Knee replacements and u-turns

u_turn article

Before beginning this article, I first want to apologize to you.  This is the only new article for the week, and for that I am truly sorry.  I know that putting out new information on a regular basis is crucial in the first few months of any project, but I do have a really good reason.  Daddy had knee replacement surgery on Monday, and I just knew that there would be a lot of down time in the hospital as well as nights spent at their house to work on the Unity articles.  After all, that’s how it was when Mama had her knee replacement surgery 10 years ago.

Boy was I wrong.

Monday morning we got Daddy into pre-op, said a prayer and kissed him goodbye.  I then settled in to chat with my family and our pastor for a few minutes before working on the articles.  One hour later, the pager the hospital gave us was beeping and buzzing and flashing, alerting us the surgery was over.  In four hours, Daddy was up and zooming down the hospital corridor.  Twenty-four after surgery, he was discharged and we were on the way home.  Forty-eight hours post-surgery, we were in a completely different county as Daddy had the first round of physical therapy.

I know it sounds a little hasty, but the medical staff had a good point when they said if you’re not sick, you don’t need to be in the hospital and you recover much faster at home.  And, as we quickly found out, the patient is on a regimen of almost constant activity and movement.  For the caretakers (Mama, my sister and me) it has translated into a daily whirlwind of helping with at-home physical therapy, medicine supervision, running to the grocery store and drug store, meal planning, helping Daddy with personal care and the myriad of tasks associated with a post-surgery patient.  Hence, only one Unity article this week!

I’m not complaining, I’d do it all over again and then some.  However, I do believe that God has been up in heaven looking down on me and giggling just a bit, shaking His head at the same time.  I had articles all planned out for this week, knew exactly the topics for each category and had mental outlines.  Piece of cake.  However, there was one very important detail I had neglected.  You guessed it – I didn’t ask God for His topics this week and wait for His confirmation. I was so focused on staying on schedule with four weekly articles posted at the same time each Friday on the dot that I neglected to go to Him first for direction.  As I do far more often than I should, I forged ahead like a drill sergeant, determined to keep to the schedule I first set when Unity went live just a few short weeks ago.

As time got away from me and things didn’t go as planned, panic set in and I began envisioning an entire night of sleeplessness and furious writing.  Overwhelmed, I finally went to God and cried like a little child.  After a few minutes of whining I finally shut up long enough to listen to God.

At first, my thoughts filled the silence and seemed mostly random thoughts of the week’s events.  Daddy’s surgery, and how astounded the nurses and therapists were at his progress.  During therapy the day after the knee replacement, the physical therapist couldn’t keep his amazement concealed.  He commented that physically, Daddy was in better shape than most men half his age, and on day two had already progressed to the level that it took most patients 10 – 14 days to reach.  The therapist was even further amazed when he found out that 27 years ago, Daddy had a heart attack, resulting in quintuple bypass heart surgery.

My thoughts then turned to that February day 27 years ago.  Daddy was a middle-aged man, had a two-pack-per-day smoking habit, ate like most other Southern-raised country boys of his generation, and, other than walking in the woods for work, didn’t exercise.  That February day, he was deep in the Occoneechee Neck Swamp surveying timber, far from his car, people who could help, a telephone or any other sort of communication.  That day, he faced death alone on the damp floor of the swamp.  That day, he realized if his lifestyle didn’t change, if he didn’t honor the temple God created for him, the rest of his days on this earth would be cut short and what was left of them would be of little quality.

That day, God gave Daddy a u-turn, and he took it.

Little did he know his decision that February day would affect him profoundly 27 years later.  Daddy quit smoking cold turkey and never looked back.  He has since eaten healthily on average, and it’s rare that a week goes by without him biking or walking most days.  His decision to make the u-turn that God offered him 27 years ago and to diligently take care of his body with healthy eating and exercise gave him the strength, stamina and muscle tone today that has enabled him to astound the doctors, nurses and therapists with his rapid recovery.

As I thought back over these events, one word kept recurring over and over in my mind.  U-turns.  U-turns.  The light finally came on as the Spirit continued to whisper this word in my thoughts.  Gone were the topics I had been working on, gone was my schedule, my timing.  This one article I have for you is written by my hand, but is Spirit led and what He wants you to hear today.  His message needs your complete attention, so put on your serious listening ears.

How many u-turns has God offered you?  I’ve had many; a lot of them I ignored because I simply, just plain flat-out didn’t want to make that change.  I wanted my own way, to fulfill my fleshly desires.  I justified the sins of not taking care of my body (His temple), not just by eating unhealthily and not exercising, but also by what I allowed into my mind by the books I read, the music I listened to, the people I hung around with and the movies or television programs I watched.

Is God offering you a u-turn today?  Maybe not in the form of a major physical event, such as Daddy’s heart attack, but perhaps the Spirit led you to read this to make you aware of an area in your life in need of a new direction.  Are you still using the excuse “I can’t” when it comes to healthy eating or “I just don’t have time” when it comes to exercise?  Do you need to turn away from alcohol or drug use, use that began as occasional but has become or is in danger of becoming habitual?  If Jesus were right beside you, would you want Him reading that book with you, listening to that song on the radio, hanging out with you and your friends or watching that movie or television program with you?

Are you struggling with an issue today, one you’ve tried and tried and tried to fix on your own but keep going back to?  Or, perhaps you’ve not fallen into the behavior too deeply just yet, but you know it’s not God-honoring and you need to turn from it.

If you don’t get anything else from this article, you need to understand this one thing:  The earlier in your life you rid yourself of bad habits and patterns, the more you will be strengthened both physically and spiritually for what lies in your future.  However, whether you’re 19 or 99, if you’re still on this earth and breathing, your purpose here is not complete.  Each new minute is a gift from Him and an opportunity to take a new direction, to begin with a clean slate, no matter how many times or how badly you’ve blown it in the past.  It’s not too late – God allows u-turns!

God loves you more than you can possibly imagine and only wants the best for you.  He is holding out His hand and offering you a u-turn.  Will you take it?

Scripture:  2 Corinthians 5:17:  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

Prayer:  Father God, I know that when I go my own way and don’t follow Yours, my choices become actions that, in turn, become habits which negatively affect my character and my body.  Right here, right now I want to take the u-turn You are offering.  I know You have a much better plan for me than anything I could ever devise myself.  With You in the driver’s seat there is nothing I cannot change, nothing that I cannot accomplish. Empty me of all that is unholy, fill me with Your love and the power of the Holy Spirit.  In Your Son’s most precious and holy name I pray, Amen.

daddy

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