Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Hands!


Have you ever stopped to just look at your hands? They reveal a few of our "secrets". Age spots, wrinkles, and occasional crooked fingers tell us we are aging. Wedding bands proclaim our lasting relationships. For me resting hand tremors whisper "you have Parkinson's Disease". Generally I can ignore the annoying shaking but recently I have had to do psycological battle with the reality that these tremors will be my lifelong companions whether or not I have invited them to stay! Like unwanted house guests they have gone from being just annoying, to frustrating, and on to causing me to scream: "How can I get rid of them?" Aside from trying mind altering drugs the tremors are "forever"! OK. Now how to cope with the shaking everytime you rest in front of the TV, or pick up a novel to read, or try to concentrate on a church sermon, or hold hands, or the most difficult-fall asleep at night while the pillow shakes under your head. I have tried sitting on them, crossing my arms, clenching my fists. Nothing stops their relentless shaking. If it is a battle I can't win can I then just learn to survive?

God has been speaking to me through this trial. He wants me to grow in my level of perseverance: "Consider it pure joy, whenever you face trails of many kinds. Because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance." James 1:2-3
But He does not just leave me to figure it out on my own. Just the other day during a low period I simply wrote in my prayer journal, "Help me!" He used the kind words of a friend in a wheel chair who struggles with MS to encourage me.. He used my husband's big shoulders to allow me a good cry. He "showed" me how to raise my hands during my prayer time to worship. (It is amazing but the hands don't shake if I raise them high reaching out to God.) Finally, He gently explained that at night when I lay down to sleep concentrate not on the shaking hands but rather concentrate on reciting as many Bible verses as I can and then pray for others. In doing that I have found my body relaxing and I am more able to fall asleep. (The hands stop their tremors when I sleep, thankfully!) 

Now, when I look at my shaking hands I think of God's steady hands. The Bible tells me HIs hands are mighty, all sufficient, protecting and supporting. Above all, I can hold his hand and not fear knowing He will help me!
Isaiah 41:13 "For I am The Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear, I will help you."

P.S. On a lighter side I just love this quote from the mother of a special needs child:
"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming, "Whew, what a ride!"

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Photo of the "perfect" caregiver!


During my recovery from knee replacement surgery Hunter has been a model caregiver. Before my surgery we discussed our "roles" and he claimed peanut butter and jelly would be the "special of the day" MOST meals with an occasional boiled hot dog thrown in for variety as he took over the kitchen. The bed would go unmade but he would be around for emotional support. 
In reality I was served meals like the one you see pictured!

He was always available for much needed advice and emotional encouragement, running errands, assisting with changing clothes, around the clock pain med and ice pack "runs", and taxi service to PT and Dr. appointments. 
The kitchen, in fact the entire house, was kept in immaculate condition. He became the ultimate "butler". 
Now that I am mobile I have reclaimed the kitchen but I miss his special "touches". He did enjoy trying his hand at creating with food so now I am finding him more often wanting to try out an "idea". His expertise is the grill but today found him perfecting his noodle making skills.
He will always be the master of CLEAN, thankfully. 

Thank-you, dear, for making my recovery tolerable and continuing to be my God-given helpmate walking through life hand in hand. I couldn't "do it" without you! Love you!

"Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails!" 
1 Corinthians 13:7-8


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Two weeks post-op and I can go around!!


The drugs are finally out of my system, the staples were removed this morning and by afternoon I was on a stationary bike at my fitness club with my leg actually going all the way around! I am giving thanks for small steps forward. For me it has been a tough two weeks. Drug withdrawal, knee pain, insomnia, Parkinson's symptoms exacerbated have all combined to throw me into a state of "suffering" I have never before experienced.
 I must admit God has allowed me to live a fairly sheltered life filled with more than my share of joys and comforts. Until now I have never been able to identify with those with chronic pain and other forms of suffering. I also humbly realize there are those who suffer much worse on a daily basis than I can understand or even imagine. Honestly, I used to think one deserves to feel good all the time or at least most of it. After all, we serve a God who heals-right? 
I am currently reading a book about several generations of women. Throughout the book there is a theme that crops up continually: "Joy and suffering come and go, like the ebb and flow." There is truth in that statement yet as a Christian should joy ever leave us? 
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says" Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." How could it be God's will for someone to suffer??
 From Romans 12:12 we read " Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer."  OK, if I patiently pray and am joyfully hopeful will the suffering stop?
Do these questions ever haunt your midnight waking hours or am I the only one? In pondering these questions and going to God with them I have arrived at, for me, a comfortable or for the lack of a better word, suitable explanation. By substituting happiness for joy the phrase: "Joy and suffering come and go, like the ebb and flow" becomes more real. Sometimes we experience happiness and sometimes suffering but joy is the constant undercurrent that NEVER goes away in a Christian's life. 
Jesus brings that joy even when we are hurting. 
Gloria Gaither put it very well, "God walks with us. He scoops us up in HIs arms or simply sits with us in silent strength until we cannot avoid the awesome recognition that yes, even now, He is here."
I personally experienced this truth and have grown spirtually because I know Jesus is Joy personified and is always there wrapping His arms around my shoulders and lending me that necessary tissue!