In late November, just shy of my 52nd birthday, I spiraled into a serious migraine flare, which left me with some challenging new symptoms – 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 (with my neurologist’s blessing) I stepped back onto the elliptical.
The first day back was slow – a very, very slow five minutes, and though I felt worse after exercising, I kept it, continuing to log “my paltry five minutes” a day. Over the next several weeks, I added minutes and music, letting my stride find the rhythm of the songs (to create new brain synapses and hopefully stem the tremor).
By week four, I’d found a rhythm and looked forward to my time on the elliptical, praying for those I know who, today, aren’t able to move like they wish they could: Pamela, Sam, Monica, Don, Tanya, Darlene, Bob and Diane, ending 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 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 of 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’s turn to walk or lift or step in prayer 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, Lisa, Barb, Pete, Millie, Roy and Diane.
And as one month stretched into three, I prayed for Carolyn and the Counterman tribe, for Barb and her family, for several friends recovering from surgery, for my husband and our kids, and for all those walking the heart-wrenching road of addiction recovery.
I wrapped up my 21 minutes that day with these 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 a little slower, a little more intentional, a whole lot shakier, and equally more determined. For somehow on those days, the fervency of my prayers is greater too – maybe because it’s on those days, I feel my own need for God more acutely too.
As Easter neared, I had moved up one level and one stride, 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 a good give-and-take. 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, wondering 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, 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 the extraordinary Mamas I know who have opened their hearts to adoption – Kelsey, Amy, Ann, Traci, Susan, Sarah, Stefanie, Nancy, Johanna, Heather ad 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, 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. You are treasured. You are seen. You are held.”
By May, I had stepped my way to three miles, 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 to lift before Him.
One day, I prayed for all the Micheles/Michelles I know. Who knew I know nine? I had no idea. Other days, I pray for 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. Some days, I add planks, squats, or abs to increase my strength and balance, and to extend my prayer time.
One morning, I thanked God for those I know who inspire, encourage, love on and invest in so many lives 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 and Chronic Joy. The ripples from these faithful ones are spreading far and wide.
“I am honored to pray for you and all the lives of all those you touch.”
Step. Rep. Pray. 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 paltry five minutes, becomes immeasurably more than all I could ask or imagine. Always in His time and His way.
#StepRepPray – Always at the pace of grace.
“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin…” Zechariah 4:10
Cindee Snider Re
Author and Co-Founder at Chronic Joy Ministry, Inc.
Cindee is wife of 26 years to the man she loves most in this world, mama of five world-shaking creatives (16-25), author of Discovering Hope and Finding Purpose, photographer, craver of quiet, lover of cotton, denim, Jesus and tea, and co-founder of Chronic Joy Ministry, Inc. Cindee and four of her five kids have Ehlers-Danlos, dysautonomia, intractable migraine, and myriad co-existing conditions.