Happiness in Imperfection

Wonderfully Made

She walked in the room and looked down at me. I wasn’t surprised by her serious expression nor was I surprised by her remarks.

“Your pics are bad,” she reported. She glanced over at my husband and reiterated, “They’re bad.”

I simply nodded my head in agreement for even though I had not seen what she had, I knew her assessment was correct. She was my doctor, after all.

No, the pics she was reviewing were not head shots for my blog (although I could use a new one of those!). The pictures to which my doctor was referring were x-rays of my spine.

When life gives you Lemons…

Lemons and Grace

My scoliosis was detected in my preteen years. I was no stranger to physical malady, however. I had been living with a genetic muscle disorder all of my life. Scoliosis was just another lemon to add to the pitcher. But I have to tell you, these lemons were pretty rotten. How do you make the best of a muscle disorder that prevents you from living a “normal” life and a spinal condition that disfigures your body and promises even greater complications in the future?

Grace. My only answer is Grace.

God’s sufficient Grace

The way I see it, my life has been one big miracle. From walking when the neurologists said it wasn’t possible to roller skating, bike riding and tree climbing, a diagnosis didn’t seem to stop me. The typical activities of children were challenges that I faced with the love and support of family and friends. Some activities were (and still are) more challenging than others, like climbing a flight of stairs (Check out my post about the stairs of life here.), but I did it. I pushed myself to live a “normal” life. None of it was normal, though. I had to learn to compensate my weaknesses with my strengths. I had to take advantage of railings or whatever was available (including people) to pull me along or assist in climbing or getting up after a frequent fall. I had to adapt to make it through life. It hasn’t been easy and I know that if it weren’t for God’s grace…

Well, I try not to think about that.

God’s Work on Display

My Weakness

So, here I am, a few decades down the road from its first detection, and I find myself facing the inevitable. The scoliosis has progressed along with all of its lovely side effects – deformity, labored mobility and pain. I’ve been ignoring it, telling myself that it’s my norm. The reality is I didn’t want to admit that I needed medical help. It’s discouraging to face my imperfections and dependence head on (Have I ever talked with you about my stubbornness? 😉 ) but I’m doing my best to keep it all in perspective. (Really, I am.)

You see, I don’t believe I was cursed. I don’t believe God gave these problems to me. None of us are perfect. We all have something in our lives that makes us feel abnormal whether we admit it or not. What I do believe is that God can use my medical issues to display His mighty works. In fact, as I look at all He has enabled me to accomplish, in my physical growth and in every area of my life, I realize His Grace has always been shining brightly in me, through me and around me as a miraculous beacon of hope – a hope that will carry me through all that is to come.

Finally, Lemonade!

Since I began this post, I have had my first visit (in 18 years) with a chiropractor. He showed me my x-rays and as I already mentioned, my doctor was right. It’s not good. (I’d show them to you but that’d be taking transparency a little bit too far, don’t you think? 😉 )

On the bright side, though, I have learned that I am the topic of conversation throughout the entire doctor’s office. It seems I’ve presented them with a case unlike they have ever seen. In the words of the chiropractor, “There is no textbook for [me].” Well, what d’ya know! I’m one of a kind.

Now how’s that for lemonade! 🙂


What to Do When You’re Stuck in an Office with a Crazy Man

“I’m going to lunch,” my co-worker called as she headed out the door.

“Wait! Don’t leave me!” I screamed silently to myself while I smiled and said “OK”.

You see, I was trapped. Just minutes before my co-worker left for lunch, a client walked into my office to deliver a document. His visits are never short. He likes to talk. And there I was with a deadline to meet, no one else in the office, the phones ringing off the hook and a crazy man standing in my office telling me his life story.

I didn’t know what to do. I was trying to be nice and listen to the guy but all I could think about was getting him out of my office. What could possibly have been going through my co-worker’s mind when she decided to leave me in the office all alone with this strange man? Seriously. What if he tried to attack me or something? It’s not like I could get away. He was standing in the doorway and all of the windows are covered with bars. I was stuck – listening.

So, I listened for fifty long minutes. I listened to his current problems (that’s why he was in a lawyer’s office). I listened to his past problems. I listened to his list of accomplishments – some I’m sure were real and some I’m pretty confident were an exaggeration. I heard tales of his teen years, his young adult life, of lost love, of a broken family, his job situation and his medical history. I heard it all. And I smiled and nodded at all the right moments while secretly hoping each story would be his last.

It was about the twenty-five minute mark, however, when I realized why I was stuck all alone with this man. In the course of his tale-telling, he recounted several occasions when he found himself facing death and miraculously escaping. As he claimed the grace of God as the reason for being alive today, I could feel my heart in my throat.

“Ah!” I thought, “That’s why I’m here. That’s why he’s standing there. I need to ask this man if he knows Jesus.”

I had to butt into his dialogue but I finally was able to ask him if he attended church anywhere.

“I’m a member of three churches,” he stated and then continued by sharing his opinion of pastors and of other believers.

I had lost control of the conversation once more, so I tried again.

“Have you ever given your life to Jesus?” I interjected.

“Everyday,” was his reply.

It was a good answer from a man who knew how to talk a good talk but I knew in my heart that this man needed a relationship with the Savior. His stories and the details of his life were the gleaming evidence of that fact.

Our conversation was cut short, though, when someone finally arrived back at the office. But before our time together ended, a time I now wish had been extended, I did my best to offer this man hope.

“As many times as you have walked away from death, “I encouraged, “Surely, God must have something very special planned for your life.”

To that, he thoughtfully responded, “But when is it going to happen?”

We are surrounded by people who need to know Jesus. They come in and out of our lives on a daily basis but we often miss the opportunity to share the Gospel because we’re preoccupied. We have our own agendas and our own lives to live. We simply don’t have the time. Or is it that we don’t want to take the time?

What if, today, we made up our minds to share Jesus with everyone we meet? What if we acknowledged everyone that crossed our paths and told them all how much God loves them? What if we told these people that the something special they are seeking could happen right now, this very moment? What an impact we could make in our world! Oh, but wait. That’s right. We have deadlines. We have our own worries. We have our reservations and presumptions. We don’t have the time to sit down, to talk or to listen.

The man who was standing in the doorway of my office, talking my ear off and preventing me from finishing my work needs Jesus. He has a longing for something special in his life. I wasted twenty-five minutes resenting my co-worker and wishing this man would stop talking so I could get on with my day. And even though I was able to get in a few pointed questions, I can only imagine what God could have done with those extra twenty-five minutes!

So, what do you do when you’re stuck in an office with a crazy man who loves to talk? You listen and when he takes a breath, jump in and share the Love of Jesus.