Helplessness: that dull, sick feeling of not being the one at the reins. When did you last feel like that –- and what did you do about it?
Daily Prompt: Helpless
It was Friday, August 31, 2012. I had applied for intermittent FMLA due to chronic and acute back pain, which frequently rendered me unable to work. I remember speaking with my boss that Friday afternoon, before I went home for the day. At that point, she wasn’t sure if I would be approved for intermittent FMLA, or whether I would be forced to go out on disability, because company policy does not allow for modified schedules and workloads unless it is a workman’s comp injury, which this was not.
In my heart of hearts, I knew what the outcome was going to be, and I don’t mind telling you that I was fearful and a little sick to my stomach. If I was forced to go out on disability, I would receive a short-term disability check for 60% of my current pay for no more than 3 months maximum, but likely, for a shorter term, since I had already been out for 30 days that year due to the back pain. For someone who lives from paycheck to paycheck already, the prospect of receiving only 60% of that pay was overwhelming… And the fact is, I didn’t foresee any likelihood of improvement if I was out for the full 3 months. In fact, I suspected that if they chose to place me on short-term disability, I would likely not be returning to my job, and that in 3 months or less, I would have no income.
It was all disheartening and frightening, and I drove home that day feeling very gloomy, as I shared the news with my husband that this may have been my last day of work. I am so thankful that the Lord has blessed me with such a good and loving man, who simply said that we’ll just do the best that we can do. During this whole ordeal, he has shown me love and patience when I am not able to do the things that I need to do.
Shortly after 5:00 that evening, I got the phone call that I had been dreading, and I was informed that effective immediately, I would be receiving short-term disability, and that I was not allowed to return to work until I was released by my physician and could resume my full duties. Light duty was not an option. I won’t lie. For the first month, I battled with depression. The pain has been bad, and at this point, I have no income at all coming in, as the short-term disability ceased in November.
I like to be in control of things, but this is all out of my control, and I have had to learn to really trust in the Lord. That’s a nice sentiment, and so easy for us to advise others to do… “Trust in the Lord to take care of your needs.” How many times have I told others to do this? And now, what could I do but trust in the Lord?
After allowing me to have a month of feeling sorry for myself, the Lord spoke to me around the beginning of October. He told me to stop feeling sorry for myself and to begin writing again. He told me that I was to write everyday for 30 days. I hadn’t written in oh so long, because after working all day, in addition to the other activities that I’ve been involved in, there wasn’t time to write, and I just didn’t have the gumption to do it. However, now, there was no excuse for not writing.
So now the question was what would I write and where should I write? The thought that immediately came to my mind was that I need to start a blog. Ha! I wasn’t 100% sure what a blog even was, but a friend of mine from church has a blog, and so I looked her blog up, saw that it was on WordPress, and signed up. On October 9, 2012, I began my blog and submitted my first post. Since that time, I have submitted 148 posts… This one will be 149. I have been blessed with an outlet to share my hopes, my dreams, my loves, my dislikes, and myself.
I’ve learned a valuable lesson during this time. While I cannot control my circumstances, I can place my trust in the Almighty God who loves me with an everlasting love, because He alone controls my future. So far, though things have been extremely difficult, He has provided for every one of my needs. I am thankful, because even though everything seems to be spinning out of my control, He holds my life in His hands, and He comforts me with His word.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for Me in earnest, you will find Me when you seek Me.” (Jeremiah 29:11-13 NLT)
Though this is out of my control, and there’s absolutely nothing I can do to change it, I know that while I was surprised by the circumstances, God knew about it long before the foundations of the earth were laid. He knew that this would happen in my life long before He placed me in my mother’s womb. He knew, and He had a plan for it — a good plan.
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. (Romans 8:28 NLT)
Just knowing that calms me. I have peace. I don’t know where my next penny or dollar may come from, but God does… You know, I love my children and my grandchildren more than anyone could ever imagine, and there is nothing that I wouldn’t do for their good, if it was in my power. And this is how my heavenly Father feels about me. He loves me even more than I love my children and grandchildren. He loves me beyond measure, and there is nothing that He won’t do for my good, including this.
I don’t understand why or how, because His ways and thoughts are not mine, but I trust Him, because He’s never let me down, and He never will… So, what did I do about that helpless feeling? I rested in the arms of my Savior, and I’ve cast all of my cares on Him, because He cares for me.
Cheryl A. Showers