Tag Archives: God’s love

Homemade OT

“Do you want to go out on the patio to sit?” We had just finished dinner and Dad was up from the table already starting to clear the dishes to the sink. It was a particularly toasty day, so I had only ventured outdoors when Mom drove me to my short doctor appointment in town. But around supper, the temperatures dropped slightly making the air pleasantly calm and a soft warmth.

“I’m not sure what I am going to do,” I reply to Mom’s question. Before dinner I had finished a book–downloaded on my Nook–that a friend recommended to me. I was all caught upon emails, not planning on starting any paintings, had a clean room and just did laundry a few days prior, and didn’t feel like resuming finger-poke blog entries just yet. In a word, I was a bit bored. I could have called someone on my Captel phone for a conversation, but decided fresh air was needed.

I was taking the last of my medicines in the kitchen and thought of what to do while outside. Mom was going to be planting the yellow Columbines she recently bought from Lowes and Dad was working on (what looked like to me) weeding and installing the new garden hose. Never being one with a “green thumb” and now too adding my limitations of walking, bending over due to balance and my hands–I am pretty much no use in the garden. (Although I do play a role sometimes of watering the flowers and small bushes near the house with the hose.)

I decided I could sit at the picnic table and continue where I had left off earlier in the morning, reading and recording the verses where the phrase, “steadfast love,” appears. I had started this quest last Fall, but stopped after finishing Psalm 119. The notebook of references fell to the bottom of my upper right dresser “junk drawer” and it wasn’t until yesterday that I found it.

Lost in thought about the Psalms, Mom comes back to the kitchen and starts talking to me about using rice as an Occupational therapy exercise. Taking into consideration how the numbness in my hands affect my feeling, holding or picking up objects (I demonstrated with my medicines,) Mom continues to explain this simple exercise in an excited fashion. Totally missing a few context pieces to the conversation puzzle, I just understand that if you put rice in a bowl with objects, such as beads or coins, use your hands to feel around for the objects (because you can’t peek in the bowl for them), then it helps–not only your hands and finger touch awareness–but strengthens the mind. It’s like a psychology OT exercise! Stimulating!!

Instead of sitting around the picnic table, Dad suggests sitting under the tree nearer to where they are working. It was lovely! As I am getting ready to pull out my Bible, Mom asks if I wanted to try the rice bowl activity. “Sure,” I say. Mom goes in and gets a bowl of rice and places in “hidden objects” for me to find with my hands. The objects slowly discovered: nice sized wooden beads and pennies. “How many pennies are there?” Mom turns her head so I can lip-read, “Twenty.” Twenty? I found two. ūüôā

It amazed me how just weaving my hand in a bowl of rice “looking” with my fingers for objects, felt like an exercise. My hand was physically tired; I rotated between left and right. My physical therapist had commented on how much atrophy she saw in my hands, then showed me a strengthening exercise to help with the curling fingers. But it persists. The hardest part of nerve loss is that it can never be regained, though I can keep it for as long as possible if I retrain my brain using the muscle exercises. It might not amount too much, but it is better than being idle.

The book that I had finished before dinner is an autobiography titled, Life, In Spite of Me: Extraordinary Hope After a Fatal Choice,¬†by Kristen Anderson. At age 17, Kristen had lost all hope to live and attempted suicide by laying on a train track one block from her home. But she did not die. God, in miraculous ways…unfathomable ways…spared her life–a second chance. Through the long, hard recovery, Kristen came to know the healing power of God’s forgiveness, mercy and grace. Although she didn’t understand God’s timing, she started to share her story. She had questioned what life would hold with no legs…her future…but the more she shared, the more outflow of how her testimony helped others who were hurting came to light. Feeling God’s call, Kristen started in full-time ministry and founded Reaching You Ministries.

There are moments in my life where I question my abilities, strengths and future. It is not an easy road…and unlike Kristen, my body will never recover here on earth. But the encouragement and hope I found in Kristen’s testimony gave me the reassuring peace that my abilities, strength and future are not like the shifting sands…but solid, unshaken…held in God’s hands.

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.

Refrain

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground isinking\

“The Solid Rock.” Edward Mote. 1836.

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Happy Valentine’s Day

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“Go after a life of love as if your life depended on it‚ÄĒbecause it does.”

I Corinthians 14:1 MSG

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Carried in Love

“It happens every time,” I say in tears with a mouthful of a Fiber One bar. I take a drink of my re-heated coffee, then continue, “I do so well; then the week before my doctor appointments, I just don’t!” Of course, I also state in frustration that I think it’s a conspiracy. I am not sure what the case is (definitely not a conspiracy), but this situation does seem to happen most often around doctor appointments. ¬†Maybe it’s just ironic.

This morning was like any other Sunday: a rush getting ready, downing a small breakfast amid hoping to leave on time, but still needing to put on my socks and boots. In my hurriedness coming out of my room, carrying my winter coat and boots, my right leg locks at the knee as I round the corner in which throws me off-balance. I tumble-down backwards, dropping everything and hit my head on the floor. My parents were still here, and within a minute of falling, Dad came to the hallway and assisted in picking me up off the floor.

Just a few days earlier, I spent a whole day conquering my file box! (Also termed: The Twilight Zone!) After hours of organizing and sorting, the results are rewarding. All that was left to accomplish was shredding a stack of old bank statements. Dad un-jammed my shredder and I started happily shredding away! As it starts to fill, the shredder gets a slower speed and makes noises (unknown to me.) Dad comes in and tries to tell me this, but I defend my shredder saying it is able to shred up to so many pages and that it is just full. Not really implying that I need help emptying the bin, Dad makes his way to help me anyway. Sitting on a stool, I start to stand to get out of his way, but result in slipping…knocking the stool over, I too stumble backwards. It was like a crash-landing. I have never hit the floor backwards so hard ever before, and in a moment, I was in the worst pain and instant tears. But Dad was there, and helped pick me up.

As he helped me get comfortable on the couch, I started to feel bad for bickering in justification the few minutes before the fall. Seemed so silly; and Dad finished shredding my papers. This morning, after finally getting my boots on, I realize that I probably shouldn’t drive in the snow that was piling down. I text Dad and tell him I am just going to stay put, safe and sound. “After all that,” I mumble as I go ahead and just brew a new pot of coffee. But I am glad I stayed. My morning readings brought me to ponder God’s unfailing Love, as I thought about my Dad having been by my side after each fall. Truth: Dad won’t always be there, but God is ever-present in times of trouble. (Psalm 46:1)

Missy [his daughter] could fall down and hurt herself, even if I’m walking right there beside her. That doesn’t mean that I allowed it to happen. She knows, as far as unconditional love, I’ll pick her up and I’ll carry her. I’ll try to heal her. I’ll cry when she cries. And I’ll rejoice when she is well. In all the moments of my life, God has been right there beside me. The truth of God’s love is not that he allows bad things to happen. It’s His promise that he’ll be there with us when they do.

–Clark’s response to Marty’s question: Why does God allows bad things to happen to decent people?

Love Comes Softly. 2003. Based on the book by Janette Oke.

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My One Word for 2014

From my last post, one can read about the good times my family and I had while being all together for the first time in over a year. It was a phenomenal way to kick off the new year and I wish it could have lasted longer!

Over the week, however, I really struggled¬†with¬†the battles waging in¬†my mind. I know–you will¬†tell me something like, “Mel, you are beautiful. Don’t believe the lies that¬†say otherwise,”–but right at the start, looking around at my beautiful family talking and laughing over our Spaghetti Warehouse dinner..I just wanted to burst into tears. I felt different, distant than everyone else. It was only the beginning of my “happy face” week.

I think in part it is frustration at my current hand condition. As the numbness increases, so does the weakness and curling of my fingers. Tasks that should be fast, are now taking me longer or requiring help.¬†One that is most frustrating of¬†all is putting in my hearing aid. Some days I just can’t, so I either go without it (which I do okay in lip-reading) or someone else puts it in for me. It was putting in my hearing aid before our late lunch on Sunday that caused me to get so frustrated that once I finally got it placed in my ear, I looked in the mirror and¬†told myself, “Just put on your happy face.”

I know–I can be honest with my family and should not hide emotions, but I get tired of it being about my health. I feel my conversations with people are most often about my health (if they ask about it) or books, coffee, or small talk such as this. My first engaging conversation I have had in a long time was when we came home from the Creation Museum the Friday before¬†and we started discussing Darwin, natural selection, and evolution. Don’t get me wrong, the car ride to the museum had us in¬†conversation of memories–hilarious–but memories are different than¬†deep questions (if you get what I mean.)¬†Back to Sunday, the battling of emotions and lies in my head did not fool my sister, Marcia, as I came back into the kitchen.

She asked what I what I wanted to drink and I snapped, “Water,” then headed to Mom’s bathroom to see if she had a hair clip. Not being able to do my hair anymore was also bugging me. Next thing I know, I am a sobbing mess and Marcia finds me like this–anything but happy. Ironic, just releasing those anger and frustration thoughts helped me release the tight emotions. Marcia said that we are family–I don’t have to put on a happy face for them. Easier said than done when you battle “burden” thoughts for over ten years. Mom found us and helped me put up my hair. The evening turned out to be one of great memories and laughs. With a true happy face.

Not even a day later, I find myself in¬†the worst possible situation I have ever had physically. It’s not G-rated and I don’t wish to discuss it…but let’s just say that night I was sick, and I mean literally sick. It was awful. I¬†have never felt¬†so humiliated even though I was at home just with family.¬†Without asking questions, Marcia and¬†Mom set out to assist me,¬†as¬†once again, I am a¬†sobbing mess. I even said, “This is when I hate my body.”¬†And I meant it. While helping me, and cleaning up at the same time, I am not¬†sure how the conversation flow happened, but¬†I remember Marcia looking up and saying, “Because you’re family and we love you.”

Holley¬†Gerth–author,¬†speaker, fellow blogger–wrote a post, “What’s your one¬†word for¬†2014?”¬†It was sent to my inbox the morning of¬†the¬†humiliating incident evening. I read it, but I did not start to think serious about something like this until a few days later. I have never claimed a life verse or¬†a¬†yearly word.¬†I know others who have, but especially a¬†yearly word–seemed like a resolution to me and I never meet my resolutions, thus, I don’t make them at the beginning of the year. I just used that as my excuse, I suppose. Maybe it was something about Marcia’s comment¬†that caused me to see different.

My health is¬†something that affects much greater than myself. For my family, I¬†can’t grasp the depth of their sacrifices on¬†my part due to health or what it means for all of us in the future. But what I saw the night of my most vulnerable physical state was Love. It was sacrifice.¬†It was pure.¬†We say the word “love” all the time, about anything, but are we really giving ourselves away in the process? In thinking of Holley’s question, I found myself trying to find the “perfect” word for my year of 2014. It didn’t take me long to oust the perfection part and just¬†gather a word. I thought of many but¬†found myself returning to this:¬†there is only one perfect Love and through my sister and Mom’s actions, I saw Jesus.

That is Love.

What is my one word for 2014?

Love.

Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

~I John 3:18

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Blessings from bruises.

Because¬†I am on blood thinners, my bruises seem to be taking their precious time in healing. Right now, I have a lot of combination of colors…most are still dark purple or blue on my stomach. When I looked in the mirror this morning after my shot, I remarked out loud¬†to myself, “That looks like a seahorse.” Yep, a seahorse…like finding shapes in the clouds. ūüôā On the right side of my stomach, a little heart was formed when two bruises came together. It was then I started thinking of my bruises–the ones on my stomach that go unnoticed to the massive bruise on my right arm where the IV was placed on the outer part of my palm. It extends a good two inches of brownish-red to below my outer wrist. Very obvious and not very pretty,¬†unless I am wearing¬†a sweater or beads.

But I figure, bruises are temporal. They should (I hope) start to turn their greenish-yellow healing colors in the next few weeks before slowly fading back to my pale skin color–then just disappear altogether. I know you may think this is strange, but if anyone else is an organized, planner-ahead person…well, then I just really can’t explain why I thrive on this sort of activity–but, yes, I already have my Valentine cards/gifts set out to write and get ready to mail in the next week or so. Crazy, I know. I think it came about strong this year, due to the paintings I have been putting together for the coffee shop. Or maybe reading some verses in I John, or the sermon last week at church, or watching¬†a few chic flicks on the recovery days. Not sure. As I was finishing up my paintings yesterday for Beans-n-Cream, I could not help but do one more 8×10 painting as thoughts of love, red, purples, bruises and blessings came to mind.

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Somehow all these thoughts made me stop and think of the real Love that has been shown. Mercy and grace were given by blood and bruises: Jesus, dying for the sins of the world that we might know God and know His Love.

But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.

Isaiah 53:5, NKJV

It is not even February yet, but it makes Valentine’s Day so much more anticipated…and I think that is why I anticipate it–because it is like Easter (i.e. Saying “He Lives” more than once a year!); the holiday means so much more when you think of it every day. How can I love my family, neighbors, strangers in the way that God has shown His Love to me? It has been in¬†my thoughts and prayers as I want to show that kind of Love…and bless others who have so richly blessed me.¬†Fail on days I will (human nature), but God’s Love remains. And that is what matters. ‚̧

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Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Books and Movies, Family Times, Paintings, Random, Uncategorized