Easter and Violins and Broken Bones and Bitterness - What am I learning?
The Lord is my strength and my song; He has become my Salvation.
~ Psalm 118:14
A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
~ Proverbs 17:22
Six broken bones. Since the day before Mother's Day in 2016 I have broken six bones! To clarify, only four had the confirming x-ray but given the apparent fragility of my bones I am now assuming the other two injuries in my back that I didn't see a doctor for were spinal compression fractures - each took about 2 months to fully heal and recover from which seems longer than other types of injuries.
Here is the fracture history -
1. Eve of Mother's Day 2016 right as I had finished preparing dinner for my son and my grandchildren while Kerin was away I made a sudden twisting movement from being bent over to fix my couch cushions, when they walked in the door, and hurt my lumbar spine - it was excruciatingly painful almost to the point of passing out when I tried to walk and had me mostly immobile for 3-4 weeks.
2. Christmas Eve 2016 - I slipped while caroling with my family and fractured my right elbow.
3 and 4. June 2017 - this was the worst - (I think this is really the only one I told all of you about - but it was actually only 2 of the fractures in the middle of other fractures in the months prior and after.) I had left knee and left elbow fractures from toppling off a wobbly bench I should not have been standing on.
5. December 2017 - I fractured a bone in my foot after accidentally knocking it against a propped up frame that was on the floor as I walked by. I went out to dinner for our anniversary hobbling with a special shoe.
6. February 2018 - While using a special machine to improve bone density, something snapped in my thoracic spine during a lifting movement. It's been about two months since then and it is starting to feel stronger and more normal with less pain when bending over or lifting.
Whew!! Three of these fractures didn't require much down time but the first one and then the combination of two this summer with the elbow keeping me off of crutches for 6 weeks were rough!
When I had my DEXA scan before Christmas all three measurements were in the Osteopenia range, with the lumbar spine being only .1 away from Osteoporosis at -2.4. That was after four months of removing a pot-a-day of coffee, that had been my habit since my twenties, from my diet and adding calcium supplements with magnesium, zinc, boron, vitamin D and also silica - so the bone density measurement when I had the earlier breaks might have been even lower I guess. The supplements have made my hair grow longer and thicker than normal so I hope that means my bones are improving too! I am also trying to walk (weight bearing exercise) more regularly, a few miles as many times a week as I have time for. And I have recently added low dose bio-identical hormones at my doctor's recommendation. We will see what the repeat DEXA shows next year. Can you pray with me for improvement that gets me closer to or into the normal range for bone density of -1 to +1 and for the Lord to protect me from any more fractures?
CanI say this has been a lot for me? And most recently when I was trying to do something to improve my bone density that is supposed to be completely safe - to have the sixth injury was just so disappointing!!
I really have been through a dark period of not being really sure what God is trying to teach me and how taking me through this is a part of his grace and love for me! I can counsel myself with all the right words - I know the truth! But my emotions just weren't lining up. And while the good counsel of God's word was in my head, my heart wasn't feeling it at a practical level day to day. I definitely have much more empathy as well as admiration for people with permanent disabilities!! Or for people who have been through trials much much worse than mine.
But I had to keep moving forward. And I have learned it is about picking myself up and continuing on even if I have a new 'normal' for a while. Even if my emotions aren't there. I needed to look for little examples of God's love each day. I needed to look for something I was grateful for each day! And three things that help me be more energized and purposeful are my grandchildren and my music and creating beauty through decorating or sewing. I get to see some of my grandchildren weekly and get to work with them on violin! And I can play the piano and listen to my favorite music daily. And I can sew and create as projects come along, sometimes for my grandchildren. All of these things are gifts from God that give a temporary escape from any discouraging emotions or thoughts. They get my focus off of myself! But healing takes time. There is a grief process that can happen after accidents that simply takes time to go through. There are the "what if's" and the "why me - am I being punished?" There are questions about my future and if I will ever feel 'normal' again and be able to have the vigor I want to have. It is not pleasant to be concerned that a simple trip or fall could actually break a bone. So in addition to moving forward I also have to be patient with myself and with my emotions. And be grateful for the gradual recovery. While at Christmas I would say I was about 30-40% of pre-June accident capacity, today I can say I am closer to 75-80% so that is progress! :)
So for Easter we rejoice in the resurrection of our Savior!! And we can also look forward to our futures with Him, now as He is with us and understands our weaknesses in the present, and in the future when the whole family of believers is together with Him in a new heaven and new earth!
My hope is as I have processed this broken bones journey, this fall and recovery, that some of the things I have learned to do can possibly be helpful to you if you have a trial in your own life. With every loss, with every grief, we can remember Christ, and remember that as believers we have the example of Christ who through His death and resurrection brought us eternal life! And He can also bring new life to us as He is with us through our trials and failures. He makes all things beautiful in His time. He makes beauty from ashes!
So here are a few things I have learned and tried to do...
1. Be in God's word and hear His counsel to you, even if it's hard, even if it's just a verse a day for a season - let it penetrate into your soul - let it lift your countenance - let it change your focus.
2. Be around other believers and in your church to hear the encouragement of what others are learning and teaching.
3. Do things that help you think of others, and things that help others, to get the focus off yourself and ward off bitterness.
4. Do healthy things that are a balm to your emotions and give a lift. These things vary from person to person but can be things like exercising - getting outside - eating nutritious food - cooking - listening to good music - creating art - helping out a ministry - reading an inspiring book - spending time with a friend - 'dating' your husband or wife :), etc.
5. Keep going!! Do the next thing you are able to do. If there is a set back or a failure, re-evaluate and keep going!
6. Be patient with your healing, physically, emotionally, or otherwise. Healing takes time. And there will be a scar. But that's ok - it's all part of becoming stronger in your journey here on earth. Every scar emotionally or otherwise is proof that you are in a battle of sorts - a battle to walk in Christ and stand strong against the enemy. A battle to stay strong physically even as the body ages. A battle to overcome accidents and adversity when it comes. When life is easy I think we don't have to grow as much. Don't waste it - use it as a stepping stone to your next victory!
I hope you enjoy the pictures of two of my greatest earthy joys that are part of what keeps me moving forward, my grandchildren and my music, scattered through this message! So grateful for and proud of my granddaughter (video above) who worked very hard and learned a movement of the Bach Double Violin Concerto and got to perform it in her church with orchestra and another violinist a few weeks ago!
And I also hope you enjoy one of Augustin Hadelich's 7(!) new Paganini Caprice videos, (one is animated please check that one out too!) This one sounds like laughter to me, and the Bible says a merry heart is good medicine. :) Augustin has a new amazing CD with all 24 Paganini Caprices available on Amazon , Apple Music, Spotify, Barnes and Noble, Google Play and others. It is really incredible!! - I think he has taken these caprices to a new level and could well be the new standard that people look to model after when they learn or listen to these pieces. There is such beauty and story and song in each and every one. He wrote his own notes too which are helpful to read as you listen. Hope you buy and enjoy!
Also I hope you enjoy the picture of us with Augustin, taken recently after a masterclass we attended - certainly Augustin is a huge example of an overcomer and perseverer when trials came his way!
May God bless you all with the most remarkable, moving and significant Easter Celebration!
Thank you all so much for your prayers and encouraging words over the years, we love you all with the love of Christ and are exceedingly grateful for you!!!! May God bless you to overflowing! May He be with you in his love and grace during trials! May He give you the victory!
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and makes manifest through us the savor of his knowledge in every place. ~ 2 Cor. 2-14