Your Labor is Not in Vain

 “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! Therefore, my dear brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, knowing that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:57-58

IMG951301Last night one of our caregivers commented that she didn’t know how I spent so much time getting ready every morning and am still able to go on with life as normal every day. I have had many people say that one of the most inspiring things about my story was that I was willing to continue life and serving the Lord every day even though I had to spend such a long time getting ready for the day every day.

This is a part of my story that many people always say impacts them. How can I do it?

My heart in sharing what God does in my life, through what I face each day, is that He can use it to encourage others.  

Every morning when I wake up I usually don’t feel very good and have a lot of tightness in my chest. Most people can probably relate this to how they would feel with a chest cold. I often do not sleep well at night and am very tired from having a weak heart along with the chest congestion issues. There are hopefully three people (one of which is often Spring) there to help me get up for the day. Because I am unable to move anything including my head, and have to use a ventilator, it takes several people to operate all of the machines and move me around.  I take a dose of cough syrup that takes about 15 minutes. One person sits me up, one person holds the ventilator hose, and one person hands off the medicine and water. Then I wait 30 minutes for it to start working. We next begin the process of transferring me to the room where I get ready which is a converted closet that takes another 20 minutes. We use an overhead lift and we have to get me onto the lift sling and transfer all of the machines over to the closet. I then do a breathing treatment with a nebulizer and have my trach suctioned and my chest cleared out with several cycles of people compressing on my chest with a cough assist machine which takes another 20 minutes (within the process of this I am having exercises done on my legs). I then use a percussion vest which I wear as it shakes my upper body vigorously to loosen secretions in my chest for another 12 minutes. I spend another 45 minutes bathing which includes shaving and washing my hair, 15 minutes doing trach care where my trach is taken out and a clean one is put in and for 5 minutes I am without the ventilator while someone is manually helping me breathe. I then spend another 30 minutes dressing, transferring to my wheelchair, and getting my ventilator hoses set up. It takes 20 minutes to put my contacts in, dry my hair, and brush my teeth. I spend another 45 minutes being fed breakfast and taking medicine while having my feet stretched for 20 minutes during that time. All of this takes about 4 to 4.5 hours on a good day when everyone knows what they are doing, arrives on time, and is appropriately scent free enough to help with my care. It can take up to 5.5 hours on days that everything is not in order.

I don’t usually go into nearly this much detail but I don’t know how to fully explain the thankfulness to God for the victory I have in Christ without doing so.

I know there are probably many people who do not understand why I would go through this every day just to live life. And in today’s world life is often taken lightly. There is this universal idea of a “euphoric state” that we go to no matter our religion and therefore life here on earth doesn’t matter. People are also often in pursuit of a struggle free and trial free life. But the Gospel tells us something much greater. The Gospel tells us that we have purpose and we have a reason for living while living on earth. And not only is there a reason for living – but God gives us the ability to face those trials and difficulties that we face each day to accomplish that purpose. So we are to be steadfast and immoveable in the Lord. He gives us the victory and when we are faithful, our labor is not in vain. I know that the struggles I face are not in vain. It’s not about me. It’s not about having a trial free and struggle free life. It’s all about Christ.

By the Lord’s work I mean, whatever is in his will for me to do with my life. Whether that is moving forward with actual “ministry items,” working on seminary, going to the doctor, or going to the office, I consider it all serving the Lord. But I cannot do what I do every day without the Lord’s provision and knowing that my “labor is not in vain.”

To answer many people questions in how I spend this much time every day getting ready and still find myself being able to do anything with my life there is only one answer.

That answer is found in Paul’s encouraging words in which he writes for us to “be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, knowing that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

We will all be rewarded one day for our labor which we can only accomplish through God’s grace and I hope this is an encouragement to you.

In case you are wondering about the sunglasses, Spring was making fun of my 1990 Ray Ban aviator sunglasses so it seemed appropriate to me to wear them with the vest. It seemed like a good combination.

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  1. Thank you Charles for your clear vision and ability to communicate it. Keep pressing on to the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. I’m grateful for you Charles and your witness and for all the dear care givers who help you. May The Lord richly bless you all. Spring you to are an inspiration. Blessings.