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The Ski Trip, the Injury, and the IF Gathering

9:37 AMHeather

Hi. My name is Heather. And I like things to be orderly. I like things to go according to plan. I like to wake up with a task list and a schedule and to just follow it through from A to Z. Gleefully checking off tasks as they are completed. And yes. I did, in all seriousness, once tell this guy I was crushing on that I could, in fact, be spontaneous, if he only gave me time to plan.

That man of spontaneity married me anyway.

And 25 years later, he likes to laugh at that previous statement when my inflexibility rears its ugly head.

A 24/7 on-call job as an adoption social worker and raising three children have softened my inability to roll with the punches.

Yet, sometimes, I am just fighting against the friction of the best laid plans going awry.

This last week was one of those times.

My husband left on his annual guys' ski trip on Thursday, January 28. He and two friends drive out to Ruidoso, New Mexico, every year for a few rare days off from the demands of career and family. They stay with the in-laws of one of the guys, and let me tell you, Andra and Jim spoil these guys rotten. It is an awesome time of respite, and I'm so thrilled my hard working guy gets this break.

Except that's exactly what he got this year.

A break. A broken wrist, to be exact. After day one of skiing, I got his phone call from the ER. A bummer, to be sure. A slight bump in the road. But, no big deal, in the grand scheme. I was immensely grateful he did not have a head injury or something more serious. I was sorry he would miss the second day of skiing. Until he admitted he skied three more runs with one pole and his injured arm in a bandanna for a sling. And he asked in the ER if he might ski the next day, since the arm was in a cast by then.

Um, no. 

Thank you, ER nurse! For taking a stand in my absence. What can I say? The man loves to ski. 

Chris arrived home on Sunday, just a few days before the IF: Gathering. Which our church was hosting. And I was helping with that. I should have seen it coming. 

But I did not.

The simple visit to the local orthopedist to correctly cast the arm grew in complexity. To the tune of 4 days with 2 different imaging appointments and 3 separate doctor appointments. Every day, uncertain of the next step and the timing and still chasing down an answer as to the exact diagnosis and treatment plan.

Meanwhile, the temporary splint was not holding the injury well. Meaning my guy needed pain meds. As in not driving. Or working.

Whilst I was chasing my task list and schedule for IF Gathering preparation and set-up. And running the children hither and yon. And trying, quite unsuccessfully, to hold it together.

This whole situation was falling firmly in the category of "I can be spontaneous if you just give me time to plan."

Totally telling on myself, I may or may not have had a melt down. Or two. Shed a few tears. Ranted and raved. Been so completely weak that I was caving to the pressure rather than rising to the demands. This was particularly the case when surgery for Chris became a possibility for last Friday.

As in, day one of IF.

That night involved me postponing an appointment with an adoption client, putting on pajamas at 7:00 pm, and laying myself out on the couch while I sent my oldest to go pick us up some dinner. Because, for the love, dear man child who drives, your mother is about to rock in fetal position in the corner from it all.

The next day, at the specialist, things once again, did not go as planned. Let me just say, for the record, that the following statement is one of the "things you don't want a doctor to say."

"Well, I gotta be honest. After looking at the MRI, I've never quite seen an injury like this before. And I'm a little stumped as to best course of action."

Cue the violins because I was ready to throw a pity party. For myself. My selfish self while my husband is the one in pain.

Chris at least got a cast out of the deal, finally immobilizing the wrist and alleviating the pain. While the doctor wanted a few days to scratch his head and come up with a game plan.

Rather like Art Briles trying to dream up a bowl game offense with no quarterback. (See what I did there? SIC EM)

What does one do with three broken bones that fragmented in a weird way and a partially ruptured tendon?

Look, I don't know. I'm a social worker. 

But at least surgery was off the table for the first day of IF.

Still, in my head, I was wrestling it out with God as I drove Chris home from the doctor. My sorry, selfish, small minded self was asking him why all this frustration and complicated injury while I'm over here trying to help pull off IF? Why do I fight so hard against the unplanned and will I ever learn? And woe is me, how was I going to pull myself to higher ground so that I could help set the stage for a precious time of gathering women? I wanted to go into the IF Gathering feeling so ready to hear from the Lord instead of feeling like I wanted to climb in bed and sleep for 4 days.

Chris called his dad to give an update on the wrist while I was driving and silently duking it out in prayer.

Then, he said the words that gave me goose bumps. He was explaining the problem and why the injury was so complex, in a very matter-of-fact, casual manner. And it was answer to why this guys' ski trip and the injury were intersecting with (and throwing off my game) of the women's IF event.

"You see, Dad, the problem is that the scaphoid bone that is fractured doesn't heal well. It's notorious for being a complicated bone to heal, much less the ruptured tendon from the scaphoid to the lunate bone. The problem is that it doesn't get good blood flow. And there has to be blood for there to be healing."

BOOM! Right between the eyes. 

In my crazy head, I clearly heard the following. And it was profound.

"That is what this is about. This is why this confusing, frustrating week right before IF. To emphasis and highlight and point out the truth. There has to be blood for there to be healing. It's how I designed the miracle of your body. That this tiny little bone that broke in this wrist is a great reminder. Blood has to flow to the injured site for there to be healing."

I felt a peace settle over me. I felt recharged and energized and more ready than ever to sit at the IF: Gathering local and set my week of frustrations aside because God was reminding me the most important focus of every day of my life.

That when I fix my eyes on the One whose blood flowed from the cross, he brings healing. By his stripes, we are healed. When I run to him, full force, with all my big crazy feelings and shortcomings and lay myself out at his feet, I can remember the wonder of grace. The wonder of mercy. The wonder of a Father who loves his disobedient, easily deterred, ridiculous and rebellious children who can't get over themselves. He loved me so much that he sent his only Son to shed the blood to provide the healing. To make me whole and complete. To clothe me in righteousness.

With fresh eyes, and fresh awe, I felt more ready than ever for the IF: Gathering. Where I could sit for two days and turn my eyes to the One who bled for me. Whose blood flowed to give me healing. The One who listens when I cry out and feel wounded and feel frustrated. The One who says hide yourself in the shadow of the cross. And in My arms, embrace the healing I offer to this broken world.

It all made sense. And reminded me that when I look at a crazy week and feel like my best laid plans have been hijacked, there is a greater plan. There is an eternal agenda. That trumps my comfort and ease. And points me clearly to the magnificent miracle of the gospel story.

That I am broken. I am ruined. I am wretched and sinful and selfish and I am a mess.

Yet, his blood flowed to give me healing.

Because unless the blood flows to the injured, there can be no healing. 

What can wash away my sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

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