I Know How To Say Thank You
As Thanksgiving quickly approaches I am getting more and more excited to gather with my family and give thanks, and well… eat. I love Thanksgiving food; turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, pumpkin pie and everything in between.
This is the time of year when we reflect on all the things for which we’re thankful, but I’ve been living in a season of thankfulness for a while now. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older or maybe I’ve just been through a lot, but there doesn’t seem to be a day that goes by that I’m not extremely grateful for the life God has given me, including the valleys, as we Christians like to call them. You know, the hard times. The heartbreaks. The trials. I’ve reached an age where I can be thankful for it all.
I was reminded of one of those valleys this morning as I finished my workout. As I was stretching out my legs afterwards, I was completely overcome with emotion as I thanked God and recalled a time, several years ago, when the use of my legs was not a certainty. I was overwhelmed with gratitude to Him for changing the situation and answering prayers.
Most people don’t know this, but several years ago I suffered a pretty traumatic back injury that left me with not only excruciating pain, but also severe nerve damage in my legs and feet. I woke up one morning and had trouble walking. It seemed overnight, I had lost much of the function of my legs.
A visit to the doctor confirmed there was indeed extreme nerve damage throughout my legs and feet. Tears poured down my face as the doctor continued to hit my leg with the rubber hammer just below the knee with absolutely no response. Another test called an Electromyogram even more accurately confirmed there was little to no nerve response in certain muscles groups of my legs and feet.
For almost a year I had difficulty walking normally as I lost almost all muscle function of my calves. I walked with a limp and had balance issues. Many saw me at church and noticed I could no longer wear heels, a seemingly insignificant detail, but for a girl who loves high heels, was heartbreaking. Even more upsetting was the trouble I had performing every day responsibilities taking care of my family.
I wish I could say that during all that time I always kept the faith and stayed positive but that would be a lie. I am human after all. Many times I questioned why this was happening to me and wondered if I’d ever regain full function of my legs. If only I could have had the faith my children had. My sweet boys, probably seven or eight years old at the time, would pray the sweetest prayers every single night asking God to heal my back and legs, almost certain it would happen any day.
I didn’t receive a miraculous overnight healing, but over time most of the pain subsided and gradually I regained strength in my legs. One day I went to reach for something up on a top shelf and realized I could raise up on my tippy toes, something I previously could not do at all. I couldn’t believe it! Tears ran down my face as I went up and down on my toes in disbelief! "Thank You, Lord," I shouted.
"O give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good, for His mercy endureth forever." Psalm 136:1
Today, I have complete function of my legs and feet and I’m developing more strength every day. I can even wear high heels again! I do not have 100% feeling in my legs and feet, but sometimes that’s a good thing. I can stub my toe on a solid wooden chair leg and I don’t even wince. I don’t feel a thing! But what I do feel is complete and utter gratitude. Walking and being able to do simple workouts is something I used to take for granted. But not today. Today I was so thankful. Not just for working legs and feet, but for all the valleys where God has taught me to trust Him.