Running the Race

This time last year, doctors shared my body was in a Wasting Syndrome and I only had a few months to live. After battling multiple life threatening health issues for 17.5 years, my body was worn out.Then my beautiful creative healing miracle came on November 3, 2019.

At the start of 2020, I set a goal to run 500 miles in 2020. As of this morning, I have 100 to go.

They who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. ~Isaiah 40:31

Running to the King

I lace my shoes up, I hit the road
I’m ready to run
I’m not running from something, but to someone
That someone is Jesus, who keeps me running during this crazy beautiful journey
A journey that led me through storms and rough seas
A journey filled with pain
A journey that’s always trying to beat me down and steal my joy
But the enemy can’t steal my joy, can’t keep me down
I keep running I keep fighting
I keep holding on to the promises of God
In the Word every day
Lifting my prayers up to the King
I keep running, I keep fighting
Running to the King
I might bend but I won’t break
I will keep running to the King
I keep running I keep fighting
I will keep my eyes on the prize
I might bend but I won’t break
I keep running, I keep fighting
I will finish the race strong

Running to the King ~OC

Not Backing Down

Today’s a new day! Not backing down. You can’t count me out. No longer going to play it safe. Stepping out of my comfort zone. Where Jesus leads me, I will follow. ~OC

Challenges

Today’s a new day! You will face challenges today. Some will be small, but some will feel overwhelming. I encourage you to overcome those challenges. I encourage you to look at past victories. You have overcome challenges before and you can do it again. It will not be easy, but I believe you can make it. Don’t back down. Don’t give up. Keep believing. Keep pushing forward. God is in control. He will be with you every step of the way. God can turn your challenges into opportunities. Embrace those opportunities. Keep Overcoming! ~OC

Memories

Memories. They can make you smile, laugh and cry. Sometimes memories just make you sit back and reflect. That happened to me this morning, as I scrolled through my Facebook page and a memory from May 13, 2009 jumped out at me. It took me back. On this date in 2009, I went back to work after a month in the hospital and recovery at home. I did not realize at the time that life would never be the same.

As I went back to work that Wednesday morning, I thought things would go back to normal. Little did I realize that my life would never be normal again. Several days after going back to work, I would end up back in the hospital. This scene would play out many times over the next few months. I would work a few days and end up in the hospital for a few weeks. Finally after seeing this Groundhog Day moment several times (Google the movie Groundhog Day), my medical team shared it was time for me to retire and go on disability. Retire? Disability? I was only in my early 40’s. I was not real excited about this new normal. But this new normal was now part of my life. Little did I realize what a crazy beautiful journey God would allow me to experience.

As I have walked this new normal since 2009, I have become a full time Abolitionist, a Missionary and a published Author. I doubt any of my teachers or professors would have ever guessed I would write a book. During this new normal, my faith became so much stronger. My wife Laura and I have experienced so many amazing adventures. I definitely would not have chosen this new normal, but I would not change a thing. My new normal has become a beautiful gift. Thanks Facebook for the memory. ~OC

Dream Killers

If God has placed a dream on your heart, do not let anyone or anything try to destroy that dream. Dream Killers can be the the following:

Doubt

Criticism

Comparison

Intimidation

Failure/Discouragement

People

These dream killers can happen everyday. Do not allow them to destroy the dreams God has put on your heart. Step out and trust God. ~OC

How To Help

During my 17 year crazy beautiful health journey, I was often asked how people could help Laura and I. Here are a few suggestions:

Stay in Contact: Nothing brightens a patient’s day more than hearing from friends. It could be a phone call, visit or a simple text. Even when I could not eat or drink, I loved the interaction with friends. So never be afraid to call that loved one or friend. Also the doctors have shared keeping a person’s mind active is very important. So, when you are thinking about someone, take that opportunity to reach out to them. Do not miss out on a beautiful memory.

Remember to Check On The Caregiver: The caregiver can get lost during the journey. As my caregiver, Laura had the toughest job. Working full-time and taking care of me could be overwhelming. And remember, she did this for over 17 years. So, make sure you are asking about the caregivers physical, mental and emotional well-being. One of my main concerns during my journey, was that Laura take care of herself and enjoy life. A caregiver can always use a night out.

Don’t Start a Pity Party: Dealing with health issues is tough enough. At times people want to go crawl in a hole and isolate. Don’t let them do it. Offer some words of encouragement. Get them out of the house. Go make some memories. My journey was a tough one, but so many people had it tougher than me. Remember, a lady gave birth in a tree. True story!

Just listen: Sometimes hurting people just need someone to listen. Not to fix. Not to have all the answers. Just listening is a beautiful gift.

Be Flexible: The one thing about illness is everyday is different. My health issues bought new challenges each day. Sometimes each hour. So be flexible when dealing with a family member or friend struggling with health issues.

Learn About the Illness: Some people are dealing with illnesses we have never heard of, but asking questions and maybe a quick Google search can help. This can help you better support that loved one. Just don’t believe everything you read online.

Be Available: People dealing with health issues face different challenges. So be available to help when possible. That help could come in the form of bringing someone meals, sitting with someone during their treatment, visiting them in the hospital or transportation. For years, I could not drive based on my health issues. So, having rides to my appointments were important. I am thankful for my team of drivers during my journey. Getting out of the house and enjoying live is so important.

The Long Haul: Be there for your family and friends. Did I ever think my journey would last 17 years? No way! But what I learned was that some friends put an expiration date on how long they could endure my new normal. Having friends that have stuck it out and supported me has been a true blessing.

Acceptance: Stop comparing who someone was before they got sick, to the person they are now. Simply accept that who someone was and who they are now has changed. So when that family member or friend has a life changing experience, embrace the new them.

I hope this helps. There is really not a blueprint for this stuff. So don’t beat yourself up, if you say or do the wrong thing. The most important thing you can do is be present and engaged. ~OC

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