Boo Hoo Days

I have talked to several people recently who are going through a rough time.  Some are reliving painful memories, some are just facing normal life struggles, and one is facing something scary that is still to come. I will add myself to this list because I had a pretty rough day one day this week too.

I watched Diane Sawyer’s 20/20 story of Congresswoman Gabby Gifford and her husband, Mark Kelly. Gabby was shot in the head at a rally and this story is a video diary that Mark made of her following her recovery. If you have not seen it, I would highly recommend that you take the time watch it.

There was one particular scene that has stayed in my mind so vividly. Gabby is in rehab and they are trying to teach her to say a word. She keeps failing at this and finally, instead of crying, she puts her head down and repeatedly kept saying, “Boo hoo, boo hoo, boo hoo.” The therapist asked her if she was frustrated and Gabby could not put the words to her feelings. She then began to sob in frustration. Her mouth could not speak what her heart was feeling.

I have thought about that scene over and over. Maybe it struck a personal chord because I have spent time in rehab and have felt the depths of that frustration when you cannot do what you want to do. But, even now, I think all of us have days that I am going to call “Boo Hoo” days.

Boo Hoo days just happen. They are planned or pre-meditated. Actually, they kind of hit like a surprise attack! Life just seems to suddenly smack you in the face and, as you sit in shock, it is hard to even express your innermost feelings. Sometimes it is hard to know the words to say and other times, you know exactly the words you are thinking, but it is hard to face them.

During my own Boo Hoo day this week, I reminded myself of this verse: “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” Romans 8:26 

This verse was such a comfort to me! To know that I have such a friend like this that knows me, knows my name, knows my heart and even knows the things to say that I can only seem to groan about in my despair. What a friend! I can just grunt something and He knows exactly what it means. You know what else? He takes what I mean and He prays for me. Wow. Jesus Christ praying for me on a Boo Hoo day. If that can’t help your day, then I don’t know what will.

I am so thankful for my everlasting Friend, Who takes my struggles, my pain, my misunderstandings, my despair, my turmoil, my weariness, my crisis, my frustrations and when I can’t mutter anything my heart feels except for “Boo Hoo”, He knows exactly what I need and He prays for me.

Here is one of my favorite hymns because it puts my heart right where it needs to be on my own Boo Hoo days.

Jesus Is All the World To Me

  1. Jesus is all the world to me,
    My life, my joy, my all;
    He is my strength from day to day,
    Without Him I would fall.
    When I am sad, to Him I go,
    No other one can cheer me so;
    When I am sad, He makes me glad,
    He’s my Friend.
  2. Jesus is all the world to me,
    My Friend in trials sore;
    I go to Him for blessings, and
    He gives them o’er and o’er.
    He sends the sunshine and the rain,
    He sends the harvest’s golden grain;
    Sunshine and rain, harvest of grain,
    He’s my Friend.
  3. Jesus is all the world to me,
    And true to Him I’ll be;
    Oh, how could I this Friend deny,
    When He’s so true to me?
    Following Him I know I’m right,
    He watches o’er me day and night;
    Following Him by day and night,
    He’s my Friend.
  4. Jesus is all the world to me,
    I want no better Friend;
    I trust Him now, I’ll trust Him when
    Life’s fleeting days shall end.
    Beautiful life with such a Friend,
    Beautiful life that has no end;
    Eternal life, eternal joy,
    He’s my Friend.

 

 

 

 

God Made These Bumps

I took my sweet little Macey to the doctor today. It was just me and her. She sat in the front seat next to me as she wanted to be near me. Bless her heart, she felt so bad. Her tonsisl are all big and swollen and she moaned everytime she swallowed. I wanted to hold her hand as we drove but I couldn’t because I need both of my hands to drive!

As we were coming back home, we took Highway 247. This road has been named “The Roller Coaster Road” by our family because of its many dips and turns. Some of the dips are very fun to drive over as they move your stomach up into your throat. On a normal trip, the children squeal with delight as I love to hit those hills just a little hard to scare them to death!

Today as we were driving home, I knew Macey was feeling bad so I was taking it easy on that road. We went over the best spot and Macey had a little smile on her face. Actually, it was one of the few smiles I have seen all day on my normally bubbly girl. As she smiled, she looked over at me and said, “God made those bumps, I just know it.” I smiled and said, “Yes, honey, He did.”

I got to thinking about that the rest of my drive home. “Did God make those bumps?” Well, technically, the road crew made them. But God did make the hills, and he made men with the ability to carve those roads out. So, in a round about way, I was telling Macey the truth. God did make those bumps. I also started thinking about how fun it is to go over those bumps. I love that feeling you get in your stomach. My hubby, on the other hand, does not! I remembered how in our recent airplane flight, the turbulence and bumps that we felt in the air. I did not like those bumps! My hubby seemed calm as a cucumber and my stomach was feeling very nervous! However, the same God that made the fun bumps made those bumps too.

Why do I like road bumps but not air bumps? Because on the road bumps, I am in control and so it is fun. On the air bumps, I am very much out of control so it is scary. Isn’t that just like life? We think, as we travel along, that we are so very much in control and we handle the little bumps along the way as no big deal because we’ve got it all covered. But when we hit a bump that shows us that we are completely out of control, then we are scared to death.

Let us all remember, my dear friends, that God made these bumps in our lives. Maybe He didn’t initiate all of them, but He has allowed them so in a round about way, He is still in control of every single bump we hit. We need these bumps because we need Him. We aren’t in control of anything. He is in control of everything and always has been. The fearful times are when this truth is revealed to us and we need that reminder. Otherwise, we are cocky and self-centered and are quite sure that we have the world by the tail.

I need Him. You need Him. Yes, I agree with Macey. “God made these bumps. I just know it.”

But If Not

I am nearing my 2 year anniversary of being paralyzed. It will be March 12. The “paralysis” statistic they tell you is that whatever you have gained back at your 2 year mark is about where you will stay the rest of your life. Hearing these words at this point of the game can almost hit that giant red panic button that exists somewhere in our brains. You feel like you are racing a giant clock and that your life depends on winning! Of course, that is one perspective. The other perspective is one that I find much more comforting and have chosen to take.

When you have lived your entire life trying to serve God, following His Word, and even giving your life to full-time ministry teaching others about Him, then you grab on to all those verse of promise that you shall prosper, He will bless you, and you assume from that that life will be peaches and cream. Sure, trials can come, but God will get you through them and all will be fine again! Well, that is fine, until you feel that you didn’t get through that trial. That loved one is sick, you are in God’s will so you prayed and they died anyway. So many people choose to kill their babies, not wanting them, but you want your baby and you will raise it to love God, but your baby dies. You have been told that you have very little time to live and you know God can heal you but what if you die anyway? You are paralyzed and you see people who recover and are walking around but you aren’t – and they aren’t even trying to live for God!

These are all very real thoughts and maybe are afraid to utter lest anyone would then accuse us that our faith isn’t strong enough and that is probably why we haven’t experienced healing. There is nothing that can upset me more, then for people to tell me to just have more faith. The reason it upsets me is not because it makes me mad at them. It truly upsets me for them. I fear for their own thoughts if they ever have to go through something major.

I assure you, if you love God, then know one has more “faith” than the person who is in the midst of their trial. No one will pray harder for their child to live than the parents. No one will pray harder to live then the one who knows they are dying. No one will pray harder to be made whole than the one with the disability. You know how much faith you have in what God can do and when the outcome happens, that is against what you prayed, the strong faith that you had in God to answer your prayers, turns to strong doubt in this God that you had trusted. You feel betrayed, let down, forsaken and although you dare not say it, you wonder how real this all is. Why didn’t He help me when I needed Him the very most?

I think that one of the greatest things that I have learned, is that my faith is not in what God can do, but in Who He is. God is God and I do not know the way that He chooses. I do not understand why these things happen. I know He is able to do whatever He wants but that is not where my faith is. My faith is in Him and that involves trusting Him when the outcome doesn’t go my way. It involves trusting Him that He has a much bigger plan and He has invited me to partake of His plan by using me in a role that I had not counted on.

One of my favorite Bible stories is that of the three Hebrew children. They were about to be thrown into the fiery furnace because they would not worship the king’s idol. The King warned them again to bow or they would die. Here is their reply “If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” This sums it up so beautifully. We know our God is able, but if not, in other words, if He decides a different way to bring Himself glory though my life, or through my death, then that is okay. We will stay faithful to Him anyway.

For me and my situation, I know that God can heal me. I know that He can make me walk again or not. But it isn’t my faith or lack of it that decides this. Surrender says “It is not up to me, it is up to Him.” Do I have my own desires and wishes? Well, of course. But my deepest desire is that I can be used of God. If He thinks He can use me better in this chair, then who am I to pray otherwise? When my thoughts go away from this, then that is the time that I re-evaulate if I am truly yielded to God’s will or not. Some days I am, and some days I am not. It is a daily choice to choose God.

My dear friends, this is such an important key. We cannot answer the hard questions of life but we can trust Him. We know we serve a God that can, but if not, we serve a God Who is and we can rest in the fact that He is working in our lives to bring Him glory. Do not beat yourself up for “not having enough faith”. It is not the quantity of our faith that matters – it is that our faith is in God alone, in Who He is, the Master and Creator of the universe, and He knows. We just trust Him no matter what.

He has an individual plan for every life. Trust Him with yours!

The Battle of Independence

“It is a good thing that I did not become paralyzed, I would enjoy it too much and lay around and do nothing.” These words, or some like them, have been echoed to me many different times since I became a paraplegic. I always give a smile and say, “No you wouldn’t” and think that I am right. Whether I am or not I don’t know. This battle for independence. I think some of it does depend on your personality but a lot of it comes from an inward drive where your body knows you can never be totally independent, but your heart says “watch me try!”

I was thinking about a man that I know. He has some mental handicaps and although he lives alone, he requires monitoring and assistance with daily challenges. His guardian was talking to me about how stubborn he can be. I know this man and I know she is right! He desires to make decisions and be in control but he just can’t quite do it. That must be frustrating.

For myself, I know how very hard I push to do everything by myself. I always tell my husband that he better let me do it all now because when I get old, someone else will probably have too! I don’t want “pushed”. I am capable of doing that myself! I don’t want you to get the door for me. I can open a door for you and get in myself! I don’t want you to help me get in a car. I can do it so please leave me alone! I don’t want you to carry me up the stairs. It must somehow be easier to get out, pull my body up step after step and arrive at the top justified that I did it all alone.

I may have accomplished those things by myself, but I was probably foolish doing it. I am all for being independent, but I would have thanked you for opening that door when I was walking so just what am I trying to prove? Before I sound vicious, I want you to understand that I don’t ever tell people to stop pushing me, get out of my way, or put me down. I smile graciously and thank them. It is just the thoughts inside my head that I am now confessing to!

I can get from the floor up into my chair by myself. I have swam a little excessively this week so my back and upper body are in quite a bit of pain and worn out so I couldn’t get in my chair last night. I had a friend nearby who I asked to give me a boost. It killed me to have to ask her! This was something I could do – and I had to have help!! The thought of being dependent, of needing help, was really hard on my independent spirit!

I find a fascinating correlation between this and my spiritual life. You know, there are some things that God requires of us – a sort of spiritual independence. He says to “choose you this day whom ye will serve.” Hey, that’s up to me! But then He offers His help saying “I will bless them that bless me.” He says to “Be strong…” – I can handle that because I think I am tough! Then it says “…in the Lord” – now that’s a different story. That puts my strength in being dependent on Him. We are told that the great King David of old “encouraged himself” – see, grab yourself by the bootstraps and get with the program! Then it says how he did that “…in the Lord.” That involved dependence again. Philippians 4:13 says “I can do all things…” – we like that don’t we? But then it finishes with “…through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

You see, my friend, this battle of independence goes beyond my physical challenges. It affects my relationship to God also. I am given an independent choice to serve God, to trust God, to stay faithful to God, to rejoice in the Lord, to surrender my life, my plans and my wishes to my Maker. Yet through all of those independent choices, there is a realization that I can do none of those things without depending on God and allowing His strength to compensate for my weaknesses.

I desire to be independent in my daily life. I desire to do everything I can without anyone else helping me. I desire to live as normally as I did before my wheelchair and I became partners. But I also realize that there are times that this just isn’t realistic and I will have to feel dependent and “less” as a person and I need to learn to be okay with that too.

So, it is in my spiritual life. I desire to trust God, to be strong, to have faith, to serve without question, to be okay with a less-than-perfect body and all the complications that go with that, and to keep on smiling without a quiver. But sometimes this isn’t realistic either and I find myself weary, fearful, questioning and grumbly! This is exactly the point that I am reminded that I am not spiritually independent for without Him I can do nothing!

May God help me to surrender in the battle for independence and depend on Him!

Snow!

Since I have joined the club of wheelchair users, one common thing that many of us hate is snow! It’s wet and cold and nasty and it gets all over your tires and then the tires throw it all over your lap and clothes. Your sleeves stay wet from pushing, you can’t roll through the thick stuff and you get stuck, the ramps are icy and you have no control over your chair. Someone is normally hanging on the the back of your chair so that you don’t crash down an icy ramp and this does not help our pride in independence! We have poor circulation and once you get chilled you can hardly warm up at all. Please take note that this is why we have blankets around our legs! It’s just nasty and awful!! This is my second winter in a chair and as I was looking at our snow the other day, I thought about how pretty it was. I also thought about how that was my first fond thought of snow since I had become paralyzed. I have not converted so much that I love to be in the snow, but I have learned how to deal with it a little better.

There is something about looking outside with a fresh coat of snow all over the ground. Everything looks so clean…so sparkly…so unified. The normal view of the outside is full of colors and textures. The rough greens and browns of a winter yard, the dirty gray of asphalt, and the many different variations of bushes, sidewalks, gravel, and yard ornaments are a rainbow of colors. But when it snows, something magical happens. Everything that I had become accustomed to looking at in a certain way has now been completely transformed. There is suddenly a simplicity that has taken over my outside environment. Everything has been covered with whiteness and it is all so beautiful and quite breathtaking. It makes you pause a little bit longer at the window as you look out admiring what has just happened.

Life can be like this you know. When something major happens that completely changes your view of life as you had always known it, don’t resent it. Look at it as a new opportunity to simplify, to be given a clean slate to start over, to pause just a bit longer over the little things and savor that moment. Don’t get bogged down in hate over the details….find the beauty in your life and hold on to that. While your at it, go make some new and unique tracks of your own in that snow!

Stand!

I have been sitting for a little over 19 months now. One thing that has never ceased to catch my attention, is when I see or hear the word “stand”. There are many hymns that talk about standing, verses that talk about standing (373 to be exact), and the word is used many times in the church service – “Let’s all stand and sing…”, “Remain standing for a word of prayer”, “Let’s all stand in honor of the reading of God’s Word”. This word always catches my attention. At the beginning of my wheelchair journey, a lump in my throat was always present with that word. I have long gotten past the lump in my throat, by I have not gotten beyond noticing the word “stand”.

As I have been progressing in therapy, they ask what my goals are. Yesterday, it was time for another assessment and they asked me again. Of course, my goals have evolved as I have, and I have never said “Duh, to walk”, although I have been tempted! Instead, I have tried to keep my goals realistic but a little out of reach to keep giving me focus and the drive to keep working hard in therapy. But yesterday, I took a chance and proclaimed “I want to stand!” Not with braces and hunks of metal holding me up, not with holding up all my weight in my arms, but to stand on my own legs and let them hold the weight of my body. I could list a zillion ways that would make life so much easier but I will spare you. My therapist became very quiet so I timidly said “Is that too high of a goal?” He said, “Well, we will certainly work hard to try won’t we?”

Things like this in life really grab my attention. The Lord uses these kind of things in my life to make an impression on my mind. This morning, as I woke up and tried to move, I was stiff and full of pain. Even the knuckles on my hands hurt! My therapist had taken me seriously yesterday and we worked very hard. I lay here in the bed this morning and tried to get this crazy body of mine to start moving and started thinking. “Why would anyone in their right mind continue to go back and be put through this again? Why do I continue to try and try and try? Would it be easier to just stop and be done with all of this?” Then, I start trying to wiggle my toes and I watch them move up and down. I remember when they wouldn’t do that. I roll over and remember when I couldn’t do that without help. I start doing my exercises and watch my muscles jumping and spasming like crazy as they are trying there hardest to remember what to do. I sit up on the side of the bed and reach over and get something. I remember when I fell out a few times doing that because of horrible balance. I transfer out of my bed and into my chair with ease and remember how very hard that used to be. By the time I made it to the shower, where the hot water will relax my stiff and painful body, I am renewed in my commitment that I will be in my place at therapy on Monday morning. I have gained too much to give up now.

You may be wondering where I am going with this. I will tell you. Many times we get so very weary in life. We go through painful experiences and we are tempted to quit. It is just too hard. It is not worth the grief it is causing me. You may feel like this in your marriage, your home, your job, your ministry, or maybe even to God Himself. Before you quit, my dear friends, look back. Look at where the Lord has brought you from. Look at how He has worked in your life. Look at the influence you have had on people’s lives. Look at the opportunities you have been given. Don’t quit.

Join me in my goal – one that I desire physically, but more than that, I desire it spiritually. Let’s stand!