December 03, 2011

Saved by a Kidney Stone

Plans have changed just a bit.  I was scheduled to deliver the message at church tonight, based on the big paper due for my spiritual formation class.  It was to begin by my expounding on the process of Christ living in us by faith and explore each of the six classic Christian traditions in light of Christ's active presence in us and conclude with how we can draw from each tradition to assist in the spiritual formation of others.  I am not, nor have I ever been, much of a public speaker.  I will do it when pressed, but I don't volunteer.  I have done it when God has said "Go. Speak."

No matter how you look at it, though, I am awful.  I'm nervous, anxious, terrified, my mouth goes dry, my body trembles, my heart races, and my mind goes blank.  It doesn't matter that I know my material or that I have practiced what I want to say over and over.  What comes out of my mouth may be sound biblical truth and the discerning listener with the patience to bear with me till the bitter end may walk away having learned something, but for the average listener it is painfully dull and boring and they're going to being thinking about what to make for dinner tomorrow, their kid's concert next week, that to-do list sitting at home, how many tiles are in the sanctuary ceiling......

I have been praying all week for a release from my fear and anxiety and I have to tell you that God answered that prayer, but in a rather unexpected way.

Around 11:00 Thursday evening our son called.  He has been struggling with the pain of a kidney stone for a couple of weeks.  That night, the pain was bad, but he was also passing a lot of blood clots and feeling horrible beyond just the pain of the stone.  He needed to go to the emergency room.  He wasn't in any shape to drive, his wife doesn't drive, none of her family who live much closer than we do was available, Tim had come down with a cold and taken Ny-Quil (which puts him out of commission), and because it wasn't life-threatening insurance wouldn't cover an ambulance, so it fell to me to make the drive into Pittsburgh.  I knew it would be a late night before I left so I called off from my job for the morning.

Matt was diagnosed with an infection and given antibiotics.  As for the kidney stone...another week of wait-and-see. Unless the pain becomes too much to bear.

I collapsed into bed at 4:00 yesterday morning just as the alarm was going off for Tim to get up...a full 24 hours after having crawled out of it the day before.  The dogs got me up at 7:30.  And again before 9:00.  At that point I gave up trying to sleep.  My mom was going to be here soon to leave her dog while she's away for the weekend and I needed to get showered and dressed for work, anyway.  I felt like, well, poo.  Tired, headachy, sinuses were acting up, and just for fun, that pms-y, hazy, blechy-ness I suffer through every month.

I needed to do a LOT of work on my "sermon" if it was going to happen.  This was stressing me beyond belief.  I was really adding to my own sickness, because there was no way I was going to have the time or feel up to it.  So, I'm asking God "What do I do?!"  And to my surprise, he said, "Call and ask if someone else can do the message this week.  They know you were up all night and aren't feeling well.  You can share the message somewhere else this week.  It doesn't have to be as a sermon.  Your teacher only required that you share it with someone else."

So, I called my pastor and she said not to worry about it, to get some sleep and take care of myself.  It felt like the weight of the world rolled off my back with those words....and I have to admit my headache eased several notches almost immediately.  When I prayed for my fear and anxiety to be removed I never expected to be let completely off the hook, but I'll take it!  And be grateful!

I'm probably still going to have to share this message in church at some point and I probably still will be anxious and boring, but at least I will be better prepared.


ArtyMarti said...

I guess that we need to be careful what we pray for. Sometimes when speaking, it is better just to relax and act like you are talking to your dog, or kids. Big truths can be illustrated so even children get it.

Stacy said...

I try to to all of those relaxation tricks, but they've never helped. Shyness is something I feel the Lord is really working on in me right now. I'm convicted that it's a sin...because what is at the root of it but pride? Pride, because what is shyness but caring too much what others think and not wanting to be found wanting. I am trying to find my way to not caring about anything but the wanting to share that overcoming and covering everything else. Obviously, I'm not there yet.

Ellen Stewart (aka Ellie/El/e/Mrs. Seaman) said...

You will do well, in time.

But getting your family well is more important right now.

Hope your son is feeling better. I am glad you called off work, I was worried about you.

debbie bailey said...

I've always felt the same way about playing the piano in church. I finally gave it up for a season. It was just taking too much out of me. I'm not saying I'll never do it again, just not right now.

I have a son-in-law who suffers from kidney stones, so I know the pain they can cause. Hope your family is well soon!

BTW, I have a son in seminary in Philadelphia. He's working on a huge project that has to be done before coming home for Christmas.

Even though the next may be empty, they still need us. Mine isn't empty yet. There's a 13-year-old girl to raise. Try doing that when you're 56! Fortunately she's a joy; even as a teenager.


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