It was Supposed to be a Three Hour Tour

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Recently my family and I began watching Gilligan’s Island because our daughter was wondering what old shows were like in the ancient days of the 1960’s. She ended up loving it.  I began pondering how it must have felt for the characters to realize that their three hour tour now had a different ending from what they had planned. Each of them had to find a new normal in his or her life (though the Howells and Ginger seemed overly prepared for a three hour tour since they never ran out of clothes to wear or tools to use…but that is a whole other story).

Life is a series of new “normals”. Some new normals are exciting…getting married, having children. Some new normals are challenging…new jobs or careers, new homes in new unknown neighborhoods, new school or college (and did I mention getting married and having children?) .  Some new normals are difficult, and we wish we could go back to our old normals, such as when there is a divorce, a loved one dies, or a chronic disease starts to get worse and take up more of one’s abilities or feelings of wellness.

I have had many new normals over the years. Many of them wonderful: getting married, many great years as a teacher, and also having my beautiful daughter. Others have been challenging from chronic pain due to accidents (both car and falls), chronic dizziness from inner ear problems, and from losing physical strength slowly over the years. Each time a difficult new normal is entered the first impulse is to flee, to give up, to cry and scream. Slowly, over time, we begin to adapt to our new normals. We learn new ways of doing things, new ways to cope, new ways to feel normal again.  I am beginning to transition into a new normal. My arms don’t work as they used to and it is time to start thinking or planning for moving independently without my feet (I.e. wheelchair use for part time). I can no longer lift my arms without difficulty which makes putting things away in cupboards, and even washing my hair well, a challenge. And, if you have ever seen me get out of chairs, I use my arms as much as my legs in order to stand up. Even this is getting more and more difficult. For awhile, I found myself wishing I could do things like my normal old self used to do: walk without a cane, get up quickly from a chair (okay not as quickly as the average Joe), and clean the house without pain. Thankfully, I am stubborn ( though not always good for my husband). I am determined to find new ways to get out of chairs, new ways to do housework, new ways to be independent as well as new ways to ask for help. Above all my faith has always gotten me out of the tough spots and it will continue to do so.

Eventually, my new normal will become just normal.

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”~ Phil. 4:12

What is your new normal? A new job? A lost relationship? An overwhelming illness? A lost loved one? Whatever your new normal is don’t give up in despair. Find friends or loved ones you can lean on who will listen to you, encourage you and perhaps, most importantly, just sit with you. And although we may not be able to go back to our old normal…the new normal will eventually have beautiful moments just like the old normal.

Strength

I often sit and watch runners run on the pavement as though their bodies were made out of strechy silly putty. Their moves seem effortless. I have always wanted that effortlessness. Or I watch the body builder on TV show off his rugged, slightly overgrown arm muscles and think about all the things those arms can lift…or perhaps even crush. Or when I simply see a mom pick up her child as though she only weighs a few ounces…I wonder what it would be like to be able to carry my daughter with such ease.
My body has always behaved more like a soggy wet noodle rather than the strong pliable rocky bodies that I watch running down the street, riding their bikes, or surfing on the waves. Physical strength is something I have been lacking since I was a young child of 5. I was diagnosed with a rare disorder (I am not fond of the word disease) called limb girdle muscular dystrophy. I have never been able to run or jump and climbing stairs has always been like climbing a mountain…a lot of work and effort. I was a fairly good walker though and always used it to my advantage even though I waddled like a duck. And all muscular dystrophies are progressive which basically means my muscles will get worse. Over the years of longing for and seeking after strength, I have discovered that strength is much deeper than physical strength. Strength comes when one does not give up even when things look bleak. Strength comes when someone tells you you can’t and yet you do. But perhaps most of all, strength comes when you admit to yourself you can’t do everything…and that in itself is okay.
Many of the strongest people I know are not the strongest physically or most powerful. Each of them is often behind the scenes doing what she is called to do. One of them is always ready for whatever comes her way and is always ready to help others. One of them recently tackled cancer and its possible reoccurrence, not fearless (being afraid does not make one weak), but with a determination that whatever happened she would tackle it head on. One of them always has the right words to encourage others at just the right time. And these are just a few of the strong and courageous people I know.
The scriptures are full of verses on strength. 2 Corinthians 12:10 says, “For when I am weak, then I am strong”. This sounds backwards but when we are not able…He is able. When we are weak…He is strong. Obviously, this means more than just physical weakness. It also includes being weak in spirit. Allowing ourselves to realize on our own we are often unable to accomplish all that life has for us (that little thing we admit to ourselves is okay). Because when we allow God to be our strength we are able to be; to do; to accomplish all that He has planned for us. This is something I am still practicing and learning how to do well but I can say for certain that it works.
I hope each day to wake up and be able to say though I am weak…I am strong.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” Philippians 4:13

Welcome

I have decided to try my hand at blogging. I might not always have a lot to say, and much of it may sound like blah blah blah or yadda yadda yadda, but my hope is that a few of my words may inspire and encourage.

I am a mom; a long over 30 year old young lady that loves to laugh at any good comedy; loves to eat pizza; lives with a chronic progressive disability, limb girdle muscular dystrophy since childhood; who, above all else,  loves and follows Christ.

I hope you will follow me on my journey.