Friday, December 30, 2016

My "wheelchair" experience

By nature we are independent people. "I can do it myself", is one of a toddler's first sentences! Pride in our accomplishments blossoms as we master more and more under our own power. It is a natural progression on the road of life. Children look forward to each new step, becoming more and more "free"-independent. But what happens when we are forced to go from independence back to dependence? There is generally no natural progression here, just a sudden awareness of what you can no longer do on your own! It can be discouraging, having to depend on someone else! These feelings cascaded over me as my oldest son rented a wheelchair for me at the Virginia Zoo in Chesapeake, recently.  I have been fighting a bout of bursitis in my left hip, causing considerable pain resulting in a noticeable limp! Everyone knew I could not negotiate the miles of walking to see the zoo animals. So, of course, I rode the wheelchair. It is not as though I have never been in one before. After four knee surgeries I am familiar with them but only from the hospital room to the car door. This was different. It was an indication, a "picture" if you would, of the future. Progressive scoliosis, Parkinson's Disease, and now bursitis all point to a more and more dependent lifestyle. A hard pill to swallow for an independent spirit! After all, I have navigated the back alleys of China villages by myself and now I need a wheelchair? Don't get me wrong. I am grateful for a very capable caregiver in Hunter, my loving husband. He always puts my needs first. He wheeled me around, even adding his own brand of humor, although my response was not always "jolly"! It was a humbling experience. Yet through it all there were two moments  of joy as the grandsons each had a ride on my lap. Their warm bodies snuggling into mine was special! I am told to be thankful and look for blessings in all circumstances-right? (1 Thessalonians 5:16-17) So here were two!
In the spiritual realm, am I dependent on God or playing the independent card-"I can handle it myself"!
There is a story in the book of 1Kings in the Bible about the widow of Zarephath.  She was told by Elijah to be totally dependent on God's daily provisions for her basic needs of flour and oil.  God met her needs as promised. One of my dear friends is a living, breathing example of total daily dependence on God. She is blind. After losing her husband two years ago it was assumed she would move in with her brother. After all, how could she live alone being blind?  God and she had a different plan. She stayed in her home and her stories of God's daily, continuous provisions for her inspire and challenge me to let go of the "reins" and say, "God. It's all yours."
Currently I am reading a book entitled, "The Scars that have Shaped Me: how God meets us in suffering" by Vaneetha Rendall Risner. In it she states that "dependence is always better than self-sufficiency in the kingdom of God. Self-sufficiency leads to pride and selfishness, while dependence leads to humility and an intimacy with the Lord. Dependence yields good fruit in our lives. As Charles Spurgeon said: "I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages.""
Love this quote from Charles Spurgeon! I have decided to use this quote as my 2017 New Year's resolution. I resolve this year to learn to kiss the waves that throw me against the Rock of Ages, even if the wave comes in the form of a wheelchair!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

How do you act in the "waiting room"?

We all experience "waiting room" moments in our lives. For some it might be waiting for the birth of twin grandsons, as is the case of my dear cousin. Others might be waiting for an upcoming knee replacement surgery to relieve years of pain or a successful repair of a broken heating system in an RV which is stalling travel plans, as is our case currently. Maybe it's a phone call from an interview for a much needed job or the answer to a prayer lifted up to God for years concerning salvation of a loved one. Everyone has a "waiting room" event sometime in life. And everyone's episode is unique. Some are easier to "survive" or shall I say "walk out of" than others. As Hunter and I wait day by day for word from the technicians concerning the status of our RV I have discovered some things while sitting in the "waiting room" about myself. I'm not a patient person. I don't like empty calendar days and thwarted plans. I see the glass half empty instead of half full. I want to yell at maintenance men I don't even know! And I REALLY hate cold and snow! OK, I'm digressing.
If I were to look through a window in this room and watch "me" what would I see?

The Bible has much for me to learn on this topic.
Psalm 37:7 "Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him."
Psalm 40:1 "I waited patiently for the Lord, He turned to me and heard my cry."
Lamentations 24:26 "I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion", therefore I will wait for Him...It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord."

So I guess I have a choice. I can noisily complain, pacing around the room, fretting and stewing, even trying to "pull" the door open before it is ready to unlatch OR I can quietly sit in the chair, accepting God's current plan, being still before Him knowing He is faithful and will unlock the door when it is His perfect time. He may very well be shielding me from storms outside the "room" waiting for the return of the sun. And He continues to provide new opportunities to enjoy every day whether writing Christmas cards with Hunter, packing a box of clothes for orphans in Tanzania, unplanned baking opportunities with grandchildren and even enjoying the beauty of Christmas white snow (inside, of course)!

"Waiting is no waste in God's economy." David Mathis