Do you ever find yourself in a season or a trial that requires more of you than you think possible?
I recently completed a rigorous 17 weeks of physical therapy following a rotator-cuff repair to my right shoulder (dominant hand side), complicated by months of “frozen shoulder” prior to the surgery.
Recovery was a S L O W process. Some days demanded more than I thought possible…..incredible amounts of patience (not one of my strongest qualities), endurance, pain, hard work, humility, persistence, an occasional tear… and oh, did I mention patience? Many people told me it would be so, but no amount of forewarning could have prepared me for the day to day grind of walking it out.
James 1:2-4 says this: Count it all joy, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Perfect! Complete! Lacking nothing! Sounds like a pretty good deal. But could I? Would I count it all joy?
In the early weeks following surgery: *sitting in the recliner to sleep, for weeks. *a friend taking me to lunch and having to cut up my food. *my daughter coming for a visit and doing my hair (because I couldn’t) *my husband being there for better and for worse (helping me get dressed, opening jars, putting my seat belt on, enduring my occasional frustrated temper tantrums) Then as the weeks wore on: *working through persistent pain, that I thought would NEVER subside. *physical therapy sessions 3 times a week that were no joke. (eventually 2 times then 1 time before reaching my goals and being discharged) *feeling like my arm would never “work” normal again. *always two steps forward and one step back. *recovery felt daunting and insurmountable. *making the DAILY choice, both physically and mentally to work hard, to stay the course, and yes, to count it all joy (even when I had to dig deep, or rely on those around me, to count it).
I wrote a blog just days before my surgery about getting my mind right. Little did I know I would face that challenge time and time again on the road to recovery. At 51, I believed I had the mental strength to count it all joy, but could I endure the physical strength & movement limitations (again, not one of my strongest qualities) ?
I’m the first to admit, it wasn’t always easy, not even close. But, this is the first week in 5 months where my days off weren’t spent going to therapy. (I’m celebrating by painting a glider for my porch and it feels so good (and productive). Counting it ALL JOY does come with a price, but with the help of an incredible family, amazing friends and the greatest group of physical therapists on the planet, the dividends are far reaching and beyond compare.
It’s not a road I would choose to walk again anytime soon, if ever! But, at the end of the day, my life is richer because of it….(one step closer to perfect, complete, and lacking nothing). As for my physical progress, I am happy to report I am about 90% to my goal. January 31, 2020 will mark the one year anniversary and I am believing for 100% by then….. on the way to that goal, I AM COUNTING IT ALL JOY.
My hope and prayer for you is this: perfection, completeness, lacking nothing (in context)! When trials come (because they will), may you find it in you to count it all joy.