Still Driving Mr Jerry

In the fall of 2017 I put up a post entitled Driving Mr Jerry. Almost two years to the day, we just our van back after a week in the shop, and Jerry is now in week two using his old chair, while wait for repair on his typical chair. I needed to be reminded of the truths in the original post. Since I did, I thought you may too. May you be blessed and encouraged by this throwback Marriage Monday.

This is week three of Jerry using his back up wheelchair while waiting on a new right motor for his regular chair. That means he is unable to drive his van.

If you live with disability in your family you know that this is not all that unusual, these things happen. Paperwork drags on and on, calls don’t get returned, repairs can take weeks, if not months. Most of us would win a Gold Medal if waiting or insurance hassles were Olympic sports.

Yesterday Jerry had scheduled service for the lift on his van. There was no sense in him going along for the ride. I rearranged my schedule and took the van to the appointed service, about 45 minutes away from home. The shop is fantastic and provides a nice waiting area. I packed enough work to keep me busy for three years.

322615_3126101352345_993835468_oPrior to the van appointment I met with someone who has a child with a disability. My friend commented about how weary she is. She went on to say one way she keeps going is to realize what a privilege it is to serve Jesus by serving her child. She asked if that was the same among spouses?  As I thought about it she went on to describe how my trip to take the van for service was serving Jesus.

My life goal has been to love and serve God by loving and serving others. Given that, my friend’s comment should have been no surprise to me, but it was. I love Jerry, which means that (most days) it is a pleasure and joy to assist him. But I had somehow forgotten that by serving him I am also serving my Lord.

That reminder put a new spin on my day. When I got home that evening after running other errands,  the unexpected visitors we had, the unplanned need Jerry asked me to help with were no big deal. Getting to love and serve others while remembering that by doing so I am loving and serving God changed my perspective.

Instead of fretting about not getting a Marriage Monday post up until Tuesday, I chose to invest in and love my spouse and the others God brought to me that day. I hope you’ll forgive my delay.

Knowing that sometimes people who have a disability feel they become burdensome to their family or close friends I made a commitment to God and myself early in our marriage. I would choose to show joy when asked to assist (even being woken from a sound sleep in the middle of the night), and to always complete the task by saying “I love you” and sharing a kiss. I have missed that mark a few times, but it is still the goal for which I aim.

push for helpWhat about you?  What is it that helps you readjust your focus when you are worn and weary?  Do you have a strategy you use to keep your relationships healthy in the unpredictable dailyness of disability?

I Can’t Imagine

One of my friends met Jesus face to face yesterday.

This friend lived a hard life. At first, I found it ironic that she spent her last several days in a hospice home that likely was the nicest place she ever lived. But then I thought that this peaceful place was “training wheels” for the eternal home she would soon enter.

Several years ago my friend gave her life to Jesus. The day she was told it was time for hospice she called me. We talked about the excitement of knowing our final destination but the fear of the route we need to take to get there. I encouraged her to run without delay into the arms of Jesus whenever He called her name. I believe she did.

sun-rays-182170_1920I know what the Bible says about Heaven. The pearly gates, the streets of gold, the homes prepared for us by Jesus himself, the banquet feast we will share, a place of no tears, a place of no sin, and best of all . . .  Jesus. A forever home with Jesus.

Yet my finite mind can’t really grasp Heaven. I am glad my friend can now. The suffering and pain she endured, I am certain she would say, pales in comparison to what she is experiencing.

I have no idea when God will say it is time for me to join Him. Until that day comes I want to be present and engaged with the life He has entrusted to me. But when my time comes, know I too will be running into the arms of my Savior.

Does Easter Matter on Monday?

Holy Week was last week. Easter was yesterday. Today life returns to normal. Or does it?

passion-3111247_1920If the reality of Easter means anything it means change. The One who conquered death rose to new life. By doing so he changed the course of history, and each of our lives.

Maybe the details of daily life have not changed (schedules, care routines, appointments, responsibilities, etc.). But how I live and experience those minutes and hours each day better be impacted by the resurrection, or it was in vain.

Yes, there are still going to be mornings I don’t feel like getting up first to prepare for Jerry to get up. There will still be days when I just don’t want to pick up one more thing that has been dropped. Times of having our plans changed at the last minute because his body unexpectedly changed course will still happen.

If the message of Holy Week, culminating in Easter, means anything then I will whine less when waking early to serve my husband. I will smile when there is one more thing pexels-photo-424517.jpegto lift off the floor. I will exude grace when helping Jerry adjust to his body’s request and while calling the friends with whom we had plans.

This weekend I read Just Show Up by Kara Tippetts and Jill Lynn Buteyn. I was struck by the way Kara (who was living through chemotherapy and then hospice care while writing this book with her friend), talked about “Big Love” and the “hards.” She endeavored to leave her family and friends knowing that even through the hard and difficult times of life we can share big love and make a difference. She knew she could only do that because of Christ in her.

share-2482016_1920Does your faith make a difference in your daily life? If it does would you share an example so we can all be encouraged? If you are not sure your faith does make a difference, don’t despair. We all hit those low points sometime. That’s the beauty of grace, you can start again right now. I’d love to hear your comments too – we want to keep it real here at Marriage Mondays!

 

 

A Foot in Two Worlds

Holy Week.  Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday.  This is the pinnacle of my faith.  Jesus whose birth I celebrate at Christmas as Emmauel, God with us, took the golgotha-1863767_1280ultimate step of being with me.  He didn’t offer his life on the cross because it was easy.  He didn’t carry my sin because it was light.  He didn’t break his fellowship with the Father because he wanted to.  He did that because he loves and wants me – and you – to be with him and his Father forever.

I can’t explain exactly how it all works in detail – that a sinless God-man died for me before I was even conceived, to forgive and destroy the penalty of the sins I would commit.  But I don’t need an explanation. I only need faith to believe.  And gratitude for this life changing gift.

I have been stressing in the last week about the  living with one foot in Pennsylvania andone foot in Florida.  Wrapping up living here while preparing for the life to be lived there. But whether I live in Pennsylvania or Florida, this world is not my home.  This is not the home I was designed for. sunset-3054191_1920

This week as I remember and celebrate my Savior and King, may it reinforce my focus toward Heaven.  Jesus carried my penalty and gave His life so I would never have to be separated from Him again.  He rose again to prove he conquered death.  He returned to Heaven to prepare a place for me, and for you. This coming move for us is temporary.  hand-truck-564242_1920Heaven is my forever home, prepared for me by my Lord.  I sure am glad I won’t have to pack or organize transit for that final move!

The Future in My Past

Village Inn. A restaurant my friends and I frequented in college and in our young adult years. We counted on endless coffee and appetizers or desserts that when shared worked within our limited budgets. It’s been about 30 years since I was in one of their restaurants. That is, until I was house hunting in Florida a few weeks ago.

Seeing the familiar Village Inn logo flooded my mind with memories of the friends from that time in my life. Those memories drew me in for brunch.

In the past, my friends and I were the majority of the customers, making for a young crowd.  This time I was in the minority, being among the 5 youngest customers in the restaurant. From my booth, I had a clear view of those arriving. I smiled at the couples shuffling in together, some holding hands, others helping the other manage their mobility equipment. I realized that I was seeing a glimpse of Jerry and me 20 or 30 years in the future (if God grants us those years). man-3199386_1920

Our move to Florida is not for retirement, at least not for several more years. But seeing these people filled me with joy and anticipation of growing old(er) with Jerry. I want to be one of those older couples still holding hands while shuffling in together.

The following week, I observed another sweet elderly couple join me in a waiting room. As she came in with her walker, her husband carried her purse. I am a sucker for that look, it brings out the sentimental part of me. Sitting nearby their conversation wafted to my ears.

It was midafternoon and they were deciding if they had time to get dinner before going to a concert. As they talked about similar events they attended the husband referred to one as “high class and sophisticated.” Upon hearing this his wife said, “well maybe you don’t want to go to this one then, it is classical music.” Not missing a beat her hubby replied, “If you want to go dear, I do too.”

Awwww – I love that!

I don’t know how many more years God will give us, or if we’ll have the health and abilities to get out and about like these dear ones. Whatever time God gives us will be sweet. In fact, I find my attitude toward growing older becoming one of anticipation.

man-1050528_1920What about you?  What do you anticipate about growing older with your loved one?  What brings you joy as you think about the years ahead?

 

Learning the Craft

When my life took an unexpected turn late 2016 I realized it was one of those “now or never” times to invest in my passion to write.  I wanted to write more, and learn to write better. One year ago I flew into Orlando and my cousin drove me to Lake Yale for my first Writer’s Conference.

IMG_3488I was nervous, overwhelmed, unsure of what was ahead, and alone. This was a whole new world to me. I knew no one. I did not know the language or the the culture. I jumped into the pre-session which was probably a bit too advanced for me, but there I was – sink or swim! Good thing I enjoy swimming.

As that session ended I met other “newbies”. What a comfort it was to learn their names and find that amidst the larger group that had been together for years, there were others as green as me. Together we navigated the 8 am to 10 pm schedule of sessions, shared insights we heard, figured out terms and made it through our rookie year.

Coming home I felt like I was returning from an alternate reality. Though I was a novice writer I could not find words to express what I had experienced. It took me months to sort through my notes and consider my next steps.

One of my new friends invited me to the St David’s Writers Conference in June. Jerry joined me. Knowing just a little of how things would run and a couple of names enabled me to engage more with the people and material. I found I could begin to filter what I needed to embrace, and what I could let go.

I joined a monthly critique group that shapes and hones my skills.

A year later here I am, back in Florida on the eve of my third Writers’ Conference in one year. Feeling more confident this year I even entered a few submissions for various contests. I am rooming with a friend who is a published author. I am bountifully blessed for these opportunities, for my new writing pals, and for a job that allows me to implement these new skills.

Cheers to the new people I will meet this week, the sessions I will attend and the new things I will learn this week. I look forward to meeting some of this year’s newbies and assuring them that they belong.