Did you know that national spinal-cord injury statistics indicate that most spinal injuries occur on the last Saturday of July? Hey, that's today! And it's why whenever children tour our Joni and Friends International Disability Center, I remind them never to dive in shallow water (and always swim with a buddy).
Today is a pretty special one for me -- it was 43 years ago today that I took that dive into shallow water which broke my neck. Some may find it strange to commemorate a tragic event, but I look at it differently. Over the years, God has used my wheelchair to spawn an incredible ministry to people with disabilities and their families around the world.
Ken and I were all set to head down to UCLA yesterday to meet with the 'integrative oncologist' and learn all about nutritional and homeopathic supports for cancer recovery, BUT...
In her recent get-well card to me, my friend Sandy from Texas wrote three stanzas of the hymn "All the Way My Savior Leads Me" -- my favorite goes, "All the way my Savior leads me, cheers each winding path I tread; gives me grace for every trial, feeds me with his heavenly bread. When my weary steps may falter, and my soul a-thrist may be; gushing from the Rock before me, Lo! A spring of joy I see!"
As you may know, I have struggled with pain as a result of living more than four decades in my wheelchair as a quadriplegic. But whenever my spirits start to deflate, I think of young Amanda Ebersole who has cerebral palsy (and who recently underwent back surgery to correct her scoliosis). Amanda’s twin sister is Jessica – they are the daughters of Jon Ebersole, our Director of U.S. Field Services at Joni and Friends. I'm grateful for the example of Amanda and Jessica – they may be teenagers, but their love for Jesus and their commitment to showcase His grace in their lives is topnotch!
John Bunyan once wrote, “Conversion is not the smooth, easy-going process some men seem to think. It is wounding work, this breaking of the hearts; but without wounding there is no saving... Where there is grafting there is a cutting, the [thin, young branch] must be let in with a wound; to stick it onto the outside or tie it on with a string would be of no use. Heart must be set to heart and back to back, or there will be no sap from root to branch, and this I say, must be done by a wound.”
C.H. Spurgeon once wrote, "The church is not as an association for mutual admiration and comfort; the church is an army gathered to be trained for war, marching to the fray to achieve victories for Christ, to storm the strongholds of the foe, and to add province after province to the Redeemer's kingdom."
I could hear you rejoicing with me at the great news we received yesterday that my scans show no indication of metastacized cancer -- praise the Lord for His protection! I will still have to undergo treatment...
Okay, so you know I'm singing lots of hymns as of late. Humming them... whistling... playing harmony in my head... singing them in the chapel here at the International Disability Center at the end of the day -- you name it, I'm singing it.