My response to a seminary students request for information about how I do disability ministry:
I’m not an ordained pastor, but I am a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
When I met Earl, I didn’t know Jesus and had no desire to meet Him. I continued to fight His presence the first four years of our marriage. Then I went on a Walk to Emmaus where I accepted Jesus’ love and forgiveness. Eight months later, I was paralyzed in an accident.
After rehabilitation at the number one spinal cord injury rehab in the United States, I became very depressed. I withdrew for hours, sleeping or just hiding behind veiled eyes.
When Earl took me out I couldn’t handle the stares, the “I’m so sorry,” and the patting on my shoulders. Servers in restaurants wouldn’t give me a menu and asked Earl, “What does she want?” without looking at me. I took my anger out on my family and friends. (Today we joke about the “spirit of slap” that came over me.)
I begged God, “Please, at least heal my hands so I can take care of myself.” Instead, He began a ministry of teaching and speaking to small groups.
A monthly Sunday school teaching led to teaching every Sunday. A young women’s Bible study, a weekly prayer group, and a daily telephone ministry with women who couldn’t attend Church followed. Soon I was president of the women’s group, chair of the evangelism committee, and chaired the conference-level disability team.
I’m a certified lay speaker and have filled the pulpit, testified before both large and small groups, and spoken before the pastors, laypersons and members of our regional conference.
Acceptance not just of my disability but also my abilities came through ministry to others and by allowing others to minister to me. I’m well known in my Church and secular communities for telling people what Jesus has done for me.
“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;” Ephesians 4:11-14
In Christ Alone,