I seriously love this woman named Sam Evans. I don’t know her. We have barely developed an online friendship, but I love her. She is full of spunk. Love. And faithfulness to her Lord. Her childhood was difficult enough due to cerebral palsy, but now, just in the past few weeks, she has learned that her young and precious husband has been diagnosed with stage-four lung cancer. And yet she praises God. She trusts Him. She crawls desperately into His presence and dwells there. Thank you Sam. Thank you for your authentic, raw, and messy faith. You are a blessing.
Welcome to Faith Notes, Sam!
They didn’t intentionally leave me behind, but that rainy day will be cemented in my memory bank until the day I die.
You know those stuffed animal vending machines with the claws that steal your money? My right hand looks normal, but its dexterity is equivalent to those flimsy, misleading claws. I have mild cerebral palsy which, in my case, means that the nerves on the right side of my body do not communicate with the muscles the way they should. Every word I’ve ever typed has been with my left hand.
As I learned to walk, my right leg always turned inward and all my right-side balance shifted to the balls of my feet. I grew up less than forty-five minutes from Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago and they came up with a creative treatment plan.
My right heel cord was extended in surgery, my right foot turned out, and to ensure the muscles in my leg healed the right way, I was plastered into a bodycast that extended from my toes to my six-year-old nipples. (And because everyone asks, holes cut in the front and back enabled me to use a bedpan to go to the bathroom.)
This was my life for six months.
As an academic, extroverted child, the idea of missing too much school caused me to panic. So my family and teachers worked out a way for me to participate despite my bodycast. The back of my wheelchair folded down so that I could lay across it horizontally. They found a table that was the same height as my wheelchair and placed it beside the rows of desks. I did the classwork while lying on my belly.
In first grade, the teacher assigned various jobs to students each week — line leader, chalkboard cleaner, eraser cleaner, desk cleaner. Well, one of the jobs was “bring Sam out to the playground for recess.” It was always done out of kindness and it gave me a chance to interact with the students in my class.
I’m not mad at them for what happened next. My classmates were only six years old. I love them and still carry the book of get-well pictures they drew for me during one of my extended hospital stays.
The gray sky released no warning drops before unleashing a downpour. Kids everywhere shrieked and dodged toward the door in panicked-chicken patterns. No one heard me shouting for help before every single person disappeared through the gray haze of the rain into the safety of the school.
And I was left alone.
If I could have reached the wheels’ brakes, I might have been able to wheel myself in, though the position was incredibly awkward, but the brakes were on the opposite side of the large wheels and out of my reach.
I remained outside mere minutes. It felt like days.
The lights flipped on in one of the classrooms on the top floor of the school. Little heads popped up over the windowsill and then spun around. Immediately, the third grade teacher appeared. Even from a distance, I registered the shock on her face.
That elderly, overweight teacher with large ankles and low pumps was down the stairs and out the door in a time that would give our Army Special Forces a run for their money. She had very choice words for several other adults who met her at the door.
A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” ~ Mark 2:1-5
I was carried.
The reason this Bible story is one of my favorites is in verse five: “When Jesus saw their faith.” The man on the stretcher was not healed because of his unwavering faith. The man was healed because his friends laid him at Jesus’ feet as a result of their faith.
Due to my cast, I was often carried. Men from my church would help my father carry both me and my wheelchair upstairs every Sunday morning. I learned from an early age the importance, the value, of allowing others to step in and help when necessary.
The same applies to spiritual matters.
Two weeks ago my thirty-six year old husband was diagnosed with lung cancer. I have delegated prayer. It’s not that I’m so angry at God that I refuse to speak to him, it’s simply that I am at a loss for words. So I have been delegating prayer. When my husband and I survive this, it will be because we have been lifted and carried by the strength of our friends.
Asking for help, yielding our pride, and accepting assistance requires bravery and a strength of heart.
Handicaps come in all shapes and sizes: addictions, financial burdens, physical ailments, family concerns. What is your handicap? What is the truth that your pride is preventing you from lying at the feet of a friend?
Have you heard the one about the truth?
“Then you shall know the truth and the truth SHALL SET YOU FREE” (John 8:32).
And in James 5:16, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”
Share your burden with a friend. Don’t try to face the storms by yourself. You are not alone.
You have never been alone.
I told y’all this woman is awesome. As I was preparing this post and gathering the links to Sam’s pages, I found this devotion posted November 21st. Sam’s honesty will bless you as she looks for the Lord in the midst of her difficulties.
More About Sam:
Sam Evans lives in Minnesota and is a pastor’s wife and stay-at-home mother of three precious, little girls. She is a freelance writer for Good Catch Publishing and the author of Love Letters to Miscarried Moms. Evans’ current project is a devotional book with an adventure theme, scheduled to be released late next spring.
You can find Evans at her website: LoveSamEvans.com, on Twitter @LoveSamEvans, or on Facebook through the page Love Letters to Miscarried Moms, or her Facebook Group: Love Sam Evans, where she does weekly devotions.