The warnings kept coming but I didn’t heed them. Over the past few years, they’d become more pronounced. A woman who I didn’t know very well got the courage to tell me that something bad was going to happen if I didn’t slow down and address my health. Then a dear friend drove to my house and told me she was sure the Lord wanted me to slow down and take stock of my life. Yet another friend urged me to throw away my “to do list” and just learn to sit still for a while. Each time, I knew it was God speaking to me, and I earnestly wanted to slow down.
When I shared my dilemma with a former student, she asked me, “When you are driving down the street and you see a stop sign, do you have difficulty making the decision to stop?” I laughed at the analogy, but it really resonated with me. Unfortunately, I didn’t immediately do what I knew I needed to do: stop right then and do what the Lord was urging me to do.
I am wired differently than most people. I feel my best when I am doing five things at once and crushing most of them. People have asked, “When will you ever slow down?” and, before the fall, my reply was some version of “when I can no longer do it.” I thought that time would come when I was in my 90’s if I was blessed enough to live that long.
Then, on a beautiful day in early August while I was coming up the walk to my house and talking to a friend on my cell phone, my world turned upside down. I tripped and—in a millisecond—I was faceplanting into a concrete step. I could feel the blood oozing out of my head, but I couldn’t move my arms or legs. I am so thankful that my husband was at home and heard my cries for help. I immediately began to pray and ask God to heal my body. By the time the paramedics arrived, I was able to stand up with their assistance and take two steps to the gurney—an immediate answer to prayer.
I spent three days in a trauma unit where it was determined that I’d broken my nose, sustained a cervical fracture and needed 22 stitches in my head. The miracle is that I only had a slight concussion and was able to pass the protocol with flying colors. The recovery was nothing short of miraculous, and three weeks later I was able to go to London for my 65th birthday cruise. I boarded the flight, donning a fancy neck brace, an ankle brace, and a cane. This was not how I imagined this milestone, but I was grateful for the gift.
Three days into my vacation, I aggravated an old ankle injury which led to my real period of slowing down and reflecting. My initial thoughts were to put on a smile and push through. That didn’t last long. My ankle pain persisted, and I realized I would only get better when I decided to be obedient to the command to really slow down and take stock. This is where I am now. Someone shared this thought with me, “Healing also means taking responsibility for the role you play in your own suffering.” That hit home. God, who gave me every opportunity to slow down on my own, was now taking the reins and reeling me in.
Life after the fall has been a gift. The sound of silence is my new friend. Sitting with the Lord and really hearing has become such a pleasure. It is humbling to acknowledge that I cannot do everything. Saying “No” is not only necessary, it’s liberating. My body and mind need rest to heal. Healing can come spontaneously, but the best lessons come on the healing journey. I am learning how to be gentle with myself and how to trust the boundaries my body has erected. It is not easy, but it gets better every day.
Another lesson that I am learning is how much I miss when I am going too fast. I missed important events by rushing through emails and deleting them at the speed of light. I missed the subtle cries for help from friends because I was multitasking and not being present with them. I missed the loving communion with God as I opted for praying on the go.
I am beyond grateful that God loves me so much that he stopped me in my tracks. I am grateful for this period of recalibration that is becoming my new cadence. I am thankful for getting back on the path to my purpose, and I already feel the joy of reconnecting with my authentic self. I have missed the gift being present with myself and look forward to exploring more of who God created me to be. It feels so good.Leave a Comment