A Little Girl Lost

Archive for the ‘depression’ Category

I Begged God

I remember the first person I saw in a wheelchair. I was at the doctor’s office for my kindergarten physical. Who was in the wheelchair? My doctor. He’d had Polio as a child. 

Then, there was Dale, a young man who slobbered and walked funny. He taught me to dance the two-step. He had Cerebral Palsy. At the time, I didn’t know the diseases nor did I know they were disabled. They were my friends.

In seventeen years as a nurse, I saw a multitude of persons with physical disabilities. Some had accepted their disability and functioned well in society, like my childhood friends. Others hadn’t. They were angry and depressed.

In 1991, an automobile accident injured my spinal cord paralyzing me from my shoulders down. Three months into an ICU stay, my neurosurgeon spoke to Earl. “Mr. Dickerson, she’ll be bedridden, ventilator-dependent and have brain damage. You’re too young to be saddled with an invalid wife. We can let her die comfortably.”

Earl remembered his wedding vows, “…in sickness and in health as long as you both shall live.” Earl chose life for me and arranged my transfer to a spinal cord injury (SCI) rehabilitation hospital in Atlanta, Georgia.

Once stable, off the ventilator, and using a power wheelchair I went to the gym for therapy. My neighbors and I sat in wheelchairs and struggled to feed ourselves. We encouraged each other. I fit in.

Back home no one was like me. Strangers and friends patted my shoulder and called me a “poor thing.” Many stared, ignored, yelled or treated me as a child. I became angry and depressed.

I begged God to heal my spinal cord injury or at least my hands. Nothing. I turned to God’s Word through Bible study and read about Paul’s “thorn in his flesh”.

God’s call for me is to be Christ-centered and bold in my faith as I share what He has done for me. My disability continues but I am a healed child of God first and forever for “By His Stripes, We are Healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)

Henri J. M. Nouwen described this type of ministry in his book, “The Wounded Healer.” Stephen Seamands, Professor of Christian Doctrine at Asbury Seminary, and author of “Wounds That Heal,” told me, “His wounds have healed you. Now He’s using your wounds to heal others.”

“‘I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me’” (2 Corinthians 7-10 NIV).

“He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5 NIV).

In Christ,
Berta
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Taking Up My Cross


For ten or fifteen years after my injury, I still woke up each day and attempted to turn over. Then I would remember, “Oh. I’m paralyzed.” I hated remembering. Depression set in. I would not accept this broken body.

Yet, I continued to live. Angry, I lashed out at my family. Embarrassed, I wanted to stay home. I feigned sleep to avoid conversations.
It took many years for me to grow into this new state of being. Physical therapy and strength training helped me adjust.
It took many more years for me to believe I could be useful to God. Love and Christian encouragement taught me to trust God.
I no longer dread waking up. I have adjusted my mind’s eye to see my body as whole and healed. My body is God’s temple. Its shape and physical ability do not matter. What is important is my faith and willingness to let God speak through me.
Crucified with Him that day more than 2,000 years ago, I no longer live. But Christ lives in me. He died for me. His blood covers all my sin. He delivered me from sin and death. I am forgiven.
What cross am I picking up each day? Christian ministry.
I live as a child of God in active ministry with you. I write and you read my devotions. We call, email, text and talk. We encourage and pray for each other. I tell people about my Savior where ever I go.
I pray that people will see and hear Jesus in me each day and they would know I belong to God.
If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him . . . take up his cross (Matthew 16:24)
In Christ,
Berta

Friends, Please share this devotion with your friends. 

A Plan I Didn’t Want


Many people have told me, “I don’t think I could ever live like you.” What they mean is live paralyzed, in a wheelchair.
I’d heard it said, “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.” 


As I began my spiritual journey, I had no thought that God’s plan for me would include a wheelchair.
I had eight awesome months of spiritual growth between my acceptance of Jesus and the automobile accident that injured my spinal cord. My life was full. I was happy. Not every day was great, but every day was good – because I loved Jesus.
After my injury, I recovered.
I recovered physically through surgery and rehabilitation. I recovered after years of depression that delayed my spiritual recovery because God loved me in my self-hatred and questions of why. I recovered spiritually because God had a unique and special purpose for me.
I began to share Jesus in small steps seven years after my injury. I testified by handing out a piece of paper with two-hundred and fifty words printed on it. I only taught Sunday school once a month for fear I would teach something wrong.
My first try at leading a Bible study failed. My first prayer group went from eleven women and Jesus to me and Jesus in just five weeks. My amplified voice could barely be heard at my first conference.
God has a plan for me and He has one for you. Thankfully, most people won’t have to live paralyzed – but some will. For those who do, and for all, I pray they know the joy and the love of their Lord and savior, Jesus.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV).
God has a wonderful plan for your life.
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. May He bless you as well.

Bear One Another’s Burdens…

When Earl married me, he adopted our daughter, Kari; and his father adopted me. We are family. This is a prime example of God’s family: If you belong to Jesus, and I belong to Jesus, you are my brother or sister. And family, I need you to pray.
 
 
I know you already pray for Earl and me, but I’m asking you today to pray specifically for our health. Most of you are aware of my pressure sore and the long battle we’ve been fighting to get it healed. During this battle, I have become physically weak, spiritually dry, and emotionally lonely.
 
I miss being with my small groups (United Methodist Women, Crosstalk Sunday school class, W.I.S.E. –Women’s Inspirational Study Experience—etc.) in fellowship and in ministry. Ministry that I believe God called me to. Likewise, this situation is affecting Earl.
 
I need healing prayer for my mind, body, soul and spirit. I’ve gone through deep valleys of depression, anger, and self-pity and I don’t want to go back there again. Sing God’s praise and pray for His strength to carry Earl and me through this trial that we may able to minister in His name.
 
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2 ESV).
 
“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven” (Matthew 18:19 NIV).
 
Will you pray with me now? Father, we thank you for the gifts of family, fellowship, and Christian community where we can reach out in troubled times. Help us to live in Your love and grace; gifts we cannot earn because You give them freely. Thank You for the Blood that washes us white as snow and the salvation it represents. Send Your Holy Spirit to heal Your people. In Jesus name, Amen
 
In Christian Love,
Berta
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