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