Devotional by Megan Paraiso
I’ve read the pamphlet over a dozen times now. I flip it to the front. It reads, “clean with mild soap and warm water.” I have to touch it? It’s too fresh. Maybe I can wait a week before I wash it. I skim to the next section, “make sure to walk every day. Lying in bed could cause pneumonia or blood clots.” I keep reading, “don’t walk upstairs more than once a day.” Okay, but for how long am I not allowed to walk up and down the stairs? A week, a month? This does not seem realistic. My kid’s bedrooms are upstairs. It continues, “no lifting heavy objects.” Crap, I can’t carry my baby. Wait, CRAP, that means I definitely can’t carry my other quite larger baby. What about a heavy pot? What about my bag? And, again, for how long? I turn the page…ah, there is it. Recovery… six to eight weeks. I’ve read this already. Several times. The pamphlet has not changed. It still reads six to eight weeks. They’ll surely want to see me after the first week to inspect the incision, though. Just to make sure I’m healing up nicely. Then we can talk about the timeline for all of these restrictions. Maybe these are general guidelines that don’t necessarily apply to every person. I’m healthy. I’m young. I keep reading, “the doctor will want to see you back in six weeks.” Six weeks?!
So here I am – week two of what feels like week ten of recovery from an abdominal myomectomy. Nothing serious, but six weeks feels like an eternity to not lift a heavy pot. I knew there’d be some recovery time, but this seemed a bit much. And it was not until I was at home sitting on my sofa feeling the pain from every small movement, did this sink in. Here I am wanting to go back to the way things were when I have a huge slice in my belly that could reopen at any time.
Isn’t funny how we think we know what timeline is best for us? I find God doing this sometimes. We suffer a loss, we’re not seeing the increase, we’re not moving forward, we’re feeling stuck, we’re feeling restricted. And His response is, “let’s just stay here a little longer.” No promotion, no big a-ha moment, no clear vision on what’s next. Just stay here in the pain, in the frustration a little longer. But 2 Corinthians 3:17 NLT says, “For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” You may not be moving forward how you intended, you make be stuck in a recovery period, but you do carry the spirit of the Lord with you. Even in your setback. In whatever may feel to you like “lack of growth,” you still have this freedom. And sometimes you have to stand still in this freedom. You have to soak in your current situation, live in it a little longer. You have to heal, you have to process before God brings you to the other side.
It seems when we hit these recovery periods we feel the need to apologize for it. Maybe because we’re not performing at our highest level. We’re not functioning at our best. We’re moving a little slower than usual, at a different pace than our peers. And that uncomfortable, vulnerable feeling causes us to think we should be somewhere else, doing something else with our lives. Which then leads us to make these big, might I add, stupid, very stupid, life changes. We’re feeling like we need to push harder, to force things until we’ve exhausted ourselves and reopened a wound that was still healing. But what if instead of feeling ashamed, instead of making a life-altering change in our valley, we saw it for what it is – a recovery period, period.
There is an end date. There is an end in sight to your recovery. This is not how life will always look, this is not your new normal. There is no need to condemn yourself, there is no need to feel ashamed, to move cities, to change churches, to jump to the next job. You are actually right where you need to be, it just does not feel good. But life does not always feel good. And right where you are, in all of your frustration, hurt, vulnerability, in your recovery, you have this freedom. Embrace this freedom that only Jesus brings. Be grateful. Take the time to talk to God a little more. Carve out more time to allow Him to respond. Be still. Be mindful. God is using this recovery process so you can walk in an even greater freedom.