A Little Girl Lost

Archive for the ‘disabilities’ Category

Independent Wheeling

I may be a quadriplegic but I can still shop with the best of you ladies.

I browse through all kinds of stores independently. When in need of assistance I politely ask any person nearby. Most people pick up the item only to hand it to me. I explain, “I can’t use my hands. Please set it on my lap tray?”

When it’s time to check out, I wheel up to the register and explain, “I can’t use my hands. I need you to reach over and get these items, please?”

Discomfort shows on the associate’s face. I assure her it will work out as she rings up my purchase. I open my wallet, indicate which credit card I want to use and ask, “Will you run it through and sign my name, please?”

After scanning my card, she holds it out to me. I remind her, “I can’t use my hands.” She looks at me and returns my card along with my receipt to my wallet. Then she offers me my bag. I quietly ask her to place it on my tray. (Frequently another customer will step in front of me to lend a helping hand.)

Having a disability doesn’t have to negate independence. Wherever I shop, I make a point of talking to employees when I enter their store to set them at ease. I also take time to talk to other customers as I shop and often share my story.

You might wonder if I get aggravated when I have to repeat myself. I don’t. The people I encounter see my ability first and gain insight into living with a disability. I believe God uses my independence to enrich the lives I touch.

“And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful” (2 Timothy 2:24 NIV).

In Christ,

Berta

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Make a Difference

In rehab, my occupational therapist told me only two muscle groups in my arms worked. I could bend my elbow but not straighten it. I could lift my arm but then it fell limp.
We focused on strengthening those muscle groups and as I grew stronger, my therapist encouraged me to try new skills. Since I was right handed, we worked on details, or fine motor skills. Using splints that held the needed instruments I learned to feed myself, brush my own teeth, write and type on a keyboard.
My left arm took longer and developed a different set of skills as I learned to push, lift and carry items I needed throughout the day. In God’s providence, my muscles adapted to my “different abilities.” Next, I had to adapt my new life.
Bible study, sermons, talking with other Christians all taught me about God. The more I learned the more I understood God’s desire for me—His plan for my life. He called me to make a difference for Him.
I began by answering the questions of people who were curious about my situation. In talking, I often felt the fear I had of what people thought of me. I was not a good person before I accepted Jesus as my savior. He loved me anyway. I talked on and soon I was telling people what God had done for me—not just in my past, but that day and every day.

I have overcome my disabilities through Jesus’ victory over the cross.

You may feel weak, worn, and weary but He can re-route your abilities. He may seem distant but He’s right there working with you. He will provide all you need to fulfill His desire in your life. Will you work with Him to strengthen your faith—or someone else’s?
“For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Philippians 2:13 NIV).
“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:29-31 NIV).
In Christian Love.
Berta

Because Of a Wheelchair

It took years for me to adjust to my new life. Paralyzed from my shoulders down with minimal use of my arms, I sat in a large black power wheelchair and stood out in a crowd.  People stared and I often overheard them talking about me. “What’s she doing here?” “What does she want?” “She can’t sit there.”  Many said they were sorry I had to be in a wheelchair while still others yelled at me as if I couldn’t hear. Most people just walked around me. In my pain, I withdrew and hid behind veiled eyes.

Until one day, someone asked me to teach a Sunday school class. I didn’t want to do it, but God wouldn’t let me go. I accepted knowing He would be my strength. That single invitation gave me the courage to step out of my uncomfortable-comfort zone and speak up about the healing love of God’s presence in my life. My disability opened many doors for ministry; the wheelchair however, couldn’t go through all of them.

Buildings with narrow doorways, steps or other barriers set physical limits to my ministry while much of society continued to shun me. As I took a stand for Christ’s sacrifice “for the least of these” word of my ministry spread and I found I could be both a minister of the gospel and an advocate for persons with disabilities.

I prayed for healing from past hurts and God gave me an incredible ministry. God’s call may not be a “dream come true” but if you’ll accept it, He will bless you through it.

Father, it is my prayer that you would work through me, and use my disability to open doors and share your word everywhere I go.

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are (disabled), but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12 NIV).

In Christian Love,

Berta
 

Reflect God

I remember the first person I saw in a wheelchair. I was at the doctor’s office for my kindergarten physical. Who was in the chair? The doctor. (Polio) Then there was Dale, a young man who slobbered and walked funny. He taught me to dance the two-step. (Cerebral Palsy) I didn’t know the diseases nor did I know they were disabled. They were my friends.

In seventeen years as a nurse, I saw a multitude of persons with physical disabilities. Some had accepted their disability and functioned well in society, like my childhood friends. Others hadn’t. They were angry and depressed.

In 1991, an automobile accident injured my spinal cord paralyzing me from my neck down. Three months into an ICU stay, my neurosurgeon spoke to my husband. “Earl, she’ll be bedridden, ventilator-dependent, and a vegetable. You’re too young to be saddled with an invalid wife. We can let her die comfortably.”

Earl refused and arranged my transfer to a spinal cord injury (SCI) rehabilitation hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. Once stable, off the ventilator, and using a power wheelchair I went to the gym. My neighbors and I shared our stories. We were alike.

Back home no one was like me. Strangers and friends petted me and called me a “poor thing.” Many ignored my injury, as if it would go away, or ignored me, hoping I’d go away. I became angry and bitter.

After years of struggling with the reality that I wasn’t going to be healed, and studying God’s Word, I learned that He didn’t call me to be an invalid. He called me to be Christ-centered and bold in my faith as I shared what He had done for me.

Henri J. M. Nouwen called this type of ministry “The Wounded Healer.” Steve Seamands, Professor of Christian Doctrine at Asbury Seminary, and author of “Wounds That Heal,” told me years ago, “His wounds have healed you. Now he’s using your wounds to heal others.”

Peter said it this way: “As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another” (1 Peter 4:10).

As we strive to reflect Gods nature, others will see God’s love in us.

In Christ Alone,
Berta

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