Monday, May 19, 2014

A great lesson learned

This is a very personal, true story, but I want to share with you. Hopefully, it will help someone else. Back in 1991, I was involved in a serious motor vehicle accident where both bones in my right leg were crushed below the knee. Doctors thought they would have to amputate, but thankfully I had one orthopedic surgeon who wanted to try something else. He manipulated and aligned the bones in my leg under general anesthesia and then placed what I called "my satellite dish" on my leg. The contraption was really called an "external fixator"and through a variety of plates and long threaded screws (pins) positioned the bones correctly so they would be able to heal. I had 5 of those long, threaded screws or pins, as the medical team called them, drilled into my leg and attached to the fixator. 4 of the threaded pins were over a foot long as they had to pass through both bones in my leg and out the other side while still leaving enough length to thread through the fixator. The other threaded pin extended straight through the center of my fibula and outward (similar to a Unicorn's horn.) Needless to say, it was not a pretty site and was extremely painful. (Warning: Graphic picture follows, you may want to look away!)

After being discharged from the hospital, I went home to be with my four children, ages 15-2.  I did the best I could to manage caring for them and had to learn how to do things much differently now that I was temporarily handicapped. I found out rather quickly how hard it is to take care of little ones when you're confined to a wheelchair and the chair won't fit through doorways.

I'd always been a "clean freak" and was proud of the fact that I kept my house spotless at all times. Was I going to let this minor inconvenience thwart my cleaning record? No I wasn't. I was determined that my house would continue to be neat and tidy even though I couldn't fit the wheelchair through the doors of my home! It was a huge struggle and a job that would normally take a few minutes, often times took several hours. Still, I was proud that I was able to do it myself.

One day, God wanted to teach me a very valuable lesson on pride. You see, I never really thought that I was full of pride...oh, I knew I was proud of myself for being able to keep my home running smoothly and spotless with 4 small children but I didn't think there was anything wrong with that, afterall...I worked hard at it. But, in God's eyes, there was something very wrong. Before my accident, we had been attending a small, country church close to our home in Gainesville. The people there were very kind and loving. We had grown to be a part of their little community and enjoyed getting to know their hearts. When the church family heard about my automobile accident, they quickly made plans on how they could each help me. They talked and planned at the Wednesday night service. Some of the members decided they'd cook meals, others offered to chauffeur, each person wanted to do whatever they could to help out this divorced mother of 4. (Little did I know this until days later when I received a knock at my door.)

Friday morning, I heard a knock at my door. All of the children were at school except for the youngest one. As I opened the door, I was surprised to find an elderly lady from our church standing there in front of me. She said, "I know you've been hurt in the car wreck, honey, and I know you probably haven't been able to mop your I came to help you today. May I come in?" I was totally dumbfounded as I motioned for her to come inside. We sat and visited for a few minutes and she asked me about how I was feeling and then stood up and said, "now if you'll just tell me where your mop is, I'll get busy." I looked at her as if she were crazy and said in my most matter of fact voice, "I'm not going to let you mop my floor! I can do it later." (can you hear the pride that was welling up inside of me..."you're not going to mop my floor! How dare you! I keep my whole house spotless and you, you want to come in and mop my floor???") She looked at me and said (in the sweetest little old lady voice you've ever heard) while she humbly hung her head, "are you going to rob me of a blessing?" I couldn't believe my ears...rob her of a blessing? Whatever did she mean? The puzzled look on my face prompted her to respond, "you see, Bonnie, God told me to come to your house today. He told me to come mop your floor. "That's why I'm here. In my 87 years of age, I've learned to be obedient when God tells me to do something. Now you're going to rob me of the blessing that He had set aside just for me." As she said the last word, she walked toward the front door and slowly walked out.

I watched her drive away in her little car...this sweet, almost 90 year old, hunchbacked, woman who'd come to bless me that day. It didn't hit me until she drove out of the driveway that I'd crushed her spirit with my pride. I'd stolen a wonderful blessing that God had intended for her to receive as she was obedient to His command. Tears welled up in my eyes and I longed to call her back and apologize to her for my stupidity. I could feel God speaking to my heart, "oh, my child. You failed this test today. I sent this precious woman to teach you that pride does indeed go before a fall. You have been so full of yourself and your abilities to keep your family and your home in order since your wreck and you have not allowed others to help you even when their hearts were willing." I was so ashamed of myself and for the remainder of the day, I prayed and cried out to God asking for His forgiveness.

I've never forgotten that day and I never will. What a hard lesson that was for me to learn. Now when someone offers to do something to help me, I never refuse! I am so grateful and thankful. When I offer to do something for someone else and they refuse, I share this story with them. Have you ever robbed someone of a blessing by refusing to allow them to do something for you? Perhaps God spoke to their heart and gave them specific instructions on meeting a need for you. He honors obedience.

The next time someone wants to bless you, accept graciously and humbly. Remember that in Acts 20:35 that Jesus said Himself: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Sometimes we need to be "knocked down a few pegs," as my Daddy used to say, so we can understand the important things in life. Don't let pride cause you to stumble and especially don't let it rob someone of a blessing.

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