** I am thrilled to share this blog post by Kathy Boyd, a dear friend and subscriber to 23:1- ONE OF THE FLOCK! I am sure it will encourage you as it did me!
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Psalm 139:13-14,NIV)
“You have many places in your cervical spine of advanced arthritis,” the orthopedic doctor said while explaining my x-rays.
Ugg! I knew about arthritis and degenerative disc disease in my spine, but this was in my neck! The pain I experienced recently led me to believe I might have to have neck surgery, which has been one of my number one fears for a long time.
Growing up, I participated in several different sports. I was a swimmer, a diver, I ran track, played volleyball, and was even a cheerleader in high school. I loved the practices, the competition, and especially, the attention and recognition. My senior year in high school, I received the highest award given in the area of sports, “Outstanding Senior Girl Athlete.”
Being an athlete was, what I thought, my identity.
In my first year of college, things began to change. I was on the track team and the increased intensity of the practices was causing pain in my lower back. After a doctor visit and x-rays, I learned that I had scoliosis, and that diagnosis would be the pre-curser to many future issues. So, I decided to quit, and surrender my passion for competitive sports.
Of course, scoliosis did not stop me from doing all kinds of recreational sports!
When I was 25 years old, I learned how to water ski and I loved it! I went skiing as often as I could that summer. However, my back could not handle the intensity and pressure of it, so I ended up having back surgery for two slipped discs that following fall.
I had to surrender a passion, once again, to my physical inabilities.
As I got older, I noticed my exercises changed and I had to make different choices to keep in shape because of pain. I no longer considered myself an “Athlete”, and discovered I had to surrender many things I wanted to do physically. I felt a loss from that life change and wondered, “Who am I?” and “What am I about?”
But God grabbed a hold of my heart and reminded me that my identity was given to me in my mother’s womb, when He created me fearfully and wonderfully. It is not based on what I “DO.”
My significance in this world does not depend on my performance in sports or in anything else. God created me, and everyone else, with a purpose, to give Him glory.
My physical discomfort and pain continue to draw me closer to Him. I believe He has chosen me to walk through it for His glory, somehow. Maybe, my difficulties have encouraged others walking through back pain or other disappointments.
The experiences I have struggled with have been the catalyst for my prayers for others going thru similar situations. Whatever His purposes for allowing these challenges, I trust Him to show me.
Giving up a passion that was once a source of identity is a slow surrender. I know because I kept trying to act as though I could still be that athlete, after many setbacks. But if we ask God to show us who we really are in Him, He will open up our hearts and minds to new things and purposes He has planned in advance, even before we knew Him as Savior.
I thank God that I am not a candidate for neck surgery at this time. So I will continue to push through another round of physical therapy and trust Him each step of the way!