Faith like a Wheelchair: 2017 in Review

One of my undergrad professors once remarked, “Some say faith is just a crutch, but the truth is faith is a wheelchair.” I never quite understood that until 2017.

As I scroll through my social media feeds this last day of 2017, everyone is posting their “Best Nine of the Year.” Its the top nine moments that have perhaps been the most memorable, monumental, or painful in the past year. Yesterday, as I scrolled through my own posts attempting to pinpoint which of the nine images stood out most, my mind came to settle on one alone. My grandfather’s wheelchair.

I have shared in a previous post that I have prayed for one word to serve sort of as a theme for the year. This year was surrender. Standing now at the end of the year, looking back, I see just how prominent the thread of surrender was throughout 2017.

I never could have imagined the twists and turns these twelve months would contain. Friendships ending while others beginning. Opportunities to speak and to travel. Finishing the first year of my Master’s program. Celebrating my birthday for what I thought would be the first time alone, but then being surprised with my first surprise party ever. Going to Disney World.  My world coming to a screeching halt as I hear the word “cancer” aimed at my grandfather. Our roof being torn off by Hurricane Irma. Walking with my grandparents through radiation treatments and roof repairs. Becoming a primary caregiver. Questioning where tuition money would come from. Witnessing the Lord’s provision. Being led through a corn maze by a toddler. Painting myself Wicked Witch of the West green for Halloween. Watching in horror as my hometown was ravaged by the Sutherland Springs tragedy.  Then two weeks later being there myself, grateful to be with my own family, but aching for those who could not this Thanksgiving. Dressing up as a Christmas tree. Writing a 20 page paper in under 48 hours. My baby brother getting engaged to the girl of his dreams. Being with all of my family once more for one of the most emotional Christmases, yet the one I have been most fully present for in my entire life.It’s been a crazy year to say the least.

There were many moments where I felt overwhelmed. Countless times every ounce of strength was tested. Endless amounts of tears and weeping. All resulting in exasperated surrender, flinging myself down upon the altar. Down on that wheelchair.

When my grandfather’s journey with cancer began back in August, I was terrified by the thought of him in a wheelchair. I hoped it would only be temporary, but it is still with us. At the beginning it was frustrating for all of us, learning how to navigate it through the hallways of our home, around furniture, and in and out of doors. The increased amount of dependence was a whole new ball game for all of us. There were collisions and crashes. Long nights and long days. Scuffed up doorways. Spilled bowls. But in time, we got it.

We forged new routes, increased speeds, designed new systems, made new routines. Our patience grew. Our love deepened. Grace was amply shown. Laughter helped cut through the tears. Our community showed us love and support and pierced through what could have been pitch black darkness. In time he came steadily more independent, at least around the house.

Then we encountered a new level of dependency. When it came time to go out beyond the house we faced more challenges. How to get the wheelchair out the door and down the steps. How to put the chair into the car, then get it back out. How to get from the car to the door.  We needed even more help.

But again help came.  A ramp was built. Volunteers appeared who could lift and stow the chair. Drivers drove to treatments and back. Yet another system and routine were devised. We became a bit more independent.

When the time came to wean off the chair and onto a walker, then to crutches, and then to crutch, and hopefully entirely unassisted, we are relearning dependence. It always starts off with a bit of frustration. Some aggravation. An occasional trip or two. Maybe one or two things knocked over. It can be a bit painful. Definitely humbling. Far from easy. But as we do so, our relationship has grown. Individually, we each have grown.

The wheelchair has been quite the teacher.

Looking back, now I see where I spiritually have fallen into that wheelchair time and time again. I have attempted to push through closed doors and around tight corners on my own strength. Resulting in scuff marks on my heart and jammed up hands. When I let Him guide me through to new paths, it became easier and my strength began to grow. In time, He spurred me onto the next level, growing me beyond the walls I became accustomed to. It has required more trust, more dependence, more patience, and a whole heapin’ heck of a lot of grace. {I am one hard-headed, stubborn, strong-willed, young lady.}

By no means, do I have this figured out. Unfortunately, more often than not I want to take control of the wheels again and go back to the old pathway and do it on my own. It only ends with me burnt out, angry, and lots of tears. But in those moments where I finally render control, take my hands off the wheels, and let Him push, the load becomes much lighter.

I have no clue what 2018 will hold. Perhaps it will bring more challenges than 2017. Perhaps not. Either way, I know as long as I am not pushing, it is bound to be beautiful.

Happy New Year, Brave Heart and Beloved. May it be filled with adventures, laughter, tears, peace, grace, and love. Most of all, May the Lord God Almighty push you through it all.

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Callie Sorrow

A beloved, redeemed nomad who dreams dreams far too large to accomplish on her own. Lover of Laughter. Food Fanatic. People are my Passion.

One thought on “Faith like a Wheelchair: 2017 in Review”

  1. This is beautiful. Sometimes the difference between a blessing and a curse is how you look at it. I fought to stay out of a wheelchair until I literally could not walk at all. I saw it as giving up and being weak. Once I accepted it, I could see how much it improves my life. God didn’t make me completely well again, but He did give me a way to stay mobile and be able to go places with my husband and son. I didn’t deserve the hard stuff, but I don’t deserve the good stuff either. It’s like in Job when he said “shall we accept good at the hands of God and not bad?”. He knows what I need even if I don’t. I wish you and your family the best.

    Like

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