I’ve learned SO many lessons from my health crisis experience (Side note: I don’t like the phrase “health crisis experience”. What should I call that time I went through? Taking suggestions!). I find myself driven to share those lessons and teach those lessons so that others may learn without having to experience the pain and suffering firsthand. One of the most poignant lessons that I learned was the art of appreciation.

I struggle as I type this because no words that I type will give you the feeling that I have. I realize that some lessons can only be learned through personal experience. However, if I can help you to think even a little bit differently, it will be worth it.

The saying “You don’t know what you got until it’s gone” is so very true! When someone gets back what was taken from them or what they thought they couldn’t have, they are extra grateful for the gift. Just think of those you know who thought they could never bear children and then got their miracle baby. Miscarriage after miscarriage and then finally a family! You see, those parents have an appreciation for their children that others take for granted. I see it in my friend who lost her son and therefore appreciates her living children in ways we don’t- even their messes, whining, & dirty laundry because that means they are alive and well. I have experienced this appreciation myself when I lived through an abusive marriage only to find true love with someone else. My marriage is one of my most treasured possessions because I know the horror of an unhappy one.

However, the greatest sense of appreciation which I have personally experienced is the appreciation for a functioning body. Almost every person I encounter in every minute of every day takes this for granted…just like I used to do.

I beg you to take a moment. Look at those who are not functioning so well…realize that this could be you… tomorrow. Take time to notice the person in the motorized cart at Kroger…2 years ago that was me. Take time to notice the person at the mall who is in a wheelchair, straining their neck to see the items for sale on the racks…2 years ago that was me. Notice the person who has unkempt hair and no makeup because they have no energy to make it happen…2 years ago that was me. Next time you drive by a hospital, think about all of the rooms inside filled with people who are afraid and in pain…2 years ago that was me.

Although the Lord clearly told me that I would be healed, my fleshy doubt and fear (and Satan) caused me to continually wonder if I would ever walk through a store again, ever feel pretty again, ever dance again, ever just feel like ME again. Would I ever drive again? Would I ever be able to stand in a line again? The questions go on and on and on. Sometimes I pinch myself. Is this real? Did I really just perform my supermom duties today with the full ability to walk and drive and be myself? Well, yes! Yes I did!

It may sound crazy but when I stand in a line now, I don’t mind. I am just so thankful that my heart rate is normal while I stand. I can cook for myself. I can clean my own house. I can sleep at night. I can grocery shop by myself. I can take a road trip. Hallelujah!

Time is not a guarantee and even moreso time of high quality is not a guarantee. I deeply feared that I would live a poor quality of life for the next 60 years, trapped in a body that doesn’t work. I realize that anything can happen at any time, but you do have SOME control. So much of your body’s ability to continue functioning is up to you. You aren’t invincible. Living as if you are means that you take your body for granted and do not appreciate it. You don’t know what you have until it’s gone. Don’t wait until then to make a change…not everyone gets a second chance like I did. Another thing I appreciate.

I’m not 100% healed yet, but I believe I will be. I still can’t eat normally. I often wonder if I’ll ever eat at a restaurant again, if I’ll ever feel comfortable letting someone else cook for me, if food can ever be convenient again. When that times comes to experience the fullness of my healing, I will appreciate food in a whole new way. Even if I have to wait until heaven for that to happen, I look forward with anticipation to continued appreciation for the gracious gifts of God that I do not deserve. I am overwhelmed by His love and faithfulness! Yet another thing I appreciate!!

Leave a comment below and let me know what you have learned to appreciate. I love to think about new ways to appreciate things that I normally take for granted.

Photo Credit: Leonard John Matthews via Compfight cc