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.  

 

 

 

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

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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Preparing to Grow

We often hear about people making resolutions on New Year’s Eve.  So you’re probably wondering why I’m thinking about it in October.  My balance and other motors skill are affected by my cerebral palsy.  A few years ago a friend suggested I make an appointment with her acupuncturist.  I was thrilled how much my improved after my first treatment and decided to see her on a consistent basis.  

Although Anna immigrated from the Ukraine thirty years ago, she still speaks English with a heavy accent. At a recent appointment she surprised me when she said, “I think I’m going to take some speech classes, so I can learn to speak  better English.”  Curious about her decision to try to improve her communication skills, I asked her why.  “Maybe I could get more clients and friends if I was easier to understand.”

But with her next breath she started to talk herself out of her new goal.  After telling me she didn’t have time to take classes she finally admitted she didn’t like school when she was a kid. She said “I can get better by myself.”

 “If that were true” I argued, “you would have done it already.  We don’t hear ourselves the way others do. For instance, my speech is affected by my cerebral palsy.  Unless I hear a recording of myself talking, I forget how I sound to other people. I hear myself the way I hear others. 

She was surprised when I asked her, “ Do you hear yourself roll your R’s?

Puzzled, she asked, “So what do.”  “I think either taking a class or having A mentor would be helpful.  They can point out speech patterns you need to change and give you moral support when you get discouraged.     
 Instead of increasing the number of people she can talk to by learning to speak clearer,she told me she really didn’t need to talk to strangers. She communicated just fine with her clients.  I didn’t tell her but I cringed when I thought about how restrictive that would be.  

As my treatment continued, she explained the pain I have in my arm when I straighten it.  Last year, when I started to have trouble with it, I stopped doing things that involved stretching.  For example; brushing the back of my hair and putting on my tee shirts . Unfortunately, my decisions about how to avoid pain caused my muscles to get shorter.  

There aren’t any painless answers. If I want to regain some mobility and keep my independence I need to follow her instructions.

Personal growth takes a lot of  work and dedication.  In order to achieve your goal it’s helpful to:

  • 1. Know your reason for working for it,
  • 2. What happens if you don’t try to improve your situation?
  • 3. Who are to be your cheerleaders?  

Please share your why and what keeps you going during the long haul.

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Crossing My Chicken Line

My friend, Karla, called the other day and said, “I want to come see you next week.  Let’s go get manicures together.”  Without any hesitation I said OK.

Seconds after saying good-bye, I remembered why I hadn’t had my nails professionally done before.  My cerebral palsy has caused three fingers on my right hand to curl under.  No matter what anyone does they can’t be straighten out.

I debated long and hard with myself about whether or not to go ahead with it.  When I told my friend she suggested we do pedicures instead.  I told her I decided I to do it because I didn’t want to be controlled by the fear of being embarrassed. She understood and she called  a nail salon and told them about my hands.  They said “No problem.” 

But there was.  Karla and I sat next to each other.  Although the man doing my nails seemed pretty comfortable with my situation, the  the woman doing Karla’s was clearly out of her comfort zone. When my manicurist realized I was unable to put my hands in the right position, he moved his stool from behind the counter and sat down beside me.  When he got ready to work on my nails he looked puzzled,  I held up my right hand first said let’s do this one first as I used my left hand to straighten  the fingers on my right hand a little bit.  

The Vietnamese woman who did Karla’s kept bossing the guy who did mine around.  She wanted him to use clear polish stating colored would be a mess.

I’m glad I went even though my outing with Karla wasn’t as pleasant as we hoped it would be.  I left with a smile feeling stronger because I’d survived going over my chicken line.

What does your chicken line consist of?    Take a risk. Step over it.  There’s freedom on the other side!    

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 Many Blessings,

Lyla

“I am a pencil in God’s hand.  God writes through us, and however imperfect instruments we may be, God writes beautifully.”  ~Mother Teresa