Some things are easier to recuperate from than others. As an introvert, I require blocks of time to recuperate after social engagements. My body is currently recuperating from a morning spent bent over doing yard work. Ow. Ibuprofen, ice packs and heating pad help me to recuperate.
Those are simple problems with simple fixes, it’s just a matter of doing what I’ve learned works for me. But how do you recuperate from the big stuff?
Recuperate is one of those RE-words that is defined by other Re-words. It means to recover from financial loss or from sickness or exhaustion or to regain health or strength.
Webster’s 1828 Dictionary combines the categories and simply states:
To recover from anything lost.
Two years ago my husband suffered a massive pulmonary embolism and nearly lost his life. Four years before that, we lost… pretty much everything.
A dear friend recently lost her precious grandchild in a horrific car accident. How does a family recuperate from that?
When you go through the furnace of affliction, the taste of ashes can stay in your mouth for a long time. Even when things get better, one little whiff of smoke can bring it all rushing back: the emptiness, uncertainty, the anger and the sadness.
We’ve been in recuperation mode for a long time. It’s been grueling.
Knowing how long a process recuperation can be, I rolled my eyes when I read the synonyms for recuperate:
Shake it off
Turn the corner
Be out of the woods
Get back on your feet
Pull yourself up by your bootstraps
Or this one:
SNAP OUT OF IT!
As if you could snap your fingers and poof! Everything is fine and dandy.
Don’t let anybody tell you different: it takes TIME to recuperate. You’re not going to like hearing this, but that time?
It’s a gift.
When life knocks you flat on your back, you’ll have lots of time; time to cry, time to rage, squirm, pray, time to think and time to turn it all over to God because there isn’t a thing you can do about it at that point.
It’s in the turning that your recuperation begins
“Return to Me,” declares the LORD of hosts, “that I may return to you…” Zech 1:3
Both times the word ‘return’ is used in this verse it’s the Hebrew word ‘shuwb.’ The Father tells us to return and then He promises to recover, refresh, relieve, rescue, reverse, and reward.
Good news, right?
It took time but I recovered my hope, He refreshed my soul, relieved my pain, rescued my heart, reversed the downward spiral of my thoughts and rewarded me with His presence and strength to endure.
I’m not the same person I was six years ago. The Lord has given me beauty for ashes.
No longer do I equate my perceived level of recuperation with the level of His love for me. I know that my Redeemer lives and that His heart for me is good.
But be careful here; this verse is no magic wand (or snap of the fingers). I turned to God continually throughout our trial and I haven’t gotten my house back. (Did I mention we lost our house?)
My husband is back to work but hasn’t gotten his strength back and retirement is a pipe dream at this point.
My friends won’t get their granddaughter back.
And yet, every day we’ve experienced the recuperative power of Jesus Christ.
There will be days when you’re flat on your back, flat on your face; days when you’re just flat-out done—even your prayers will seem to fall flat.
You’ll be tempted to turn away from God rather than return to Him.
Don’t do it.
RETURN TO HIM.
But how? How do you return to Him when it feels like He’s turned His face away from you?
When you’re recuperating, words matter and it’s imperative to monitor them. ALL OF THEM—the ones you think, the ones you speak, the ones you read, the ones you pray and the ones you listen to.
Words of repentance
Take words with you and return to the Lord. Say to him, “Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously…” Hosea 14:2
Keep a clean slate. It’s easy to fall into whining and unbelief.
Words of Scripture
In Isaiah 55, God compares His Words to the rain and snow, which make things grow and blossom. He promises that His Words won’t come back to Him empty-handed.
They’ll do the work I sent them to do, they’ll complete the assignment I gave them. Isaiah 55:11
Psalm 91:4 states that His faithful promises are our armor and protection, so when my husband had his catastrophic health incident, we prayed Scripture—including the Re-words we’d discovered in the Scriptures: restore, revive, repair, etc.
Words of Lamentation
Be honest; you’re probably already complaining, so why not complain to the Father? It’s called Lamentation.
Lamentation is not pretty prayer; its honest prayer. Its flat on the floor, crying into the carpet prayer: addressing the Lord, pouring out your complaints, expressing your trust, crying out for deliverance, expressing assurance that He will answer and then giving Him praise in advance.
Words of praise
Nope, you probably won’t feel like it. Praise is a practice and it takes practice. When you’re in a season of recuperation, your praise will be a sacrifice and it will be your salvation.
Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name. Heb 13:15
Words of encouragement
So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11
You already know this in theory, now put it into practice.
I have a friend who is battling health issues and the devastating loss of job and relationships. Wisely, she chooses to reach out and encourage others who are suffering. It helps them and it helps her.
This morning I asked my husband, who has spent the past two years recuperating, what wisdom he had to share.
“Baby steps,” he said, and we both laughed that the line from our favorite movie, What About Bob? could offer such sage advice.
“Recuperation takes effort,” he added, then amended it, saying, “Actually, it takes effort and no effort at all because ultimately it’s in God’s hands.”
I think this is what he meant:
Cease striving and know that I am God.
Most of our deepest fears involve loss. Loss of our health, income, relationships, home, fill in the blank… But after all the losses and the long road of recuperation, here’s what I’ve discovered to be true:
When He says He will never leave you or forsake you?
HE WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU OR FORSAKE YOU.
I don’t know where you are in the process of recuperation. You might still be flat on your back, flat on your face or flat broke. But look up. And then rise up.
Your Redeemer lives.