Completely dependent

Posted: August 31, 2012 in Uncategorized

Independence – As Americans, it’s one of our most highly prized virtues.  It’s a way of life.  We seek it for ourselves and we expect it of others.  We may be social, but don’t get too close in our personal space and don’t ask us to do anything that we didn’t already have planned into our schedules.  Go to any airport, mall or restaurant and watch how people interact:  friendly enough for a few minutes until they can get alone on their electronic device and do whatever it is that they want.

As Christians, we’ve been told that we are to be completely dependent on God.  Personally, I have often struggled with that.  By human standards,  I have been considered successful: college, seminary, family, ministry, house, cars, etc.  And I haven’t had to depend on others in any major way to accomplish those goals.

Then comes ALS and quickly I have become dependent on others.  Each week I give up a new area and find that I can’t resist the help offered.  Funny thing is, I don’t remember the last time I drove or where it was to.  I just know that since I returned to Jamaica, I haven’t sat in a driver’s seat.  I do remember the last time I went out to eat.  After choking (again) and having to leave quickly, I told Dena that was the last time eating in public.  Some of the losses have been deliberate decisions, while other ares have slipped away quietly.

Now I can’t be left alone for many reasons – the fear I may lose my balance and fall;  I have to be helped up and down stairs and into chairs; I can’t get dressed alone;  My hands are so turned in that I can only peck with one finger on my iPad.  Holding my own drink is something I can only do for a few seconds before I will drop it.  My diet is almost all liquid.  My big outings each week are church and maybe one other trip to Walmart with a family member, where I can drive one of the motorized carts while they load it up for me.  At least I feel like I’m contributing something.

It’s easy to feel sorry for myself;  it’s natural to ask “why me?”  At least once a day, I battle these thoughts.  But I have to stop the wrong thought in its tracks and replace it with a right one.  One based on Scripture; truths that I know and believe and now am having to put into practice in the most difficult time of my life.  It’s the “Put off, Put on” principle found in Colossians 3.  I can put off thoughts of worthlessness and replace it with the truth that I am created in God’s image and this is His plan for me.  Since I am a follower of Christ and He paid the penalty for my sins, I can resist sins such as dwelling on wrong things and I can choose to be thankful and have hope.

And oh what a hope I have…eternity with Jesus and a new body without a terminal disease!

Colossians 3:1  “if then you have been raised with Christ, seek those things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.”

  1. Pat Bradford says:

    Thank you Patrick for these encouraging words to me…you are an encouragement to me…luv u all

  2. Mandi says:

    I don’t know if Patirck or Dena wrote this but it is very well said heartfelt and honest. I am glad you are training your mind to see things from an eternal perspective – I am sure Dena has to do the same thing and my heart truly aches for you both.. I was thinking and praying for you both today. I know that doesn’t bring physical healing but I know it will give you spiritual wisdom and understanding, peace and a sense that you know others are with you on this journey. Thank you for sharing your thoughts as honest and hard as they are.
    I thank God for you and the amazing testimony you are of keeping your eyes on Christ and spiritually training yourself to fight the good fight of faith in this hugely difficult time. Thank you for being a godly example.

    On another note I was looking through my recipes and found a recipe from Pat McGodrick…it is written in your handwriting and it is for Chili McGoldrick! I use that recipe as a base when I make chili – which I won’t do until it cools down some. It definitely bring back memories of fun times in Clarks Summit.

    Love you both!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Mandi Hanson

  3. deb ritz says:

    Thank you once again for being such an encouragement. I have been sitting with my Dad for the past 8 days in ICU, he is slipping away from us and soon to be with the Lord. Yet I am encouraged by your words from Colossians regarding a new body in heaven …free from disease and pain! Thank you for always redirecting the Glory back to God even in the midst of your own pain and suffering. You are both in our prayers!

  4. Del Warbington says:

    On the heals of the book I am finishing up (One Thousand Gifts), this blog is another reminder to be Grateful for each moment that God bestows upon us. As you have said, we need to daily Put off and Put on… I pray for Grace and Mercy in each moment you and your family deals with what lies ahead. May the Holy Spirit prepare you as you forge ahead and blindly put all your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ who knows all our cares.

  5. Dearest Patrick…press on, our brother, press on…
    We are praying you through your difficult journey…and we love you…
    Thank you for imprinting upon our hearts years ago…we shall always treasure that…
    We love you,
    Terry & Marie

  6. Pat and bob Depue says:

    Thank you Patrick and dena, for sharing this journey with us. We love you.

  7. Alan Bonjour says:

    Patrick, your ordeal and trip through this time is very much being used in my being as I trust many others, to put perspective in this life of ours. Though I have been through many “ordeals”, I know from experience, how hard it is to get ones bearings when it seems that the ship you are on is in spin around the Bermuda Triangle ocean drain hole whirlpool.
    Thank you for the effort I know you are putting out to share with us. It is a rare treasure to us. As P. Rehnert says above: “press on. our brother”.

  8. Russ Arbuckle says:

    Thank you guys for sharing the journey that Patrick and you Dena are on. I’m sure God hears your thoughts and talks to you and tells you “Be Still, and know I am God”. He’s a loving God and
    wants your dependence to focus on Him and not ALS. Though we know little of what you are going throughj Patrick, but, God has given you at lease you mind and knowledge in Him. Press on and continue to fight the fight. We love you guys. Russ & Karin Arbuckle

  9. Jo Ann Gasparotto says:

    Thanks Patrick for continuing to encourage and teach US as your journey continues… We love you brother and dear friend~

  10. Michelle Klassen Jones says:

    Dear Pastor Pat and Dena,
    Just want to send our love today. Thank you for the reminder of eternal things. You always taught us that and now you are living it out. I am very sorry for the hard times as well and pray that God is pouring His Holy Spirit out on your family. Dena, I know you are strong enough by God’s grace to be both the wife and mother you are being at this time. I love you all. So thankful for your union to Christ and eternity with Him. Thankful for your perseverance in Christ. You are still teaching us. Now more than ever.

  11. Bev Stewart says:

    Patrick & Dena, we continue to pray for God’s miracle for you. We know this is a struggle but your determination and faith continue to witness to many others. Chris reads your blogs and I know God will continue to speak to him and in HIS time work through him. He is doing well in school We love you all! Bev, Glenn, Chris & Kim Stewart

  12. Rita Starnes says:

    Please know I’m praying and thinking if you and Dena often during these most difficult days. The love of Christ you have in you will see you through this time. Love Always!

  13. Ben Hanks says:

    I praise God for your constant focus on the gospel!! I Cor 4…We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed…struck down, but not destroyed…Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory… For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
    Much love and prayers,

  14. Lisa Kotal says:


    I am so thankful that you are a living example for me (us) on living your faith out loud. Some of your thoughts are my thoughts … “why Patrick” and then I hear “why not”… it’s so hard! … And then you press on pilgrim and you continue to share your story with me (us). It means so much and one day you will know. I find now that when I have an ache here and there, I think of you and your challenges, and then it doesn’t seem right for me to mention it or complain.

    I pray for you, Dena, Paige and Parker often; and I think about you all the time! You are my hero!

    I love you guys!

  15. Diane says:

    JIm and I continue to pray for you often, Patrick! Love you guys!

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