Ruptured

Three weeks ago, I ruptured my Achilles tendon.

We were two days short of boarding a boat to make the long trek home, at the tail end Superheroesof an epic day at Malibu; I had chased and carried my 3 boys {6,4 and 1} around camp,  more than once been called “supermom” {the flatteringly annoying moniker I had acquired over my 4 weeks there}, hunted crabs, talked of truth and life calling, appeared in an “opera” as Jessie from Toy Story alongside my husband {Woody, of course}, perhaps pullwoody and jessieed out a break dancing routine from college at a memorable dance party with 3oo high school friends, and despite my “tight Achilles” {yes, I actually reported it to a couple friends, and yes I am over 30 and evidently supposed to pay attention to those things now}, decided it would be a good idea to play midnight hockey in the gym with a whole bunch of beloved camp staff and volunteers. Of course.

Thirty seconds on the floor, and I was down, in a heap, with no one around me. How is that for a Division I college athlete? I literally pushed off to run, and heard a deep pop, like someone had slapped the back of my calf with a cupped hand. Hard. I crumpled to the ground in slow motion and I think my exact words were: “Oh sh*t… Oh Lord Jesus”.

{Let me just say, I do not cuss often, and I never take the Lord’s name in vain. Both phrases were genuinely appropriate and authentically true.  Something bad had just happened. And I desperately needed a rescuer, a counselor… a HEALER.} 

The game stopped. The doctor came. I was carried off the gym floor… And after a month of relentless sun, scorching days and muggy nights — at the exact moment when a few courageous, servant-hearted men began guiding my questionably stable wheelchair and me in a size five, left footed boot that was awkwardly stabilizing my size 9, right foot — the skies opened.

Swollen raindrops that had waited weeks to be released seeped into our clothes and skin; my teeth chattered, and as the rickety wheelchair was guided backward down steep ramps and the armrests fell off and my body shook as we traversed board after board and across gravel paths, I laughed.

I laughed.

I was perhaps in shock, perhaps a little crazy. But perhaps more in my right mind than ever… Perhaps all those years before when I had fasted on Sundays in college and prayed the words of Proverbs 31 to be true of me… to be industrious and wise and respected and that I would have no fear for the future but laugh at the days to come… perhaps in that moment God had shown me that He had answered. That He had sown into me faith and joy and peace that could not be stolen by trauma or heartache or death, and not the least by a ruptured tendon. He had answered, and His confirmation came in the oddest form and timing as the maniacal woman with a missing tendon, teeth chattering, wheelchair collapsing, laughed into the soaking night.

And my laughter has not left me… there has been a covering of joy in the midst of me perfecting a onCastede legged crab-walk; my boys picking for me a beautiful blue cast; of doing a thousand one legged squats daily as I pick up dropped crutches, dropped Legos, dropped food, dropped toddlers; of joking that I feel like a middle schooler… with three kids, as I cannot drive for two months and cannot do the basic tasks of taking my garbage out or carrying a glass of water across the room.

Don’t get me wrong, I have cried too. I have cried out to Jesus numerous times a day, as I fall into walls, drop plates, take thirty minutes to do what normally takes me three, when I want to run to my crying preschooler but can’t, when I tried to sing to my two year old and put him in his crib, but lost my balance and fell to the floor, when I dropped a crutch for the millionth time, when I couldn’t sign my son up for soccer because I couldn’t get him there, when I yelled at my kids because my patience and energy were gone and it was the only way I could get their attention so the fists wouldn’t fly {any longer}. I have cried out at the struggle between the part of me that trusts that the important things are still intact, and the part that is so done with this trial and is ready to be for my leg to be intact.

Three weeks in and five months out from “normal”, I am doing a particular dance with the devil as he tempts me to bitterness and despair, teases me to think I am entitled to grumble and complain, entices me to think I am not valuable because I am suddenly very inefficient and a great burden. Those things do not make me laugh. They make me angry.

But I laugh at the days to come… the ones that will be filled with more resilience, a slower pace, more intentionality, more faith. I laugh when I think of the ways the Lord has already provided for me through friends gifting me with groceries and meals and playdates with my boys and an incredible husband who serves me unbelievably well, and how that will translate to deeper friendships, a sweeter marriage, an example to follow when I am walking and well. I laugh when I realize that despite momentary failure, I am prevailing over the enemy and walking in more truth than I did even a month ago.

I laugh at the days that seem much further off too, the ones free of sin and pain and suffering, in the place where my hope lies and my heart is secure and where my days stretch infinitely in the presence of the Jesus who knows me best, has won my heart and fights to keep it. The days that will make this life but a distant memory.

For now, I am believing for a miracle. Marshall and I pray every night for healing.  I trust that God is asking me to fight for something and not give up too easily. I know God can heal. I trust that He is good. I also believe that a changed heart is more miraculous, more lasting, more significant than a reattached tendon. And this girl’s heart needs some healing. So whether a miracle of the flesh, or a miracle of the heart. I am ready.

But let’s be honest, both would be nice.


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