Saturday, April 18, 2015

Celebrating Life, Love And God’s Faithfulness

The ducks quacked. The little boy on his green scooter echoed the quacking. He raced on and hi-five his mother. She laughed. I smiled. The deep blue Lake Leman merged with sky blue horizon over Evian on the other side of the lake. 

I took it all in. My heart rejoiced in God for the gift of life. Everything around me echoed life; the laughter of the two men sitting on the quay, the old couple smiling at them and the gentle lapping of the waves against the rock boulders.
Even the grey tree beside with its crown of many stumps whispered as the cool breeze from the lake passed through them; "watch out, I'll soon be green and full of life again!" I smiled and looked up to the sun blazing above it. Its warmth caressed my face.

April is a month of celebration of life, love and God's faithfulness to me. It is a month of celebrating the amazing love God so extravagantly lavished on me and my family. There are many significant landmark events in my life in April. But it is also a sober celebration, reflecting on the God's mercies to me. Indeed, it is by the mercies of God that I was not consumed. The hands of God kept so that I won't give up.

I had walked 1.5km by myself, up and down a steep slope to the bank, the florist, the shop and now at the lakeside in Versoix. It was April13th. My initial plan was to buy a bunch of long stem white roses and put them in the Lake. But, as I walked to the florist, I had a strong urge in my heart to send the flowers to someone incapacitated and with no friend. I knew where to find such as a person. So I ordered the flowers and gave instructions to the florist. Deep furrows creased above her brows.

"Do you mind if I ask you why?"

I shook my head and smiled, "Two years ago today, someone gave me a precious gift of new lungs."

The furrows disappeared and her face lit up, "how are you doing?"

"Great. Thanks be to God."

As I sat on the wooden brown chair gazing into the horizon, my heart went out to my Unknown Benefactor, I wished I still bought a stem of white rose, perhaps another day. It was sufficient that someone would smile the following morning.
My heart rejoiced in the Lord as I celebrate life and God's faithfulness.

I am a living testimony
I could have been dead and gone
But Lord, You let me live on
I am living testimony
And I thank the Lord; I'm still alive.
 (The Williams Brothers, I Am A Living Testimony)

Many times during the following days, I paused and pondered, “What was it like for my husband going through the days after the transplantation?” The surgeons told him the surgery went well. Then, they told him there had been some complications shortly afterwards. He sat by my bedside day in day out as I laid deep in a coma. I wondered what must have been going through his mind leaving the hospital, driving home, coming into our bedroom without knowing if or when I would be back home with him again.

My son told me he was calm, and he kept saying, "It is well." Perhaps, one day, he will write and share his story.
We both sighed. "Blessed be God" he whispered, as we drove on the highway passed the exit to Lausanne leading to the hospital last Thursday (April 16th). We were going to Bern. The exit was about 40km from Geneva. He drove this way, sometimes twice a day during the period I was in the hospital, until I came out of the coma and was strong enough to be airlifted back to Geneva.

I turned and looked at him, his gaze fixed on the road ahead, and I knew what was going through his mind.

Later that day and the following day, I was reminded again that I have every reason to celebrate life and God's faithfulness. I remembered my friend, Funmi Adewole. She went home to be with the Lord, on Friday April 17th, 2013.

I learnt about her home-going a few weeks after I came out of the coma. I was shocked, perplexed and confused. There's no searching the knowledge and wisdom of God. He is all Sovereign. He does what pleases Him. I could not fathom why He took Sally home and allowed me to come back from the valley of the shadow of death. She was a vibrant and passionate Christian. Her legacy lives on. In her death, she is still touching lives for good.

That was when I knew without any iota of doubt that my second chance at life is a gift from God to enable me fulfil specific and unique purposed. In her death, Funmi reminds me why I must leave behind a lasting legacy.
I thank the Lord; I'm still alive

My focus shifts back to my husband today. On Thursday, April 23rd, 1992, I married my friend. The fine man who has proved to be a treasure in heathen vessel. He is God's own special gift to me. He is a tremendous blessing to my life. He is my Chief Encourager, one-man cheer-leading squad and strong supporter. He bore the burden of caring for me through the twenty long years of affliction with grace. He carried my broken body with care and affection.
I feel truly blessed beyond measures and highly favoured, as I look forward to celebrating twenty-three years of doing life with this fine man, next Thursday. My heart overflows with joy and praise. I bless God, for my husband's devotion and commitment to our marriage and the sacred vows we shared that Thursday morning before God, our families and our friends. I thank God for the love and life we have shared to date. I give praise to God for His mighty hands, which kept us through the storms.

We will take our celebration of life, love and God's faithfulness to the next level on Saturday, April 25th, as we Hit The Street to raise 15,000 Swiss Francs to provide prosthetic limbs for amputees.

Dear Friends, wherever you may be, you can support my friends and me for the 5k Charity Walk. Together, we can make the dreams of these amputees come true. Leave a message in the comment box below for more details.

In what ways are you celebrating God’s faithfulness in your life this month? Share with us in the comment box and let’s give praise to God together for His steadfast love that never ceases and His mercies that never come to an end.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

One Phone Call and A Priceless Gift.

One phone call.

It was a hot summer afternoon in 2011. She was firm. Her voice brooked no argument. She was my doctor.

Six months of planning laid in utter disarray.

“This is not happening.”

She explained why she would not give me a medical clearance to travel. I was not listening.

“You are now active on the waiting list. You can’t travel out of the country.”

A long groan escaped. And my head reeled. She continued speaking. I tried to plead my case. She won’t bulge.

“Thank you very much.” I wiped away the tears I knew she could not see. I was overwhelmed with disappointment. I must have sat there for hours turning the events leading up to that moment in my mind. The scenes flashed by like in a movie.

December 2008 in the intensive care unit, I was in need of non-evasive ventilation. My lungs were not holding any air; I could not breath for myself. They placed a hood that looked like an astronaut helmet over my head while the machine breathed for me. The image reflecting on the window of the Nurses’ station shook me to the core.

The visit to Prof J, my lead pulmonologist, in 2010; when he told my husband and me that he had discussed my case with Transplantation team. He told us they had agreed to review me as a possible candidate for lungs transplantation.

In January 2011, I underwent an extensive medical work-up to determine whether I was a suitable candidate. What they deemed as my complex multi-systemic medical history appeared to pose a huge risk to the surgery and its outcome. I waited for months for them to make a decision. Then I deliberately allowed it to slip off my mind.

I knew this call was coming, but I was not ready for it. I knew the implication of being active on the waiting list for lungs transplantation. It meant one day I would receive the phone call that would convey the message: “Someone has given that I may have a second chance at life.” I did not know how to pray about this. How was I going to ask God to give me quickly what I needed at that phase of my life without thinking of the person who would have to give what I was asking for? I was troubled. I was perplexed. Yet I knew, humanly and medically speaking, this was the only option left for me.

I was waiting for a precious gift from an Unknown Benefactor. Someone who when he/she had the control would have made a decision to give of himself so that someone else can have a chance at life. Someone whose family at the darkest hour of their grief would have to make a decision to abide by the request of their loved one.

That was a tough period.

This one prayer I did pray with all my heart, that I would have the opportunity to meet this individual before the throne of God when I get to heaven.

Two years later, and the call came.

It was on Saturday, April 13th, 2013. It was a little past 4:00pm. I knew the time because my husband left home for Choir practice less than an hour before the call. Just when I was in the middle of preparing for a major event in my church.

“We are ready for you.” It was Prof. R on the line. It was not a social call. I knew what had happened.

Someone had given. And that person had paid the ultimate price.

My heart skipped a beat. Then it started racing and pounding in my chest.

I was panicking.

He was speaking. I hardly heard him.

“Are you ready?”

I was shaking like a leaf. My legs wobbled. I lowered myself on the black leather sofa in front of me.

“Yes” barely audible escaped like a whisper. He spoke some more—told me the team was waiting for me. I needed to be in the hospital immediately. I thanked him and dropped the phone

It had happened. Someone has given me a priceless gift.

I will never be able to thank him or her.

But I believed God answered my prayer, and I will have the opportunity to see my Unknown Benefactor in God's presence when I get home to heaven. Perhaps, then I will be able to thank him/her.

My heart went out to the family I knew would be grieving at that moment. My hands trembled as I picked the phone again. I called my husband.

“You need to get back home, Prof R just called.” I didn't need to say more. He knew what had happened. “I am on my way,” he replied.

I am a blessed recipient of a priceless gift with which God has given me another chance to live again and fulfill purpose. I understand fully well the import of this precious gift. I am also reminded that I have been so blessed so I can be a blessing to others.  I cannot be an organ donor, but I can give in many diverse ways to make a difference to someone’s life.

So again, today, in the honor of my Unknown Benefactor, I recommit myself to be a conduit of God’s blessings to as many as God brings my way. I commit to use my second chance at life to touch lives for good.

Dear Friends, I ask you to join me on the 13th of April to break your alabaster box and let the fragrance of God's extravagant generosity flow from you to touch someone's life for good. Give the precious gift of kindness. Meet a need. Give a gift of forgiveness. Give someone a reason to release exhilarating praise to God. Go the extra mile to touch someone's life for good.

Do it because it is the right thing to do. Do it because it brings glory to God. It pleases God when we perform acts of kindness in His name.

Do it in honor of those who give that others may live.

We can please God with the aromas that rise from being a blessing to others
– Joe Stowell (ODB, April 2015)

Being a blessing to others is blessing God. Ask God today to lead you to someone who He wants you to touch in a special and unique way. We are blessed to be a blessing.

This post is in honor of organ donors: those who give that others may live.
I dedicated this post to the memory of my Unknown Benefactor.

Friday, April 3, 2015

A Compelling Purpose.

"The compelling purpose of God lies behind everything in life, and that God is divinely shaping us into oneness with that purpose."- Oswald Chambers.

There is an irrefutable, well-reasoned, overwhelming plausible, powerful, potent and irresistible purpose of God behind every event of our lives. There are no chance events in the life of a Believer. Whatever God permits or allows in our lives has a compelling purpose. God’s words and actions are never purposeless.

"The things that happen do not happen by chance—they happen entirely by the decree of God. God is sovereignly working out His own purposes.

God’s will, purpose and plan for His children, does not exclude pain and suffering, even for those He love so much. Jesus is His Beloved Son in Whom He was well pleased. But part of His pleasure is ensuring that His eternal purpose is fulfilled, and that included allowing His Beloved Son to be crushed, beaten and humiliated. It was so that the Kingdom agenda may prosper through Jesus’ pain, suffering and death. How else would you and I have been adopted into God’s family? How else would we have experienced salvation and deliverance? How else would we have had the hope of eternal life with Him in His glory?

 The compelling purpose of God behind Jesus’ suffering was so that the price for sin is paid in full by being the final sacrifice for sin. Because Jesus submitted to God’s sovereign will and purpose, He provided for every human access into the very presence of God. This is the reason you and I have a hope in glory.

Therefore, a Christian is someone who trusts in the knowledge and the wisdom of God to accomplish His compelling purpose for his life in every situation, and not in his abilities. Even when he does not understand it or grasp the significance of the situation or the purpose for it. Christians are those who know that God directs their footsteps and delights in every detail of their life no matter what season of life they may be in or how dark that season may be.

“Each day is held in the hands of a caring Father. Every moment, it is kept by a loving God.” – Roy Lessin

The tagline on my email and my favourite quote is “Kept by the Hands of God, day by day, come what may.” This is informed by the knowledge that my life is kept in the hands of God. It is an assurance that if God holds my life in His hands, nothing can happen to me without His prior knowledge. If God does allow an event in my life, it is for a well-reasoned and overwhelming plausible reason and to fulfil a purpose in His Kingdom agenda.

It, therefore, behoves us as Christians to find purpose in our pain, afflictions and adversity. When we do, we will see blessings in areas where humanly speaking we should be bitter. Being fully persuaded that in all things God is working for our good. Every act of God is suffused with grace.

There are no exceptions to the ALL things. When God says ALL things work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His good purpose, He certainly means ALL things. This is applicable to everyone who loves God and to everyone who is called according to His good purpose.

I love God, with all my heart. I know God has called me for His purpose. I know my calling is to fulfil God's Kingdom agenda. So I can go to the bank on the validity of this promise knowing that God Whose word and promises are infallible is faithful to do just as He has promised.

Therefore, there is a compelling good purpose of God behind my twenty years of living with a chronic respiratory disease and a debilitating neuro-muscular disease. There's a powerful and potent purpose of God behind the amputation of my legs and every other challenging situation I have had to go through.

My pains and afflictions are not purposeless. Now, I see only in part. I am yet to grasp the full significance of all of the events of my life. But, I can definitely testify that God is not only working it together for my good, He is also using the story He is writing of my life to touch lives for good.

You see, my dear friends, God’s thoughts and ways are supremely higher than our thoughts and ways. His thoughts are composed of His eternal purpose, which we cannot fully comprehend on this side of the divide. That is why we cannot presume to know all that God is doing in us in our diverse seasons. Faith compels us to trust in His omniscience, knowing that He has complete and unlimited knowledge and awareness of all things

Many times we want to shield ourselves from some of the things God brings around us. But we need to understand that it is God who engineers our circumstances. Since Jesus’ life dwells in us, every attack on us by the enemy is an attack on the life of Jesus in us. That’s what the devil seek to do. Jesus Christ’s honour is at stake in our bodily lives. Therefore, we need to remain faithful to the Son of God in everything that attacks His life in us.

The compelling purpose of God determines that we walk in a certain path God in His infinite wisdom has assigned to us. Sometimes that path may pass through Gethsemane. In there, grace compels us to, in absolute submission to God like Jesus say, "Not my will but thy will be done." The path may take us through fierce storms where the billows rage and the waves unfurl its fury at us. There also, grace compels us to look to Jesus, sleeping peacefully in the midst of the storm and find peace resting in Him. The path may take us through the fiery furnace of trials and affliction. Grace compels to look to Jesus, Who is our Companion in the troubled and challenging times, and assures us He will never abandon us or leave us alone.

In every season, each of us is in a unique time in life, in a unique place with unique talents and gifts to play our assigned part in God’s story. I believe that God has put me in a unique position in life to fulfil my unique role in God’s story. This unique role will require me to be shaped and fitted for the role. The storms, afflictions, pains and trials I pass through prepare me for that unique role in God’s eternal purpose. This is the compelling purpose for my life at every moment and season of my life.

God has a unique place for you in His story and as part of His eternal purpose. This is the compelling reason for every season of your life. When you submit to His will in each season, soon you will see how the seasons align to lead you to fulfilling your God-ordained destiny. Be assured that the grace of God is available to sustain you through the seasons of your life. Don’t give up in the season even when you don’t understand what it is all about. Rest and trust in God’s omniscience.

Feet Of Grace 2015 Charity Walk_Hit The Street For Their Feet:
Over the past three weeks, I have had to spend many days and several hours with my prosthetist. My prosthesis, the Feet of Grace, made just last year had become very tight and painful to walk in. I have gained back some of the 30kg I lost during the last 10years of my affliction. This experience was a shocking reminder of the situation of amputees in developing countries who have no access to prosthetists and for whom the cost of prosthetic limbs is prohibitive.

The prosthetists, our partners in Nigeria, the Irede Foundation is working with, are located in Enugu. This means that the amputees have to travel to Enugu twice. First time to have the measurements and moulding of stumps done. The prosthetic limbs are then fabricated and customized to fit the amputee. The second time is for fitting and learning how to walk with their new limbs, which requires a two-week stay in a city where they don’t know anybody. Caring for the amputee and one family member who is required to travel with them is included in the cost.

It was at this time; it dawned on me again how blessed I am. The cost of changing just the cup of my Feet of Grace is more that the cost of providing prosthetic limbs to two amputees. I live in Geneva, one of the most expensive cities in the world. God has my back, and He has been taking care of how my Feet of Grace is paid for. Secondly, it takes me 30-40 minutes to get to my prosthetist. I am blessed with a loving husband and great friends who take me for these often very long visits and stay with me without complaining. Lastly, I have a physiotherapist working with me on a weekly basis, helping me to become accustomed to walking with my Feet of Grace on all terrains, climbing slopes and staircases. That’s why I can contemplate a 5k Charity Walk in less than two years after amputation.

Chidi and Olivet do not have such privileges or opportunities. Without your support, they cannot regain their autonomy. But you and I have been positioned at this unique time to help these amputees to fulfil their unique roles in God’s story. Indeed, we have been blessed to bless. They are counting on our support.

Happy Easter from my family to yours. May the resurrection power be at work in your life through this season and beyond.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Once Upon A Time Of Feet And Painted Toenails_Part 2

This is the concluding part of Once Upon A Time Of Feet And Painted Toenails.

“You have a right to be angry.”

“With whom?” I queried in my heart, staring blankly over the shoulders of the Psychiatrist and her assistant standing by my bedside.

The doctors have done the audit. Nobody could explain what went wrong. There was no negligence reported or indicated. So who was I supposed to be angry with? God? I mused, still not saying a word.

“It is important to express your emotions. You can grieve about this. Talk to us.”

“I don’t have anything to say.” I looked straight at her and smiled. “I have asked all the questions I can ask the doctors about this.”

“What is the point of talking with you? What can you do for me? What comfort can you offer me?”

“I'm Ok. I am taking one day at a time.” I told her. They went on about my need to talk. They thought I was in denial. I even found out that they put me on a low dose of anti-depressant. They thought because I wasn’t talking to them I was depressed and not dealing with the issue. They asked the nurse who had known me the longest during my ten years of frequent sojourn on that ward to come and talk to me.

She tried. And I could see that she was visibly upset that I was not opening up to her. So I said to her, “J'ai décidé depuis longtemps que je ne jamais renouncer l’espoir. Mon espoir est à mon Dieu.” I made up my mind a long time ago that I will never give up on hope, and I was not going to start now. It was on that note that she left me alone.

I repeated the same to the Psychiatrist when she came back to see me, and begged her to stop the medication. I told her I did not need it. Hope is my anti-depressant. This was strictly between me and God. The doctors can’t answer the questions running all over my head. But God surely understands where I am coming from when I cry out to Him in the dead of the night when there was not one near to hear my cry.

I finally got myself to hold my stumps. I cradled them in my hands. I looked at what is left of my legs. Tears laced my eyes. I blinked them away. I will not cry, I told myself. Nothing prepares you for this. Not once in my almost 47 years before that day, did I ever imagine I could be at this phase of life as an amputee. It is at such times that you know you have to make an active and deliberate decision to tap into the grace of God that is readily available and sufficient sustain you.

Graham Kendrick's song, To You, O Lord I lift up my soul, from Psalm 25 floated back into my spirit. The lyrics ministered to me. 

No one whose hope is You will ever be put to shame.
That’s why my eyes are on You O Lord
Surround me, defend me
O how I need You
To You O Lord I lift up my soul

My hope is in God. I cannot be put to shame because God will defend me and surround me with His love and mercy. I will not be ashamed of my body. If I am not ashamed of me, then nobody can make me feel ashamed of my body. I will not play the victim. I will not, by the grace of God, be a subject of pity. If I keep my head and my spirit high, no one will be able to pity me or my situation.

The psychotherapist working with amputees came and sat with me several afternoons. She had tried to talk to me before the amputation. I was not ready to listen to what she had to say. And I refused to read the information materials. She was resilient. She did not push me to talk. She just wanted me to know that I have to deal with the change in my body image.

Let me note here, if you are ever with someone who has lost a limb, please don’t ever tell the person that there are many people living with missing limbs and doing great. “Why do I have to be one of them?” was my reaction. That is not what an amputee wants to hear, certainly not in the beginning when the person has to adjust emotionally to a body with conspicuously missing parts.

This lady waited until I was ready to talk about the change in my body. Then she supported me and my family to get all the information we needed to cope with our new definition of normal. Then, they arranged for us to watch a video of people living with amputation. We watched it as a family there in the hospital. We were able to ask more questions. It helped us a family to do this together.

But none of these prepared me for the day, I was going to have my first fitting with the prosthetic limbs. I sat on my wheelchair in the open waiting room. It was summer. Every single lady who walked past me on the corridor was wearing dainty slippers showing off their beautifully manicured toenails. It felt like an orchestrated parade to taunt me. I felt as if the enemy was flashing in my face what I had lost and would not be able to do again. Pain and grief welled up from within me. My slippers at home flashed before my sight.

Tears laced my eyes again. I blinked them off. I will not cry here. No, I will not!

A few days earlier, I had struggled with my emotions as the physiotherapist told me that my new feet were to be customized to a fixed angle which will allow me to wear only shoes only 2-3cm high. They strongly recommended sneakers for security as it would clad the entire foot and help me to maintain my balance.

“What? Only one type of shoes every day?” I screamed at them. “That is not possible. I can’t wear sneakers seven days of the week!” They explained to me why I needed to wear shoes with sturdy and broad heels.

“It is for your safety. You have to maintain your balance. You must not fall.”

I am a Yoruba woman. Who wears sneakers with wrappers and long skirts? What was I going to do with all my shoes? I simply refused to accept sneakers as an option. They refused to accept my low-heeled pumps because they were not completely covered, and my feet could slip out of them. Finally, they agreed to the pair of shoes I used on field trips and visits to communities when I was working with UNICEF. They were completely covered with a zipper but 4cm high. They customized my feet for this shoes. This was my only pair of shoes for months. Much later, we went to shops with measuring tape until my husband found me broad-heeled shoes with the same height and a bit dressier.

I shared in Make The Next Move Forward  what it was like the first day I tried on my prosthetic limbs.

I knew I had to let go of my shoes. It would be a torture to keep them. Why keep them and moan over them if they can be a blessing to others? So when I got back home from the hospital, I brought all my shoes out. I had a farewell party with them. I gave thanks to God for the joy of having them and asked God to make them a blessing to all those who would wear them for me. We bagged the shoes, many of them with their bags, and with joy and peace in my heart, I released them to go to my friends. I pleaded with a number of them to wear them for me. But I could not let go of my oldest pair of shoes—my first set of purple shoes. That remains a memento of the days of passion for shoes.

I went in search of photographs of my legs, only to find that most of the time, my legs were covered in long skirts, trousers and wrappers. Those in which I was wearing short skirts were not showing my legs or painted toenails. Who goes out of their way to take photographs of their legs and painted toenails? Then, I found the photograph taken at my first son’s high school graduation. It turned out to be the best picture of my old legs. It was a gift from God. He knew I needed to see those legs again in their former glory. The last time I saw them as such was when I stood up and changed into the theatre gown before my lungs transplantation. It was also the last time I stood on them.

I perused every detail of my legs. But rather than be sorrowful, my heart lifted with joy. I bless God for every single step I took with those legs. I blessed Him for all the opportunities He gave me to go places with them. I thank God for the time I had with them. They have fulfilled their assignment and have gone home ahead of me. The season of painted toenails and dainty slippers was over. It was great fun while it lasted. Like a dear sister wrote to me, there await me a glorious pair of legs when I get to heaven.

For the rest of my stay here on earth, God has provided me with the Feet of Grace that will take me to places beyond my imagination and to where my natural feet could not have taken me, just as He promised. He has given me the tools I need to fulfil my assignment and the purpose for which He called me. So I wear my Feet of Grace with grace and head lifted high to the glory of God.

Feet of Grace 2015 Charity Walk_Hit The Street For Their Feet:
Join me / Support me to walk 5km to raise funds for amputees that they may walk again.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Once Upon A Time Of Feet and Painted Toenails

"Give me a glass of water, please," I said to my first son with eyes fixed on the screen of the laptop and fingers relentless on the keyboard. I heard him shift his 80kg, 1.70m frame up from the carpet he laid on behind me.

"Who took my slippers?" he demanded.

I paused for a brief moment and thought about his question. “Oh, I think your uncle took them when he went down to the cave a few minutes ago," I answered as I recalled his uncle looking for a pair of slippers to put on earlier. It is very cold in the cave, and he did not want to go down wearing just his socks.

Eyes still fixed on the screen and without turning in his direction I added, "You can take my slippers." There was no movement or response from him. I turned around and saw a weird look on his face, he was staring at the spot on the floor near me. Then, I looked down to the floor. That was when it hit me. There were no slippers on the floor by me. There were no feet either. I didn't have my Feet of Grace (prosthetic limbs) on. My stumps were resting on a stool under the table.

We exchanged a look that spoke louder than words. For a brief moment, I forgot that I am an amputee. I don’t have my feet anymore. And I can't wear my slippers too.

For many years, I took great care of my feet and toenails. I had feet spa and pedicure regularly before I came to live in Switzerland. Then I realized that it was wisdom for me to do my pedicure myself at home. It was too expensive to go to the salon to do it. I shared many happy moments with my sons; they both struggled to help me to remove my nail polish and to put a fresh one. Each son worked on a foot. The fastest always wanted to move to his brother's side, which, of course, always result in an argument. They did that without any complaint until they became teenagers, and I could not get them to help me clean and polish my toenails anymore!

I loved jogging and walking. With those feet, I covered many kilometres. I even did some competitive running and swimming in the university when I represented my hall of residence during the inter-hall games. Each time I went for walks with my husband, he always had to slow me down because I was a very fast walker, always taking long strides.

Another favourite hobby of mine was shoes collection. I like my shoes, with their coordinating bags. I liked them with high heels, at least 6cm high. I didn't like flat heeled shoes because I felt I walk like a duck in them. I like to walk with long strides with my back straight and to hold my head high. I learnt to place a heavy book on my head when I was a teenager to ensure that I walk without slouching. And I liked dainty slippers that showed off my toenails.

“How many shoes can one woman wear?” asked my husband in utter amazement many times. My ready-made response was that they were of different colours and styles. I have a couple of Sistas who beat me hands down when it comes to shoes collection.  “Imelda Marcus’ junior sister” as we nicknamed her, used to be my shoe-exchange partner. Then I met the mother of all shoes’ collectors, the height of her shoes and the way she moves in them dropped my jaws. I remember gleefully telling my husband that he should be happy I was not as bad as my two friends.

I had just polished my toenails during the week leading up to April 13th, 2013 when the hospital called me in for the lungs transplant surgery. I did not have time to remove the nail polish before going into the hospital, just did the fingernails. When I woke up from induced coma over four weeks later, it was the unusually brilliant polished toenails that caught my attention. I realized later that my usually subtle colour stood out because my feet had gone very dark as a result of the necrosis.

I learnt later that the doctors had told my husband that my feet were not likely to recover and to protect the precious gift of life God gave me, they would need to amputate my feet. He told me that he refused to accept their verdict. He went back home, brought all my shoes into the middle of the bedroom and began to pray that the owner of the shoes would have the opportunity to wear them again. That was before God gave us the word of assurance that He would give me the Feet of Grace that would take to places beyond my imagination and where my natural feet cannot take me.

For many days after the amputation, I refused to look at the stumps. Each time the nurses changed the dressing, they asked me if I wanted to look at them, and I answered with an emphatic "No!" turning my face away. The wounds healed with such amazing rapidity that I could not help but notice the joy with which the nurses announced it to each other.

Finally, I looked. First at the space where the rest of my leg and feet should have been. Then I looked at the stumps. The nurse examining them looked up at me, “they are healing so well” she said. “It is remarkable.” The skin was dry and peeling off in big chunks. It required that we applied a special lotion every night before putting a light bandage on them. First, my husband offered to do it. Then my sons took turns every night to apply the lotion and bandage the stumps before leaving the hospital for home. They did not show any awkwardness touching the stumps neither were they ashamed. It was a huge deposit on my self-esteem account.

And that was the beginning of the path to my emotional recovery. It was rough but I am still standing, kept by the grace of God and the support of my husband and sons. Watch out for the concluding part of this story in the next post.

Feet of Grace 2015 Charity Walk_Hit The Street For Their Feet:

 Be a part of making the dreams of these amputees come true. Walk with me or support my 5km Charity Walk to raise 15,000 Swiss Francs. This will be used to procure prosthetic limbs for Chidi and Olivet and wheelchairs for those still waiting. Read more about this on my last blog: Feet Of Grace In Motion

Date:  Saturday, April 25th, 2015 D.V.

Let a message in the comment box below for more information. Together we can help these amputees regain their autonomy and get on with their lives.

May the Lord richly reward your generosity.