Putting a Bandaid Where It Doesn’t Belong

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Life is not meant to be lived passively, but proactively. I need to remember that. We all do. Instead of allowing life to pass by and just happen to me, I need to stake my claim and walk forward refocused in my purpose.

Recently, my journey has been harder than usual. I often feel like I’m only capable of handling a certain level of difficulty. That level has been reached, and I’ve come to the end of my capabilities. Facing an impossible level, I’ve been given a choice and, unfortunately, I chose wrong.

I have been knee-deep in a murky swamp. Mud, muck, and dark waters have enveloped me. I’ve felt slithering snakes swimming past my legs, taunting me and begging for my attention. The mud between my toes has encased my feet, urging me to stay put. Instead of trudging forward, I chose to sit down. Instead of forging a way to get out of the swamp, I stopped in my tracks. I convinced myself that I was taking a break to gather my strength and to rest. But at some point, breaks end. Eventually, you must get up and keep going.

This wasn’t a break. This was me sitting down, giving up, and not wanting to deal with what I was facing. Like a child not wanting to do something, I metaphorically went limp on the ground.

These past two months have sucked me dry — physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Chemotherapy has been increasingly difficult, and good days have become few and far between. I receive the poisonous toxins once a week, therefore plenty of my days are spent on the couch, pretty useless. My nausea is often overpowering and unbearable, sitting at the base of my throat like a volcano waiting to erupt. I’m tired. There are days when I can’t imagine anything better than the comfort of our bed. Exhaustion is exhausting. Not having energy to live life on my terms is an invitation for sadness to overwhelm. Some days, the harder fight is not against cancer, but against the subsequent emotions.

Beyond the daily battle against this disease, I have faced other obstacles. Difficult hurdles and layers of grief to top off this already bumpy journey. My grandfather, whom I lovingly called, “Papa,” passed away. We were very close throughout my life, especially so in these later years as we fought the same fight alongside each other. Never would I have thought I would be fighting cancer with my Papa, but it deepened our relationship in special ways. We understood each other through each surgery, treatment, and side effect. We lifted each other up on rough days. He fought a good battle, and ultimately won the victory. Boy, do I look forward to seeing him again.

Not only did I lose my grandfather, but only a few weeks later, a close friend of mine went to be with Jesus as well. This time, it was unexpected and sudden. The type of tragedy you can never prepare for. It still doesn’t seem real. A dislodged blood clot after surgery… A mere few hours prior, I was giving her a hug, kissing her on the forehead, and wishing her well as she was to head into the operating room. We joked, laughed, and prepared for how life would look like after the procedure. I lent my words of wisdom (having gone through several surgeries before), and let her know she would be fine. The shock still comes in waves. I just can’t believe she’s gone. How I miss her so.

The combination of grief, stress, frustration, exhaustion, and sickness has weighed me down, and I simply crumbled underneath it. I sat down in the mucky swamp and, instead of resting, I merely existed. I went through the motions each day. Chemo every Wednesday. Nausea pills every six hours. Church on Sunday. Grief, like my nausea, at the surface ready to explode. Yet, I couldn’t deal with any of it.

I covered my grief and uncomfortable circumstances with bandaids. I’ve watched too much TV. I’ve eaten horribly. I’ve been snappy with my husband. I’ve introverted. And, as many of you have recognized, I stopped writing. I just couldn’t bear pouring my reflections out to the world, when my thoughts were jumbled, messy, and self-pitying. Writing is cathartic for me. It helps me process, and in turn, heals my soul. Equally as my words encourage you, they often encourage me. There are more times than I can count when I read back through an entry and know God Himself was speaking through me to me. Yet, for several weeks, I avoided it. I sat down in the swamp and went limp.

It wasn’t until I was removed from my circumstances, and was stuck in a car for thirteen hours with my husband, that I pulled the bandaids off… finally facing the wounds that were hidden underneath. We talked and I cried. Releasing what had been burdening me for weeks. And, in true character, my husband gently led me back to The Lord. I am so grateful for an encouraging husband who holds my hand, understanding and grieving with me, and guides my eyes upwards.

The problem with placing a bandaid on a wound that doesn’t need one, is it doesn’t heal. Some wounds need air for a scab to form and the healing process to take place. My wounds needed air… The refreshing air of Jesus. And instead of reaching for Him, I put a bandaid on, covering myself from healing, and went limp. The bandaids paralyzed me and put me in a passive position.

While the grief, sickness, and emotion has been painful, I have learned from it. When life gets hard and uncomfortable, our human reaction is to give up. But have you thought how your circumstances might change if you were proactive in the midst of trudging through your own swamp? We have all faced difficult seasons in our lives. Many can say that, though our circumstances may not have changed, once we became proactive, our perspectives sure did. Instead of convincing ourselves we need a break and sitting down in our muck, stand strong, be proactive, and pull the bandaid off. Allowing God to touch our wounds and heal them is a powerful act. It’s painful, but so worth it.

What swamp are you sitting in? I challenge you to pull your bandaids off, stand up, and allow God to guide you in healing.

Psalm 119:50 (ESV)

“This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life.”

 

7 Comments on Putting a Bandaid Where It Doesn’t Belong

  1. Christina Hayslip
    October 28, 2014 at 10:13 AM (5 years ago)

    Oh Stephanie, my heart aches for you. I know of your pain from a different angle, but yet still can’t imagine the heartache and grief you are going through. It’s ok to be still sometimes. It often takes times like these to gain the perspective God wants us to see. As someone recently told me, ‘Sometimes we need to hit rock bottom to know that Jesus is the rock at the bottom’. I believe sometimes we need to sit there momentarily to gain the strength from Him to get back up and keep putting one foot in front of the other. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you.

    Reply
  2. Caitlyn
    October 28, 2014 at 12:50 PM (5 years ago)

    Praying for you girl. Your perspective is so powerful and spot on for people going through grief and loss. I recently lost a member of my family, also very sudden and just so overwhelmingly sad. Your words are so helpful. I’m thankful for you and your blog. This verse has been very helpful to me as I’m wondering what the future holds for me and my family, I hope it helps you too.

    John 14:27
    Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

    -Caitie Russell

    Reply
  3. Paige Paswaters
    October 28, 2014 at 10:55 PM (5 years ago)

    Steph,

    I weep for your losses and your painful moments. But even more, I selfishly weep that I can’t be there all the time to see you and spend time with you. It breaks my heart that I can’t simply drive over for a slice of pumpkin bread anytime I want! I want to surround you with my love and conversation and just be there to be your sister. Keep writing lovey. I hope I can see you soon.

    Xo Paige

    Reply
  4. Linda
    October 28, 2014 at 11:33 PM (5 years ago)

    Hugs and prayers. Gift cards will be in the mail this week, sorry it has taken me so long.

    Reply
  5. Joyce Bilodeau
    October 29, 2014 at 11:01 AM (5 years ago)

    Stephanie you just continue to amaze me with your fight and your faith. I can’t put into words what my heart feels for you. Your journey has overwhelmingly touched so many lives mine included.

    God is Faithful and He is so Good. We can’t understand with our finite minds how He chooses to refine us and perfect us or use us for His Glory but we can choose to trust Him and be faithful to Him and to rely on His strength, which you have done over and over in this season of your life.

    Praying for you always.

    May God continue to hold you in the palm of His Hands! And may He continue to be your Strength and your Peace.

    Love from a sister in Christ

    Reply
  6. Crystal Hendrex
    October 30, 2014 at 11:10 AM (5 years ago)

    Stephanie,

    You are so strong. You remind me a lot of my mom (who passed away from liver cancer). I am praying for you.

    I have to say that your words really touched me because that’s what I have been doing. I have just sat down as my world is changing (mainly for positive) and because its all coming at one time I have chosen to sit down and not do a lot. If you can get up then I can too.

    Thank you for your words!
    Crystal

    Reply
  7. Bill Rudel
    October 30, 2014 at 8:12 PM (5 years ago)

    Sister in affliction, I was reading tonight and these verses brought you to mind again. They are for me an encouragement of great proportion in my own cup of suffering, and I trust they will bless you also.
    Prayerfully,
    Bill Rudel

    Hebrews 10:32-39. Hebrews 11 all of it.

    Reply

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