I did not want to go shopping yesterday! But the threat of thundershowers had past, the weather was comfortable and I knew that it would be good for both my wife and I to get out! So I asked the Lord for strength, joy and wisdom and headed out the door!
Now, I normally don’t complain about having to lug around my wife’s 75lb wheelchair and the need to delicately lift her in and out of the chair and in and out of the car, but I was sorely tempted as I maneuvered her out the kitchen door and onto the extension platform that I built in the garage in order to safely move her in and out of our home. I am thankful though, that complaining has not been an active part of our marriage. It only took one look at her sweet face and it was like she telepathed the need to praise the Lord directly to my mouth!
So, as I praised the Lord, the ‘bother’ seemed to lift and I suddenly had a hop in my step and a light-hearted feeling come about me! Once we got going down the street, any memory of my discontent vanished and we went merrily on our way to the local Super-Walmart!
By the time we went through the pharmacy for a six pack of Boost, fresh fruits and vegetables, meats and entered the dairy section, I was totally absorbed in the task at hand… and actually found that was enjoying myself! At one point I stopped to open up an egg carton (as Piper had taught me years ago to always check for broken eggs…) when a women, a little younger than us (I think!), stopped next to us and shyly asked me if Piper was my wife.
With a broad smile I immediately answered “Yes!” After my reply she looked at me with a gentle smile and said that she was really impressed with my care for Piper, and then stated that “If I ever get to the place where I need help, I hope that my husband would respond the same as you have!” Well… as you can imagine, those kind words caused me to almost begin to cry. She then continued by telling me how much we blessed her that day! We spoke back and forth for a few moments and I told her how I would not have the care for my wife any other way! Then as we parted I thought to myself, that I have loved Piper since high school and I was not about to stop now!
A few moments later I trickily maneuvered Piper in her chair followed by the shopping cart around a bend and into a crowed aisle where two young women, one with a little girl in her basket were joking about how the little girl was batting her eyes at her Mom. They were laughingly discussing how she didn’t know what she was doing and how that action would probably become a viable part of how she carried herself into adulthood!
I kind of walked right into the conversation and couldn’t help but smile as I attempted to get around them without bumping into anything! One of the gals then looked at us and started laughing as she told me that “You are doing a great job at maneuvering around without hitting anything!” Then she added: “I can’t even get through the aisles with my kids without knocking things down!” Well… I couldn’t help but break out into a hearty laugh as I remembered the time we knocked over the end cap filled with lipstick containers in that store’s pharmacy department a few months prior and I told them about that experience. So, we all had a good laugh and continued on our separate ways!
This morning as I read from 2 Timothy 2:15 were the Apostle Paul is encouraging his young protégé to “Do your best to present yourself to God as a tried and true worker who isn’t ashamed to teach the word of God correctly” (God’s Word ©), I found myself thinking about our experiences in the store yesterday. Let’s face it, those ladies comments to Piper and I really blessed me! And the more I thought about it, I realized that if I had followed some of the ‘advice’ that I have received over the last ten years, we may never may have had the opportunity to be in the position we were in yesterday afternoon… shopping together in a Super Walmart in Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina… some 3000 miles away from home! Then the reality of it all hit me… If we had followed what some proposed as the logical thing for us to do, I am not too sure that my wife would even be alive today!
As I was confessing healing scriptures over Piper yesterday morning, my mind, for an instant, drifted off and I found myself considering some of the past things said to us, and even some of the various instructions I had read about in many different Christian books on healing. But that thought pattern did not last very long as I quickly heard that small still voice inside of me, encouraging me to follow the specific directions that the good Lord had given to me at the beginning of Piper’s and my current journey.
I realized in that moment that if I had followed some of the ‘advice’ that came my way, that I would be nothing but an “echo” of them, but the Lord wanted me to take what He told me to do, in the face of everything else, and become a solid and confident “voice” that would triumphantly speak into our situation on a daily basis! I also understood that Piper and I were a “voice” to those ladies yesterday in the very aisles of Walmart!
Depending on the translation you read, 2 Timothy 2:15 tells us to “do your best, give diligence to, carefully study or make every effort” in order to present oneself to God as a tried and true messenger of the Gospel… one who isn’t ashamed, or as Albert Barnes explains in his ‘Notes on the Bible’ commentary, “A man faithfully performing his duty, so that when he looks over what he has done, he may not blush!”
So yeah… I am only human, and yeah, it can be a bother sometimes to bring my wife with me most everywhere I go, but you know… when push comes to shove, I do it because first of all, I love her and have committed myself to be true to her and all her needs as long as she lives. Secondly, because I know that the stimuli is good for her… like I’ve said before, it always irks me when someone says without really thinking about it, “Get someone to watch Piper and go and do such and such…” And thirdly, it’s my job! It is what I am called to do right now, and I have promised to Papa God and my beloved Piper, that I will always “Do my best to show myself approved to God…” in the responsibilities that He has called me to perform!
So yeah, like yesterday, I want to be an strong and positive “voice” in people’s lives as I diligently strive to do my best in whatever Papa God has called me to do. Being an “echo” isn’t good enough for me anymore! How about you?
Have a great weekend. The weatherman keeps pushing out the forecast of thundershowers, so as of right now, we are supposed to have a warm and sunny time for the next six days! Since I finally got a new trimmer attachment, I’m hoping to finish trimming the front lawn! Hope you all have a fun and productive couple of days as well… and as you do, keep asking yourselves… “Am I expecting to Do My Best in order to present myself approved to Papa God in what He’s called me to do today?”
PS: And keep in mind if you are a “Voice” or just an “Echo!”