I remember the day I got my broken knees—how could I forget it? You start out with an ordinary day and in an instant, everything changes. One of my first reactions was why’d you let this happen, God? Why did you have to give me the broken knees? Why couldn’t it have been someone else?
I would soon learn that God had more in store for me than I could ever have imagined and it all began with broken knees, a wounded body and a broken spirit. I looked down at my knees and cried—it was the first of many signs that humility was being created within my soul. My life had been changing in so many ways before this happened—and I was looking for answers, never expecting that in ways I least expected I would get them. I would soon learn that while I was looking for a “band-aid” for my situation, God was more interested in transforming me. As He always does, He sees things that we can never see. He would comfort me in the days ahead but in so doing, He would gently remind me of scars I thought were so deeply hidden that no one could find them—but He knew they were there and He knew (again) that it would take more than a band-aid to answer the cries of my heart. And even though I didn’t realize it at the time, I was crying out to Him—on the inside—in those places I coveted that I wouldn’t dare let anyone see. Someone once told me that tears were liquid prayers—and if that is true, I had cried more tears than maybe even God could count.
Always one to be physically fit, in the days ahead, I would soon realize that I had lost most of the hearing in my left ear, almost surely would have to learn to walk again and later, when other diagnoses had been completed, I would deal with muscoskeletal problems and never damage, to name only a few. I would be told to have surgery, that if I took it, would be no guarantee and it would be another whole year out of my life—and I would have to learn to walk all over again. I chose a path not seen to the natural eye; I decided to trust and pray and wait—knowing and believing that God would answer me.
And then, of course, in another moment, unsuspecting, I lost my home. How many times could my heart and life be shattered, God? Three days without food and water, then I drank a can of pineapple juice and got botulism that took another three days to make its way out of my system. Eight more days of MRE’s and water, praying for provision, and praying to God that it would not, it must not rain, because I was trapped and I couldn’t survive if the roof collapsed. Freed two weeks later and on my way to my parents, God was once again dealing with me. Everything looked so bleak and dark; did I ask why? Of course. Don’t we all? After all, we’re only human. I cried so many times—from the physical pain that was constant and then from the shock of losing my home. Sometimes I cried so much, I didn’t think I had anything left inside of me. And then, there it was again. Daddy fell on the front porch and suffered a massive heart attack and stroke simultaneously—eight weeks after my arrival. And now God would send me on another journey. There were days—and nights—in this side of the journey where I felt jagged edges being ripped out of my soul—it was like I had stepped on shards of glass and a million times that glass pierced my heart. Dear God, how many farewells do You expect me to give? It was all too much, but then peace cam into my soul. Here I was, thrown into every trauma, being slammed at every turn in a very short period of time—and I had a lot of time to think—sometimes, too much, if there is such a thing. But I started to think about my life—and its meaning. Where I had been—and what had defined me—and now where I was going. I had been stripped of most everything materially—and with that lesson, God showed me what truly defined and identified me. The day He did that was the day I went to meet the FEMA Inspector at what remained of my home; it’s what they require and I had driven down to stay with my sister who had also been uprooted; her new abode was within walking distance to my old one. Clouds were in the sky that day so I donned my red rain gear with its hood and set out to meet the guy from FEMA. He opened up the front door and my heart pounded, and tears flooded my soul as I looked at what used to be. I gulped and managed to answer his questions.
And then, as I began to walk, the clouds brought forth a rain so hard, it pounded my gear and my face. As I waited at the stop light, less than a block away, it began to pelt me so hard that I couldn’t see very far in front of me. And then my tears blended with the rain—and I thanked God no one could tell I was crying. It was raining so hard that I couldn’t look back—and oh, how I wanted to look back! More than anything, I wanted to look back but I am convinced God planned it that way, so I couldn’t look back. He wanted me to move forward, put one foot in front of the other and trust Him. What choice did I have? Everything in my life was falling apart—at least life as I knew it---but as He always does, He had a better plan. In the “long farewell” with Daddy, He would touch my heart again and heal me of hidden wounds from my childhood and day by day, as I cared for Daddy, something happened physically, too, and I began to get better. God was teaching me and when I was focused on my broken knees and the storm waters that had poured out over my life, He was changing me. In many ways, he released me from my past while renewing my heart. And as any teacher knows, He was waiting for His pupil to learn. He would show me that in a career I adored, I had become a workaholic—not consciously, but in an effort to bring in more money and make a way for myself. Then He would teach me about the takers—as one who is known to be generous and loving, He would show me that there had been far too many takers in my life—always consuming and draining me, expecting me to do everything. He gave me the gift of learning who my father was as he lay dying and of helping him to do so with as much love and compassion and dignity as I could muster. He helped me get to know my mother—and the funny thing is, He helped me to find myself—not the little girl I used to be, but the woman He had made me to be all along. He taught me to say no to chains, and bondages, and “takers”—He taught me so much about love and compassion. I never see a crippled person or someone with an injury that I don’t burst into tears. Why? I was that person—maybe not to that severity but it was me—and it was a long road back. It is always a long road back from things we don’t understand, from pain and enduring that which would choose otherwise not to experience. My road, I learned, would not be what it is today had it not been for my broken knees. I sometimes think about the band-aid and realize how whole I am today because God fixed more than my broken knees; He fixed my broken heart, my shattered dreams, took away all the illusions, and He picked up the pieces of my shattered life—He swept away the shards of glass and when He did, He healed the little girl and gave me so much more in my heart and life than I could ever have imagined. I don’t yet have a home of my own but I have those things that truly matter. He showed me that. I am no longer defined by my title, my house, my bank account, my material possessions and neither do I define others by that measuring cup. I define people—and things—and life—by one rule—the rule of love and forgiveness. For it is the only thing that matters. I thank my God every day for my broken knees and the storm waters that rose in so many places over such a short period of time. He took my hand when it seemed all was lost and said, “Listen up, little girl—I haven’t forgotten you—just trust Me.” And so I did. My broken knees are a symbol of so much and every once in awhile when I get a wincing pain in my knee, I smile. God is simply reminding me of life since that day—and what He did for me.

Author's Bio: 

Author and novelist since 1991; President and CEO of Women and Success Productions, film producer and screenwriter.

Website: http://www.freewebs.com/chelsearichards1/