The Ministry of Lisa Copen

Lisa Copen, Founder of Rest Ministries which serves the chronically ill, shares about mothering, illness, ministry and more.

Archive for Emotions

I Need Some Space… Space Mountain That Is

:en:Space Mountain at :en:Disneyland in :en:Au...
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If I had paid any attention to the warning signs before I got on the Disneyland ride, Space Mountain, a high-speed, turbulent ride not recommended for those with weak stomachs, heart problems, etc. I never would have gotten on.

The truth is, despite this being my favorite childhood ride, I’ve skipped it a lot in the last 16 years since being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.

But this last weekend, although I have physically been in a new season (translation – in a lot more pain and with permanent joint damage), I had a few motivating factors to get on the ride.

One, my six-year-old son was with me and I wanted to surprise him. Mom is always the one that sits on the sidelines. And while I won’t risk havoc on my body for a 20-second  jerky roller coaster they pop up at the fairgrounds, I will for a “smoother” Disney coaster. Afterward when we asked him what he thought about it he said “I was shocked” and “It was awesome!” I’m glad I got to experience that with him.

Secondly, I used a wheelchair the entire time, even from the hotel over to the park, so I wasn’t thoroughly thrashed by the time I stepped out to get on the ride. Usually just walking 10 more feet to get on a ride is enough of a deterrent, but I was in decent “shape.” And putting some of my silly pride aside and using the wheelchair I got to experience a great deal more of our vacation.

space-mtnAnd thirdly… well… I just wanted to throw caution to the wind and do something out of the ordinary.  (Even, dare I say it? Irresponsible!) After 11 months of my body demanding its own way all of the time, culminating in a diagnosis of diabetes last week due to my high blood sugar, I thought I’d show it who was in control. I was in control of my body and I wanted to go on Space Mountain. (Add in a little feet stomping there like a 2-year-0ld.)

And you know what? I was fine. Funny how I can barely climb 15 stairs without my knees popping out of place, but a good thrasing around on a track is exhilirating. How many times had I said, “I’ll just wait for you. I can’t do that. I shouldn’t really go on that?” A lot. And I didn’t want anyone counting on me. One look at the Autotopia cars and I said “I’ll meet you at the end.” There was no way Icould get in and out of those!

But surely a rollercoaster gives my body a strong, fast dose of endorphins and they are also pain relievers. So, with that theory, we went again the next day. As I waited in line beside other people in wheelchairs, or with scooters and canes I saw anticipation on their face, and when they exited, exhilaration, joy, just pure fun. Faces were flushed with the thrill.

Those of us with chronic conditions are some of the bravest people I know. And if we have to sit through MRIs with knocking and vibrations, why not go on Space Mountain too? The burdens were lifted and lessened even if just for a couple of minutes.

I know my limits. I wrote this blog in a notebook while sitting at a table while my husband and son went on the Matterhorn. Even if I could stand the jolts in that ride, I couldn’t get in and out of the low car one must ride in. But for now, I can still grit my teeth and grab my husband’s hands and slowly pull myself up out of the car of Space Mountain. Unfortunately, since we were in the car for those with disabilities, we never saw our photos. But trust me… I did it. (And small secret, I want to do it again.)

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Re-Defining Worship

Worship Again album cover
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I the post “Worship Your Way Through” Ross Parsely, worship pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs, CO, shares how his church has survived the crisis the last couple of years following not only the dismissal of pastor Ted Haggard but then the December 2007 tragedy when a when a gunman entered and took the life to two girls. It’s an article that explains what worship is really all about.

In an age of consumer-driven, programmed and packaged worship services, the need for churches that understand what worship is has never been more important. Worship is not magical pixie dust we sprinkle over ourselves to escape the world and its harsh realities. It isn’t a drug to be consumed for the buzz or an opiate to soothe our sadness. Worship is and always has been a revelation that consumes us!

Living with chronic illness can zap some of our enthusiasm when it comes to worship. Even the logistics of being comfortable either standing or sitting at church can distract us and prevent us from surrendering our entire being over to the Lord.

I specifically liked this quotation in the article:

The true essence of worship is found in the crisis, in the trying of our faith, for it is only there that we decide whether or not we will trust him! We make him “Lord” in that instant. We decide right there in that moment if we are indeed worshipers.

We must treat worship as more than just a church-growth strategy. It’s not enough to appeal to our many felt needs. Worship is the affirmation that God is big enough and strong enough to walk with us through a crisis and make something beautiful out of it!

I encourage you to read the rest of the article here at the Ministry Today web site.

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