Today's hero is Darla. I met her through one of my best blogging friends Michele. This photo is of Darla and her granddaughter. (Darla's granddaughter has just recently been healed of a life threatening heart problem.) Such a precious photo...
What is the handicap you’re dealing with?
How long have you had this?
I was diagnosed when I was 16, almost 39 years ago
Where do you get your desire to Rise Above?
There’s just something deep inside that won’t let me quit or stop; I know it is GOD and GOD alone! When the pain would cause me to give up I think of all Jesus Christ endured for me and know that I can make it – sometimes one step at a time, literally, but I CAN make it.
What are you doing now that you never thought you would be able to do?
When I was diagnosed the doctor told my mom I would be confined to a wheelchair within two years due to the vengeance with which the disease struck and how quickly my body changed. I had some very terrible and dark years – pain beyond belief. It got so bad at one point I could not pick my baby up out of the crib. I could not button my clothes, pull up a zipper, open a jar, sweep the floor, etc., scrubbing the tub was out of the question but I fought back and MADE myself do these things. Sometimes they were done with tears dripping off my chin but I prayed the whole time and begged God for strength and mercy.
It was a horrible time of pain that wracked my body from head to toe; I had two small children and had no idea how I made it through except for the grace of God. I began to seek God fervently for healing and understanding of this valley in my life. Prayers were made literally night and day because I had to have an answer!!!!!! I will never forget when it came, “If you’ll praise Me I will heal you.” WOW! That simple???
So from that day forth I began to praise God and thank Him for healing me. It may sound crazy to some – to praise Him for something being DONE that is still a work in progress. But let my life testify for itself: I now work 40+ hours a week on a secular job, clean and scrub my 2500 sq ft house from top to bottom (including 3 bathrooms!!), work in the garden, hang wallpaper, ride a bicycle, walk 1-2 miles at least 3 times a week, am heavily involved in 5 different ministries at church, drive my own vehicle, pick my grandchildren up as much as I want and squeeze them really tight, open a jar without the aid of anything or anyone…and the list goes on and on!!! Praise works!!!
What have you learned on your journey?
Compassion, understanding, patience, acceptance, trust, how to be at peace in the middle of a storm, total reliance on God…just to name a few
One of the greatest things I’ve learned is I just can’t FIX some things
I’ve learned I don’t always have to be on top of the world physically but if I do my best and do all I can do God makes up for what I lack.
Have there been certain people that have helped you along the way?
I honestly do not know where I would be or how I would have gotten there without my Mom. She has been my rock from day one. I’ve also been blessed with some incredible doctors and I give honor to them. My husband is amazing; loving, patient, understanding and works right along beside me in the house and doing laundry. My children have loved me in spite of days when I wasn’t in the best of spirits – especially early on. I lost a son when he was 2 ½ years old and could not have more children due to the RA. But, God blessed us with a baby girl which we adopted when she was 6 weeks old. My son and daughter have been the wind beneath my wings…
What was it you appreciated the most from them?
They did not set limitations for me but allowed to do all I could do to live normally. They have just “been there” cheering me on and celebrating every victory with me.
Darla is an inspiring woman. Her love of the Lord is evident in her daily life. Thank you Darla for your example and for sharing your story with us!