Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Stretching and Changing

Wow. Since my last post on March 1, it's been a wild ride. I know it's nothing compared to what many of you face constantly ... but things have completely turned around from that hopeful email.

On March 3, my mother-in-law collapsed in respiratory failure. My husband and I found ourselves on her floor giving her CPR until the EMT's arrived. She remained in the hospital until April 2. Meanwhile, we determined she needed to live with us, and because our place was so small, we moved two households in 2 weeks. She came home April 2, and on April 6 went back to the hospital with near-respiratory failure. On April 14 she came home, then back to the hospital we went on April 15 with an allergic reaction causing respiratory distress. She remains there today - home only 6 days in the past 75.

This time has been filled with a completely haphazard schedule, lots of fatigue, and a significant change in our circumstances as my husband is taking a paid leave of absence to be with her. We never know if our plans for a given evening will come through or not. I am literally having to learn to live in the moments and trust God with my lists (which seem to grow longer rather than shorter). And yet strangely, I wouldn't trade this time for anything. For in it, I've learned the importance of stretching and changing.

Stretching. Each morning I do a series of stretches which keep some joint problems in check and help reduce the risk of muscle pulls, etc., while walking. Physically, research shows that 30 seconds of stretching increases range of motion in each muscle group stretched. It also increases balance and facilitates relaxation.

Spiritually, the past few weeks have taught me the same truths. I have been stretched in my faith, in my schedule, in my quiet times, in my priorities ... and yet I have learned that my spiritual "range of motion" has increased significantly! I am capable of much more than I thought ... and I know that God used this time of "stretching" to get me there a little at a time. My spiritual "balance" has been equally affected, as I have learned that my definition of "balance" might not be God's, and that "balance" can change from day to day. As a pastor friend advised once, "Don't pursue balance ... pursue God, and He'll give you the balance you need." I've relearned that truth. Finally, relaxation has most definitely been facilitated as I have had the benefit of more times of sitting and waiting, praying or reading and allowing God to minister to me as I await the latest doctor to the room or the next test or procedure.

Are you being stretched spiritually? Ask God how He would have this stretching produce in you an increased range of motion, balance, and relaxation!

Change. Scientists and doctors tell us that healthy cells are dynamic, not static. What that means is that anything alive and healthy is in the process of CHANGE. It is truth that if your cells are now growing and changing, they are dying. A static, unchanging cell is on its way to death unless something turns it around.

Likewise, this time of change has been good for me spiritually. Despite the difficulties I feel ALIVE and growing, and reminded that keeping things the same is simply a sign of impending loss - death!

Are you facing change? Remember that all God promises is that HE will not change ... He gives no certainties about our circumstances. Praise Him for the signs of life that change reflects ... and embrace it as a gift.

It is my privilege to begin to minister again as I have adjusted to a "new normal". I make no promises about number of posts, but please know that I will try to be faithful to the Lord in full obedience.


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