This Thursday I was invited to speak to a leadership class of year 8 students at a nearby school. My friend Rochelle told me her students were learning about how to respond to things that were out of their control and knew I would be able to speak to that fairly well. One of the things I brought up was how my life circumstances are really, really difficult, but I find a way to get through them - usually with the help of other people. In the car ride to the school, Rochelle had made a comment about how it must be difficult for me to travel with the disability.
"Yeah, it really is!" I agreed immediately, "That's why I'm so grateful I'll have people who are willing to fly with me to help me get home."
I was reflecting on the brief talk I gave in light of my awesome physio appointment on Monday, and I realized what a gift it is to find where I do have control. These insightful young Kiwis quickly caught on that despite my lack of control of major life circumstances, I kept control of my attitude and my response to the ordeals I've weathered. If you had told me a year or even six months ago to get on a stair master machine at the gym, I probably would have waffled over whether I was capable. However, when Mike told me that's where we were headed when he held my hand in the gym on Monday, I walked there with a smile.
I was still nervous, but I trusted Mike, and I knew the safest way to find out if I could do it would be with him there. What scared me most was the need to keep a consistent pace which has never been my strength on the stairs I've navigated so far. However, I incredibly pulled off a solid minute on the stair stepper before needing a break to sit down. After a solid rest and lots of water, Mike helped me back to the machine for another go. Gasping, I pushed the stop button after a little over a minute this time.
"Where are you feeling it?" Mike asked.
"My lungs," I panted.
"Oh, you're just unfit then. Keep going!"
We got a good laugh out of that once I hit the goal of 100 steps and made it back to my wheelchair to catch my breath.
I'm capable of what an ordinary unfit able bodied person can manage. Those stair master machines wipe out anyone who's not in the greatest shape. I can do it, though, and that's a huge deal.
Mike told me to add a couple minutes on the stair stepper to my gym routine, and I'll be honest, I was happy to find other people using it when I showed up the next day. It wasn't until Friday that I worked up my courage to get on it by myself. I parked my wheelchair at the base so I'd fall into it if I did fall, and I managed a full minute without stopping. I was gasping for breath, and it was sufficient for the day in addition to the rest of my full routine, but I did it.
Later in the afternoon, Jacqui and I drove up to the Port Hills so I could see the incredible view of the city one last time, and I got to thank God for the opportunity to come to New Zealand. There were a lot of factors outside of my control that led to my sabbatical here, but I will always thank God that I was brought to this island paradise for the year where I got a chance to encourage some young leaders to make positive choices when parts of life are out of their control.
Bonus, we had a UV party at youth group on Friday. This place is awesome.
I've got another two weeks in this incredible country, and I'm grateful for your prayers that I would leave well, travel safely, and return to Germany rejuvenated. Lots of details are coming together, but there are still some things to be sorted for my transition. One of them is the final numbers on my monthly support needed to stay long term in Germany. Based on the initial estimates, I still need a couple hundred dollars more each month, so please pray for that as well.
If you're interested in joining my support team, you can sign up to give at https://give.teachbeyond.org/support/lauras-journey/ or email email@example.com.