9.22.2011

it's okay to hope: freedom day {the brace post, part three}

{You might want to read this before reading this post.}




Some of you know that for the past two and a half years, I've worn a back brace for scoliosis. On February 4th of 2009, I began a stage in my life that would be the most difficult for me yet. I tried to be okay with  it. But it hurt, badly. It affected me in ways that I don't even want to think about anymore: I was not myself for a long time.... at least, not on the inside. I felt like a different version of myself- a restrained, incomplete version. I became less confident, more tired, wasn't in the greatest mood lots of the time, and was more shy and quiet. Most people didn't realize what this dumb plastic shell did to me. It changed me. And it was not good. But it was God's beautiful, perfect plan for me then. He formed me, planned for me to have this. Why? I wish I knew. But what I do know? He brought so, so much good out of it.

Oh, notice I said, brought. Past tense.

2 years. 7 months. 2 weeks. 3 days. It's over.

I'm done.

Forever.


As in, there is no way in the world that I am ever wearing it again.


a little happy, on the way home. :)


In case you couldn't tell, I'm still trying to believe it. Someone pinch me, please. For real? Done?! I cannot believe it! As in, at all. As in, I don't know what to do with myself. Or where to begin! But I have to start somewhere. Want the story?

Yesterday was my scheduled appointment {I had one every six months.}. So, we drove the forty-five minutes it takes to get to the office, and I prayed my little heart out that this maybe, just maybe, would be the end. But I'd had my hopes dashed so many times, I decided to just give it over to Jesus. He had it all under control. Over and over again I claimed the healing He gave to the woman who had faith when she met Jesus. She reached up and sought His favor, His healing, because she.had.faith. that He could, and would, heal her. My heart reached up and sought the same thing, begging, asking that He would heal me. I claimed that verse, claimed the fact that healing is in God's hands. I repeated it over and over to myself. Not because I needed any convincing, but because I needed confindence. That even if I left that office, again, with that plastic shell in my hands, knowing I needed to keep wearing it for yet another six months, I was going to be okay and that it was God's beautiful plan for my life. So I sat in the X-ray waiting room, praying and claiming in a repeating cycle, calming myself down before getting the X-ray.








He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering." mark 5:34















There's this point when I have just gotten the X-ray and have to sit in that room by myself, waiting to make sure that the X-ray turned out okay. I can remember every single instance when I waited there. I think a lot in those long few minutes. About what's happened since I last sat in that same chair, wondering if this, this was going to be the day. The freedom day. In the past, while waiting, my curiosity would get the better of me and I'd peek around the corner, trying to see the X-ray on the computer screen. And then, I'd start to worry. Over-analyzing it, my stomach flip-flopping and my heart sinking. Had the curvature gotten worse? Did I do the absolute best I could have?


Did I do enough? 


But yesterday? Yesterday it was different. Yesterday, I was different. I didn't look, once. I sat there, and you'd best believe it killed me not to take a look. I gave it to God to look at instead. Either way, it was in His hands, not mine. That's a good thing.


I walked back to the X-ray waiting room to wait with my Mom for the next room to be ready, where we would talk with the doctor to see what the next step was. My little prayer / claim cycle resumed as I sat, waiting. Have I ever mentioned that waiting is something i am really, really bad at? {And of course, God gave me something I had to wear and wait two and a half crazy years to get rid of, right? He has quite the sense of humor....} Really bad. I'm so impatient, and I feel like it's a waste of time. But I've come to learn, mainly because of the past two and a half- plus years, how important the waiting seasons are in life. If we never had to wait for something to happen, we wouldn't be half so happy when it happened. As I waited, in that same room I'd been in six months earlier, I committed whatever was going to happen to Jesus. And as the nurse called us back to the next waiting room, I walked confidently, knowing whatever happened, I'd be okay. Just like I'd been okay six months ago. And six months before that.


Inside the waiting room, after the nurse checked my hight and loaded the X-ray onto the computer, my Mom and I talked, she, wondering if her hopes were up too high, I, thinking that, most likely, nothing had changed and that I'd live with it for more time. I was still hoping, though, that God would work a miracle and heal me. I wanted it, so badly. I wanted to be free. To feel like myself again, to not have to live with this anymore. I was tired, mentally, physically, of it. It's exhausting, guys.


waiting in the office.

My doctor entered the room, and my stomach dropped. All that waiting was more than this girl could handle, but it was over now. I'd know. I almost didn't want to know. I didn't want to feel that stab of disappointment when he told me to keep going, keep doing what I was doing, and see you again in six months. I didn't want to know, but I did, at the same time. He looked at the X-ray. For a long time. He measured each of the curves {I have two; my spine is in the shape of an S} with some nifty little computer tool. I swear it took for.ever. He asked me some questions, wondering how it felt, did it hurt, was I still wearing it at night only {just since July}, etc. Then he took a deep breath. I did too. He looked up at me and told me that since I had not grown at all in the six months, and since my curvature had not changed a large amount in a year, wearing the brace anymore would have no purpose, no effect.
It would be useless. 
Tears filled my eyes. He kept talking, something about how he still  wanted to monitor it, and be sure that it didn't change at all in the next two years, but that surgery would not be necessary, that any change that happens now will not be fixed by the brace, etc. It was quiet. I could not talk. For real! Then my mom spoke.... "So, she's.... done?" He looked back at us from the computer again. "Yeah. Nothing that brace can do anymore." Tears filled Mom's eyes too, now, and I couldn't stop smiling. I laughed, I think, hardly believing what was happening. I'm pretty sure I made him say it again. This could not, could not be happening. I was done. Forever! Then, the absolute sweetest, happiest ending to this story, this imperfectly, painfully beautiful chapter in my life, began to unfold. I could just feel it. It was God's hand in it all. It was tangible, I'm telling you. It was beautiful, and perfect. He asked me what my plans were for life. College? Career? And so I told him. Told him about photography, my blog, I don't even remember half of what I said. He stood up afterwards and shook first my hand, and then my mom's, thanking us for working with him for the past few years. I thanked him, too.... he's been an amazing, patient, kind doctor to work with and he needed to hear that. We all joked a bit and laughed as we walked out, then thanked him one final time before I smiled and turned away. And I walked out of the room with my mom, down the hallway, grinning, to tell my little bro.

That morning, I had told my mom that I was scared to get my hopes up for the appointment, and she replied with something so simple. "It's okay to hope." And she was right. There's always hope. I can always, always have hope because of my Jesus. No matter what, I was going to be okay. Um, I was more than okay yesterday. We walked out of that office, and I was beaming. I felt like I was glowing. It was freedom day.


happy phone calls!!

I called my dad, I called one of my best friends, I called family and texted friends. Sweet words were exchanged, squeals emerged, and I have not been so happy, so full, free, and content, since February 4th, 2009. My friends all heard at youth group later that night. One started crying happy tears, all gave me enormous hugs. I have had the most incredible people supporting me through this time, and could not be more thankful. Thankful is too little a word, in fact. Much too little. I'm beyond thankful. For my friends from church, who I've known for years. My family small group {my extended family ;)}. My amazing, loving family. Everyone. I cannot describe how thankful I am for every single person who has prayed for me, encouraged me, and made me smile through the pain of the past few years. Ahh, I'm crying just writing this. Such a sappy person today! Ha.




 

We have a tradition of going to Steak n' Shake after these appointments, so we did. Diet vanilla coke, turkey melt, fries. All the way. My phone rang and beeped with calls and messages for the next hour, as I told everyone, and I still didn't feel like it had sunk in. At all.




But the point is, I had the most beautiful, precious, sweet ending to this chapter of my life, and God just worked it out perfectly, as always. He is so, so faithful. Please do not go away from this post without hearing that, please. He. Is. Faithful. And all the glory goes solely to Him for this. I worked really hard to get through it. I tried not to complain or let anyone see what pain, discomfort and junk I was feeling. But not with my own strength, that would have been impossible. Only with God did I get through this. To the glory of God the Father. philippians 2  I refuse to take one tiny ounce of credit for this. It was all Jesus, all strength came from Him. I had faith. That's it.


So, that brings me to today. To a continuation of freedom day. No, it still doesn't feel real, feel possible, but it's done. It's over. And that person that I became, somewhat without realizing it, while I lived, restrained, for over two and a half years? She's gone. I have never felt more like myself. I'm free. I learned more than I could ever tell anyone through that time, but I could not be happier that it is over. It's a new day, a new chapter unfolding. I do not know what's next, nor do I wish I did. So, I'm waiting again. Gotta love it. But, as far as I know, this is the last brace post. That chapter is completed; God wrote the last few pages yesterday. I'm still reliving those, flipping back to them frequently, smiling all the while. And He's writing the first pages in a fresh, new chapter, starting now. Starting now. I like how that sounds.


feeling like that bird, soaring high over the waters.....

Basically, God is faithful. I don't care if you have scoliosis like I do, if you have cancer, if you are lonely, if you are lost, confused, far away from Him, close to Him, He is always faithful. He will never let you go. He never let me go. Not once. I'm thankful. So thankful. And, I'm really, really happy. Really happy. And, what a surprise, I'm waiting again. Wondering what's next. And excited for it. Bring. It. On.


It's okay to hope. Happy Freedom Day. Xo!


if you have scoliosis and need someone to talk to, please email me. please! God's already started to use this for good, so go ahead! :) I'd love to talk to you!
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11 comments:

  1. maybe it's because I'm a sap today to, but I totally teared up reading this. so, so, so happy for you! what an amazing God we serve, one who has mercy on his children. so thankful for this happy ending!

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  2. Congratulations! What an exciting day for you!!!

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  3. Congrats. This post tore me to tears.

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  4. thank God. i said a prayer right after i read the first post. and now it's all over. you are free from the curse. congrats, and i love your steak & shake tradition! like carlotta, i teared up in reading this. such a beautiful day it has been for you. throw yourself a party, eat a cupcake, darling, you totally deserve it. :))
    -Jocee <3
    {pee ess: but before you have that party and eat that cupcake, please don't forget to thank the one who healed you. why? because he created you, and he cares for you, and he died so that you could live. so give thanks, and invite him to your party. i know he'd love to come :))}

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  5. mydearAudrey12:11 AM

    I'm so very happy for you! praise God that you are done with all of that. I admire your photography and we know that in all things, God works for those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. *Romans 8:28

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  6. Yay! That must have been such a good feeling!

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  7. aww, that is so awesome! :) I'm following your blog now through reader. I wish I could actually follow it but blogger won't let me. ugh. :)

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  8. Oh my goodness gracious. such beauty! Happy happiest day of freedom to you! xoxo

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  9. Oh, goodness. Happy Freedom Day to you! So many blessings!

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  10. So, so happy for you dear friend!

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  11. (: i had no idea about any of this!! It made me happy.

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