Avoiding “The Manipulation”

Manipulation: : to treat or operate with or as if with the hands or by mechanical means especially in a skillful manner (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

Post Op 3 weeks:  Today was a day of reckoning.  In order to avoid “the manipulation,” Wyndham had to make some big progress with the flexion of his knee.  During a visit with his surgeon last week, the doctor was not entirely pleased with my husband’s progress since his surgery.  So, during this visit the doctor placed “the fear of the Lord” in my husband and set up daily physical therapy as well.  He informed him that if he did not have 100 degrees of flexion (the angle at which the knee bends) by today he would have to undergo “the manipulation.”  IMG_4235 This flexion number is needed in order to be on target for reaching the ultimate goal of 130 degrees of flexion.  The doctor even set up the appointment for this procedure to take place tomorrow.

“The manipulation” is known to be a most dreaded torturous procedure.  In this “fun little activity” one is put under anesthesia while the doctor (through his sheer force and power) makes the muscles and tendons move beyond what they can do on their own.  Anesthesia is administered because it is considered too painful to endure while awake.  Unfortunately, the pain raises its ugly head when the anesthesia wears off.   This flexion goal is considered quite important.   If the desired flexion is not reached, the result of the surgery would be disappointing, as the goaled flexion and extension is needed for an acceptable range of motion and use of the knee, and all the attached appendages.

Wyndham worked extremely hard all week, well beyond what was comfortable for him.  He worked with his physical therapist and then continued at home with his “homework.”  So today, the day of reckoning came during the physical therapy session… and he bent his knee to 101 degrees.  This was great progress from a mere 83 degrees a week ago.  The therapist was able to get it to 109 degrees, which pleased him – as this was on target for the goal of 130 degrees.  “The Manipulation” was cancelled.

Of course there are numerous spiritual applications throughout this healing process.  As I have been reading through the Old Testament, I am reminded just how serious God is about obedience to him.  When he gives a command he expects that it is followed.  Failure to do this results in his discipline.  Yet this is not because he is out to hurt us –  quite the opposite.  We hurt ourselves and face his discipline when we don’t take him seriously.  The response is up to us.

    No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.  (Hebrews 12:11)

 This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome,  (1 John 5:3)

He knows how we are meant to function (he made us) and wants to see us live the way we were intended to live and to see us reach our full potential.  If we, through the help of Jesus, our Great Physician, the help of a “physical therapist” (those involved in our lives helping us keep the course and reach the potential God has put in us) and our own wholehearted effort to grow we will perhaps be able to avoid many painful manipulations that we would incur without these helpers.

“Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.  (Luke 13:24)

    Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience. (Hebrews 4:11)

    So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. (2 Peter 3:14)

God expects us to take him seriously.  Graciously, he gives us everything we need to live in the way we were intended to live.

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.  (2 Peter 1:3)

Day by day, with the help of our God, the help of other disciples and our hard work we too can make progress that brings us toward the goal of becoming all God created us to be.

And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.  2 Cor 3:18 (NRSV)

Everybody Needs a PT

The surgeon, speaking to us, told us we won’t want someone who is just “sweet and nice” to work with Wyndham.  He said we will want someone who will push him well beyond his comfort zone – to things he thinks he can’t do or fears doing.   This was the surgeon’s description of the needed physical therapist.

Yes, as stated in the previous post – God is in charge of the design, working and intricacies of the human body, and  we are responsible to do our part in the healing process…but the road to full recovery also involves help from someone else.  This person has experience and knowledge of how things are supposed to work and helps to teach, train, encourage, dispel fear and promote trust.  In my husband’s physical healing and growth process this person is known as the physical therapist.

So, when the therapist showed up there was a sense of “gulp, well, here we go…”…as who really longs to get uncomfortable and invite pain?  However, even though it hurt,  the benefit of the time was immediate and deeply appreciated.  My husband was on the stairs, was doing a little dance,was on his toes and was doing all kinds of painful activity.  Afterward, he was so much more confident that his knee would actually hold him. He made a lot of progress that he wouldn’t have made without the extra “push” and the training from the PT.  There are certain windows of opportunity to retrain the muscles…and that window of opportunity is now.  The trainer will come back again and again…and then Wyndham will go see the trainer  (Physical Therapist) regularly as he strives to make progress – little by little and day by day. IMG_4215

As I watch and anticipate this continuing process…I realize that while the knee is a pretty important part of the body, it (even the titanium bionic version) will not last forever.  However, our souls will.  Why in the world then, would we not surround ourselves with regular visits with a spiritual “PT” – who I’ll refer to as a “Perfection Trainer.”

I could fill the page with scriptures that teach us our need to have others in our lives.  Consider a few of my favorites:

    We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. [29] To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me. Col. 1:28-29

    Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. Col. 3:16

    Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. [16] From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. Ephesians 4:15-16

    But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. Hebrews 3:13

    And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. [25] Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25

I’ve been a Christian now for 45 years – baptized as a teen.  Throughout these years God has always been faithful to all his promises.  As for my part… yes it is hard work with ups and downs,  as I’m still a work in progress.  I know the love, support, training, correction, encouragement and guidance I have received from others is invaluable – individually and also collectively as I regularly meet together with my brothers and sisters.   I am so grateful for those who help me overcome my fears and help me to be more like Jesus.   I  intend to aggressively continue to  surround myself with those who offer these things to me (as I will never outgrow the need)- and also to continue to offer them to others as well – as I long to be faithful  to my God  and his family to the end.

How aggressively do you seek out “Perfection Training?” Do you seek it as Paul describes in Colossians ” with all his energy that he so powerfully works within me.” ??

While the knee may be okay without it, the soul won’t.








A Century Ride or a 25 Minute Ride?

A few days ago while on facebook I noticed that my friend Erica had completed a century bike ride in Colorado.   A century ride goes for at least 100 miles.  This particular ride went through four mountain passes. This was particularly inspiring to me since she has had lupus.

Two weeks ago I purchased a Schwinn one speed, pedal brakes old fashioned bicycle at Target.  It had dents in the fender so I got it for $91.  It’s a beautiful light blue retro style bicycle – the vision of my dreams when I was a youngster.  Being the youngest of four girls, new bicycles were not in the picture. They were simply too expensive.

Yesterday I rode my bicycle for 25 minutes to the local elementary school and back.  My route had four small hills (which did get my heart rate up).  I didn’t want to ride yesterday.  In fact, it was almost dark when my husband and I went out.  It seemed so pointless since there was so little daylight left.  However, those short rides are becoming near daily events and are increasing my strength. Today I rode for 45 minutes. Over the years I’ve learned that spiritually, consistency is key. Reading the Bible consistently helps me discern Godliness from worldliness. It keeps me from fuzzy thinking.

Hebrews 5:13-14
Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. [14] But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

Long journeys start with shorter, but consistent effort.  Some day perhaps I’ll do a century ride.  But then again, maybe not.  The encouraging thing to me is that today I got on my bike and began pedaling.  I’ve discovered that I really like to ride.  Even the difficult hills are rewarding, especially when I reach the crest and then coast for a while.  On my first ride I had to get off half way up a hill and walk. Now I don’t have to get off.  I’m making progress. When we spend consistent time with God we can build our spiritual character layer upon layer.

2 Peter 1:3-7
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. [4] Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
    [5] For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; [6] and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; [7] and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.

Sometimes I can get stuck spiritually – It seems there is so much to pray about and so much to learn that it feels overwhelming to start – as if  I need to take a century ride.   However, I can be glad that every day I can learn something, pray often and make progress.  I can take my tried and tested ride to the school yard and back or explore new routes as long as I keep pedaling.