Last Sunday, May 29, 2016, our pastor made an announcement about a full-day workshop I’m leading today. As he shared the details, my mind drifted.
On May 29, 2014, I lay in a hospital bed with my teeth wired shut and bandages wrapped tightly around my face covering four fresh incisions in front of my ears and under my chin.
Much happened in the 731 days between.
On that post-surgical bed I had no vision for my current life. In fact, it took great effort to stay conscious after the eight hours of anesthesia required to replace my severely damaged jaw joints. All I recall is an intense gratitude for being alive.
Life remained narrow for months, moving from celebrations over a solo trip to the washroom eight feet away, to opening my mouth 40 mm, to twice weekly workouts at the rehabilitation gym, to climbing a rock wall. The work of recovering challenged my fiber and taught me the power of gratitude, perseverance and perspective.
But perhaps the most lasting take-away from receiving a bionic jaw is absorbing that God only calls me to do that which is before me…nothing more, nothing less. I could have lost countless nights’ sleep worrying about my future but, by God’s grace, I am learning to trust Him at His word:
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? Matthew 6:25-27
Practically speaking, this meant disciplining my mind to the present moment, asking God for strength to squeeze the jaw-widening mechanism in spite of the horrific pain it caused. I couldn’t know then that two years later I would whip through those same exercises in less than thirty seconds, pain-free.
Nor did I know if I’d ever be able to work again given the significant mouth-involvement of being a coach and instructor. I engaged in the hard work of healing, took steps God led me through to clarify my vocational desires, built a website and waited for my consulting business to grow. Little did I know God’s plans.
It all leaves me asking, “Lord, what do you have in mind for me today?” and “God, please increase my faith so I can entrust my future to you.”
Today I will facilitate my first Poverty Revolution Book Camp, one role in my half-time work for Food for the Hungry. On other days I delight in coaching private clients and leading seminars.
Never in my wildest, post-anesthetic dreams…
With love and gratitude,
In The Midst