#PreApproved Sisterhood Series
Welcome to a new series, hosted here on the blog. Every Tuesday night, one of our PreApproved sisters will share her story on letting go of a love idol.
Together, we’re giving up our love idols, and we’re not taking them back.
We are already approved; we have nothing to prove. In Christ, we are #preapproved.
Love Idol Pain
“I don’t know how to go back, Mom,” she says.
I tell her that in one sense, going back might be impossible anyway. We can’t undo what has happened in us. We are changed.”
– Jennifer Lee, The Love Idol
Angelo and I sat in the slanted, golden September sunshine facing the riotous remains of the summer garden. It was overgrown. The shaggy heads of the crimson bee-balm leaned precariously to the left, the old, pink rose was heavy with a month’s worth of blossoms, the lavender recalled a faded, dusty shade of its former intense purple.
We watched bees hum and dart, looking for the last of the nectar, distilled and sweet by the August heat.
It was a miracle, these moments of soaking in sunshine. It hadn’t been but a month of Sundays since the accident on the highway under the light of the full moon, the wreck that changed everything. Yet, here we sat— wholly altered and unable to return to who we were a month prior—in our backyard, chatting about our kids, back-to-school, the upcoming cross-country race.
I shifted in my seat, seeking respite from the throbbing pain and closed my eyes.
“Do you need to rest?”
A harrumph and a sigh, “I suppose.”
Angelo stood on his good leg and hopped over to my chair, careful not to hit his cast on the table leg.
“How should we do this?”
We began the cautious choreography to get me back inside the house. My husband protected my leg as I used my arms to push myself backward onto the floor of the house through the sliding door. He assisted me onto a footstool where I sat to catch my breath before the long journey with my walker down the hall and to our bed.
Several minutes later, Angelo appeared at the bedroom door with ice packs and a bottle of water. We arranged the pillows behind my back, under my left leg (that was broken in over a dozen places) and sweet relief, the ice chilled the pain and the medication began its work in my body.
Tears escaped my eyes and I whispered: How long can this last? Will I ever be normal again? We lay side by side, broken legs propped on pillows and he held my hand and reassured me that this pain wouldn’t last forever, that I was healing, that I needed to give it time.
That night I awoke from a fitful sleep. I sat up and hunched over my swollen leg. Tears fell on my sheets and my pulse throbbed in all my wounds. I ran my fingers gingerly on the scar that ran from my belly button up to my sternum and recalled these words: light and momentary troubles. Perhaps the accident was no accident at all, but an opportunity for God to reveal his glory, in me, through me. I felt an inadequate vessel, broken as I was, but a willing one.
I whispered thanks in the dark for a leg not lost, for mending bones and organs, and sighed, “In Jesus’ name, amen.” In Jesus’ name – so be it.
Steve Saint said, “God never wastes a hurt.” He gathers up the emotional wreckage that scrapes and scours our souls to repurpose it into something beautiful. I’ve become convinced that because God can redeem every hurt, even my pain is preapproved, to bring glory to my savior. As much as I seek comfort and a life of ease, God invites me to set that idol aside and be willing to trust him—even with my pain.
I now have a lot of scars. I have days that I ache deep in my bones. I also have this tattoo. My daughter gifted it to me as a commemoration of this journey. It runs parallel to the long scar on my leg and reads: Struck down, but not destroyed.
You see we carry around death in this body. We wrestle with the killing sprees of injustice around the world, bear wounds of rejection and misunderstanding, but our God who cannot waste even a bit of hurt has even declared our suffering preapproved, acceptable, useful. We can trust by his life-giving word that he will even declare it good. And we can trust him to do this when we have nothing else in which to trust.
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard-pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly, we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:7-10,16-18)
Alyssa Santos plays with words. She also plays in the dirt, in the kitchen and at the lake. She and her husband have four children, ages 10 to twenty. She began blogging as a personal experiment in June 2011. In August 2011, a drunk driver hit Alyssa and her family. Alyssa suffered critical injuries and nearly died. Life took on a surreal and fragile beauty in the weeks after the accident and she began to see the gift in living in moments graced. In the months of recovery, Alyssa wrote through the process of pain and learning to walk again, living with limitations and staying connected, however tenuously, to her source of joy, in search of grace-gifts. Rocks. Roots. Wings. , Alyssa’s blog, is a safe place where grace and truth and the nitty-gritty come together. She’s known Jesus as her savior since she was a little girl, and she’s come to learn that he is always saving her, always redeeming the moments, the time, the hurts and the questions. She is currently working on her memoir, studying how to write fiction, and renovating a little lake cabin they’ve named Grace Cottage.
THE LOVE IDOL MOVEMENT
Click here to find out more about the Love Idol movement.
Click here to purchase the book that inspired the movement.
Click here to join us on Facebook as we lay down our Love Idols and declare our #preapproved status in Christ.
Click here to print the black and white preapproved cutouts.
Place these where ever your Love Idols have lurked!
A pink PreApproved printable: to frame, to put on your refrigerator, to give to a friend.
Click here to print. My gift to you, brave soul!