Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Bridging the Gap

Pre-mature birth. Cerebral Palsy. Surgeries. Therapy. Wheelchair.

If I can help just one person by sharing with them how I’ve overcome seemingly insurmountable odds in my life, it will be worth it all. If I can offer just one word of encouragement to a parent of a special needs child, the pain I’ve endured is still worth it all. My earthly father has never accepted me as I am, but showing others how much my Heavenly Father genuinely loves me makes it worth it all.

You know, a lot of Christians wait until they’ve gotten things all figured out before they start trying to reach out to others. I may be young, but I have learned that we all face hard times on this journey called life, and it’s how we react to them that makes all the difference. I decided that I wasn’t going to wait until my healing totally manifested or things seem to be easier for me before I try to help bridge the gap for others. True, I have felt like an outsider more times than I’d care to admit. However, through much prayer and earnestly seeking to know God on a more intimate level, I have achieved a level of breakthrough in many areas. I have learned how to have a hope that never fades under any circumstances, and I have learned that it’s very important to share that hope with others.

Think about Queen Esther in the Old Testament. Here she was, an orphaned Jewish girl who found favor with the King. She didn’t do anything to deserve that favor; God took her circumstances and orchestrated it all so that she would be in position to bridge the gap for others. When she was promoted to the palace, she could have sat idly by in luxury with her servants and forgotten about her people, but she didn’t. When the hour of need arose, she recognized that it was God who placed her there in order to help her people, not just to live a life of ease for herself. She knew the risks of her actions; she knew she might die along with the rest, but she stepped out boldly and spoke up anyway. It took great courage, but God used Esther’s voice to bring deliverance for others.

With Biblical examples like Esther in mind, I began looking for ways to help other people break through difficult circumstances in their lives. A few years ago, I started writing a blog and, through that, have been able to give hope to hundreds of people a day just by releasing the words God has put inside of me. I don’t write only for people with disabilities; I write to share my experiences about learning how to trust God. Even though my life isn’t being threatened for proclaiming God’s goodness and truth, I have come to realize that if I don’t release what God has given me, my gift will die. Trust me, I had to die to myself quite a bit when I started openly sharing about my life. There were nights that I would cry because it hurt my flesh to have to relive many of the pains and hurts that I have faced. But as I obeyed God, people responded in positive ways. Knowing that I was helping others has given me the courage and strength to keep on.

Like Esther, when we surrender our plans and desires, great things can happen because God is able to accomplish what He wants done. By putting God’s wishes above our own desires, we can give hope to the hurting, which is more valuable than gold or fame or position. When we use the gifts God has given us to share our own breakthroughs, our own sense of purpose is strengthened.

What can you do to bridge the gap for others?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Cutest Little Baby Face

I haven't updated everyone on my nephew, so I plan to fix that today.  Mason is 3 months old and getting bigger everyday! He is such a joy to be around.  I thought I would share a few of my favorite pictures that my mom has taken over the past few months.

I don't know what he was thinking about after his bath, but he sure looked cute!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Jesus: The Awesome Example

The more I look at life, the more I stand in awe of God. People always say to me, "You have such a gift with writing!" I'm humbled each and every time I hear it because I know I'm nothing without God. He is the reason I'm alive. Don't believe me? Read this post. Without him, I wouldn't have the breath of life. I'm so grateful for the mercy He gives me each day.  I have done absolutely nothing to deserve Him and His awesome presence and guidance. I am made worthy through His blood.

The fact that Jesus died for me...and all of humanity still leaves me speechless sometimes. I don't know about you, but I don't know many people who would die for complete strangers. Let's face it, even if they would, they wouldn't choose to be crucified and beaten beyond comprehension.

His life inspires me each day. Jesus only lived for 30 years here on Earth, yet He performed notable miracles and touched more people during one sermon than any of us would ever touch in a lifetime. He lived with such passion! Where are the passionate people today? Why are most people content to just get by? In other words, why do most people settle for a job they like instead of one they love? In my opinion, you only have one life to live, so live it to the fullest! Go out on the edge of your comfort zone and see what you find. Do something different. Live differently. Love differently.  

As I write this, I'm talking to myself, too. I'm human just like everyone else. Sometimes I let little things bother me. I get tired. Sometimes I forget to reach for things that seem unreachable, not even aware that I've let other people dictate how I feel, what I should do(or not do), etc. I said all that to say that I can't live differently or love others like Christ loved them on my own. I have to have His help.

I just wanted to write this as a reminder of the awesome example that we have. Jesus Christ. Philippians 4:13 reminds me "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. " In Him I can do all things, not because I'm able in this pile of human flesh, but because of His grace that He so freely gives.

So, what is holding you back from being an example?  Draw on His grace!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Sunshiny Semester

I've just finished my first class of the new semester.  7:00 sure did come early this morning after a three month break!  The sun was shining as my mom and I left for school this morning. It's a new day filled with possibilities. I'm excited to start learning new things.  I'm still a junior, although I previously said I would be a senior.  It's just because I can't sit long enough at school to have 17 or 18 hours worth of credit each semester, but I am getting it done.

*I know sunshiny isn't an actual word, but it reminded me of that song "I Can See Clearly Now" and the lyrics that say, "It's gonna be a bright, bright sunshiny day!"

Just wanted to check in with everyone. Hope you're having an awesome Monday!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A little more about me

After doing my poll a few weeks ago, I realized that a lot of you probably don't understand a lot about cerebral palsy. While some people are paralyzed and unable to communicate that is not the case with me. I'm not paralyzed. I can walk some with the help of my walker.

I've had several people come up to me in the doctor's office and ask if I had an accident. I did not have a car accident. I started having back pains at he end of my sophomore year in high school. What started out as a back ache quickly turned into something more.

After several months of trying to find a doctor that would accept my new insurance, x-rays revealed that I had a stress fracture in my lower back. The formal diagnosis was  spondylolysis. The doctors tried to treat it with two different types of braces with no improvement.  The diagnosis was then changed to spondylolisthesis. After an MRI showed that the stress fracture had gotten worse,  the doctor said surgery was my only option.

In the summer of 2007, I had back surgery. Much to everyone's suprise, my doctor discovered that my vertebrate in my back were actually broken when they were doing my operation. No wonder I was in so much pain!

After the surgery, I was feeling much better. Physical therapy was going great. About three months later, I got an infection in my hip. This is the major reason why I'm still in a wheelchair.

Anyway, I hope this clears things up for some of you. If you have any questions, just feel free to ask.  

Friday, August 05, 2011

Don't Wait

An old man once said, "There comes a time in your life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. You surround yourself with people who will make you laugh. Forget the bad, and focus on the good. Love the people who treat you right, pray for the ones who don't. Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is a part of life, getting back up is living." ~Not sure of the author

In light of my grandfather's passing, I've been reflecting on a lot of things. I will try to sum up my thoughts. 

We shouldn't wait until someone dies to start treating others with respect.  Don't wait until tomorrow to do something kind for someone. Don't wait until tomorrow to become a better you.  Don't wait until tomorrow to focus on someone other than yourself.  Don't wait until it's too late to try fix everything you wish you would have done differently. 

I guess that is something that has been playing over and over in my mind like a tape on repeat.  Start living your life today.  You can't change the past, but you CAN change your future.

My mom has said before that everyday is an opportunity, and that is so true.  Whether we say good things or bad, treat others with respect or not, love people unconditionally or not is up to us.  We have the power to choose what we do and what kind of mark we leave behind.

When you die, will your mark be worth copying?