull up a chair. Click to comment. Give voice to your thoughts on the journey of faith with me today.
Bonnie Gray is an inspiring Christian writer and blogger, offering encouragement to keep faith fresh in the daily grind. Her writing springs from the belief that the beauty of faith often takes place when life goes off script. Bonnie is the Founder of FaithBarista.com and featured writer for Hallmark subsidiary DaySpring's (in)Courage. Bonnie is currently working on her debut book, to be published by Revell Books. Bonnie is a native Californian living in the heart of Silicon Valley with her best friend Hubby, wrangling their two heaven-sent boys on the homestead.
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