At the beginning of the summer, I woke up one morning unable to turn my head from side to side. The pain was excruciating. I couldn't remember doing anything specific that would have caused the pain. The muscles in my shoulders and neck were like hard pebbles and as I moved, my whole upper body had to move in a single motion. I was a little scared, as I wasn't sure what was happening, but knew I needed some medical attention. I told my husband I needed to see a chiropractor (which I had never done before, nor really knew what they even did) or I needed a really good massage. (again....where that came from not sure, but was grasping at straws and looking for a quick fix.)
The next day, I was suppose to be getting on a plane and meeting up with my two sister in NY. We were all going to the Women of Faith Conference and some unsaved family members were coming with us. We had an amazing weekend planned. A getaway that doesn't happen very often for me. None of my children were coming....just me. I don't get the opportunity to see my sisters very often. I couldn't wait to go and this literal "pain in my neck" was impeding those plans.
I knew of a chiropractor that attended our church and I knew some people who highly recommended him. I gave it a shot knowing that I wouldn't make it through a weekend in this pain. He was able to see me within a couple hours. I was a bit skeptical. My husband works in orthopedics....on the spine.....and is in the business of fixing the spine through operations, not adjustments. But he encouraged me to go. I was in dire need of relief.
I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I walked into the chiropractor's office and through a gentle exam, x-rays, a slight adjustment, amazing electrical stimulation on the muscles and ice....He gave me some relief. He then sent me on my way for an MRI, as He presumed I had a bulging disc in my cervical spine.
I had never had an MRI before and didn't know what questions to ask, or again, what to expect. It was an enclosed MRI (I know now to always ask for an open MRI) and as I was being carried into the tunnel....the buzzing and clicking sounds began....fear began to take over. It was like a wave washing up on the shore.....coming in quickly and taking God's peace. I immediately went to prayer. I spent the next 30 minutes fixing my mind on God and yielding to His thoughts. Allowing Him to fill me. Fill me He did.
I left for the conference the next morning, pain still there....but manageable. Each day, it lessened more and more. God had a lot to tell me at that conference, through conversations with my sisters, about sharing His truth with others.....He opened up a lot of wounds from earlier years, pain that I had never addressed, agreements with Satan that I had made about who God was and is to me....lies that I had believed. He revealed so much truth to me. He spoke to my heart. He brought me to His feet and again asked..."Stacy, will you surrender to Me?"
I will, Lord. Show me more of You.
I came home and learned that I had two bulging discs. How, I asked does a person get a bulging disc....just like that?
Well, it doesn't happen just like that. It is usually a gradual process. It is from years of abuse and loads on your spine. The spine degenerates. The muscles work harder to stabilize the spine. The disc is weakened and it pops out of its purposeful place, into an area it wasn't intended...and in my case, hitting the spinal cord...causing numbness to travel down my arm. I had remembered things that had happened months before, that now made sense. Times I had quickly turned my head and felt a twinge go up my neck. Times I lifted something heavy and my neck and shoulder ached. It was making sense.
I didn't know years ago, I was abusing and hurting my spine when I was a gymnast. I didn't know that carrying six children in and out of my body would bring me to my current state. I didn't know running impacts the spine. Many, many I didn't knows. But gradually, over 36 years, this was the damage that was done.
The course of treatment....going to the chiropractor 3 times a week for three months. Who can do that???? And the expense......who knew??? But that was what was needed. So, off I went each Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning, before the kids woke up. I wasn't looking forward to the new addition to my weekly schedule.
But God used that time to bless me and teach me more of Him. I would spent the time on the decompression table in prayer. I spent the time under electrical stim. in prayer. I sang my heart out in praise going and coming from those early morning appointments. Instead of time I dreaded, it became time I looked forward to. And God was healing me. The pain was going away. Movement was returning.
Well, summer came to a close, homeschooling responsibilities were back in full swing. My lazy days became busy and scheduled. I just didn't have the time to keep up with my appointments. Three days a week dwindled down to two.....two days a week dwindled down to one....and next thing I knew a month went by and I hadn't gone to a single adjustment.
You guessed it.....last week...the pain slowly crept back in.
It wasn't quite as bad as the beginning of the summer, but it was there. It was a little painful to turn my head, to put my chin to my chest. I knew I needed to go back in. I was embarrassed that I had been gone so long. I felt guilty that I had neglected my appointments. How do I show back up in that office asking for help again, when I hadn't followed their protocol to begin with? They knew what I needed and I didn't obey.
But I knew I needed to go back in. The pain was there. It would only get worse if I don't go.
Friday morning, I got up early. I was out the door at 6:45 a.m. for my 7:15 appointment.
As I was driving to the appointment, going over all of these details of the last three months....what had brought me to this place of neglect.....God turned my thoughts onto Him.
This mirrored complacency.
Complacency in our walks and our devotion to Him.
For years, in my relationship with Jesus Christ....I would go from on fire....to lukewarm. I would go from clinging to Him and Him alone....to clinging to previous Truths that He had spoken to my heart. I would go from being immersed in His Word, to being in His Word every other day, to once a week. Sometimes, to not at all. How this saddened my Father in Heaven. Those times I wasn't daily in His Word allowing Him to give me NEW Truths and peace grieved Him and the longer I was away, the more the pain came back. It would linger all around me. And the pain would lead to an open door for Satan. His lies would creep in. Different times in my life, I had ridden on the coat tails of previous lessons learned. Not letting Him speak into what I needed to learn in the present moments and trials.
In those days of complacency.....of being lukewarm.....slowly, I would fall back into my old selfish ways. God would be there, but I would be first. I was on the throne of my heart...not Him. I knew His Word. I knew His Truths...but I wasn't seeking after Him for more. I was saying what I had was enough....But it wasn't and it isn't.
And then, He would grab my attention through a trial, through a circumstance, through whatever means necessary.....and show me my weakness and my insufficiency all over again. Just like with my neck......constancy....obedience....surrender. We know what we need to do....now do it!
"I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, "I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing"-and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked-I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments that you may be clothed........As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him and he with Me." Revelation 3:15-20
God does not want us to be lukewarm. Either on fire or stone cold.....lukewarm is not ok. He will vomit you out of His mouth. It seems harsh, doesn't it? But the truth is....He is always....always standing at the door knocking. He always wants to give us more! He counsels our hearts....come to me....buy the gold that I have for you so you many be rich!
When He met the Samaritan woman at the well. He told her that the water from the well will cause her to thirst again. It only temporarily satisfies. But what He has to offer is eternal. It is living water.
"Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life." John 4:13,14
"Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. For whoever finds me finds life." Proverbs 8:34
"Yet they seek Me daily, and delight to know My ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and did not forsake the ordinance of their God. They ask of Me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching God." Isaiah 58:2
To abide means to remain stable or fixed in some state; to continue, to face or submit to without shrinking, to stay and dwell.
God desires for us to abide with Him daily. To remain fixed to Him and continue daily to seek after His wisdom, His understanding, His healing, His commands, His face.
"He shall abide before God forever. Oh, prepare mercy and truth which may preserve him!" Psalm 61:7
"And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever." John 8:35
"Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me." John 15:4
There is no better place to be. When we abide and stay in God's Word. Stay connected to Him....He brings peace. He brings understanding. He brings healing. He relieves the pain.
On Friday, I walked back through the doors of the chiropractor and you know what....they smiled at me, they greeted me kindly and my doctor said "welcome back."
That is just like our Father, God. "Welcome Back!" He is always there waiting with open arms. When we turn aside instead of abide....He is grieved. We will face consequences...just like I did as the pain returned....but He never leaves us or forsakes us. He wants our whole being....always.
I pray I've learned the lessons of previous times of complacency. I haven't been there in a long time. I am on fire these days. I don't say that in a prideful way....I say that as a woman who has been there and knows I don't want to go back. Thank you, Jesus! I desire all that He has for me....no matter what. But there are days when I don't get out of bed at 5:30 and start my day with Him. There are days when a verse is what sustains me.....not a chapter or more....but most days....I am lingering at His feet letting Him fill me with all that He has for me that day. I know I need that. I know I can't survive without Him. I don't want to. None of us can survive without Him.
So, somehow, I will find the time to schedule in the chiropractor for as often as He feels I need to see him. God will work out the details and logistics. I just need to abide.
In Christ's love-Stacy