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
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.
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.
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
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.