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Overcoming Challenges

Overcoming the Spirit of Frustration in Life

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How do I need the Lord to help me to overcome the spirit of frustration?  Let me count the ways!

Last week I was standing in the kitchen, with my husband Mike.  We were planning out our weekly meal plan so we could go grocery shopping.  In a perfect world, where I have two hands and I am not a quadruple amputee, I would be making our dinners and prepping lunches and doing our grocery shopping during the week, so I could spend weekends “playing” with my family.  Let me share the spirit of frustration with you.

That’s not the case in the Wallace household.  We have to do all of that on Saturdays.  Sunday is the Lord’s day.  We go to church in the morning and then go back at 5 o’clock for the evening service.  Sunday afternoon is spent in fellowship with family and friends over a nice meal.  Its a great day!

The spirit of frustration

So go back to Mike and me in the kitchen planning our meals.   I was crying!  This is where overcoming the spirit of frustration is necessary.  We depend on our daughter Megan, and Mike to cook our dinners.  The short straw goes to whoever gets home from work first.  I was crying because we were talking about Sunday dinner and he was starting to get frustrated with my ideas.  I have a lot of ideas!  It saddens me to no end that I cannot do a single thing to help him prepare this big meal or any others in fact.  As a quadruple amputee, I don’t have the luxury of cooking for my family. It is completely frustrating to me.

On top of that, there’s a huge laundry list of other things I get saddened over because of my physical limitations.  At that moment I decided to make a mental checklist of things that I can no longer do as a quadruple amputee.  Don’t get me wrong, Mike likes to cook when he wants to.  But now that I can no longer do it, he gets frustrated sometimes.  I never blame him.  Instead, I get angry and I get super sad.

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I know often-times, I talk about overcoming the challenges in my life, which thanks to the strength that I get from the Lord, I think we are doing that fairly well.  However, the other side of the story is that this is an ongoing battle, an everyday struggle.  There is an overwhelming spirit of frustration in my life.  Thanks to some wise words from a friend, she reminded me that my situation is not something that we went through, but it’s something that we go through daily and will continue to do so for the rest of our lives.

So with your permission, I would love to share with you the list of frustrations that I have of living as a quadruple amputee.  This, by no means, is the whole list.  It’s just the list of immediate frustrations.

Begin rant-I’m sorry!

As someone who strives to be a Proverbs 31 woman, I’ve always believed it’s been my duty to cook, clean, shop, care for the kids, pay the bills and take care of household things while Mike is the provider for the family.  That’s not to say that he never did those things too to help. He did!  But his main job was the provider and I was caretaker. I also had a business that I ran, mostly to challenge my brain and keep me social.  We are a great team.

Enter April 3, 2011, and the 6 months that followed.

This period involved illness,  recovery time and learning a new way to live. Once I got my prosthetic legs, about 6 months out I could walk with independence.

There are many things that I can do for which I am overly thankful.  This list is by no means, the whole list of things that I can no longer do, but it’s a start.

The List!

*I can’t cook for my family
*I can’t clean or do laundry
*I can’t tend to the flowers that I love so much
*I’m very limited in the hobbies that I can do
*I can’t hold or care for future grandchildren.  I can hold them, actually if they don’t wiggle too much.  But how can I help when my kids start having babies?

*I can barely help around the house
*I can’t go upstairs or downstairs  There are parts of my house that I haven’t seen    in years, (i.e l. my basement).
*I can’t travel without help
*I can’t visit my kids or dad or sisters unless I have someone to accompany me.
*I can’t care for myself:  shower, dress or wash my hair
*I can’t grocery shop alone

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That being said, whenever I get in a spirit of frustration and start to feel really down on myself, I am constantly reminded by my children and husband of all the things that I can do. For instance:

*I can walk
*When Mike makes my lunch and snacks ahead of time, I can be independent all day long
*Thanks to the stylus invention we made that straps it to my wrist, I can type, blog,   dial the phone, change TV channels and turn pages in a book (check            out Amputee Life: 5 Things I do Differently Than You Do )
*I’ve created a great blog and I can do all the necessary things that go along with it
*I can still be a great mom
*When Mike does the washing, I can fold the laundry
*I can drive with a tool for the steering wheel (check out Driving Miss Wendy)
*I can keep my family company while they’re cooking, even if I can’t cook, but I can  throw ribs in a crockpot
*I can look up recipes
*I can pay the bills
*I can shop with my family
*I can do all holiday shopping, thanks to the internet
*I can feed myself with a special eating cuff

Do all of these things that I cannot do get done in my family?  Absolutely!  They get done because I have a loving husband and daughter who pick up where I leave off.  The boys are living in other states currently, but they help when they’re here.  I thank God daily for my family.  However, you have to understand that their frustrations run just as deep as mine do.

My point is that I’m sad that I cannot run the household.  So what’s the solution?  The title of this post is”Overcoming the Spirit of Frustration in life”.  Here’s the solution.  I turn to God.  I think I put this next scripture in practically every post that I’ve written in this blog.  Say it with me:  “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths”. Proverbs 3:5-6

I don’t know why the burden of my quadruple amputations and my limitations has been placed upon us.  That scripture tells me to lean not unto my own understanding.  But I do know that  “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose”.  Romans 8:28

It is enough!  It has to be enough!

I may struggle and cry and hurt.  Mike and the kids have the same emotions. We all are overwhelmed with frustration.  However, God has it all under control.  It’s not up to me and I have to trust our great and wonderful Lord.

And so do you!  Whatever your struggle, you have to leave your burden at the foot of the cross.  No burden is too great for the Lord to carry.  So please, please, please…give it to Him and let it go.  It’s the only way!

Let’s continue the discussion over on my One Exceptional Life Facebook page.  Join me there!

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34 Comments

  1. Love this! Working in Oncology will keep your life in perspective. I tell people ALL THE TIME…There is ALWAYS someone who has it much worse. You are a super lady Wendy

    1. Thank you, Angie. I’ve been through oncology too. It takes a special person to work there. Thanks for all you do.

  2. It’s so wonderful that you are able to focus on the things that you CAN do, even when you are feeling frustrated about the things that you can’t. Stay strong, it sounds like you are coping amazingly and managing to do so many things even as a quadruple amputee!

    1. Thank you, Sophie.
      I do get frustrated by what I can’t do because those seem just so BIG! But then I can manage other things just fine… it’s a vicious circle. Thanks for your support!

  3. What a great family you have! I’m sure your frustrations are huge, and it must feel very overwhelming at times, but how wonderful that God is working on you and walking with you through your circumstances. It’s a blessing that you recognize His presence and lean on Him for support. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thank you Brianna, for that great comment. I am truly blessed by my family and by the strength of God in everything we do. I often wonder how people get through trials like mine without Him!

  4. Beautiful honesty and vulnerability! I REALLY needed to read this. Quite honestly, cooking is my least favorite thing to do. I do not always embrace-what for me has always been a chore-cooking. It has been on my heart lately that I need to work harder at having a different attitude- instead of something I have to do, it is something I am able to do for my family. Reading this has been the inspiration I needed to embrace cooking for my family. Thank you!!

    1. Hey Elizabeth!
      I’m glad you see cooking as something you “get” to do, rather than what you “have” to do. I miss so many things that it’s painful sometimes. I think that all chores are blessings now.

  5. So glad I subscribe to your blog. I get frustrated a lot. I do have my limitations also but nothing like yours. We foster for the pug rescue and sometimes get frustrated that they keep bugging me so much. I have to have lots of patience.

    1. Hey Janice, I’m so glad you subscribe also. Thanks for all you do for pug rescue. Just remember that everything is possible with Christ! Thanks for reading.

  6. As always, Wendy, I love your honesty. It’s not easy when we have to deal with things that are out of our control, but I loved the way that you turned it around and, eventually, it seems, came up with a list of “I cans” that far exceeded the “I can’ts”. It’s something I definitely need to do more often!

    1. Thank you, Sarah. You’re absolutely right. Nobody likes the frustration, but if we focus on the positive, it will all work out. I need to remember that more often.

  7. I love your honesty in sharing your frustrations! I call mine “getting cranky”, and then I try to remember to turn immediately to God for patience, and then leave it in His hands. Thanks for the great reminders that He is in control, and we can fully trust Him!

    1. I love that! So often I just want to break down but if we give it to God, he will strengthen us through those frustrations. Thank you, Ann Marie!

  8. Thanks for sharing – I get cross when the spirit of frustration comes and sometimes cry… I don’t like it but I’m learning to check my responses and to trust in God to help me.

    1. I understand, Danielle! It’s ok to cry once in a while. But leaning on the Lord is definitely the best solution!

  9. I admire your faith and how you are being such a light of encouragement!! My husband and I both have chronic conditions and we tag team often. I know those moments of frustration and I can’t imagine what I would feel if I didn’t have God to turn to. I’m so grateful for His strength!! Thank you for such a powerful post!!

    1. Thank you, April
      I often wonder how those who don’t lean on Gods strength get through their challenges. Thanks for your wonderful comment.

  10. Wow! I love your honesty. Thank you for sharing. God’s really been teaching me about trusting in him in the pain and suffering and frustration, too. We have His Word, prayer and life experiences that point to what he has done in the past, present and what he will do in the future. Psalm 46 has been a good read for me. God bless!

    1. Hi Cara,
      Very true! God is faithful and just and I’m so thankful for the strength and faith he gives me to see things through.

  11. Hi Wendy,
    I can’t even begin to phantom the challenges you must face. I am a BKA and I can’t believe how much it has changed my life. I have very bad nerve pain in my stump, 24/7 so I struggle each day to overcome the constant pain. I work part time at the YMCA and that job has been my saving grace.

    Do you have prosthetics for all four limbs? I have met a Quad amputee in my support group, and like you she is such a good role model. She seems to do pretty good once her family helps her with her prosthetics. She was actually given a disabled friendly house by Oprah.

    I love your blog your such an inspiration to the amputee community. May God bless you and your family you will always be in my prayers.

    Regards,
    Pat C.

    1. Hi Pat,
      I’m so sorry you have such pain. It’s definitely a struggle. I manage my pain fairly well, but the phantom pain is a nightmare. Thankfully, it’s only on occasion.
      I remember reading about your friend with the Oprah house. I remember when this first happened to me, I tried to find info about her but I couldn’t. I wear leg prosthetics, but not hands. I don’t find the hands very helpful. Thanks for writing and reading and your support. It means so much!
      Love, Wendy

    1. Hey Jessie,
      We all have our ways of coping. Unfortunately, I’m a crier. Oh, I get mad too, but then I cry. It’s a mess, haha!

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