the time i cursed at God and He didn’t leave me

I’ve had an injured knee for about two and half years.

I had surgery for it in October (after years of exhausting all other options) and supposedly should be able to run right now.

I can’t.

At least, not yet.

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And it’s not like I was a crazy, hardcore runner before – I wasn’t. In fact, I didn’t “do” anything to injure my knee. It just started hurting one day – and then it never stopped.

I promise I’m not whining. I’m not. Maybe I am.

But hear me out: I’m extremely thankful for my overall health, the use of my limbs, the food on my table, the roof over my head, the health of my family – it’s all abundantly more than I could have ever asked for.

And I’m so thankful for it.

But chronic pain….it does something to a person after years go by. Especially when people keep telling you “it will get better in X number of months” over and over and over and months go by and it doesn’t get better and you’re left wondering why.

And chronic pain…it never lets you forget. It’s there when you turn over in bed, it’s there when you walk down the stairs, it’s there when you wake up and it’s there when you go to sleep. It’s there when you can’t dance at weddings. It’s there when you watch people play frisbee. It’s there when you fall trying to sit on the floor. It’s just there.

And now I really am whining. Sorry. Over now.

Two weeks ago, recovery for my knee took a bad turn, and not only did it scare me, it absolutely brought me to my knees.

I’d spent so much time trying, trying, trying, praying, praying, praying, hoping, hoping, hoping…

And I was just finally done. Done. Done. Done.

Done.

And I told God as much. I’m all for being real, so I’ll be real: I yelled at God. YELLED at Him. YELLLLLLLLED at Him like I don’t think I’ve ever yelled at anyone before in my entire life. (I was alone in the house. I might have scared the cats, though. I haven’t asked them.)

My angry, tear-filled rant sounded something like this, but only after I chucked my bible study onto the ground for dramatic effect:I’ve been faithful to You. I’ve done everything every doctor has ever told me to do. And all the while, I’ve read the Bible and I’ve tried to trust You and I’ve stayed positive and I’ve looked for the bright side in this whole thing and I’ve prayed and I’ve asked You for healing EVERY DAY FOR YEARS and I know you CAN heal but YOU WON’T ANSWER ME! WHY WON’T YOU HEAL ME?!”

Then I cursed. At God. With my finger pointed all crooked and accusing in His direction. Again and again. 

I know. My whole face burns with embarrassment as I write this. See my sin in all its ugliness: I cursed at the face of my Creator. At the One who loved me before I knew love. I cursed at Perfect Love Himself. At perfect Holiness and Purity. I cursed at the one I’d already nailed to the cross.

I did.

But then something even crazier and more scandalous happened.

He met me there.

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I didn’t scare Him away. He wasn’t angry at me. I wasn’t struck down by lightning. I wasn’t given an “F” on my Christian Report Card.

Instead, over the next few days, I felt Him bending down nearer and nearer, leaning in, gently whispering, “Thanks for being honest with Me. You can trust me with all of you. I love you. I want all of you. I want intimacy with you. I don’t want your mask. I already know what’s underneath. I knew every word you’d spoken to me before you spoke it. And I still love you. I always will. You can’t change how I feel about you.”

It absolutely scandalized me. And confused me. I was slightly offended, in fact.

Because I hadn’t been good. I’d been ugly. But He didn’t punish me. Things aren’t supposed to work that way, right? Not in the economy of perfectionism.

Perfect Love tends to do that to perfectionism – exposes it for the fake security that it is.

“There is no fear in love. Perfect love casts out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18, emphasis mine).

Can I fast forward to today?

Two weeks later from when I cursed at God and walked out on Him and called Him names?

Today, Michael and I walked 4 miles. Outside. In the sunshine.

And it felt ah-mazing!! Did you just read that?

I WALKED 4 MILES.

It didn’t hurt! At all!

I literally can’t remember the last time Michael and I have been able to do that together.

In fact, over the past two weeks, my physical therapist has been amazed at the sudden spurt of growth and progress I’ve had in my knee.

I’ve done more in the past two weeks than I’ve been able to do in the past two years – all with little to no pain.

All this outpouring of blessing. All this answered prayer. And all….after I failed God. After I cursed at the Healer Himself and accused the Faithful One of being unfaithful. After I walked out on Him.

Y’all.

I’ve never been more in love with Jesus. And not because my knee is doing well. I do love that, but that’s not why I love Him more.

It’s because when I let Him see me, really see me, He still liked me.

I let Him in on the good, the bad, the ugly, and He didn’t turn away.

He welcomed me, anger and all. I was fully known. Fully accepted. Fully loved. Fully hemmed in, behind and before.

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He didn’t punish me for spewing anger His way. He didn’t make my knee worse. (Yes. I was actually afraid of that.)

On the contrary, like David said, God actually blessed me in the weeks that followed:

“When I was beleaguered and bitter…in Your very presence…I’m still in Your presence, but You’ve taken my hand. You wisely and tenderly lead me, and then You bless me” (psalm 73:21-24 msg version, emphasis mine).

I did apologize for treating God badly – for being mean to Him. That’s not how I would have talked to a friend. To my dad. To myself.

But He “made me lie down in green pastures…He restored my soul” (psalm 23 v. 2-3).

He made me lie down. He brought me to my knees.

And then He raised me up.

I’ve never felt more secure or loved…or calm. All of a sudden, I’m praying all day. I’m not trying to, I just am. I’m just talking with Someone who already knows and already loves.

Y’all. With confidence: we can trust Him. We can trust Him. We can trust Him.

You can’t scare Him off. And you certainly can’t out-perform Him.

Perfect Love won’t punish us. He punished Himself for us.

Mmm. Yes.

It’s scandalous. Scandalous grace.

 

Blessings, sunshine, fresh air, and long walks to you,

Robyn

Recovery Diary: my knee is the size of my head, but at least I’ve watched 37 episodes of Saved by the Bell

It’s two weeks post-op! Whoop, whoop!

So I was thinking…what can I write my diary about this week? I haven’t done anything but watch Kelly and Zack go to prom and then break up and then go to prom again. (Not that I’m complaining about this.)

So…here it is!

Recovery Diary of my Saturday (a.k.a – confirmation that your weekend WAS way cooler than somebody’s 😉 )

9:00 a.m. Yay! Time to get out of bed! I love Saturdays!

9:15 a.m. But I don’t want to move. Moving is hard. Plus, I can totally watch Zack and Kelly from this very spot…

9:16 a.m. …But I can’t watch the Pioneer Woman from this spot. Darn it. Okay. I’ll move.

10:00 a.m. I’m on the couch!! I’m on the couch!! Whoop, whoop!

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turns out, classic mixed veggies are the best ice pack. who knew?

1:00 p.m. I just watched three straight hours of TV! I’m winning!

1:01 p.m. No, that’s totally not true. I am literally going crazy. If I do not get out of this house right now I will never watch Saved by the Bell ever again. And I mean it!

Just kidding. Yes I will. I will always watch Saved by the Bell.

1:15 p.m. Hubby and I go on what we call “a crutch.” This is like a walk, but it’s more of a…crutch-type hobble to a pair of trees and back. It’s a grand, epic adventure, I tell you.

1:20 p.m. The trees! They’re so beautiful and red and totally worth getting off the couch for! And the air is crisp and I love the wreath on that person’s door and as annoying as recovery is…I can’t think of a better time to recover than in October. It’s the most beautiful recovery time I can imagine.

1:25 p.m. Time for physical therapy exercises. I love these. And today I’m extra excited because I bent my knee farther than 90 degrees while sitting!!! I’M WINNING! I pat myself on the back. Literally.

1:45-6:00 p.m. Couch time. Thankfully, I love Narnia. C.S. Lewis, you are brilliant and I thank you for the world you created in these books.

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6:30 p.m. Extroverted me is going crazy. “I need people,” I tell Hubby.

Hubby loads me in the car to see the people.

Hubby also calls one of his people to ride with us. This person is also on crutches! We load 4 crutches in the car to go see our people. I like having another crutch buddy!

7:00 p.m. MY PEOPLE!!!! MY PEOPLE!!! SOCIAL INTERACTION!!!! AND….WHAT’S THAT? YOU HAVE PUMPKIN BREAD AND S’MORES?!!!!! WINNING. MY PEOPLE WIN.

9:30 p.m. We can’t stay long with the people, because my leg still needs to be elevated at pretty much…well, all the time…until the swelling goes down. But at least I saw my people. And a crackling fire pit. And sugary treats.

Recovery in October. It really is the best. You know. Instead of like, January.

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the “crutch mobile”

10:00 p.m. Time for Zack and Kelly. This is the episode where Jesse and Slater get stuck in the boiler room while everybody else is at prom. But it’s okay! Because this is also where they realize they actually love each other. (But duh. I could have told them this fact about 15 episodes ago.)

Jesse and Slater. Gosh. You guys.

You’re the best.

Now I just need Kelly and Zack to get back together.

I wonder if Saved by the Bell “College Years” is on Netflix, too…

…hmm…that will be my project for tomorrow!

#winning.

*Side note: all my people who have brought me food, visited with me, driven me places, and sent me funny cat pictures…YOU ARE LITERALLY THE BEST. Love you guys!!

Surgery Diary: give me a penguin and some food, please

It’s admittedly been a loooooooooooong year with my hurt knee.

(I want to say, too, that I am so thankful for my health. I know an injured knee is way on the bottom of a list of serious problems, and I’m truly so grateful that on the whole my body and mind are healthy. I’m so thankful for that.)

But I do also love to play. I really do. When I was nannying, my favorite games with my littles were playing tag, hopscotch, hide-and-go-seek, races, running with my littles while they rode their bikes, chasing them all over the playground being the lava monster…all the games. I love them.

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Basically, being active is a huge part of my heart. I love to play. And frolic. Pretty sure that’s one of God’s plans for me to enjoy in heaven: “She will frolic! I’ve made her to play and frolic and she will do this without abandon!

I miss it here, too, though. I miss running and hopping and being my fully goofy and playful self in this beautiful land of the living.

It’s time to frolic again. I pray that it is.

I’d never had surgery before yesterday, and disclaimer: when I step foot into ANY doctor’s office (even the dentist) I tend to freak out. Doctors and their weird tools and that sterile smell – so thankful for all they do!! – absolutely freak me out.

So…to process the gamut of my emotions yesterday…a Diary Entry is CLEARLY in order!

My Surgery Diary

Thursday: I’m told I will not be able to eat or drink until surgery. “Okay!” I said. “Totes fine. I’ve heard of that. When’s the surgery? 9 a.m.?”

“Nope! 2:30 p.m.”

Meh. Okay. Glad to have the surgery, regardless of the time. I want my knee back!

Saturday: Wake up at 4 a.m convinced it’s the day of my surgery. It’s not…so I read Chronicles of Narnia until I fall asleep. Because, Aslan.

Sunday: I have the best friends and church in the world. I get prayed over literally three times. My choir stops everything and prays over my knee. My small group meets early and prays over my knee. My couple’s bible study ends the night by praying for my knee. My best friends from all stages of life text and call and hug me and tell me they’re praying for me. My family is praying for me. Literally, God provides.

Monday: I wake up to a million texts from the best friends and family in the world. They’re still praying for me. God provides, friends!

-I get ready to go to the hospital, but I can’t wear makeup or drink any water or eat any food. Totes not ideal. But again, I’m thankful I could even get into surgery this week!

-Michael gulps lots of water on the way to the hospital. I go a little crazy. I am very thirsty and nervous and so hubby kindly stops gulping.

-I play candy crush. Lots of candy crush.

12:30: I go back into pre-op. I have the whole place to myself and also have a very nice nurse named Elaine. I tell her I hate needles. She essentially says, “We’ve got stuff for that. It’s called happy juice. It’s good stuff.”

I have no idea what happy juice is, but the name sounds nice so I’m on board. Totes on board.

12:45: I’m wearing a super comfy HEATED purple hospital gown with hand warmers and fuzzy socks. This is seriously not as bad as I was expecting!

12:50: Time for the IV. She has numbing spray!!! Hallelujah!! God provides, friends. Where would I be without numbing spray. I don’t know.

She gets the IV in on the first try!!! Woohoo!!! Y’all. I can do this. This is great. I’m totes great. I got this. Gosh, I’m so brave.

12:51: There is a needle in my hand. There is a needle in my hand. There is a needle in my hand. THERE IS A NEEDLE IN. MY. HAND. Why is there a needle in my hand? It looks gross. There is a needle in my hand. What if the doctor forgets to check my whole knee? I NEED TO MAKE SURE THIS GOES WELL.

Elaine listens to me. Then she says it’s probably time for the happy juice.

12:52: Hubby comes back to say hello. I get the happy juice in my IV. All of a sudden I do feel very happy and like I would really like to go on a safari.

“How big are elephants’ brains?” I ask. This is a very logical and important question right now.

Hubby doesn’t know. Why is he laughing? I like elephants. I insist he google the answer.

Turns out, elephants are very smart animals and have normal sized brains. I learn that elephants also have more muscles in their trunks than we have in our human bodies.

Huh, I think. God is very creative. I think I would like a pet penguin. Penguins are very cute animals. Tucker would like a penguin.

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me on happy juice. apparently this was right after I asked for a penguin.

1:00: The doctor comes in and talks to me about the surgery. I have trouble forming a coherent sentence but I insist that he mark all over my knee the places I want to make sure he looks.

He obliges and ends up drawing a big frowny face on my knee for me. I am satisfied with this.

Sometime later: Hubby kisses me and they wheel me back to surgery. The anesthesiologist is very kind. “Time to party,” he says with a smile.

4:00: I wake up somewhere else. Mylanta. Where on earth am I? What happened to my knee? Is everything okay? My eyes focus in on a nurse.

“Am I okay?” I ask.

“Yes. You were very insistent that we give you penguins and food. But you’re okay.”

Penguins? I feel like I remember penguins. But what about my knee?

“But what about my knee?” I ask.

“The doctor took great care of you. He discovered that you had some extra tissue in your knee that had flared up and set your kneecap out of its correct position. He cleaned up the tissue and loosened it so that your kneecap will go back to its correct position. It’s all taken care of.”

I start to bawl. “But I thought it was going to be something major!” I sputter in between sobs.

The nurse goes to get hubby. He comes in and pets my head.

“This is very common,” the nurse says to my confused hubby. “When patients wake up, they usually react 1 of 2 ways. They either cry or want to punch me in the face.”

I am very confused. “But can I run again?” I ask in between tears.

“Not today. But yes. The doctor told you this, too, but you don’t remember.”

I cry harder. “But it wasn’t a torn meniscus! I thought it would be something like that! I just wanted to run again!”

“Sweetie, you will run again. It’s good that it’s not a torn meniscus. That’s why you’ll have a fast recovery time and so you can run again sooner!”

I let this sink in. It still doesn’t make sense to me, but I decide to process it later. Nothing is making sense to me right now except for the apple juice and peanut butter crackers they gave me. I like food. I want more food, I decide.

4:30: They wheel me out to the car. The nurses are very nice and make me laugh while they wheel me out. Probably to stop the tears. It works.

Hubby offers to make me chocolate chip waffles and scrambled eggs when we get home. The world starts to make a little more sense.

I still think I would like a penguin stuffed animal, though.

5:00: I’m all tucked in on the couch, responding to the sweetest friends and family in the world, and thanking God for fixing my knee.

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Tuck sniffed and hugged my knee all night 🙂

I play more candy crush, drink gallons of water, and watch 8 episodes of Saved by the Bell on Netflix.

Today: I wake up so thankful for the skill of my doctors and nurses. Thankful for the hubby God gave me to stay home with me today, take care of me, and comfort me always. Thankful to God for being my Healer.

I’m thankful for the phone call from my doctor to check on me. “My goal – my expectation – is that you will have a knee you won’t even have to think about anymore. My expectation is that we will get you back to doing whatever you want without having to think about it,” he says.

(My doctor is literally amazing. If anyone needs a knee or shoulder doctor, I’ve got your guy!)

Hubby lights the first fire in our fireplace of the season. I’m excited about physical therapy tomorrow, and I’m excited for the first cup of coffee I’ve had in what feels like forever. (24 hours without coffee? What?!)

Thank You God, for caring for even our smallest needs. Thank You for caring about my knee even more than I do.

Blessings and comfort to you all (and someone let me know where I can find a penguin, please 😉 ),

Robyn