I fell

My back is jello. WAS jello… until Dr. K. fixed it through two different spine surgeries within 18 months. Discs have been replaced, arthritis cleaned out, scoliosis straightened up, a broken vertebrae pinned down… He did a fabulous job! Three years later, I can do almost anything I want and I don’t think much about my back at all except to respect the weightlifting limits, and to “listen” to the signals I get from my spine. 

But last week, one of my worst fears was realized. I fell. I’m not a runner and never was. I have been a walker, but it’s not my favorite activity. While I go to the gym because it’s necessary, I’m not a gym rat. My husband, on the other hand, is a charter member of our gym and should have a gold key!  No… For me it’s the sheer joy of riding my bike in the outdoors. Struggling up the hills, and coasting down them with the wind in my face and the sun on my back. For a little while, everything is right with the world. I’ve been working on building my stamina and endurance, and had doubled my miles. 

But I fell. In my own yard. I hadn’t even sat down good on my seat yet! I prepped like always, took off like always, but the grass was wet and the wheels slipped to the right. I fell left… Onto my left side. The good news is that I fell into the grass and not the gravel. The bad news is that I broke a rib. The shoulder and clavicle are just bruised and sore. I will be fine, but I had no clue how painful a broken rib could be!! 

But isn’t that the way it is for all of us?? We are going along in our lives, doing what we always do the same way we always do it, and then we slip. We fall. We hit a slick spot on our journey and our spiritual and emotional wheels slide out from under us. We find ourselves careening toward the hard ground at an alarming rate with no way to stop ourselves, knowing it’s going to hurt when we finally land.

We’re all broken but we’re all in this together
God knows we stumble and fall
And He so loved the world He sent His son to save us all 

These lyrics from Matt Maher’s song, And All The People Said Amen, were singing over me when I woke up this morning. It’s funny… When I fell off my bike, I laid there in the wet grass on my back doing a body check. The first thing I thought about was my back and how falling is NOT an option for me. I made sure all the parts of me were still moving and not in pain… Feet and legs? Check. Arms and hands? Check. Neck okay? Yes, I can turn my head both directions without pain. But I couldn’t get up. The wind had been knocked out of me and that rib pain was searing through my side. I’m thankful and grateful for soft grass instead of gravel. That someone was there to help me up. That I was in my own yard rather than out on the road several miles from home. 

God knows we are going to fall sometimes. But He so loved this world that He sent His only Son to save us, if we believe. When we crash and hit the ground, Jesus is there to pick us up. Maybe the big thing is to fall INTO the arms of our Savior, and let Him catch us. It’s a much softer landing than the cruel hard ground of the world. He will lift us back to our feet, brush us off, heal our wounds, and bring us back to Himself.

And all the people said Amen
And all the people said Amen
Give thanks to the Lord for His love never ends
And all the people said AMEN!!

Click here to listen to And All The People Said Amen.

Focus

The chorus from a song called The One I’m Running To woke me up this morning. The song is from 7eventh Time Down, and the lyrics have me thinking… Do I run to Jesus or just look at Him occasionally? Do I walk in His general direction or run to Him like I’m being chased by the Devil himself? If I’m honest with myself, I’d say it’s more of a jog or a trot. Not exactly meandering on the path of my faith walk, but not running hard after Jesus either. 

Tonight I’m gonna fix my eyes
On the only Hope who satisfies, my heart
You are the One I’m running to
Everything that’s good and right and true
Jesus, I’m coming after who You are
You are the One I’m running to

The thing is, we are ALL being chased by the devil himself. 1 Peter 5:8 says, “…the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” If I’m just wandering along aimlessly on the path of life with no general direction, I am easy prey! But if I’m running after Jesus, if He is taking the lead in my race in this life and I am following His every step, every promise… Well, I believe the devil will have to work much harder than he wants to or is willing to, and just maybe will go after someone else for a little while. Until the next time I take my eyes off the only Hope that satisfies. Until I forget the enemy is hard on my heels and I get lazy. 

So, how do I keep my focus? I strap on my spiritual running shoes and look up!

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. –Philippians 4:8

Click here to listen to The One I’m Running To.

“How Are You?”

We just don’t know the “stuff” people are carrying around with them every day. We can’t see the pain behind the mask on their faces. We all do it… Smile and pretend everything’s just fine. That’s our answer when someone says, “How are you?” “Fine,” we say. Are we really and truly “fine?”

Sometimes I say, “I’m doing well, thank you.” Or “hanging in there, how about you?” Mostly, I don’t want to unload my burdens on other people when they really don’t want to know. Asking “How are you?” is more of a greeting, like saying “good morning.” I figure if somebody truly wants to know how I am, they will stop and give me a hug or take a minute to have some conversation and really find out how I am doing. And I’ll do the same.

The song in my head this morning is an old spiritual called Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen. “Nobody knows my sorrow. Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen. Nobody knows but Jesus.” Don’t we sometimes feel that Jesus is the only person who really knows what I’m feeling? The only one who genuinely understands my heart?

Sometimes I’m up. Sometimes I’m down. Sometimes I’m almost to the ground!

Sometimes, I need another person to come alongside and help me carry the load. Someone to rejoice with. Someone to cry with. We are called to “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” -Galatians 6:2 True imitators of Christ… Christians… Because Jesus is our supreme example of how to bear one another’s burdens. He bore ALL our sin and shame on the cross. He took it all on himself. Surely I can take five minutes to say, “How are you?” And really want to know the answer!