Do Not Despise These Small Beginnings
In late November, just shy of my 52nd birthday, I spiraled into a serious migraine flare, which left me with some challenging new symptoms. There was significant weakness in my left leg and tremor in my legs, arms, hands, core, lips, jaws, tongue and vocal chords.
After ten weeks of testing, little activity, and a significantly increased medication cocktail, I stepped back onto the elliptical ready to exercise.
The first day back was slow – a very, very slow five minutes. And though I felt worse after exercising, I kept at it, continuing to log “my paltry five minutes” each day. Over the next several weeks, I added minutes and music, letting my stride sync with the rhythm of the songs. This helped my brain to create pathways, hopefully stemming the tremor.
EXERCISE AND PRAYER
By week four, I’d found a cadence and looked forward to my time of exercise and prayer on the elliptical. I prayed for those I know who aren’t able to move like they wish they could: Pamela, Sam, Monica, Don, Tanya, Darlene, Bob and Diane. I ended with the words: “I pray you will feel God’s presence as close as the beating of your own hearts today. You are so loved.”
Those 16 minutes of exercise and prayer reminded me of what it means to be the Body of Christ on earth. They brought to mind the words of 2 Corinthians 8:14: “At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need.”
That day, I gave what I had – an odd take on 2 Corinthians 8:14, but it prompted me to be grateful for each step – no matter how slow or seemingly insignificant. For today, I am able. Tomorrow, it might be someone else’s turn to walk or lift or step and pray for me.
As the months streamed on I prayed for Pastor Max and my friend Bull, for Dan and his family, for Deb, Gina, Sandy, Rachel, Pete and Roy.
As one month stretched into three, I prayed for Carolyn and her tribe, for Barb and her family, for friends recovering from surgery. I prayed for my husband and our kids. And I also prayed for all those walking the heart-wrenching road of long-term addiction recovery.
CONTINUING TO PRAY
I wrapped up my 21 minutes of exercise and prayer that day with the words: “I pray God will be undeniable to you in everyone you’re with, everywhere you go, in everything you do, for as long as it takes.”
Some days, my steps are slower, shakier, and a whole lot more intentional. But they are also more determined. For on those days, the fervency of my prayers seems greater too – maybe because on those days, I feel my need for God more acutely, as well.
EXERCISE AND PRAYER DREW ME DEEPER INTO GOD’S PRESENCE
As Easter neared, I was consistently logging 2.25 miles a day. The tremor still worsened with exercise, affecting my vocal chords for the rest of the day. But it was worth it. For while exercise made my physical symptoms worse, it also drew me deeper into the presence of God.
In June, as I stepped onto the elliptical, I poured out my heart for my son Sam. I wondered again how he continues on, how he rises to face each new day – eating less, in greater pain, with more nausea and worsening blood pressure, with more adrenaline dumps, and less restful sleep. Yet every day, he rises. Every day, he continues on, inspiring me to take one more step, add one more minute. To reach a little higher, and lean a little deeper into Jesus. I am humbled by who my son is and how he chooses to live.
I have spent beautiful mornings praying for all the extraordinary Mamas I know who have opened their hearts to adoption – Kelsey, Amy, Ann, Traci, Susan, Sarah, Stefanie, Nancy, Danielle, Heather and Deb. Some of these mamas are chronically ill, one has a spouse battling cancer. One has a daughter fighting for her life. Some have children with serious mental illness, and many have children with multiple special needs.
“God bless you, Warrior Mamas, for the love you pour out each and every day. You. are. amazing!”
Other days, I have prayed for those who have lost a loved one – a parent, a spouse, a sibling, a child.
“You are loved and you are treasured. You are seen and you are held.”
EXERCISE AND PRAYER: STEP BY STEP PRAYING DAILY
By May, I had stepped my way to three miles a day, praying for several non profits doing exceptional work: Just Between Us, Key Ministry, StreetLife, BASICS, Restoration Convoy, Sowing4Hope, Joni and Friends, and Cibearea’s Hope.
Nearly every day, I pray for my Workout Buddy who keeps me accountable, encouraging me when I falter and cheering me on when I break through.
Some days are “forced rest” days following multi-day, escalating migraines. Yet as the prednisone begins to work and I step back onto the elliptical, I’m often overwhelmed (in so many good ways) by the precious souls God lays on my heart.
One day, I prayed for all the Micheles/Michelles I know. Other days, I’ve prayed for all those in mission.
“May God wrap you in His deep, abiding, and unending love.”
My time on the elliptical has quickly become my favorite part of the day.
One morning, I thanked God for all those I know who inspire, encourage, love on and invest in the lives so many others through their retreats, organizations and ministries: Monica Snyder and Option EDS, Kris Camealy and Refine, Kim Hyland and Winsome, Shelly Esser and Just Between Us, Bob Robinson and Patheos, Pamela Piquette and Chronic Joy. The ripples from these faithful souls are spreading far and wide.
“I am honored to pray for you and all the lives of all those you touch.”
One more way to be the Body of Christ on earth. Alone, I can do little. But in Him, with Him, through Him and because of Him, my little loaves and fish, my few minutes a day, become immeasurably more than all I could ask or imagine. Always at the pace of grace. #StepRepPray.
“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin…” Zechariah 4:10
Cindee Snider Re
Author, Photographer, and Co-Founder at Chronic Joy®
Cindee is wife of the man she loves most in this world, mama of five world-shaking creatives (19-27), author of Discovering Hope, Finding Purpose, Embracing Worth and I Take You in Sickness and in Health, photographer, craver of quiet, lover of cotton, denim, Jesus and tea, and co-founder of Chronic Joy®. Cindee and four of her five kids have Ehlers-Danlos, dysautonomia, intractable migraine, and myriad co-existing conditions through which they're learning the deeper the valley, the greater their capacity for joy.