Monday, March 31, 2008

Poem - God Speaks

Sometimes with words spoken from a friend,
Could be a repeating thought that never ends.
“Coincidence” on the surface it may seem-
When real life plays out what you dream.
Like a frayed blanket from days of old,
Comforted when you’re in its hold.
God’s presence brings a feeling secure,
Rescuing us from where we were.
-- SJW

Power

‘Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, inwardly we are being renewed day by day,’ - 2 Corinthians 4:16

God gives us the power to do his work. My mother was told I would never walk… God had different plans. The power is his. I can do nothing without his power. I am staying close to my Power Source.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Fall Season

I fell again. I’m getting very concerned. This time was in Starbucks with Amanda. I laughed to lighten the moment but she saw my red hand. She kept asking if I was alright, and insisted on walking me to my car. We had just discussed how God keeps us humble by reminding both of us that we need Him every moment of the day. I had planned to go to the tanning booth but was scared to walk anywhere. Five hours later, anxiety stirs within as I think of ‘what could happen’ when I leave the house tomorrow. I’m truly scared. As the fear elevated, Amanda called to see if I was okay. She is so intuitive to my feelings. As we discussed the issue of me falling, she confronted my insisting I will not use a walker even though I would feel much safer with one. Amanda pointed out if my falling gets worse, my friends are going to worry when they are with me… I don’t want to put my friends through that. As if reading my mind (thinking I will just isolate, apply for disability and become a true hermit), Amanda said the enemy would love to immobilize me, preventing me from interacting with others as a testimony. She’s right. And what kind of testimony will I have if I sit home and collect disability? The right thing to do is use this as a constant reminder I need God to strengthen me every step of the way. I don’t know what he has planned for me… but then again, I don’t need to know. My job is to show others His power in my life. Perhaps this is just another season… Fall Season.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Glimpse into the Mind of a Woman with Cerebral Palsy

Recently, I sent a self-pity blog to some friends regarding cerebral palsy and dating. I didn't want to disclose something so sensitive on my blog for personal reasons, yet I reevaluated my purpose for this blog - share my experiences in hopes of helping others with disabilities- and to fail to mention the tough stuff for the sake of pride would be doing my readers (both of them - HA!) an injustice. So here's what I shared, followed by a couple responses from friends:

I fell three times yesterday. Why am I falling in threes? Why am I falling at all? I know, I'm getting older... and that worries me. I'm afraid of losing my independence. I'm afraid of losing my ability to work. Between cerebral palsy and episodes of depression, working from home is becoming more of a need as opposed to desire. *God meets our needs so maybe working from home is in my near future. I also decided to relinquish my recent desire to be in a romantic relationship. There's a normal, single man I've recently become interested in. We've been casual friends, joking and talking freely, until this week. I couldn't talk to him, couldn't look him in the eye. Memories of childhood came back when I'd walk by some boys and one would tease the other, 'hey look, there's your girlfriend!' I'd feel so sorry for the kid being teased... he didn't want me as a girlfriend. I remember that. Talking to the normal, single guy became difficult because I felt the same pity for him... believing he doesn't want me as a girlfriend. Sad, but true. I know I have issues and should overcome these negative (albeit real) beliefs. But being in a relationship just isn't worth it for me. When I think about possible losing my independence as I age, I do think it'd be nice to have someone - but then again, that's even more reason to not pursue a relationship...

Just a glimpse into the mind of a woman with cerebral palsy...


don't limit what another man is willing to "take on", but I do think it's good that you're realistic, too. Just don't limit God-- you never know. Although I don't know why you'd ever want a "normal" man anyways... none of us are normal and we all still seem to have great fun together!
**************
Shelly, you are too young to be having these morbid fantasies of your demise... too young to give up, relinquish, and live as if you were dying. You can't see the future coming at you - but it will come one day at a time, and I guarantee there will be plenty of happiness.
it's gonna be OK... Uhhhh, and Jesus said not to worry.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Sweat the Small Stuff

Recent discussion with a client:

Client- Yes, I have a felony charge, but it wasn't my fault. The woman totally freaked out and called the cops when I was only playing! (after much prodding on my part, s/he explained...) I was in the back seat of a car with my buddies, and we went thru a drive-thru. Oh, I had a mask on and a gun and I aimed the gun at the lady...
Me- (after seeing how he genuinely believed I would think he was a victim) - Did you take any money?
Client- Well, yea, but I didn't ask for it... she just gave it to me so I took it.

I don't know what the client's intent was in this situation. Perhaps his/her brain damage inhibits rationalization, or s/he is simply being manipulative. A guideline of mine for years has been to look for a person's intent, including my own. Did I/he/she intend to cause pain/fear/strife? My reaction will be determined accordingly. Many times, we cannot identify one's intent, especially with people who are unfamiliar to you. (Otherwise, personality and character can be indicators.)

During my recent blogging hiatus, I had a painful but much needed revelation about my life, specifically, my character. Reflecting on life-long patterns and decisions left me filled with shame and regret. How could I have justified doing (sin) for so many years?? (I know how- I blamed others instead of taking responsibility. I played the role of a victim).

Thankfully, God's mercies are new every morning, and if we repent, he is faithful to forgive us (Proverbs. 28:13). I cried out to him for days, confessing and admitting I cannot continue in this area without Him taking charge. As a result, I have made Philippians 1:19 my compass in all that I do. If a decision/action does not bring me closer to Jesus, I am not going to do it, no matter how small and insignificant it may seem.

See, the small stuff makes up much of our character; day-to-day decisions demonstrate what's in our heart, what we believe and value. The small stuff reveals who we are.

As for my client, the judge's decision will be based on whether s/he has previous charges. What kinds of decisions did s/he make in the past? As Abraham Lincoln used to say, "Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing."

Challenge for Today- Think about how your friends would describe your character. What things do you value? What are your moral absolutes (things you will not compromise)? Compare who you are with who you want to be and develop a guideline for making decisions. Remember, your decisions with small stuff adds up. Perhaps we do need to 'sweat the small stuff"!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Finally! A Blog Entry!

Go to my main site for an entry.

No 'net ... Still

Typing this from my iPhone. Cable guy can't figure out why my Internet won't work. Everyday that passes is another day I don't blog, so I lose money 'cause I lose readers. I am sick so I can't go out to a coffee shop or anywhere with Wi-Fi. This stinks.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Poem- Giving Control

Haven't been blogging due to no internet at home... here's a poem I just wrote to tie you over:

If only I could control these feelings,
Reclaim the time this distractor's been stealing.
Gain some discipline- focus on truth!
No longer repeat the mistakes of my youth.
Knowing the answer is to simply surrender,
May be easy to say, but hard to remember.
Lord- fill up the emptiness, so nothing seeps through.
Replace what's of me with the Holiness of You.
sjw

Monday, March 10, 2008

PrideFALL

I find it interesting whenever I fall, it is in front of “important” people whose opinion of me matters. Yesterday, my hero/mentor/brother told me to look out for a screen so I don’t hit my head. Half-joking and half-defensive, I replied, “I CAN see! I can’t walk or talk, but I CAN see!” At that moment, I tripped over a cord and fell while the Worship Team sang I’m even ready to fall in the song, “Courage”. He helped me up and my shoe fell off, so when he loosened his grip, I fell again! By now, we are laughing so hard that I lost my balance for a third time AND FELL AGAIN! Did I mention this was on a stage that is broadcasted on the internet all over the world? Did I mention this was the same man who I fell behind two years ago and broke my hand?

When I focused on not hitting my head, I took my eyes off the cord that tripped me. To be more accurate, when I focused on proving I am not as ‘weak’ as perhaps I am, I took my eyes off God who strengthens me. The God who gives me what I need, when I need it whether I want it or not. In this case, he gave me humility and wisdom – rather than being humiliated (interesting how close this word is to ‘humility’) beyond belief, He blessed me with understanding my need to acknowledge limitations. It’s not even about cerebral palsy – people fall all the time. I foolishly believed I don’t need to be warned about stumbling blocks – both physical and Spiritual – and end up being blinded by pride to extraneous barriers.

Hours before my falls, I had asked God to show me ways my heart has become so embedded with worldly values that I fail to recognize sin in my life. Never did I consider ‘pride’ as an area of sin. Yet further reflection clarifies how defensive I continue to be with cerebral palsy, including how offended I was when someone mistook me for another lady with C.P. from hearing my speech. This was an honest mistake, yet it really bothered me by hurting my pride.

We may want to hide our sin from God and even ourselves, but as Proverbs 28:13 says, He who conceals his sin does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.

One final thought: When you pray the following prayer, be prepared to be enlightened! Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. – Psalm 139:23, 24.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Irritation Invitations

Do you think you’re a preacher or something? Are you trying to convert someone?
This response to my blog yesterday hurt me. Hurt me because it came from a relative. Hurt me because, well, I felt like I shared a part of me and and it was crushed. So I had a pity-party, but couldn’t find anyone to attend. People close to me know when I am confronted or challenged, I need to talk about it. I called the sender of the email but they didn’t call me back. Probably not speaking to me again. I tried talking to a coworker but he just said “Don’t cast your pearls before swine – stop sending them your blog if they don’t appreciate it!”

That isn’t the answer. Readers are going to disagree and/or make hurtful comments. I welcome honest feedback. But I want to process the feedback, learn from it, grow from it.

Thanks to a book recommended from my dear friend, I refused to stay at my pity party. In Change Your Heart, Change Your Life, Gary Smalley writes the following:
… I found Matthew 7:1-4 and reviewed it for weeks until it reached my heart and gave me a new belief about not judging others or reacting to people who irritate me… How else can we know what God wants to change about our character? Irritations are reflections of the logs in our own eyes. I now thank God for those irritations and instantly try to connect the irritation to something in my own life that needs work… I know God wants me to learn how to be in deeper submission to him. I tend to resist submitting to anyone, but how else can I be the servant God wants me to be unless I allow him to remind me through irritations?

First of all, the sender probably did not intend to hurt me. Second, if God is preparing me to be an established, published, Christian writer, I am going to need thick skin to endure criticisms and naysayers, and who better to use in preparation for this than a relative who means so much to me?

Jesus said to them, "Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor." - Mark 6:4

Challenge: When you face irritations today, consider how God may be trying to change your character instead of attending a pity party. Take it from me – no one will come to the party anyway.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Why I Blog

Sharing daily writings with close friends makes me extremely vulnerable -it’s like leaving my diary open at a party. (I do keep a personal diary –no one sees.) People (with whatever intention) want to fix my issues, give advice or critiques, etc. It’s like going on the Jerry Springer show – you are sharing your business which gives people the right to comment. Every time I hit the ‘send’ button, I anxiously wonder how my words will be received. My continual prayer is God be glorified no matter what.

Sometimes I feel like I am bragging when I share how blessed I am I – feel like I have Hanukah all year as I am always receiving unimaginable gifts. In fact, every day when I wake up, I wonder how Jesus will show himself in an undeniable way today. So I share partially because if I share the bad ‘depressing’ stuff, I need to share the joyous things as well. But mostly I share because people tell me they are blessed by witnessing my being blessed. For example, yesterday, this email from a reader/friend made my eyes watery:
This is very wonderful!! Thanks for sharing yourself this way. It’s like entering into the soul of a real believer and listening in on a conversation with God.

That is why I write. That is why I share.
I do temper who gets what, though, sending some things to only my closest friends. These things tend to be ‘all about me’ meaning I want to share because I know the recipient cares about a particular area of my life. Yesterday, I sent a few of those friends this:
Gotta share... yesterday, Amanda & I went to IKEA for me to get living room furniture. I told her in the store that I felt like God wanted me to wait since I really didn't have the money. (I still need lots of 'little' stuff - toaster, crock pot, etc.). So I only spent $20 on small things- came to work - first thing my secretary says to me this morning - her sister is selling a brand new living room set (sofa, chair) for $150!! I am sure this is the set for me - I go see it today :)

Since I did indeed get the furniture, I wanted to blog about how God rewards patience (which is truly a challenge for me) and faith in His provision. I was told I needed to register for an upcoming housewarming party, to which I objected because I don’t want gifts – I want people to see the amazing home that only God could have given me. “Okay, Shelly. Your friends are all going to give you plants then because we don’t know what you need.” I have what I need. I told myself I only have wants. As the day progressed, two different people said they wish they knew I just moved because they threw away furniture/dishes/bed frame, etc. Okay!! If you’re going to throw things away, giving it to me will let me use my finances in more productive ways. For example. if I use my money insisting I buy the things I want (toaster, crock pot, etc.) instead of accepting gifts, I steal from the money I can give to the church. I think I will go register now.

Psa. 145:15 - The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time.
Psa. 74:21 - Do not let the oppressed retreat in disgrace; may the poor and needy praise your name.
1 Peter 2:12 - Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
2 Timothy 1:7 - And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.