Lessons From Rehab-Volume One

Lessons From Rehab
Volume One

I have to admit that I don’t always follow my own advice. Just recently someone was telling me an amazing life story. I immediately recommended that he should write his story for others to enjoy and gain strength from. This is something I challenge people with all the time. Write it down, tell your story, people need to hear it! I love telling others what they should do, it’s easy. Allowing myself to be convicted by my owns words doesn’t always happen. So, here I am in the middle of another life lesson with an opportunity to share its value. It’s time for me to put up or shut up. I am committed to writing my discoveries and sharing them. If you don’t get an email each week feel free to call me and let me know I’m slipping.

I recently had my second major surgery in 26 months. Two years ago I had a total knee replacement. When I was recovering I read several blogs from others who had gone through this same procedure. It was encouraging to read the day to day progress that others experienced. It gave me peace and hope. I wish I had documented my own journey. There were many amazing revelations in the midst of the misery. They are now a distant memory.

So I get another chance to share my post operative revelations. This time it was my left shoulder. It started bugging me in November 2012. For the past four years I have been swimming four days a week and playing water polo on Fridays. I had finally started lifting weights again since my knee surgery. I was in my best shape in over 20 years. I was making progress and feeling really great. I was getting so strong on the bench press that I was beginning to think I could reach my old college goal of 300 lbs.. I was a long way from it, but it seemed possible now. Then, the shoulder started to “tweak” on me. Without prolonging the details, I tore the rotator cuff and bicep tendon. After six months and four cortisone injections, it was time for surgery.
“Perseverance must finish its work,” James 1:4

Surgery was June 11th, 2013. After 11 days I was sick and tired of laying around. My body was still recovering from the anesthesia and pain killers, but I was feeling much better. I decided it was time for a little work out. The words “be patient” have been thrown around a lot during this process, so I knew I should not push it. I just needed to feel human again. I borrowed our son’s gym membership and headed out the door. I got a little leg work in (I will forever be rehabbing the knee) and went to the pool.

My initial goal was just to get in the water and see if I could sufficiently strap down my arm and do some kicking. At this point I can only do passive movement with the left arm. I tied a theraband around my body to hold the left arm snug against my ribs. It seemed to work fine. I barely got my goggles on (try that with one arm). I decided that I should do 1000 yards kicking. It seemed like a legitimate goal and not too lofty. I had only been out of the water for three weeks so I can’t be in that bad of shape, can I?
I started pretty slow. It seemed awkward not extending my arm, but I made the most out of it. Then it happened. I got to 200 yards, and I was spent, done, finished. ‘I’m in terrible shape’ I thought. No one was there to push me. Nobody cared what I did at this point. It was just me and my arbitrary goal of 1000 yards. It didn’t matter if I finished or not. It wasn’t going to make the paper or worse facebook. Just as I was about to get out of the pool, I decided to do one more lap. Then another, and another. I was gaining momentum. I was starting to feel pretty good. I kept going and I got stronger and stronger. I finished the 1000 yards with anticipation of getting back to my normal practices.
When I was getting dressed I realized that there was a lesson here:
In almost everything that we do that has value, there will be a moment early in the endeavor that will be difficult or even painful. At that time everything in you will want to quit. This is the moment of truth. How committed are you? Will you persevere?
If we persevere, we will gain strength to continue. If we get past that initial urge to quit, He will give us “wings to soar like eagles” Isaiah 40:31. The problem is always getting past the initial discomfort, discouragement, distraction and doubt. Even before writing this I battled with thoughts of “who do you think you are?, That’s a stupid story and no one wants to hear it!, You won’t do it, you never do.” The Lord wants us to tell our stories, that’s what the Bible really is. It is HIS story. His work in the lives of men and women since the beginning of time.

James 1:2-4 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because the testing of your faith develops perseverance Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

If perseverance must finish its work, that means it must start its work, which means I must face trials, I must face adversity, I must be confronted with doubt and anxiety. The work will continue in my life and the benefit is maturity. That is why we are to consider it with joy, he is equipping us so we are prepared for anything. Amen!


  1. Thanks for sharing… Many times I too want to ‘give up’ ‘throw in the towel’ but then I am reminded simply of how easy that would have been for husband to do when he was going through training. He dug deep, to his inner most core of strength from God (he didn’t know existed) and finished what most can’t. That’s my inspiration a lot of times…! The power if someone else’s story can give hope and cause a push for a desire of perseverance.!!! I’m reminded of Job 23:10 – “But he knows where I am going. And when he tests me, I will come out as pure as gold”

  2. eric bixler says:

    thanx my friend perfect timing thanking God for his trials waiting to see the completion embracing the journey. praying for you and wifey love you eric

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