Snap, crackle, pop – a satisfying sound when for cereal – but dreadful to hear coming from your spine. I couldn’t so much as sneeze without screaming in agony. I managed to crawl to our family doctor, who created an emergency treatment plan that spanned months. In the space of 24 hours, absolutely everything I was doing was put on hold. I had a very busy calendar, a life that looked full, but a body that was out of commission.

Laying there in our master suite, I realized I had spent several years operating at break-neck speed, ignoring the distress signals of my body and soul. God had been inviting me to spend quality time just being with Him, and to learn how to enjoy the journey. He wanted to teach me how to operate in true grace, but I thought I had a better program. Now, flat on my back, with an empty planner, I suddenly had plenty of time to reconsider.

Recovering Body and Soul

In the midst of my physical pain, His kindness began to lead me to repentance. I was now seeing in hindsight, 20/20, but through the gracious eyes of my Heavenly Father. I saw the version of myself that was yearning for approval; I thought if I could make myself needed by others, I would find belonging and fulfillment. It kept me too busy to notice what was missing.

I saw that I was a girl who ran from being vulnerable, that thought exploring the love of God made a person weak. I tried to be strong and successful while hiding a lot of shame and deep pain that I couldn’t put my finger on.

Over the course of 6 months, I rested. I prayed. I read my bible through new lenses. I declined social obligations for the first time in ages. I reflected. I breathed. I heard myself think. I quit covering up emotional pain. I discovered the love of God! I took a vacation. Pieces of my life, and priorities, came slowly back together, but in a much different order. I recovered from so much more than physical ailments.

Holding Steady

Its been a little over 3 years now. I have not resumed the frantic pace of busyness. I no longer find my social status or identity in all the things people need me to DO. I learned to rest from the inside out, staying quiet enough to hear my own needs and keep my priorities in a safe order.

I hear the voice of my Father God, who loves me and calls me to Himself, encouraging me to dream big. I am enjoying the many gifts in my life. Grasping His love for me has energized me to really connect with the people who are on this journey with me. The physical pain was not a place I ever want to revisit, but I remain very grateful for the arrest.

Written by Melissa Brendtro