Sunday, December 2, 2012

In Everything Give Thanks

I feel like I’ve aged quite a bit this past  year—having to sit more frequently at work while teaching, sometimes squirming to manage low back pain.  This October I visited Gillette Lifetime Clinic in Lake Phalen where they provide compassionate and comprehensive care for adults with CP.  After a 3 ½  hour appointment where six medical professionals paraded in and out of my room, we decided that I should wear a brace on my left leg.  It’s sleek, made of carbon fiber like the Olympic athlete double amputee that ran this summer.  I’ve noticed a difference, I feel more supported when I walk and sometimes it seems I have more energy at the end of the day…It’s just that wearing a brace is not what I envisioned doing at 28.

This morning I grumbled a little bit as I strapped on my new carbon-fiber leg brace at the breakfast table. I knew today was going to busy and I needed all the support I could get. My brace and custom made shoe inserts have been very helpful, but it often means I have to wear tennis shoes with my dress pants to work.

"Be thankful!" I commanded myself as I moved around the kitchen. "Be thankful there's a clinic right in MN that treats CP. Be thankful you were able to get an appointment right away. Be thankful for health insurance. Be thankful you live in a country where you can even get a brace."

"Ok." I negotiated with myself. "I'll be thankful." But secretly I wanted to wear stylish shoes today. I pined for my new black boots that were sitting upstairs in my closet. I thought of colleagues who are always dressed so nice, coordinating their outfits from head to toe. I had coordinated my outfit today too--from head to...ankle.

After lunch a class came into the media center for their lesson. One of the students had injured his leg and had most of it temporarily immobilized. He was limping. "Now he's like you!" The class chirped.

"You're right!" I nodded. I sat down in a chair, pulled my pant leg up to my knee, and showed the class my brace. We talked about what it was and why I wear it. I let them ask questions. I didn't have to try to be thankful anymore, because in that moment I was thankful that today wearing my brace was helping me to connect more effectively with the students in front of me.

Today I was certain that the six and seven year old children that were sitting in the reading well had become my teachers, illustrating what Paul had learned in 2 Corinthians. God's grace really is sufficient for me and His power really is being made perfect in my weakness.

I am so thankful!

Stumbo Family Story


  1. Jenny,
    You are so awesome! I love reading your posts and I admire you so much! When you share your story and are able to say you're thankful, you make all of us a little bit better too. Thank you!!
    Laurie C

    1. Thanks Laurie! I am learning that thankfulness can be transformational for myself and others! Blessings to you!

  2. Jenny, you are simply amazing. I am thankful for you, your words, your example.

    1. Thanks Emily! I hope we can all be encouraged to be ourselves at work, not hindered by our imperfections, realizing that real students with real problems are walking through the doors, looking for us to be authentic, acknowledging them in their struggles.