People ask me how I live with disability.
How do I live with disability?
How do I live with Apert Syndrome?
With a facial difference and legs and arms that don't work right along with many other challenges?
For me, disability is the deep hurt and shame that says I'm not accepted.
Disability says ugly things to me.
It tells me I'm alone.
It tells me my life is hopeless.
Disability lies to me and sometimes it's easy to listen and believe.
Sometimes I don't want to have a disability.
Sometimes I don't want to be who God made me to be.
So how do I live with disability?
Where do I turn?
When I was 12 years old I really began to wonder.
Even though I had been learning God's word all my life I was still questioning.
My parents and my pastor told me to keep looking in the Bible.
That's where I would find answers.
And they helped me to see things that I was missing.
They helped me see that God tells the truth.
So I keep listening to him.
He opens the eyes of my heart and I believe.
I trust him and his words.
God says beautiful things to me.
God tells me he is in control of everything, even my disability.
Who has made man's mouth? Who makes him mute or deaf or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? (Exodus 4:11)
God tells me I'm not alone.
Fear not for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through the fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. (Isaiah 43:1–3)
God tells me he will always help me.
I lift up my eyes to the hills —
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip — he who watches over you will not slumber;
Indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you — the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm — he will watch over your life;
The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
God tells me he has called me for his purpose.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
God tells me nothing in this world is better than knowing Him.
Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him—that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:8–11,14)
God tells me He is more concerned about my heart than my face.
Man looks on the outward appearance but the Lord looks at the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7)
God tells me he gave his only Son for my sins.
Surely he has born our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken smitten by God and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions he was crushed for our iniquities. Upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace and with his stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:3–5)
God tells me he has a good plan for my life.
For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)
God tells me he is changing me to be more like him.
And we all with unveiled face beholding the glory of the Lord are being transformed in the same image from one degree of glory to another. (2 Corinthians 3:18)
God tells me nothing can separate me from his love.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future nor any powers, neither height nor depth nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us for the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38–39)
God tells me his grace is enough.
My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9–10)
God tells me I have hope.
We rejoice in our sufferings knowing that suffering produces endurance and endurance produces character and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the holy Spirit who has been given to us. But God shows his love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:3–4, 8)
God tells me he is good.
I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad. Oh magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together! I sought the Lord and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. Oh taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him. (Psalm 34)
God tells me that this life is short, but I'll live forever with him.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed, perplexed but not driven to despair, persecuted but not forsaken, struck down but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen, but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:7,16–18)
For now I live with disability.
Disability still says ugly things to me.
Disability is a part of this broken sin filled world.
But God has so many beautiful things to say.
And so I'm filled with hope.
God's words grow louder and louder in my life.
The glory of his grace and mercy grow stronger and stronger.
I need to listen to his words.
I want to listen to his words.
God's words change everything.
God's beautiful words have changed my life.
And that is how I live with disability.