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What Healing Isn’t

When most people think of healing, they think of going from the state of sickness to the state of wellness. Being healed means no longer having the affliction or no longer feeling the pain. You had this thing… the cancer, the broken bone, the sore, the depression, the anxiety, whatever it is, and after some time, now you don’t. You are healed. What I have learned from my restoration journey is that healing is not simply an experience of moving from the state of broken to whole, it’s a continuous process that requires surrender and cooperation.

At the end of 2022, I fell and turned my ankle while trotting down a flight of stairs. What I thought for a few weeks was a sprained ankle turned out to also be a fractured bone in my foot. I was put in a boot and given crutches. The doctor expected this fracture to heal in six to eight weeks, but each time I went for follow-up appointments the x-ray showed the bone had still not fully healed. “Delayed union” is what he called it.

As weeks dragged into months, I would ask him why it was taking so long. Why was my bone not healing? Was there something I was doing wrong? Was there something more I needed to do to promote the healing?  Was there something wrong with me? How often do we ask these very questions on the journey to restoration? How often do we question God about how He is doing the work to heal us? How often do we think it’s up to us to make it happen, or it’s our fault that it isn’t happening?

Eventually the bone did heal, but it took almost five months for it to finally remineralize enough to walk without a boot, and another two months of physical therapy to be able to walk normally. And while the bone has technically healed, there are days when I still feel some pain in my foot while walking or even at rest. And while this can be an unwelcome reminder of what I went through, it is also a reminder of the healing work that God did and is still doing through that experience, not just on my foot, but on my soul.

I am a doer. That’s just how I am made. If something needs to be done, I figure out how and I get to it. If there is a problem to solve, I like to tackle it immediately. I don’t like to wait around for others to help me figure it out.

This independent need to problem solve partially grew out of the feelings of helplessness I had as a child as my parents divorced. I was ten years only when my mom sat with me on my bed and explained that she and my dad were going to separate. This meant we were going to leave the house that we had lived in for the last six years and move to an apartment and a new school. It was terrifying.

At school the next day as I looked around at my classmates, I felt a deep sense of shame. I was ashamed to tell my friends that my parents were splitting up. This was back in 1982 when the divorce rate was much lower and kids whose parents divorced were in the minority. We moved out of the house and to an apartment just fifteen minutes away, but it might as well have been two hours away. My sense of security had been destroyed. As a child who had already struggled with shyness, social anxiety and confidence issues, this fracture in my life became what defined my thoughts about my worth and lovability. It led to self-destructive behaviors that caused even more pain and suffering. Eventually I developed what has become a lifelong struggle with anxiety and depression.

I had fallen on December 3rd and found out my foot was fractured and put on crutches on December 22nd. As you can imagine, this timing was upsetting. Not being able to walk without crutches for eight weeks and a walking boot for another eight weeks after that was extremely frustrating for someone who not only had a family to take care of, but also walked regularly for exercise. The muscles in my leg began to shrink and my ankle ligaments tightened. For two months I was left to depend on others for the simplest tasks such as making meals, doing laundry, or running errands. But God is good. He used this time to purify me, and for once in my life, I let Him.

When Jesus visited the pool at Bethesda, and saw the invalid man who had been lying there for 38 years, he asked him “Do you want to be well?” The man proceeded to tell him all the reasons he could not get well; he couldn’t get to the healing pool himself, people would jump ahead of him, and no one would bring him to the waters. The man thought it was up to him to orchestrate his own healing.

So often this is how I have approached my own healing journey. I see what I think is the means to healing and I set about to try to attain it on my own power only to be frustrated when I can’t seem to get it right or the thing “doesn’t work.” I had been in therapy with a wonderful Christian counselor at the time of my broken foot. We had been working on surrender and trust in God.

As I could do little activity, I had also been led to re-read The Story of a Soul, the biography of St. Therese of Lisieux. These things prepared me for this period when really all I could do was surrender. I rested, both physically and emotionally. I allowed myself to feel frustrated, but I didn’t wallow in the frustration. I tried not to allow my circumstances to dictate my moods. I tried to see the positive of the situation, including the fact that I had gotten all my Christmas decorating and shopping done in the time before I knew my foot was broken, and be grateful.

Slowly I realized that something was shifting in me. I wasn’t flailing and clawing to get out of my current bad circumstances, I was beginning to cooperate with His grace.

Months later when I had finished physical therapy, I entered a supervised fitness program at the facility as I transitioned back to normal activity. The physical therapist gave me a workout routine and left me on my own to do it. As I grew stronger, I increased the intensity and added more difficult exercises.

I have learned that “broken” isn’t who I am, it’s just what happened to me.”

Stacey mccormick

Almost a year later I still work out there, and I am physically stronger than I have been in many years. I am also mentally stronger than I have been. This experience of breaking of my foot which initially was so upsetting, and in the past could have sent me into a depression, became the catalyst for me to develop a stronger body and experience a deeper emotional healing. So while I still have broken parts that need healing, I have learned that “broken” isn’t who I am, it’s just what happened to me.

Amidst the brokenness, I have been tremendously blessed. I’m the wife of the kindest, most patient and caring man and the mom of three amazing children. I am surrounded by a loving family and supportive community of friends. And by the grace of God, I am slowly learning to live outside of my brokenness instead of being trapped inside it. God led me here to Little With Great Love, and I am so excited to be on the journey with you.

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