My portion forever

From Michelle.  9 July, 2010 6:42 p.m.

Dear friends and family,

Today is the three week anniversary of Steve’s accident.  It is hard to believe it has been so short a time, as a whole world has closed and another has opened in what feels both like a heartbeat and an eternity.

There is much to be thankful for:  1.  Steve is now sleeping better.  Despite being moved every two hours, he sleeps well in between and is clearly feeling more refreshed in the morning.  2.  Steve’s fevers have subsided.  For two days now, Steve has had a relatively stable temperature, an especially great blessing for a spinal cord injury patient, as they are sensitive to temperature changes.  3.  Steve’s pain level has improved.  He is able to sit up higher in bed for longer periods, and miracle of miracles, he is sitting in his chair for HOURS at a time, something that seemed impossible earlier this week.  4.  Steve is able to move several toes at will.  He is also building on his current skill set.  Today, he managed to shave most of his beard on his own with a simple hand-held contraption.  He is also working on balancing his body with his arms while sitting, something that would have been impossible a short time ago.  5.  We are also settling into the unit, getting to know our wonderful doctors, nurses and therapists, and generally getting a feel for the place.

The boys come tomorrow.  We cannot wait to put our arms around them!  While in some ways life will be more complicated, their light and smiles and stories will be a breath of life in these stale hospital corridors.  I can already see Zephyr running up and down the hallways, giggling and laughing!  Steve has been practicing the Wii with the recreational therapists, and can play a game or two of tennis without too much trouble, as a way to engage the big boys.  They will enjoy beating their Dad for a change!

We were suddenly moved to a new room today.  While it lacks the waterfront view, it is incredibly spacious and I am picturing plenty of room for my boys to play and sprawl on the floor while family and friends visit with Steve.

Occasionally the reality of our situation hits, but for the most part we navigate a surreal parade of appointments and short term tasks, as well as an avalanche of decisions.  Steve is full of kind words for those he sees, and I am so grateful that despite his bodily “absence,” he is so spiritually and soulfully present.  We are both constantly filled with immense gratitude at the enormous outpouring of love and prayers.  I say it often, but it truly does carry us.

We are narrowing in on a possible home.  I will refrain from sharing in any detail until it is fully confirmed, however I ask specifically for prayers that God would continue to clearly lead the way and abundantly bless the owner of the home as she contemplates making it available to us.  (For all of you who have served us so bountifully, I receive it with that very same hope!)  God has been and continues to be so very faithful in the details!

Today I draw strength from a verse that has often upheld me in my life, Psalm 73:23-26: “Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand.  You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me in glory.  Whom have I in heaven but you?  And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.  My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever.

Several years ago when I had a blog, I called it “my portion forever” based on these verses.  And I feel it even more so now.  I am aware that I can see this situation with earthly eyes or with spiritual eyes.  With my earthly eyes, there is devastation, mixed with some small amount of human triumph.  With my spiritual eyes there is an enormous opportunity to be purified, to grow, to identify with Christ in his suffering and with others in their suffering, to allow love to be expressed in a very special way, and perhaps most importantly, to experience God’s strength in my weakness.

I feel His strength, and His loving eyes.  It is indeed the strength of my heart.

With love and gratitude,

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  • Toby_gatchalian

    Love from us – Toby and Chie

  • Gretchen Valentine

    I am so excited about the toes! Hurray for wiggling toes! And I'm thankful for your words, Michelle, about “my portion forever”. Those are good words for all of us. May blessings continue to abound.

  • Debbie Spitler

    I am so uplifted with the news of Steve's progress. I was Steve's elementary art teacher and I was always amazed at his talent. Now, that amazement includes his strength, faith and love of family. He is truly blessed to have you, Michelle, as his rock as he works through all this. God is with all of you and will not let you down.. Give Steve a hug from Mrs. Spitler and let him know how proud I am to know him.

  • Helen Bartholomew

    It is encouraging to learn of the BIG miracles God has allowed Pastor Steve to experience, which in turn bless us all enormously. We oftentimes forget that even little toes and fingers have so much value and functions to our daily lives and decent existence. What a privilege to be part of this portion. Imagine the impact it has brought to many souls (weak and strong) clinging to the ONLY GOD who is alive forever to hear our prayers and petitions. God's anatomy and creation is beyond comprehension – yet, we sometimes forget, we are fearfully handwoven by God — every fibre of our being was designed by God for specific reasons and purpose/functionality. Pastor Steve, God will reveal more miracles through you and you are so loved and privileged to be his disciple to all of us. . . Will continue to pray for God's everlasting love and mercy. May God be continuously be glorified through you. Peace and Love — God bless you always!!!
    Helen Bartholomew, UCM – Philippines

  • Carole and Terry Madison

    We celebrate every victory with you, especially the reduction of pain and the toes wiggling-specific answers to my prayers in the night……blessings from Denver. The Madisons

  • Stydollar

    We've experienced God's working behind the scenes in our trials, I'm 110% sure He's working behind yours right now, our family will continue to pray for your quick recovery……Ty Family

  • C

    Great! Praise God! That's good news. Thanks Michelle for your updates. Everytime I read your postings, I feel so enriched and blessed. I am reminded that there is really a lot to be thankful for, even for simple and small things that come our way. You are indeed a blessing to Pastor Steve, your children and to many of us. You have us, your friends, who continue to pray and care for you. Be in God's care always.
    Love & light,
    Cecille Baron, UCM

  • Canucks Lorrie Joke

    Dearest Michelle and Steve – Praise God for hours of sitting, wiggling toes, wii games, a larger room to have fun in and for the amazing updates that you continue to share with us all.
    Michelle, thank you for pouring your love and heart out to us as we pray for you all.
    I am humbled, challenged and blessed by your ability to “receive” this present “way of life”
    and for continually lifting your eyes to Jesus, in whom we live and move and have our being.
    Love, Joke in Manila

  • Joriemat2237

    Pstr Steve, you have wonderfully ministered to thousands here in Manila. When you preach, God used you to speak to the broken-hearted, to give peace to the troubled mind, to give strength to the weary soul and to give hope to those in the midst of adversity. You took along Michelle in most of your preaching and with this, we have always admired her for who she is. When this thing happened, our hearts got broken for you, our minds were troubled, and it seems we lost strength. But as we continue to witness God's faithfulness, your great love for each other and how people have upheld you in their prayes daily, we cannot help but see that this time — you and Michelle have ministered to tens (perhaps even hunreds) of thousands around the world! Praise be to God who continues to use you and Michelle!
    Much,much,love & prayers,
    Sam & Jorie

  • Rebecca Lwin

    Dear Pastor Steve and Michelle,

    I am always moved by your postings, Michelle, and I was especially moved by today's about the 2 ways of seeing things. Yes, we can choose to see through earthly eyes or spiritual eyes. May we always choose our spiritual eyes! I am grateful for the improvements that Pastor Steve has shown, and I am more grateful for the hope that permeates both of your hearts. I pray for you both every day.


    Rebecca Lwin, UCM

  • Jlcleverly

    Dear Steve & Michelle,

    Receive your letter from Manfred Kohl. The roller coaster ride of life certainly has its ups and downs but when it is anchored in Christ there is certainty that he is in control and will work all things out according to his plans. Praying that God will give you strength and encouragement for whatever lies ahead and praising Him for each new progression which is made.

    May God bless you and your family,
    In Christ, Steve & Joyce (from Middleboro, MA – Manfred's “home church”)

  • Connie Van't Hof

    We follow your posts daily, anxiously awaiting the news. Once again, Michelle, we are brought to tears of elation, comfort, and hope all at once with your beautiful words of encouragement – for US on the outside! Always bringing our eyes UP to HIM who fortifies us all through Jesus Christ our savior. What wonderful reminders you give us as you go through your own pain and suffering alongside your beloved husband. GOD Bless you for shining HIS light on all this – strengthening us all in HIS love with hope. We continue to pray for your entire family today as you are reunited. PRAISES for sleep, less pain, answers to many prayers, and tiny miracles! We know you are in GOD's hands and continually thank HIM for that…Big hugs to you all, and please give John & Darlene a special KISS from Connie! with love and many prayers ~ Connie VantHof and family

  • Roger Bartholomew

    Thank you Michelle for your beautiful insights. Great news on Steve's rehab – obviously real progress is being made. Helen and I continue to pray daily for Steve's complete restoration – and I know that these prayers will be answered.
    Roger & Helen Bartholomew – UCM

  • Nadine

    As you have allowed us to pray for specific things for Pastor Steve, now you give us exact things to thank God for and praise Him for His faithfulness.
    My husband and I continue to pray for Pastor Steve, for you, Michelle, and the boys, and for your circle of relatives, friends and medical support, that these experiences may buoy you all up in your faith.
    Hugs from Rada,