May 8, 2009
Against All Odds ... Mothering from a Wheelchair, Part 2
The doctors said it couldn’t happen. It was against all odds. A woman’s voice miraculously restored with a crystal clear, angelic sound.
And then, do you get married? And after that, do you have children as you live your life in a wheelchair? Welcome to Haven Today. I’m Charles Morris sharing the great story that’s all about Jesus. Welcome to this special Haven Today called “Against All Odds – Mothering from a Wheelchair”. Back with us on the program today, Renee Bondi, let’s get started with her music before her story. This is a song she wrote that’s also the title of a book she wrote, “The Last Dance and the Last Song”.
Song: The Last Dance and the Last Song
Performed by: Renee Bondi
I’m Charles Morris, this is Haven Today. We’re celebrating Mother’s Day and with me in our studio here is another person who lives in Southern California. Her name is Renee Bondi. It’s interesting, the Lord gave you a son and now, you said, 14 years old.
RB: And now he’s 14 and it has been such a joy. There were two issues that were huge for me with starting a family. The first issue was, would Mike resent it, not having a child because he’s so great with kids, even though he told me that he wouldn’t, but that was a concern of mine. Another issue was growing old without children. I know what my siblings and I are to my parents and how important that relationship is.
CM: So you wanted that blessing, not for you so much as you wanted that blessing for, for –
RB: For Mike to be able to have a child. What if something happened to me, which as a quadriplegic something could happen to me –
RB: And the Lord could call me home and Mike would not have any children? That just didn’t seem fair. So those were the two issues I kept struggled with but through prayer the Lord really settled them in my mind. How I raised Daniel, how we raised Daniel is I would put one of those little NoJo slings on, those little slings that ladies use to carry their child on their chest or on their back.
RB: And so I would take – I don’t know if we can, if I can visualize, help your listeners visualize this over the radio, but – I would take that sling, lay it on my lap. Somebody, a caregiver or a relative would come and lay baby Daniel on my lap and then tie that NoJo sling around my wheelchair – not just around me –
CM: But your whole wheelchair,
RB: And then tighten it so now little Daniel was up against me so I could nurse, I could talk. I could take him for walks and as he grew older and he became a toddler, got too big for the sling we cut two holes in the sling and we’d sit him on my lap and point his little legs through those holes and again tie him and me tight to the chair and we could go for walks, we could look at the birds, we could play and all of this. And I was worried initially that he wouldn’t know which one was Mom because I had a caregiver at home helping me. My mother also lives nearby. My sisters also live nearby. I have a wonderful relationship with my neighbors and there were lots of women around at times but –
CM: He figured it out.
RB: He absolutely knows who Mom is.
CM: It’s Mother’s Day weekend. Advice out of your 14 years of being a mom?
RB: Probably the biggest thing for me as a mom and as a daughter of the King is knowing who God is in our life. Over the years people have asked me, “How do you deal with issues like depression, anxiety, frustration?” These are emotions we feel as moms at times.
CM: Dads too I’ve got to tell you, right.
RB: Maybe so. Along with the great joy and laughter that comes with being with your kids there’s difficult times as well. Daniel has been a dream of a kid and I’m blessed in that way. He really has been. Yet he is 14 and I know the next few years could be a little tough. But there are three things, there’s an SOS that I use. Over the years people have asked me, “What are the things, the tools that you use?” And ironically they spell S.O.S. and rather than the original Naval term “Save Our Ship”
CM: Save Our Ship, yes.
RB: mine is “Sanctify, Organize, Surrender”. Starting off with sanctifying my mind, keeping my mind pure and holy. Scripture, Philippians chapter 4 verse 8,
“Whatever is true, right and noble, whatever is pure, lovely, admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy think about these things.”
Paul was very clear in what he was telling us to do with our mind. And so while I could get very jealous of other moms that could be out shooting hoops with their son in the cul de sac or throwing the boogie boards in the van and running down to the beach, to take their kids to the beach. I would have to remember and think, “What can I do with Daniel?” And in those early years I was quite the hit with him and his friends because they would be jumping on my chair and riding around with me and I was giving them rides everywhere. I can help him with his homework. I can make sure he eats his fruits and vegetables. Sanctifying your mind, keeping your mind pure and holy. The “O” stands for “organizing” my life. If I keep my life organized with God first, then my spouse and then our children and then our job or ministry everything stays humming along.
RB: But as soon as I start feeling this frustration or anger I can step back and look at, “Do I have God first and then Mike and then Daniel and then our ministry?” Usually one of those have gotten out of sync. And it’s almost as if I need this little spiritual chiropractor to whack and put everything back in order. I put the Lord back in first, then get my daily prayer time down and then make sure that Mike is doing well and then Daniel. And we as moms often put our children first because we think it’s what we’re supposed to do.
RB: So keeping my life organized in that manner helps me stay calm. And then the second “S” is, of course the biggy for all of us, “surrender”, surrendering on a daily basis our life, our day, our motherhood to the Lord. You know when Mary, the angel appeared to Mary and said, “You are with child.” She didn’t go screaming and running to her room and slam her door. She said, “Yes,” and I look at her at times and am reminded of her “yes” and so on a daily basis through my surrendering I’m reminded to say “Yes” to Jesus at all times.
CM: It’s really hard sometimes, isn’t it Renee, not as a quadriplegic mom but just as a mom, as a human being, as a follower of Christ to really follow Christ and not put myself ahead of my Savior and where he is leading. I will follow, you know? That’s a big reminder that we need, all of us, isn’t it?
RB: You know, years ago I was speaking for a women’s conference, a “Women of Virtue” conference I believe, back in the Midwest and I was talking with some ladies in the meet and greet line afterwards and we were talking about being moms. The difficult part of being a wife and a daughter and a sister and a friend is because with children they can suck you dry of your energy. And I remember talking about what comes first, who comes first? Does my husband come first? Does my child come first? Does our ministry come first? Does God come first? All these, we were having this conversation. And one woman looked at me and it was as if the lights had shut off and she said, “Where am I in this mess? Where am I? I give everything to my children. I give everything to my husband. I work at church. I give my time to the Lord in service. Oh, where am I? I have nothing left.” And after that I came home and I met with a wonderful, wise, wise great grandma who is a follower of Jesus, a wise woman. And I asked my friend Shirley, I said, “Where are we as women in that line up? We talk about God first and then our spouse and then our children and then our job if we work outside of the home. And she said, “Oh honey Renee, we’re right up there with God!” And I started laughing going, “You’re kidding right?” Because I thought that was, you know, no we’re not up there with God! And she said, “Tell me about your prayer life Renee, tell me about your prayer life, the time you spend with Jesus.” And I shared with her what I do daily and she said, “If, if we put God first,” meaning that we daily, and some days it might be 10 minutes, that’s it. If we open our Bible and spend time with him it might be as simple as when you’re waiting in the carpool. All we can do is breathe in and say, “Jesus.” Exhale say, “Mercy”. Sometimes it’s as simple as that.
CM: Instead of getting our anger up there and inflated and wanting to get back at somebody for what they’ve done to us just simply remembering who I belong to.
RB: You bet. And it is that time when we make sure that we take that 5, 10, 20 minutes a day if you can to be still with Jesus. Then our tank is filled up.
CM: And we can know he is the Lord then.
RB: Yes! To be able to serve our spouse, our children and our job after that.
CM: Renee, music has been part of your life all of your life, I think.
RB: it has
CM: And certainly as a Christian honoring Christ with music has been part of your life as well. You actually wrote a song for your son Daniel, didn’t you?
RB: Yes, it is a song called “Be Still” and in this crazy world where we are running to hockey, we are running to scouts, we’re running to play practice, we’re running to a study group, to be able to take a breath, even at 14 years old, to take a breath and slow down and hear the Lord’s voice is important. There are many, many miracles that the Lord has placed in my lap as a quadriplegic and I think it is very important to share with our children what God has done in our life. That can’t be left to only the pastors on Sunday morning. They, our children need to know that we trust our Lord and so after writing our book “The Last Dance but not the Last Song” that shares all the miracles where God was very present in my life after breaking my neck. Daniel has heard those stories over the years and I want him to know as he gets older, when we’re not around anymore, when Mom and Dad are no longer there to point him to Jesus that when he hears my voice telling him those stories of how God was present in his Mom’s life after breaking my neck. So I wrote “Be Still”. Well, as I was writing this song for Daniel it also became very evident to me that it could be our Heavenly Father speaking to every one of us because we are his children.
Song: Be Still
Performed by: Renee Bondi
CM: Renee Bondi from her album “Let it Rain” and a song called “Be Still” written about her son who is now 14 years old, a son named Daniel who she didn’t even know that she could have. But praise the Lord is sufficient and the Lord does amazing things in our life. Renee, on this Mother’s Day weekend would you mind leading us in prayer right now?
RB: Oh, Heavenly Father we come before you Lord, knowing that you are our Father which makes us your daughter, your son. Lord, you have entrusted your other children in our hands, the children that our listeners are taking care of right now. They might be driving them to soccer practice. They might be in their homes doing homework. They might be in the kitchen making a pot of spaghetti. Father will you meet them and us right where we are? We know that your grace is sufficient. Thank you Lord for the opportunity to be a mom, the opportunity to bless our children. Lord help us to point our children to you. Lord help us to remember to share our God stories with our kids so that they know that Jesus is alive and well in our hearts. And Lord if there’s anybody out there, if there’s a mom that really has strayed from you, where life has just gotten in the way and has kept us from getting to know you closer then I ask Lord that you would help us to recommit our lives to you right now, to say, “Yes” to your will in our lives. Thank you, Jesus. In your powerful name we pray, amen.
This is Haven Today and a program called “Against All Odds – Mothering from a Wheelchair” with Renee Bondi. A special thanks to Renee Bondi for coming on the program and sharing with us. I can’t tell you how exciting it was to be with Renee in the studio, to meet her for the first time, to see the joy of the Lord in her face and to hear how the Lord allowed her, against all odds to become a wife and a mom and she also has a ministry in which she reaches out to many, many, many people including you today. Well, we have Renee’s album called “Let it Rain”. I’d like to send it to you as a thank you for your gift to this listener supported ministry. We also have Renee’s book. It’ her life story, “The Last Dance but not the Last Song” and we’d like to send you either or both as a thank you for your gift to help us out at this ministry. And I’d like to send you either or both in return for you helping us share the great story that’s all about Jesus with others. And the great story of Jesus is lived out every day in the life of Renee Bondi. You can go online and find out more about the album “Let it Rain”, you can find out more about her autobiography “The Last Dance but not the Last Song” there at haventoday.org, that’s h.a.v.e.n.t.o.d.a.y, haventoday.org. Let us know the station you’re listening to when you get in touch or give us a call on our toll free number in North America. It’s 1-800-654-2836, 1-800-654-2836. And if you know someone who’s discouraged, maybe they have something physically wrong like Renee Bondi, this might be a program you’d like to share with them. And maybe you are in a time of discouragement in your life. We’d like to pray for you, you can do that online at haventoday.org there’s a little button there that says “Prayer” and also you can watch the video we have of Renee Bondi and meet her just a little bit more than just how you can on the radio. Or when you give us a call at 1-800-65-HAVEN you can leave us a prayer request as well.
I’m Charles Morris, thanks for being with me. Would you come back again next time when again we’ll be telling the great story? It’s all about Jesus and we’ll do it together here on Haven Today.
The Last Dance But Not The Last Song
For a gift of any amount
At age 29, Renée's future was incredibly bright. She was engaged and had a beautiful singing voice, a thriving career as a music teacher, and a loving family. But then one night a bizarre accident left her a quadriplegic. Renée lost not only all use of her arms and legs,...
[Get It Now]