A Little Girl Lost

Archive for the ‘Memoir’ Category

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
 
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Blessed Are the Forgiven

After Earl and I married and moved to our first church as pastor and family, my non-Christian attitude didn’t change. I cursed and complained about the Christian music he played in the car. I continued habits that reflected poorly on his ministry. I refused to attend any service other than Sunday morning worship.

I watched Christians and couldn’t believe what they believed. Some showed me aspects of faith that downright scared me. After suffering years of abuse by men and my sinful lifestyle, I had an impenetrable wall of self-protection. When I felt weak I withdrew believing no one could love the real me, especially God.

Four years and four months passed in tension and turmoil for my family. Then I went on a Walk to Emmaus where the Holy Spirit ministered to my brokenness. I learned I wasn’t alone as new friends shared their stories of sin and redemption. I learned I didn’t have to bear my burden alone. Jesus died on my behalf long before my sins occurred.

When I accepted God’s forgiveness for my sin, He changed my life in an instant. Bible study became my favorite pastime. Reading the stories about my Savior and my brothers and sisters in Christ 2,000 years before, helped me understand God’s love, mercy, grace and forgiveness.

We are blessed beyond measure through the redemptive blood of Jesus Christ.

I am pressed but not crushed, persecuted not abandoned

Struck down but not destroyed
I am blessed beyond the curse for His promise will endure
His joy’s gonna be my strength
Though the sorrow may last for the night
His joy comes with the morning,*

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.” (Acts 13:38 NIV).

“Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them.” (Rom 4:7, 8 NIV).

In Christian Love,

Berta

*Lyrics: Trading My Sorrows by Delirious

Blessed Are the Forgiven

After Earl and I married and moved to our first church as pastor and family, my non-Christian attitude didn’t change. I cursed and complained about the Christian music he played in the car. I continued habits that reflected poorly on his ministry. I refused to attend any service other than Sunday morning worship.

I watched Christians and couldn’t believe what they believed. Some showed me aspects of faith that downright scared me. After suffering years of abuse by men and my sinful lifestyle, I had an impenetrable wall of self-protection. When I felt weak I withdrew believing no one could love the real me, especially God.

Four years and four months passed in tension and turmoil for my family. Then I went on a Walk to Emmaus where the Holy Spirit ministered to my brokenness. I learned I wasn’t alone as new friends shared their stories of sin and redemption. I learned I didn’t have to bear my burden alone. Jesus died on my behalf long before my sins occurred.

When I accepted God’s forgiveness for my sin, He changed my life in an instant. Bible study became my favorite pastime. Reading the stories about my Savior and my brothers and sisters in Christ 2,000 years before, helped me understand God’s love, mercy, grace and forgiveness.

We are blessed beyond measure through the redemptive blood of Jesus Christ.

I am pressed but not crushed, persecuted not abandoned

Struck down but not destroyed
I am blessed beyond the curse for His promise will endure
His joy’s gonna be my strength
Though the sorrow may last for the night
His joy comes with the morning,*

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.” (Acts 13:38 NIV).

“Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them.” (Rom 4:7, 8 NIV).

In Christian Love,

Berta

*Lyrics: Trading My Sorrows by Delirious

God’s Timing

Do you ever feel like God has forgotten you? Or forgotten a promise He made to you? I have. A few months before my injury I attended a spiritual gifts workshop. We filled out surveys then broke into small groups. My group determined my gift was “healing,” a repeated theme in my spiritual walk that I had ignored because everyone knew I was a nurse. That day I believed it and it scared me.

I talked to a friend who listened and prayed with me. When he got up to leave he said, “You have to be healed before you can heal.”

I didn’t understand. I wasn’t sick.

After my injury, I believed God would heal me instantly—so I could begin my healing ministry.
God’s timing is not our timing. It requires us to persevere in our trusting God. This may mean years of patience and longsuffering. What gives us strength to wait upon the Lord? We must focus on His promises and the fulfillment of them. We must be careful not to go before Him as Abraham and Sarah did (Genesis 16 NIV).
God will do His part but we are responsible to do ours. We must move in great faith, being ready to answer His call. Remember that acting in faith builds faith. God starts us with small things, and if He finds us trustworthy, He will give us authority over many things (Matthew 25:23).
There will be battles. Satan will try to steal our destinies. Trials and travail bring us to new levels in our walk with Christ. We must recognize our need for help, humble ourselves and ask for prayer, counsel, and encouragement.
Stand together with your brothers and sisters in Christ knowing He is with you carrying you when needed. He promises that He will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).
His timing may surprise you today.
“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted; A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up; A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing; A time to gain, And a time to lose; A time to keep, And a time to throw away; A time to tear, And a time to sew; A time to keep silence, And a time to speak; A time to love, And a time to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8).
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings (1 Peter 5:8-9 NIV).
In Christian Love,
Berta
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God’s Plan

The New Year had come and I was driving to meet my Emmaus reunion group. The next thing I remember was my husband, Earl, telling me, “You were in an accident.” I’d been in the hospital for seven weeks with a spinal cord injury. Paralyzed and on a ventilator, I had little to look forward to.

After three months in ICU, Earl had me transferred to a rehabilitation hospital that focused on spinal cord injuries. I felt comfortable there, surrounded by others in wheelchairs with injuries like mine. Yet once at home, I felt lost. Who am I? A pastor’s wife? A mother? A nurse? I’d had those roles before the accident. 

“God, why did you let this happen?” I prayed. “I’m a Christian. I read my Bible. I go to Sunday school and Bible study.”

Rather than answer me directly, God spoke through the people of God.

The church we were serving, Pleasant Grove United Methodist Church, remodeled the parsonage, held fundraisers and gave me time to recuperate. The churches in our Conference, and people everywhere, who had heard about my accident, prayed and took up special offerings for us. Strangers visited, prayed with me and lay down checks. 

Each new appointment fell heavy on my heart. Another remodel and the pressure of learning new names to place with new faces overwhelmed me. But God blessed me as He gave me a ministry at each new church. 

At our second church, Maple Spring UMC, I tried my hands at teaching Sunday school. At the third, East Dyersburg UMC, I wrote for the church newsletter, taught Sunday school and started a telephone ministry with women who had difficulty getting to church. While serving our fourth church, Concord UMC, I added many areas of ministry within the local church, the district and the conference.

God’s love and the continued prayer and encouragement of you who are reading this carry me through the hard times. Today my life is everything I thought it couldn’t possibly be.

“Many, Lord my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare” (Psalm 40:5 NIV).
In Christian Love,

Berta

Please take a moment to read about God’s love for orphans and pray for the Flowers family as they move through the adoption process to bring their son home from El Salvador. www.facebook.com/Bringing.Carlos.home

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