I’d like to dance a JIG of delight!

Proverbs 3:6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, And he will direct thy paths.

Earlier this year, I wrote that to ward off the effects off the aging, I started to go to physical therapy.  I specifically wanted to regain the ability to raise my arms and put on a tee shirt. I did my exercises diligently there was little change so my therapist decided to concentrate on my balance.   She always comes up with new ways to challenge me. After several months of doing leg exercises, she told me to wear ankle weights while I did them. I felt like doing a jig when I noticed the change.  I’ve always walked on my toes, but now I walk flat footed! I need to admit though, as much as I want to broadcast this wonderful news, I’m hesitant. It might because I’m afraid my friends won’t see this change or that I fall flat on my butt because I’m so excited!  Nevertheless, it’s true as I step out and tell people, they watch and celebrate with me.

God can use the things we deal with each day to develop our ability to walk with Him, the same way my therapy helped me.

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How is God using your circumstances to shape you?

 

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Chair Cor

The parable of the paralyzed man who sits by the pool and watches everyone else go in John 5:3-9

 In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed.[c] One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked.In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed.[c] 

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My heart broke when I saw the Joni and Friends movie Ebenezer.  One segment shows a small crippled boy sitting, watching his friends play.  It’s thrilling to see Ebenezer’s transformation when he receives his wheelchair.  

 The rest of the movie is about the process of how the Chair Cor department of Joni and Friends collects wheelchairs, crutches and walkers.  After the equipment is refurbished a team of people distributes it to people in other countries.  

 I’ve had mobility issues all my life.  Wheels for the World is very important to me.  I’d like to have the ability drive various places to pick up donations but I can’t.  I discovered times of discouragement over what I can’t do, turns into joy as God shows me how to help.

 A couple of months ago, I noticed that Facebook posted that when it was your Birthday, you could do a fundraiser through them.  So that’s what I did, and it was very successful.  The scripture reminds me of how Jesus heals our hearts He takes away our excuses us and shows us ways we can to serve others.   

 Are there things you feel the Lord is asking? 

 If you feel unable to you to do ask Him what’s hindering you.  Receive His healing so you can receive the joy of serving Him.  

 

 

 

The Ups and Downs of Life

Life is full of change.  There are wonderful events like weddings and the birth of a child but all too often we’re confronted with devastating circumstances; news that your spouse has lost their job or our loved one has died can turn our lives upside down.

For instance, one minute a week ago I was closing my drapes, and the next minute I was on my bedroom floor. I wasn’t hurt but I couldn’t get up so I pushed my Lifeline necklace.  When the operator answered my call, I told her I had fallen and needed help to get up.  While I waited, I scooted myself over to the sliding glass door so I could lean against it.  After the paramedics came and checked me out they asked me to walk into my dining room.  To my surprise I walked about half my normal speed.  Over the next few days, while I recovered from my newly acquired aches and pains, I continued move at a snail’s pace.

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My little granddaughter was crawling all over my house the other day. When she toppled over she gave a cute little grin and got going again. I used to be like her. My falls usually haven’t hurt me like this one did so I just get up and go about my day. This one however affected my confidence.

Life is full of ups and downs, physical and mental. The accumulation of pain we go through in our lives can diminish our resilience. Yet God promises in Isaiah 40:31.

but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
    they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
    they shall walk and not faint.

Healing the broken places

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Each of us were created with the desire for companionship. Companioning is the act of walking alongside others and sharing the joys and struggles of daily life.  All of us do this as we go about our daily life. Some people follow a vocational path of being soul-care providers; counselors, pastors, spiritual directors, and educators.

My friend Katie Skurja is director of Imago Dei Ministries and founder of the Companioning Center.  Recently, I attended a Companioning seminar, she co-hosted with her friend Kathi Gatlin from Boldly Loved Ministries.

My cerebral palsy makes walking difficult so when I’m out and about I am either with a friend who helps me get from place to place, or I take my scooter.  This time I had neither. When the opening session of the conference ended and we were instructed to go to different classrooms, I knew I was in trouble.  Even with my cane, it would have taken me much too long to independently hobble to the right place.  Katie noticed I was having a problem and offered to walk me to the right place.  As we entered the room, she led me over to the first-round table and introduced me to another woman at the table.  Jen graciously chose to step through the fear barrier and helped me the rest of the day.

(Jen’s reflections about our encounter is at http://www.boldlyloved.org/blog)

When class started to talk about shadows, Katie held up a flashlight as she drew our attention to the objects on the table. Depending on where the light was held in relationship to the object, the reflection changed.

There are times in our lives when memories of the past can cast a shadow over our day.  During the process of getting settled, memories of being teased as a child in public school emerged.  My heart cried, “Get me out of here.” I imagined that  everyone  thinking  “Shame on her.  She should have planned the day better.  She’s so much trouble.”  When I realized these uncomfortable feelings came from a wounded place within my heart.   I asked God to comfort and heal my heart.

As God heals the broken places in our hearts, we can enjoy the companionship of our Heavenly Father and each other.

Galatians 6: 2 Bear one anothers burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Walk In the light as I’m in the light and have fellowship one with another.

The Joy of Giving

Aging isn’t the friend of anyone’s body. Our hair turns gray, and our skin wrinkles.  As grandparents watch their grandchildren run and jump, they wish they  had half the energy and agility.  These physical issues are compounded when you are affected by a disability.

When a was a child,  I could receive therapy at the schools I attended. Unfortunately, once I started to go to public school treatment wasn’t available.   Several months ago a friend, who also has a disability,  and I were talking about the fact  the once we became adults,  it was practically impossible to find places we could get  therapy.

One day as  I  visited with another friend about my concerns,  she told me  George Fox University had a physical therapy school.  She called them and made arrangements for me to receive therapy.   At my appointment last week my therapist said, “next week,  the students will be taking medical histories and vital signs in their clinical lab.  Usually they just practice their skills on each other, next week we’re trying to give them the opportunity to work with other people.  It would be very helpful if they could interview you.”

I thought it sounded like fun, “I’ll invite a couple of my friends to come too.”

It felt good good  to help the students and give back to a program that has really helped me.

When we’re open,  we can see ways to repay others who have made an  impact on us.  Please share some of your experiences.

 

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For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.
2 Corinthians 8:12

“Be the Hands and Feet “

Early in January, I watched my mailbox very closely.  “Be the Hands and Feet, “ by Nick Vujicic finally arrived, and I was part of his launch team.  Which meant that after reading his book I was supposed to post my review on several different sites and tell people about his book that is coming out February 13th..

 As I read,  Be the Hands and Feet, I thought of many of the people I know who are impacting others as they share their lives with those around them. I want to make sure you’re aware of the book, so  I’ve decided to share my review.

   “Be the Hands and Feet” by Nick Vujicic is probably the most important book you’ll read all year.  As Nick shares Jesus with others, their lives are transformed.  Most of us aren’t evangelists but many people with a disability or any type of weakness would like to hide it because society often disqualifies them.

Nick’s disability is obvious to everyone because he was born without arms and legs.  As a  woman with cerebral palsy, I know how nervous people can feel about being around us.  I was blessed when Nick said that people who talk to him feel safe to tell him about their struggles because they see his.

This book is full of stories of people who display the love of God as they go about their daily activities.  One of the many examples Nick gave was of couple who either became foster parents to children who had been abused or abandoned. The cycle abuse is often broken when they are  placed in Christian homes and experience the love of Jesus.

  “Be the Hands and Feet, ” has given me a hunger to let God use my daily interactions to display his love.   It will definitely encourage you to do the same.

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I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher.  Lyla Swafford Author

Bit by Bit

Did you make any resolutions on “ New Years”? Many people don’t because they’ve made them in the past but forgot about them a short time later. Maybe it’s because their reason for making them lost their importance.
Last year as my birthday rolled around, (which isn’t till April) I spent a week or so in freak out mode. I’m getting closer to starting another decade, and I can tell, the combination of cerebral palsy and old age, may not be a good mix.
One day a friend who was also born with a physical problem and I were discussing the woes of aging. I told her I hadn’t had any therapy since I was 13 and started public school. I said, “I really need to do something because some days I can feel myself getting stiffer.” Peggy smiled as she said, “Since I live close to George Fox, I’m going to see if someone in their physical therapy department will see you.” In a couple weeks my friend called and let me know my first appointment was all set up. At my first appointment my therapist asked me what my goals were. I told her I wanted to be able to lift my arm high enough to be able to put a tee shirt on. She told me, “I can help you with that.” While she taught me some exercises she said, “When you do this, I want you to move your arm as far as you can, and have the person helping you push is a little farther. You’ll see change over time.”
Each of us may have wanted to make different changes at one particular time or another our lives. One of mine is to try and regain some of the flexibility I’ve lost, so I can stay as independent as possible. This requires me to be committed to exercising. Many people buy memberships, the first part of January, intending to get in shape but find yourself going less and less. Maybe you want to do more reading or meet more people but you haven’t made any headway or have forgotten all about the changes you thanking about making. In that case maybe asking yourselves these questions might help you:
1. Why did I set these as goals?
2. Do I have a plan to help me be successful.
3. What will happen if I don’t work toward them.
4. Do I have a plan to help me be successful
5. Imagine different my life will be when I follow through.
Did you make New Year’s resolutions?

Please share about how are you doing with them. If you’ve forgotten about them just begin again!

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