Finding My Inner Paul Even in the Pain in the Tuckus Circumstances

Straight up it’s been a hard week (ok…  it’s been a hard um…  year?  decade?  I guess it’s just always hard.  ;)).  The pain has gotten worse.  Two weeks ago I walked a couple of miles exploring around our new digs.  I walked my kids to and from the bus stop. When I got frustrated that I couldn’t run or do Zumba or exercise much at all, I focused on my ‘cans.’  Two weeks ago I said, “At least I can still take a walk.”

This week the pain has changed again and standing or being on my feet for more than about three minutes at a pop isn’t doable.  I’ve been spending a loooot of time on my belly communing with my living room floor.

It’s hard to not get down about it.

Add in the  colossal reminder that we’re still on Sea Duty with the work-up schedule cranking up again and Husband leaving to float in circles off a coast and things started to feel really daunting.

I mean I’m seasoned enough to not bat  too much of an eye at the ‘short ones,’ (though you’ll NEVER hear me say, “at least it’s only a couple of weeks” about a detachment during work-ups), but looking at a chunk of time of holding down the fort around here and being the ONE in charge of the kids and the house and the inevitable gremlins while hobbling around and pushing through pain all the time…  That ‘short one’ doesn’t feel so short.

I continue to insist that I will not let this define me.  I want to find out what I can learn from the pain.  I want to hang tough and rest in the knowledge that God is good and radically for me even when my pain is at an 8 or a 9 and I’m hanging out at the far end of the smiley sad faces in pain scale most of the time.

Still…  I won’t lie, it’s been a struggle.

I spring leaks at inopportune times and the teary comes out when I don’t want it to.  I try not to get frustrated by the need to do tasks on the other side of the house.  I try to count up my gratefuls and pay attention to the beautifuls and park my mind on all things true, noble, pure, lovely, and admirable and to think on those things that are excellent and praiseworthy besides.  I try to stay in that mindset, but sometimes the pain shouts and the baby does too.  Sometimes there is a string of four chores that need doing RIGHT NOW and that’s two more than I can do within my thresh hold of pain.  Sometimes I read the Facebook statuses of people able to conquer their to do lists without batting an eye and go on a seven mile jog and a yoga retreat besides and…

I feel sad…

And angry…

And alone…

And helpless…

And hopeless…

I’m in a group right now that it studying Philippians.  At first it kicked my tuckus (And my tuckus, to be honest, is in enough pain right now).  Look at Paul, sitting there in prison writing about being joyful and rejoicing in his chains and encouraging others despite his circumstances.

And I thought–Geez Val.  You colossal freaking whiner.  Where is your ‘content in all circumstances’ at?  Why aren’t you ‘considering others as better than yourselves?’  Waa, waa, waa you’re in pain.  Navel-gazing light-weight Christian.

But you get kind of quiet laying on your belly the majority of the time and I realized some things.

I realized that maybe this is a season of being and not doing.  When I flop down on my floor I can pray.  I can look at some scripture.  Or…  I can feel whatever I’m feeling right then and know that is ok too.

The lower half of my body doesn’t work right at the moment, but I haven’t stopped typing…  Or writing notes to friends.  I can take some time to pray for others while I’m hanging out down here.   I can snuggle my kids so long as they don’t mind  curling up on the floor.  I can serve and be used by God still.

So maybe I’ve got some  of Paul’s gumption in me after all.

And truth?  I don’t have to spin it.  My eyes can leak at will.  I’ve got some sweet friends who have committed to coming alongside and listening to me even when day after day after day I say, “I am at my wits end.  I don’t know if I can do this anymore.”  They talk me back from wits end and promise to listen again tomorrow.  So I can sit in this pile off poo and be in it however I need to.

Life isn’t pretty right now.  It’s not this inspirational movie of the week about a woman overcoming great odds to run 90 miles and rain down financial blessings on a tribe of lemurs with leprosy.  That’s not my story right now and my inner-spin doctor keeps taking vacation besides.

But here…. here the God who promised to carry out his good work in me is still carrying it out to completion.  I’m not out of the family.  And my cans can still serve him.

Besides that if I get the dice roll that says I will recover from this eventually, celebrating the getting back of those ‘can’s’ will be pretty freaking sweet too.

(Maybe my spin doctor is doing better than I thought she was).

My story isn’t flashy or inspirational this week.  It’s just the mundane and frustrating story of a Mom and Navy wife doing her best to take care of her kids and scrape by til the next mini-homecoming.

But here…  This.  This is ok too.  Maybe even this pain in my tuckus in some way will  be redeemed.


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