Last Sunday, Bill and I had stayed in the sanctuary after the official end of the service to enjoy the continuing praise and worship that the worship team was offering. Anyone who wanted to stay was welcome to enjoy an extra time of refreshing in the Lord. For me, I felt particularly exuberant and joyful. I was standing, practically jumping, in worship and in joy. I had just come back from the trip to Kentucky, from a time where God met me in a powerful, personal way- and still met my son's needs as well. I love that about God. He is never stretched too thin. Thousand, millions even, can call upon Him all in the same moment, and He can reach us all, where we are at.
But this Sunday, today, I walked into Church and looked like an old lady. I have thrown my back out. I don't know how this happened. I didn't lift anything heavy these last couple days. But yesterday, after spending the day running errands with my daughter, I came home, made dinner, and while walking around in the kitchen, suddenly had my back seize up. One minute I'm carefree and moving easily around, and the next minute my back revolts in a protest of pain and spastic muscles.
I couldn't bend over, couldn't sit down without yelping in pain. I felt like Meg Ryan in the movie, French Kiss, when after eating cheese and having a lactose-intolerant reaction she cries out "Spasm! Spasm!" Bill helped me to the bedroom, and Abby warmed up a heating pad to put under my back. I laid on my back for the rest of the evening. I slept okay, and woke up to...the same pain- like the seizing of an engine. I took some muscle relaxant pills and decided to still go to church anyhow.
In the parking lot, I met Mu and her family coming into church.
"We are too in sync with each other, " I told her."Now my back is out and I look like you hobbling along." Mu has been going to a chiropractor and then a physical therapist for a pinched nerve problem she had that had not gone away. Only listen to this- her physical therapist gives her a massage as well! I'm not feeling too sorry for her!
We linked arms and let our husbands and kids walk ahead of us into church, while she and I laughed as we hobbled into church looking like two old ladies. She limps from pain from moving her hips and I walked as straight as I could, trying to keep my lower back from cramping, and would intermittently gasp as my back muscles would suddenly tense up. We are true friends, indeed; and I think we'll make a great pair of wild old ladies when those dear days of advanced age creep up on us. She and I will not "go quietly into the night", that's for sure.
So after the service, when Bill and I sat there to enjoy the extra time of worship, I looked very sedate, very prim and proper. I lightly clapped, trying not to jar my back too much. I sang. But what I wanted to be doing was standing and shouting out praise and breaking forth into song. My spirit was willing, but oh, my body was weak!
I have new found empathy for all those who want to so desperately move into the next thing for their life, yet they're held back by some limitation. It doesn't have to be a physical limitation. Sometimes it can be a handicap such as a bad memory of something, or a spirit that is so rejected and hurt that you can't trust God for open doors or for new friends, loving friends. It could be that you're limited by finances yet not by passion for your dream. It may be that you are physically captive in a body that won't cooperate.
There are things that will get in the way of us moving forward. One week I'm free to physically worship God- stand, clap, jump, kneel if I want to, and the next week I'm limited as to what my body can do. But nothing will stop my soul from digging in to the love and acceptance God provides to me. Nothing will stop me from being joyfully certain of the good God has in store for me. I don't know how long this back of mine will fight me.
But I'm going to run on the highway of holiness. My spirit can always soar with God even if my body "doth protest".