Yesterday the ping pong ball sized abscess on my hip was lanced and drained. It burned like a summer forest fire searing through dry underbrush. But the only way through the flames was to drain the infection that had built up, seeping into surrounding tissue. A throwback to African staph infections.
The doctor comes in and says “Wow, great you are here. If you hadn’t come now you’d have wound up in the hospital over the holiday.” I smile and nod. She pricks and slices. And the infection pent up comes spilling out and continues to spill all day and night long. I make hot basil compresses to draw it out even more, soak in hot tubs of water, press the tissue and bit by bit it empties until there is just emptiness.
It still stings like fire and my cute patriotic outfit will have to wait for another occasion as snug jeans are still a few days away. But the throbbing infection is slowly subsiding with the help of antibiotics and determined coaxing out.
My fourth was spent stretched out on the couch, my sweet furball curled up sleeping on my lap, as mom and I watched the concert and fire exploding in the sky over Washington DC. That was all the energy I had.
But I sit here tonight grateful. For access to medical care and family and freedom and most of all God’s incredible kindness. For new friends and doors opening. For dreams unfolding and incredible support from some of you who are praying and giving. So much to be grateful for.
I wonder how many of us have inner hidden abscessed dreams or hopes, inflamed by bitter infections from wounds that never quite healed. Healing isn’t just a one time prayer or experience. When loss and betrayal cuts us to the core, healing is a journey. A journey that requires our yes every single day. What God does is done but there is always more He is doing. Until the last remnant of infection is drained away and only emptiness remains. Waiting for His filling with life and truth and beauty and redemption.
It is a journey that can’t be rushed, but that can be slowed. If we don’t let Jesus drain the things that inflame, relentlessly deal with the infection, we risk getting stuck in our pain. And worst, we risk letting that pain define us and the infection become the thing that kills His dreams in our lives.
The devil never has to attack our faith if he can kill off our hope. Faith is the substance of the things hoped for.
No loss, no hurt, no pain will define who I am. Ever. By grace. Will it be part of my story? Absolutely. Will it determine my story’s future? Not if I have anything to say about it. And I do have lots of say. So do you.
I never want to waste my pain or my struggle. What the enemy wants to use to define us, God will transform into that which refines us if we let Him. Refined as by fire. So we can more clearly reflect Who He is.
The ache and throb on my hip is still there changing the way I walk in this moment. But I know healing too has begun.
Just a thank you to all the men and women and their families who have served or are serving in our armed forces. Every single one of you are heroes. You define what it means to be selfless and brave. And you remain in my heart and prayers. Because of you, we have another 4th of July to celebrate!