Friday, June 25, 2010


I recently was alarmed by something. I thought I had gained weight!! I have no ability to weigh myself, so I have to depend on other clues. Just for the record, not being able to weigh myself would be a definite perk to paralysis!

My clothes seemed to be fitting me the same, my face really didn't look any puffier, my legs were only swelling in the evenings, so what was causing this problem that made me think I was getting fatter? I was having a VERY hard time pushing myself up any incline. My ramp out front, my driveway that slopes up, even just pushing across carpet was SO much harder!! I knew I have been faithfully working out my upper body and so my pushing should be easier - not harder! So, I concluded that I must be putting on weight somewhere and was getting heavier and did not know it.

I had just about decided to give up my ice cream for the summer (which is a MAJOR sacrifice for me) when I discovered something. I do "wheelchair push-ups" where you put your hands on the top of your tires and "push up" lifting your backside off the seat for a minute or two to give yourself pressure relief. It also helps relieve a tiny bit of pain for me in my hips. I do it quite often without even thinking about it. This day when I did it, I realized that the tires felt a tiny bit squishy under my hands. Nothing major, the tires didn't look low or anything, but I decided to ask a guy in my church who had an air compressor if he would add a little air to my tires.

My tires are supposed to hold between 85-110 pounds of pressure and they had about 45 in them!! He inflated them to the proper amount and I headed home. I could not believe the difference!! I whizzed up my driveway, whizzed up my sidewalk ramp, popped into the door of my house and right on in the living room. I suddenly felt 50 pounds lighter. I was ecstatic!! The ice cream could stay!!!

Over these last few days, it has amazed me how that loss of air could cause me such discomfort and trouble! Obviously, I know a flat tire is a problem (been there, done that) but I had no clue how a tire just low on air could hinder my productiveness in getting around.

Lesson? Here goes: how much in life do we go about trying to do in our own power? We struggle on, trying to do the same old things we have always done, but something is different. It is not as easy or enjoyable as it once was. We struggle to do the things we have always done well before. What is our problem? Have we gotten fat and lazy? Maybe. However, I would say that most of the time it is because we are trying to do it without the indwelling of the spirit of God in our everyday life. I am not talking about salvation here, but about letting Him fill our life and all the things that we try to do, doing it through Christ who strengthens me. How many times do we get the "I can do all things" part down, but we forget the "through Christ" part.

Don't get bogged down wheelin' your way through life all alone. Be filled with His presence, be filled with the joy of the Lord, be filled with the power from on high - and roll on!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Feeling Jumpy

Several years ago, I took a red oil lantern and wired it for electricity and turned it into a reading lamp for my boys. They had taken it downstairs to their new bedroom and wanted to use it. It kept flickering on and off, like it wasn't plugged in good, but it was. We have concluded that there must be a short in the wiring now, and it is not safe for them to use. I must repair that lamp before it will be able to be used again.

Yesterday at therapy, my therapist decided we were going to work on my hamstrings - the muscle that runs up the back of your leg above your knees. He laid me on my stomach, put a large pillow roll under my ankles and said "Try to pull your foot up towards your backside". Well, the most unusual things started happening! On my right leg (the stronger one), I would tell my foot to come up and it would move about an inch, then down it would go, again I would tell it and it would hop about 3 inches, back and forth I fought with it until it finally jumped so big I about kicked myself in the head! (okay, slight exaggeration but I want you to get the picture!)The actual hamstring muscle was jumping so bad under my skin that it looked someone had implanted Mexican jumping beans behind my knee! The therapist laid a rolled up rag behind my knee and the jumping hamstring muscle kept knocking it off!

Once I got the leg in the up position, I would tell it to go down and it would start to, then kick back up and then head back down, and the fight was on again. I had never yet experienced this during therapy!! I am used to commanding my body to do something and it does absolutely nothing. To have it do a little bit of what I said, and then jump around like crazy and do it's own thing the rest of the time was....confusing to me. I didn't know to laugh at it - because it is really, really unusual - or to get mad!

I asked my therapist why this was happening. He said "welcome to the world of spasms." He said he could take the rest of the session explaining it in detail, but the basic idea was that because of the messed up communication, my nerves were trying to get signals to my muscles, but they were confused and weren't getting simple commands. Some of my paralyzed friends I have met along this road, deal with this all the time and have to take medications to keep it under control. I have never had any major issues with it before though. He said that the ability to walk is based on quick responses from all kinds of your muscles (abdomen, glutes, quads, hip flexors, hamstrings, calves, ankle flexors) and that only my hips are responding pretty quickly to my command (at least until they get tired). So, we keep trying to train them to obey quickly and without confusion.

Wow. The application of this to our Christian life is very convicting to me. I think how many times, because my communication is not right with the Lord, I get "mixed signals" from God. The problem is not because He has not given a clear command or taught us in His Word. It is because my communication with Him (Bible reading, prayer, meditating on His Word, giving and singing praises to Him)is not right. We get mixed signals and we come out thinking and doing the wrong things.

We are such emotional people. We are up and down and up and down. We are so inconsistent in our spiritual lives. We keep working in our own strength, fighting and struggling to get things to go and work out like they are supposed to, but we have forgotten and missed the simple things we are commanded to do. Have I read my Bible today? Yesterday? This week? Have I talked to the Lord today - not just about my problems, but to fellowship with Him, thank Him for His blessings, rejoice that He is my Father? Have I been to church faithfully to be exhorted? We don't do these simple things and then we wonder why we struggle at times. We live with mixed signals and then we take it out on God for why things aren't working out right in my life.

I say this analogy is convicting because it is true in my life. How many times am I having a grumpy day and realize that the Lord did not get the "first fruits" of my morning? How many times have I ran to the Lord for comfort or help, but haven't come to Him to just have a wonderful chat? How many times have I wanted Him to help me, but what have I done in my service for Him? How many times have I sought the "deeper" meanings and answers to life, and have failed to obey the simple things - like love one another...encourage one another...judge ye kind...submit yourselves one to another...preferring one ye holy....and on and on? I am guilty of all of these things.

A "jumpy" Christian is not stable, and like that old lantern light and my legs, they can be unpredictable, dangerous, and not very functional to the body of Christ.

So...every time my legs get jumpy, I want it to be a physical reminder for me to check my heart and life and make sure they aren't jumpy too!

"A double minded man is unstable in all his ways." James 1:8

"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord." I Corinthians 15:58