Monday, September 15, 2014

The Caregiver Becomes Invisible



When Earl first heard about my wreck, he prayed that I would live, “…as long as she is Berta.” Two months later my neurosurgeon told Earl, “If she lives she’ll be brain damaged, ventilator-dependent, and bedridden for life.”


The doctor told Earl, “You are too young to be stuck with an invalid wife.” Then he offered some simple things that could be withheld to allow me to die quickly but comfortably.

In that moment, God replayed in Earl’s mind the oath he swore on our wedding day. In the voice of Reverend John Jones, he heard “...in sickness and in health, forsaking all others, keeping thee only unto her, so long as you both shall live.”

Without hesitation, in his spirit, Earl said, “I do.”

Earl chose life for me that day and has been my primary caregiver for twenty-three years. He has done everything and more than expected.

Earl has a super power. He is a child of God. He relies on his Christian faith to get us through each day. So often, we pray for renewed strength, rest and peace in our spirits.

Wherever we go, people watch me, the disabled one. But, few talk to Earl as a caregiver.

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant!’” (Matthew 25:21 NIV).

In Christ,
Berta

Friends, Remember to share with your friends. People are being blessed around the world for God. I am so thankful to be a broken vessel in the hands of a loving God.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Power of Friendship


I left my small Midwestern hometown at sixteen and I’ve never gone back. When I got on Facebook thirty-six years later, I was only interested in one childhood friend, Louise. I didn’t find her. I put my maiden name on my wall and prayed.

It only took a few hours for Louise to find me.

“Hi Berta, Not sure if you will remember me. I’m glad you’re on Facebook!  I'd always wondered what had happened with you and was talking about you just three days ago. And here you are!”

I was surprised she remembered me. She told me how afraid she was for me when my father moved my family of eleven into a converted school bus and to bottomland along the Illinois River.

Louise and I had a sense of each other’s lives in 1974, though we had never spoken of them. Today we have the closest friendship I’ve ever experienced.

In God, we are always growing and changing. “A friend loves at all times” (Proverbs 17:17 NIV). At sixteen, we were young and abused. As we grew older, we were taken advantage of for different reasons. We survived and became stronger for the trials.

I thank God every time I think of Louise. To know that for thirty-six years she remembered a tall, skinny girl with freckles and long, strawberry blonde hair is amazing. I thank Him for bringing her back into my life.

“As iron sharpens iron, so one (wo)man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17 NIV). Change per author.

“He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6 NIV).

In Christ,
Berta


Friends, Remember to share with your friends. People are being blessed around the world for God. I am so thankful to be a broken vessel in the hands of a loving God.
 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Attempt New Skills



For the first three months after my injury, I had no control over any part of my body. In rehabilitation, my upper arms were the first to recover. The muscle spasms usually drew my forearms up, effectively causing severe cramping.

My occupational therapist told me my biceps and deltoids were the only two muscle groups in my arms that still received signals from my brain. My triceps, the groups that assist in straightening the arms and pushing forward, had none.

In therapy, we focused on strengthening those muscles that worked. As I grew in basic strength, my therapist encouraged me to attempt new skills.

Since I was right handed, we worked on fine motor skills of feeding myself, brushing my teeth, and handwriting using splints. My left arm developed more gross motor skills: pushing, lifting and carrying items I needed during each day.

In God’s providence, my muscles adapted to my different abilities. Next, I had to accept my new life as a quad. Just as God causes new blood vessels to grow around a clogged coronary artery, God allowed new skills to develop around my paralyzed body.

Sunday school, Bible study, sermons, and talking with other Christians all taught me about God. The more I learned of His desire for His people, the more I knew His desire for me—for my life. He called me to make a difference for Him.

Through leading and teaching small groups, counseling, listening to the one who was hurting and telling people what God has done for me I have, and will continue to make a difference.

We may be weak, worn and weary yet God still calls us. He may seem distant but He’s right here. He has provided all you need to fulfill His call in your life. No matter what you have to offer, God will use it.

Be strong and attempt new skills in your daily life for Christ.

“For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose” Philippians 2:13 NIV).

In Christ,
Berta

Friends, Remember to share with your friends. People are being blessed around the world for God. I am so thankful to be a broken vessel in the hands of a loving God.