Now that we've gotten some background on our friend, Rhoda, let's move on and enjoy reading about the wonderful healing work God has done in her life:
It was the month of October, 2010, I had enjoyed just a little over a year of full-time employment at Truman Medical Centers in down-town Kansas City, and life had acquired a nice feeling of normalcy… a pattern and a routine that I felt very ready for and was enjoying very much. I was so ready to settle down to a steady job, a consistent income, and just have a normal life; I was also looking forward to getting some experience and stability as an employee. Although I had a lot of experience and good work ethic, given my rather unusual background it was very hard to make that shine through on a resume.
I had gone back to school and worked hard to become a certified Medical Interpreter. Through God’s help and because of His favor, I was able to accept an offer of employment at a hospital, and I enjoyed my job thoroughly. I was able to continue relating to the Hispanic community in a different way, but a way that I loved. I appreciated feeling like I was able to serve people in a very practical way, and at the same time get paid for it! A win-win situation, I felt….well, aside from one huge factor. We were all very dissatisfied with the hours that I had to deal with on the particular shift I was on. I was away evenings, and during the school year I was unable to spend very little time with my sons. We all greatly anticipated the weekends, but I was often very frustrated and felt like I spent far too much time correcting and disciplining and cramming things into those two weekend days. I saw frustration and a hint of rebellion grow in the boys, but we were all daily praying and trusting God for a change in shift and for daytime hours to become available.
In the summer of 2010 I bought a trampoline for the boys, and there were occasions when I enjoyed playing along with them, fairly calm jumping and playing - nothing that was age -inappropriate, even though some people might think being on a trampoline at age 47 is not appropriate! But I thought nothing of it. I had always been extremely active, and enjoyed great health. I rarely had had a sick day in my life, and I could not imagine anything really slowing me down.
One summer evening in August, after humoring the boys’(now 8 and 10 yrs old) pleadings to get on and play with them, I got off the trampoline and felt a slight twinge on my right hip/lower back. After several weeks, the constant twinge that I had thought would disappear had now become a constant bite, and the bite soon turned into an ever-present searing pain. Just walking alone was becoming very difficult. By October I had visited four different chiropractors; I had sought prayer, and was anointed by the elders of the church as the Bible instructs us to do; I had set up various appointments with the medical doctor; I had an x-ray done, and I was seeing physical therapy. My level of anxiety was growing, because nothing was helping. Rather, little by little the problem was becoming more aggravated. To every chiropractor and doctor I asked the same question, “Should I take some time off work?” And every single one answered me with the same thing, “No, I think you will get over this without taking off of work.” In spite of the relief that came from hearing that answer, I also wondered why my condition was just consistently getting worse. I knew without a doubt that all the walking I did at work was in fact aggravating the pain.
Finally, after two consecutive evenings of leaving my shift in tears from the pain I was experiencing, on October 14, I decided to take some personal action. I called my supervisor to let her know I was taking Thursday and Friday off, plus the weekend, and see if that would bring any improvement. It was better that I didn’t know at that time but this was to be my last day of work at Truman Medical Centers as a full-time employee. That weekend turned into 4 ½ months of not being able to return to work, and by then I had lost my job.
That first weekend off work was only the beginning of agonizing discomfort and miserable pain. I discovered that my body had zero tolerance for the prescription pain narcotics. After a couple rounds, I opted to endure the pain rather than endure the nausea and vomiting that came with taking the medication. In times of most severe pain, I succumbed to crawling on the floor to get around. I was in pain but that didn’t keep the boys from getting hungry, so, always trying to work around that ever-present pain, I devised a plan. I would get down on the floor with newspapers spread out to prepare the basics of a meal with the faithful help of the boys….no extras or frills added! With my help and direction the boys learned to do things I was used to doing, and they learned many lessons this way.
As the days went by, it only added to my anguish that I was not able to fulfill my duties at work. Great work ethics, dependability, and a strong sense of responsibility had become second nature to me. I took my job seriously and always did everything within my ability to be at work on time and within the schedule. But now, I was helpless. I couldn’t return to work no matter how much I wanted to. It had never occurred to me that this would ever happen to me. But still, I believed it would be a matter of days, or weeks maybe at most, and I would be up and running ahead at full speed again. But as time went on, days turned into weeks, and the weeks slowly and unbelievably turned into months, I felt like a horse impatiently chafing at his bit, like a prisoner in shackles trying to shake loose, like a bird stuck in a cage. I just wanted out and loose and to be free! The ability to walk was becoming only a distant dream, and a hope deferred.
This time period was the most intense time of painful pruning, of learning to trust, of learning to let go and trust, of learning WHO is really in control. I began to see how easy it is to say “I trust God and I believe He cares for us and He is in control” as long as we have a handle on things, as long as we have something to do with helping things along. But when things get knocked out from under us, and we are left hanging in mid-air, with absolutely no control over how things are going….that is a whole new dynamic. And I had never in my life been in such a situation. I was used to working hard and making things happen by sheer determination, and then after all my own efforts, I could trust God with the things I couldn’t make happen.
I still can’t wrap my mind around all He did show me and teach me in His own patient loving way, but I know I am not the same person I used to be. I fought those lessons with all I had, but He won out, Praise God!
I found out that in these situations of desperate need you have a choice. You can allow hopelessness and bitterness to move in and find a home in your heart, or you can choose to allow God’s grace to begin doing a new work in your life. You can choose to desperately hang on to and believe every single promise in the Bible.
One thing early on gave me cause to believe God did have His hand on the situation. When I applied for the Short Term Disability offered at work, I found out that if this would have happened 6 weeks earlier, I would not have qualified for that particular benefit, the reason being that you have to be employed for one whole year before qualifying. So even though that was the last thing I wanted to do, still it was a great blessing and comfort to know that there would be some kind of income for a short while. I knew that God was watching over us. (to be continued..) Rhoda