Wednesday: A big day

From Michelle.  23 July, 2010 9 a.m.

Dearest friends and family,

Only a few days have passed and yet so much has happened. Wednesday was a very big day.

For a long time, our therapists have mentioned that they would like to get Steve into a manual wheel chair. To both of us, this seemed like a lofty goal, especially considering the weakness in his right arm. On Wednesday, however, our physical therapist surprised us both by suggesting we give it a try.

The transfer itself is always tricky, but once Steve was sitting, he looked so natural. As he began to propel the chair forward with his arms, his face began to brighten, and his speed picked up quickly. Until then, I had not fully understood the difference or importance of the manual wheelchair. As I watched Steve moving by actively engaging his whole body, however, I saw life flowing forth in a way that was different. I suppose that for someone without leg function, this is the closest you can get to walking. After some practice in the gym, Steve did a “victory lap” around the unit. It was a beautiful sight. Forty minutes of manual wheelchair was enough exertion for a few days, but another day, Steve will try again… I look forward to the sight!

As if that was not enough, the recreational therapists had organized a small group outing to the zoo. Excursions like this are designed to teach patients how to get out into the real world again, negotiate sidewalks, use buses, experience wheelchair accessible vans, etc. The big boys had already been at the zoo all day with a church group, so they were already in the vicinity when we arrived. What joy it brought to both of us to see the kids’ faces brighten when Steve rolled off the van and into their world! Steve had the bright idea to attach a kiddie cart to the back of his electric wheelchair, for the kids to sit in and be pulled along. It was a raging success. Zephyr and Jude sped along behind their Papa, big grins on their faces. Zephyr was especially ecstatic and spent most of our precious hour buckled in behind his Dad.

There was more good news that day. A wonderful man donated a wheelchair accessible van to us! We had known that he was considering it and were already amazed that he would give it a thought. But our amazement only grew when Steve’s brother Mike sent a picture to us of the van, parked outside our house! These amazing acts of generosity continue to astound us at every turn, almost more than we can absorb. We are grateful for every one, big and small, beyond measure.

Steve is continuing to build strength, however he has been exhausted the last two days. Please pray for continued strength and “return” (the term used for return of sensation, motion and strength as nerves begin to fire up again). God has been so good in all of the details. Please continue to pray as we consider out-patient therapies, transitions and care support in the home, moving and schools.

My verses for today are from Psalm 42:7-8, 11: “Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls; all your breakers and your waves have gone over me. By day the Lord commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life… Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.”

Your prayers make all the difference! Thank you!

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  • hootenannie

    Steve, your smile continues to light up this world – we (thousands and thousands of us) are all cheering you on! So much love to all of the Ruetschles. :)

  • Bonnie Stalter

    our cup runneth over with joy for all of you and such progress so quickly.
    of courses . the tendency to overdo.. on good days.. takes recovery days.
    learning balance in energy and pacing is an art we all need to deal with daily.

  • Heather Klepp

    I love this picture of Steve! I once again see the joy in his face that I have missed!! What a great day.

  • Mary Johnson

    We're praying often for you and thinking of you each day. Thanks for the updates. It's great to see Steve's smile and to know of the courage with which you are facing the many challenges each day. Thanks for being willing to let people help you–that's not easy, but is a major witness to others. Amen, friends! Jeff and Mary Johnson

  • Barbara

    Milestones and mending of body and hearts. Thanks for the wonderful zoo story and so much more. We all affirm with thanks, “My God will supply ALL your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

  • Carol M. Dettoni

    Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say: “Rejoice”!

  • Darren

    To life…



  • Deb (Talley) Thompson

    I'm certain that part of the exhaustion is Steve's body doing “behind the scenes” work on those returns. I'm praising God for the whole entire process. Every excruciating detail of it is GLORIOUS!!! How long and how wide and how deep and how high is His love! Continued blessings on you all.

  • zoila

    great to see that smile again :)

    trust and hope,

  • Marygmeyer1721

    We have been thinking of you and the family with love and prayers. Happy the grand parents can be with the little boys. Thanks so much for the wonderful journals. We pray for continued return of nerves, muscles and excellent movement. Mary and Henry Meyer.

  • opheliatongco

    Getting Michelle's update is always crying time for me. It's so good to see that smile Pastor Steve!

    Michelle, I was singing those verses of Scripture at the top of my voice early this morning:”why so downcast oh, my soul, put your hope in God, put your hope in God……”

    Pastor Steve and Michelle, did you ever realize that “the sun does not set” on the prayers offered for you? If plotted in a world map, the flags represent the east and the west, north and south. Indeed the earth is filled with petitions of God's people for strength and “return” for Pastor Steve.

    Glory to God in Jesus Christ alone!

  • Roger Bartholomew

    FANTASTIC NEWS. I look forward to the day when you tell us that the therapists suggests that he gets out of his wheelchair and attempts to get around on crutches. I don't think that day is very far away. 24 hour all-around-the-world prayer for “return” and complete restoration is great therapy. Our God is Great!

  • Sophia Olga Baron-Bautista

    Hi Pastor Steve and Michelle, God is so Good. You are both privileged to be chosen by God to be His living testimony that He is The Living God. God didn't want that testimony to be confined to the US but He meant it to be worldwide. That was why you were brought to UCM with an international congregation so all the nations will see the Greatness of the God we love. I read that God disciplines to build our character to face work He has for us to do and as Christians we need to recognize the Lord's discipline, to submit to it, and trust that He who has sent the times of testing is working out His own purposes. May God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit be with you all. We miss you. We are always praying for you.
    Olga Baron-Bautista

  • Genrideout

    WAHOOO!!! YEAH GOD!! I love the victory you are showing in Steve!!

  • Chris Megargee

    How wonderful to read this news. The way that both of you, Steve and Michelle, are handling this journey is truly an inspiration. I delighted in the image of Steve hauling the boys around at the zoo, him being for them the fun and wonderful daddy that he always has been and always will be. I continue to pray for you all, and I enjoy hearing so many firsthand updates from Tiffany.

    God is indeed great.

    Peace, healing, and good to you.



  • Heather, Steven and Sophie.

    I look forward to your posts Michelle. You are all in our thoughts every day.

  • Julie

    This site is a glorious testimony to our Lord and His loving community…I appreciate all the comments from everyone…

  • Jana

    We love and miss you!! Lots of hugs!!! Jana


    We are glad to hear this news. We look forward to seeing you back here in UCM as scheduled that as if nothing did happen to you.

    There are lots of lessons we learn from this incident which God wants us to experience. The lesson of His graciousness, his love, his power and his faithfulness to us. God is faithful indeed!!!!
    We miss you pastor Steve. Michelle, you're doing a great job to your husband. Really wonderful.

    Regards to the family.

    Love and Prayer,


  • Lisa Gustafson

    such an encouraging post today…we are so thrilled to hear of Steve's progress and the fun interaction with the boys…doing something fun with them like the zoo trip must have been a great joy! Love you and continue to lift you up continually before Our God…
    Lisa for the family

  • Millie

    I felt this overwhelming joy in my heart as I read this posting. Oh, Michelle, along with you we rejoice in thanksgiving to our good God for such wonderful progress that Steve is doing. And a zoo excursion! what a treat! I could almost see the ecstasy in the boys' faces:-)))
    I just know that it is also Steve's very strong spirit, along with all the people's prayers, that is propelling him towards all this improvement (and I'm sure he also has good therapists, thanks to them, too). We continue to keep you all in prayer for the “RETURN”!
    Our SDG misses you so much. We just finished the first of the series of the films that you left with us and remember you & Steve in our discussions.

  • Earnestnm

    Great to hear the great wonders of our Almight God, He is truly gracious to our Pastor Steve and his family.
    Our family continues to pray for you, often remebering you with song,
    “He is the Lord of the good times, Lord of the pain, He is the Lord of all”

    May the Lord continue to bring strengt and renewed life to each part of Pastor Steve's body.
    Earnest, Maidhily, Enosh and Enoch

  • Elizabeth

    God's love is so deep that we can not fathom. In His time he surprises us with things even before we ask. May you continue to feel the love of God even in this trying times. God be with you Pastor Steve.