After church on Sunday our family decided to go bowling. It was the second time in five years, and Livi didn’t even remember the previous time she’d gone. Clearly not winning the Mother-of-the-Year award for 2018 but that just means I’ve got five more months before I have to start trying again. Kidding!! (Or am I…)
Everything was going great. We made it to our lane, shoes were on, balls picked out and the competition began. Livi and Addy had bumpers so they felt tremendous about their scores. After our first few turns, Reed and I warmed up and our scores started to catch up with the girls. It was also about that time I could feel something was wrong. The swinging rotation of hurling a weighted ball ripped through my spine. Every move I made and every breath I breathed sent searing shock waves of pain through my torso.
The bowling ball was supposed to have wrecked the pins at the end of the lane, instead it wrecked my heart and tore open wounds of grief. I knew this would be my last time bowling, my body wouldn’t make it through this again. Each time I rolled the ball I rolled it in anger. Anger at the girl who wrecked her car into ours. Anger at the pain that I endure 24/7. Anger at the loss of freedom to do what I want when I want. Anger that I would never bowl again. Anger and sadness and more anger.
Never once did I roll the ball from joy. Joy that God has given me the ability to walk and function in daily life when so many people I met through my pain journey will never walk again. Joy that God has slowed me down so that I can appreciate time with my kids and my family. Joy that God has provided me ministry opportunities through the pain and through the grief. Joy that God showed me how ugly I was and how He had so much more for my life. Joy that God wanted His best for me.
I may have struggled to walk out of the bowling ally, and I may be moving extra slowly for the next few weeks, but I won. I not only won the game but I won a life lesson. It is okay to be angry, and it is okay to grieve. It is okay to experience pain and it is okay to cry. Just make sure to find your joy in Him. Our God is a compassionate God and he wants nothing more than to hold you, comfort you and then give you His best.
Psalm 86:15 – But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness and truth.
2 Corinthians 1:3 – Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort.
Isaiah 49:13 – Shout for joy, O heavens! And rejoice, O earth! Break forth into joyful shouting, O mountains! For the Lord has comforted His people and will have compassion on His afflicted.
Psalm 40:1-2 – I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.