A friend and I went down to Eugene on Friday afternoon so we could attend the Oregon Christian Writers Conference the next day. Before we settled in for the night we decided to go and eat. Since we didn’t know the area well, it took us quite a while to find a restaurant. Our frustration grew as we kept seeing “One Way” sign after “One Way” sign. Of course it seemed like the signs were always in the opposite direction of where we were hoping to go.
We finally found a restaurant and parked the car. The spot we found was quite far for me to walk and I had a feeling walking to the restaurant on my crippled legs would leave me winded. I should have voiced my concern, but I ignored it, thinking if I walked slowly I would be OK. Unfortunately, just a few feet from the car, I went splat.
Thankfully it wasn’t raining and my friend Karla was holding onto my arm so I didn’t hit the gro
und too hard. Just as she was trying to figure out how to get me up a woman stopped and offered to help us. As she reached for me, she said in a kind voice, “My grandma had trouble walking and you remind me of her.”
There are all kinds of reasons why we stumble and fall. Each day we are faced with the choice to give in to our own pride or listen and act on what the Spirit is saying. For example, many times we purchase things we don’t need or that aren’t in our budget. We may feel good for a brief time, but it usually leads to tension in our hearts. I could have avoided my fall, but instead I ignored my concern about walking that far and went splat. Whatever our circumstances, when we give these moments to God He can bring insight and healing. What are some things God has shown you when you’ve gone splat in an area of your life?
The passing of winter into spring is wonderful. Springtime is a season of expectancy. I love smelling the freshly cut grass and seeing the blooming flowers life. The blue skies and sunshine makes me want to be outside all that I can.
It feels as if springtime in my life with the publication of It Takes More Than Legs To Stand has brought a flurry of new activity. Joy filled my heart when I received my first shipment of my book. Being able to go over to Vancouver to see my friend Marion Duckworth and give her a copy of the book she spent many years helping me write felt like the culmination of our journey together. My friends at Rock Creek community have been waiting for my book to come out for a long. So Sunday, I had the opportunity to share about It Takes More Than Legs to Stand followed by a book signing. In the afternoon a good friend had a booksigning at her house.
I was reminded at a Faith and Culture writers meeting, by Author Mesu Andrews that no one’s life is constantly surrounded by blues skies. She had been a busy mother who also enjoyed traveling and ministering to women, until an illness left her bedridden. During that time, God began to show her ways she could continue to draw women closer to God through writing. She began her writing career by writing Bible Studies but shortly discovered the joy of writing Biblical fiction. Although she no longer travelers as much as she once did, she reaches more people through her writing.
Besides all that good friends took me out for a birthday lunch, which was followed a bit too closely with dinner with my family.
It was a wonderful week. I couldn’t get into the groove the next week though. Nothing was wrong, but nothing seemed quite right. I wanted to write about all my blessings of the previous week but I couldn’t. Finally I realized I was just tired. I was fine after I caught up on my rest. have written for every high in life, there
What season is your life in? If it’s winter and you’re struggling faithfully work toward your goal. If you feel a little off kilter remember the words of Larry Crabb and Karl Townsend, “For every high and low in life, a corresponding emotion will follow.”
My book, It Takes More Than Legs to Stand, just came out on Amazon. Sometimes I wondered if I would ever see this day. I am going to tell you about some of the high lights of my journey.
Several years ago I saw an article about the Oregon Christian Writers Summer conference in Christian News Northwest. The description of Marion Duckworth’s class interested me because she was teaching a class on memoirs. My friend, JoAnne and I decided to go to the conference for one day. I met Marion five minutes before I had to go home. A few days after the conference was over, I called and asked she would help me write my memoir. She told me to send her some of my material. Before I sent her anything I looked her name up on Google. Seeing the list of her accomplishments, I thought she’d surely laugh at me. But I was wrong. Over the past several years, she taught me the craft of writing. She’s encouraged me when she heard me fighting the temptation to give up, by asking me, point blank, “Has God called you to write?” Of course the answer has always been “Yes.”
Creative juices often flow the best when I can bounce Ideas off friends. One of my favorite memories of my journey was of a sunny afternoon when JoAnne and I sat at her dining room table looking over a river, as we developed an outline for my book. When we were down we decided to go to another OCW summer conference because they are always a great time to learn our craft and network with other writers. The only problem was it was an extremely hot summer and I had run completely out of energy. Several of my friends were going down to the river to cool off and I rode my scooter down to watch them play in the water. One of my friends got a chair for me so I could put my feet in the water.
People who attend writer’s conferences can submit articles and book proposal so they can get feedback from editors. In the past year I decided to self-publish my book, so I didn’t submit my manuscript. David Sanford, one of the presenters, introduced himself to me when I was waiting for my ride home from the conference. As we began to visit I knew that this was a very significant conversation. A short time later he joined Marion in helping me publish It Takes More Than Legs to Stand.
Surrender your entire self to Him and have absolute confidence in His wisdom, power and goodness” – 2 Timothy 3:15
Journey to Surrender
As Good Friday draws near I would like to invite you to think about the word surrender.
We are being transformed into the image of God. Surrendering to God goes against our human nature. So it doesn’t matter how many years you walk with the Lord or how many challenges you face, it is still a struggle. It is only by God’s grace that we let can let go of the things we so tightly grasp.
Before the fall Adam and Eve had perfect communication with the Father. As believers in Christ, we often struggle to grasp the freedom that our Father provides for us through His Son Jesus. Many times this is caused by our own sin or the result of living in a fallen world. Although we believers have access to the Father through Christ, our ability to grasp everything He offers us is limited.
I was two when I was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. As a result, I struggle each day to do the activities most people take for granted.
As a young person, I thought I knew what God wanted me to do in my life. As a graduate from college and later a bride, I struggled to understand why the things I thought would make me feel “normal” failed to do that. I’ve learned God has prevented some of the good things I’ve wanted, because He wanted to produce something greater in my life. When discouragement rears its ugly head it has the potential to crush our vision. Each struggle eventually led to surrender. Comparing ourselves to others can be disastrous because it separates us from God. It takes our eyes off God and clogs our ears with voices that leads us away from Him.
Our struggle to surrender often brings shame but it is an opportunity for God to reveal parts of our heart He wants to heal. When we get discouraged we need to remember, the night before Jesus was betrayed He struggled in the Garden until He could surrender to the Father.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Don’t rely on our own understanding rather draw near to God and He will direct our path.
There are times when we ask God for direction and see His plans pretty quickly, other times it seems like it takes forever. 2015 was one of those kinds of years.
On a stormy January morning my daughter helped me board a flight to go see my family. The grey clouds of the day before were there to meet us and snowflakes began to fall. I was surprised to see blue skies after plane climbed to a higher altitude. But after a while we were enveloped in grey again. In a way I felt like that during the past year I struggled with a lot of indecision that made think the greyness surrounding the plane.
As a woman with cerebral palsy, I was able to raise my daughter Racheal, with the help of my caregiver. A couple years later a friend of mine needed a place to live so she became my live in caregiver. In many ways she made my life easier so about a year later when she told me she was going to move and I needed to make plans.
For no reason in particular I felt stuck. I couldn’t figure out what to do. Many of my friends thought I should find another caregiver because they were concerned about my safety and in many ways it was easier to have someone there. I didn’t realize that I was at a stale-mate with myself. I know at some point I’ll probably need more help than I need now but friends were telling me I needed it NOW. I really didn’t think I was that point yet but I didn’t want to be irresponsible. I had a friend who was praying about moving in and as I waited to see what she was going to do, I carefully moved ahead. I asked another caregiver to spend the night a few nights a week to see how she would work out. I decided not to continue having her stay because that didn’t seem very helpful.
At the same time Colleen, who has been my caregiver for many years, wanted to work fewer hours. After I hired a second woman, life started to stabilize. I felt the cloud of indecision lift, and I knew what to do. I decided to continue living alone.
When I need more help I’m sure the Lord will give me direction. I value feedback from others and I do ponder it, but it’s critical that I listen to what God is telling me through my heart. His way is always the best way for me!
On the first weekend In December, for several years, I have had the opportunity to go to the Tryad retreat at the beach. It was started by my friend David O’Brian who had cerebral palsy. After graduating from Echola Bible School, he made his home in Cannon Beach Oregon. He was passionate about sharing the love of God with everyone especially those who also had disabilities.
Since he knew that many of his handicapped friends didn’t get to go to the beach, he decided to invite them to Cannon Beach Oregon for fun and fellowship. In fact throughout the many years, as friendships developed the conference felt like a family reunion. Several of the people had very fragile physical conditions and needed specialized care, so just arranging transportation was pretty complicated. The students, from Ecola helped at conference. Many of them didn’t have any previous experience with people with disabilities until they met us. It felt a bit awkward for each of us for a while but it didn’t take long before friendships were formed.
David took great care in choosing people to lead worship and speakers who share the Word of God.
Planning for such an event must have felt like a daunting task, especially since he needed assistance with own basic needs. But, as David prayed God always answered and people stepped forward to help his plan take shape. No matter what was thrown in front of him, he never gave up. He example will always give me courage to continue doing the things God has put in my heart.
Sometimes gifts come from unlikely sources. David usually met us at the door when we arrived for the retreat, but this year he watched us from his heavenly home. When I got home from the retreat I reflected on his life. Besides giving me a great time at the retreat he gave me tenacity. And I am grateful for David’s gift to me which was the reminder that God can do great things when we offer him what we have. He showed me what can happen when we push through our problems.
Be on the lookout for hidden gifts that God wants to give you this season. Please share then with me.
I type very slowly because of cerebral palsy. Years ago when I heard about voice recognition software I thought it was the answer to my problem. Unfortunately, when I tried it, I was very disappointed. No matter how hard I worked, it did not type what I wanted The only thing it accomplished was tocause a big pity party.
Several years have gone by. I was delighted when I discovered thatmy new cell phone responded to my voice. Last week a friend of mine suggested I try the word recognition program that came with my computer. I’ve been practicingit for a of couple days. Sometimes I think it is taking too long and maybe I would be better off not to spend time trying to use it. On the other hand when I focus on the progress I’ve made and the benefits it could bring, I don’t want to give up.
My life is full of opportunities to keep doingwhat I have always done or try something new. Although learning a new skill is difficult, we will become stronger if we persevere.
Do you have situations that frustrate you? If the way to change them is difficult, will you keep trying or will you give up?