Can or will Jesus heal me?
I realise that this topic is a sensitive one and although I am going to attempt to voice my opinion the last word on it has by no means been spoken.
When we turn to the end of the Gospel of John (John 20:30-31) John says that Jesus did many more signs… but that those that were described were so that we could believe that Jesus is the Messiah and that we by believing, can have eternal life. The first reason why Jesus performs miracles, is therefore so that He should be glorified and when we do this by honouring Him as our Saviour, He grants us eternal life.
Because of the above argument some people say that miracles were only necessary to be performed in biblical times to strengthen and reveal Jesus as the Messiah, but now that we have the Bible in full, miracles are no longer necessary and do no longer take place. I beg to differ! First of all, each person who is healed or who recovers from a common cold or from Covid 19 or from cancer etc. should thank God for healing him or her. Even when God uses the medical science to achieve this, it is still God who is performing a miracle!
Secondly, in James 5:14-15, Jesus promises that if someone is ill, the person should call on the elders and if they believe the sick will be healed and when he/she has sinned it will be forgiven.
Thirdly, I have experienced supernatural healings: I have an aunt who is a firm Christian. She was diagnosed with colon cancer in 1975. The doctor gave her six months to live. Many people prayed for her recovery and no doubt she received medical treatment, but she is still living a full life, even today!
Lastly, on this point: As many of you know I have cerebral palsy and attended a school for the cerebral palsied. There was a little boy, who went to school with me, between the ages of 9-11. He could only walk with the aid of elbow crutches. One night his father carried the boy to his bedroom after supper and put him down on his bed. He, however left the boy’s crutches in the dining room. The boy wanted to tell his mom, who was in the kitchen, something. He got up and walked to his mom without any aids and has done so ever since!
Having said this, we all know that not everyone is healed. Many people’s faith has been crushed by Christian leaders who have said to those who had seeked healing through prayer, that it is not God’s will that people should be ill or disabled. When they are not healed after prayer it is because their faith is not strong enough. This argument has left many people feeling that they are failures, and that God (Jesus) does not love them. Another reason that is given for the fact that people are not always healed upon prayer, is that the person must have committed some or other sin.
To return to the first argument, that illness is not the will of God: God has created everything, including man, perfect (Genesis 1), but because of man’s disobedience to God by falling when he was tempted by Satan, sin and its consequences entered the world. God is not the author of evil, yet He utilises, controls and sets boundaries to it. He uses evil to our benefit; not necessarily to promote our comfort, but definitely to build our characters. God sent his Son to redeem those who believe in Him. Jesus overcame death by his resurrection and by doing so, performed the greatest miracle ever. If one reads 2 Corinthians 12 together with Galatians 4, it becomes clear that Paul was not healed from his thorn in the flesh. Surely Paul’s faith was not too feeble! At the bath of Bethesda Jesus healed but one person, although there were many that were ill or disabled. (John 5)
The crucifixion and resurrection of Christ are the greatest evidence of God’s love for us. (Romans 5:8; John 15:13). There is nothing more that Jesus could do to prove that he loves us.
To respond to the argument that we might have sinned and therefore cannot be healed, John 9:3, when Jesus healed the man born blind and James 5:15 contradict this.
So, to return to our first two questions: Can Jesus heal me? Certainly! It has been proven. Secondly, will Jesus heal me? The answer to this question, I do not know. God’s Master plan is far too great and complex for us to box God in. All I know, also in my personal circumstances, is that His grace is sufficient. I also take heart from Philippians 2:10-11, which is, of course, in the first place a warning to His foes, yet to us it is a beautiful promise: that one day our paralysed knees will bow, and our paralysed tongues will confess that Jesus is Lord in complete adoration, and to the glory of God, our Father!
18 Oct 2021
To "see" the Funny Side 😂
A blind guy was sitting in the bar.
“Do you guys want to hear about a joke about a blond?” he asked.
“Hang on!” a voice replied. “Let me explain something to you. On either side of you are two blond ladies. In front of you there is a blond gentleman. The barman, as well as the bouncer is blond. Are you sure you still want to tell the joke?”
“Oh no, the blind guy replied, “not if I have to explain it five times!”
A blind chap is walking along a busy street together with his guide dog. They arrived at a crossing. Despite the traffic light being red, the dog leads his master across, which results in the guy nearly being knocked over. The blind guy promptly takes a dog treat from his pocket and gives it to the dog.
A passer-by who was watching this, asks the blind guy: “How can you reward your dog when he nearly caused your death?”
“I am only trying to find out which end of the dog I should kick!” the blind man replies.
Isaac, who had a little vegetable shop with a fairly big window, considered buying a blind to keep the sun out. He then took a collection tin on which he wrote “for the blind” and placed it on the counter!
11 Oct 2021
Seriously, Dude, get your Jab!!!
Seriously, dude, get your poke.
It isn’t a joke.
You say you want to go on a spree
So get your jab, its free.
Visit your nearest vaccination site.
Let’s all join this plight.
Turn the bend
And let’s bring this pandemic to an end.
Only then can you give your friends a call
And invite them for brunch at the Mall.
Ladies you can walk around with ease
And shop for as long as you please.
Gents you can get in your car
And head on over to the local bar.
Kids can safely return to school.
To play sports again will be cool.
Life can return to a sense of normality
Only if we end this ‘Covid insanity’.
So don’t hesitate.
The upcoming festive season we can celebrate.
Beta and Delta can take a backseat
Whilst we enjoy the Summer heat.
Seriously, dude, get your jab
Or your life will remain dull and drab…
04 Oct 2021
HAPPY HERITAGE WEEKEND!!!
Celebrate your culture, your upbringing, your religious beliefs, your style, your achievements,, your life...
I am your Mother.
I taught you respect.
So what is this hatred I detect?
I am your Wife.
I wear your wedding band.
So why do you raise your hand?
I am your Sister.
Your confidant and friend.
So why bring my life to an abrupt end?
I am your Child.
A gift for you to treasure.
So why abuse me for your own pleasure?
You have no shame
And you are to blame.
You have lost your mind
And you are not kind.
You have left so many scars
And you belong behind bars.
What has caused this sick behaviour?
What happened to loving thy neighbour?
When did this all start?
When did you develop such a cold heart?
So much has gone wrong,
But we must be strong.
We must unite.
Against this GBV we must fight.
WE NEED TO PRAY,
Each and every day.
WE NEED TO TURN TO GOD ABOVE
And ask for strength, guidance and His undying Love!
20 Sept 2021
Should I be Vaccinated?
A Biblical Perspective
As promised last week, here is my view on what the Bible says about the above topic. Once again this is my interpretation of Scripture. You may agree or disagree. You must, however, test my ideas against what the Bible says, while you pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
The first question that this topic raises is: Is the vaccine the mark of the beast that the Bible speaks about in Revelation 13? To answer this question appropriately there are a number of things that we should keep in mind:
The book Revelation contains much imagery. This mean that John who wrote the book, used symbols that we cannot interpret literally. John also uses many symbolic numbers.
We should always read any portion of scripture in context e.g. Revelation 13, which in turn should be read against the background of the complete Bible which is compiled of different genres of literature.
A second application of context is that the book of Revelation was first and foremost written for the Christians of the first century who understood the imagery much better than we do today. Of course, it was also written for us and for Christians of all times.
We should always read any portion of scripture in context e.g. Revelation 13 should be read in relationship with the complete book of Revelation which in turn should be read against the background of the complete Bible which is compiled of different genres of literature.
The objective of the book was to encourage Christians, not to scare or frighten them. They were to take heart from the wonderful message that Jesus is and always will be in control. He opens the seals and the beautiful Sovereign Will of God the Father is being unfolded. This message is being conveyed from Chapter 1-22.
To convey this message John uses different techniques, of which one is imagery. Another one is that John does not write the events in chronological sequence, which means that events do not follow one after the other in time. He orchestrates them differently, to accentuate a specific point. Chapter 4 should happen much later at the end of time. The 144 000 chosen ones of chapter 7 (which symbolises all the believers of all times) happens in heaven, yet the martyrs of chapter 6 are still at the foot of the altar. Chapter 7 actually takes place before chapter 6.
Having said all this, let us take a closer look at Revelation 13.
First John saw a beast coming up from the sea. The sea symbolises evil in Revelation. This beast who rises from the sea, symbolises governments which do not recognise God. During the first century it would have been the caesars of Rome. This beast receives its power from the dragon of Revelations 12, and its purpose is to mislead people and encourage them to worship the dragon. Power was given to him over those whose names were not in the Book of the Lamb (verse 8). He also has power to combat against believers and overcome them. This power, however, is granted by God.
But there is also a second beast which rose from the earth. The purpose of this beast is to focus attention on the first beast, so that he can be worshiped. The second beast performs miracles by which people are deceived and also erects an image of the first beast that should be worshiped. He also breaths life into this image so that it can kill those who do not worship it.
The beast compels everyone to bear a mark on their right hand or forehead before they are permitted to trade. The mark is either the name of the beast or the number of his name.
These three figures, the dragon, the beast from the sea and the beast from the earth are an unholy trinity. It is an imitation of the Godhead: God the Father is imitated by the dragon. The beast from the sea, imitates God the Son and the beast from the earth is the unholy spirit.
So, in view of the above, let us look at the vaccine. We are not forced to worship anybody and surely the mark of the beast is not a physical or visible mark! The name of someone in those days actually means the character of someone. Therefore those who had the character of the beast i.e the mark of the beast on their forehead (i.e it is their thoughts) or– on their right hand –(i.e their deeds) were allowed to trade. The believers whose names are in the Book of the Lamb and are marked with the seal of God (Chapter 7) will not be misled (Mark 13:22). The Christians of the first century were not allowed to trade. With vaccination nobody is forcing us to worship any creature or any image. Nobody is performing miracles or prohibiting us to trade. Even if we should be required to show proof of vaccination before entering a store, this will be for a medical reason e.g. to protect others from being infected and not because we do not have the mark of the beast.
Another scripture that we should bear in mind is Romans 13:1-7. Here Paul commands us to obey the authorities who obtain their power from God. Paul also says we should not be rebellious, for if we are we shall be punished for that.
Let us then consider another argument with which people come up: i.e. this is my body and I will decide whether I should be vaccinated or not. In Romans 12:1 Paul commands (beseeches) us to give our bodies to God as a living sacrifice. If we sacrifice something, it no longer belongs to us. It belongs to God. 1 Corinthians 3:16 says: “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit dwells in you?” Therefore, our bodies do not belong to us.
And then finally: Are we practicing the commandment of love (John 13:34; Romans 3:1-7) by not being vaccinated or are we being selfish? If we are not having the vaccine and we are infected, we can infect others who may be our elderly parents, or spouses or our children. We may also spread the virus to folks who have weak lungs or other physical weaknesses.
Perhaps I have given you food for thought or maybe you think it is ridiculous to think along these lines, and that one should simply be vaccinated and get it over and done with. Be it as it may, I have just given my opinion and if you still have to decide whether to be vaccinated or not, may it be a wise decision!
13 Sept 2021
Should I be Vaccinated or Not ?
We are all confronted by the above question. What is to follow now are my personal opinions and experience. You are free to disagree with me and to make up your own mind.
At first, when this debate started, I was adamant that I will not be vaccinated before I had more sound information on the subject. My main concern was whether there was enough research done on the effects the vaccination had on quadriplegics. There were talks going round that the Johnson vaccine caused blood clots in the brain. (My disability was the result of a brain injury, and I did not want any more brain damage).
A friend of mine pointed out that by not being vaccinated I could infect my caregiver. My reply was that when the time came and I was forced to make a decision that I would pray about it and then act as I felt led.
Well, the time soon came that I had to decide, and I kept my promise and asked for God’s guidance. The reply rather surprised me. God commanded me to be vaccinated and to lead by example in doing so. So, I went to receive the first Pfizer vaccine. After a week I experienced flu like symptoms and decided to take a Covid test. The results were positive! I then requested that all my fellow residents as well as the staff were to be tested. All the results, but for one caregiver, were negative. Both this caregiver and I isolated while my Vice chairman acted swiftly and obtained protective clothing. Within two weeks both the caregiver and I recovered without any side effects.
I believe that I did set an example in being vaccinated, as well as undergoing the test and isolating. For one, my elderly mother who was also against taking the vaccine, changed her mind and was fully vaccinated. God’s grace went even further: the period between my diagnoses and my second vaccination was long enough for me to proceed with the second round of vaccine.
This then is my experience. I do believe that my first round of vaccination protected me from being more seriously ill.
Next week I will try to give a Biblical perspective on vaccination.
06 Sept 2021
Enjoy Gods wonderful creations !!!
Happy, Positive and Free !!!
Complain, complain, complain!
Critisize, critisize, critisize!
Curse, curse, curse!
Why try to ruin my day?
I woke so happy and gay.
Why try to dampen my mood?
That’s not cool, dude.
Why spoil my fun?
Is your life so meaningless and without sun?
Why try to destroy my dreams?
It’s you that’s crumbling, it seems.
Why try to instil my heart with fear?
Don’t you see I have loved ones so dear.
Just let me be.
You have no power over me
For with my GOD I am HAPPY, POSITVE and FREE!
30 Aug 2021
We apologise for the break in our weekly socialising page. It was caused by Hercie falling ill to Covid 19. Fortunately, she has fully recovered and is now ready to share some of her experience in this respect.
I'm Disabled, So What!
GOD grant me the
SERENITY to accept the things i cannot change
I dived into a shallow pool 26 years ago and broke my neck. I am a quadriplegic in a motorised wheelchair, paralysed from my chest down, paralysed in all limbs. I accept my limitations. This I cannot change.
COURAGE to change the things I can and
With God by my side I chose to continue my teaching career, to become a Deputy Principal, to learn to drive my specially adapted car, to inspire and motivate, to make a difference. I chose LIFE.
WISDOM to know the difference.
I broke my neck, BUT not my spirit.
I sit in my wheelchair, BUT I will always STAND TALL.
I may never walk again, BUT I am going places and LIVING MY LIFE.
I face challenges just like you, BUT I choose to LIVE, LAUGH & LOVE.
I had the opportunity to buy a good second-hand motorised wheelchair. I discussed this with my elderly mom (90), as she would have to assist me with the financing. She was adamant that I should buy the wheelchair because she said that she is going to grow very old and when I pass on she is going to use the wheelchair!
When I told a friend of mine of the incident, he replied: “Tell your mom she shouldn’t put so much pressure on you!”
Laugh Out Loud!
I am sure everybody knows the story from the Bible of the Bath of Bethesda, where all the sick lay waiting for the angel to “stir” the water (according to the older translation of the Bible). The tale is recorded in John 5.
Anyway, the person who first entered the pool after the water had been stirred was then cured. I was told that amongst all the sick there was also a quad in his motorized wheelchair. He was in front of everybody and when the water had been stirred, he raced into the water, not caring about the damage this caused to his chair, for he would not have to use it anymore because he was first. However, when he came out on the other side, his wheelchair had new tyres! 🤣🤣🤣
Two cousins were crossing a rather shaky little bridge over a river while pushing another wheelchair bound cousin along.
“What will happen if this little bridge gives way?”, asked the cousin who did most of the pushing.
“Well, the crocodiles will have meals on wheels,” replied the other. 😊😊😊
The Chosen Ones
Years ago, I read a short story in a popular magazine that really touched me. I apologise for the fact that I do not remember who the author was and that I changed the story somewhat.
The story was about this middle-aged woman, whom we shall call Mary. Mary was very unhappy. She was divorced and battled financially. Because of this, she was bitter, not only towards her ex-husband, but also towards God.
Mary was then invited by her sister to spend a weekend with her and her husband at their home. Mary did not really feel like going, but in the end she went. However, her sister, Martha, and her husband were well off. Their home looked like a mansion with large rooms furnished with expensive furniture. The food they ate was exotic and they wore designer clothes. No matter how much her hosts tried to entertain her, Mary could not enjoy anything. She kept on comparing Martha’s situation to her own and she felt inferior and worthless. She grew more bitter until finally she literally fled from her sister’s home and caught the train back to her hometown.
While the train rushed forth, Mary sat brooding and pondering on the happenings of the weekend, not really knowing how to escape from her own thoughts. Then the door opened, and a woman entered the compartment. Behind her a little boy of six or seven in calipers and on crutches, followed. They seated themselves on the bench opposite Mary. The woman removed the boy’s calipers and made him comfortable with his head resting in her lap.
Mary watched him drift off to sleep and then could not restrain herself any longer. Without introducing herself, she burst out in anger: “Why does God punish us like this? He is only a child! Why should he be punished?”
“God is not punishing us.” The woman replied. “We are the chosen ones. He has found us worthy to suffer for Him. He loves us with an everlasting love and as we share in Christ’ suffering, we will also share in His glory!” (Romans 8:17).
Suddenly the veil lifted from Mary’s eyes. She saw herself as she really was; healthy and strong. A woman with many talents. A beloved daughter of God!
Happy Fathers Day!!
Special wishes to all the Dads. Have an awesome Fathers Day.
A SPECIAL CHUCKLE FOR YOU...
It was St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland and Paddy was in the bar since early morning. Finally, the barman told Paddy that he was now closing for the night.
“All right” said Paddy, “I’ll be on my way.” He got up and fell down flat on his face! “If only I could get to the door, I would be able to get some fresh air,” he thought to himself. So somehow, he managed to reach the door trying to get back on his feet and fell down the step. Crawling to his home, which was just opposite the bar, he entered his home. Fortunately, there were no steps. He managed to put himself to bed and dropped off to sleep immediately.
The next morning his wife woke him up: “Paddy, were you drinking last night?” she asked.
“Yeah, how did you know?” Paddy replied.
“Joe phoned and said you left your wheelchair behind in the pub!”, came the answer.
A Word Of Encouragement!
We all know the expression, “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.” But sometimes, we who have disabilities may feel that we are the weakest link. We may feel that we are not able to find employment, or we are not married, or our partner has walked out on us, or whatever the case may be.
However, if we turn to the Bible, we see quite a different picture. In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul compares the church to a human body. He says that all the body members are needed. One member cannot say to another, “I don’t need you!” or “I am more important than you!” In fact, Paul says that those members which we regard as the weakest are the most needed and on those whom we regard as less honourable we bestow greater honour.
God does not judge us by what and how much we do for Him. He simply loves us because He created us and “paid” for us by the precious blood of Christ. It is like someone who collects stamps. A stamp is actually a worthless piece of paper, but to the stamp collector it has great value.
We should also bear in mind that we are human beings, not human doings! Our first priority is not to do, but to be, to the glory of God. All God really wants of us, is that we should know and understand that Jesus died in our place and that we should enter into and live in a relationship with Him. This we do by getting to know Him, by reading the Bible, listening and obeying His Word and Spirit, more and more while we share our lives with Him in prayer.
Then again, if God wants something to be done, He often picks the most unlikely candidate. Think of Gideon, Rahab, Peter, who was only a fisherman and even Paul with the thorn in his flesh which we read about in 2 Corinthians 12 and Galatians 4.
In the case of David there is a beautiful Gospel song of which the lyrics say: “When others see a shepherd boy, God may see a king!”
I close by quoting the great poet, Milton, from his poem: On his blindness. “They also serve who only stand and wait!”
A Match Made In Heaven !
Do you believe that marriages are made in heaven? That God plans that partners should meet and be wed? Wait! Just park your answer until I’ve told you about this one!
Way back in 1976, the beautiful Joy Seccull met the dark, not so tall, but handsome Laurence Davies. They met in hospital where Joy received occupational therapy as an outpatient and Laurence worked as a clerk. “I prayed for Mr Right to come along” says Joy. “She was the love of my life from the word go!” says Laurence. But hang on! This couple is special! Joy suffers from Friederiech’s Ataxia. A neurological condition that affects the muscles and is progressive. Most people with this condition do not have a long life expectancy; but Joy is still going strong, much to the amazement of medical specialists.
Laurence in turn, suffers from schizophrenia, a complex condition caused by a chemical inbalance in the brain that causes mood swings, lack of concentration and sometimes hallucinations and disorientation. This condition can also be progressive.
Despite these limitations the couple decided to get married for better or for worse and they really meant it when they said “I do” on 22nd April 1978.
There were good times and fun times: Like the time when Laurence, drowsy with sleep, tried to kill the cricket with a slipper when it was in fact the telephone ringing! Joy one day could not stop running when she was in fact beginning to lose the ability to walk. She felt very hurt when people laughed at her. Then she saw a movie of a person whose gait was similar. Seeing the funny side, she thought of how she must have looked, and she burst out laughing.
However, there were also hard times. Times when Laurence’ medication did not seem to work, and Joy would despair, being at her wits end. Sometimes Laurence had to be hospitalised and Joy had to be on her own. Then there were times when Joy had bad falls and Laurence was numb with anxiety, fear and ambivalent feelings which are part of his schizophrenia. There are times when his ‘highs’ drive her round the bend and times at night when he really does not feel like getting up to help her. But love is not always just feeling, it is also a commitment.
Laurence managed to hold a position with the licensing department for more than twenty years. It was not easy, having to get up at 4:30 every day and then having to dress Joy. She then faithfully saw him off as he went to work by bus. Joy then sometimes spent the day on her own. This grew increasingly difficult as her condition worsened and she could do less for herself.
But there is yet another secret to this marriage and that is that both partners are not only in love with each other, they are also deeply in love with Jesus. You will be in Joy’s company for five minutes and she will tell you exactly how good the Lord is! Yes, they battle, “but life’s a challenge,” Joy says with sparkling eyes. “We do not know what the future holds, but we know who holds the future!” Laurence comments.
The couple worships at the Trinity Methodist Church from which they receive a lot of support. On Sunday evenings they attend the Afrikaans Church (GKL) where they are also accepted and loved. Here Laurence greets everyone in Afrikaans. He also greets people in other indigenous languages. “I like to greet everyone in their own language,” he says. Why does he do this? I think that the answer lies in the fact that love is the same in all languages.
The Davies’ couple live in their own flat which they bought with the help of Laurence’ father and brother. They are supported in everything by Joy’s sister, Joan Martingano, who lives with them. Both spouses say they don’t know what they would have done without her.
Then there is also their faithful caregiver and housekeeper Grashen. She is so much more than a caregiver! She is an intimate friend who understands. She helps Joy with her routine, and they laughed about things that only ladies know. She also patiently resets Laurence’ cell phone ten times a day!
Mr. and Mrs. Davies, we salute you! There are very few couples who would hold a candle to you.
So, to get back to my initial question: Do you believe this match was made in heaven? I certainly do!
Depression has been called the illness of our day and age. It is even worse with the arrival of Covid 19. Amongst the physically challenged it is common and it is sometimes seen as part of some conditions, such as Multiple Scleroses or Motor Neuron disease.
Depression is usually caused by a chemical in-balance in the brain which happens when there is either too little or too much of the neurotransmitters i.e. fluids which convey messages from one brain cell to the next.
The following methods can be used to control or cure depression:
Medication: This is the most commonly used method. There are many different types of medication which are also sometimes prescribed in combination with one another.
Exercise is also recommended especially in the case of insomnia
Diet e.g. cutting down on sugar and preservatives.
Shock treatment: This is usually applied in more severe cases.
Cognitive Therapy i.e. the controlling of one’s thoughts.
It is this last method that I would like to discuss, but before I do that allow me to share some thoughts on depression itself. Many a time the person who suffers from depression does not know he or she feels that way. However, depression is mostly caused by some kind of loss, e.g. someone dear leaves or dies or the person looses his/her job or health. It can also be caused by the loss of a support group or a valued possession or pet etc.
The “bad feeling” is only considered to be depression if it lasts for more than two weeks.
Lastly, not all depressions are bad. Scott Peck points that depression is the mourning of something and we should feel the pain, but it can and is almost always the birth of something new.
If we turn the subject of cognitive therapy, we need to examine the phenomenon of self-talk. All of us are constantly talking to ourselves: “I like so and so” or “I don’t like Tom” “I am tired” or “I cannot do this” “I am afraid of this or that.” This “conversation” we are having with ourselves does not always happen in full sentences or even words. It is sometimes just an awareness, a vague thought or something that somebody had said about somebody else. Our self-talk can either be positive or negative.
What usually happens when a person is depressed, is that the person suffers some kind of loss e.g. someone leaves. The person now tells him or herself: “Without my beloved I am worthless.” In other words the person degrades him or herself. The person also degrades his or her circumstances: “I am an old maid who does not have a chance of falling in love again, because I am unable to meet anyone suitable of the opposite sex. The person also degrades the future: “Things will never change. I will grow old and ugly all by myself”.
How does the person correct this negative self-talk? Take an A4 page. Divide it into three vertical columns by drawing two vertical lines. Then divide the columns into nine blocks by drawing two horizontal lines. Try to find the cause of your depression e.g. John walked out on me. This we call the trigger. Write this right at the top of the left-hand column. In the first three vertical blocks, on the left-hand side write “self” “circumstances” and “future”. In the middle vertical column write all your (negative) feelings, in the form of statements. Try to write these statements from the most obvious feeling to the deepest feeling, numbering them from 1 to the last number. Then in the last vertical column replace each statement with a positive one. When you reach the end, evaluate how much better you feel e.g. 20%, 50%, 80% or 100%. For us who are Christians the positive statements can be Biblical e.g. “I choose to forgive” or “to love” “my hope is in Christ” “I know who holds the future!”
After you have done this exercise and you have allowed yourself to feel the pain while doing the middle vertical column, your thoughts may want to return to the negative. Tell yourself “stop!” Direct your thoughts back to the positive! Tell yourself that you have decided to be positive and take the matter up in prayer.
Having said this, I by no means insinuate that handling depression is easy or simple. If you cannot handle either of these matters, seek professional help. It is not a disgrace! In fact, it is an act of courage and an opportunity to grow spiritually.
In closing I would like to acknowledge and thank people whose books I have studied and who have encouraged me through the years.
Scott M Peck: The road less travelled.
William Backus and his co-author: Telling yourself the Truth:
The Phycology Department of the University of Johannesburg the former R.A.U.
The late dr. Louis Kroon.
To Drive One Around The Bend...
Often when a wheelchair user switches from a manual wheelchair to a motorised one, the person undergoes a complete personality change. The freedom and independence that comes with a motorised chair is incredible! Although the first time one goes on the road can be very frightening – especially when you are a new quad – there is also the sense of adventure.
When I came to live at Ry-Ma-In the freedom I experienced when driving my motorised wheelchair was one of my greatest pleasures. All of a sudden, I could be of to church, to the library, go shopping, see a movie or meet a friend at a restaurant, all on my own.
Yet people do not really realise that a person in a wheelchair has the same needs and desires as everyone else. They think that it would be more convenient if someone else did my shopping or if the minister conducted a service at home or if a take-away was delivered at our doorstep.
People are so concerned about us driving in the street. ‘Why do we not drive on the pavement?”, they would ask. First of all, the pavements are uneven, and one cannot get on and off them easily. Secondly, would you like to drive your car on a raised road with just a five-centimetre space on either side?
Just the other day, while I was driving my wheelchair down a very busy Fourth Avenue, a woman drove up along side me: “Are you okay?” she asked. “Yes, thank you,” I replied. “Where are you going?” she wanted to know. “To the shops,” I said. “Can I give you a lift?” she once again asked. At that stage I gave up. The cars were coming, and I needed to concentrate. So rather curtly I said: “Can you please leave me alone?” I could not then explain what I am about to explain now: We are paralysed and cannot hop into a car. It takes great effort to get us into a car. For most of us it is totally impossible. Even if it were possible what do we do with our motorised chairs which can only be transported after it had been disconnected and taken apart? Do we leave them on the roadside?
Do not get me wrong! We appreciate your concern, really, we do! I was in a queue in a supermarket once, when a lady in front of me said to me: “You know I see you drive in the traffic and I pray for you every day that you will be safe and won’t be robbed!” This was such an encouragement: that someone who did not know me from a bar of soap, was praying for me daily.
I close with a cheerful note with an anecdote that I made up myself: I dreamed that Jacob, our minister and I turned up at Pearly Gates together.
Peter: Hercie, here is your mansion and Jacob, here is your neat, little house.
Hercie: Thank you Peter! [disappearing into the mansion]
Jacob: Peter, I do not understand! While we were living on earth, Hercie would put up her hand during the church services, making remarks, and asking questions which made it difficult for us pastors. She also belonged to various Bible studies where she told jokes of which most were dubious! I, on the contrary, took great care in preparing my sermons. I memorised various books of the Bible. I lead numerous Bible studies, lectured in Soweto, and attended many church Council meetings and even meetings of the Senode!
Peter: Jacob, you must remember that Hercie in her wheelchair in the traffic, taught many more people to pray than you ever did!
God bless, folks!
I was entering the church hall in my motorised wheelchair, to attend bible study. There were three new members who joined the group. One of them came up to me and said: “They told me that there was a person in a wheelchair coming, is that you?”
A pastor of the neighbouring church told the following anecdote: When he and his wife were newly wed, they bought a beautiful and very comfortable double bed. Unfortunately, they did not keep in mind that they lived on the sixth floor of a block of flats. The bed was too big to fit in the lift, so they had to organise a team of family and friends to carry it up the staircase. This took great effort, but finally the bed was put in the bedroom where it remained for a good couple of years.
Eventually the married couple decided to buy a house. The bed therefore had to be carried downstairs again and into the house. After a few months, the pastor came home one evening, only to find that the bed was not in the bedroom. “What happened to our bed?” he asked his wife. “O” she said, “I phoned Ry-Ma-In. They fetched it!”
When I was growing up and reached the age of ten years, my grandfather, the late Charles de Wit, who was a prankster, gave me some good advice. “Look Hercie” he said, “you are now old enough to wash dishes. If they ask you to do so, just drop a plate and they will never ask you to do it again!”
Should I Use a Wheelchair or Not?
Many people dread the idea of having to use a wheelchair, I was chatting to one of my able body friends about this the other day: “You must realise that one loses your independence totally!” he said. Dear friends, one does not use a wheelchair when you are an able body and you can walk around with no problem at all! One uses a wheelchair when one struggles to walk or cannot walk at all. Then you don’t lose independence, you gain independence. This is especially true when you are able to use a motorised wheelchair. Some people who were confined to a push chair almost undergo a personality change when they experience the freedom they have when they switch from a manual wheelchair to a motorised wheelchair.
However, the pro’s and cons as to whether one should use a wheelchair or not, should be carefully considered. This is even more important when children are involved! Yes, one gains independence, but lose opportunities, to exercise or to develop and strengthen muscles.
You may also lose whatever ability you had to walk. The nature and severity of the disability should of course be taken into account and also the amount of time it will save. It may benefit the person who is physically challenged to start earlier and walk than go by wheelchair, although it is time consuming, because he/she will benefit from the exercise. Once again, especially in the case of children. It may also be a good idea to allow the child to use a wheelchair when going out e.g., when going shopping, but to expect him/her to walk indoors with or without a walking aid.
This brings the question: Will people think I am mentally, challenged when I use a wheelchair? Unfortunately, there are many folks who have that perception. It is totally ridiculous! Nobody assumes that a person wearing glasses is mentally challenged! Nor does anyone think that a person on crutches is ‘backward’. Yet they think that of a wheelchair user.
I once entered my church. A pastor whom I did not know from an English congregation (I attend an Afrikaans church) approached me together with a group of his congregation members. They laid hands on me and prayed for my life that it should be meaningful! When they had concluded the prayer, they asked me whether I understood English! I was totally taken aback! I see myself as someone who has a special calling and why on earth, would I not be able to speak English I can’t imagine! Still, I try to change perceptions like these sooner rather than later and I believe this is the duty of all of us. I would certainly not give up the comfort and convenience of my wheelchair because people have silly notions. I would much rather catch them with egg on their faces!
Disabled or Differently Abled?
Disability - Curse or Blessing?
Consider the following scenarios: A young man fractures his neck as a result of a motorcycle accident and is left a quadriplegic paralyzed from the neck down. His girlfriend says that she is not up to this and walks out on him.
A mother gives birth to a baby girl who she dearly longed for. She is then told that her baby suffers from Cerebral Palsy - a brain injury usually occurring at birth. The chances that she will develop normal mentally is roughly 33%. On top of that she will be severely physically challenged (disabled).
Why do things like these happen? There are no simple answers. Nor are there quick fixes. I might add that if we try and find answers to questions like these, we should take our sandals off. For this is holy ground. Yet, here are a few ideas:
God's will, as I see it, is for us to enter into an intimate relationship with Him. For this Christ has died, so that we could be reconciled with God and live eternally with Him. Therefore some of us have been taken out of the rat race to see life differently, and also to help others, who have the same circumstances, or even different circumstances, carry their burdens.
Another thought: If we did not suffer (and all of us do suffer, only in different ways) would we really be able to glorify God throughout eternity?
If someone would have said to me before I was born::”You can now choose. Either you can become a rich lawyer, marry and have children or you can be physically challenged, earn no income of your own and live in an institution for most of your life”, I do not think I would have chosen the latter! But in hindsight I would not exchange it for anything in this world.
God’s ways are not our ways and His thoughts aren’t ours.
A Few Chuckles
I grew up as a child with a disability and attended special schools.
We had just moved into a new school building which cost over five million rand, back in the seventies. A fireman was invited to our weekly assembly to " train" us about what to do in the event of a fire breaking out. After the "lecture" there was time for questions. The fireman looked hopefully over to the matrics. There was little interest.Eventually a grade 1 boy, in a wheelchair, put up his hand. Expectantly the fireman moved closer, bending down to hear better.
"Do you know what? Jessie had puppies!", the little guy said, leaving us in fits of laughter.
Two of the older boys from our school, the Elizabeth Conradie School, decided that they had had enough of school and ran off. The police and the public were on the look out for them. After some time a woman met the two boys.
"Aren't you from Elizabeth Conradie?, she inquired.
"No", came the reply. "Who is she, mam?".
A few of the older girls went to town for their weekly shopping. One of them, a Cerebral Palsy with hemaplegia, heavily limping, went along.
"What is wrong with you?", a member of the public asked.
"Nothing. And with you?", came the witty reply.