Friday, August 19, 2011

A Sure Place To Stand... Lessons From Zack's Injury



I’m not sure why I feel led to write this post…  Honestly, I’ve been resisting it for the last couple of days.  I’ve started it and stopped several times, but since I can’t get it out of my heart, I’ll just give in…

Over the summer, I led a small book discussion group using One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp.  It is a wonderful book and God used it in such a sweet way through the early moments of Zack’s injury.  He literally used it to give us a place to stand in the storm…

When I first arrived at the ER, I had no idea what state I would find Zack in…  I knew by then that there had been very little blood loss, so I really felt like his life was not in danger, but I had no idea what state his leg was in…  And I admit, one my greatest heartaches was thinking he had lost his senior soccer season. 

I guess to some that might seem petty or small compared to the damage that could have been done to his foot.  But I knew how Zack had been looking forward to this since his junior season ended.  And not just Zack, but me too…  Soccer has always been one of our special places of connection…  Scott has given me the blessing of taking him to most of his weekend tournaments…  I take tons of photographs…  It’s just been something special we’ve shared.  I was looking forward to savoring every second of every game and now it looked like it was being ripped away…

Not long after I arrived at the hospital, Scott went out to the waiting room to make a few phone calls… So it was just Zack and I…  Zack looked at me and said, “Well, I guess any hope of making all conference is gone…”  I could feel the tears coming so I turned my back and pretended to do something at my purse to regain my composure…  And at that point, it wasn't just soccer I was worried about...  At that point, we only knew what had happened and what the wound looked like...  In our logical minds, we couldn't see how there could be anything but broken bones and shredded ligaments and tendons...  My heart was breaking over soccer...  but even more, my heart was breaking over what this might mean to a 17 year old foot that has a lot of years to go... 

And that’s when I heard a soft whisper in my heart…  Just a few days before, our book group had finished One Thousand Gifts and one of the parts that made such an impression on me was when she wrote, “What if I opened the clenched hands wide to receive all that is?  A life that receives all of God in this moment?”

The quiet voice asked, “Will you receive this with open hands?”  Every fiber of my being wanted to scream “NOOOOOOOO!”  But in the depths of my soul, I could imagine my hands opening and then peace flooded into the heartache…

I turned back to Zack and I said, “You know the book I just finished with the book club?...”  But then the tears came again and I thought twice about what I was about to say…  Would it sound trite?  Would he feel like I was minimizing his heart ache?  And then he said, “Mom, it’s ok…  what were you going to say?”

I don’t know where the words came from…  they weren’t mine… I didn’t even fully understand them when I spoke them…  The Bible says that God will give us our words when we don’t know what to say…  That is my only explanation…

So I told him about opening our hands to receive this…  I told him about the author’s reminder of Romans 8:32…  “He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all – how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?”  She goes on…  “He gave us Jesus!  Gave Him up for us all.  If we have only one memory, isn’t this one enough?  If God didn’t withhold from us His very own Son, will God withhold anything we need?”

“Zack, I don’t understand why this happened…  It doesn’t take away the grief…  the disappointment…  the sadness…  but that gives us a place to stand in the midst of it all…  We can look at what He did for us when He let Jesus die on the cross and we can trust Him…”

Somehow it doesn’t seem right to share his thoughts at this point, but I was blown away by his ability to look beyond his heartache and see a bigger picture…  He understands that in every situation, eternity is what hangs in the balance…

But it’s only been in the days that have followed that I’ve really begun to understand what I said to him…

The grief over his season has hit me hard…  I know that it’s not lost…  That there’s a good possibility that he’ll get more than half of it in…  But I’m a selfish woman and I wanted it all (how’s that for honest)…  I wanted to suck the life out of every moment…  And I can tell you for certain that Zack did too…

I took some laundry out of the dryer yesterday that was a leftover from before the accident and as I folded it, I realized that it had his soccer jerseys in it…  I’ve never had such a hard time folding 2 shirts in all my life…

But in the midst of the storm…  I have a place to stand…   No matter how much it hurts…  No matter how the emotions batter my soul…  I can experience them all because God did not withhold His very own Son from me…from us…  There is no bigger picture of His love… And there is no greater assurance that I can put all of our hopes and dreams safely into His Son’s nail scarred hands…

Years ago, Scott and I were in a store and saw the amazing photograph by Jean Guichard that I put at the beginning of the post…  I have never forgotten it…  The storm that is raging around the man is CRAZY...  yet he stands with such peace and confidence because he is certain of where he is standing...  That photo left an imprint on my heart because it is such a picture of how I long to live when storms hit...  And it is a picture of who Christ can be for us when we find refuge in Him…  Are you certain of where you're standing?

(Zack is doing so much better...  no real pain...  sleeping and eating better...  Now we're all just waiting and praying for Monday when we see the surgeon and find out if the wound is healing...  if you've been praying, thank you...  Would you keep praying for him that God will supernaturally heal the wound and that a skin graft will not be necessary?  Thank you, thank you!!)

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sharla, I feel the picture and what you wrote were for me today!! I was in a place of anxiousness over my grandson, Chase. I am so worried about him! His protien level is 630 and should not be above 50-100. He is going to be seeing a kidney specialist. We have had 3 people in our family with kidney problems. Pretty serious problems. So, today, this seems to be just where the Lord wanted me to know that He is there in my storm, too!!
Thank you so much for sharing and I will keep y'all in my prayers, too!!!
love you Sharla!!
Judy Z

Amy said...

Thank you...."With Open Hands"...YES!!

Naomi said...

I am in the middle of reading this book. I must finish it! Your words really spoke to my heart.

No sooner have we taken a step of faith in announcing our adoption but the enemy is right there to try and discourage and bring fear! How I can relate to the man in the picture. Just looking at that makes me feel so fearful... I do not like the ocean! But what an incredible thing to be in the midst of such a storm and be able to cry out and give the situation to the Lord. God has really been working in your heart! You are such an example to us all and I really believe that if you had not taken mission trips to Africa that your heart would not have been as willing to release it all into His hands!

I'll be praying that Zack does not need a skin graft and for healing this weekend.

love Naomi