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Laura Story Shares Her Story As A Caregiver

Hope for the Caregiver / Peter Rosenberger
The Truth Network Radio
December 16, 2023 8:00 am

Laura Story Shares Her Story As A Caregiver

Hope for the Caregiver / Peter Rosenberger

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December 16, 2023 8:00 am

Grammy Award Winner, Dove Award Winner, Artist, Songwriter ... and Caregiver, Laura Story joined the program to share her story, thoughts, and how her life as a caregiver. 

laurastorymusic.com

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This is Peter Rosenberger and one of the reasons I wrote my new book A Minute for Caregivers is because I remember the sinking, despairing feeling of struggling as a caregiver. No one knew what to say to me. I didn't understand and others didn't understand me.

For decades I foraged along and tried to find my path through this medical nightmare that Gracie and I have endured for nearly 40 years. And I've learned to speak the language of caregivers. I speak fluent caregiver. No pastor, no counselor, no medical provider, no friend should ever throw their hands up and say I don't know what to say to that caregiver.

Because I do. Give them a copy. This book is called A Minute for Caregivers when every day feels like Monday. They're easy to read, one minute chapters that speak directly to the heart of a caregiver and you can get them wherever books are sold. A Minute for Caregivers when every day feels like Monday. Friends don't let friends caregiver alone. Welcome back to Hope for the Caregiver.

This is Peter Rosenberg. This is the program for you as a family caregiver. So glad that you're with us.

Hopeforthecaregiver.com. I am pleased to welcome to the program Grammy Award winner, Dove Award winner, author, musician, artist, songwriter, and fellow caregiver, Laura Storey. Laura, welcome to the program. How are you feeling?

Yay! I'm feeling good. Thanks so much for having me. I'm glad to have you here. Your story is a rather compelling one.

And this program is for family caregivers, for those who put themselves voluntarily between a chronic impairment that a loved one is facing and even worse disaster. You are such a person. And most people know you from your music and your books.

Yes, you are. And they know you from your music and your books and all of those things. Tell us a little bit about you and how you got into this journey of being a caregiver.

Yes. So tell you about me. I live right outside of Atlanta, Georgia. I work in a church called Perimeter Church and I've been there a little over 18 years. We love it here. And we have four amazing kiddos. Josie is 11 and then we have three. She's our lone girl. We've got three boys, nine, nine and five. And yeah, really sweet life. But certainly a life that has a lot of challenges.

And just right off the bat, I'll just jump right in there, Peter. This church where we are has been great. But about five months after we came on staff here, my husband started having just some really weird symptoms and was diagnosed with a brain tumor. And so he went in and had brain surgery and probably was released maybe two weeks after being in the hospital, developed complications within those just a few days of being out.

And then we ended up back there for about two and a half months. So when he finally was released, I will never forget talking to the doctor who was signing the order to discharge him from that neuro step down unit. And I remember saying to him, I'm so glad to be leaving this hospital.

Any caregiver knows how uncomfortable those chairs are that they have in those hospital rooms as you're sitting with your sleeping, spending the night with your loved one. I said, I'm so glad to be leaving here, but I'm a little bit confused because I thought he would be better. I thought we were going to come in, you'd remove the tumor and that we would go back to life like it was before. And that was the beginning of me understanding that there's a whole new normal that the Lord was going to navigate us embracing. The Lord is going to help us navigate embracing.

And so that's the first little bit of our story. You know, I have spent more time in hospital chairs than I care to admit. And I was so grateful at this last surgery where Gracie's right now, they've got these couches that in the ICU, she's been in neuro ICU for a while and now she's down in the neuro step down, but they got these couches that don't have a fold out bed. They instead, the firm cushion of the couch and it's a flat surface, but then the back of it folds down to make a flat surface on it. It's kind of like a puzzle piece that fits like Tetris. And so it makes a nice firm surface.

It's only like a small cut, but it doesn't have the bar in the middle of it. And so I went online, Laura, and I wanted to try to buy one of those because on nights when it gets a little gnarly, I thought that I like this. And so, you know, if you do your Christmas shopping at the medical supply store, you know, I mean, these are cool gadgets, but I couldn't find it anywhere on Amazon. So yeah, but I remember those, all those chairs and you just, you, you have to go to, you know, some kind of contortionist specialist to get yourself out of these knots you get in. Yeah.

And you're also thinking this is the most money I've ever paid to sleep somewhere so uncomfortably. You know, well, so where are you guys now? What are the, that's a great question. It's been 18 years.

Well yes and no. So it's been, it's been 18 years since Martin's initial surgery and anyone that lives with you know, like, like the people who were probably listening right now, anyone, anyone that lives with, with any sort of chronic disability, a lot of times there's the kind of the beginning of it, the start of when you kind of start that journey. But unlike many trials we face, there's, there's rarely that end, that, that finish line. And I think part of, and I know that we'll probably get into more of this, but I think that's part of what's hard for believers. I was reading a book on disability and, and one of those, you know, great resource for caregivers and the, the, in the forward, I'm pretty sure it was Tim Keller that talked about how as believers, sometimes the church knows how to rally around someone who has a, whether it's a brain tumor, you know, whatever illness and episodic, yes. Pray for them for healing. And, and the church knows how to celebrate when the Lord gives us that healing. We pray for the church also knows really well how to, you know, I think walk through a, something that is declining and deteriorating, and then that loved one passes on to heaven and we know how to care for that family and to grieve that loss. But sometimes for us, you know, when it comes to chronic illness, find, I'm not entirely sure the church understands as well how to, how to live with chronic disability. I think theologically sometimes we don't know how to make sense of, you know, how could we pray so much for something, you know, for God to bring healing and, and for whatever reason things either get worse or often they just stay the same.

So, all that to say, our story is, it was brain tumor, but now it's brain injury. And my husband lives with a memory deficit and a vision deficit and our lives just look a lot different than most other people's. And we, I tell people often we are thriving, but we're also limping and I'm learning that you can actually limp and thrive all at the same time, but we always, we always live very dependent lives on the Lord.

I agree with you. It is hard for people to know what to do when it lingers on. And then it's hard for caregivers.

One of the things I help myself and fellow caregivers is to have ready-made answers to tell people because people really do mean well, but I can't read Gracie's chart off every time somebody asks me how she's doing. What am I going to say? After a while it becomes a little bit difficult.

And so you have this inner group where you can share things with, you have a medium group that you can share things with, and then you have people that you can speak the same language with that you share that. So you have to, you have to use a little bit of discernment because a lot of people really don't know what to do with that. And they kind of like, I don't know if you remember that episode of Seinfeld when George decided to bare his soul to Jerry and it shocked Jerry back into emotionlessness.

Good luck with all that. And people, oftentimes our answers make people feel uncomfortable and, or make people feel sorry for us, which is not, that's not really what I'm meaning to do. Or like, you know, you pass by someone who comes up to you in church and go, you know, how's Martin? Is he doing better? And sometimes I just want myself saying, yeah, sure, sure.

Because I just don't want them to be like, oh, really? He's not any, but that's part of disability is, and in some level we are getting better. And that's one of the things that I get a chance to talk to a lot of people about. So I kind of a funny story.

I did a podcast with a woman who also, her husband had a traumatic brain injury. That's not the funny part, obviously, but I know, sorry. The disclaimer wasn't required.

Yes. Thank you. But she just shared this, just the painful journey. And after she was done, the radio host who was doing the interview, and I was just kind of another guest on the, on the radio show, the radio host hugs her and says, Hey, I want you to know I'm praying for you. And I just know that things are going to get better. So then it comes to me and I'm Debbie Downer.

I'm the realist in the group. And I said to her, I said, I want you to know, I also will be praying for you, but I'm not going to tell you that I know that things will get better because they may not. But what I can tell you is I know that you can get better, even if things don't get better. And that's one thing that I feel like caregivers, we learned that in a special way, we learn that our wellness and what I'm describing, I'm not saying this is easy.

This is something I'm still struggling to believe. I'm still struggling to figure out what does this really look like in my life? But our wellness and our peace and our value and all of those things, the wellness of our soul cannot depend on that diagnosis or that the latest scan.

And I'm going super deep with you guys. We had a doctor's visit last week, week and a half ago. And the doctor said to us, you know, so Martin's brain tumor, it might be growing.

And so we've had no tumor growth for 15 years now. And the doctor said, there's something on the scan that makes us think that it might be growing. And we said, okay, what do we need to do? And he said, well, I just need to rescan him again in six months. And it's like, what? So we're going to be like on the edge of our seat.

So what do you want us to do for this next six months? Exactly. And I feel like because we're 18 years in, we were able to say, you know, we are not going to let anxiety and fear and what could be, we're not going to allow that to steal the joy of the next six months. We're just going to choose to trust God with it. And that's not us being negligent. It's just us saying, you know, that the diagnosis doesn't get the final word. We believe that the Lord gets the final word. And I know that that sounds like a lofty idea, but we're just choosing, that's what we believe it is a lofty idea.

It sounds like it in that sense, but not in a trite sense. And I'll explain that when we come back from the break, because I was actually having this conversation last night with Gracie before I left her in the hospital last night to come back to my room. There is a poignant part of that and I want to mine that a little bit deeper with you. We're talking with Grammy Award winner, double award winner, author and fellow caregiver, Laura Storey. This is Peter Rosenberger. This is Hope for the Caregiver.

We'll be right back. Do you know what to say to a family caregiver? If not, don't worry about it.

I do. And that's why I wrote my new book, A Minute for Caregivers, when every day feels like Monday. It contains one minute chapters. They're easy to read. You can pick it up, put it down. You start at the back, start at the front.

You can just pick a number out of thin air, go to that page. There will be something there that will point a fellow caregiver to safety. I speak fluent caregiver. And you're going to love this book and it's going to make a great gift to someone you know who is struggling as a caregiver. It's called A Minute for Caregivers, when every day feels like Monday. It's available wherever books are sold. Kindle, Audible, print, hardback, whenever you want, it's there.

Get it today. Do not let a caregiver struggle alone. A Minute for Caregivers, when every day feels like Monday. Welcome back to Hope for the Caregiver. This is Peter Rosenberg. This is the program for you as a family caregiver.

Hopeforthecaregiver.com. We are talking with Laura Story. She's sharing her journey in this role as caregiver, where she has had to redefine a lot of things in her life. It's changed the way she writes songs.

Certainly you all in this audience, many of you have been blessed by her music. Her book, So Long, Normal, is out. And other things that she is writing and journaling through this process as she's growing deeper in understanding how God's provision sustains us through some pretty brutal things.

She was just referring back to the diagnosis that the doctor had over her husband's brain tumor that may be returning and they've got to wait and see for six months. And God does get the final word. And I was saying this before the break, Laura, that last night before I left Gracie, I looked at her and said, you know, scripture says that they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall walk and not grow, run and not grow faint, mount up with wings of eagles.

I really believe this. And Gracie doesn't have legs. Her body is wracked with pain. And I know that she's going to walk and not grow weary.

She's going to run and not grow faint or vice versa and all the above. Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him as righteous as Genesis 15. Before he did anything, before he was circumcised, before he offered up Isaac, before he did anything that acted on his faith, he believed God and it was accounted to him as righteousness. When we believe these things, it has significance that God is the final story on this. His word will endure.

In fact, nothing else will. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of God endures. So when we consume ourselves with this word and we stand on that, even though what we're looking at is devastation in front of us, we recognize that when we believe God, Abraham was an old man and his wife was old, but he believed God. He took him at his word.

And I love that old course. It is so sweet to trust in Jesus just to take him at his word. That is the foundation for our whole faith. And so when you say those things, it wasn't a lofty ideal. It is a lofty truth.

There's a higher view of God to say, you know what? Even if we walk all the way to the cemetery, which for us as caregivers, that's the goal is that we're the ones that stand at the grave. We do not stand there defeated. Amen to that. Yeah. That's the goal. That's getting down into the deep waters of this thing. So as I followed your story and looked at this, and this audience understands that. This audience is, we've mined these issues.

And so we're not afraid to talk about them in this context, whereas some people get uncomfortable with this. Do you ever find yourself, and I'm going somewhere with this, do you ever find yourself not knowing how to pray and what to pray for? Do I pray for Lisa to have a good surgery? Well, if God's going to let her have a good surgery, why didn't he just heal her? I mean, how do you pray in this?

And tell me about your journey with that. Yeah, man, that's a great question. Because I think with us leaving the hospital with Martin having all these new limitations, it really was hard to know how do we pray. But I think part of it was that our prayers so often are connected to our expectations or our version of what it looks like for God to bless us. And you mentioned, yeah, I'm a wife to a husband with a disability, but I'm also a singer and all that.

And so I've written a lot of songs about what does it look like for the Lord to bless us even through the trials. So a lot of it is expectation. But sorry, more specifically with your question, one of the things for us, our caregiving situation looks a lot different than other people. I have a good friend whose husband has Parkinson's. Caring for him looks very different than me caring for Martin. For a long time, I don't even know if I would have put myself in the category of caregiver because my husband, he has a brain injury, but he's very able-bodied. We have four kids that we had after Martin, after his brain injury, which some people are like, are you crazy? And the answer is yes, we are crazy.

That was a crazy thing to do. But he is a wonderful, he's a wonderful dad. He's a wonderful husband. But due to his limitations, there are things that look very different about our family. And so a lot of times our prayers is God use these limitations to teach us something about yourself, about ourselves, teach our children something that they would not have without having a husband or a father with a disability. Does that make sense? Yes, it does. When our son yelled out for his mother, when a deer came in our backyard when we lived in Nashville, when he was a little boy, mom, get your legs on, come see this deer. Yes, that makes a lot of sense to us because it's a part of our life.

Yeah, it does. I think that a lot of people don't identify themselves as caregivers sometimes. I don't know that I did for the longest time, even though I've been doing it now for almost 40 years. I did a bit a while back with Jeff Foxworthy to help that say, you know, you might be a caregiver if, and just to be able to drive that point home. Well, if you have a carpet cleaning company on retainer, you're probably a caregiver. And so we don't necessarily think of that, but one of the things I've expanded this audience to understand is that if you're in a relationship with an alcoholic or an addict, you're a caregiver. That's a chronic impairment. Wherever there's a chronic impairment, there's a caregiver and mental illness. Anything of that nature that you got special needs moms of kids with autism. I've got a buddy of mine who's got a son with 40 something years old with Down syndrome. He never thought of himself as a caregiver, but he does.

He is. And so, yeah, those things do affect the way we look at life. And you talk about this sometimes when you use the word tether.

I say that all caregivers suffer from three eyes. We lose our identity. We become isolated and we lose our independence. There is a tethering that goes on with this. Talk about that with you and the tethering that you've had to this, because it's not something you can just put down and walk away from. It's in your whole fabric of your life. It's in the whole fabric of our lives. But as believers, we have to acknowledge that this isn't something that caught the Lord off guard. One of the things that I get asked often is like, so why did this happen to me?

Why did this happen to you? And I am very quick always to say, okay, there's two places in scripture that tell us why bad things happen. Things like disability, things like chronic illness, all of that. One is Romans 5 where Paul talks about the fall. Sin is entered into this, brokenness is entered into this world, and it will be here until Jesus returns. And so some of that, you just have to grieve. A lot of people are not great at grieving, saying, hey, this looks really different than how I imagined.

Yet guess what? This is very different than God's original design. And so there's that grief of saying, okay, this disability happened just because sin exists in the world. But it's not the only answer the Bible gives, which is really neat. You see John 9, where there's a man that's born blind, man that's born with a disability, and the disciples are so quick to say, okay, whose fault is this? Was it his parents?

Was it his? And Jesus, it's like he's kind of like throwing their question out the window and gives them an answer, where he says, it wasn't either of those things. He was born blind that the works of God might be displayed. And it's this amazing realization of, so why doesn't God just snap his fingers? Why is my husband disabled?

Of all the people, when he was formed in his mother's womb, why was he born with a brain tumor? And it's because this is what it looks like to live in a broken world. But that's not the only answer we have.

We have to believe that we will see the works of God, the wondrous needs of God through my husband's disability. And that's one of the things. So you go back to identity. What were the three I's you said?

I love this. Identity, isolation, and independence. And loss of independence. Yeah. Yes.

Yes. I have endured every single one of those. Every single one of those where- Every caregiver without exception will deal with these three issues.

And I'd say that the isolation one might be the biggest one. Because after you, initially we were talking about people stopping you in church. How are things going? And you almost ... If you can't say fine, like after years of not being able to say how things really are, you begin to think, people really want me to say fine. And so I'm just not going to say anything. And I'm just going to avoid even walking by anyone. And then you get to the point where you say, with disability alone, church is just hard. So I'm just going to stay home anyway. I'm just going to watch it online. Everybody's doing that these days.

People just watch it online. And then before long, you begin to believe, not just that you don't need church, but the church doesn't need you. We have an amazing special needs ministry at our church. If you live in the Atlanta area, come visit Perimeter Church.

We're brand new at it, but it is... There are parents of specifically autistic children who had not gone to church in years because they show up and they say, yeah, our family is a distraction. And it would break my heart hearing them say this, but we're really wanting them to see that when the Lord said, hey, let the children come to me, he wasn't just saying let the able-bodied fully functional kids come.

He wants all of the children, all of the people to come to him. And so isolation, I think is the hardest one of those, even. I've often maintained that caregivers feel isolated in a crowded room and they can feel isolated on a crowded pew. And I remember one of the most isolating moments of my life, when Gracie was hovering near death and I slipped out on Easter Sunday.

Our kids were away from college and so forth, and she was in bad shape. And I slipped away. The church was just two miles down from the house. They had a full orchestra, full choir. The church was packed. Everybody, it was beautiful. The music was spectacular.

They're singing Christ the Lord has risen today. And I was so lonely. And I was so discouraged because everybody's talking about Jesus and the victory and everything else.

And Gracie's hovering at death. I was able to only slip out for an hour to go to church. And very few people really knew.

And I, it was early on in a lot of things as I started developing this program, I said, okay, I'm going to push back on this issue. I'm going to make sure that caregivers are seen and understood and that churches know how to speak to them and what to say so that we're not saying, how's Gracie doing today? Well, her legs are still gone.

Her body's still wrapped with pain. Yeah. And one thing that we've heard from families as we've been talking with these families, kids with different needs, we hear, well, I used to go to church, but I just felt like a squeaky wheel as I was trying to get that like a good example. We were, we went to a church and this particular issue did not rub against Martin's disability, but we went to a church.

Their children's ministry was upstairs and they didn't have an elevator. Things like that. But so often the parents or even the caregiver or whatever feels like, oh, I've just been advocating and I just, it would just be better if I left.

It would be better if we stayed home. Things like that break my heart because it's not just that the family needs that community of church. It's that the church needs the ski wheel.

You know, what squeaky wheels, sometimes like you feel annoying, but it's also what the Lord uses for sanctification for communities of people. We've seen that with, with Martin's disability. So where our kids are in a school with a lot of parental involvement, one of the things they have these field trips and the parents sign up to drive the kids to the field trips. Well, Martin doesn't drive because he doesn't have the vision to do it.

There are also other areas that he's not able to serve. And so I had the choice of, okay, I could just go and serve at all these things. I can drive, I'll just do it. I don't want to be, again, I don't want to be a squeaky wheel.

But I had a couple of friends say, hey, you really should mention to them that maybe there would be a way for Martin to participate where he didn't have to drive. And once I mentioned it, I was, it was so great to have like an advocate for the advocate and advocate for the caregiver. But it really, it's like putting yourself out there to say, hey, I know that, I know that we're the minority. I know that we don't look like every other family. We don't function like every other family.

But would you mind making this adjustment for us? And as weird as it feels, usually people, whether they respond instantly, grateful that you brought it up, or maybe they don't, but it's still the work that the Lord is doing in their life to really open their awareness of how they can serve the community, the greater community better. I completely agree. And we've, well, we're going to talk some more about that. We're talking with Laura's story. This is an amazing conversation of just how the church can interact with those of us who are in these families with disabilities and challenges, special needs and so forth, and then ministering to the caregiver so that we can participate in church.

So because we're, we're not supposed to forsake the assembly of us gathering together corporate worship, but it's hard to do that if the church is not welcoming to folks, not necessarily by design, but by lack of design, if you will. And we're going to talk some more about these things. This is Peter Rosenberger. This is Hope for the Caregiver. We'll be right back. Welcome back to Hope for the Caregiver.

This is Peter Rosenberger. This is the program for you as a family caregiver, healthy caregivers make better caregivers. Laura's story is with us today. We're talking about a lot of different things as her family has journeyed now for some years and having to deal with a new normal.

I think that probably drove the whole concept of her book, So Long Normal. Adios Normal, as they say, south of the border. And we are, we are thrilled to have you. By the way, she and I are both South Carolinians.

And I don't know if you guys can tell, we have subtitles for this show. No, I'm just kidding. She grew up in the Spartanburg area and then we both went to same school for a while. Did you, how long were you at Columbia? Oh gracious.

That's a whole other story. I was there on and off for eight years because I was doing music in the midst of all of it. So it took me quite a while to get out of that place, but definitely loved my time there. I think they felt like I didn't get out of there fast enough, but I helped do a lot of work penalties there. There you go. A lot of toilets you got to scrub.

I scrubbed my share, but I was there for a couple of years before I transferred to Belmont, a great place down there at Columbia International University. I appreciate the candor that you've gone into with this and I know that this journey has affected you professionally as well. How has your writing changed? I mean, when you wrote Blessings, I mean, this is an incredibly reflective song. Maybe this is what God is going on.

This is, you know, we've all been there, those of us who live with any type of challenges like this. But after a while, you know, you mentioned the why question. People come and say, you know, why do you suppose this, who sinned, you know, that kind of stuff. And I'm like, what is God going to tell me that's going to make me smack my forehead and say, oh, great. Now I know why you got it, Lord.

I feel so much better. It's the wrong question. It's the wrong question. The question is who?

Who is God? How has your writing changed that as you have resolved a lot of these, not resolved, you are resolved to walk through these issues. This is your life. You know, Gracie and I are not waiting for the next surgery to get her better before we start living a life. This is our life.

After 86 surgeries, you kind of figured out, okay, this is not going to end anytime soon. This is our life. So we can live with beauty and joy. And I learned this from reading Viktor Frankl's book of just seeing beauty, even in the midst of horrific stuff. Corey Tim Boone led Gracie to the Lord when she was just a little girl. And Corey said, there's no pit so deep that God's love is not deeper still.

And so do we believe these things or not? How has that affected your writing and the way you as an artist have developed? Well, thanks.

Thanks for asking. So yeah, the song blessings, man, I so appreciate your encouraging words about it as it's been, I've been so thankful that it's been helpful to so many and it's honestly, it's been incredibly helpful to me. I wrote that song about five years after Martin's tumor and we were just still processing a lot of it. And I feel like it was a song where it wasn't so much, I don't know what you think about songwriters, but it's not like these songwriters are like, okay, so here are the truths that I've mastered that I will impart to you in song form. Maybe some songwriters are like that, but not me. For me, it was more, I feel like God graciously gave me the song blessings because he knew that those were the truths that I would be grappling with.

Those would be the truths I would need to cling to for the next, I guess it's been 10, 12 years now. And God knew that that's what I needed to sing from a stage night after night. I've always been so thankful that I was the person that got to write blessings, but it was very much from the Lord. So one thing, kind of go back a little bit in our story, I began talking to a record label who wanted me to write worship. I had been leading worship, I'd been writing songs, wanted me to write worship songs, and they were going to come down to Atlanta from fancy Nashville. They were going to come down and have dinner with Martin and I, and it was on a Friday night. And the Wednesday before was when Martin was diagnosed with a brain tumor. And just the Lord's timing with that, they ended up, they still came down and met with us. And we were still kind of reeling with that news. And I remember saying, well, actually, I remember we first tried to stop them from coming and we said, hey, we can't even think about the possibility of being on a record label right now.

And they said, hey, don't worry about that. We just want to take you out to dinner and bless you guys. I was a starving artist, so we're like, yes, we will take the free dinner. You went to the varsity. So we went to the varsity.

Honestly, I can't even remember where we went, but I remember going and just really having a sweet time with them. So then we went and had Martin's surgery and then just began this long battle of our lives being turned upside down. But every few months that record label would kind of check back in and say, hey, are you ready to do a record? Are you ready to write some songs? And I thought, good grief.

No, I'm not, you know, this is crazy right now. It was probably nine months later that they asked and I said, do you not understand that my faith is about the shakiest it's ever been in my life? And they said, yes, and that's why we want you to write worship songs. And that was when I just had this epiphany of you're right. Like the church doesn't need more songs about how happy we are that everything's turned out okay because of the Lord. Happy, happy, happy all the time, time, time.

Exactly. And they really challenged me. And at first I was like, I don't even know if I can do this. But my very first album, I wrote the songs for that. We had been out of the hospital maybe, I don't know, a year, two years. And I began to write songs about how can I worship the Lord even if things with Martin's health don't get better?

This won't surprise you at all, but golly, people resonated with those songs. I know it sounds really simple, Peter, but that's kind of what I've done for my career, ministry, whatever this is. I've just been faithful to share my story, really, mine and my husband's and our family's story, and talk about how the promises of God and His goodness have intersected with the brokenness that we walk through every day. And it seems to encourage others when we share things like that.

Also, Paul said it best, you comfort one another with the same comfort that you have received from the God of all comforts. Amen to that. Yeah. That's it. I remember when, I will tell you this, at a record company, this is where Gracie, I don't think I've ever shared this in public, but there was a guy there when we lived in Nashville and he was kind of a pull of himself record guy.

I'm sure you've met a few of them. And he looked at Gracie, we're in his office and they were looking at doing some stuff with her. And he said, well, now you need me to do such and such. And Gracie stopped him right there.

And she looked at him, she leveled her gaze at him. She said, can you make my legs grow back? No. Well, I guess I really don't need you, do I? And her producer looked at her and I looked at her and I was like, well, dang, baby. There's a level of clarity of what we really need and what she really needs. I've always admired her for that because she has this understanding of, I have a greater need.

There's a bigger issue. And I think when you have these chronic things, it keeps you, it brings a clarity of thought to that's why I'm a big fan of the old hymns. And I just love them so much.

I literally was about to say that very same thing. And that's what I play the most. And I don't have the caregiver keyboard with me. I usually in my studio back in Montana, I have the caregiver keyboard and I'd play hymns on there. I need to get one of those.

I need to get a caregiver keyboard. I'll tell you one of my, there's so many of those rich hymns that is all of my soul and Tis So Sweet and all of that. But probably my very favorite one that I thought of as soon as you were saying all of that is On Christ and Solid Rock I Stand. Because there's a verse there that says, when all around my soul gives way, he then is all my hope and stay. And it's not that when things start falling apart and we start getting these diagnoses, it's not that all of a sudden he becomes our hope and stay. It's the deterioration of the things that we trusted in, of the American dream, of all of that. That's what begins to reveal that the Lord truly was the only Sturdy Foundation we ever had in the first place. And so even what you were saying about, it's almost like with Gracie, like she doesn't have her legs.

What else could she need? She has literally learned to face life facing the unthinkable and surviving. It really causes all of us to loosen our grip on the things in life that we think we need. One of my favorite lyrics from one of my favorite hymns, This Is My Father's World. It says, the battle is not done. Jesus who died will be satisfied and earth and heaven be one. That's a hymn.

That's a text. That's what I anchor myself in, in these moments. And I've watched her go on a gurney into surgery so many times, and I don't know if she's coming back. I've watched her in agony and struggle.

And you put your head down sometimes in such weariness. And then when you hear these lyrics come back and if you'll allow me this, when I heard your song for the first time and I played that song for Gracie and it was hard for her to get through it. And yet she needed to sing that song. She wanted to sing that song because she understands it.

And we understand that we get a view of things of the heavenlies that we would not get otherwise. My mother told me this down there in the coast of South Carolina. She said, there's one of their favorite spots. You see all these beautiful palmetto trees and the ones that are right there on the front by the ocean are misshapen. Wind and the sand has smoothed out all their bark and they're all twisty and curly. The ones behind them stand straight. She said, sometimes when you're in the full frontal of the wind, you get twisted around and get warped, but others can stand straight because of your warpness. And then she said, but the warped ones get the best view. And I thought, okay, I'll take that one.

So it'd be both of us South Carolinians. You get that. Listen, we're out of time and I hate that. I wanted to go another hour here. This has been so sweet, Peter.

Thanks so much for having me. And I'll say this, if I can say just the very last thing to your listeners, hang in there. God loves you. He has a good plan for your life.

Even though the plan, the road you were walking may look drastically different from the good plan you had in store. It doesn't mean that God isn't at work in ways that you can't see. And his very last words to us, lo, I am with you always.

That's the whole point of Christmas. Emmanuel, he's with us. This is Laura's story. Laura's story music.

Would you go out and take a look at some of the things that she has to offer. She's got this book out that I know you're going to want to take a look at these things. And Laura, I want you to know how much I appreciate you coming on and sharing your story.

Hey, thanks so much. This has been such a treat. It has been a treat for us. This is Peter Rosenberger. This is Hope for the Caregiver.

We'll see you next time. You've heard me talk about standing with hope over the years. This is the prosthetic limb ministry that Gracie envisioned after losing both of her legs. Part of that outreach is our prosthetic limb recycling program. Did you know that prosthetic limbs can be recycled?

No kidding. There is a correctional facility in Arizona that helps us recycle prosthetic limbs. And this facility is run by a group out of Nashville called Core Civic. We met them over 11 years ago and they stepped in to help us with this recycling program of taking prostheses and you disassemble them. You take the knee, the foot, the pylon, the tube clamps, the adapters, the screws, the liners, the prosthetic socks, all these things we can reuse and inmates help us do it. Before Core Civic came along, I was sitting on the floor at our house or out in the garage when we lived in Nashville and I had tools everywhere, limbs everywhere and feet, boxes of them and so forth. And I was doing all this myself and I'd make the kids help me.

And it got to be too much for me. And so I was very grateful that Core Civic stepped up and said, look, we are always looking for faith-based programs that are interesting and that give inmates a sense of satisfaction. And we'd love to be a part of this.

And that's what they're doing. And you can see more about that at standingwithhope.com slash recycle. So please help us get the word out that we do recycle prosthetic limbs. We do arms as well, but the majority of amputations are lower limb.

And that's where the focus of Standing With Hope is. And that's where Gracie's life is with her lower limb prosthesis. And she's used some of her own limbs in this outreach that she's recycled. I mean, she's been an amputee for over 30 years.

So you go through a lot of legs and parts and other types of materials and you can reuse prosthetic socks and liners if they're in good shape. All of this helps give the gift that keeps on walking. And it goes to this prison in Arizona where it's such an extraordinary ministry.

Think with that. Inmates volunteering for this. They want to do it.

And they've had amazing times with it. And I've had very moving conversation with the inmates that work in this program. And you can see, again, all of that at standingwithhope.com slash recycle. They're putting together a big shipment right now for us to ship over. We do this pretty regularly throughout the year as inventory rises and they need it badly in Ghana. So please go out to standingwithhope.com slash recycle and get the word out and help us do more. If you want to offset some of the shipping, you can always go to the giving page and be a part of what we're doing there.

We're purchasing material in Ghana that they have to use that can't be recycled. We're shipping over stuff that can be. And we're doing all of this to lift others up and to point them to Christ. And that's the whole purpose of everything that we do. And that is why Gracie and I continue to be standing with hope. standingwithhope.com take my hand. Lean on me. We will stay.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-16 10:24:57 / 2023-12-16 10:42:48 / 18

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