January 7th started out as a normal enough day for me. I was halfway through my winter break and decided to enjoy my time off by going skiing for the day. However, after a little fall that left me with a not-so-little pain in my knee, it became a pretty memorable day. Nine days, three doctors and an x-ray, MRI, CT and ultrasound later, we finally discovered that in addition to an MCL sprain and some small fractures, my ACL and a piece of bone had broken off my tibia.
This is a pretty rare injury, especially for someone out of their teens, and it requires surgery to reattach the broken piece of bone.
Right off the bat I knew I was going to have a long road ahead of me, and with less than two weeks before my semester started I wasn't even sure if I'd be able to go back to school (which happens to be a five hour drive away from my home and doctor) on time. However, instead of letting all of this completely overwhelm me, I was determined that I was going to remain as positive as I could. I was going to do this by reminding myself that it was all a part of God's plan. I'm not going to pretend to be an expert on what God has in store for my life, but I do know that He has a plan and that everything that happens to me ties into that plan.
I'm still not sure exactly what God's plan was in this, and I may never know for sure, but what I am certain of is that He has taught me a lot through this experience.
"'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'" — Jeremiah 29:11
Take things one day at a time.
"So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today." — Matthew 6:34
Because my injury is pretty rare and took a while to diagnose, there was a lot of unknown in the first couple of weeks. I'm a planner by nature, so it was hard for me to not even know what would be happening a few days in the future. Instead of focusing on what I didn't know and couldn't control, I was forced to learn to take things one day at a time. Although this was difficult, it helped to ease my mind and kept me from feeling like my life was spinning out of control.
Don't focus on others' opinions of you.
"Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things." — Colossians 3:2
I'll be the first to admit that I worry too much about what other people think of me and how I appear to them. However, it's safe to say that I had a lot bigger things to worry about than what my hair looked like and how many likes I was getting on my Instagram posts. And as it turns out, it's actually refreshing to be freed from this burden and to instead be able to focus on the things that really matter.
What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
"Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow." —James 1:2-3
Navigating my way around my large college campus with a full leg brace and crutches definitely wasn't easy at first, but it's made me stronger both physically and mentally. Throughout this experience, I've looked to this verse for encouragement because it reminds me that even if nothing else good comes out of a difficult situation, I'll at least come out on the other side stronger.
Prayer is a powerful tool.
"This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us." —1 John 5:14
Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a big believer in the power of prayer, but I must admit that when it came to this situation I slacked off when it came to prayer. I turned to what the doctors were telling me and what they could do for me more than what God could accomplish. It took me until my first week back at school when I was feeling lost and completely overwhelmed to turn to prayer. And guess what? It worked! I went from being on the verge of tears every time I tried to think about how I was going to make it to my next class on time to feeling a sense of peace and control.
I'm not writing this to get pity for my situation or praise for how I handled it. Rather, I'm writing this to encourage you to also look for God's plan and lessons in difficult situations. Not many of you will ever be in my exact situation, but we all go through tough times, and these times are all part of God's plan for us.