Life to the Full with a Broken Patella

broken patella

One year ago today, October 10, 2021, I fell mountain biking in Brown County Indiana, and fractured my kneecap. To summarize, over the last year, I’ve had three knee surgeries, a severe infection following surgery #1, six weeks of intravenous antibiotics through a PICC line (the first two of which failed), and several ER visits. Along the way, I suffered from Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), and ongoing physical therapy.

One of my goals was to be riding a mountain bike today, on the first anniversary of the fall. That’s a no-can-do; I haven’t yet reached the necessary bend in the knee to turn the cranks all the way around. It’s possible I never will without an adaptation to the bike.

I’m not at all disappointed or depressed today. I’m not moping around feeling sorry for myself. This afternoon I’ll go to PT as I usually do three times a week. I’ll work to gain more strength and perhaps add one more degree to my knee flexion.

I am living the life to the full that Jesus came to give.

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I can’t ride a bike yet, but I have the hope only he can give.

I still have some pain, but I have his peace that surpasses human understanding.

I still walk with a physical limp . . . and in the power of the Holy Spirit at the same time.

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My circumstances are not what I’d prefer them to be, but I have learned the secret of being content in every situation. (The secret is Jesus.)

October 10 (10/10) has always held great meaning to me. I always think about John 10:10 on this day. Years ago—I think it was on October 10, 2010—I had a gathering for all our small group leaders at Northeast Christian Church, where I then served as small group pastor. The theme, of course, was the abundant life: how the leaders could have it and how they could lead their groups to have it as well.

I love this verse:

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Jesus, John 10:10

I’m sure I’ve taught on this verse more than any other, and the abundant life is a main theme in my writing. The verse reveals the secret to contentment . . . and peace, and hope, and, well, life to the full in every way. The secret is Jesus. He came to give it to us. He provided the way to a renewed relationship with our Creator through his death on the cross.

Life to the full is available to all of us, regardless of our worldly circumstances, through Jesus. But, incredibly, there’s more. The English words “life to the full” or “abundant life” (depending on the Bible version you’re reading) can actually mean something like “superabundant life” or an “overflowing life.” You see, God doesn’t just fill the cup of our life to the brim and then stop there. If he did, that would make it all about you and me. He actually keeps pouring into us his love, peace, hope, wisdom, power, grace, etc. so that we will naturally overflow all of that into the people around us. We were meant to live life to the full and to overflow that life into others!

All of this is as true for you as it is for me. I’m guessing you aren’t dealing with a broken patella today.

But perhaps you are dealing with a broken relationship. A broken heart.

Perhaps you are broken by an addiction today.

Or maybe it’s a mistake you’ve made and you struggle to forgive yourself.

Or maybe your brokenness has to do with a loss of a loved one.

What’s “broken” in your life right now? And how can you fix it?

The secret is Jesus. “Come to me,” he says over and over again. “Follow me.” While the thief—that is, Satan, the world, the powers of this dark world—came to kill, steal, and destroy, Jesus came to give you and me life to the full. But you must accept the gift he has for you.

I have a choice today. October 10 can be a day to dwell on what has been taken from me . . . or it can be the day I focus on Jesus, who gives life to the full regardless of the situation.

It’s the same choice we must make every day. I’m going to choose to set my mind on Jesus.


I go into more detail about living the abundant, overflowing life in my book, Small Group Vital Signs: Seven Indicators of Health that Make Groups Flourish.

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