A Little Girl Lost

Archive for the ‘prayer’ Category

The Caregiver Becomes Invisible


When Earl first heard about my wreck, he prayed that I would live, “…as long as she is Berta.” Two months later my neurosurgeon told Earl, “If she lives she’ll be brain damaged, ventilator-dependent, and bedridden for life.”
The doctor told Earl, “You are too young to be stuck with an invalid wife.” Then he offered some simple things that could be withheld to allow me to die quickly but comfortably.
In that moment, God replayed in Earl’s mind the oath he swore on our wedding day. In the voice of Reverend John Jones, he heard “…in sickness and in health, forsaking all others, keeping thee only unto her, so long as you both shall live.”
Without hesitation, in his spirit, Earl said, “I do.”
Earl chose life for me that day and has been my primary caregiver for twenty-three years. He has done everything and more than expected.
Earl has a super power. He is a child of God. He relies on his Christian faith to get us through each day. So often, we pray for renewed strength, rest and peace in our spirits.
Wherever we go, people watch me, the disabled one. But, few talk to Earl as a caregiver.
“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant!’” (Matthew 25:21 NIV).
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.
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Because Of a Wheelchair

It took years for me to adjust to my new life. Paralyzed from my shoulders down with minimal use of my arms, I sat in a large black power wheelchair and stood out in a crowd.  People stared and I often overheard them talking about me. “What’s she doing here?” “What does she want?” “She can’t sit there.”  Many said they were sorry I had to be in a wheelchair while still others yelled at me as if I couldn’t hear. Most people just walked around me. In my pain, I withdrew and hid behind veiled eyes.

Until one day, someone asked me to teach a Sunday school class. I didn’t want to do it, but God wouldn’t let me go. I accepted knowing He would be my strength. That single invitation gave me the courage to step out of my uncomfortable-comfort zone and speak up about the healing love of God’s presence in my life. My disability opened many doors for ministry; the wheelchair however, couldn’t go through all of them.

Buildings with narrow doorways, steps or other barriers set physical limits to my ministry while much of society continued to shun me. As I took a stand for Christ’s sacrifice “for the least of these” word of my ministry spread and I found I could be both a minister of the gospel and an advocate for persons with disabilities.

I prayed for healing from past hurts and God gave me an incredible ministry. God’s call may not be a “dream come true” but if you’ll accept it, He will bless you through it.

Father, it is my prayer that you would work through me, and use my disability to open doors and share your word everywhere I go.

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are (disabled), but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12 NIV).

In Christian Love,

Berta
 

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

Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread

One morning several years ago, my friend Tonya came to my home to get me up. Everything was going well until she reached for my rings. My anniversary band was there but my emerald ring wasn’t.  Panic! It wasn’t that the ring was costly but it was sentimental, a gift from my husband.

We looked everywhere: the floor, the shower, my bed. Tonya put me back in bed and partially disassembled my wheelchair to search for my ring. Nothing.

“Oh God, where is my ring?” I cried.

I can’t explain it, but I said, “Tonya, check the left pocket of the pants I wore yesterday.” There it was!

A few months later, my husband and I came in from a birthday celebration. As he prepared to put me in bed, he took my rings off then reached for my earrings. One was missing. Once again, we searched the bedroom and after putting me in bed, he searched my wheelchair. Nothing. I began to pray and fell asleep.

Tonya arrived the next morning and I asked her to keep her eyes open for the missing earring. Once up in my wheelchair, Tonya positioned me and I looked down. There, caught on my cup holder, was my earring.

Was praying for my lost jewelry appropriate? It wouldn’t get me into heaven. It wasn’t even a physical need. But Tonya witnessed my faith and God’s faithfulness. Soon she and her son began attending our church.

Father, I thank you for the many opportunities you give me to share my faith and your faithfulness to others. Amen

Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

*I wrote this devotion and three days later, we discovered a caregiver had stolen all my jewelry.

In Christ Alone,
Berta

The Incarnation

This Christmas was difficult. I wasn’t in the mood to celebrate. I didn’t feel joyful. I felt Heaven’s Loss.* I wept as I saw images of the incarnate Jesus wrapped in swaddling cloth and lying in a manger. Oh, the glory He left to redeem God’s creation! The burden I felt did not lift as I prayed for understanding and talked with my husband, Earl.

I sobbed more deeply than ever before as the pain reached way into my spirit. I listened to friends mourning the loss of loved ones and saw sorrow in the eyes of a sister in Christ. There were many suffering trials.

I found a quiet place where I could think, meditate and pray. It was a balm to my spirit and I remembered my return home after my injury in 1991. To allow people to care for me was very difficult. I hated that I was dependent on others. Having someone bathe and dress me, pick me up and place me in my wheelchair, then feed me made me feel helpless, like a baby. Children often asked, “Why are you in a stroller”? Adults asked, “Oh. Can I feed her?” Others said, “I’m so sorry you have to be in that wheelchair.”

I cried. I begged God to heal me.

Jesus prayed, ““My Father, if it is possible, may this cup<sup class="crossreference" value="(E)”> be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39 NIV).<sup class="crossreference" value="(F)”>

Sunday, January 1, 2011, will be the 21st anniversary of my spinal cord injury. I still can’t walk, shower, dress, etc., but my spirit knows healing. It came through faith and your ministry to me and evolved into my own ministry of healing through God’s calling and your faith and encouragement.

Today I teach about my disability and share my story and my faith wherever God opens a door.

In Christ Alone,
Berta

*Print by Ron DiCianni referred to last month.

Comment by Earl-
Incarnation, for God to be “in the flesh,” meant Jesus not only felt what we felt, HE risked what we risk. Death, disease, disability became very possible with Incarnation. Hebrews 13:3 brings home this point about you and I being incarnate, when we are advised, “Remember the prisoners as if chained with them; those who are mistreated; since you yourselves are in the body also.” (NKJV)

A Story of Forgiveness

My father was abusive when I was growing up. When he died, I wasn’t going to attend his funeral but my husband, Earl, insisted I go. Before the service, I walked back and forth from a pew to Dad’s open casket crying violently.

“Why didn’t I ever tell him how much he hurt me!”

After his funeral, I felt purged of anger and hatred toward him.

I was wrong.

Thirteen years later Earl and I attended a marriage seminar called Steps to Setting Your Marriage Free in Christ (Neil T. Anderson). Going in, we each believed we had a good marital relationship. As we worked through the many issues raised, and as we prayed and asked God to show us the truth, we found ourselves discovering things about each other as well as identifying things within ourselves.

God revealed to me a lifetime of rage, anger, hurt and unforgiveness toward my earthly father. Until then I hadn’t realized how much Dad had harmed my emotions and my spirit. The tears came again, though not violently this time. They were cleansing, relieving, and Earl cried with me. We cried for how all my anger and hatred had tarnished our marriage for thirteen years. When I forgave Daddy that day I felt a peace I had never known before.

Often we don’t recognize the unforgiveness within us. We justify our attitudes. A part of making sure our life is clean and right before God has to do with forgiving other people.

Everything we do in life has eternal value that hinges on two things: loving God and loving others. It’s hard to forgive those who have hurt, offended, or mistreated us, but God wants us to love even our enemies and in the process of doing so He perfects us.

God wants you to move into all He has for you. But, if you don’t forgive you’re stuck where you are and shutting off God’s work in your life. Forgiveness opens your heart and mind and allows the Holy Spirit to work freely in you. It releases you to love God more and feel His love in greater measure.

If you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive them their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses (Matthew 6:14-15).

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments (Matthew 22:37-40).

In Christ Alone,
Berta

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