“In our humanity we often get caught up with the extraordinary events of our lives, and we easily overlook the ordinary moments in our lives." I heard this statement recently and it struck me how I can miss out on what the Lord is doing in my life everyday when I only focus on the extraordinary events. We all have events in our lives that are extraordinary: like graduating from high school and college, falling in love with someone, getting married, or having your first kid. But some of us, when we look back through our memories, instead remember extraordinary events that changed our lives in drastic ways. For some, it’s hearing the news that a tragic accident has happened and they lost a family member or friend. For others, it’s at a hospital when a doctor breaks the news that they’ll live with a chronic illness for the rest of their lives.
I was like every other cute, chubby little toddler — talkative and rambunctious. I grew and developed as the majority of children do until God allowed a different plan to unfold in my life, which drastically changed at age 3. I was bitten by a tick and contracted Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. My condition was misdiagnosed, resulting in severe brain damage that robbed me of the ability to speak, walk, and use my hands. The doctor told my parents that I would recover within the year, but that hope proved false. After many years of physical and occupational therapy, I did relearn how to walk and regain the use of my left hand, but my ability to speak has never returned.
When I was 5 years old, my parents discovered that the brain trauma I experienced had led to the development of Dystonia, a condition which causes muscles to tighten and the body to contort in different ways. Currently, there is no cure for Dystonia. I now use an app on my phone to communicate with others.
Here are some events I consider to be extraordinary events in my life. I relearned to feed and clothe myself. I became a big sister. I went to school. I came to know the Lord as my Savior when I was 7. I graduated from high school. Some of those events may seem ordinary to you.
Today, I would like to share with you how God works not only in extraordinary ways but He also works in ordinary ways…and how He can help us in our everyday, what I call "axe head struggles” (referring to the following Bible story about retrieval of an axe head).
In Second Kings chapter six, verses one through seven, we read,
“And the sons of the prophets said unto Elisha, Behold now, the place where we dwell with thee is too strait for us. Let us go, we pray thee, unto Jordan, and take thence every man a beam, and let us make us a place there, where we may dwell. And he answered, Go ye. And one said, Be content, I pray thee, and go with thy servants. And he answered, I will go. So he went with them. And when they came to Jordan, they cut down wood. But as one was felling a beam, the axe head fell into the water: and he cried, and said, Alas, master! for it was borrowed. And the man of God said, Where fell it? And he shewed him the place. And he cut down a stick, and cast it in thither; and the iron did swim. Therefore said he, Take it up to thee. And he put out his hand, and took it.”
You might be thinking, “What’s the big deal about this story?” If you remember in Second Kings chapter two that Elijah got caught up in the whirlwind and Elisha saw it. Therefore, Elisha was granted a double portion of Elijah’s spirit. As we read in chapters two through five, Elisha performed one extraordinary miracle after another. Then we read about a miracle Elisha uses for the ordinary task of retrieving an axe head, where the Lord shows us His everyday sovereignty. I think God put this story in the Bible because, while He does have His hand in the extraordinary events in our lives, He also has His hand in the everyday, ordinary events as well.
For chronically ill women who may be reading this, I want to encourage you. I may not understand completely what you go through day after day. But I do know from experience that the Lord will help us endure the struggles we face everyday. For example, when I wake up every morning I have to take medicine that helps my muscles relax. I have learned to take this medicine by myself. I have 30% dexterity in my left hand, which means I basically am able to use my pointer finger and thumb. Every day I take this medicine by sticking my finger in peanut butter and poking it down my throat. That’s the only way it works for me. It’s not always as easy as it sounds. There are times where my mouth is clinched shut because my jaw muscles are so tight, and I have to pry it open just to take my medication. That is just a glimpse of one thing I struggle with daily. I’m so thankful He can help me with the ordinary events of life.
For those who might be intimidated by some of the tragic events you read or hear about and it makes your situation look like ordinary "axe head" struggles, I want to encourage you that God also wants to help you in your ordinary situation. Whether it be financial problems, relational problems, or even if you're just a mom who is tired of doing the mundane chores that need to be done around the house or you feel overwhelmed by the fears you have about being a parent and raising your kids right, God can certainly help.
Jesus says in Matthew 11:28, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Jesus is inviting us to come to Him with our heavy burdens or even with our everyday "axe head" struggles. Taking the first step is always hard, but we can come to the Lord at anytime and cast our cares upon Him.
by Abigail Brown
Hello, my name is Abigail Brown and I’m 25 years old. I live in Stillwater, Oklahoma. I have been writing on my blog, Abiding With Joy In Christ for 6 years. I write snippets about how I live with a disability that has a mind of its own. I hope it will be an encouragement.