Sunday, June 9, 2013

We're Not Normal

this was shared on FB today - it is from Joni Earickson Tada.  It applies as much to CIs as it does to those in a w/c (wheelchair).  Others look at us and say, "someday you'll be normal" inferring our CI is something that makes us abnormal (although, I must admit, sometimes I certainly feel abnormal!)

Please read Joni's amazing words all the way to the end.  There you will find my comments on them.

You're Not Normal...

"But the Lord said to Samuel, 'Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.'" = 1 Samuel 16:7

When I speak, my message is often about how God has helped me grow leaps and bounds using my wheelchair. However, one time after I gave that message, a woman approached me and said, "Joni, don't worry. One day you'll be normal just like us." She missed the point.

I wasn't offended by the woman's comment so much as saddened that she was making the mistake described in 1 Samuel 16:7. She was looking on the outward appearance. She inferred that I envied her ability to stand. In her view, "normal" meant having a body that "worked," even if it was slightly overweight with a touch of arthritis.

We Christians need to shift our thinking and "...fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal" (2 Corinthians 4:18). God is concerned about unseen things like patience, sensitivity, faith, goodness, perseverance, and self-control. We are "normal" in God's eyes when we demonstrate endurance and long-suffering, when we keep looking to the unseen things. This is the normal Christian life. You can live it whether you're 5'2" standing or 4'3" sitting. You can live it whether you have varicose veins from walking or atrophied muscles from being paralyzed.

I will not be normal some day; I am normal right now. And so are you if you abide by 2 Corinthians 4:18, fixing your eyes on what's eternally important. Take a look in your heart to check whether it's "time" is correct.

Lord, so many of my thoughts are caught up in the here and now that I forget if I can see it, it's temporary. Enable me to fix my gaze on what's important, the eternal.

Joni and Friends


CI makes us different, that is for sure, and many well-meaning folks either pity us or think we are soooo holy and brave (yeah, right!)  

We know differently.

Like His people Israel, God has chosen us to display His glory in our very leaky vessels.  And, also like His people Israel, sometimes we are inclined to say, "Why can't God choose someone else for awhile?"  

Actually, each one of us who has been chosen by God (CI or AB, makes no difference) is being conformed to the image of His Son.  His Son was a Carpenter.  He learned from His youth to sand and carve and cut wood into the shape He wanted - and our wooden hearts are in His Shop from now until the day we stand before Him - Live and In Person.

In my life, CI happens to be the chisel He is using to shape and form my heart into something pleasing to Him.

What is yours?

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Birds on the Wall

I have been struggling of late.

Each day has brought new infirmities, new vulnerabilities, new things to fight.  Medications that are supposed to restore and rejuvenate have done nothing more but add pain to pain, nausea to nausea, frustration on to frustration.

The headache never leaves.

Whereas before the new med, pain medication would knock it out for however short the freedom.  Now it knocks it down, but never out.

And I want it out.

But if you believe, as I do, that each day, each moment is ruled by my Loving Papa, there is a reason He is allowing this.

Perhaps He is showing Himself through my leaky human vessel - because there are definitely leaks going on!

I watch the birds outside my window - and I laugh.  Newly fledged babies, puffed up twice the parents' size, follow step-on-step, relentlessly begging, begging, begging.  They flutter wings and open beaks with such vigor, they sometimes fall from the wall.

The mother never tired, altho the babies would, happily, feed at the feeder if she was not in their immediate field of vision.  One day, as they munched away, they suddenly realized mama was on the perch above them, and flew straight up to try and fit on the same perch as she - knocking her off and falling into the bushes themselves.

Then yesterday I saw the trio, again on the wall.  Only this time when they began their poor me, forlorn, I-will-starve-to-death-if-you-don't-feed-me song and dance routine, she pecked at them and turned away.  When they pushed back and tried to get ever closer, she chest-bumped them and flew away, leaving them struggling for balance.

Then after she left, they just flew to the feeder and were fine.

Was that a lesson for me?

Am I like the babies, flutter flutter, open mouth "help me God - and step on it!"  Begging begging begging.

I am surely old enough in You to find the "feeder" all by myself.

Am I to "go to the feeder", the Word, and find help there?  Because all my poor me, forlorn, You-have-to-do-something fluttering is not doing much for me - not on the outside, not on the inside.

I have been spoiled by Your closeness to me, by Your provisions; and now that I am aching with each step I am fluttering with a deep hunger to find Your Hand to grab on to. I am a cranky child, throwing a tantrum and crying in the corner because You do not rescue me immediately with a chariot of fire. 

I have surely lost my balance on the wall of my life. Yet You have taught me over and over again that if You choose for darkness to fall all around me, I must keep my eyes open, because You have hidden treasures in the darkness. Your Word holds not only wisdom and beauty and comfort, but Your very Heart.

And it takes time for the eye to become accustomed to the darkness - but the night-vision will surely come. I just need to wait for it.

And just because I can't see something right now-at-this-moment doesn't mean it isn't there.

And all my frantic fluttering and panicked chirping has done for me is to keep me from seeing.

Because that Hand that I hungered so to hang on to?

It was here all along.

Forgive me, Papa.