and 19 years old, I was falling apart both physically and
emotionally. The back pain practically immobilized me. I have
a vivid memory of hobbling up to preschool with my
daughters. I could barely make it. An acquaintance looked at
me and said, “What is wrong with you? You look awful.” After
preschool drop off, I would head straight home and lie on a
wicker sofa on our back porch. It was the one place that I could
get relief from the pain. I tried a myriad of interventions to no
avail, and surgery was scheduled for early June.
My ruptured disc was repaired but then re-ruptured a
mere day or two after surgery. One night in the midst of one-
week apart back surgeries, God and I had a wrestling match,
all night long. I felt like Jacob and the angel from the Old
Testament. A friend gave me the book Left to Tell: Discovering
God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust by Immaculeé Ilibagiza. This
book along with chapters 40 and up from the prophet Isaiah
became a wrestling mat. Surrender was the message that kept
pinning me down. I am a fighter, and I don’t go down easily.
As I literally rolled around the bed writhing in both
physical and emotional pain, the word surrender came into my
heart and mind over and over again. Clearly my lifestyle choices
were not working. I was drowning and feared that the rest of
the family was going down with me. I did not fully understand
what it was that I needed to yield to, but I was convinced that
I needed to wave a white flag and head in a different direction.
I had literally come to a place in life where my lifestyle choices
had broken my back. Twice.
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