Category Archives: A Stryker Frame Life

When I’m standing on my head in a stryker frame I see circumstances much different than when the physical therapist turns me upright on my feet. My eyes are the same and the circumstances are the same, but I see what’s before me from different positions and different perspectives.

Unrest In Our Skin

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Sometimes I hate writing from the gut. There are enough topical stresses to cope with on a daily basis. However, being real (the theme of this blog) also exposes “unrest in our skin”–or under-the-skin discomforts. So I press on in unwrapping before you some  common and invisible scrapes and bruises that have tormented me (and maybe you). But I promise to not stop there, as that would be like giving you a cup without coffee. Pretty mean.  So I will fill your cup with a special brew of comforts, energizers, and a sidecar of directives for deliverance from oppression.

Today I will describe to you my (and maybe your) enemies and the elements of truth that will make them flee.

Discomfort with the past. Edgy about the present. Worried about the future. I can identify with the person in the photo, looking back, feeling perhaps troubled, and overflowing with pain. How about you? If the person in the above photo, looking back while bracing herself in her present circumstances and anxious about tomorrow remind you of yourself,  you may be interested in reading this article. However, if you are comfortable with your past, calm about your current life (maybe feeling confident in your older chronological age), and not fearful of your future, I welcome you to take a few minutes to read this post and possibly share your encouragement and advice for deliverance from unrest in the skin with others.

As an individual, I have often confronted painful attacks of unrest in my skin, deep and deadly, charged with cyclonic winds driven to unravel the most held-together strands in my soul. Reflecting upon these sharp and heavy attacks, I’ve discovered three properties in my storms (perhaps one or more of these will help you tap into something eating you), three types of damages to my heart (your heart may have been hurt in a like way, leading you to consider if you want to reduce or remove the harmful effects) , and three effective rescue aids that calmed the winds and dried up the rain, leaving me with peace and strength (maybe they will help you. Maybe not).

FIRST, I would like to share with you properties in my storm that have moved me into unrest. This section of the article is the most stressful for me to deal with because it involves undressing myself in front of you, my valued readers. I have to remove my costumes and masks to show you who I have been.

My soul has been whipped by the wind (My faith has been tossed around by negative circumstances), drenched by the rain (My hope has been dampened by the downpour of unpredictable, yet well-meaning situations), and burned by the hot sun (My sense of being loved and loving have been fried to a burning crisp). In sum, my faith, hope, and love have been attacked by the enemy–permitted by God for a season.

SECOND, I’ve discovered three types of damages done to my heart, resulting from the hateful treatment of the wind to my faith, rain to my hope, and sun to love in my life.

The wind has brought me to my knees before God, begging for protection and direction. The gusts have blown off many of my roof’s shingles and the sense of safety I once had has been destroyed. I feel like a puppet, with no arms and no legs, suspended from the endless sky. Trauma!

The rain has also laid me prostrate before my invisible, yet living God, crying out for a life jacket to save me from the drowning flood that’s quickly filling my nostrils and leaving me gasping and gagging. Even my best friends stand back and watch a disaster in the making.  Crisis!

The hot scorching sun throws my face to the ground. I plead for God to transform this burning ball to a dissipating yellow in the horizon. I’m helpless.

Trauma, Crisis, and Helplessness: Unrest in my skin.

THIRD, the experience of unrest in my skin and three effective rescue aids in the treatment of trauma, crisis, and helplessness? There remain an enormous volume of so-called solutions to our problems. Some just work better than others. Quick fixes are just that–laugh-out-loud–quick fixes, and who wants them. They look so inviting and they taste so good, but these quick fixes have a short lifespan and aren’t very faithful. They’re involved for their benefit alone.

I’m going to jump out of my little self-made boat and walk on water, like Jesus teaches me, and share with you what He has taught me about living above my circumstances. For simplicity, I’ve broken the principles God has revealed to me into three parts, as previously mentioned:

(1) Living through my trauma, to me, means to look to God for answers and deliverance. This is not only my opinion, but my conviction. Sometimes in my life God has performed divine intervention, while other times He has sent a person, or a God-orchestrated circumstance. There are times that He permits the pain for a time purposed by Him. The scripture I recall is:  “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt 6:33).

(2) Living through my crisis, to me, means to  hold on to God, draw close to Him, and don’t pull away from Him. I’ve read the following Biblical words tons of time and they never grow old. I always need to hear them in my heart: “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, [therewith] to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Phil 4:11-13)

(3) Living through my helplessness, to me, means to accept my human condition as TOTALLY hopeless without God.  The following verses make me examine myself, for sure: “Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.  ” (I Cor 3:18-20).

This article, “Unrest in my Skin,” has defined my personal unrest in my skin, described the results of my turmoil, and addressed treatments I have found helpful in my life. I look forward to hearing from you and learning from you, my dear readers.

It’s Safe: You Can Come Out Now

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It’s been too many days and too many years. You’ve held back your tears with laughter and smiles. I tried to tell you that enough is enough, to come out of your closet and lean on me. But you hid your pain deep within and stayed in your dark closet–alone.

Today I learned that you died. We had just talked, but not really. You forced your pain to remain inside–and I guess I did some of that, too. Odd conversations?! Our sentences seemed to have subjects without predicates.

This month I knew a few people who died in different ways. But you chose to take your life.

You’re gone now and I’m still in shock.

I can remember us talking on the phone and laughing. We even talked some deep stuff. But you’re gone now and I’m sad and angry and almost in disbelief.

A closet must have been a very lonely home. I wish you had come out.

Hours have passed and I must turn in. As I roll my wheelchair back to the bedroom, I whisper, “My friend, you will be missed by me.”

As I lay down I think about my friend in sentences without predicates.  A dark closet. Unknowns.

But I’m Tired and Scared

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The  quote grabbed me and shook me. It took my breath. The words “fought, fell, and rose again” got up in my throat, dug in their claws, and refused to leave. The message reminded me of the turmoil that had been boiling through my gut for, what seemed to be, forever. Grappling with decisions to make, desperate to run away with a dark brown paper bag over my head to conceal my real identity was my only aspiration. Digging my heels in the dirt, getting some momentum, and plunging full speed ahead? This was not exactly my version of what I wanted to do. It had been a real ordeal thinking through possible strategies to choose the right one for moving from A to B. All of the strategies had potholes capable of slowing down progress and, if I fell on my face, being laughed at. So what was the problem? Numerous ones.

Just to name a few:

(1) Do I expand my horizon and move to Brooklyn, New York, where I would attend a university with a full scholarship or checkout   a Maryland college less than an hour drive from my hometown?

(2) Do I break up with a longterm boyfriend (who I suspect is selling drugs) or trust his denial as truth?

(3) Do I enter the Miss Wheelchair Maryland contest (lots of fun, but lots of stress) and possibly win (requiring a one year commitment to travel and do guest speaking, lectures, etc.), which would mean going on to the American pageant held in Ohio?

If I chose to cancel the A-to-B goal, what alternatives remained? Would I be settling for life less than the best. Do you know what I mean?

“I’m tired and scared,” is the reason (excuse) I often nurtured in my heart, procrastinating and dodging the goals I really wanted to go for. But did that explanation justify turning my back on what I honestly believed I felt called to do?

In my head I often tightened my fists and banged them on the table a hundred times, sobbing until there were no tears left, angry for letting myself and God down. Sadly, I often forgot that the kingdom of God was within me. Why did I forget? How could I have acted as if God was not here? As if He was not in me?

Several years ago, I was so tired and so scared. It was cold outside. The road was dangerous. A good friend had told me I was crazy for rolling down Northern Parkway, on the corner of McClain Blvd, to catch a bus in a snow storm. Yes, I was unrealistic–and I can still be. But don’t fence me in! I was compelled to go.

I ran into a friend. She tried to persuade me to turn around and go back home. But her “warning” fell on deaf ears. Yes, I was and still have the potential to be a stubborn person.

I rolled on the wheelchair lift of the the Baltimore City Bus, and away I went. After reaching my bus stop destination, I rolled a few blocks, choosing places on the street without snow, and finally arrived at her house.

“Oh, hi! Come in,” Jean yelled from the kitchen. Her voice trembled. I sensed fear.

“Where’s Sharon?” I asked. Sharon was the person I really came to see.

“She can’t come downstairs right now,” Mike (Jean’s husband) answered as he entered the kitchen. He ruled the roost in their house, and always did everything possible to rule anyone crossing his path.

“Mike, Sharon is expecting me,” I said in a calm, but definite tone.

“Don’t matter to me!” Mike responded. A cocky guy.

I rolled from the kitchen to the stairway in the living room and yelled, “Sharon, I’m here! You doing alright?” Sharon had no legs, but she possessed strong arms. To get around she hobbled on her nubs. I loved Sharon. She was intellectually classified as retarded, but don’t believe it for a minute, she was smart as a whip in the things that mattered most.

“Mary?!” She looked into my eyes. A reflection of relief was in her voice.

“Where’s your wheelchair, Sharon?” Somehow I was getting her out of there. I knew in my heart she was just hanging in with them for a season. I could tell. No one told me, but I sensed it deep in my gut.

“It’s behind the stairs.”

Mike must have heard our dialog and walked over to me, pushed his big body against my motorized wheelchair, and blurted out in my face, “She’s not going anywhere!”

Suddenly Mike was called to go outdoors to look at a car his friend was trying to sell to him. I knew I had to call the police NOW!

“Jean, can I use your phone a second?”

“Sure, Mary!” Jean looked scared.

I called 911, told them my friend was being held hostage, and they came. I had been to visit Sharon a few other times and realized her predicament, but did nothing. I was tired and scared and I failed to help Sharon. But this time was different. God blessed my courage to not listen to others, but to press forward to follow through with my conviction and help Sharon. Oh, Mike gave all of us, including the police, a hard time, but it didn’t matter–and I had to smile.

Making decisions and following through to complete the mission may not win us a popularity contest. It could be a dangerous decision that makes us tired and scared, but rising with courage brings valued achievements, including deliverance from the clutch of an evil man.

Are you convinced by God to do something? Tired and scared? Let your weary distress and fear go. Pray. Lean on God.  Move forward. Set yourself free–and maybe a friend.

God is the Potter. We are the clay.

The Priceless Dating Experience

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This picture, on our apartment premise, has reminded me for weeks that God doesn’t make any trash. Instead, He is always placing us in new places to learn to use what we have for His glory.

Years ago I was on a very special date with a gentleman. We headed for Beefsteak Charlies for supper before going to see Phantom of the Opera. The whole evening was beautiful–until.

Getting back into the van, I transferred to the passenger seat. He said I’d be more comfortable than remaining in my motorized wheelchair. So I proceeded to slide into the soft gray cushioned seat. But I missed and, at a non-stop pace, slid to the floor, losing one of my black patten Mary Jane Shoes.

When he grabbed me (he was a paraplegic) he fell on top of me.

“I’m okay. Please don’t worry. Just do me a favor? Get off of me.”

“Dear, just give me a minute. I think my shoe is hooked on yours.”

Humiliated? I certainly was! But I had no idea at the time that our physically challenged bodies would give us something to laugh about for many years.

Handicaps are often viewed as undesirable conditions, but God used this event for good. Like the priceless dating experience, the dumpster site often reminds me that the Lord sees situations different than we see them, and can bring unbelievable blessings out of  what looks imperfect.

God’s not being Clear or I’m Missing Something

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“Lord, either you’re not being clear or I’m missing something. So which is it? No, don’t tell me. I admit, I am thick-headed, but not totally stupid.” These words have been in my prayers more than one. Yours?

As human beings we seem to be drawn into a mindset or position and interpret every experience from that vantage point. If things are coming up roses for us we tell our friends that the new trial we’re facing will not demolish us. After all, we’ve got our whole life ahead of us. However, if we’re on a roll with one good thing after the next going belly-up and falling apart? The words from our mouths will be something like “I don’t know what in the world I’m going to do. Nothing’s going right and I’m sinking hard and fast. God seems to be taking a holiday from me.

One of the major categories on this blog is A Stryker Frame Life. It addresses our views on what happens to us and around us. The Stryker Frame Life defines the actions and events in our lives according to the facts? No. The definitions are molded by the position in which we stand.

When I was placed on a Stryker Frame as a child, strapped down to not fall off, I was shifted from a horizontal position to a vertical, upright standing position. The two positions provided me different perspectives and descriptions of the world around me body. I was so afraid to stand, because my face and upper extremities were a distance from the ground. But in a horizontal position my body was closer to the ground. Therefore, I was much more comfortable, felt more in control, and didn’t cry out to God to help me in the desperate situation. In both positions the ground and my encompassing world were the same. However, my perspective changed my definition of the ground and world.

When life gets tough for me I think about the Stryker Frame Life . I realize that God’s being clear :). Maybe it’s me missing something, which is often the case in the Stryker Frame Life.

“If God had wanted to be a big secret, He would not have created babbling brooks and whispering pines”  ~Robert Brault.

So What is a Stryker Frame?

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So what is a stryker frame?

Here is a picture of a stryker frame:

When I was a child I was tied down to a similar stryker frame (I was in leg braces which included a bar running up my hips and a band around my waist) and positioned in horisontal and upright positions. At first I felt scared, actually standing for the very first time. I was used to sitting and experienced the environment from close proximity. But, thank the Lord,  the fear slowly left and I grew accustomed to standing on my feet on the ground.

I actually live my life from a stryker frame–and so do you. Each of us see ourselves and others from our unique frames of reference. Some of us are brought up in the city, raised in a Christian home, enroll in Christian schools, and serve God by working in the medical field. But our cousins may have lived in several other states and countries, not become affiliated with a religion, and moved around because of commitments with the military and decide to engage in military careers, too–or maybe train to work as a travel agent. Everyone has become educated and prepared for careers to support their families and develop purpose in their lives. However, the families’ value systems, preferences, and choices are different, because their frames of reference differ.

My childhood experiences on the stryker frame remind me of several things:

(1) Choices can be strongly influenced by the parameters in which we find our lives.

(2) Our value systems can be highly influenced by our authority figures.

(3) Only God sees it all. Only God knows what is best for us. We’re human. We live on a stryker frame. We may become fearful–from the unknown? But not to worry. God doesn’t live on a stryker frame.

 

 

The Stryker Frame Life is What I Read in the Bible

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Sometimes the more education the more smarts we think we have. I’ve discovered that truth in my life. I have a PhD in Biblical Studies, but you may want to hold your applause until I’m finished. Then give God your applause, because He is the One and Only I have discovered to hold untainted wisdom.

I put my life in the shadow cast by Israel. Remember how that played the “Love you-Love you not” game with the Lord. Like us, they often became distracted. Yep, like us they appeared to be high on God one time and then? Well, you guessed it. Read for yourself. And the things they and you and me allowed to keep us from following Jesus? Big things? Heck no! After all, what in the world could be  huger and more worthy than God?

The Stryker frame life is what I read in the Bible through the attitudes and actions of Israel–and through the actions and attitudes of you and me. The Stryker frame is what I was placed on as a child in leg braces to teach me to adjust to multiple positions of standing, lying down, and (yep!) taking a spin on my head. In every position I saw/experienced something different. The funny thing is that nothing around me changed. Everything remained the same. But what I perceived changed.

We can be fickle human beings, one day honoring God, remaining steadfast, and not wavering, while the next day being turned on by something we saw that we wanted and we were going to now go that way. The stryker frame has us standing on our heads, but God hasn’t changed.

Think I’m getting back on the stryker frame and asking the physical therapist to get me off my head and swing me to an upright position, after I take my Allegra-D <smile>.

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