Tag Archives: learning from injury

“Mirror Therapy” for the heart…

Wednesday Wisdom 🙂


Inspiration this week comes from 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”


Next week will mark 11 months since I fell. I continue to gain strength through Physical Therapy and remind myself to be patient in the healing process. I have daily pain and have become a bit of a “chronic”. Multiple traumas including the bone breaks, excess swelling in a cast, three surgeries, and two manipulations has caused my brain to become very hypersensitive when it comes to my right leg.

In short, my brain is like an overactive child who chooses to live with a drama meter of 10 😉

Last week I started “Mirror Therapy” in an effort to retrain it. The idea of mirror therapy is to use a mirror to create a reflective illusion of an affected limb in order to trick the brain into thinking that movement/stimulation occurs without pain. My favorite farmer cut a hole out of a cardboard box – I place my bad leg into the box through the hole – and we put a mirror up on the side of the box so that as I move and stimulate my good leg, the reflective image of it tricks my brain into believing that it is actually my bad leg.

Really, it’s pretty clever and gives the saying mind over matter a new meaning. I do it for 10 minutes each day in addition to the strength and stretching therapy that is included in my routine. Studies show that the brain prefers to prioritize visual feedback over somatosensory so it is possible to override a faulty system and retrain it to behave normally. Mine has developed a bad habit — I’ve chosen to intentionally work to train it to develop a better one.


It occurred to me as I read Paul’s letter to the Thessalonian’s that perhaps sometimes we all need mirror therapy for our hearts. Paul reminds us that it is God’s desire for us to live with unceasing joy, continual prayerfulness, and gratitude in all circumstances. A faithful person can do that fairly easily during the good times, but what happens when things get tough? Do we live joyful, prayerful and thankful lives or does our drama meter turn up and create a sour and hypersensitive attitude as we encounter trauma?

When our pastor preached on this topic a couple of weeks ago, he said something that really resonated with me. Jesus asks us to be thankful IN all circumstances. He does not ask us to be thankful FOR all circumstances. The difference in the meaning between those two sentences is huge because looking for a blessing within a hard time is an attainable goal. For me, it simply requires opening up my heart so that the Holy Spirit can train my brain to look for the positive. When I trust in the steadfast love that God promises, I can lean into my faith to find the hope that Jesus brings.

Over the past 11 months, I’ve learned that an attitude of gratitude creates the foundation for a purposeful and joyful life. When I get up everyday, I ask Jesus what’s on the agenda and then I’m able to look for opportunities to make Holy Moments through his Spirit. As I believe in the purpose of my life as a child of God, then I can look outside of my own pain to share the joy I find in faith. The mirror blocks the challenge so that the focus can shift outward. It tricks the heart and builds a healthy habit of joyful love.

It’s not about where you walk, it’s about who you walk with and what attitude you take with you on the journey!

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Flexion…

Wednesday Wisdom 🙂


Inspiration this week comes from Jesus’ word in the Gospel of Matthew 10:39

“If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.”


I’d never paid much attention to the concept of flexion until I tore ligaments and broke my leg. The bone that I broke (the fibula) is actually the “non-weight bearing” bone in the lower leg, but it – and the ligaments near it – play a critical role in ankle mobility.  As a lifelong runner, I’d enjoyed really good flexion in my ankles which allowed my foot to bridge up and back down in a harmonious running step. Like many things in life, I never truly appreciated my ankle flexion until I no longer had it.

It has taken many, many painful hours of intentional physical therapy to work to gain back the ability to bend my right ankle. It’s still not what it used to be, but last week I made a new stride as my therapist was able to push it to 29 degrees past neutral. To help put that victory into perspective, in between my first and second surgery, I scored in at only 3 degrees past neutral. I’m not sure that I can put into words how hard it has been to gain the ability to bend those additional 26 degrees, but my body has given my heart an entirely new outlook on the concept of shaping.

I recently completed my first 5k post leg break – it is the first race in my life that I have walked and it took me longer to walk the 5k than it took for me to run the 10k last year. But, this race is likely more meaningful as I honored the medal God placed on my heart instead of the one that I might have earned had I been able to run…


I think that God finds creative ways to grow us. My leg experience is one of those. Outside of my ankles, I have spent most of my life not being a particularly “flexible person”. My stubbornness can outweigh my ability to bend. It stands in the way of God’s ability to shape and refine me; and can provide a significant hurdle as I strive to hold Jesus’ hand on my daily faith journey.

If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.

That scripture verse used to confuse me. I couldn’t fathom why God would want me to give up who I am in order to find myself. It frightened me to think about releasing control in order to allow God to guide my path. It took a lot of prayer and deep reflection for me to realize that walking with Jesus – responding to the Holy Spirit – and honoring God’s calls actually allowed me to find myself.  It freed me to be the person that my brain feared but my heart desired.

Being shaped by God is not always an easy process. When I am stubborn, it can look like my ankle refusing to move as the physical therapist breaks into a sweat trying to cram it into the proper bending shape. My therapist describes me as “guarded” because I don’t trust him as he bends, twists, and yanks on my leg. A truthful introspection shows me that God might also describe me as guarded when He asks me to truly give him my heart.


As I write this today, I’m still stubborn. I’ll likely always carry a bit of that trait with me. But, I’m learning to be more flexible — to submit my heart to the One who calls me by name with an unconditional love that fuels me despite the circumstances of my earthly life. I am finding that the more of my heart that I surrender to Jesus, the more that I can find the peaceful hope that transcends human ability or explanation. It doesn’t always make intellectual sense, but it frees me with a flexion that lends purposeful meaning to my life.

 

 

 

 

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