I haven’t drank a drop of alcohol in I over 2 years but yet over the course of the last week I met a few people who thought I had been drinking. I saw a lot of people staring at me as I walked by them and I also heard a couple of people make comments to each other, one person flat out pointed and told those he was with, “she’s had a few to many.”
Nobody truly knows anyone else’s story but we all know our own and my story is that I do not drink anymore. I know it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks and all that really matters is what God thinks…but it still does sure hurt when others think they know your story but they are wrong.
Why would people think that my story was that I was drunk?? Well first off we were at a resort in Mexico where the alcohol flows freely and the second reason is because I don’t always walk ‘normal’ anymore especially when my legs are tired and worn out towards the end of the day.
This past September I had what was supposed to be a minor knee surgery on both of my knees which were 3 weeks apart for a torn meniscus and arthritis clean up. I have pretty bad arthritis in both of my knees and had a lot of debris that needed to be removed. After the surgery I was informed that my meniscus was completely removed from my right knee and most the meniscus was removed out of my left knee. The doctor also said that the arthritis has pretty much destroyed my right knee and that I have bone rubbing on bone now. I also have a cyst in the back of my left knee that causes my leg and foot to swell that can not be removed because it is in a dangerous place to remove it. The doctor thinks that it is safer to leave it alone since it is benign.
Before the surgery my knees hurt when I walked but the pain was still tolerable. Now five months after the surgery that was supposed to help me I have excruciating pain when I walk and I am awake most nights over half the night in pain. I can’t go up and down stairs anymore without hanging on and slowly going one leg at a time. Instead of getting better I seem to be getting worse. Another thing that has happened is that I sometimes wobble and get off balance when I walk or if someone bumps into me. It seems to be worse when I first get up from a sitting position. It’s like I have to stand a minute to settle and then it takes about 30 steps for me get walking correctly, I guess it has something to do with the blood flow?… I really don’t know but that is my own opinion. My doctor keeps telling me to give it time and to keep doing my exercises. I haven’t really told many of my friends about this because I don’t like people to be making over me and I hope no one who reads this thinks I am whining or complaining, because I am not. I am only telling this all here to complete the story I am about to tell.
This week I realized I have a lot more healing to do and not just in my legs; though I seem to be genuinely happy most days since the surgeries I keep feeling like something is missing inside. I had been having trouble concentrating when I prayed and I keep feeling like maybe God was at a distance. I talk to him non stop and knew he was there but something just did not seem quite right.
I was looking foreword to this vacation because usually when I get to a place away from my everyday life I seem to draw closer to God because I tend slow down and I guess that causes me to see him better. I know that may seem weird to some but sometimes I tend to get caught up in all the stuff I have to do in my every day life and it becomes more about getting the stuff done and God ends up getting shoved to the bottom of the list sometimes. I am sad to say even things like Bible study class turn into “oh my gosh, I have to get caught up on my homework!” Instead of, “I am so excited about the time I get to spend with God during my Bible study time!”
Though I do feel like I have came a long way in the past four years I do know that I still have many self centered wants that I need to work on and a lot more growing to do. I also do know that I don’t have to go to some exotic place to see God. Lately it just seemed like I had been trying hard to find him, which seems kinda silly because actually I do know He is all around me all the time. I guess He’s Just a bit harder to see when the selfishness of me sometimes blocks the view.
The other night I was reading a book by Joni Erickson Tada and in her book she wrote that when she made up her mind to take delight in the Lord that is when she truly found delight in her life despite her painful disability. She wrote that delight is here to be had and all we have to do is receive it. Receive it…that’s it… Just receive it.
Our second day at the resort we were getting ready to have lunch and I was really feeling down about the pain in my legs and all the stairs I had been encountering to climb. After a long walk to get to the resort restaurant, I sat down at the table exhausted and hurting thinking I had made a mistake by coming here…”Take delight in the Lord”… I thought in my head …”Please let me see Jesus this week and give me the strength to not complain and ruin vacation for my husband.”
Shortly after we sat down a voice beside me said, “Hola and welcome, how may I serve you today?” I looked up to see our waiter smiling joyfully at me and on his bright white uniform was a shiny golden name tag displaying the name ‘Jesus’… Jesus?… Really?… Our waiters name was Jesus? You got to be kidding I pray to see Jesus and get a waiter named Jesus? Oooo-kay… 🙂
Take delight in the Lord…. Just receive it…
I have prayed many times for God to use me to be the hands and feet of Jesus but this guy was actually the living image of that. I have to say this young man went out of his way to make our lunch special. The cool thing is he didn’t strike me as if he was just doing his job it seemed to me as if he was spilling over with excess joy that was washing all over my husband and myself. He just kept serving us with laughter and smiles and was a pure delight to be around. After we finished our lunch and left I remarked to my husband how it was like Jesus himself had waited on us.
We laughed about it and it turned into our daily joke… “Oh look honey there’s Jesus again” 🙂
As the week went on I kept coming across more stairs to climb and also more stares from the people I would wobble past… by the way did I mention I bought a cane for this trip? Yes I did but my pride would not let me use it. Ya that’s me the prideful lady worried about what everyone else thinks taking the pain of my legs and letting people think I was drunk over thinking I was… handicapped?? Ya I know that seems to make a whole lot of sense… NOT.
Also as the week went on we would see our favorite waiter ‘Jesus’ every day in different areas of the resort working hard to serve the guests, he was always smiling and spreading joy. I noticed also that the more I saw ‘Jesus the waiter’ the more I was reminded that Jesus is alive and well all around me. I began to quit worrying about what other people thought of me hobbling around. I also realized that if I am avoiding eye contact with people because I am embarrassed how does that spread Jesus? I am who God made me to be and who cares what anyone else thinks other than God and I don’t know that he would be to proud of me running around being ashamed of something as silly as a wobble in my walk.
Take delight in the Lord … I was finally starting to receive it.
Our last day of vacation we went to the pool restaurant to eat lunch and we were happy to see that Jesus was our waiter again. Today as he was taking our order I noticed something different about him… today his shiny gold name tag said ‘Hugo’. Puzzled I pointed at his nametag and said, “Is your name Hugo?” and I mentioned his ‘Jesus’ nametag he had worn the other days. He sheepishly grinned and said, “My name is Hugo.” It seems that he had forgotten his nametag the other day and had borrowed someone else’s.
I know there is only one true Jesus but if ever there was a person who showed Jesus in his actions I have to say Hugo was that man. He showed me Jesus this week and I know that is how I want to be too. I want to be so full of the love of Jesus that others see Jesus in me like I saw in Hugo. I still amazed how God works. Would I have seen Jesus in Hugo without the nametag? It was pretty obvious how much Jesus was in him but the thing is I was so busy wallowing in my own self pity that I couldn’t see what was right in front of me. I am thinking that maybe God had to play a little game of name tag switch-a-roo to catch my attention and it worked. Take delight in the Lord… this really made me smile when I realized what was happening. God is really awesome isn’t he?
Today as I write this I am on a plane heading home from Mexico, I went there for vacation and was hoping to catch a glimpse of Jesus while I was there. I did find Jesus but the thing is he was never lost, he was always there. God never moved away, it was me who moved. As far as my failing knees go those are just bumps in the road along this journey. Sometimes the road gets a bit harder to travel but each time the road gets harder I find that if I keep pushing on I get stronger. I also find that the road is easier to travel if I stay focused on God first. If I focus on him first then all that other stuff that normally bogs me down seems a lot less important.
Receive him…that’s it. My hearts desire is him and once I have him the delight just flows right in.
If you are reading this today remember Jesus is always with you all you have to do is allow him in.
Psalm 37:4-6 – Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you. He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun. (NLT)
Thanks for reading,