Today my family will trek down to Atlanta Medical Center, a place which became an unwelcome part of our lives last Summer after the collision which severely injured my precious lady. Our appointment is with Amy’s pain doctor who is a skilled professional who has shown great kindness to our family in his care of Amy. We are taking the kids with us and will enter the dingy building in a part of town that I’m not overly fond of due to the memories we made there. Few of us enjoy doctors visits. None of us are eager to look a medical professional in the eye and hear from him what he has determined we should do with our undeniable affliction. Moments like today remind me of how strongly we must lean upon God at times and I have never done so without finding Him (again) supremely reliable. Our God is good and no intimidating tasks should obscure that from us.
So this morning I post a personal request instead of a devotional piece for you to chew on. A good friend encouraged me to communicate clearly that the Lyles still battle and stand in need of your prayers when it comes to adjusting to a new path in life that includes limitations. I hurt for Amy on many days as I know her mind is as sharp as ever, her will is resolute, her spirit is hungry…but her right leg has not fully healed. Some may ask, “Jeff, she broke her leg last year – aren’t you guys milking this a little?” This is where things get awkward for me because Amy and I have no desire for sympathy or to serve as distractions when others have their own burdens to bear. Yet, at the behest of my friend I ask you to pray for our wisdom and simply receive this explanation as coming from a friend who wants to make sure other friends understand where we are these days.
Amy’s leg was crushed last year, not merely broken. Her surgeon told us that the bones exploded and he literally picked out and threw away multiple shards of bone when he worked on her. She broke her arms, all her ribs, her sternum, both hands and her left wrist. Thank God her pretty face was not touched! The healing for all her other injuries was amazing…but we have not been able to see that right leg and ankle experience the same release from its damage. I posted the X-ray above so you can see the amount of titanium hardware that is situated in that ankle, attached to bone, connected to joints and affixed with putty. My wife is 1/8th bionic! Arthritis has built up in the whole ankle area and she experiences high levels of pain all day every day as she struggles to walk. The medication prescribed for her is very powerful but she feels that the best thing for her to do is to limit her intake of it so that she can live in some measure of freedom, care for our children and me and serve in her church on Sunday mornings and some Sunday evenings. It’s a Catch 22: take enough medication to relieve the pain and live with mental fog and inhibited motor skills or do what she desires to do by taking a fraction of the meds and accomplish what God allows day by day in spite of the pain and loss of endurance. By the way, this is a great time for me to insert that she is my hero. She almost never complains and when she does it is certainly understandable. She has never made this tragedy about her. She deeply misses her mom who died from her own injuries suffered that day in the collision. Our children scarcely know that Amy suffers because she is the devoted mom who eats the pain and so her children won’t have to. Why am I putting all this out here for you to read? My friend said that people simply don’t know what we are facing and that some may not understand the difficulty we are entrusted with. He told me that people cannot pray with us if we leave them in ignorance and that our necessity was more important than our privacy. Additionally, some have misunderstood her absences from church as indifference and playing the “damaged goods card” in order to lay out of our gatherings – that one hurts me as her husband! They do not remember that was never her pattern before June 16, 2011 and that she would do anything to be able to regain her former stamina and worship when the church doors were open or be alongside of me at weddings and funerals and dinners. We have chosen not to say too much by way of rebuttal to these misunderstandings but, in honor and defense of my noble lady, I tell you that she is doing more than most of us would ever do if we were forced to swap places with her. I watch her and learn. She must be a strong daughter of God for Him to entrust her with this burden. I’ve never loved her more than today.
We will be heading out soon to see Dr. Howard. He’s going to say some things that will impact the next 6-12 months. We will listen to Him but, in the end, we are listening for God. Occasionally people ask how they might serve us or help us or be a blessing to us. We have everything we need from the material world and are blessed to see God’s provision to our family. We are surrounded by encouraging family, friends and church family. We have the joy of Jesus flowing in our hearts and we have been graced to not despair – not even once – of His plan for us. If you would like to know how you can truly help, please do this: pray for a release from her pain. Pray for her full healing. Medically it cannot happen…that is why we don’t bow at the altar of medicine. Yes, our request to you is to pray for us. You might say, “Jeff, your request is a little trite and churchy sounding.” Well…only if you don’t do it on our behalf. If you do join in this with us, it is a great comfort and practical partnership which we are trusting will yield bountiful fruit in time to come.
Thanks for reading and hearing my heart. She’s my lady and the most important person in the world to me. I’m blessed to stand by her.