A Clenched Fist

On our 34th wedding anniversary, August 25, 2018, I had a debilitating stroke. This is how I’m feeling today.

My fist is clenched. At times it is so hard that my fingernails cut into my skin and leave marks. The angrier that I get, the harder the tension. There have been times that I would love to shake my fist at God saying, “I’ve served you all my life! Why? Why am I not healed?” I hear a whisper of it says “you have hold on so tightly to something that is not yours. You have been grasping for air to save yourself from sinking as you see the lifeguard swimming feverishly to you.

My chest has been clenched for so long. My knuckles white, fingers stiff, It is painful to try to pry my stiff fingers away from my palm. The more I struggle, the harder the grip.

Gentle touch, the stroke of the hand, seem to only drive the feeling of defeat even deeper. I cannot think straight. In my hands I grasp the remnants of my dignity. Pride holes on tightly to my soul, the prey it seeks to devour.  I want to raise my fist and hurt it, but I cannot raise my horn and use that hand so, I acquiesce.

I am afraid of surrender.

By nature, I am defensive.

With my fist I can express my frustration, but I also can fight back, but I’m tired, I am weary, I feel burdened by the pain I am feeling. I cannot change the events of August 25, 2018. If I knew then how I would struggle over these past 2 1/2 years, I’m not sure I would’ve wanted to walk this road. But I have not walked alone. My wife has been constantly at my side, sacrificing her comfort and her desires. Friends and the family have surrounded us and lifted both Judy and I up in prayer, and have provided strength through this tempest.

This yoke is too heavy. I do not want to take another step. I feel like I cannot walk further with no end in sight. I come upon the switch back and realize there is so much further to climb. I fall 2008 round, hang my head, and cry. “God, I want to give up. I thought that I could regain the control of my destiny,

That is a mirage, a fantasy that I have created and crafted.

The tighter I clinch my fist, the more I cannot use my senses to see the good that I still can do, I avert my eyes to the truth. My ears are closed to the voices of those trying to offer help. There is only one thing I can do.

Surrender. This life is not in my own. Another has bought it. He sees what I cannot and here’s my hearts cry. He knows his purposes for me, and formed these hands that I hold so tightly to. His arms outstretched to hold me, but I must open my hands to receive his warm embrace. He calls me beloved. I slowly and clinch and let go of the pride I have held so tightly.

With open hands I can receive his grace, his purpose in me. As I learn to stop fighting and trust my savior. I am no longer fighting against the lifeguard who came to me when I was about to be devoured by the waves.

I am at peace.

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