Broken Ankles: Pain & Gain

Dear Friends, in case you were wondering … After breaking both ankles in mid-September, I could do little for quite a while. But as of Monday — yea! — I’m well again. And deeply grateful to the Lord and the long list of kind people who made recovery possible.

So, what did I learn from this experience? (We are told that we learn from every experience, right?)

  • Walking on broken ankles, even with the aid of therapy boots and a walker, is painful! But then, pain often interrupts our everyday lives. It’s what we do with it that makes the difference.
  • God walks with us through those painful parts of our lives. And, if we let him, he provides others who are willing to help. Like the neighbor who abandoned a big football game on TV to take me to the hospital. Hospital and rehab center staff who were positive angels of compassionate care during those first two weeks. Church family and friends who rushed to visit and pray. And brought gifts and cards to cheer me. Family and friends who equipped my house for safety before I went home to finish recovering. Friends who stayed with me around the clock for two days until my sister-in-law could fly in from Florida to care for me for three weeks. Other out-of-state family who surprised me by visiting in person for a few days. I could go on, but you get the picture.
  • We may lose a lot, but we gain even more. I had to cancel attendance at a major writing conference in Nashville, a multi-author book signing sponsored by a Christian bookstore, and a major speaking engagement. Surprise! … I learned from nurses and therapists that my body drained energy from the rest of it to invest in healing my ankle bones. No wonder I felt tired and foggy much of the time! But through it all, I learned I could persist and work toward wholeness with God’s help and the help of others.
  • Though it seems impossible, the pain eventually comes to an end. It may take days, months, years. I know. Less than two weeks into rehab, I wept, fearful the pain might never end. That I might never recover. But the old adage is true: “This, too, shall pass.” At the right time and in the right way as we lean on the Lord.

Whatever you are going through, you are not alone. The Lord is with you, and he cares. With his help, determine to keep inching toward wholeness. Lean on him and wait for his right timing for your pain to end. It will come to pass! Every time.

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Release Day! Interviewing Jill and Clay

Woot! It’s release day for Her Deadly Reunion, and I’m interviewing Jill and Clay to find out how they’re feeling about this latest adventure in their lives.

So Jill and Clay, I’m glad to have you with us on this exciting day! We know you two met and came to love each other in the first book, Her Deadly Inheritance. What did you hope to accomplish in this second story in your series?

Jill (sitting on my couch next to Clay): At my birth father’s invitation, I went to Milwaukee to meet him, hoping finally to know the loving father-daughter relationship I longed for all my life. But I arrived to find he might not have long to live. My heart broke, knowing we might have so little time. And discovering someone might be trying to kill him frightened me into action. Not the first Christmas I had envisioned with him.

And how about you, Clay?

Clay (with his arm around Jill): I went with Jill to give her the support she would need. But also with big plans to make our first Christmas special. I intended to include her father in my plans, if he was willing. Never had I experienced so many obstacles. And danger? I wasn’t sure any of the three of us would escape the deadly trap a killer had set for us. Jill is right–this was not the beautiful Christmas we expected until ….

Obviously all turned out well, since you two are here today and healthy.

Clay (smiling at Jill): Yes, Jill and I–with God’s help–make a good team.

You sure do. But now that this second adventure is over, what good news can readers expect in your future?

Jill: Clay leaves soon to renovate a historic hotel in Port au Prince, Haiti, and I will join him the last two weeks to finish plans for our wedding on Easter morning.

That is good news! You’re not expecting any more difficulties, are you?

Jill and Clay smile and shrug their shoulders, and I don’t blame them. Trouble does seem to find them wherever they go!

It likely won’t be different in the third book in their series,Her Deadly Vows.

*

Dear Reader, if you have any questions for Jill and Clay, please let me know, and I’ll ask them.

Wounds In the Storms of Life

I loved the graceful, old maple tree that stood in our back yard. Its green leaves like layers of lace would rise and fall majestically in a mild October wind. Restless, they knew their time was short. Soon they would change color and fall to the ground.

That tree fascinated me. I’d marvel at its beauty and recall the time when lightening ripped it nearly in half. The wound stretched long and visible, one side of the tree stripped bare of branches.

On the advise of a tree surgeon, my husband painted the wound with black sealant. Over the years that wound not only healed but became almost invisible. As promised, branches grew and covered the naked side, restoring the tree to its former beauty.

In the storms of life, we also suffer wounds. Some lay our lives so wide open that we feel naked to the world. We wonder if we will ever recover, if we will ever know beauty again.

But from the very moment we are wounded, God is at work, and over the years, he heals and restores us. We do become whole again. What seems impossible to us is always possible with God. His loving-kindness is ever at work in the lives of those who earnestly seek him and put their hope in him. To those, he makes a promise.

Focus: “Behold, I make all things new.” ~ Revelation 21:5, New International Version.

What about you? What gaping wound have you suffered in life and then found God faithful to heal it?

 

When Tragedy Strikes

I picked up the phone. “Hi, Mom, what’s up?”

“I have sad news, Beth.” Her voice shook a little. She took an audible breath. “Your Uncle Dick died of complications from surgery yesterday.”

Uncle Dick gone? Just like that?

I lowered myself into the nearest chair while snapshots of family life danced through my memory. A young Uncle Dick in his Army uniform, grinning from Grandma’s Whitney Street porch. Him and Aunt Mae rejoicing on their wedding day.

Like my dad, Uncle Dick always had a twinkle in his eye and a grin on his face. He was the guy with the camera, taking pictures at our family reunions. Now suddenly, another of dad’s brothers was no longer with us?

Mom and I talked about the shock of his unexpected death and the funeral arrangements before we hung up. For several minutes, I wandered about the house before the full force of his death hit me, and I wept. Yes, Uncle Dick was in heaven with Jesus, but it hurt to realize that another piece of the fabric of my life had been ripped away when I wasn’t looking.

Sometimes life swoops in and wallops us from our blind side. We stagger under unexpected tragedies that shake us, reduce us to tears, and turn our insides to jelly.

Where do we go then?

Some choose to blame God for letting it happen and cut themselves off from Him. So sad because He waits to comfort and carry us through hard places.

When tragedy strikes, I’ve found my best choice is to run to God. He alone holds the ultimate healing balm for our hurting hearts. He alone knows how to take the shattered pieces of today and put them together into a “something beautiful” tomorrow.

Run to God when tragedy strikes.

Focus: “For I know the plans I have for you … plans for good and not disaster, to give you a future and a hope” ~ Jeremiah 29:11, New Living Translation.

How about you? Where do you run for comfort and healing when tragedy strikes?