Tag Archives: healing

Scabs or Scars?

“Do you want relief or do you want to be healed?”

When I read that on a blog the other day it grabbed me. I stopped. Read it again. And realized it was a question I need to be asking myself…reminding myself of…more often. Because if I’m honest, most of the time I settle for relief. Because relief is a lot easier than healing.

It’s the difference between a scab & a scar. Scabs have found relief. They’re on their way to being healed, but they can still be ripped open & cause a lot of pain quite easily. Relief is fragile.

Scars on the other hand have healed. The effects are still visible & may always be, but they’re not causing any pain nor do they threaten to cause pain. Healing is solid.

But healing is also beyond our control. We can control we relief. Most of the time we know where to go to find it, and it’s quick. Scars take time to heal, and we can’t control them. But I would still rather have healing than relief. And I believe that’s what Jesus desires for us as well – healing…wholeness.



Honesty. It seems the older I get the more I learn the value of that word. And I’m not talking honesty simply in the sense of not telling a lie but honesty to the point of being vulnerable. It’s one thing to not tell a lie, it’s another to tell the truth…the whole truth…more than just a few kernels of truth…even when we don’t have to. And telling the whole truth oftentimes makes us vulnerable and is usually risky. It’s risky to put yourself out there and speak openly & truthfully about life, about experiences, about lessons learned along the way.

But it’s a risk that I’m finding is worth it. Because the beauty, healing, & friendship that comes from it far outweighs the hurt that may sometimes come. I think we must be broken individually, but most often we are healed in community. Think about it, you can injure yourself, but more often than not you can’t heal yourself. You need a doctor or team of doctors to help you do that. Just the same, when we’re broken we need friends to help us pick up the pieces. Or more accurately God blesses us by using friends to work His healing in our lives…His putting us back together.

I still find myself fighting honesty. Often. And honesty doesn’t always win the fight. But when it does I’m always grateful for the beauty of deepened relationships that comes from it. I’ve had several conversations in the last month where I spoke honestly from my heart & I haven’t regretted it. In fact, quite the opposite.

Do you find it hard to be truly honest?


Seeing God in Healing

Three years ago I literally spent the entire month of March in bed…minus three trips to the ER to get fluids because I was so dehydrated. What started out as the stomach flu turned into severe dehydration, pneumonia, a sinus infection, and more. I was physically wrecked. I finally crawled out of bed on Good Friday and managed to make it to church that night and Easter Sunday. But I was in bad shape.

It’s amazing how deeply physical pain can affect us. For me, the pain and suffering of a physical disease messed with me emotionally and mentally in ways I’m still not sure I fully understand. And I’m realizing that that may be one of the mysteries of God I don’t get to understand in this lifetime…and I’m okay with that.

But, I firmly believe I needed it. I needed to be broken. I needed that perspective anchor in my life. I need to be put through the fire to be refined. Spun on the potter’s wheel and shaped and molded so I could serve His purpose for my life instead of mine.

God used that pain and suffering to change the direction of my life. I firmly believe that. It’s not that He wanted me to suffer but He allowed it to happen. And if for no other reason than to display His glory.

Three years later and my disease is for all intents and purposes inactive. The pain I do have is minimal compared to that which I lived with 2, 3, 4, 5 years ago. I can walk up multiple flights of stairs. I can walk up hills. I can walk more than half a block. I can get up off the floor. I can even run.

Just tonight I walked up large hills…multiple times. I walked around downtown Nashville for a good two hours. I climbed multiple flights of stairs. I sat on the ground and was able to get up again.

Three years ago I worried about going to the grocery store because many days that simple mundane task was a challenge. Today I’m counting down to a trip to China in May. In all of that God is glorified. Only by His strength, His healing, His faithfulness, did I make it through. In my weakness He is strong.

Gary Molander presented a challenge in a recent blog post. His challenge: to write a blog post that finishes the phrase “When I look back at today, I saw God when __________.”

Well, when I look back at today, I saw God…I see God…when I can physically do things that three years ago…even 2 years ago…some even a year ago….I couldn’t do. When I can walk around a city with friends I see His healing, His provision, and His love. And that physical healing has done a number on the healing of my heart too. Seriously, His goodness leaves me speechless.

Walking, Health, and the Things We Take for Granted

I think by nature things we take for granted are simple things…bits and pieces of everyday living that we don’t notice until they’re gone…don’t give a thought to until they become difficult. Things like walking, for instance. Most of us do it every day. It’s a movement we don’t have to give thought to. We can walk and talk, walk and eat, walk and text, etc. It’s second nature.

It was this time five years ago that I was losing my ability to walk. I was a junior in college and had returned to campus two weeks before classes were due to start for the second semester after a short trip home for Christmas. By the time classes were starting…just two weeks later…I was making frantic phone calls to my doctor because I could barely climb the stairs to my second floor apartment and getting up from a chair was equally as difficult.

Everyday tasks like walking to class that I once took for granted were now challenges that provided a great sense of victory when accomplished and a reminder that things could be worse. I remember flying home to MN the week classes started for my grandpa’s funeral. I had called my mom and dad and told them both about what was going on with my health, but I don’t think they fully understood until they saw me. It had only been two and a half weeks since they’d seen me last, but I was a different person. I can remember my dad, as he was helping me up into his truck at the airport, looking at me and saying “I guess there really is something wrong.”

Upon returning to campus I drastically cut my class load so I could stay in school and try to stay healthy. I got to know a lot of doctors and learned more medical terminology than I’d ever wanted to (I always disliked science) :) Through a process of ruling out what could possibly be wrong I was diagnosed with dermatomyositis. Basically, my muscles, especially those in my legs, get inflamed which makes them weak. Today my doctors understand it as an inflammatory disease which affects most of my body. From that point it was was three and a half years of trying treatment after treatment, searching for something that would work and had the least side effects. It was months of my thoughts being consumed with my health. I had to think about things like grocery shopping and going to the movies and getting around campus.

When I stop and think back on the last five years, and especially those first couple of months, I remember that it is truly only by the grace of God that I made it through. I’ve also got Him to thank for the fact that my disease has been fairly under control for the last year and a half. And that it truly could have been worse.

Today I am incredibly grateful that I can walk.
I am grateful that although pain is still a daily presence in my life it isn’t nearly as severe as it once was.
I am grateful that I’ve been blessed with some incredible doctors.
And as cheesy as it sounds, I’m grateful for the lessons I’ve learned through it all. They’re incredibly important lessons that I’m not sure I would’ve learned another way because, well, I’m just too stubborn. :)

The challenges with my health are a lasting reminder to savor the ordinary in life. They’re a constant reminder that God truly does use everything for our good. I was on a path to become a teacher as that was the only thing I’d wanted to do for as long as I could remember. My health made that nearly impossible and with that God also squelched my passion for it. If left to my own devices I probably wouldn’t have worked in a church at this point in my life but rather I’d be stubbornly miserable in a classroom in inner city Milwaukee.

Thinking back to the early months of 2006 certainly puts life into perspective for me again. These days I often think “5 years ago or 3 years ago I couldn’t have done ___________.” And I hope those thoughts continue to cross my mind. Because the minute I stop thinking those things is probably the minute I’m starting to take a few too many things for granted.

What are you taking for granted?