Reaching toward the goal

A few years ago, after a bad accident, my physical therapist gave me a few simple exercises to do to build up my muscles. I did those exercises faithfully for about a week or so, and then I skipped a day; and a day became a week, a week became a month, and so on.  I’ve noticed lately that my choices have caught up with me. My arms and my legs are more stiff and I’m not sure if it is old age or if it is neglecting to do my exercises; maybe a combination of both.

I was talking to my friend who is training to run a marathon and she said it is often times tempting to skip a workout. Just as with my exercises, there is not an immediate payoff.  This morning it came to me that I either have to do what it takes to get to where I want to go, or pay the price of regret for not taking the steps I need to take.

It’s like that in every endeavor  in life.  It is the vision, and the ability to re-focus my attention on my purpose that brings the persistence needed to reach the goal.  The passion for my dreams can easily be eroded by the daily demands of life.  When I lose sight of my vision and purpose, I get weary and consider giving up in order to avoid the work it takes to achieve it.

Fear is a strong emotion that can also hold me back.  When I’m able to discover the  root cause, I can offer my feeling to the Lord and move past it.

I’ve been working with a friend who has come alongside me to help me type.  One morning when I was preparing to meet with her, I didn’t really want to go.  As I pondered these feelings, I sensed that they stemmed from  inadequacy and fear of failing, because I didn’t know what I wanted to work on.  After we prayed, I took a step forward and went anyway.  Later I realized the only way I could fail is if I decided to stop pursuing my dreams.

When I’m tired, the path to where I want to go seems too steep, and it’s tempting to give up.  After a little rest I get bored because my unfinished goals just start eating at me.  When this happens, it is very helpful to meet with friends who show me how to break down the process. When I connect with people who have similar passions, then I’m ready to move forward.

One of the places where I meet and spend time with people who have similar passions is at Joni and Friend’s camp every summer.  Each year, camp has a specific Bible verse that we focus on for that week. This year the verse is  Philippians 3:12-14. Paul encourages each of us to run the race that is set before us.

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

The Arms That Give Me Wings

Memories of my Dad have made me think of my Heavenly Father.   As a child with cp walking has always been difficult, especially on our family farm.

 

As a child, he taught me how to put my hands around his neck when he carried me.   Sometimes the wind was so strong I couldn’t breathe, but he sheltered me from the wind when I buried my face in his shoulder.

 

Sometimes, I attempted to help him, so he could go faster.  But although I wanted to help, I made carrying me difficult because my body.  It had the opposite effect, because my body stiffened up.  So he’d need to remind me to relax and let him carry me so he could take me to where I needed to be.

 

We often try to solve our problems by ourselves, but Our Heavenly Father wants us to come to him when we are broken.  Like the strong Montana wind that made me feel as if I could suffocate, my mind can become overwhelmed with the ideas that bombard my mind.

 

Yet when we are in His arms, we receive the wings to fly.

 

 

Development of a dream

I remember many years ago when I was living in California and going to school, I could hardly wait until I was 13 because I would be able to get into the “Indoor Sports Club”.  That was a group of teenagers and young adults with disabilities who all craved fun and adventure just like me. There was another group of able-bodied young adults called the “Good Sports”.  They were the individuals who came alongside us and joined us to make our adventures possible. We went on outings like concerts, camping, swimming, parades and much more.

The thing that I remember most about this group is the sense of belonging that I felt. When I moved away from the area I really missed my friends.

For the next several years, I didn’t even know anyone affected by disabilities. Then I went to a Joni & Friends conference in California.  Being there was wonderful.  I felt as though it was okay to embrace a part of myself that I wanted to hide.

Throughout this time I also volunteered as a counselor at Good Samaritan Ministry.  While I was there I began to realize how many people are I realized that even able bodied people are wounded. I began to realize that I was meant to  feed into other people’s lives.

When I  got home from the Joni and Friends conference, I started a group called Barrier Breakers. It was small group of handicapped people, who met together so that we could encourage each other. But soon it petered out

Several years later, I was thrilled when I heard that Joni & Friends was having their first Family retreat at Twin Rocks in Oregon. I was so determined to go that one of my other friends who was in an electric wheelchair and I took the greyhound bus to the camp.  It was an incredible experience.  It’s better than the ‘Indoor Sports Club’ because our sense of community is stronger.  We share our faith in Christ, not just a disability.

Each year I’ve met more people who have the same passions that I have from the Portland area.  We have partnered together to work toward starting  a Joni & Friends Ministry here in Portland.  The process of realizing dreams is often frustrating.  Yet it’s thrilling to look back and see the path God has laid out for me.