Friday, March 6, 2015

Feet of Grace In Motion

March came upon us with the speed of the lightning. It is apt that my first blog post in March should be about matching and moving forward. The chorus below composed by Lorraine Gwanmesia-Missatou, and beautifully sung by the Tribe of Judah Choir (TRCI, Geneva) summarizes the post so well.

We are matching,
Moving forward
Rising in the name of the Lord
You are Holy. You are Lord
There is no one else like You.

A healthy adult is expected to take an average of 10,000 steps a day. I work at home. I spend most of the day sitting; writing, beading or working on the computer. I go out of the house 2-3 a week at best. So when I make an average of 2000 steps a day, I am rejoicing. But it wasn’t always like this. Once upon a time, I ran 4 x 400m relay in the university. I jogged the perimeter of the University College Hospital, Ibadan. I walked up to 3km as part of my routine exercise. I flew with wings spread wide.

Then life happened. My health went down the hill. I became oxygen-dependent in 2007 and home-bound by the following year. And it got to the point when I longed so much to stand upright and walk that I wept.

Let me recap the story of God’s amazing grace that sustained me through the valley of affliction and put me back in motion again.

Here’s my story:
For twenty years, I lived with a chronic respiratory disease and a debilitating neuromuscular disorder, which my doctors referred to as a complex multi-systemic disorder. The pain and the distress of the latter eight years of this period are beyond what I can share in this post, which took its toll on every sphere of our lives as a family.

In April 2013, I underwent a surgery to replace my diseased and failing lungs. Though the lungs transplantation went very well, I developed severe complications within forty-eight hours following the surgery, which required that coma was induced as my organs began to fail. When I came out of the coma four weeks later, my doctors and my husband broke the devastating news that my hands and feet may need to be amputated. This was because I had poor blood circulation during the coma resulting in insufficient flow of blood and oxygen to my extremities, causing necrosis in both my hands and feet. My hands recovered miraculously, but God promised to give me the Feet of Grace that will take me to places beyond my imagination and where my natural feet would not have taken me.

My legs were amputated below the knees on Friday, May 31st, 2013. At the mid of life, I was faced with the challenge of living life as an amputee. When I came out of the theater without my feet, all I could say to my husband with tears streaming down my face was “they took my feet.” Two days later, on Sunday afternoon, the nurses switched off the oxygen and the ventilator. For the first time in over seven years, I took a breath without support and my oxygen saturation did not flinch. It remained at the normal level. It was a breath of fresh air for our lives, a breath of hope and grace. As we laughed and praised God, the balm of Gilead was released on our hurting hearts.

One month later, I stood up straight and erect between parallel bars surrounded by Physiotherapists, but it was with mixed feeling. Happy that after a long period of lying flat on my back, then oscillating between the bed and the wheelchair, I was finally able to get off my rear. I stood up even though it was for a few minutes. My doctors said I had a remarkably fast healing and recovery. I was their first amputee ready to walk with prosthetic limbs within one month of amputation.

At the same moment, my heart was heavy as I looked at the provisional prosthetic limbs, and I couldn’t imagine walking with them for the rest of my life. That was when the reality of what had happened finally dawned on me. I revolted against it. Focussing on the limitation it posed, the pain and the difficulty almost overshadowed the joy of standing again. Thankfully, God ministered His peace into my heart and brought me through that valley.
My Feet of Grace

I took my first step with the prosthetic limbs the following day. It was with great difficulty and pain. I chanted, “I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me” every step I took as I learnt how to walk again. I learnt how to maintain my balance. I have been marching forward since then.

Within one year after the amputation, and following extensive rehabilitation with the support of my family, friends, doctors, and physiotherapists, I was able to start living life to the full and the overflowing again. And now, I can walk up to 5000 steps at least one day a week, which is about 3km.  

I am a living testimony of the truth that there is no one else like God. It confirmed what my husband said following the amputation that people will see me and declare; “she is grace in motion.”

Going Forward:
The idea to start the Feet of Grace Foundation was birthed about six months after the amputation. My Sista-Friend confirmed the word God gave us earlier. She told me that my assignment going forward is to take the testimony of God’s amazing grace that sustain me through my season of storms to every place God will open up to me. Sharing the story of God’s grace that kept me through the twenty years of living with chronic and debilitating diseases, gives me the opportunity to inspire hope in people facing life’s challenging situations. I know for a truth that God’s grace is sufficient for when life happens.

The period during which I was compelled to sit down without being able to stand or walk was relatively short. However, it gave me an insight into the plight of those who are compelled to sit down for a long-term because of the inability to access funds for prosthetic limbs. Being able to walk again made a huge difference in regaining my autonomy and pursuing my dreams. This ignited my desire to do the same for other amputees especially those who cannot afford the high cost of the prosthetic limb.

So it is with gratitude to God and great joy that I present to you….

Our Vision:       
To enrich lives and inspire hope in those facing life’s challenging situation.

Our Mission:    
  1. To bring the message of God’s amazing grace that is abundantly available to sustain believers through the dark seasons of their lives. We are endued with grace to endure afflictions and trials.
  2. To create opportunities for those compelled to sit down in a stand-up world, to stand and walk again.
Feet of Grace Foundation will bring messages of hope and encouragement to those facing different life challenges as well as to people living with amputated limbs and their families. We plan to have a website and a Facebook page for this purpose and to showcase the activities of the Foundation. The foundation will also create awareness and advocate friendly environment for people living with disabilities. We will carry out activities to raise funds for the procurement of prosthetic limbs for amputees.

The first of such charity activities, tagged "Hit The Street For Their Feet” is scheduled to take place on Saturday, April 25th, 2015. This is a 5km Charity walk around the Commune of Versoix in Geneva. Please mark the date. The funds raised will be used to provide prosthetic limbs for two amputees in collaboration with Irede Foundation in Nigeria.

 
Be a part of making a dream come true:


Dear Friends, join us to make the dreams of these two amputees come true. Together, we can. If you are willing and ready, please leave me a message in the comment box.

Keep marching and moving forward. You can do all things through Christ Who strengthens you.

14 comments:

  1. Thank you such a powerful testimony: your life reflects the great grace, power and unlimited love of God. Supporting, joining the walk! Love and blessings
    Rev. Frida Coleman

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    1. Dear Rev. Frida, thank you so much for your visit to the blog and for your comments. I will share the proposal for the Charity Walk with you by email. I look forward to seeing you on April 25th. Let's hit the street together and give them their legs. Grace and blessings to you.

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  2. Babafunke FagbemiMarch 7, 2015 at 7:51 AM

    The Lord Bless you and and prosper this unique Ministry. I am so thrilled at every new level God is taking you to. March on in Jesus' mighty name

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    1. Thank you so much, Ore. I give all praise and thanks to God for His faithfulness, mercy and love. Wish you can join us for the walk. I look forward to your support. Grace and blessings to you and yours.

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  3. This is wonderful Ma! Very excited about this foundation. God bless you! Looking forward to the event.

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    1. Thanks, Titi. I am sure you'll be there to walk with me. Do invite your friends too. Together, we can give them their legs. God bless you richly.

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  4. I have heard you share this testimony live yet reading this again was like hearing for the first time. You inspire me Sister Irene! I'm so grateful to be connected to you in some way or another. I must be a part of this and I will prayerfully ask how from my PapaGod....

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    1. I thank our awesomely wonderful PapaGod for what He is doing in our lives. there is a reason and a purpose for everything He takes us through and for every single one of our divinely ordained connections. Trusting Him to unfold ours. Grace and blessings to you. Counting on your support.

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  5. Dearest Irene, I just keep thanking God for your life and the testimony of hope that you give to all. You are forever smiling...that is enough to motivate even the faintest of hearts. Please let me know how best I can support this wonderful God given ministry .

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    1. Dear Sis, thank you so much for your visit to the blog and for your comments. I give all praise to God for His grace that brought me thus far. Truly I am kept by the hands of God, day by day. Thank you for your willingness to support this cause. I will share details with you by email. God bless you richly.

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  6. Hope the walk goes well for today, keeping you and your family in our thoughts and prayers

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    1. Dear Zainab, that you for your visit to the blog and for your comment. The walk was a huge success. We give all the praise and thanks to God. I will share the story on the blog shortly. Best wishes to you and yours.

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  7. Dearest, please have you thought of writing a book? About the wonderful experiences you have gone through and God's amazing things hHe has done in your life? I think it will be a great book, my dear sister.

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    1. Dear Celestine, thank you very much for your kind comments. I am actually writing a book on my life story. I have been at it for years. Now, I am really trusting God for the grace to finish this book. It's been drawn out for too long. Do pray along with me. Blessings to you.

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Thank you for taking time to share your thoughts and comments. I appreciate you. God bless you.