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On Standing Firm and Choosing Joy
The past few weeks have been difficult. My husband had pneumonia the week before the girls and I left for Teach Them Diligently Convention in Nashville. I was very concerned about him, but I continued to pack and prepare to speak. When he turned the corner, I was relieved.
Then, the day before leaving for Nashville, my right wrist and elbow hurt. I prayed, and they began feeling better. On Wednesday morning, though, as we packed the van, I realized that my left knee felt bruised, like I had hit it hard on something the day before. I thought maybe I had banged a suitcase into it. I looked and couldn’t see a bruise, but it was actually sore to the touch. We finished Princess Roo’s infusion and hit the road.
As we traveled, the pain in my knee intensified, and my other knee began to feel like it had tendonitis. It was very painful to press the gas and brake pedals. I prayed all the way to Germantown, where we stopped for the night. I took ibuprofen, said healing scriptures aloud, and prayed that the next day would be better.
On Thursday, we headed out early to make it to Nashville by noon. My right knee felt better, but my left one was still sore and began to swell. It also turned red and was warm to the touch. By the time we made it to the convention center, I had other affected joints. It was mild at first, but as the day progressed, my right ankle, both elbows, my wrists, and several joints in my fingers got sore, then turned red and hot and swelled until I became concerned about the skin surrounding them—and my knee wasn’t any better.
I had a choice to make. I had to speak Thursday night at 8:00 and Saturday morning at 9:30. I was also going to meet my sponsors and map out a game plan for promoting The Struggling Reader. There were blogging friends I’d known for years online that I wanted to meet and visit with. My kids were looking forward to a fun week with me. I decided to choose joy.
On Friday morning, the pain was so bad my body shook. Ibuprofen and naproxen sodium didn’t touch it. I cried in the shower with my roommate and four kids sleeping in the next room, begging God for His help because I knew I couldn’t make it through alone. I chose joy. I felt like I was in a spiritual battle, that the enemy of my soul was trying to ruin the trip and rob me of the experience I had looked forward to for so long. I continued to pray fervently and recited healing scriptures aloud with the kids. I walked the halls of the convention center in terrible pain, but I put a smile on my face, muttered scriptures under my breath (which probably led some convention attendees to think I’d gone mad), and kept going.
And God saw me through. The pain didn’t lessen, the swelling didn’t go down, but I had the grace and strength to move through the pain to a place of joy and peace because I knew God was holding me up and allowing me to enjoy the convention.
I went to the doctor a few days after we got home. I was improving but still had a long way to go. He thinks I had a case of viral arthritis. With the help of some medication, the symptoms are almost gone, and I’m praying they never come back.
Standing firm and choosing joy are difficult, especially when you’re not physically well or are feeling defeated by circumstances. But it is possible.
Stand firm and choose joy. Don’t waver in your faith. God is real, and He is with you. Always.
Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.
Romans 4:20-21 (NIV)
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