Overcoming Disabilities

by Richard Mansel, managing editor

May 10, 2010 was one of the scariest days of my life. I was in the office writing. I stood up to go somewhere and realized I could not walk. I stumbled home to lie on the bed, scared and hurting. Soon it spread to my arms and hands.

Several doctor’s appointments and tests followed. I eventually went to the Mayo Clinic and spent five weeks at a Pain Rehabilitation Center. I was eventually diagnosed with  Fibromyalgia.

At the Pain Rehabilitation Center, I learned to walk again and use my arms and hands better. I still have pain, serious fatigue and problems walking and using my arms and hands.

Thankfully, my condition is not debilitating. I simply have limitations and must pattern my new life around them. I write this today to encourage and teach. Chronic pain and disabilities strike millions and working through them is very challenging. I also want to help others who are struggling.

First, God never leaves us nor forsakes us (Hebrews 13:5). God reigns supreme and can help us through anything (Romans 12:1-2).

Faith is our sustainer through difficult times. God offers a peace that transcends anything we will face (Philippians 4:7). Because of Christ, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13, NKJV).

We must remember that our disabilities do not change the nature of God. He is still good and loves us more than we realize. However, disease and disabilities exist in our world.

Second, God’s people are the best in the world. They have prayed for me and been there for me whenever I needed them.  I appreciate my physical and spiritual family very much.

Third, a neurological disease gives me a greater understanding of Satan. At any moment, it can attack. It becomes like a stalker, waiting to pounce at any moment and steal my joy. It has no concern for my life or responsibilities (Job 1-2). The endgame is all that matters (1 Peter 5:8).

For those who suffer from chronic pain or neurological diseases, here are some pointers.

  • We must develop realistic expectations in our new reality. We may not be physically capable of doing the things we once did. Be wise and do not overexert yourself. What happens is that we feel good one day, and we do too much and then we are miserable the next day. Be careful not to fall into that trap.
  • Flashes of anger, frustration and guilt are normal to chronic pain sufferers. When you lose mobility and a measure of control over your life, you must grieve and emotions will escalate. However, we must rein them in, so they do not take over. I have seen people who have lost that battle and it is ugly.
  • Be aware that some people have no empathy towards our disabilities. They think of everything in terms of themselves. They may think we are weak or lazy. Pray for them that they may grow and get out of themselves.
  • Never settle for the status quo. Do not allow the disability to control your dreams and happiness. Live your life and be happy! Be joyous and victorious! It is YOUR life and you can live it!

8 thoughts on “Overcoming Disabilities

  1. Thank you for your articles. I appreciate reading your thoughts. I especially appreciate your perspective in the article above…prayers will continue for you and your family.

  2. Richard,
    Thank you for your continued work for the Lord. Your strength and courage are an example to all. I for one, and I think I speak for many, appreciate your openness in dealing with your pain and debilitations.
    In Christ Alone,

  3. Great article. I can relate to it well. Had polio in my early 20’s. Payed to God that I would devote my life to his service. I have tried hard to do this, of course failing at times, but always trying to move foward. I have been rewarded with that “peace that passes all understanding” now in my 80th year. God has been so good to me, I just pray that many others can find peace in his arms as well.
    I give God the credit for all that I have been able to do, I believe it was just God working through my hands. Keep up the good work.

  4. Richard, this is an amazing story and admission on your part! So many now know you better and hopefully will not be so inwardly focused that they don’t see how others are hurting, or in your case, “living” your life with faith and understanding. God Bless Brother!

  5. I’m not sure what url is sorry, so inspired by your article, so Happy The Lord is There for you, and You for HIM..I have too many things going on to mention at this time, but I will never give up on trying to get better, and only someone like you who has experienced this, knowing, truly i know You are helping so many who is unseen, unheard, Thank-you
    for this!!

  6. Great words of wisdom and encouragement to so many. I am thankful God’s will has allowed you to recover and continue to work for His cause! May God continue to give you the inner, physical and spiritual strength to keep on keeping on for Him.

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