Category Archives: Lessons from my husband’s accident

On March 12, 2014, my husband, Tom, fell sixteen feet when his ladder slid down the wall of our gym. He crushed his heel and broke his hip (actually, the top of his femur) It was a long recovery, and provided us both with many lessons!

When Your Rock Crumbles

waves crashing
Photo by stein egil liland on Pexels.com

Tom is my rock. He’s always there for me. I don’t realize how much I depend on him until he is compromised. The first time that happened was in 2014 when he fell 16 feet and broke his hip and crushed his heel. Today, it’s laser surgery for a detached retina. Actually, the surgery took place a couple weeks ago. This was only to be a checkup but they need to “weld” around one spot. (Somehow the term weld should not be in the same sentence as eye) Ugh! And then the doctor said that it would probably happen in the other eye as well! Double ugh!
He’s my rock! But what do you do when your rock starts to crumble? As we sit here in the waiting room and I watch a young female patient fill out her forms I realize that, generally speaking, we do not realize what a blessing youth and good health is until they are gone. We live. We assume that we’ll just jump out of bed and do it all again today, and the next, and the next. But then, suddenly, we’re old! Just so you know, 60s are not like the 50s, 40s, or 30s. 60s makes you stop and realize that most of life is in the past. That may sound morbid. It’s not—it’s reality.
So, again I ask, what do you do when your rock starts to crumble? YOU MAKE CERTAIN THAT YOUR FEET AND FAITH ARE FIRMLY PLANTED ON THE ROCK THAT WILL NEVER CRUMBLE! Jesus is the Son of God. He IS God eternal. He is ALWAYS there and will always be there. He never changes. He has all the power that He always had and is willing to supply the strength that we—His genuine children— need for anything. What a wonderful promise!
Tom and I said on that special day of days, “In sickness and in health.” Well, here we are! It’s my turn. Tom had his turn during three Cesarean deliveries. We will be there for each other as long as God allows, but when the rock crumbles, my feet are secure, and so are his when this little pebble crumbles too! Praise God.
Lu 6:48 He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.

Please Push Me Off This Ladder, Lord

Would anyone in their right mind pray a prayer like that?  I don’t think so.

Yes, it’s been one year since my husband’s fall.  For those of you who have joined me since that time—and I am overwhelmed by that number—here’s a recap of the accident:

During the renovation of our church gym, my husband, Tom, was standing backwards on a ladder and reaching to pull a nail out from the ceiling. The ladder slipped, taking him sixteen feet to the cement floor below.  He crushed his heel and broke his hip.  Now, he sports all sorts of hardware: two rods, cabling and screws in his leg, and thirteen screws and a plate in his foot.

It’s been a long and, at times, weary road.  As we look back, it’s amazing to see what the Lord has done in the past year!  Perhaps the greatest blessing from it all is the love which was poured out on our lives: cards, gifts, meals, acts of kindness.  When a pastor can’t preach, who preaches?  Who turns out the lights, turns on the heat, cuts the grass?  Who visits the sick?  There are so many little jobs that a pastor often does—especially when he lives right next to the church—that are done without notice, until they are not done!  Watching our people rally behind him brought joy unspeakable!

Trials—we certainly do not ask for them, but it is good to understand that they do not happen without God’s attention.  They don’t hit us while He’s not looking, because He sees all!  And so, the oft-asked question is:

Why does God allow bad things to happen?

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,

knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.

But let patience have its perfect work,

that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. James 1: 2

It is true that we do not ask for trials, but we do ask for patience.  We do want to be “complete” or approved of God.

Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season,

if need be,

ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith,

 being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire,

might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

1 Peter 1:6,7

Peter knew, James knew, I would say the majority of the first century Christians knew that the trials which plagued their lives also empowered them to be the salt and light that they needed to be in a totally godless world.  (And if you are looking for inspiration, try reading Fox’s Book of Martyrs—just a buck on Amazon for a Kindle!)

Here we are, in another godless age, perhaps on the brink of facing the worst persecution Satan has yet to dish out; how will we face the trials?  Peter encourages us to allow them to grow our faith and ultimately bring praise and honor and glory to our Lord. That may be easier said than done, but I was recently reminded in a sermon, that with every trial a battle rages:  Satan wants to destroy us and our testimony, and God wants to grow us and make life more precious!

Tom now walks with a limp.  Pain is a frequent reminder of his year-old trial, but overall we praise God for allowing him to heal and to live!  To God be the glory!

Well done, thou good and faithful servant

For better for worse?  For richer or poorer?  In sickness and in health?  Do we really think all those situations through when we say them?  I don’t think so, and I don’t think we can.  I can’t help thinking about some of the newer versions of the wedding vows, like the one that says, “as long as our love endures.”  That might last through the wedding reception!  I’ve seen daggers in the eyes of a beautiful bride as the comedian-bridegroom shoves cake in her face.  What a ridiculous tradition!

And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone;

 I will make him an help meet for him. Genesis 2:18

The promises we make at the altar are not what prepares us for becoming good helpmeets for our husbands. The character we’ve endeavored to instill into our daughters will prepare them to be wonderful helpmeets for their husbands; however, after nearly thirty-three years of marriage, I’m still learning.

Tom’s fall has changed the whole landscape of our marriage!  He is able to walk with a walker, but his foot is still non-weight-bearing and will be for another few weeks (five to seven? 😦 )  I’m continually amazed at his improvement; however, it’s going to be a long time until he takes out the trash!

At first, serving him was just a “knee-jerk” reaction.  He couldn’t do anything and he was in so much pain.  I would have been pretty hard-hearted not to help him!  He is an excellent patient, and even though he does as much as he can, he still needs me to wait on him hand and foot (especially foot! 🙂 ).

We’ve worked into a good system and he’s constantly thanking me for what I do.  Today, I hit a high mark: Twice he asked for something that I had already done!  “You’re perfect,” he said.  Me?  Perfect? I seriously doubt it!

It has been an incredible learning process for me.  First, I’ve come to appreciate all that my wonderful husband does, or did!  Second, I’ve learned how impatient I am; and third, I’m learning true servanthood!  As I serve Tom in the most intimate ways, I realize just how important it is to be his helpmeet. Certainly, I thought I knew that before, but as I got busy doing my own thing: blogging and writing and gardening and teaching and playing and planning music and grandmothering, at times I became frustrated when our schedules didn’t jive and I was the one who had to bend.

Today, I made a startling discovery: I want to hear my LORD say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”  How sad to hear Him say those words about my service in the church, or my grandmothering, or my teaching, but not hear it as a helpmeet!  THAT is the one place that counts the most, and if no other good comes out of this whole ordeal than that lesson for me, it will be worth it.

How about it, ladies?  How well is your “serve” at home?  I am so thankful that the Lord did not take him home to heaven!  He could have!  Oh, how wonderful to have a husband to serve!!  Just ask any widow.

The God of the Impossibe

Exodus 4:2-4

And the LORD said unto him, “What is that in thine hand?

And he said, “A rod.”

And he said, “Cast it on the ground.”

And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it.

And the LORD said unto Moses, “Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail.

And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand

Do you serve the God of the Impossible?  I love this little slice of reality in Moses’ life.  Even though Cecil B. Demille makes it look as though the burning bush incident happened only a short time after he left Egypt, it was forty years later. The actual time line of Moses’ life falls into forties: forty years in Egypt, forty years in Midian, and forty years in the wilderness leading the Israelites.

God has just spoken to Moses of His mission, and Moses is telling God all the reasons why it won’t work! This is the first of two signs that God gives Moses to convince the Israelites that he is God’s man.

Do you like snakes?  Would you like to pick one up…by the tail?  Anyone who handles snakes knows that you don’t pick up a snake by the tail! Actually, common sense would tell you not to pick up a snake by its tail.  It’s sort of like grabbing a cat by the tail, except the results could be deadly! We don’t know what kind of snake it was, but whatever the type, Moses ran from it.

However, there is no break in the action: God tells him to pick up the snake by the tail and Moses does it. Faith: Forsaking All, I Trust Him!  Forsaking all commons sense, I do what He commands.

What is the impossible thing in your life?  Impossible things can be personal struggles with bad habits or sins; or, they can involve someone else, whose actions are affecting your life. Circumstances involving finances, relationships, attitudes, wrong choices: they all can create impossible situations in our lives, and we come to God begging Him to do SOMETHING!

But first, perhaps He is asking you, “What is in thy hand?”  What is it that you are clutching so tightly that God wants to use to do the impossible?  You see, if you are in control, then God is not.  He wants to do the impossible, but so often, we must hand over the reins before He can do it.

It may be so impossible, that you only laugh, like Sarah: having a child at the age of ninety? IMPOSSIBLE!  Can you believe God for the impossible?  Can you allow Him to teach you through the impossible? Will you hand EVERYTHING over to Him so that He can do the impossible?  Are you willing to wait for Him to do the impossible on His timeline and not yours? You can be guaranteed that any great accomplishment for God started with an impossible idea. Never think that God cannot do it.  If it is HIS will, it can be done!

Later, Moses will stand at the Red Sea and say, “Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.”  (Exodus 14:13) It’s always a great joy when God just does the impossible.  They stood and watched as God parted the Red Sea.  OOOh! Ahhh! Wow!  Isn’t God awesome!  He’s doing the impossible!

Sometimes though, He asks a price to do the impossible, as perhaps you read in “Wet Feet.”  Will you do it? WARNING: it will cost you something.  Think about Moses, reaching out his hand, keeping an eye on that serpent’s fangs dripping with venom; and yet he trusted God to do the impossible, so that when he stood before the people and he stood before Pharaoh, he was ready once again to trust the God of the Impossible

Wet Feet

  And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.Exodus 14:21

Most believers are familiar with the Biblical account which records God’s parting of the Red Sea, even though Hollywood and many children’s books may not get everything quite accurate. What a wonderful example of the power of God! No wonder the world has a hard time believing that it really happened!

A less familiar story is found at the end of their wanderings, preceding their entrance into the Promised Land:

 And as they that bare the ark were come unto Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water, (for Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest,) That the waters which came down from above stood and rose up upon an heap…Joshua 3:15,16

 Picture it: The Israelites have completed their forty-year wilderness wandering and are now standing at the Jordan River’s edge.  Jericho has been scouted out, and they are ready to enter into the Promised Land!  Again, a body of waters stands in their way until it too parts, but there is a slight difference:  Certainly, it was the power of God that parted the waters and created a dry base for nearly three million people to pass over; however, the water never moved until the priests’ feet dipped into the water.

The following passage tells us a little more about this crossing:

The river was thus dried up as far as the eye could reach. This was a stupendous miracle; Jordan takes its name, “the Descender,” from the force of its current, which, after passing the Sea of Galilee, becomes greatly increased as it plunges through twenty-seven “horrible rapids and cascades,” besides a great many lesser through a fall of a thousand feet, averaging from four to five miles an hour [LYNCH].  When swollen “in time of harvest,” it flows with a vastly accelerated current. (Jamieson-Fausset-Brown) Commentary

We don’t know exactly where this crossing took place, but we see that the Jordan was “overflowing its banks.”  This generation of wanderers had only heard about the Red Sea parting, now it is their turn!  Do you see the big difference in the two partings? Wet feet!  The people just stood and watched in awe as the Red Sea parted before them, but this time, twelve men got to really test the waters!  These twelve priests were the leaders of their tribes.  They were leading their families, and they were taking a step of faith.

That’s the difference between entering the wilderness and entering the Promised Land: a step of faith.  How often we stay in the wilderness because we are afraid to take that step of faith!  We are God’s children; we have trusted Him for our salvation; we believe in Him and what He’s done, but we can’t trust Him for tomorrow’s unknown! 

Here’s another lesson for me through this trying time.  Just to recap if you haven’t been following my husband’s accident: Wednesday, he fell twelve feet to concrete when his ladder slid, breaking his hip and crushing his heel.  Thursday, surgery. Monday, we’re told three things: He was going to the in-hospital rehab (yippy!  No transportation!); He was going home (well, transportation but he’d be home); He would just stay in the Joint Center (I’ll pick door number three!) We were really fine with all three, but door number two was the final answer.  We prayed that we would know what was best, and that we wouldn’t have to make the decision (we haven’t worked much with hospitals!).  By eight-thirty on Tuesday morning, we had our answer; however, we were also told that we would have to be at the doctor’s office the following morning at eight-fifteen!

I panicked.  My mind raced back to those trips home from the hospital following my three C-sections–not pleasant!  The thought of reversing the process and taking him out again the next day nearly pushed me over the edge.  Then I remembered this blog (that I’ve been trying to finish for five days!) Why don’t you try trusting God, Wanda! Take a step of faith!  Maybe He knows what is best! Ouch!  Guess what–He did, and does and always will, if only we would step into the water!!!  Why is it so hard to trust Him?  Because all we see is that raging river swirling out of control just inches from where we are standing!  There is no way He can _________ ( you fill in the blank).  He may not solve your problems the way you would like Him to do it, but if you are willing to follow Him, He will ALWAYS do what is best!

Come, every soul by sin oppressed;
There’s mercy with the Lord,
And He will surely give you rest
By trusting in His Word.

Only trust Him, only trust Him,
Only trust Him now;
He will save you, He will save you,
He will save you now.

For Jesus shed His precious blood
Rich blessings to bestow;
Plunge now into the crimson flood
That washes white as snow.

John H Stockton

Why is it that we can trust Him for the next life, but not for this one?