This is the first question in our Q & A series because it is one of my most common ones. I can’t hardly explain in words so here it is in video.
This is the first question in our Q & A series because it is one of my most common ones. I can’t hardly explain in words so here it is in video.
I have not been a very faithful blogger these last few months. A lot has been going on! Like….a major move! My hubby took a new pastorate in South Carolina and so we have spent most of this year traveling back and forth from Tennessee to here and have been getting settled into our new home here. We absolutely love it. All of this to say that this is why I have not been blogging as much and I have missed it!
So….how to get going this year? I am going to ask you! I constantly get asked “how do you…” and that is one of the reasons I launched my Youtube channel several years ago. I want to start this year by making more videos. I have some things that have already been asked me that I will do, but I am asking you for suggestions.
Is there something you would like to know how I do something? Or is there something you would like to understand better? If you are in a wheelchair, is there something you would like to try but are wondering if it can be done? Let me know and I will get on it!
I am looking forward to a new year in a new place with new opportunities! So bring on your questions, suggestions and challenges!
Would you leave me a comment on this post or as a comment underneath the Facebook link? Thank you!
My beautiful Briley is 14. She is such a precious jewel in her Momma’s crown…and I wear the crown of motherhood proudly! I love being a mom! She is strong and gorgeous. She has her Mom’s whit and spunk and she has her Daddy’s fierce loyalty. She gets her looks from Heaven! I love my girl and I know God is using her life and will continue to do so.
Today she woke up with a very red, angry and swollen middle finger. The cuticle around her fingernail was yellow and split. As I held her finger in my hand, I could feel her pulse throbbing in the end of her finger. It was very fevered. My child’s finger had a problem! It was obvious there was a deeper problem going on inside. She told me that her finger had been bothering her for a few days, but nothing like today. It was hurting into her arm if you barely even touched it.
We tried putting something on it yesterday and that did nothing for it. She would soak it in hot water and that would ease the pain for awhile. As it became angrier, I knew what I had to do. She got a needle and match. We sterilized the needle and she laid her hand in my lap and I began the horrible parent job of trying to open up a pathway for the infection to escape.
It was not pretty. It was excruciating for Briley. She was trying so hard to be brave but it was very painful. If you are a parent, you understand how heart wrenching it is to do something painful to your child for a greater good. I tried to console her with the words that if we could relieve the pressure it would feel so much better. She believed my words but that did not help her pain.
Then it started coming. The hole was opened just enough and the pus began to flow out. No wonder she was miserable! Her finger was full of infection! I continued to massage and squeeze and it continued to pour out. We would stop and let her soak her finger and catch her breath, and then we would drill another hole and more nastiness would come out.
As I sat there with my girl, hurting inside for what she was going through, knowing it would help her but that I was the one hurting her, and trying to help her through her pain, I thought of Jesus.
I thought of how He allows trials and suffering in our lives. He knows that as He works in our lives it reveals the horrible puss that consumes us inside. There is nothing quicker than a trial to reveal what kind of Christian you are! As things don’t go our way, we see ourselves for what we truly are….nasty humans! But, when God works in our lives, He uses those times of trials and suffering to be the needle that opens up the hole so the nastiness can flow out. When that happens, we are on a journey to a spiritually healthy place.
I may still have to take my Briley to a doctor tomorrow for a round of antibiotics. We will see how it looks in the morning. She already told me a little while ago how much better it feels! Today I hurt my daughter, but tonight she is glad.
There is a lesson there too. Whatever you are going through in your life, allow The Lord to get the puss out. You will feel much better!
Today is the day. I went to bed last night with a small knot in my stomach. It is always there the night before this date. I went to bed the day before very sick and woke up…on this day 5 years ago…with a very different life ahead of me. It really blows my mind that it has already been 5 years!
I just happen to be guest blogging on this date about how much I have needed the Lord’s help on this journey called paralysis. Do you want to know the good report? God has helped me! There is so much that has happened over the last 5 years. There is so much that paralysis has taught me about life.
What are some of the these things? Will you give me a little allowance to talk about it on this special date?
1. I have learned what friendship is all about.
Through these last 5 years, I have learned who my truest friends are. I have found that you’re truest friends don’t care if you are in a chair or not. They don’t treat you any different. They make sure that you get to be a part of anything you want to be, even if it makes a little more work for them. They aren’t jealous of you (yes, people do get jealous that you get to sit in a chair all day long) and they don’t baby you. They are loving and kind and get excited over stupid things with you that they know nothing about..like a new wheelchair cushion! Friendships are so precious and paralysis has taught me to appreciate them even more.
2. I have found a new level of compassion that is so needed.
I used to have empathy. Lots of empathy. I am a very tender hearted gal and I really always felt for bad for what people go through. But that is different now. When I meet someone who has gone through something very difficult (the death of a loved one, a health crisis, marriage troubles, etc) my heart just aches with compassion. Literally, it feels so deep inside of me. I get it. I totally get it. I have felt their heartbreak and my heart breaks with them. It has taken away a great deal of my judgmental and haughty spirit. Life is tough. Compassion is desperately needed and paralysis has taught me that.
3. I have discovered that life is a wonderful gift and should not be wasted.
I weary of hearing people complain about their life. Where is my compassion right? :) As I think back 5 years ago, we really did not know if I would still be here in 5 years. There are friends of mine out there who are fighting for their lives! I have such a new appreciation for every single day I am given. I know firsthand how quickly life can change without our permission. I want to live every day with the attitude that it is a wonderful gift! I want to intentionally thank God for giving me this day…and I mean it! Life is too precious to waste time griping about it. I am glad paralysis has taught me this.
4. I have learned giving back is the best therapy.
I kind of accidentally discovered this. I lived in a very rural area when I became paralyzed and so there was really nothing in terms of a support group. I felt very alone and different. Everywhere I went there were walking people! I met another guy and we became friends. He felt just like I did. We both wished for a group of people like us to hang out with to help you remember that you weren’t alone and there were others out there just like you. So…since we could not find a group we decided to start one. My thoughts were not humanitarian. They were more selfish. I wanted to be with those like me!! So, we started advertising by word of mouth…literally by seeing someone in a wheelchair in public and stalking them through the store to talk to them….and our group grew. And so did I. I realized that my therapy was not just in the support, but by reaching out to help others like me, I was helped! It felt wonderful!
It became addicting. I couldn’t find enough ways to want to help. It is amazing that when you look for ways to help, you will find them! We started volunteering with Joni and Friends and their yearly family retreats and my heart grew even more! The more I gave of myself, the more I gained! I no longer did it for me. I did it for others and I benefited even more. I am so honored to be one of their camp speakers this year! I know that only because of my paralysis could I have learned this valuable life lesson. It truly is more blessed to give than to receive.
5. I have learned that joy is not in our circumstances.
I love to be happy. I love to laugh and smile. I love to make other people laugh and smile. I know that I used to “feel” happy when everything went my way and when it did not go my way, then I would “feel” unhappy. I am not happy all the time. There are days that I feel extremely bad and it is very hard to feel happy those days. But…I have learned that there is always something to be happy about. When the circumstances of my life are not to my liking, it is harder to think that there is anything to be happy about. But there is! There always is! If I let the circumstance of paralysis (which is kind of cruddy) rule my happiness, then I would be an eternal grouch and pessimist! But who wants to be around someone like that? I don’t…especially if it is me! So, over the last 5 years, I have learned that when I feel the grumps that I make a list of things to be happy about: my kids, my hubby, my pretty home, my van, my hand controls, my cool wheelchair that needs to be cooler, my warm blankets, my friends, and on and on. Pretty soon, I am dwelling on the happy things and suddenly I feel happy!
Today is the date I became paralyzed. We have never chosen to stay home and pout and cry all day. We go out and do something fun together as a family. Today we are actually driving our moving truck to our new home in South Carolina! We are so excited. I am glad we are doing this on this day. It is an emotional day for me because this day brings with it a lot of heartbreaking memories that stir around in my soul and knot my stomach. Looking back, I can see how much I have grown as a person because of this journey. The Bible says that God makes all things beautiful in His time. As time goes on for me, I appreciate the beautiful things God has made for me in my life.
Thank you for sharing this day with me!
I am guest blogging on my husband Jimmy’s blog, Reaganreview.wordpress.com. He has been writing to Independent Baptists, which we are, in a series for several weeks. He and I have together worked through so many of these issues, and he has asked me to write an article for him that shares the woman’s point of view. I share my heart here…
Click on link below to read the whole article.
Originally posted on The Reagan Review:
Jimmy and I have been burdened for some time with the rut that much of our movement seems to have settled into over the years. We see our generation leaving our movement and the preaching then says, “Well, that is what happens when this generation wants the things of the world and gets more…
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The Lord has moved in our lives again! I am excited! Click and read as Jimmy explains it there!
Originally posted on The Reagan Review:
The day has come. It has been a full year of transition to bring us to where I am glad to say we are today. This morning the people of Concord Baptist Church in Leesville, South Carolina voted me as their next pastor. Alicia and the children are as excited as I am!
I feel like stealing the old microphone from Gene Autry and singing:
Back in the saddle again
Back where a friend is still a friend…
Well, most of the words don’t match beyond the first line, and I look bad on horseback in sequins with a guitar in my hands, but this fella missed the saddle for sure. Pastoring…the call of God for me throbs with life in me and is reenergized by the process the Lord has brought me through to this day. Giddy is an accurate description for me at this moment.
I think back…
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Recently, there was a discussion in a small Facebook group I belong to. One dear lady confessed to the group her great fear of death and asked for help. I was overwhelmed with the responses from many godly ladies who shared their own fear of death! If nothing else, that sweet gal must have been comforted to know she was not alone! I know my own heart on this subject and thought I would share since I have battled this very thing in my life.
We hear many sermons on death and how there is not fear in death. So, as a Christian, when you feel afraid at the thought of dying, your mind then becomes fearful that maybe you aren’t spiritual…or even saved! Because, as logic would reason, if there were no fear associated with death as a child of God, then why am I so afraid? Am I not ready to die?
My own journey and fear of death started 5 years ago when I awoke paralyzed. We did not know what was happening in my body and why it was attacking itself. Much uncertainty about my future engulfed my mind. A few short months after that, my son was born via emergency c-section and I had many complications from that. Once again, my health seemed so fragile! Then…another couple months and it was to be my first return to church! In the early morning hours, and out of nowhere, vertigo hit me! I have had “dizzy spells” in my life, but this was not even comparable! If you have ever had vertigo, you know what I mean. The room was spinning out of control…like a sci-fi vortex. I closed my eyes so it would stop because I immediately thought I was going to throw up from the movement. When I closed my eyes, I continued to spin out of control. In my mind, I knew I was laying on the bed, but I have never felt such out of control spinning. It was horrible!! At that time, we still did not have a diagnosis for my paralysis and I was convinced that I was dying right then and there of a brain aneurism or stroke or something. I have never been more afraid of dying than I was at that time!
I did not die. I recovered after a couple days. However, in the days that followed, I had a spiritual vertigo of sorts. I felt like my understanding of being a Christian and not having a fear of death, was now out of my control. I did not understand why I so afraid if I was a child of God. We weren’t supposed to be afraid of death! We were supposed to look forward to Heaven and seeing Jesus and leaving all this world and its troubles behind. Well, I did not feel that way! I actually felt very much the opposite! I love Jesus and I am prepared to go to Heaven, but I do not want to go now! I wanted to live!! More than anything, I wanted to live! This is where my journey began to understand what all this meant to face the reality of death as a Christian. I would love to share with you what came to comfort me.
1. It is human to have a fear of death.
God put within our human nature a survival mode. This is why we instinctively jump out of the way of a moving car, or run at the sight of a snake! We know what could threaten our existence and our “fight and flight” instinct jumps into play. Every system in our body changes in the presence of danger. That is our DNA and we cannot change that.
2. Christians are human.
Until we get to Heaven, we will continue to be human. We should spiritually discipline ourselves to trust the Lord, but the reason we have to discipline ourselves to trust the Lord is because it is not in our nature to trust. It is our nature to fear. Being a Christian does not exempt you from human emotions and feelings. To have these feelings of fear is not anti-Christian. It is very pro-human!
3. Loving life leads to living life.
I have been blessed with a happy life. I have a wonderful husband and 6 precious children. Even paralyzed, life is so precious to me. I am thankful for every single day and I enjoy life. Jesus said that He did not come to just give us life, but to give us life more abundantly (John 10:10). When you are living an abundant life, you don’t want to leave it. This does not mean that you are “too attached to this ole’ world” – as I have heard preached. It means that you are living the very life that Jesus gave His life for you to live! To enjoy this life and not want to leave it is a beautiful gift from God and the sign of a spiritually and emotionally healthy person.
4. A fear of death is okay.
If you found yourself inside of a wrecked and burning car, would you try to get out? Why? If you suddenly had horrible chest pains would you go to the hospital? Why? If you cut your leg with a chain saw and blood was spurting everywhere, would you call 911? Why? Or….in all of these examples, would you calmly look up into Heaven and say “Thank you Lord for this opportunity to come on home to you. Thank you that this is my time to go and this is the way you have prepared for me.” We all have a fear of death and we want to avoid it. Jesus said that death is our enemy. Who isn’t afraid of their enemies? This. Is. Normal. And, it is okay to be afraid of death as a Christian.
5. A fear in death will not happen for the child of God.
Aww….now this is a different subject. I have no experience here because I have not ever died. But, I know this. The same God Who has promised us eternity, the same God we are entrusting our souls to, the same God we are trust in a million other non-fearful areas of our life, is the same God who has the power over death….our enemy. He is the same God that will lead us home. Death is very earthly, and we understand earthly…that is why we fear it. The spiritual side of death is a mystery to us that we will not understand until we are in the process of death. This is where our fear of death will not turn into a fear in death. I am convinced through many different avenues (the story of Stephen when he was stoned, the Scriptures about God gently leading His own, the examples of martyrs who were murdered for their faith, and the testimonies of those who watched their godly loved ones die) that there is a supernatural and spiritual occurrence that happens at the time of our death….while we are in the process of death. Since Jesus conquered death, those of us who trust in Him as our Savior, will be taken to our eternal home. God will be with us in this process and since God is love, and perfect love casts out fear, I believe that the fear in death will not be present. I have never been in death so this is something that I must trust and believe in, just as I trust and believe in Jesus. To worry about all of that now is pointless because I will just have to wait and see, trusting that God will be with me through the passage of death and it will not be fearful.
6. Understanding brings peace.
For me, and I pray for anyone else who has struggled with this fear, understanding that it is okay to be afraid to die is not unspiritual was very comforting. To understand that my worrying about death or the fears that may come at that time, will not add one more minute to my life helped me get my mind away from the worry and remind myself that God has my life…and my death…in His control and I will just have to trust Him with it.
My desire in this post is to encourage anyone who may have faced a fear of death in their life and to get the right biblical perspective in our heads so that we don’t allow fear to rule our lives but to understand it and put it in its place!