Therapy for a Spine and a Heart

Some mornings, my husband turns my heating pad on before he starts his day, so that as I continue to sleep, the moist heat will start to soak into my spine which has stiffened through the night. If I don't take the time to thaw my spine every morning, to use some heat, a hot shower and gentle stretching, my spine will be less flexible and more painful all day.

The joints in my spine may someday fuse into one solid bone; that is the proverbial mission of Ankylosing Spondylitis, the form of inflammatory arthritis I have that attacks the spine and other joints.

As unpleasant as this sounds, surely there are worse things.

What if my heart gets stiff? What if it becomes inflexible, cold, seized up? What if I don't take the time to thaw out my heart? What if bitterness or resentment inflame?

To allow His warmth to press into my heart, I must shower it with awareness, service, compassion and thanksgiving. I must learn to see with His eyes and serve with His hands and continually count the ways He loves and cares for me.

If I don't thaw out my heart, it may eventually fuse cold, hard, unyielding.

I must take care to ensure that doesn't happen.

I must train it, like I train my spine to stand tall and to gently bend in physical therapy. I do home exercises, standing tall and making my spine make contact with the wall. This is painful.

I must also do my heart exercises. I must exercise it to care, to serve, and always to show compassion; to keep it in contact with His heart.

If I work daily with my spine, it may not fuse. If I work daily with my heart, it surely can't.

daily gratitude to thaw a heart:

little girls in horsey pajamas
tomato soup for a rainy day
bread in the bread machine
electricity for a heating pad
His messages
music, such a gift
physical therapy to train a spine
small group Bible study to train a heart
a warm bed
unceasing grace for every day
cinnamon muffins hot from the oven
her 7 year-old voice singing, "When We All See Jesus"
her 4 year-old kisses


  1. Oh so sorry to hear of chronic illnesses.I have known this path..such suffering everyday...such places to meet the healer of the heart...because...how far worse to have a sick heart than a sick body....
    Blessings as you stretch and i ask right now for God's mercy to be poured on you....

  2. Stopped by from Ann's. . .your pic caught my eye. . .I thought it was a beautiful expression of worship. . .makes me think long and hard about how the difficult grace gifts put us in such a posture.. . lovely list. . . thank you. . .

  3. You set such a powerful example of choosing a great attitude in the face of adversity! Lovely list of graces!! Here from Ann's today--thankful!!

  4. Your words here are fantastic Jennifer, I am going through a hard time at the moment, put feelers out for a new job, as I am resenting what I am doing at the moment. And I have come to see how my heart has changed over the last 18 months.

  5. Oh my gosh! How did I miss this post??? Beautiful, Jennifer, and so absolutely true. We can't neglect either. I'm going to think about your words as I drift off to bed tonight. Thank you for articulating what we both feel.

    Much love on this Thanksgiving,


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