I knew something was wrong with my back the minute I heard it pop.
I was helping someone move heavy furniture and felt my lower back pop multiple times. The pain shot down my spine, went to my pelvis and down both legs. After a few weeks of trying to ignore the constant pain and irritation, I went to a doctor.
Some tests were done, and he pointed out to me that I had what was called a hemivertebrae along with a mild case of scoliosis that wasnt fully diagnosed until then-basically an underdeveloped disc in my lower back, and it was being compressed, thus explaining my pain. He said the only way to fix it would be a spinal fusion. That was a huge red flag to me.
I had heard nightmare stories of people getting spinal fusion surgeries, and it ruined their life, decreased their mobility, and made things much more difficult. The surgeon seemed very confident that this was the only solution. I stirred and fretted over this decision for a while, not really leaning towards getting an operation. That all changed one night as I said my evening prayer.
I got a very strong feeling that I should have the surgery. It wasn’t the answer I was looking for by any means. It went against everything I was feeling about the whole situation. I ended my prayer and started another one. Again the same answer came, this time even stronger.
So I called the nurse the next day to schedule the operation. Little did I know, it would be a life altering decison that still affects me today.
Fast forward to 6 months after my surgery, I noticed more and more that I was not improving, but rather getting worse and worse. My muscles were constantly trying to overcompensate for the fusion. My hardware in my back was eventually removed, but the effects of the first initial surgery had already taken place.
My spine had fused too straight, causing me to lose my lumbar curve, and altering my posture and hip placement. It was devastating. I spent the next few months regretting the decision for an operation as I tried physical therapy to remedy the issue. I had to drop out of school, I was unable to work.
As a newlywed, it was heartbreaking to not be able to be the provider of the home. Everything would make it worse-sitting, walking, standing, and lying down didn’t help. My faith was being swallowed up in the frustration of everyday tasks, the fear of an uncertain future, and the questions kept overshadowing the answers I was seeking.
A scripture kept coming to mind amidst all of this “…for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.”
All I could do at the time was very minimal. Getting out of bed was a challenge, the little things I took for granted became monumentally difficult. I was in my late 20’s but my body felt like it was 80.
I was angry. Angry at myself, angry at God because why would I get a prompting for something that would be harmful? Isn’t the point of revelation to put us out of harm’s way?
While that is true in some cases, other times the Spirit guides us through the storms, not around them. Does that make for an uncaring, unloving, distant God?
Its the opposite. Our Heavenly Father loves us with a love that we cannot comprehend. The love a parent has for a child is incredibly strong, so imagine how much the God of the universe loves and cares for us.
All of mankind will have their ups and downs, the hours of light and dark. Sometimes “all we can do is very minimal, baby steps even. I had to teach myself how to walk again at one point and it was extremely frustrating. I was taking literal small steps for months, and the mistake I made was to believe I wasnt good enough, wasn’t trying hard enough.
The adversary tries to tell us we aren’t good enough, we will never be who we want to be, but sometimes baby steps are all we are capable of at the time, and that’s OK.
At other points in our life, we will be able to take larger metaphorical strides, and that is acceptable too. We are only asked to to what we are able to at that time.
If we based ourselves purely on the fact that we are human, 10 times out of 10 we will fall short of the glory of God. But we have an advocate with the Father. Our Savior, Jesus Christ will plead our case, because he has taken the same small steps we all have, he has felt the drawbacks, the heartache, the failures, the weaknesses.
He has experienced every misstep, been through every trying time. We can take comfort in the fact that the Father and the Son know us, faults and all, and still love us despite our weaknesses.
They understand that sometimes our best isn’t that much. And that’s perfectly fine.