EDITOR'S NOTE: I wrote this following post in the days after being discharged from the hospital. Since writing it, I am actually finally starting to experience some healing (praise God!) and we have more answers from doctors (though it has been a fight to get them) and believe the culprit was in fact a kidney stone (though they originally ruled that out). However, I still wanted to share this post as a way to document where I have been and how God has been pulling me through it...
With my newfound condition that has left me inundated with intense pain, I no longer think of time in terms of things like days or weeks or months. Now, I count in hours: How many hours it has been since I felt “normal.” How many hours since I was able to sleep without crying from the pain. How many hours since I last took my medicine to numb the pain.
It’s a cycle punctuated by fragments of sleep followed by a time of recovering from the pain and resting from the pain and then a time that feels like nothing is wrong at all. But it all only lasts a handful of hours and then repeats itself so that each day is compilation of these fragments, over and over.
For instance, I used to sleep at night. I used to sleep for eight or nine hours at a time. But now, my body no longer cooperates with that schedule. So whereas I would have been asleep right now for nearly five hours, I’m sitting up with the lamp on, typing up a blog post because that’s how I’m learning to adjust to this new lifestyle of mine. And then when I would normally be packing my husband’s lunch or washing up the dishes, I’m instead passed out on the couch because the fatigue has finally hit me.
I don’t say all of this to elicit pity. I say this because I am slowly learning to accept this new place and pace of mine.
My instinct is to fight against my body and force myself to sleep right now, at nearly 3am. But I as I lay there, in pain, I decided to just listen to my body and get up and wait until my body is ready to lie down and slumber. It may only be for two hours at a time and over the course of a day, it may only total up to five or six hours total. But I must accept it for what it is.
It reminds me of the time when my husband and I started practicing keeping a Sabbath in our schedules, a day that was committed to relishing and remembering and rejoicing in the Lord. At the time, one of the things that was most difficult to me was not being able to do things like rinse off the dishes so that the crumbs would get stuck and I’d have to end up scrubbing twice as hard later. As I watched the dishes pile up in the sink, I cringed at what all I’d have to do later—and it seemed like more work than if I hadn’t taken the Sabbath.
And that must have been exactly how it was for the Israelites, too, when they looked over their fields or at their sheep and saw all that needed to be done and yet yielded from it for the sake of the Lord. They yielded because they trusted that God would make up the difference, he would make up for the lost time and the lost effort, he would make it all work out—even when they took one day off to not work for it themselves.
I remember that as I sit here and think about all the sleep I’m losing. I have to trust God to make up the difference somehow, to multiply my efforts like the fish and loaves that didn’t make sense and yet still satisfied. I have to trust that God is at work in this season of pain and inconvenience and uncertainty and suffering. And that he is—most of all—at work in my heart through it all.
P.S. (Just so you know, I have finally managed to sleep through the night, but it did take more than a week to finally get to that point! More on that and how I'm recovering soon!)
Carmen writes the blog, Life Blessons, which provides an intimate look into her life as a twentysomething woman as she details her experiences learning how to live out her faith, enjoy the simple things in life and be the woman God created to her to be. Along the way, she shares the blessings and lessons that are a part of this journey, the things she likes to call her "blessons."
Feel free to learn more at her blog, Life Blessons.
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