my fear is His...
“What peace, and even joy, that comes in knowing and believing the promises of God! Yes, I am scared. But my trembling hands will cling to His all-powerful hands. My fear is His. My heart’s desire is that God would grow my faith BIGGER than my fears.” I wrote these words in my journal the day I found out what my near future would hold: major surgery.
There is something about the words “major surgery” that is particularly daunting and quite honestly terrifying to a passionate teen athlete who hates change, is afraid of needles, and has never had surgery before. But suddenly I find myself in the middle of a two-part journey of major hip surgery. Part one: surgery on my right hip before my volleyball season starts up. Part two: major surgery on my left hip right after my volleyball season ends.
Toward the end of March, I walked into the hospital… and two days later, I was wheeled out, in more pain than I have ever known, and downright afraid. I am just about eight weeks out of surgery now, and God has taught me so much through this journey; this journey which I am still walking.
I thought through what this surgery could mean to my life: First of all, it could finally relieve this hip pain I have been dealing with for years! That is a plus. But then there were all the unknowns. One thing I did know - this surgery was going to turn my life upside down. I did not know for how long, or how much, but it was going to be a huge change. I would read recovery stories about this operation that scared me even more. I needed to be able to recover in time to play volleyball in August! It has never been an option in my mind, to not play. But going into the surgery, I really did not know if I would be able to play my sport this year. And I still do not know for sure.
Every day I spent preparing for this surgery, I experienced so many emotions. Yet, I also found an incredible, genuine peace about it - but at the same time, I was downright scared. I never thought peace and fear, or peace and anxiety could coexist, but there I was - at peace with God’s plan, yet terrified to go through it.
walk by faith...
My mother told me she wished she could take this all away from me. After some time thinking, I realized: this is what God has for me. I do not want it taken away. I understand it will not be easy. In fact, I am honestly, truly scared. I am scared of the road that lies ahead. I want nothing more than to walk it. I will walk this road by faith and not by sight. And I trust that the Lord will lead me by the hand every step of the way. He will uphold me with His righteous right hand and what a privilege! To walk the road of suffering hand in hand with my Jesus. I would rather walk the road of suffering with Jesus, than any other easier road without Him. He has a perfect purpose and plan for this and I am so excited. I am so excited to see what God is going to do in this.
My mindset has been far from perfect, but I pause, remember God’s promises, believe them and surrender to His plan, I have found such an incredible supernatural peace.
standing on a mountaintop...
I expected and prepared for this recovery process to be difficult. But shortly after waking up from my surgery, I realized it would be harder than I had dared to imagine. The most intense and frightening pain I have ever experienced; the complete inability to move my leg, the total helplessness as I lay in that hospital bed - It was terrifying to me. Getting out of bed and taking a few tiny, wobbly steps with crutches became the hardest thing I have ever had to do. For two weeks, I had no idea how I was going to get through this. There have been times all I could do was lay in bed and cry. The pain was unbearable, and I felt so incredibly helpless. I was tired of going through this. I could not even find the words to pray; but God has seen every tear and heard every silent cry of my heart. He has been by my side, held my hand, and been with me through it all.
Finally, after two weeks, I felt I was on the upswing - slowly, very slowly - but getting better, nonetheless. There were still struggles. There were still tears. There still are but God is there, in every single one of them, offering His peace that surpasses all understanding. A few weeks ago, I never would have imagined I would be where I am now. Just in the past week, I have been learning to walk again! On my own two feet! Soon, I will be walking on my own feet, unassisted, and that feeling is so amazing. Isaiah 40:31 has been brought to life for me! He will renew my strength. I will “walk and not faint”, I will “run and not be weary”! What an amazing promise!
This journey has led me through some low valleys. But here I am, now standing on a mountaintop! This mountain I asked God to move, but He asked me to climb. Now I am looking down into the valleys He has brought me through, and I am in such awe. The valleys make the mountaintops so much sweeter. So many things that I never would have appreciated the way I do now; I seriously doubt that I will ever again take for granted having the ability to walk.
God chose this journey...
I do not know why God chose this journey for me, why He chose for me to walk through these valleys. But I do know this: He is using my suffering in incredible ways already! He has worked in my heart and taught me so much. To name just a few things:
- I am loved by so many people. The amount of support and prayers I have received has blown my mind.
- Small victories are still victories. To celebrate even the small things is to give God glory for every aspect of this journey.
- Sometimes, you have to ask for help. And there is no shame in depending on others. God put this community and these people in your life for a reason.
- Laughing hurts (physically!) but it’s worth it.
- It’s okay to not be okay. I have heard this enough, but I have had to learn to allow myself grace to actually be okay with not being okay.
- Hard work pays off, but being still is necessary. Rest is important.
- Healing takes time.
- I have learned to be content in whatever state I am in.
- Surrender to the journey.
- Baby steps are still steps, and you’ll come a long way if you just keep taking them.
- PEACE IS POSSIBLE, EVEN IN PAIN!
peace in the pain...
Endless lessons have come from just walking in obedience the path God has chosen for me. If I could go back, I would not change this. I would not change what I have had to go through. God has known all along exactly what He is doing. My only job is to simply trust. Simply walk in surrender and bold faith. I am so far from perfect, but that is where God’s grace comes in. Over and over, He has poured His strength over my weakness. It IS possible to praise, even in the pain! And when you choose to praise, you will be overwhelmed by His amazing peace - even in the pain. My desire for every step of this journey has been this: that my story would bring Him glory.
I do not know what you are going through today. I do not know what valleys you are walking through, what mountains you are climbing, what fears you are facing. I do not know for what reasons you may be lying in bed crying, what broken prayers you are praying, or what fiery trials you are weary of going through. But I want to encourage you, friend- the pain does end. The sun comes back out. You will reach the top of this mountain. You will experience the most beautiful view. But until that day, while you are here in the messy middle - peace is still available. Jesus offers you His rest. This trial will not go to waste. Hang in there, stay strong, cling to the promises of God. Choose to embrace His peace in the pain.
I started a personal blog to document every aspect of this journey, if you want to read more of what God is doing in and through this visit: http://walshfx.com/hipstory/
Kaitlyn is a resident of Michigan. She shares her home with her parents and two siblings, although she has a total of six siblings altogether. For Kaitlyn, home is wherever her family and loved ones are. She nurtures a deep passion for both writing and volleyball, which bring her great joy. Nature holds a special place in her heart, from the ocean's majesty, the stars' brilliance, the beauty of sunrises and sunsets to the animals of the earth, she is filled with awe and wonder as she beholds the splendor of God's creation.
Photos by Carly Kristin Photography. Headshot by Victoria Counterman, SaraRose Photography.