Sunday, July 26, 2009

Celebrating the Little Things

Yesterday I went for a swim in the pool at my apartment complex. This wasn't the first time I have been in a pool since my accident, but it had been a while. I had called a friend and left her a voice mail to let her know what I was doing. Later in the afternoon she called me and asked how my swim went. I don't think I sounded overly excited about the "five laps" that I had swam. Debby's response was different: "You swam five laps!" (There may have even been a 'congratulations' in there.)

Congratulations for swimming five laps?! Yes, because it is basically a miracle that I can swim at all. One of my therapists shared with me recently that I am comparing my recovery to 'before' my accident, not since my accident. Before my accident I, at times, could swim a mile - a few more laps than five! But, since my accident, my leg is healing and getting stronger and I am able to swim FIVE LAPS, as of yesterday . . . what will next week bring?

Earlier in my recovery I was told to celebrate the little things, because the little things represent healing and progress. Since I have been feeling better, I had forgotten those important words. When I couldn't (or can't) do something that I often could before my accident, I get disappointed and frustrated, instead of celebrating.

Debby, thanks for the reminder and the encouragement.

Do you have something to celebrate today? Don't be ashamed or embarrassed. Go for it!



Wednesday, July 15, 2009

One In A Million!

On Monday I read an article by Lee Woodruff in Parade Magazine. Lee is the wife of Bob Woodruff, who was the anchor of ABC news. Bob suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) while covering a story in Iraq. I read a terrific book, In An Instant, by the Woodruffs regarding Bob's injury. I was encouraged by the book, as I, too, suffered a TBI a year ago.

In the article, it states that 1.4 million people in the USA suffer a brain injury every year. That does not include the over 300,000 veterans who have suffered TBI's in Iraq and Afghanastan. The article mentions some dramatic medical breakthroughs in this area. Praise God for the progress being made, as I am a recipient of the tremendous progress that has been made. My recovery is still in process, but the progress I have made is astounding. In fact, I am just beginning to grasp how serious my injury was and the incredible recovery I have been blessed with. God has been so good to me.

I am grateful for the doctors, nurses, therapists, and other medical personnel who have been used in my healing and recovery. I also have a tremendous friend network/community that has been an incredible blessing: taking care of me, watching out for me, cheering me on, and sticking with me. I know there have been times that I haven't acted like I needed help or have been a very good "recoverer." (If that is even a word.) But I am grateful.

Articles such as Lee's give me and the other TBI sufferers hope. It is a long journey and to know that progress continues to be made gives encouragement to keep pressing on. And thanks to all of you who are those encouragers to me and the other 1.4 million.


Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Prodigal God

I began reading an incredible book this week - "The Prodigal God" by Timothy Keller. If you haven't heard of it or read it, I'd encourage you to get yourself a copy. Dr. Keller is one of this year's speakers at the Leadership Summit, so it is good preparation material, if you're attending the conference. Plus, it is a good book!

You may or may not be familiar with the story/parable in the Bible regarding the prodigal son. Dr. Keller "uses one of the best-known Christian parables to reveal an unexpected message of hope and salvation." 

I've been encouraged, amazed, challenged and extended hope. It is a book that I needed to read.

God is a God of hope, of grace, of love, of truth, of forgiveness, of life-change . . . changing our lives from the inside out (though often using outside factors) to continue to transform our lives to be more like Jesus.

The accident that I am in recovery from is an "outside factor" that God is using to change my life. Just this morning, I think for the first time, in my prayers I thanked God for this accident. I haven't been thankful for this accident, because to me the results have been quite an inconvenience and pain (sometimes a literal pain). How can one be thankful for such a bad thing?

One can be thankful because God can, and does, bring good things out of bad situations. It is an opportunity to experience God's faithfulness to His promises: being in control, love, strength, grace, healing, provision, care, etc.

In my mind, things at times have seemed out of control and taking too long. God's timing is often different than our own. God often times has a different plan that is connected in the circumstances He has us walking through. God is a good and a loving God - that is WHO HE IS - therefore I can trust Him to be good and loving to me, even when it may not always look that way through my eyes. But if I look at these things through eyes of faith and God's words to me through the Scriptures, then I can obtain a much better perspective, an accurate perspective.

That doesn't mean it isn't hard or challenging, but throughout the process God is faithfully with us. He does not abandon His children. It enables us to represent Him to a world that is in desperate need of Him - to extend love, hope, grace and forgiveness.

In the early 1990's, my mother heard the message of the prodigal son through a speaker by the name of Billy Graham. I know my mom was familiar with the story, but that evening in particular, my mom responded to the message Dr. Graham shared, and she decided to become a follower of Jesus that evening. I don't remember the words Dr. Graham communicated, but that doesn't matter. The words were full of hope, grace and love to my mother who now is spending eternity with her Savior.