Move

It all started with Top Ramen.

Little 3rd grade Melissa was cooking.

Too short to reach the stove, I teetered on a footstool handmade by my great-grandfather. My dad was on the phone in the living room and my mom was working late.

They’d always warned me to turn the pot handle away from the counter edge. I seem to even remember a cartoon PSA that cautioned me of the danger. I must have forgotten, because the handle to the pot filled with boiling water and curly noodles was definitely out.

I tripped, I fell, I hit the handle and my right side was covered in scalding liquid.

Immediately dropping the phone, my dad picked me up and threw me in the shower. One moment I was screaming from the heat hitting my body, the next those shrieks were due to the freezing water I was held under.

My body shaking from shock, we took off for the hospital. First, second and third degree burns covered my right side from my shoulder to my hip. I was lathered in cooling, medicated cream and wrapped in cotton like a mummy.

The next few weeks involved daily trips to the hospital to have my bandages changed and my wounds checked. I grew fearful of anything bumping my body and barely moved my right arm.

One day the doctors told me it was time to start moving. They showed me exercises that included standing against a wall with my arm straight up in the air. The purpose was to keep my skin from sealing itself together as I healed, making it impossible for me to properly raise my arm.

I did not like this.

I wasn’t ready.

I was afraid of the pain.

They didn’t care.

It was for my own good.

::

I had grown accustomed to viewing myself as damaged. I was hurt and in recovery.

My parents treated me differently than my younger brother and sister. I was excused from many of my normal activities at home and school.

I was babied, coddled and catered to.

I was comfortable in this space and could have stayed there indefinitely.

However, if I didn’t start pushing myself I would never attain my previous range of motion.

I had to start moving.

::

The paralytic man picked up his mat and walked home.

Jairus’ daughter returned to life and ate.

The mother-in-law of Peter waited on Jesus and the disciples after He rebuked her fever.

All of these were spurred to action after they received healing.

None of them used their previous disability as a reason to be excused.

::

When we’ve been hurt, when we feel damaged, we lose our desire to reach beyond ourselves.

Depression causes me to spiral in upon myself, shutting out the world around me.

The more depressed I get, the smaller my focus becomes, the more isolated I feel, the deeper goes my depression.

Satan wants us to only think of ourselves when we feel weak.

It might not be depression for you. It could be a failure, an addiction, a sin, an inadequacy. All of these things are about who we are, where we’re at, what we’re capable of.

But it’s not about us.

I need to start moving to complete my healing. In caring for the needs of others I am actually made strong again.

Praying for a friend.

Bringing a meal to a sick neighbor.

Helping in the nursery at church.

Little steps that lead to bigger steps.

And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

As we step forward in our weakness we can recognize that it’s by grace alone that we do what we do.

We lean into God, relying on His strength to keep us walking steady.

::

Courtesy of photobucket.com

Dutifully I stretched my arm each day, following the doctor’s orders for my rehabilitation.

It hurt, I grumbled, but I did it.

Little did I know that those exercises would ensure I could:

do cartwheels with my children,

decorate a Christmas tree,

or raise my hands in worship to my Savior.

Uninhibited.

The small things I did then lead to big things in my life now.

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24 Comments

  1. Tim says:

    Great stuff, Melissa.

    I read your stuff, but have never commented. You do need to know you have a great gift for communicating.

    I appreciate this. Sometimes it’s just about getting going and not just staying warm and cozy. Nothing wrong with warm and cozy, until it becomes the reason for living.

    Challenge is how we grow…sometimes we need to put one foot in front of the other. And I love how you tie that reality into the act of serving others.

    I think it’s all totally connected. Thanks for the reminder, challenge, and kick in the….pants.

    1. Melissa says:

      Thanks for the encouraging words, Tim. We’ve been blog stalking each other. :)

      1. Melissa says:

        I TOTALLY agree with Tim on your gift for communicating!

  2. Jason says:

    What a brilliant post. Seriously…this is one of the best ones I’ve read from you so far.

    1. Melissa says:

      Wow! I needed to hear that after the awful time I had yesterday trying to put words together. :) Thanks Jason!

  3. Levi says:

    I agree with previous comments, this is truly a great post! Definitely one of my favorite posts you have written, not to mention one of the best posts I have had the opportunity to read anywhere lately.
    I’m really relating to this one right now as I try to get back to my disciplined routines after recovering from an ATV accident. I’ve stayed in the “it hurts to move” spot for too long, and it’s about much deeper things than physical pain. Incidentally I just read the Matthew account of Peter’s mother-in-law this morning.
    Thanks for a great encouragement, Friend!

    1. Melissa says:

      Talk about great encouragement! I really needed that today, Levi! Thanks. :) Sorry to hear about your accident. Praying for full recovery for you and the motivation to get back into your regular routine. Tell your lovely wife I said hi!

  4. Dana says:

    GREAT post Melissa!

    1. Melissa says:

      Thanks! :) Praying you have a great day today!

    1. Melissa says:

      Thanks Gretchen. :) Popping over to your site now.

  5. Jenny says:

    Melissa – I could so relate to every part of this post… oh my gosh… totally. I’ve been the person sitting on the side of the gate named beautiful waiting for the apostle peter to walk by and share Christ’s healing with me… I’ve been the person who has chosen to pick up the mat and step into the healing…

    God is so gracious to us, no matter what stage we are in :) great post!

    1. Melissa says:

      Amen, Jenny! :) Great thoughts!

  6. jasonS says:

    Great parallel here, Melissa. We may like being coddled and accommodated, but what are we giving up by not healing properly and who else are we affecting? Great post. Thanks.

    1. Melissa says:

      That last part — what we’re giving up & who it effects — was a surprise to me. Haha! God took it somewhere I wasn’t even anticipating. :)

  7. I really, really like this post, but I feel cautious about it, because there are times I have been ready to move to soon, and God has stayed me, asking me to wait. There are things He shows us about Himself as we come to the end of ourselves, as Satan shreds us and we have no safety but God.

    I’ve lived with physical depression off and on for the last ten years, and it has deepened me good. God always meets me here; when I am feeling that I ought to move, He often admonishes me to wait, and gives me something new of Himself.

    It’s not a coddling, not from Him. This is where I learned to know Him, learned to hear His voice. I am not a victim; I am so rich. I have received His rest, and now, when everything has gone to insanity in my life with what He is opening up for me to do, I know I could not go forward without having known Him in that way.

    May I encourage you to rest, the way you encouraged me last night? ;-) He moves in His own time, not ours.

    1. Melissa says:

      Kelly, I 100% agree with you! The times I’m talking about are those instances when we know we’re to start moving beyond ourself and yet fear and comfort hold us back. There has been much of me wanting to move forward and God staying my hand in the last few years. He definitely has seasons of rest for us and they are so necessary for refreshment, rehabilitation and training. I would not encourage anyone to move forward in anything unless it is God prompting them. I’m so glad you brought that up! :) Hope you did get some rest, friend.

  8. Melissa says:

    everything about this is beautiful.

    the best thing i ever did as a mom was fall down on my knees crying and praying in every room of my house. i just couldn’t take it. i couldn’t do it. i still can’t!!! He just needs us to need Him and I had forgotten that. He will move in and through you, sweet sister.

    1. Melissa says:

      Thanks Melissa. :) I think I have cried out in desperation in every room of this house, though not intentionally. And God always answers!

  9. What a GREAT post…and an on time word for me.

    1. Melissa says:

      I love it when the things I need to hear are also good words for others! Speaking of good words…time for me to get back to Words with Friends, because you are always beating me. :) Haha!

  10. Teresa Dawn says:

    Great post and comparison… but I just want to say OUCH!!!!!!

    I poured scalding water on my hand once and was soo fortunate. The skin blistered and bubbled up over an inch and I had to learn to write left-handed as I couldn’t use it for a month (wasn’t too hard, I’m more or less ambidextrous anyway and often switch back and forth) BUT it didn’t even leave a trace of a scar. It was completely healed within two months. I think I was about 13 or 14 at the time.

    I had JUST boiled water to make tea and had poured the still boiling water into a teapot and covered it with a cozy and picked it up to carry it to the other side. Because of the cozy I couldn’t see which end was which and picked it up by the spout. I just stood there and let the boiling water pour onto my hand because I didn’t want to drop the teapot and break it. My mum noticed and had to grab it away from me.

    1. Melissa says:

      Ow! You are so lucky that didn’t scar! But it gave you a new talent (ambidextrousness). :)

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