Graduation was last week, and Wednesday was the teacher wrap up day for the 2019-2020 school year. Wednesday was also a meeting and planning day for my upcoming role as advisory coordinator during the 2020-2021 school year. People keep asking me if I'm done for summer. "I'm done with this past school year," I keep responding. Where did my break go?
Well, some of the things I have for next school year can be done quickly or paused or paced accordingly to give me rest, but I'm still evaluating what rest looks like for me this summer. There are some things I can't stop to rest for - my foot care for example. I had a small blood blister show up on the bottom of my right foot a couple of weeks ago, and my immediate treatment of it didn't make it disappear. It ended up worsening over the past week, and Saturday morning, I pulled off the loose blasenpflaster to discover an actual hole in my foot. Now, to be clear, it was small, but "hole" really is the best word I can find to describe what I was looking at.
Hunter happened to be stopping by when I was putting betadine on it, and he wondered if the exposed white stuff at the bottom was actually still skin or if the blasenpflaster had sucked out everything to the tendon. Before any of you without medical training start to freak out and offer alarmist warnings, Hunter is a trained physio therapist and had no major concern about the hole in my foot when it was at its very worst. After cleaning it and airing it out, I covered it with sterile gauze and stayed off my feet all day. Last night when I went to bed, I uncovered it and cleaned it again to discover that the hole was already just a small concave depression on my foot. The healing continued through the night, and I cleaned and covered it again this morning. I'll be off my feet again today with forced rest from walking as I look to care for my body in the holistically appropriate way.
Since coming back from New Zealand nearly a year ago (my move back date is in less than two weeks), I've spent a lot of time focusing on how to remain holistically healthy when various trials come mentally, emotionally, spiritually, or physically. I've mentioned before how in the past months I've significantly reduced my engagement on social media because it was not a life giving activity but I've instead intentionally increased the direct messages and conversations in my life in order to encourage people on purpose. I'm still not perfect in the ways I approach different activities, and I find it's a two steps forward, one step back model of growth. The foot care is a perfect example as I'm learning to walk again and have been humbled by this setback that keeps me off my treadmill for an undetermined amount of time. I can't rush the healing, but when I turned my full attention to the needs of my foot, it showed quick progress in healing immediately.
Other things that I've given my full attention to have painfully slow progress. I was reading the story of Joseph in Genesis this morning and paused again at the years of his life that were in slavery or prison or various levels of uncertainty while estranged from his family. He's sold into slavery at age seventeen, and he doesn't make it out of prison until he's thirty - it's another nine years before he brings his family to Egypt and is reunited with his father and youngest brother. I've been in youth ministry for over a decade, and a heartbreakingly high number of my former students have completely walked away from their faith. Those students are still on a life journey that might very well lead them back to Jesus, and I want to be ready to celebrate the return and rejoice with the angels like Jesus describes when one lost sheep is found.
This past week, the mother of one of my former students reached out to me randomly to let me know she prays for me and thanks God for the encouragement I've been to her child over the years. I was incredibly humbled by the message because that kid isn't walking with Jesus currently. Her message meant a lot to me because I constantly talk with my friends about how I won't stop praying for any of my students who walk away from Jesus because I know they can always walk back. Prayer is a huge part of what I do in life, and I've prayed for that particular student every single day for years now. I don't know God's timeline to restore that kid to him, but I do know my role is significant as I ask God to work on softening hearts and listen to the instructions God gives me in when and how to encourage each of my students.
I have conversations with God about my physical health a lot as well, and I'm still asking for function to come back to my body below the waist. The actions I'm called to this week are foot care related, but there are other walking goals I'll return to soon. I'd love to invite you to pray with me for my foot to heal quickly and for the nerve function to return to my legs and let me wiggle my toes and stretch my ankles appropriately. I want to walk again, and I want to walk humbly as instructed by the prophet Micah because I know what a gift it is to have full mobility now that I've spent six and a half years without it.
I'm also learning to act justly and love mercy in new ways this year, and I'm grateful for more friends around me who foster those conversations. Three friends and I chose to watch Just Mercy as our celebration of Juneteenth this year in our effort to listen better to marginalized voices. After posting about that on her social media, one of my friends received a hurtful message from someone criticizing her for how she was voicing concern for the oppressed. I've experienced some backlash when I asked my audience to pay attention to the marginalized over the years of writing this blog, and I know it takes a hundred positive comments to drown out the hurtful one after it hits. I also know that despite my disability, I still experience a lot of inherent privilege, and I want to continue to cultivate my voice to advocate for justice as a mercy loving woman walking humbly with my God. If you were fine with my whole post until this last paragraph made you uncomfortable, I'd ask you to pause and think about why before you send me any criticism. I'm not actually interested in picking fights here; I'm interested in speaking the truth in love in this journey I'm on to see how the Lord has given me a platform and how I can use it to elevate those around me instead of hoarding attention for myself. I'm still asking you to pray for me, but I'm also hoping you'll look for a way to seek justice for someone marginalized in your immediate community. Who can you use your privilege to help today?
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
(Micah 6:8 NIV)