Special Lessons for the Special Needs of People
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:13
Soon after I graduated from college, I was required to take part in a physical dysfunction clinical affiliation. While I could have gone anywhere, I elected to go to a highly acclaimed hospital/rehabilitation center that worked with a number of cases, including, but not limited to, burns, amputees, and degenerative disorders.
While at the rehab facility, I had the pleasure of meeting a young woman with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Katy’s story of courage shook me to the core of my heart and I will never forget the lesson of strength she taught me through her simple acts of living.
Katy was a 30-something year old mom and business woman who had battled MS for several years. At the time of our meeting, she was in a crisis stage. Her MS was flaring up. Her body, in essence, had turned against itself. She could not walk. She had trouble talking. She was struggling with incontinence. She barely had the strength to lift herself off of her hospital bed. She was fighting for her life.
A few weeks into her treatment and physical rehabilitation, Katy began to make gains. Where she had once been unable to sit up for a prolonged period, she could now sit up for extended periods. Where she had once been unable to enunciate her words, she was now able to speak more clearly. She went from being totally dependent on someone to transport her to being able to propel herself forward in a wheelchair by using one of her feet and one of her arms. She was fighting for her life!
On one particularly challenging day, Katy was having difficulty mastering the ability to transfer from a rehab mat to her wheelchair. For days, she and I had practiced the sliding board transfer. She knew the technique. She understood how to shift her body so that she could properly position the sliding board under herself. She knew how to mobilize her body for forward propulsion. And yet, she just could not get it. It was at this point that Katy broke. I remember seeing the tears in her eyes. Of course, I tried to comfort her, but on that day, she ended her session seemingly defeated.
Thankfully, Katy was a Christian and she believed in the power of God. What happened to Katy over the next few days was no less than a miracle. Somewhere between the mat and the Maker, Katy found the strength she needed to go on. She found the courage to face her disease head on. She found the will to persevere. No longer did I see her down. Instead, I saw her up. She was trying. With all her might, she endeavored to move forward.
A couple of weeks before I was slated to leave my affiliation sight, Katy and I spoke about her preparations for home and returning to “regular life.” We talked about the modifications that would be needed in her home. We spoke about the compensatory strategies she would need to use as she continued to rehab. I recall asking Katy whether or not she thought she was ready to go home and if she was afraid. What she told me moved me. Katy, this brave, courageous woman of faith, told me that she was not afraid. Not anymore. She said that she was covered by grace until the end.
How profound is that? Covered by grace until the end. Katy had gotten to a place of true understanding and acceptance. She knew God was with her, no matter what she faced. She knew that she could go on, not by any strength she possessed, but by the strength God possessed. She understood that God was steadfast and that she could be as well.
During the course of Katy’s medical treatment and rehabilitation, I witnessed a miraculous transformation of life and heart. Katy’s battle may have initially started as one of physical struggle and defeat, but her battle ultimately ended as one of strength and victory. Katy won because of an I CAN DO perseverance, all because of an I CAN DO God.
Don’t you want that kind of I CAN DO perseverance? Thankfully, it’s yours…in Christ.
“And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” – Romans 5:3-5
It is through our special needs that God can be glorified. Special needs situations and circumstances allow differences to be made, not only in our lives, but also in the lives of those who get to witness our lives. Having an I CAN DO heart is a special lesson that can be carried into eternity and straight into the arms of the Most High.