Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”
~ John 5:8 NIV~
About fifteen years ago, I suffered an injury that kept me down for about two months. If you know me, you know that I don’t like not being able to do things for myself. I don’t like being sick, I don’t like being stalled, and I don’t like being in a position that doesn’t allow me to move ahead. Unfortunately, when this injury occurred, I was at a point in my life where my self-esteem had bottomed out and I was a very broken woman. I didn’t realize it until I was sidelined, but by the grace of God, I was able to emerge from this time victorious and I can’t imagine what would have happened if I had simply accepted that status quo.
For a little background, I had just lost one of my favorite people in the world and her death had been so unexpected that I began to worry deeply about my own health and potential for the same fate. My aunt Jackie had been such a bright spot in my life and for as long as I could remember, my mother and her sister had provided hours of laughter and entertainment as well as advice and instruction to myself and to my cousins. I had gone to church with my aunt for a time and I knew that she was a good woman. The only thing that ever troubled me about her was that she was in poor health and seemed to have been resigned to the fact that she would never get better. I believe she was a fighter, but that at some crucial point she had just laid down her sword in hopes that whatever pain she was in would be taken from her. Her death hit my mother very hard and for a time, I remember that there was just so much sadness that it seemed we would never see the sun again. But, as things often go, I was jarred out of my grief by another issue. The issue of my own mortality and the decisions I would need to make if I was going to move forward.
On one particular day, I had gone to a heart doctor to get checked out. I was about 34 years old and to my knowledge, I didn’t have a heart problem. I was overweight and depressed, but I didn’t have any notable disease other than a fairly dormant case of fibromyalgia and arthritis. I generally didn’t feel great, my marriage was not going well, and I had suffered a few miscarriages. So, I wanted to make sure that I was at least healthy enough to look forward to fixing those problems. Sadly, I went to this doctor and I hadn’t known that he was a fear-mongerer who had built his practice on scaring his patients into unnecessary procedures and tethering them to him by putting them on medications they didn’t need. As I was still grieving my aunt, I agreed to have a heart catheterization and from there, everything went downhill.
On the morning of the procedure, I went in and I was scared to death. Now, this very routine procedure had been something that my aunt, grandmother, and father had done on several occasions and they had never had a problem. The problem was that when I came out of the procedure, the nursing staff or someone important had not properly packed the wound and I was released to go home before my blood had fully clotted. Having little experience with these things and being the stubborn person that I am, I attempted to get up and do a few things around the house. Nothing major, I was just tired of lying down. After a bit, my leg began to be very sore and I started to panic a bit. I had my husband take me back to the ER so that I could get checked out. They examined me and told me to go home and take some aspirin for pain and take it easy. At the time, I didn’t think anything of it. I figured they knew what they were saying and even though aspirin is a blood-thinner, if they told me to take it then I should take it.
I went home and tried to do as I was told. By the end of the night, my leg was throbbing and I felt as though it would burst from the pressure. My husband, of course, thought I was overreacting and was reluctant to take me back to the ER until I basically screamed at him that something was very wrong and I needed to go back. After some commotion, he took me back to the hospital and there, they found that I was bleeding out into my leg and that I needed to be admitted. I spent three days in the hospital, received two blood transfusions and ended up with a large hematoma at the top of my leg and significant nerve damage. By the time I had gotten back to the hospital, the doctor said I had bled about a third of my body’s blood into that leg and that I could have died.
After that, I began to look at things a little differently. My marriage, my health, my life. All of it needed to change. And so, instead of continuing to live in a fear-generated fog, I decided that I would never again allow a doctor to force me into something that I didn’t feel right about in my soul. I put my faith to work and took the steps I needed to change my life. Thankfully, I had a very good doctor who took care of me after the injury and within a couple of months, I was able to walk again. Nearly a year later, I was nearly back to normal except for some lingering nerve damage. But overall, I was good…or as good as I could be at that point.
I stayed in my marriage for a couple more years, but that incident was one of the defining moments in our relationships and did, in fact, contribute to my decision to leave my husband in 2010. No one should ever make their spouse feel like they are crazy or stupid for being concerned about their health. I was called a hypochondriac and treated as though I was less than intelligent for years and because I was so broken from unresolved trauma in my past, I thought that I deserved it. As it happens, he was wrong and once I took back my life and gave it all to God, my path began to look very different. I divorced my husband in 2010, became heavily involved in church and building my faith and my understanding of what it means to follow Christ.
Since that time, I’ve written over 25 books and started my own publishing company which works with over 60 authors and has published over 130 titles in the past eight years. I completed my Master’s degree in Discipleship Ministry and a Graduate Certificate in Pastoral Counseling through Liberty University. I have taken several road trips across the U.S. to allow myself to explore the places I had always dreamed about visiting. I have stepped out of that dark place that I once called home and stepped into a life that follows or at least attempts to follow God’s call.
I haven’t always done the right thing in terms of choosing the right fork in the road, but I’ve always been willing to look at the mistakes I’ve made and learn from them so that I can do better on the next pass. I hate to think of what might have happened if I hadn’t decided to “get up and walk.” Would I have even made it another five years? I doubt it. I know that those events were meant to be a turning point for me and the fact that I allowed them to propel me toward a new direction for my life. I’m so glad I finally listened to the right voice. God’s voice.
Rebecca Benston is the owner of Higher Ground Books & Media and the author of over twenty-five titles currently available through Amazon and other outlets. Her books include a mystery series (The Rona Shively Stories), empowerment resources such as Wise Up to Rise Up, Don’t Be Stupid (And I Mean That in the Nicest Way), and From Judgment to Jubilee, children’s books including Grumble D. Grumble Learns to Smile, All the Scary Things, and See How Strong You Are. Benston lives in Springfield, Ohio with her awesome daughter, Mya and enjoys traveling, reading, writing, and telling it like it is. She enjoys being able to help other authors get their stories out there through Higher Ground and has recently expanded her freelance services to offer more extensive guidance as a writing coach and social media manager. For more information, you can contact Benston at email@example.com.
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ailments answers author beliefs Bible church dreams empowerment faith fear God grief healing husbands lifestyle loss miscarriage poetry relationships sadness thinking transformation Uncategorized writer
My name is Rebecca Benston. I’m a Christian. I’m a woman. I’m a mother. I’m a writer. I’m a thinker. When I write fiction, I am usually writing a mystery series called The Rona Shively Stories. My P.I. character, Rona Shively is feisty, fearless and fabulous and is usually caught up in something she doesn’t want to be caught up in. In addition to this series, I also have a blog called Higher Ground for Life. Through this blog, I’m hoping to reach women or anyone who is seeking to develop a relationship with God and give them inspiration to get out there and follow His path for their lives!
I also have a blog called Leading the Follower. This one is my favorite. I write about religion, faith, spirituality and all that goes along with it. What we believe, what we don’t believe, what we are told to believe and how society feels about believing in general. I do a lot of testifying here and some of what I say may make you angry. Most of it will make you think. Some of it will make you cry. Any of it could make you laugh. It’s really up to you.
If you are looking for practical advice, honest conversation, and no nonsense observations about living in today’s world, check out my blogs at http://highergroundbooksandmedia.com and http://www.ronashively.wordpress.com and http://www.highergroundforlife.wordpress.com and http://www.leadingthefollower.wordpress.com. And if you’re so inclined, you can purchase my books and some other great, inspirational works from Higher Ground Books & Media at http://highergroundbooksandmedia.com.