“Mom, you look like a cocoon.”

Just a few weeks ago Ann Voskamp featured my article, How to Find Hope on the Other Side of Shame, along with some beautiful images of my book in her home. It was a writer’s dream come true.

That same evening I was taken to the ER because my knees swelled up like apples and I stopped being able to walk. It sounds dramatic (and it was), but even I had to laughed at my husband and mother-in-law carrying me to the car (and to the bathroom on several occasions).

I came home very late that night and wrapped myself up in a cozy blanket on my couch, in my pain, in this new reality.

I’m not going to bore you with personal details, but I will tell you that I have continued to struggle with my health.

Below is a post that I originally wanted to share with you– on lessons I’m learning from my pain during this season— I assumed, falsely, that I’d have landed on a certain plane of understanding by now.

Truthfully, I just wanted to tame this wild thing, to wrap it neatly in a bow of wisdom and perspective– not just for you, but for me- to help me cope. So while these “lessons” are probably true on some days, I’ve come to some other, more honest, conclusions, and you’ll find them sprinkled within the original post…    

Pain is teaching me to prioritize.  Is folding the laundry as important right now as playing Legos with my kids? When I know I’ll pay for this later, I am going to choose the task that will last beyond today, beyond my pain. This has not been true– In fact, on most days I’m too fatigued to do any household chores. But in the meantime I’ve been OBSESSING over things that don’t matter- like the latest editions to the Benjamin Moore paint deck and binge-watching The Mindy Project. I have played Legos not even a little bit. My kids have had a lot of screen time, though. So they’re pumped. 

Pain is teaching me how to be present.  I’m learning that I can’t think about how illness will or won’t impact my life twenty years from now. One day at at time is a manageable notion. That’s crap. I’m not necessarily obsessing over the future, but to claim that every day is manageable is a lie. Some days are, some aren’t. Depends on my level of pain and how needy my kids are and how much sleep and coffee and salted dark chocolate I’ve had. 

Pain is teaching me perspective. I have amazing family and friends who have wrapped their arms, their food, their cleaning prowess, their time, and their childcare skills tightly around me. I am so thankful for them and for my life. They are helping me remember that others are suffering much more than me, and my job is to serve them. In other words, I don’t have a thing to complain about. This is actually very true, and yet – if you want to come over, I’ll complain to you as long as you will listen. You will get super annoyed by me. I’m a baby.  

Pain is teaching me to paint. Seriously, I’m a painting machine. Not artwork, that would be hilarious. I’ve been painting items around my house. And I’m CRAFTING. I’m not sure if you can adequately understand what a transformation this is for me. I have NEVER IN MY LIFE crafted…and now I’m doing it like maniacally…at least when my hands are working properly. This was true when I was on loads and load of steroids  As my meds have changed, so has the crafting. My husband rejoices. 

 

 

 

 

 

An honest assessment of where I am at right now

People often say that God won’t give you more than you can handle. I don’t believe that for a second. He tends to give me a lot more than I can handle, so that I’ll run to Him for help. But if I jump to the lessons, I’ll miss out on the running to Him part; I’ll miss out on “the treasures of darkness” that Isaiah 45 talks about. I know they’re here somewhere and I don’t want to avoid them.

One thing I’m actually learning is to repeat this until I believe it (fake it ’til I make it): “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever (Psalm 73:26).” 

If you’re suffering this week — it’s a freaking big deal and it sucks and I’m sorry.

This season will hopefully, maybe, perhaps, one day transform into some kind of lovely-flying-butterfly-wisdom, but it doesn’t have to today.

Today, in as much authority as I have to do so, I give you permission to be cozy and lazy and wrapped up.

I give you permission to be all cocoon. 

Aubs

 

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