On December 14, 2012, I found myself at an Oklahoma City Thunder game. It was the first time for me to watch our team play in person. The tickets were free – a gift from the Thunder to children in state custody. All I had to do was take one of my teens to the game. That was easy, and exciting enough, so I went ready to cheer the team on.
I had a feeling about the game. A premonition if you will. Something felt off, but I pushed it aside and instead focused on my excitement. When we arrived at the game and I saw where our seats were, that feeling intensified, and I found myself anxious walking up the steep steps to the very last possible row.
The game started, and the anxiety eased. Halfway through the first quarter, we decided to head down for food. I made it two-thirds of the way down the steps when I felt (and heard) a pop. Years of problems with my knees taught me to always hold onto a railing while walking down or upstairs, so thankfully, I simply fell down onto a step instead of falling down the stairs.
My patella had dislocated. It’s something that happens often. Or used to happen often. I’d dealt with it for years. So I did the only thing I could think of and pushed myself up and very slowly continued down the stairs.
It was different. Since patella dislocation was almost normal for me, I knew what I normally felt like when I got hurt, but this was different. I stayed for the entire game and walked the mile or so back to my car. I even managed to take my teen home without losing it, but as soon as she was safely inside, I lost it and headed to the ER. Something was wrong.
About a month and a half passed before I really learned what was wrong. All those years of patella dislocation, lack of doctor’s visits, finally caught up with me and I went in for open knee surgery on January 25, 2013.
I thought the recovery would be easy. A week off from work, and then I could return to light duty. Another few weeks later I would be back to normal. It’s been just over a month since my surgery, and I’m still struggling to bend my knee a total of 90 degrees. I also haven’t made it back to work.
There’s a part of me that is angry. There’s also a part of me that is frustrated. But there’s an even bigger part of me that is blessed.
I’m blessed because of the timing in which this happened. No, there is never a perfect time to be injured or off work. But there are times that are better than others. And God knew this would happen. He saw what was coming, and He prepared us financially. He also prepared me mentally and spiritually.
Looking back, I see His faithfulness clearly. I see how He has walked with me and kept my knee as healthy as possible for years. That came when I heard the surgeon telling my husband he had no idea how I had walked on it for years.
I see how He has prepared us financially. We spent years living in an old house. After selling the old house, we spent months living with my in-laws and saving money. Even now, living in a new house that we were able to furnish, we have extra money in the bank. And the surgery happened after 2013 started when my Flex Spending Account had enough money in it to cover the majority of the medical procedures I would need.
He also provided me with an understanding supervisor. Of course there is frustration that I am unable to return to work. I’m frustrated too. But I am blessed to be cared about, blessed that I am able to take off work and still receive a paycheck through short term disability.
I’ve spent more time with my husband and our friends while recovering. We’ve shared more meals with one another in this past month than in the six months preceding my surgery. I’ve learned to let down the walls of pride and ask for help, and more than that, I have been blessed and loved by people who want to help.
When we accept Jesus into our lives, we are not promised a perfect life. Jesus never tells us that life will be easy now that we believe in Him. Rather, He warns us that hardship will come. He warns us that we will be persecuted. But He promises us that we will be loved and cared for and that God will always provide for our needs.
I’ve seen that more in this past month than ever before in my life. I’ve depended on God and prayed and felt His presence. I’ve let go of the need to compare myself to others. I’ve accepted God’s love and purpose and found myself thankful for this surgery.
He uses everything in our lives to point back to Him. The good and the bad. The exciting and the frustrating. What is He using in your life?