Enforced Sabbatical

About a month ago, there was a terrible windstorm that passed through the town where I live.  My husband and I had no idea how badly it had affected the area until we later found out that most places were without power.  Since we had just moved to a new apartment, we needed groceries and decided to shop at a new store that was offering fantastic prices on organic produce.  It was sunny out; how bad could it be?

As I was loading the bags into the trunk, a sudden gust of wind blew the trunk lid down on the side of my forehead.  Immediately, there was horrendous pain on the opposite side.  Vertigo began the next day.  One week and a trip to the ER later, they said I had classic concussion syndrome and was to do no reading, writing, watching TV, etc, for several weeks!

All I could do was lie in bed on my back with my head straight.  Any other position caused excruciating pain.  The room spun; walking was like trying to balance on a Tilt-O-Whirl.  I cried out to God…people were depending on me to do things, how can I be laid up now??  He admonished me about not paying attention to His instruction, pushing too hard, not taking time out to listen to His messages to me.  Now, that rest was enforced due to circumstances.

Father God reminded me of some things.  First, even Jesus took regular time apart from the people He was ministering to in order to commune with His Father, regain strength, and receive refreshment.  Second, my mind and hands were never designed to handle things without His undergirding them with His wisdom, compassion, and strength.

The third thing He showed me was an illustration from sports.  When someone does running or strength training, they rest for a day in between to allow the muscles to rebuild and grow.  It is these rest periods that are critical for becoming stronger and more adept.  The harder I tried, the less effective I was becoming.

In the agonized frustration of my forced inactivity, my soul kept screaming out my desperation to Jesus.  Why wasn’t the medicine for the vertigo working properly?  My guilt mounted as I watched my husband doing nearly everything, also knowing that people were counting on hearing from me, needing my support and love.  God kept saying, “Be still, and KNOW that I AM GOD.  You are resting, even if I have to take you there kicking and screaming.”

What I’ve learned is that outcomes are up to God, not me or any other being.  He can accomplish His purposes with or without me.  Since the accident, I’ve been learning lessons about love, service, and devotion that are new territory for me.  It’s almost as if I’m a car that is in the shop being repaired and restored, perhaps even rebuilt into a different model that will be more useful, elegant, and beautiful than how and when it began its existence.

People need to know that God is in control, but that His purpose is love and grace leading to repentance and reconciliation.  He is always creating beauty by His power of love, that maximum energy living at the edge between total darkness and the light of the emerald rainbow of His throne.

~ Denise Chambellan-Ackerman

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