Friday, July 12, 2013

Baby Steps

I got invited to a graduation party this weekend.  I was so excited to get invited, because I love this family and the son who is graduating high school is a wonderful young man and we are all very proud of him.  So the party is Saturday, and Sunday my husband is scheduled to preach in Albany at the church we ministered at for the 5 years we lived there.  I thought about the hour long drive it will take to get into Albany, followed by the church service and the time we will spend hanging out with our old church family afterwards- and I know it will be a very wonderful, but very long day.  And so, I decided to decline going to the graduation party so that I can conserve my strength for the trip to Albany and hopefully make next week not so bad.

It is the first time since my illness has taken this turn that I have, on my own volition, made a decision based on my health.

And I am not quite sure how I feel about it.

Instinctively I wanted to rebel against my own decision and refuse to let my health stop me from living.  But there is this other side of me that is slowly developing- that is maturing.  And that side feels proud of that decision. Not proud that it had to be made, but proud that there is a part of me that is growing up and coming to terms with what is happening.  I made the decision and then instantly there was this war inside of me- anger, sadness, frustration, resignation, contented, proud.  Several months ago I would not have even thought of missing it- and I would have paid for it physically.  But now, even though I had a war of emotions afterward, I made a wise decision.

Baby steps.

It takes time to move forward when you are walking into unplanned territory.  It takes time to learn how to cope and how to live WITH instead of against.  It takes time to sort through all the emotions and the changes that come with walking a different road then you set out to take.  But it is necessary.  You slowly need to put away the old map and learn how to get excited at the new one.  Am I excited that my health has gotten this bad?  Of course not.  But I am slowly getting excited at finding out what God's plan for me is in all of this.  I was walking on this path that I thought I would simply continue on, and when it changed, I realized that His plans changed for me too.  Better yet, that His plans never changed but I just thought I knew the whole road ahead...and I was mistaken.  God knew the road I would be walking.

I can dig my heels in and hang on to things that are no more, or I can embrace what is being given to me and find who He wants me to be in it.  I think I am finally starting to consider the ways that my life can still matter.  I don't know what He wants me to be yet.  I don't know how to be a useful person when I can barely move, but if I expand my mind an open it to other possibilities then I am sure He will lead me.  I am being given the chance to do things that if I had my health I would never consider doing.    I am being given the rare opportunity to quiet my body and my life and get in touch with a side of God I was always too busy to see.

There is nothing that takes God by surprise.  There is no fork in the road, no change of plans, and no act upon this earth that God has not foreseen.  The price we pay for living in a fallen world is that we have to live with imperfections.  With accidents.  With why-the-heck-did-this-happen-to-me situations.  But only you can decide to close the book on the meaningfulness of your life.  Only you can decide whether or not to put the pen down or start a new chapter.

I encourage you to turn the page...there is so much more for you to write.

"Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end."

-Be Still, My Soul


  1. Ah, you are learning the "Wisdom to know the difference" from the Serenity Prayer. We all struggle with trying to discern those things we can and cannot change. Once that is done we can either Change those things we can or Accept those things we cannot. It's the Wisdom to know the difference that is crucial.

    Congrats, Ashely. You are already so far ahead of most people! Keep taking those baby steps.

  2. Thank you so much! I never really was able to grasp the serenity prayer, but it sure is starting to make sense. It's a hard thing to learn acceptance- it feels too much like failure, even though that is not the case. Thank you for your love and support <3

  3. It's been years since I first had to begin to make those kinds of decisions. I can't exactly remember the book with a "how to" concerning healthier living. I've literally read about 100 of them. But I recall making a box and dividing it into 4 sections. In one section, if going someplace always resulted in lost days recovering, it was in the "never" section. Of course, one section must be "always = wellness with no recovery time - such as sitting outside by water and relaxing in prayer and enjoying God's many beautiful parts of nature. Or Star Gazing - Moon Gazing - sunsets - moonsets, etc. The other two boxes you can figure out as you did with the decision to do one thing, and not the other. Acceptance is not giving up :)