September 30, 2019

Time Well Spent by Katie Gerke

My Solstice started to form in the first cool days of August, when several storm fronts started to gather.

In summers past, because I am in a wheelchair, I always think that “everybody is doing everything but me.” That sends me into a downward spiral of depression of grief because of my many losses.

a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance
Ecclesiastes 3:4

This summer was going to be different. I was blessed to be able to see a grief counselor for the first four months of this year. She was able to help me prepare mentally, create tools on how to plan, keep connected with friends and family, and find meaningful activities, to make the best of the fleeting summer months.

But…I am in a season that is not universally defined by a particular date on the calendar or the position of the sun to the equator.

My chair started to become unstable. It prevented me from driving my chair safely and thus limited the outings I could take. The shocks and seating back were no longer of use, and it made my handibus rides intolerable. My back failed to heal after an adjustment at the chiropractor. I have an intolerance to painkillers. I have been in my electric chair for 18 years, and ever since my butt first hit the seat cushion, I have never experienced mind-numbing and limiting lower back pain such as I am now!

We worked so hard and I had so many summer plans. I had full intentions of writing about how my garden grew, my walks and talks with friends, my summer frocks and skimpy tops, having a barbecue or two, and definitely going to the zoo. Needless to say, I just couldn’t see myself venturing too far from home via bike path or handibus. 

My mental, psychological, and spiritual constructs started to become uprooted. The burning in my back consumed my ability to see, hear, speak, and think with any clarity.

What was more tragic was that I was not writing or painting. I started to panic. The warm days of summer were being blown away by the time.

Do not be conformed to this world,
but be transformed by the renewal of your mind,
that by testing you may discern what is the will of God,
what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:2 

With my God-given gifts of cleverness, practicality, and diligence, I was able to move forward with some things that needed immediate attention.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, 
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6 

So my doctor and I have been working on solutions to control my pain and getting x-rays to see exactly what we can’t. A certified wheelchair vendor confirmed that my 10-year-old chair is beyond repair. My occupational therapist and I are working closely with the Alberta Government to order the proper chair and expedite delivery. And finally, more good news, the seating clinic can reinforce my seat back for better comfort and support.
When blue sky could be seen and my back pain would subside, I savored these calm moments where I could pray in full sentences. I read, listened to, and meditated on Scripture. A few things struck me – not lightning, but revelations.

It was futile of me to put on the armor of God if I wasn’t going to use it. Wearing a solid breastplate of righteousness and helmet of salvation wasn’t going to be protection if I wasn’t going to faithfully yield my shield and courageously wave the sword of the Holy Spirit. I know this armor protected me from evil, and Satan, but I needed to be more in tune with the unknown evil.

See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth,
waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain.
You also be patient. Establish your hearts,
for the coming of the Lord is at hand.
James 5:7- 8 

Now, moving forward since the unusually warm days of mid-September, I have persevered, like the bumblebees and butterflies harvesting the nectar of the late September flowers. It’s having hope that changes in any new season are necessary, like the summer leaves losing their chloroform, as the sun creeps lower and lower towards the horizon, but the new fall colors will shine more brilliantly than the midsummer sun. It’s this light that helps me overcome the darkness in such a time.

I was inspired by what Charles Spurgeon wrote about – a time to be patient:
“When God shall give you a rich return for all you have done for him, you will blush to think you ever doubted; you will be ashamed to think you ever grew weary in his service. You shall have your reward. Not tomorrow, so wait: not the next day perhaps, so be patient. You may be full of doubts one day, your joys sink low. It may be rough windy weather with you in your spirit. You may even doubt whether you are the Lord’s, but if you have rested in the name of Jesus, if by the grace of God you are what you are, if he is all your salvation, and all your desire, — have patience; have patience, for the reward will surely come in God’s good time.”

Katie Gerke was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1988, but has soldiered on despite her losses. Katie started mouth painting in 2008 and has been writing since 2010. She now runs her own business and is still walking with Jesus Christ.


  1. Thank you, Katie, for sharing your difficult summer, and how God moved on your behalf. I see a rise of perseverance, faith and hope that God is giving you as you reflect on Scripture and take his words to heart. You have blessed me this morning.

  2. Yes, Katie, thank you for giving us a tiny glimpse of your intense struggles this past summer and to let us see just how you persevered through this season of disappointment and pain. Especially appreciated this line: "When blue sky could be seen and my back pain would subside, I savored these calm moments where I could pray in full sentences." May those moments when the pain subsides continue to increase as the days pass. So hoping your new chair comes soon.


  3. thank you for your candour and courage! May God bless you in this, and every season.

  4. Katie, you blessed and encouraged me with your insights, and difficult lessons in faith and trust. Sending love.

  5. It’s so good to hear from you Katie. I’m sorry that you had so many Summer Setbacks, but your hope-filled words and attitude also bolster me up and give me courage for the changing seasons in my life as well. Many blessings on your day! 🌸 Pamela Mytroen

  6. Dear Katie, I’ve read your blog, Time Well Spent, several times and I was at a loss for words. . . Through your honest writing, you have encouraged me to continue trusting in the Lord at all times and to submit to him, rather than to lean on my own understanding. I too loves these verses in Proverbs. But I wondered what I could say that would encourage or inspire you as you seem to manage better than I might in your circumstances. I do know, however, that God gives each of us more grace when the burdens grow greater.

    That reminded me of the old hymn, He Giveth More Grace., which you may also know. I looked up the name and the bio of the writer of this song, Annie Johnson Flint. If this piques your interest, you may find Annie’s story at>article>he-giveth-more-grace telling about her challenges and her writing.

    May God continue to gift you with his love, grace and mercy. Amen

  7. Thank you for sharing your story, Katie. There's so much good in this post that I don't know where to begin - it's a fount of encouragement! May the Lord bless you as you continue to journey with Him.


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