Overcoming Obstacles

My life has been jam-packed with obstacles. Obstacles, I believe are a part of everyday life but more visible in mine. My obstacles are very different from others, yet they’re completely the same. I have a disability called Spina Bifida, and it’s a fancy word that means when I was forming in my mother’s womb I had a hole in my spine, causing me to be in a wheelchair. When people think of a wheelchair or being “wheelchair bound” they automatically associate the word bound with burden. My hope for writing these blogs is to shine a light on what living with a disability could be like.  Being in a wheelchair is no longer a burden for me but a pulpit. This chair has been a gift given to me by Christ Jesus so that I can proclaim his name. Now that you have an idea of my life I want to share a story with you.

In October 2017, my church had a young women’s conference over a long weekend. The speaker’s message was all about idols and what idols  you put before God. In all honesty, my idol was control. Being disabled has always been a struggle for me and I’ve always wanted to be one step ahead of my disability. I’ve always wanted to control how others perceive me. I wanted to be normal, and I didn’t want people to pity me and just see my chair.  The women’s conference came to a close and the whole youth group decided to go hiking at Garden of the Gods. I was sad, I wanted to go so bad!! After the women’s conference came to a close, I got in the car and told my mom that I wanted to go hiking. She told me (as any sensible parent should) “Had, I just don’t think you can do it; it would be really hard,” and I understood that but the voice in my head kept saying “Hadley why can’t you do this?” So, after a lot of nagging I went. So here I went. The rocks were jagged and the path narrow and then it hit me that’s exactly how life is. But how do you “beat” this game called life? I’ll let you in on a secret; Jesus already beat it. Jesus beat death over life. Jesus beat our sins. Jesus beat your disability. You could have a physical disability like me or you could have a wheelchair in your heart. What’s keeping you from Christ? That’s your disability. I overcame Garden of the Gods through Christ. You can overcome whatever you’re going through. Struggles are everywhere don’t be ashamed and don’t feel feel alone. In 1 Timothy 4:10 it says, “That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the savior of ALL people, and especially of those who believe.” Life is hard, not being able to walk is hard, but putting our hope in Jesus is what makes life so worth living. I don’t wake up in the mornings and think “God, how am I going to get through being in a wheelchair today?” I think about how he has gone before me and paved a way for me,and he’s paved a way for you!! Whether you have a physical disability or one in your heart, Jesus will sustain you. Knowing that truth is what helps me overcome my obstacles. Remember Jesus saves and sanctifies through suffering.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trial of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness” James: 2-3  Copy of Copy of IMG_3897

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Come To The Table

“Sin flourishes when Christians are isolated, but it withers in the closeness of community.”


If you listen to K-Love then you might be familiar with the song by Sidewalk Prophets, “Come to the Table.” I didn’t really understand the meaning of the song until I heard its backstory one day while I was driving to school. “Come to the Table” is talking about Christ and how he made a point to invite the “sinners” to know him, everyone can have the opportunity to know Christ. In Mark 2 it says:

While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners? On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

In this passage, Jesus is eating with people that would usually be rejected. I think that Jesus paints a crystal clear picture of how we are supposed to embrace people, no matter our differences. In the church, I feel like it can be easy to get accustomed to the standard Sunday morning routine. It is not a bad thing to like the familiarity of our church family, and the comfort that church brings week after week. Although familiarity isn’t a bad thing, we don’t need to get so used to our routines that the thought of newcomers coming in is scary and uncomfortable.

There is always a conversation looming about people with disabilities being involved in the church in a way that is comfortable for them. I’ve never wanted to discuss this topic because I have never had a negative encounter being disabled and going to church. With that being said, I am aware that physical disabilities are different than other disabilities. In my personal life, when I go to church I want to be treated like everyone else. I believe people with developmental issues should be treated like any other member. All the while, being aware of their differences and respecting that and embracing these differences. No matter our differences, whether it be: disability, past demons or addictions, or current issues, we need to all keep in mind Mark 2 and the song “Come to the Table.” Jesus came to the world to save everyone: disabled, abled, old, young, rich, and poor. In Bob Goff’s new book, Everybody Always there is a quote that says, “We shouldn’t say everyone’s invited if we’re going to act like they’re not welcome when they come.”  So, when someone with different views or lifestyles appears out of the blue, maybe that is Christ intertwining paths. Sometimes when understanding each other’s differences Christ is giving us an opportunity to change our lives and maybe someone else’s as well!

“You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you.”

– Psalm 86:5


“Come meet this motley crew of misfits. These liars and these thieves. There’s no one unwelcome here. So that sin and shame that you’ve brought with you. You can leave it at the door. And let mercy draw you near.” – “Come to The Table” by Sidewalk Prophets     

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Authors Note:

Hi friends! I hope everyone is having a wonderful week. I can’t believe this is my eleventh blog post. I’m so thankful that I keep getting opportunities to share my heart with you all! God is so good! I’ve recently had more opportunities to share what Christ has been doing in my life through speaking! I hope this week’s blog encouraged you in the way it encouraged me. God really has opened my eyes to what “come to the table” means. Christ was accepting of all and that’s how he wants us to be as well.

God Bless

Hadley

P.S. I am reading the new book that I mentioned in the blog called Everybody Always. It’s the second book by Bob Goff and it is such an encouragement to me!! I recommend that everyone reads it and let me know what you think! See you all next week!!

A Letter To My Mom

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6

With this Sunday being Mother’s Day, I want to reflect and honor my mom, Val.  Lysa TerKeurst once said, “You have the exact qualities God knew your kids would need in a mother.”  I believe that she hit the nail on the head when she said this. For as long as I can remember, my mom and I have been a team.  Granted, she was the quarterback and I was the waterboy. In all seriousness though, my mom has been the driving force in my success. She was twenty-three when she found out that she was pregnant and her first baby’s future was very uncertain. Through all this uncertainty she remained unmoved. She knew that God was in control of whatever was to come.

The qualities she has are exactly what I needed in a mom, and God knew that.  She’s outgoing, fun, and tough. I am more reserved and I like to cry it out every once in a while.  Although we are different, we are similar in a lot of ways. We have the same views and morals. My mom has taught me what it means to pick yourself up and achieve what you want. I think she has gone above and beyond being a mother. She has taken the good times and made them great and the bad times memorable. She has been my greatest supporter, advocate, and friend. The most important thing to her has always been for us to know that we are loved by her and loved by Christ.

One of my favorite “good memories” of my mom is when I was in the sixth grade and my Aunt Holly and Uncle Clay were in Gatlinburg. Gatlinburg is like the pilgrimage for my mom’s family. So with her family being there without us, it was killing us that we couldn’t go. We booked a room and didn’t tell my aunt that we were coming. Those kinds of spontaneous adventures turned into memories that will last a lifetime. My childhood was full of “little moments” that turned into the big ones.

As I have gotten older I realize more and more just how much my mom does for me. Last year I was really sick. My mom through the whole thing was my biggest advocate. We would see tons of doctors and no one could tell us what was wrong. Finally, my mom spoke up and advocated for me and come to find out she knew exactly what was going on. Mom, you’ve always been there for me, and you shown me what it means to live a Godly life.  I love you and Happy Mother’s Day.

 

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One Chance

“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” – Dr. Seuss


I’m writing to you as a high school student for the very last time. As of May the Eighth, I will no longer walk the halls of Massac County High School. What high school has taught me is that you have one chance. One chance to make a good impression, one chance to be involved in activities, and one chance to impact the people around you. Because, once you graduate you have to start over, begin again. High School has shown me the significance of being in Christ. Even when I did not deserve it, Jesus put me on a path sophomore year, which led me to meet the friends I have today. When I was a Freshman, I wanted nothing more than high school to be over. I thought that my worth came from what I wore or who I sat with. In 1 Samuel 16:7 it says, “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord does not see as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” I truly loved high school,  loved high school, even more, when I was rolling through it with Jesus. To all the underclassman, trust me, high school is much better when you walk or roll through it with Jesus. It is the only thing that will make the best times even better and the bad times bearable.

In Ecclesiastes, it says, “He sets the time for finding and the time for losing, the time for saving and the time for throwing away, the time for tearing and the time for mending, the time for silence and the time for talk. He sets the time for love, and the time for hate, the time for war and time for peace.” These verses are perfect for a graduating senior. High school is dramatic, you dislike some people you love others. Everything has a time and place, that God has created. Before you leave high school, reconcile with your enemies and draw near your friends. The things you did in high school mattered, but don’t let them define you. As you start over on your new journey, with new people, change, change the way you feel about yourself and the way you treat others. Love Jesus more than you hate or love yourself. You were bought with a price, Jesus loves you no matter what you have done in high school. Let college be the time that the Lord transforms your heart. Ecclesiastes 3 continues and says in verse 3, “So I realized all we can do is to be happy and do the best we can while we are still alive,” verse 14 continues on to say, “I know everything God does will last forever. You can’t add anything to it or take anything away from it. And one thing God does is to make us stand in awe of him. Whatever happens or can happen, has already happened before. God makes the same thing happen again and again.” Feel encouraged that the Lord has a plan for you and it is and always has been set in stone. 

So to anyone going into a new season of life, reflect on the person you are and the person you want to be, once you do this, throw any plans you had for yourself out the door. The Lord will do what he has planned in your life, I encourage you all to grow in the free gift of Christ’s love, and make the decision to no longer be defined by past mistakes. You only have one chance in this lifetime to make a Christ-like impact on this Earth and the people in it, so why not start today?


“Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”  Lamentations 3:21-23

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Detour or Destination

“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”

Psalm 16:11


When I first started driving, I was terrible. A true danger to society. I also struggled with the fact that I was directionally challenged. My best friend, Emma, lives about ten minutes away from my house and to get there you have to go around a curve called Round Knob. I always got lost at Round Knob and would call Emma hysterical. Now, it’s the big joke when I go home from her house, everyone says, “Hadley, turn at Round Knob.”

Actually, the times I got lost, it really wasn’t that bad at all. While it was scary, I was driving down random country roads and they would be beautiful during the summer time. That’s how life can be as well. My detours in life have lead me to this point. This silly story provides a foundation of what I want to talk about. When I was little, I had these big plans of what I was going to accomplish during high school. I was going to cheer, be super popular, and have a super cute boyfriend. Now let me tell you NONE of that has happened. I am okay with that because all of those things are insignificant in comparison to my walk with Christ.

When I was younger popularity was the destination, and as I grew older I thought my disability was the detour. Then it hit me, my disability is the destination. I wasn’t meant to be a cheerleader or a girlfriend. I was, however, meant to be in this wheelchair.  I have friends who I didn’t even know six years ago and they are a huge part of me being confident enough to do the things I am doing now. I was meant to speak and blog about all that God has done for me. The detour has become the destination. The road to discovery was long, and I know it’s not over. God is still molding me and shaping me into the woman that  I am meant to be. I hope as I grow older I become more and more in love with God and His word.

A while back, I was having this same nightmare over and over again. In my dream, I’m driving my car down I-24. It’s pitch black and I am swerving. Every time, I swerve into the guardrail and then I wake up. This is how God’s love for us is when we follow him. He blocks us from the things that are going to potentially cause harm. Now, I’m not saying that every situation is going to be perfect and we’re never going to have hard times. What I am saying is, be encouraged and follow where God is leading you. He’s got us in his hands and has a hedge of protection over us. We serve a mighty God, let’s start living like it!!!   


“Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail”.  Lamentations 3:22 NIV

 

Hi everyone, this is my eighth blog! I am so thankful for all of you who read faithfully each week. God has blessed me beyond measure by giving me the passion to write these blogs. I’m thankful for all the opportunities I am getting to experience.

God Bless Each of You,

Hadley

The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost - Inspiring Poems | The Silver Pen

Audience of One

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” –Ephesians 2:10

Last Sunday, I got the opportunity to speak to the congregation at New Beginnings Baptist Church. I spoke to them about some of my previous blog posts and I think it went great. I spoke to them about: overcoming obstacles, keep choosing joy, fulfilling your purpose, and the power of prayer. It was an amazing experience, and I was so blessed to be able to speak to everyone. When I got there, I was grateful that so many people came and supported me. In the picture posted below, I think there were about sixty people; friends and family, who showed up to support me.

When I was on my way to the church, I was a nervous wreck. My youth pastor called me and we talked about how I was speaking to an audience of one. Then, later on, I was praying over the service with my friend, Mackenzie, and she said the same thing. So, what does an “audience of one” mean and how can it be applied to everyone’s lives and situations? In Philippians 1:6 it says, “He who started a good work in you will carry it to completion.” To really appreciate this verse, you need to understand the back story. The book of Philippians was written by the apostle Paul, and he was writing to the church in Philippi. Now, this church was the only one in the whole bible that didn’t need to be reprimanded. He states in this chapter about his partnership with them. So, if they are doing the will of God, they must be in fellowship with God as well, right? Right. When we are called to become Christians, we are called to not only have a relationship with God but a fellowship. Where HE leads, we follow. God has called us to fulfill his work here on Earth. When we follow through with this fellowship, he gets the glory and we get the joy. Praise God for that! I believe I experienced more joy on Sunday than ever before.

So, no matter what you do whether it be singing, dancing, golfing, or writing it needs to be done for an audience of ONE. Because that ONE has given you this gift and ignited the fire in your soul. When you get discouraged by whatever your “thing” is, remember that everything you do is for the glory of God and the building of his kingdom. At the end of the day whatever you do as a Christian, you are doing it for an audience of one and that one is Jesus Christ. So let’s all be in a fellowship with him and not forget that he is the potter and we are the clay. Wherever he leads he will provide and he will mold us into the people we are meant to be.

“For am I now seeking the approval of man or God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” -Galatians 1:10


Author’s Note: Hi everyone! Welcome (hopefully back) to Rolling in Faith, my blog has been up and running for a little over a month now and has already given me so many amazing opportunities! God is soooo good, I spoke for the first time ever in front of a crowd last Sunday. I think I have discovered that I love speaking and sharing Christ’s love in this way just as much as when I post blogs. I thank the Lord for the joy he has let me experience throughout all of this. Thank you so much to everyone who prayed for my cousin. He is home now recovering. He has a road of recovery ahead of him, but glory to God for his improvement. Be praying for him and his parents as he recuperates at home.

God Bless,

Hadley

P.S.– If you have an IG (Instagram) follow me @rollinginfaith

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Prayer Changes Everything

Lord, touch each person Following & Onlooking this Prayer Board.  Ministering to each one, just as needed.  Draw us closer to You & Your Word!    JESUS NAME i PRAY ~ Amen!!    Originally pinned   Prayer Warriors ~ Please Pray!! board.

“But God has indeed heard me; he has listened to my prayer.” Psalms 66:19

I think we can all agree that prayer is a radical thing. My whole life has been the product of people praying for me. My mom has always said that when it came to my disability and struggles, she always felt like God has said to her, “I’ve got this. I’m going to take care of her.” I never knew this, but when I was a baby in the Vanderbilt Hospital NICU before I had even come home, people we didn’t even know were praying over me and my family.  

 

One day, my Nana was at Walmart and this lady she had never met before came up to her. She said, “You’re that little baby’s grandmother?” My Nana looked at her confused and the woman replied, “Aren’t you Val’s mom?” My nana answered, “yes”.   The lady proceeded to tell my Nana that she lived in Paducah, but had family in Tennessee. She had heard about our situation through a family member and was praying for my family. A lady I had never met, and probably will never meet, prayed for me and my situation. These prayers are what has carried me so far in my life.

 

 I think of the promise that God spoke to my strong mom all those years ago. I now have some understanding of that promise. When I was younger, my mom would tell me that she’s always felt that God had everything under control in regards to me. The worldly things that burdened me had such a grip on my soul that I didn’t believe her. Now that I’m older, I see that even if God never did another thing for me, He’s fulfilled His promise far past everyone’s expectations. That promise was given to my mom based off of God’s will, but it was also rooted from amazing people prayerfully taking my burdens to God and praying for my victory. So, to everyone who has prayed for me- thank you, thank you, thank you.

 

Psalms 81:6 reads, “I took the burdens off your back; I let you put down your load of bricks.” The prayers that have been sent on my behalf have taken the burden off of my back. Not only the prayers but the advocacy of Jesus Christ at the right hand of God who intercedes on my behalf so that by his stripes I may be healed. I believe that everything that has happened in my life has prepared me for the things that I’m doing right now. The same is promised to you. If you don’t know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, let today be the day. Accept in your heart that Jesus is Lord and that he died on the cross and rose three days later. The decision to follow Christ will definitely be the best and most important decision you will ever make.


“I took the burdens off your backs; I let you put down your loads of bricks.”

Psalms 81:6

 

Hi Everyone, this is my sixth blog and I’m so blessed that God lays something on my heart to speak about each week. Please be in prayer for my cousin who just had brain surgery.

SHINE

“Do shine so that others can see you; SHINE so that through you others can see him.”

-C.S. Lewis


Okay, let’s be real. When you are living your life right nothing is more frustrating than when those around you aren’t. It is so hard to look at them and not be angry. But in John 13:35 it says, “If you have love for one another, then everyone will know that you are my disciples.” This verse is really telling us that it is not our job to judge or condemn. But rather, it’s our job to love and pray for those in our lives that aren’t doing things we think they ought to be doing. Life is hard and it doesn’t do anyone any good to criticize or to be criticized.

 With that being said, I believe that James 5:16 gives us a good picture of what we’re supposed to do when someone wrongs us or is doing wrong. In James 5:16 it says, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”  Instead of condemning one another let’s lift up one another and pray for each other’s transgressions. We are called to love one another in the same way that Christ loves us. By doing this we are shining our light, and that light is pointing towards the Lord. When you do this, God will bless you in a way you did not know you needed.  Maybe he will reveal something about our own hearts along the way. So when you are feeling discouraged by others, or even by how you have been living–remember that the God who created the sea and the stars also created you! He created you in his image, so be proud not of what you have done but what he did for you. Let the light that he has put inside of you shine, and shine brightly!! Don’t be discouraged by what you or someone else has been doing. His mercies are new every morning, there is no day like today to change your life!


Author’s Note: Thanks to everyone who reads my blog each week. It is encouraging to see that the words that the Lord puts on my heart make an impact on others. I had no idea what to write this week and God laid this on my heart. I hope everyone feels encouraged in their walk after reading this latest post. I hope this blog leads you to pray for someone in your life who God has laid on your heart.

       Blessings,

   Hadley Stephens

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