“He led you through the vast and dreadful wilderness, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock. He gave you manna to eat in the wilderness, something your ancestors had never known, to humble and test you so that in the end it might go well with you.” – Deuteronomy 8:15-16
Let’s talk about humility, shall we?
Of all the lessons I’ve opened myself to learning over the past six months (yes, wow. Six months since I first felt something was wrong again with my tongue and was experiencing pain again…time does surely fly!), I have this sense of being humbled on many, many levels.
Don’t get me wrong — my first surgery that removed half of my tongue and 10-days of hospital living was also very, very humbling physically and emotionally.
But this time around, it’s been a different sort of humble. The pride that I took in being back at work, pristine organization of my room and staying on top of household chores (I’m 99% sure I have some OCD), being able to sing and play guitar again, getting my health coaching certification and expanding my knowledge of holistic wellness, showing my strength despite the horrendous setbacks over the past few years, feeling like I had some semblance of control again…
This time around, all of that has been stripped away for a while.
I barely start to feel energetic when I have to go in for another round of IVs and spend the next 48 hours on the couch, sleeping. Difficulty chewing has me on a steady diet of fresh juice, protein powder shakes, very watery smoothies, pureed everything, and the occasional gnocchi when my tongue isn’t bothering me too much. My plan in the beginning had been to do everything holistically and naturally, but the last few months have shown me I don’t really have a choice in pain management except for pharmaceuticals at the moment.
Humility. Grace. And believing this is only temporary. This is not forever. But I need to walk through each phase of this healing process and let it be what it is — which literally changes every 24 hours.
The Israelites were delivered from the hand of their oppressors, walked across the dry ocean bed when God parted the waters of the Red Sea, and received their long-awaited freedom. But when they reached the wilderness, only 11 days from the Promised Land, they became impatient, angry, and prideful again. They turned their backs on God. They forgot how horrible slavery in Egypt was, and actually lamented that they’d rather be back there than wandering in the desert…never knowing they were so close.
And because of their faithlessness and stubborn pride, they wandered that desert for 40 years.
God still provided for them, every single step. Healing, water in the driest of places, food, and protection. The ones who humbled themselves, learned from their circumstances, and turned their gaze solely on the God who parted the waters and delivered them in the first place were the ones who received the blessing of entering the Promised Land when the time came.
So, even though I feel this is a sort of wilderness/desert period of my life, I am worshiping and listening closely. There’s a bigger picture that I can’t yet see, but I surrender to the days of sleep and intentional resting, feeding my body what it can handle at the moment, giving myself so much grace when I need to make choices — such as taking a pill to ease the pain — that are temporary. A new sense of compassion and understanding of chronic illness and those who walk through this for years with hope and perseverance are true heroes in my book.
I may not get out much these days or see many people, and I may be living the complete opposite of my ideal life at 30 years of age, but I’m standing on the promises of God that the wilderness is not forever. The lessons learned in this place will carry me into the next season that He’s preparing me for. Strength in the resting. Joy in the pain. Hope in the dark places.
He’s faithful and I am held, no matter what.