Friday, October 02, 2015

Encourage Yourself

When I am going through a tough situation or having intense pain, I get two choices. I can wallow around and talk about how bad things are, or I can focus on something else.

For those who may not know what to do when trouble comes, I thought I would share some of the ways I encourage myself.

Here are some Scriptures that I think on and say whenever I feel pain:

1 Peter 2:24 says, "He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”
Psalms 103:2-3 says, "Bless the Lord, O my soul,

And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases."

I encourage myself by saying that God is my Healer. He is my life giver. He is my miracle worker, my personal surgeon, and my refuge.

I encourage myself by saying that if God is for me, who can be against me? I say that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is working in my body, healing me now, and driving out ALL traces of weakness and pain.

I encourage myself with these reminders:

Ephesians 6:16 says, "I can quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one with my shield of faith."

Galatians 3:13: "I am redeemed from the curse of sin, sickness, and poverty."

Colossians 2:12, Ephesians 2:6: "I am raised up with Christ and seated in heavenly places."

Some other things I say to encourage myself are: I am more than a conqueror. I don't care what I feel like or what I see, I believe I am healed. I always triumph in Christ. He ALWAYS gives me the victory! He who has begun a good work in me is faithful to complete it. He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all I could ask or think.

When I get through saying these things, my attitude changes because I am no longer focused on the problem. Whatever you are going through, find a Scripture that applies and say it. I don't care how long it takes. God is faithful to His Word. I may not be out of the wheelchair yet, but that is where my focus is! Encourage yourself today and see what happens. I guarantee once you start praising God, you won't be able to stop.

I know waiting is hard. I have been in a wheelchair almost ten years. God's Word says,

"But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint."

Today, I am trusting in Him to be all I need. I invite you to do the same.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Tears on My Napkin

napkin, tissue
© Tammy Sanders

Today, I saw your face. 
I have many times before, but this time your face was crystal clear to me. 
I could see all of the hurt. The weariness in your eyes. 
I could tell you are tired of fighting.

Tired of fighting with yourself.
Tired of believing the lies you've been told.
Over and over, they weigh you down.
You lose your tall stature. Your vision. Your hopes. Your dreams.

Even though you were not in my presence, I prayed for you.
I prayed you would let down those walls you have built,
I prayed you would let love in.

I know it's hard to trust.
The pain must be a heavy burden to bear.
But, today I prayed that you would see what God sees in you.
That you would see what I see.

The truth is you are a leader. You have so much to give.
You will overcome. One day, you will be able to forgive.

As I prayed, I couldn't stop the tears from flowing.
I found a napkin tucked into my book.
I gently dabbed my eyes as the tears fell, and then I looked.

The napkin was no longer pristine and pressed.
It was wrinkled and indented from the tears of my prayer.
So, though I am not with you,
I hope one day you know my prayers carried you.

The napkin is a reminder that someone cares. 
As I prayed for you, I was reminded of words I said.
I prayed for forgiveness for those hurtful words.
I should have been encouraging. I should have lifted you up.

I didn't do that then. But I let go of my own hurt.
I saw my own wretchedness.

As you go on your way, I pray God's arms surround you,
I pray His light gets brighter no matter the chaos.
Remember, He is waiting. He's only one prayer away, my friend.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

I Miss the Days

Around the World © Jesse Therrien via

This world is not the one I once knew. Last night, I was lying awake in bed thinking how much things have changed.

I miss the days when people were kind to one another. They didn't expect anything in return. It was just human nature to help someone in need in any way possible.

I miss the days when people actually talked. Today, our communication is centered around status updates, selfies, and texts.

I miss the days of exploration and fun. Gone are the days when kids can just play for hours, maybe wandering off to explore the creek nearby. I play with my nephews outside, but it's just different.

I miss the days of less government involvement. It seems like there is always some new rule or regulation being made that encroaches on our rights to privacy and security. 

I miss the days of hardworking people. My grandparents and great grandparents worked for everything they had, and wouldn't dare ask for a handout. This society is full of lazy people who refuse to work because they know they can get everything they need by doing nothing. 

I miss the days when people had a vision. They set goals and worked hard to achieve them. It seems the vision today is to own a mansion, lots of cars, and a wardrobe that would rival a celebrity's.

That's not my vision. My vision involves blood, sweat, and tears. I don't care about stuff. Just give me the bare necessities and I'm good. I want to leave this world a better place for my nephews and cousins.

I miss the days when people thought for themselves. Slowly, our ability to think is being taken away. In the age of the Internet where everything is just a click away, the thoughts that made each of us different are being meshed into a blob of "Everyone thinks this way. Your way is not celebrated. It is a hinderance."

If you don't believe me, look at the autocorrect feature on most phones. It will type things you didn't mean to say. I saw an article several months ago about smart shoes that vibrate to give turn-by-turn directions.

I miss the good days. Those days that I could just be free without a care in the world. Those days that weren't pervaded by wars, mass killings, and all things evil.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Giving Back to Greenville Memorial Hospital Journal Donation 2

My mom and I took a second journal donation to Greenville Memorial Hospital this afternoon. Some will be given to parents who have children in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and teens. This is my fourth journal donation total since I started last year.

There were around 385 journals.

Spector & Co. donated 362 7x10 eco journals that say "You are Just Awesome!"

Ex Libris Anonymous in Portland, OR donated again. This time Jacob sent around 20. I didn't count them all this time. Ex Libris Anonymous is unique because they make blank journals out of old books. Each cover is unique and every book has some of the original pages throughout.

 Morgan, one of the volunteers with Child Life Services, said, "Thank you so much for thinking of us!"

This was more than just a nice thought. Greenville Memorial Hospital did SO much for my brother and I as premature babies. I can't say enough about the fabulous NICU team, including our nurses, Jill and Nicole. These are special people who work tirelessly in the most fragile environment. 

This was a way to say, "Thank you!" Even though I took one donation last year, I wanted to keep on giving. Kids need to know someone cares! 

As I told Morgan a little bit about myself and why I started the journal donation project, she was ecstatic!

No sooner than I had written down my contact information, I felt the pangs of an unwelcome visitor. My mom was talking with Morgan, but I was in pain. My left leg seized up from the pain of a muscle spasm. My last one happened about two months ago. 

I told Mama and she said, "Try to relax it."

"I can't move it!" I didn't shriek from fear. This was familiar to me. I was struck by the intense pain. I knew I had to get it out of the position it was in if I had any hope of relaxing the muscle. I shifted in the car. The pain was still there.

"You know you can lay the seat back," Mama said.

As soon as I did that, the pain felt deeper. I felt more pulling. That was NOT going to work. Mama was trying to drive, but her mind was also focused on me.

"See if you can hold your leg up and let the muscle relax that way." I just couldn't get it into a good position. "Ow, ow, OW!"

"I'm going to stop the car and help you stand up. I don't know if you can, but we're going to try."

Mama stopped the car and got out to help me. "Just ease your legs over the side," she said.

I didn't know what would happen. The last time this happened, I was doubled over in pain and could hardly stand.

I got out to stand up and held onto my mom. As I stood up taller, I could breathe easier. I closed my eyes. All I was focused on was relaxing. 

"Do you need some help?"
"Do I need to call someone?"
"No, she's fine. Her muscle locked up, and I'm letting her stretch it. This has happened before."

I kept my eyes closed. I couldn't deal with anyone in that moment. I felt the muscle relax. I stood there for a few seconds, hoping that intense pain wouldn't return.

After I was better, Mama told me a lady in another car had stopped to offer help. That was very nice of her. I normally don't share much about what I go through, but the Bible says I overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of my testimony. Even though many people say I look like I have it all together, I don't. I have messy, unpredictable moments just like everyone else. In spite of that, I choose to focus on the good things today. I choose to focus on the kids' lives that will be touched through my journal donation made possible by generous companies.