In the devotional Everyday Blessings, Inspirational Thoughts from the Published Works of Max Lucado, Max writes that while we may not yet realize what we can learn from the struggles in our lives, we will come to know that there is purpose in our pain. Last March, a seemingly innocuous bump on the head that I sustained as I got into my van brought me down the road of post-concussion syndrome. I struggled for months, attempting to work as a Worship Coordinator and play music with my band and look after normal everyday tasks including doing bookwork for the construction company my husband and I run. But my family, my employer, and my health team realized that I couldn’t continue in that manner. I wasn’t getting better and I really wasn’t able to fulfill the expectations of employment. So, in October of 2019, I left work for a one-year leave of absence.
I honestly didn’t know what to do with myself. Grief and depression set in. In therapy we worked through how I felt that I wasn’t contributing in any meaningful way. My therapist also pointed out that at this point my creative expression had shifted from music to art. I was spending time almost daily in the art studio and rediscovering joy in the materials that I used when I studied Art in college.
I have come to call this my year of Jubilee. Much as the Israelites would leave their lands fallow in the time of Jubilee, I am leaving off my regular activities and letting a time of rest blossom into something new. I still don’t know what purpose God sees in the pain that I experience daily, but I am more confident that this time will be fruitful.
Nicole Ensing is a wife and mother, a musician and an artist, living in Guelph, Ontario.