There hasn’t been a ton of time for blogging lately, mostly because I tend to blog on Thursdays when I am out of the house for a while sans children. As time has passed this year, it seems my Thursdays fill up pretty quickly…it turns out that coffee with a friend is actually relaxing when you aren’t chasing little ones! As of late, my Thursdays are booked with PT appointments to manage an old running injury from grad school. This is only the third time in 11 years it has reared its ugly head, but–wow–is it painful! It is actually an SI joint injury I managed to achieve during my ridiculously-obsessed-with-running years in the early 2000’s. It isn’t related to pregnancy, but the last two times I have had to go to PT I have been pregnant…the pregnant part only makes it worse. I’m hopeful that I’ll be back running and active in a couple of weeks, but it has made life interesting, considering I have a one-year-old that demands I carry her most places.
This injury is timely in light of one of our recent bible study questions, “How are you suffering the consequences of a former sin?” When I got to this question, I immediately thought of my body–both physical and mental. I could point out many things that I “carry” with me that have been a result of some form of sin–things that ail me either physically or in my own thinking and memories. I really hadn’t considered this injury as a result of sin before this week, but the reality is, it likely is. I got it at a time when I was glorifying myself and body over everything else. I obsessed over my weight and I planned everything around when and how I would work out. It is no wonder that an injury occurred. Yes, I have been able to manage it so well that I am unaware of it for the most part. I’ve reworked my running gait, changed my posture, changed my exercise habits, and have mostly been healed of the obsession–the root of the problem. But every few years it manages to resurface and keep me humble. I think without some of these ailments, I would forget how I have been dealt with mercifully–I would become self-reliant in an even bigger way. I need to be reminded that sins have consequences. Paul speaks of his own circumstance with a thorn in his flesh:
“Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:7b-9
As I further thought about the question from BSF, I reflected on Reece. I don’t believe our bodies ever truly heal here. I think of Reece’s body and how the biggest concern going into transplant was not all the germs that could come into his body, but rather what already lived there. All the Work-up Week testing that was done included a history of what he had already been exposed to, as it resided in his blood already. Even those tests had limits as to what they could tell us in regard to exposures. It demonstrates that not only do our bodies record our own sin (like my injury), but also they record the world’s sin (like the common viruses we acquire and build up immunities to). It’s pretty humbling. I don’t for a second think of Reece’s diagnosis as a result of his own sin. I think his MDS was a result of a fallen, imperfect world. In a child, I view it as more of the weight of the world’s sin, versus the result of things he chose for himself. But Reece’s life on earth became–as most of us will eventually become–a casualty of sin. Sin outweighs us, outnumbers us, outsmarts us…here; on our own. Some of us will have to deal with decades of it and others, like Reece, will endure a short, but powerful few years. At some point, our healing will have to come from our Maker. A sub-standard, human, bandaged effort–albeit sophisticated in many regards–will not be enough. But the reality is, until we are healed into Heaven, our bodies and minds do not forget what they have endured.
Likewise, our minds are subjected to ailments, including damage from what we have lived through; they also keep a record of hardships. We routinely refer to mental wounds as “baggage” or “issues”. Speaking of which, I was feeling pretty mentally damaged myself a few weeks back. I hit a low spot as I was overwhelmed with the pregnancy, our girls, and the reality of Reece. Terry and I had gone out on a lovely date night, but as dinner wore on, we inevitably started discussing Reece. At first, we talked about happy things. But then it turned to some of the memories from about a year ago and it ended the night on a somber note. I just kept thinking about our life and how we would manage it all. Like I said–I felt like damaged goods–unrecoverable. Thankfully, the sun rises and the sun sets and there is a new day on the horizon. As I have gotten a little distance, I realize that every time I look at the obvious hardships of losing Reece, it becomes completely defeating. Outside of God, the grave nature overwhelms me every single time. It’s only in the context of Eternity that my mind is freed, that I can feel hope in the larger purpose and encouragement in the ultimate healing that comes from knowing Christ and being forgiven of the mess of sin that devours our lives here. There is no remission in Heaven; it’s the only place we can truly declare ourselves cured.
In this context, I can understand why we don’t ever rid ourselves of our past while we are here. I need some reminders that I have messed up, that I continue to mess up, and that I’ll be messing up for the rest of my days. But instead of thinking about it in terms of “just bad luck” or “overuse” or “baggage”, I am reminded this week that my own ailments are part of a much larger picture for my life. They serve as reminders to myself, as lessons for myself and those around me, and as opportunities to examine my own self and how I conduct myself while I’m here. I can’t rely on myself to be perfect, because I’m a proven failure at it. I’ve got the bumps and bruises to show for it.
“If I’m thinking of the person I’m going to marry, I won’t be an easy target for seduction. Likewise, when I’ve meditated on Heaven, sin becomes terribly unappealing. Our high tolerance for sin testifies to our failure to prepare for Heaven. ‘Everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.’ (1 John 3:3, NASB).
~Randy Alcorn, “Heaven”