Illness and Algebra

Two years ago, my oldest daughter, Cassidy, sustained injuries to her feet and legs. Instead of healing naturally, her entire central nervous system took a “wrong turn” which has caused two years of life-altering, chronic illness and inescapable, constant pain.  The diagnosis of CRPS entered our lives, changing her world entirely and stripping her of ‘normal’ teenage life.

This week, she fell down the stairs and feared she broke her foot again (thank goodness, she didn’t). We found ourselves in the same podiatrist’s office where we began two years ago. Specialist’s offices and hospitals have become routine for us, but going back to this specific place – back to the beginning – was so strange. As I sat in the waiting room with her this time, I remembered our first appointment there. I remembered wondering if she would need a cast or crutches and how many weeks it would be before she would be able to return to sports and normal life in general. There was no way we could have fathomed the life-altering changes that were staring us in the face as we sat in the waiting room on that first day.

Nor could we have handled it.

Had God, Himself, knelt down in front of me there and tried to explain what the next years of life would turn into –

~what horrendous effects chronic illness could have on the heart, mind, and body of a teenage girl…

~what toll would be taken in going from doctor to doctor searching for unknowns while given relatively little hope…

~what side effects the mounds of medications would have and what it would look like watching her suffer withdrawal symptoms as she weaned off them when they proved to be of no help…

– I’m certain I would have wanted to give up altogether

right then and there.

God isn’t in the business of giving us those details in advance. We often wish He would, thinking it would be better for us to know. Yet, it is by His grace that He only gives us one day at a time…one breath at a time.

I remember as a little girl watching my older brother and sister do their high school math homework. I remember panicking because I just knew I would never be able to do it myself.

I worried a lot as a little girl!

It was such a silly thing to worry about, but from where I stood, my imminent future looked impossible based on what I was capable of at the time. But, of course, through the years, I learned my math lessons one day at a time…one class at a time…one year at a time…and by the time I made it to high school, I loved algebra and managed to get along just fine.

Through my siblings, I was given a glimpse of what I was going to have to do and it was more than I could process or handle with my limited maturity and experience.

No matter how far we progress in our wisdom and maturity, we simply cannot fathom what God has in store for us. Living one day at a time is His gift of grace, not an unfair restriction to keep us walking around in the dark. If we were given the full view of our futures –

~some of it would overwhelm us and create a sense of panic at what will be required

~some of it would scare us as the bitterness of life and loss would defeat us prematurely

~some of it would excite us and cause us to jump the gun instead of allowing God to develop things in His own time…

No matter the case, we sit in one waiting room at a time, we work out one math equation before learning the next – and He knows how to wisely grow us with each new experience, preparing our heart for what’s next.

So today, as I sit in my “waiting room,” doing my “algebra,” I’ve learned some joy, I’ve grown through sorrow, I’ve deepened through experience, and through it all, I’ve learned to trust.  To trust the God whose hand I will never be too old, or too experienced, to hold. To believe that I don’t have to understand everything right now and to rest in knowing that in His timing, He will grow me for everything He needs to show me as He leads me on this journey – one breath at a time.  angie <><

About The Teachable Heart

A Teachable Heart, as described in Mark 4:20, is 'good soil' that hears and understands God's Word, accepts it as His revealed truth, and applies it to produce fruit. Learn more about the ministry at:
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3 Responses to Illness and Algebra

  1. Becky says:

    You are wise beyond your years dear Angie. Love you and your family!

  2. Vince Tucker says:

    Angie, you are an inspiration. Kerry had many health problems before she was ever diagnosed with cancer. God has consumed me with a desire to end domestic sex trafficking. I have gotten involved in several initiatives. I cannot imagine doing any of this while supporting Kerry during her difficult times. God has given you amazing strength and abilities to support your daughter and start your ministry. I love the your and Dave’s devotionals. God Bless.

  3. Nancy says:

    Angie, as I walked away from you today, hours after we walked in to our favorite meeting spot, I could not imagine “doing” life without God’s immeasurable power as my King, our ultimate physician, our EVERYTHING. I rejoice as tears come down at the same time…knowing He blesses us constantly and we so many times have no clue of so many of them! I thank our God, the King of Kings, for his immeasurable love and mercy and forgiveness, and for the warriors he trains us to be for Him, not perfect, but warriors with our own specialties, prepared to, as my own daughter has shown time and time again, to “NEVER GIVE UP”. I always related it to her amazing personality and determination. I know now that it is also about never giving up on trusting Him, NO MATTER WHAT. Blind trust.
    I thank God for you and your family and Dave and his family, for being warriors in sharing pieces of your lives with so many-for committing your lives to this ministry. May He bless you, your daughters, your entire family, and Dave’s family. Thank you!!!!Nancy

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