Living in Him Alone

No Bones About It

Prelude

A note: This post may seem longer than it actually is.

The office is cold like a refrigerator and it chills me to my bones. As I walk up to the counter to sign in, I am quickly overwhelmed. There are too many names of doctors sitting on the counter and I am unsure where I need to sign in. I look to my mom and then to one of the ladies sitting at the desk; I find further peace when she smiles and says, “welcome to Resurgens Orthopedics!” I smile back at her and say, “good morning.” Mom and I walk to sit down together. I held onto a clipboard of new patient paperwork that I needed to fill out, the typical doctor’s office drill. After reading through all the questions, I returned the paperwork to her, only to be gifted more paperwork. I fill out the rest of it. It feels as though it takes me forty-five minutes to complete because it is entirely thorough, asking me every question under the sun. I return the paperwork and then I wait with mom. While waiting, I turn through the pages of The Good Food Revolution and try not to doze off.  

After thirty minutes pass, a nurse appears and calls my name. Relieved of waiting, I gather my things and walk back to the room with her and my mom.

She looks at me and asks, “so, you’re having pain in your lower back and your spine? Can you explain to me more what’s been going on?”

I tell her about the pain that makes me want to pull my hair out: shooting pains up and down my spine most of the day.

She says, “I know he will want some x-rays done, so I need you to put on these paper pants.”

Mom called them fancy pants. They were five sizes too big and they looked absolutely ridiculous, but we got quite a kick out of them.

I waited for them to come get me for my x-ray and talked to my mom about little things.

When they came to get me, I was greeted by a really silly guy.

He took my x-rays and brought me back to the room where I would wait for the P.A., Pretesh to read my x-rays. When he came in the room, he greeted us nicely and professionally. I knew he was going to do a great job with my treatment. He asked me to describe what had been going on with me and I told him, just as I did everyone else.

With a look of concern on his face, he pulls up my x-rays. The picture of my spine lights up brightly on the screen. I smile because it is absolutely fascinating.

“Everything in your pelvis looks good and everything looks good on the front view of your spine; however on the side view of your spine, there is something that looks rather concerning to me.”

He fidgets with my x-ray, navigating to the side view. Almost instantly, I see the issue.

“So, every lumbar on your spine looks clear, except your L5. Your pars on your L5 are crushed almost. They are discontinuous and this is concerning to me.”

Mom and I both wait in silence unsure if we should say much.

He continues, “I cannot tell if this is a new injury or something you were born with, so I am going to need you to have a nuclear medicine, full body bone scan. This scan will help me better understand the issue so I can decide how to treat this injury. They will inject a fluid into your arm. On the scan, if anything lights up yellow from the dye, we know it is a new injury. If nothing lights up yellow, we know it is congenital. After the scan, I will have a better idea of which route to take in treating you.”

Mom asked him some questions and then he left.

We knew what we had to do and well, we were going to do it.         


Post

The appointment I described above with the orthopedic was July 27th, a Thursday.

After a few days of calling doctors offices, talking to the insurance company, and leaving one too many voicemails pass, we were able to have my bone scan on August 1st, that Tuesday. They gave me the fluid in an injection, wrapped me up tightly like a burrito, and scanned my bones from head to toe. The picture for this weeks post is me in the machine.

Having the scan completed so rapidly is one of God’s blessings I received within the last week.

The second blessing that I received was a fast response from my orthopedic.

By Wednesday afternoon, he had read my scan, and had a diagnosis.

Friends, I without a doubt have a damaged L5, but they also discovered I also have a two to three week old fracture on my L1.

I have to rest my back for eight to twelve weeks; I cannot lift anything heavy or carry a backpack across campus. After my L1 fracture heals, he said he wants to work on fixing the issue with my L5 through a combination of any of these: back brace, physical therapy, medicine, and spinal surgery. This will likely be over the month I have off at Christmas. This puts me out of commission for most of my freshman year at Berry.   

And as many of you know, I leave in a week for Berry!

Dealing with this sudden health issue has been everything beyond stressful, not only for me, but for my family as well. Dealing with doctors, insurance agents, voicemails, tests, treatment, scans, and results has been stressful on top of trying to prepare to leave for Berry.

Sometimes, all of it makes my head spin. No bones about it, through all the issues it’s been difficult to maintain a joyful faith. I honestly can’t explain to you the chaos that is spinning around me currently; however, I can tell you this: I have worked my tail off to remain faithful. I have worked my tail off to remain joyful and find joy throughout all of the chaos. 
And boy is it rewarding!

Through the chaos in my life, I have been studying the idea of childlike faith; I have researched it and studied why God desires for us to have this type of faith.

Before I go into discussing this idea more, I want to share with you the words of a couple people. Throughout the week and my studying, I decided to interview various people. The question I asked was simple: “‘childlike faith.’ What are the characteristics of childlike faith and what significance does this concept have to you in your walk with the Lord?”

Here are the responses I received.

LO: “Childlike faith to me is believing anything that may sound completely ridiculous to an adult and trusting the Lord. This is so much easier to do when you are a child, because when you’re an adult you long to be in control. You can’t be in control all the time and it’s hard to realize that, to give that control away.”

AS: “ I think it's a faith without doubt. It's wanting to believe and trust in God and salvation so badly, that you just do. It is a faith that I strive to have. I don't always have it, but I want to. It's a destination of faith that rests on purity, trust, and hope.”

SL: “Childlike faith to me is when we trust someone to look out for our best interests... we know we can trust them because we have seen they are consistent.  Childlike faith is following God knowing we are secure in Him because we can trust Him.  We know He is reliable and has plans for our good, He has our best interests at heart. It’s not blind faith either. Children know when someone deserves trust. Childlike faith has a sort of purity and innocence to it, knowing although difficulties may come, they can continue to cling to the Lord, they know He alone is a constant, a foundation in any storm. As I walk with the Lord, I want to have a faith that is both mature and childlike... and I believe they can both go hand in hand.  It is because of my maturing through experiences God has brought me through that I can trust in Him unwaveringly because I have seen His consistency and therefore I will cling to Him in any trouble and follow Him because I trust Him.”

SK: “It’s like when you’re a child and your parents tell you not to do something, for example touch the stove, and you don’t understand why but you listen to them anyway. It’s not until later that you learn that they were protecting you from something bigger and that the stove would have burned you if you touched it.”

SP: “A young child never sees himself as higher than his father. Children are innocent and teachable. They are not yet changed by the world. They are not critical. Their lives are never boring. They trust unswervingly and with full abandon. This is what God has called you to be as a follower of Him. I pray every day to God, not as a distant being or fairytale, but as my Father. After all, He gave His own son so that you could be called a child of God. If you are not submissive before the Lord, you are missing out on all He has for you.”

EO: "'Childlike faith' to me means no matter what the odds or circumstances are that come in life, no matter how bleak things seem to be, you are able to wrap yourself in the light of God's Grace knowing he will see you through. You live like you are too young and naive to have the  capacity to foresee what you think is coming as a result of the current circumstances. As if that moment were neutral. The impact 'childlike  faith' has in my life is that I need to work harder at obtaining and practicing it, because I'm not very good at it".

EA: “Childlike faith. Well. This means a great deal to me.  When Selah, my daughter, was about 3 years old, we were outside on a brisk, windy November afternoon.  We were counting leaves of grass, or imagining dragons in the clouds.  Who knows?  It could have been any number of regular 3 year old activities.  But this day stands out for me because at once, she turned to me and said, ‘Shhh…. Listen.  The trees are clapping.’ It is the wonder and interest in her eyes that I recall when I think of childlike faith.  There is an incredible beauty in the eyes of a child (or a pet!) who looks to you for her needs.  She is certain…it has never even occurred to her that you might not clothe or feed her, or take away candy when it’s too much, or snuggle her down safely for the night.  She has such security that she is able, and in fact eager, to look around the world in wonderment at everything the Lord has given us in His wisdom and creativity.  This life is not to be without struggle and doubt, for through these things, the willing learn and grow.  But above all things, the Lord is desirous of our hearts, and a real relationship with Him.  Everything we see and hear, smell, taste and touch are little gifts He has given for our enjoyment, because if not, why have five senses?  Everything is Him calling to us to have faith in Him, so that we may find enjoyment in this life while we rest in the security of His provisions.”

Interviewing people close to me was an adventure. Everyone’s ideas of “childlike faith” are the same, yet so vastly different. I found limitless beauty in realizing that everyone had unique ways of explaining it.

In my studying throughout the week, I realized that Jesus commands  his disciples to allow the children to come, as they will inherit the Kingdom. Both of the verses I found occur in Matthew.

For an answer Jesus called over a child, whom he stood in the middle of the room, and said, “I’m telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you’re not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God’s kingdom.”

Matthew 18:2-5 (MSG)

One day children were brought to Jesus in the hope that he would lay hands on them and pray over them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus intervened, “Let the children alone, don’t prevent them from coming to me. God’s kingdom is made up of people like these.” After laying hands on them, he left.

Matthew 19:13-15 (MSG)  

These verses are wrapped in truth as they explain Jesus’ desire for the children to inherit His Kingdom. He says that we must all start over at square one and become like children, simple and without doubts.

And despite the fact that Jesus commands this faith from his followers, it is seldom discussed in the Christian world!

And I want to discuss it.

So, here I go!

What is the difference between a “childish faith” and “childlike faith?”

When I hear the world “childish” I think: immature, annoying, doubtful, unforgiving, impatient, selfish, and impractical.

When I hear the word “childlike” I think: maturing, joyful, curious, forgiving, unobtrusive, trusting, selfless, and practical.

Do you see the difference?

God calls us to have a mature, joyful, and trusting faith. God desires for us to look at him as we would look at our earthly father or earthly mother: with complete trust and abandon. He desires for us to follow closely behind Him and ask Him tough questions. He desires for us to be His children and act like it, too.

I feel like it’s so easy to fall into the trap of having a childish faith. We can become immature, annoying, doubtful, and impatient with God. It’s easy to doubt God and His promises. It’s easy to try and take control over a situation that God is working in. It’s easy to become childish instead of childlike in our faiths.

For a while there, I was practicing a childish faith; I didn’t want to surrender to the Lord, I didn’t want to trust Him, and I was throwing a big fit.  However, through the craziness in my life recently, I have realized how necessary obtaining a childlike faith is. I have truly learned the difference between the two and found the value in knowing the difference. I think it’s crucial to evaluate your interaction with the Lord and assess if you are acting more childish or more childlike.

Jesus commands us directly to return to square one and become children. He commands for us to be the children of His kingdom.

But how do we do this?

How can we as a Kingdom work together, as one body, to obtain childlike faith?

I think in order to do so, we must begin by practicing the characteristics of childlike faith. Through my studying, I jotted a list of what I think childlike faith truly looks like.

The Characteristics of Childlike Faith

Children ask honest questions.   

Children simply want to know and understand the truth. They want to learn to value the truth and learn how to uncover the truth. They have curious minds and want to know more about every single thing. They are fearless and ask honestly without holding anything back. They have the innocent curiosity that drives questions.

Children have one simple, unobtrusive motive: teach me all that you know.

Wow. I pause at the thought of this.

Wouldn’t this be amazing to have with our Lord and Savior? Wouldn’t it be amazing to ask God the most honest questions, without fear? Wouldn’t you like to ask honest questions so you could begin to understand the honest truth that the Lord provides?  

Children ask openly and without doubts.

Children simply aren’t afraid to ask the questions they need to ask and share the things that need to be shared. They have no concept of what a “reputation” is or what an “identity” is, so they fear not. They don’t have to worry about tarnishing these things. They don’t fear burning any bridges, because there are no bridges to be burned. Children fear very little; children have no shame when they ask questions! As a result of this, you know they create super awkward situations in grocery stores sometimes, pointing to the pregnant woman on the aisle shouting, “mommy, why is she so fat?” But this is the beauty. Children have no fear. Children have no doubts. They simply do not doubt their earthly parents. If you’re a parent, think about your kids, and if you’re a kid, think about your parents. Parents, your kids don’t doubt your abilities, do they? As kids, did they ever doubt you for a second? No! They put full and unswerving trust in you. They never doubted you for a second.

So, why don’t we do the same with our Heavenly Father?    

Children expect an answer.

Children believe their parents know everything, don’t they? Kids know their knowledge is limited which is why the walk around, pointing to everything asking: “what is that?” “why is that?” “can I touch this?” “mommy, can I this?” “daddy, can I that?” They expect their parents to deliver a trustworthy answer to them. They expect an answer. Why do we start with full trust and as we grow, it goes away completely? It should be the reverse. As we age, we should learn to trust things and people and places and ideas more! And we should learn to trust God the most. God knows everything, beyond what we can understand, or comprehend even. And guess what! What we don’t know, He knows! So, if we ask with expectation from God instead of apathy towards God, we can trust that the answer He gives will be the right one! Gosh, I cannot stress this enough to you.  

Kids don’t know what’s best for them most of the time, but they trust their parents to know and to guide them.

Parents usually know how to guide their kids and teach them right from wrong, good from bad. “Don’t eat that glue, eat your veggies, don’t poke the cat or put your finger in the electrical socket, do your homework, and listen to grown-ups.” Children don’t like some of the commands given to them by their parents; they rebel and throw tantrums, not listening and ultimately suffering the consequences. And we are the same way with God’s commands sometimes, aren’t we? God knows what is truly best for us at the end of the day, but isn’t it funny how we act like we know better than He does? We think we know what we are doing without His instruction, so we just take over everything on our own. This is all wrong! We are human. Frankly, I have no idea what I am doing 99.9% of the time. I mess up. I make mistakes left and right. But God does not do this!

We have to trust our Heavenly Father, people! He knows what is best for us. He knows our best interest and has it close to His heart. We need to trust that the Lord will guide us into the light and truth that we so desperately need, not just some of the time, but all of the time!

Lastly, children find joy and love with their parents beside them.

Sometimes, as kids we just don’t understand our parents or their reasons for doing things, but even so, we find joy, happiness, peace, and love with them in our lives. Our parents provide for us, love us, care for us, shelter us, and teach us. They do so much more for us than we could ever understand and our lives are simply better with them.

Friends, it’s the same way with our Heavenly Father. As a child of God, I find joy and love walking with Him day to day, even though some days I have to fight to find the joy and make sense of it all.

In my studying, I still don’t understand childlike faith 100%. It’s still an abstract concept to me; some of it still doesn’t make sense, but that’s a part of faith. And it’s okay as long as I keep working on it.

But I find so much beauty in this idea that we can be children. We can ask questions without fear of rejection. We can trust unswervingly. We can be hopeful and trust the Lord to guide us. We can leave our doubts behind. We can surrender everything and expect an answer. We can ask the Lord to be truthful to us as we are truthful to Him.

I truly hope you see the value and beauty in this idea and I hope you will begin to practice this in your life, because everyone this childlike faith is 100% worth every penny spent!

So, let’s get working people! Together! Let’s throw away the childish faith and work towards something more rewarding and lasting: childlike faith.  

Bones aren’t permanent; as time passes, they may break, they may crack, and they may need a replacement.

Childlike faith is lasting; as time passes, it won’t break, it won’t crack, and it won’t need a replacement.

So, even though I have two fractured bones, my faith stands. My faith stands whole, complete, and childlike.

And so I ask you: where does your faith stand?

Further Reading...

Speak Up

Every year, Browns Bridge Inside-Out students escape the hectic schedules of high school and spend the weekend at Sharptop Cove worshiping, learning, and sharing God. Through Vertical Reality, I have grown and learned so much. This year, God showed me how crucial prayer is; by a gentle whisper, he invited me to speak up instead of speaking out, and by a gentle whisper, he's calling you, too.

Control Freak

Plans. We all have them and we all desire to be in control of them; however, this can be detrimental to ourselves and to our faith. How, you ask? It’s simply because trust is lacked in the Lord and in this post, I discuss how we can gain trust in God’s plans.