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! 🙂


A Year of Smiles – Day 196

Reason to SMILE #196: HEAVEN

My Nana used to tell me a story from when I was very young. I hadn’t started walking, yet, though it was long past the developmental stage when I should have. I would watch other children, my brothers and sister, running, jumping and playing and I longed to be able to do the same. “Want walk,” I’d cry to my Nana. She would grab me up and place me in a bouncy swing where my feet were able to touch the ground and the swing held my weight just enough for me to feel as though I was walking. “How you’d smile and laugh in that swing,” my Nana would say.

I finally walked to the surprise of my doctors. And I am still surprising the doctors today. When reviewing my muscle disorder and my scoliosis, a later development, the doctors are astonished that I get around as well as I do. I’m sure God laughs every time he hears their words of amazement. To me, their words are surreal for I realize the severity of my situation but stand in awe of how God has blessed me all these years.

As I grow older and have neglected to care for this body I’ve been given, I feel the effects of my muscle disorder more and more every day. I find it harder to walk from point A to point B. And as I am walking, I find that I have to keep reminding myself to pick up my feet so I won’t trip and fall. Simple things like carrying groceries or lifting books are becoming more difficult and I certainly can’t carry these things up stairs. It’s hard enough to carry me. All of the difficulties our bodies experience with age seem to be augmented by my muscle disorder and I find myself dwelling on the problems instead of on the blessings. It’s a struggle.

But one day, this physical body of mine will be no more. I will no longer struggle to climb a staircase or worry that I may be pushed down in a crowd or be embarrassed because I cannot stand up from a seated position without extra help. I won’t be concerned with how others perceive my labored and waddling gait or whether my clothing has successfully hidden my body imperfections caused by my scoliosis. None of that will matter because I will one day be made whole. You better believe that I am looking forward to that day!

But until then, I search for ways to SMILE to keep me from dwelling on my problems. I hold on to the promise that I am fearfully and wonderfully made and that God can use all things, even my disability, even my physical abnormalities, for something good… for His good. I only have to keep my ears closed to the lies of Satan who constantly tells me I have limits that will prevent me from an abundant and happy life. I have to keep my eyes open to the opportunities God places before me to use my God-given talents and skills to make a difference in this world and open to the blessings He gives me every day. And I must hold on to the hope of heaven where there’ll be no more tears, no more sorrow and no more pain, where I’ll stand perfect in the presence of my Creator.

Yeah. I can’t wait for that heavenly SMILE!