An Abundance of Challenges (November 9, 2014)

God has seen fit to provide me with an abundance of challenges this past month.  My doctor told me I have osteopenia, the precursor to osteoporosis.  Exercise is a good antidote to this condition, but since I must use a wheelchair, weight-bearing exercise is difficult for me.  And my current insurance plan will not allow me any water therapy benefits.

Then, of course, I lost my long-term service dog and companion Jake.  Even though I knew it was coming, it was devastating.  Jake knew what I needed before I did.  And even though he lived a long, healthy life, I couldn’t help but feel that I let him down at the end.  I feel grateful that we have a very caring veterinarian, who cared for him very lovingly, and returned his ashes in a lovely carved wooden box.

Two weeks later I learned I have Stage III Kidney Disease, caused, it is believed, by the medications used to treat my diabetes and arthritis.  I have been off the anti-inflammatories for over a year (and been in a good deal of pain because of it).  I have always maintained tight control of my blood sugar.  Now it appears the medications that were supposed to help me have instead damaged my kidneys.

My husband and I are trying to figure out how to live with a very restricted diet, and revising my medications and supplements.  And for one of the few times in my life I am depressed.  People have always commented on my sunny spirit, but this has hit me hard.  Or it did until I received an e-mail from Tanzania.

I sponsor a little girl in a nursery school there, and my candidacy mentor does as well.  She mentioned my troubles to the director, and Francis reminded me that God has a purpose for everything that happens to us.  Does that mean that God is a sadist, or has bad plans for us?  No.  But I have found that every time something bad has happened to me, something good has come from it.  I just have to trust and be patient.

When I first had to use a wheelchair, I didn’t see the blessing.  But I found I was able to minister to others in wheelchairs.  I had a better understanding of people with disabilities.  And in time, with God’s help, I could accept my situation with joy.  I trust that will happen again.  Right now I am still in pain, and in shock.  But I am not alone.  And neither are you.  We are all God’s beloved, well-cared-for no matter what our circumstances.

Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

Dear Loving God, We thank you when things go well, and when they challenge us.  We know that for all the hard times that befall us, we are never alone, and for that we thank you.  We are grateful that you forgive us our doubts and weakness, and reach out to us when we are afraid.  “You alone are my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall never be shaken.”  (Psalm 62:2)  Amen


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