Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Crown of Thorns

After my accident in 1991, I remember:

When I looked up, all I could see was a black metal circle and two screws sticking out of my forehead. There were two more screws behind my ears. We called it my "crown of thorns." Four bars connected the circle to a leather vest. It had kept my neck still for three months so the broken bones could fuse.

One day, a doctor I'd never seen before came into my room and said, "I'm going to remove your halo screws today. The x-rays they took yesterday show the bones in your neck are fused. When was your vest taken off and the cervical collar put on?"

"Yesterday, after the x-rays," I whispered through my tracheostomy.

"Good," she said. Showing me a wrench she'd brought in she continued, "Now this won't hurt."

At first, all I felt was pressure as each screw was turned, but it must have looked awful because my sister, Bobbi, was sitting on the floor in front of me holding my hand and crying.

"Ouch!" It was hurting.

Nobody was paying attention to me. Finally, Bobbi felt me move my hand, looked up and saw my distress.

"My hair!" I mouthed.

Some hair had twisted around the screw and the doctor didn't know what to do. "I can't screw it back in."

"Cut it!" I cried.

A few minutes later, "Well the last screw is out. How does that feel?"

The pain and muscle spasms in my neck were unbelievable. I had to lean back and let the headrest on my wheelchair support me. Frustrated, I couldn't understand why this was happening to me.

As I sat in tears, God reminded me it was Good Friday. Traditionally, it was the day Jesus' Crown of Thorns was placed on His head. - Today mine was removed.

Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53:4-5 NIV)

My crown of thorns was insignificant. His Crown of Thorns was my healing.

In Christ Alone,

Saturday, March 17, 2012

An Equipped Saint

My response to a seminary students request for information about how I do disability ministry:

I’m not an ordained pastor, but I am a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

When I met Earl, I didn’t know Jesus and had no desire to meet Him. I continued to fight His presence the first four years of our marriage. Then I went on a Walk to Emmaus where I accepted Jesus’ love and forgiveness. Eight months later, I was paralyzed in an accident.

After rehabilitation at the number one spinal cord injury rehab in the United States, I became very depressed. I withdrew for hours, sleeping or just hiding behind veiled eyes.

When Earl took me out I couldn’t handle the stares, the “I’m so sorry,” and the patting on my shoulders. Servers in restaurants wouldn’t give me a menu and asked Earl, “What does she want?” without looking at me. I took my anger out on my family and friends. (Today we joke about the “spirit of slap” that came over me.)

I begged God, “Please, at least heal my hands so I can take care of myself.” Instead, He began a ministry of teaching and speaking to small groups.

A monthly Sunday school teaching led to teaching every Sunday. A young women’s Bible study, a weekly prayer group, and a daily telephone ministry with women who couldn’t attend Church followed. Soon I was president of the women’s group, chair of the evangelism committee, and chaired the conference-level disability team.

I’m a certified lay speaker and have filled the pulpit, testified before both large and small groups, and spoken before the pastors, laypersons and members of our regional conference.

Acceptance not just of my disability but also my abilities came through ministry to others and by allowing others to minister to me. I’m well known in my Church and secular communities for telling people what Jesus has done for me.

"And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;" Ephesians 4:11-14

In Christ Alone,