I’ve heard divorce compared to open heart surgery. While I don’t have much personal experience with the procedure, it seems like an apt analogy. I think this applies particularly well in the recovery stage. You wouldn’t expect someone who’d just had surgery to get up and run a marathon; in fact, the smallest little movements can be seen as huge victories. The scene is pretty familiar: someone with a severe injury finds themselves in physical therapy, post-surgery. The tiniest baby steps are applauded by their therapists and close family members. But more often than not, the patient gets frustrated by the celebration. All they can think is — I should be able to do so much more than this!
That’s where I find myself these days. Recovering from surgery, determined to take those few baby steps towards healing and normalcy. Things that used to come easily to me now take a bit of effort and planning. Tonight I felt so proud of myself for cooking at home for the fourth night in a row. For making real meals with real vegetables and seeing my kids gobble them up like they used to. I’ve exercised twice in the last three days. I even styled my hair today (and dyed it a fun color red to boot!). I have spent the last few days purging and organizing toys and closets. I’ve gotten the kids back into the routine of helping with laundry, wiping down the table, and putting away dishes.
I sat down tonight after cleaning up dinner and kind of laughed at myself. These are such simple things. I used to make every inch of my life from scratch — from clothes to toys to everything we ate at dinner. And now I’m proud of managing the basics. I used to run marathons in the domestic department, now I take baby steps. It’s easy to feel discouraged when I think of how far I have to go. But that’s where grace comes back in and overwhelms me. There is grace for baby steps.
I have a beautiful hand-lettered frame above my bed. It was sent to me by my talented friend at The Pretty Pen. It reminds me every morning: “His mercy is new every morning.” It comes from a passage in Lamentations that was my bread and butter during the worst of this last year. It’s pretty graphic in how it describes suffering, and very accurate to how my soul felt at the time: “He has made my teeth grind on gravel, and made me cower in ashes; my soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is; so I say, “My endurance has perished; so has my hope from the Lord.” And yet that verse about his mercy comes shining through like the morning sun and there is hope again.
This brings to mind Isaiah 40:
“Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.”
This is a passage for the weary. For those who are trying so hard and yet feel like they have so far to go. Notice that the reason for their trial isn’t removed — instead, their strength is increased, they will not be weary, and they will not faint. He doesn’t say, “You won’t have any problems and your life will be abundantly easy!” No, the promise is for strength, renewed strength, in the midst of exhaustion. So as I take my baby steps and feel overwhelmed at how far I have to go, I am thankful for his mercy. For his abundant strength and power, that he freely offers me each and every day.