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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Just The Beginning

“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” 
Psalm 90:4

I am very sentimental about writing today’s blog. It has been one year since “Rolling In Faith” has come into fruition and I am so thankful for the experiences I have had through this journey so far. I remember last year on this day being so ready for school to get out so that I could meet with Bro. Joe, my pastor, and set up my blog. I was so nervous and kept saying to myself, “Why am I doing this? No one is going to take me seriously, and I don’t even know why I am doing this.” But I met with him anyway and set up my blog. I was so excited to pick out the pink and green color scheme and choose the girly looking fonts. I was so excited that I actually named my blog the wrong name. I got the name from Campbell Neely who came up with “Rolling By Faith” I was so nervous that day that I used the name “Rolling In Faith” I was so upset once I realized it but I truly think that it happening so organically was the Lord controlling every single aspect of the blog. Now I can’t imagine it being anything but “Rolling In Faith.”

Once I posted “Overcoming Obstacles” I was obsessing over my stats and shares on Facebook. I wanted this thing whatever it was to work out even though I had no idea what I was doing. I would be so obsessive about when to post and all my shares, likes, and comments. While my stats were important what was truly important was all of the supporters that I received. I was so shocked at how many people received my words and seemed to relate to them. At this point, I was just trying to get my followers consistent and didn’t even consider disability ministry as being a need. But then that changed and the Lord ignited a fire in my soul for ministry and reaching out to those with disabilities and the people that they impact daily. They need Jesus and we as believers can reach them in one way or another.

As I am reflecting about the last year I want to be 100% real with you all at this moment. I want disability ministry to be my full-time commitment as I graduate from college and move into that new phase while that’s pretty far off I still strive to prepare for that next chapter. Having such a passion is risky and uncertain but when we made the decision to follow Christ we were told to take up our cross. I read a blog today about how we serve a BIG God and many times we squash our dreams before we let God form them. Don’t put yourself or God in a box, dream BIG dreams. I’m choosing to believe in this dream and God’s will for it whatever that might be. This has been a wonderful first year of ministry but God’s not done. I’m not done and I believe that. I hope that you will believe that with me and pray for the coming years of work that God has in store. Pray that opportunities to serve the disabled will show themselves to me here in our community because I know that God is working in the hearts of many in regards to this spiritual need.

This is just the beginning, and to my supporters THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart. I hope you keep plugged into Rolling In Faith and that the Lord can touch you in some way through these blogs because he has touched me. Be in prayer for the disabled community and me as I strive to seek them out and serve them. This has been the best year of my life and I am thankful to Jesus Christ for his undying love. Jesus, I love you. Readers, I love you. Rolling In Faith, I love you. Here’s to many more years of us all rolling in faith together because this is just the beginning.

Being Intentional With Your Perspective

“But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”

2 Peter 3:8-9



Hey friends, how is it going? Before I get into my thoughts for tonight, let me catch you up with what is going on in my life! I am in the second semester of my freshman year at SCC and let me tell you all it is going so much better. I am finally feeling comfortable being there and that has made such a massive impact on my life as a whole. Another significant change is that I am a working girl!! At school, I got a job as an intern for the Student Support Services which serves a wide variety of students. I’m doing a lot of PR stuff like promoting events and making online plugs to bring more attention to the program. I am so thankful for this opportunity because I think it is giving me practice in a skill set that will help me in my ministry and as I pursue a communication degree. The moral of this story is that things are going pretty well. I am feeling comfortable, but in that comfort, I have felt like I am plateauing. This week the Lord really has been showing me areas that I need to be more aware of one of these are perspective.

I’ve spoken before about how I am bad about seeing the glass half empty sometimes and that has been apparent this week. On my way to work one morning, I forgot my lunch, and it affected my whole day. How stupid for one little thing like that to impact the entire rest of my day. After I got home, I realized how crazy it was to be so bothered by the little things in life. But I think it’s important to recognize that these little moments of inconvenience are a way for us to show God that we rely on him. I went on The Massac Ski Trip a couple of weeks ago, and the sermons were on the difference between a test and a temptation. Tests are supposed to get us to “pass” or get through the trial. Temptations are a way to get us to fail, and the same concept applies to perspective. If we are always negative, we are always going to be miserable, and that is not what Christ wants for us.

This week, I want to encourage you to embrace challenges that pop up and be intentional in how you deal with those problems. Life is always going to be challenging, but with Christ, we can alter our perspective to where we see things in a Christ-like way. Attitude impacts our lives a lot more than we realize and I hope that you are encouraged to change your perspective on a “negative” situation. Because “better is one day in his court than a thousand elsewhere.” Being a Christian brings so much joy to my heart. I am so thankful I don’t have to live this life without Christ. I know no matter what pops up in my life there’s a Savior in Heaven that loves me deeply and wants the very best for me. What a blessing, how can anyone have a negative outlook on that? Let’s all use the test and trials in life to grow closer to him because he is a good good father.


Hey guys, this week I want to give you all a challenge. When you have your quiet time write down a couple “peaks and pits” of your day. Meaning, write some good and not so good things that have happened then reflect on those scenarios. I do it often, and it’s such a cool way to keep yourself accountable. Also, let me know where you’re reading currently in your Bible! I’m looking for a new study/book to dive into and would love some suggestions!

Not Ideal But My Deal

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18


Just this week God has spoken to my heart. In this week alone I have seen three different news articles about extraordinary people who happen to have a disability or special needs, and it just so happens that I am writing to you from Sweet Jordan’s in Paris, Tennessee.  On my journey to discover how to effectively serve in the realm of disability ministry I want to find places where special needs are the norm, and that brought me here. Sweet Jordan’s is a coffee and sweet shop where people with special abilities come and work. They have a job like everyone else and they do a GREAT job!! I discovered this gem through Facebook and I forced my besties Hattie and LC to make the almost two hour drive to experience this “sweetness” with me.

Disabilities are something to be celebrated and in the last week I’ve been very encouraged to see people feeling the same way. I’ve seen two recent videos; one is of the Clemson Equipment manager who has Downs Syndrome, and the other of a dance troupe of girls who were all in wheelchairs. These people are known for their abilities and not their disabilities. I am so thankful that God has given me this disability because it might not be  “ideal, but it’s my deal”. My deal is that I can’t walk but that’s not what people have to see. The wheelchair is an outside view but it’s not a reflection of all that’s on the inside. All of these various stories have touched me because these people use what could be a burden and transformed it into a blessing. I used to be ashamed to be disabled but when you share a “label” with people like I’ve come in contact with how could I be ashamed? “These people” are my people and I am so thankful. Seeing first hand others live well with the circumstances that they have been given has strengthened my walk with Christ and also shown me the importance of this ministry. People with disabilities and special needs are in the world and they’re ready to be seen, heard, and make their mark on the world. I think it’s time we let them, because if Jesus was for this community then we should be too.


“There will always be a reason why you meet people. Either you need them to change your life or you’re the one that will change theirs.”

New Year Same God! A 2019 Challenge

Happy New Year!! Thank you to all of my supporters this past year! I can’t wait to see what God does through Rolling in Faith in this next year!! If you decide to do the challenge post about it on all your socials using the hashtags: #NewYearSameGod and also #RollinginFaith!

I can’t wait to see what God uses all of us for in this new year because we all have a purpose and a platform. Happy New Year! Bring on 2019.

If experiencing technical difficulties this link should take you to the video:

https://www.facebook.com/1080131736/posts/10215111374112639/

Intentionality

“You stood outside my grave
With tears still on Your face
I heard You say my name
My night was turned to day”

-Come Alive (Lazarus) by Bethel Music


I know what everyone reading is thinking, why is the girl who hasn’t written a blog in eighteen weeks writing a blog on intentionality? Well, keep reading and you’ll find out. A couple of months ago before I spoke at the AWSOM conference I stumbled upon a video where someone chose a word for the year (i.e. gratitude, intentionality, kindness) and whatever their word was that was going to be the area that they were going to try to grow and prosper in. This idea struck me and so I decided to try this. I didn’t just want to throw a dart and pick a random word so I started to pray that God would reveal to me an area in my life that I needed to work on. After I had prayed about this God revealed to me my word. Intentionality. After this word was revealed to me I could not stop thinking about what it meant. What does it mean to be intentional? What are ways I can be intentional? Where can we see God being intentional in scripture and daily life? All of these questions were swarming in my head and I knew I wanted to explore all of this. I also wanted to share what I found out about this word. My word. But I fell out of the habit of writing and so I blew it off, until tonight.

When God lays something on my heart to write it’s really indescribable. I don’t have a game plan or a tentative schedule of what topics I’m going to write on. It’s very organic and that scares me sometimes because it’s not my nature to just let stuff happen. I think that’s why God laid this word on my heart. The definition of intentional is “Done by intention or design; as, the act was intentional, not accidental.” Everything God has put in motion from the creation of Earth to what’s happening in your world right now at 1:04 am on December 6, 2018. It was supposed to happen it was meant to be this way. The thought of that kind of stinks when you think of the bad times. If this were 2017 Hadley Stephens thinking about this concept I would be put off. Why would God be intentional in the disability, sickness, loneliness, and anger? It’s because he makes all things work together for good for all those that love him. His intentionality created a way for us to have salvation. That blows my mind. A lot of times I put God in a box of what he can do and what I think He is in control of. But in all reality, God knows everything and everything is intentional.

In my life disability was intentional. A life-changing illness was intentional. Rolling in Faith was intentional. Thank God that He is intentional, we can trust the Lord in a way that we can’t trust others. It’s silly to think that I was trying to find examples about the intentionality of God when that’s the whole theme of the Bible. But if we’re being specific look at John 11. Jesus knows that Lazarus is sick and he waits to visit. When Lazarus dies and Jesus goes to Mary and Martha he’s told that if He would have been there than Lazarus wouldn’t have died. Imagine the hurt of Lazarus’s sister, at this time, the confusion she felt when she said this to Jesus. But God had a plan and he raised Lazarus. The story was meant to be that way. What is something going on in your story past or present that God was being intentional in that situation?  

Intentionality is something I am going to be working on and learning more about in God’s word this year. Because we serve an intentional Savior and everything we do as Christians should be intentional as well. I want to send out a new years challenge to all of you right now. What’s your word? What is God calling your attention to in this season of your life? Pray and see what he reveals to you. I promise you will be blessed.


32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”

41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they, may believe that you sent me.”

John 11:32, 40-41

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Side Note: Hey!! I’m back!! I haven’t blogged in forever but will be more intentional with this year. I wanted to say to all of those who bought a T-Shirt that they should be coming in soon so keep an eye out. Thank you to every person who supported me in that fundraiser and in my ministry as a whole!

God Bless you all, until next time,

Hadley

Jesus’s Hands

“Can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”

Matthew 6:27


img_5136I’ve been very open in sharing the new journey and season God has placed me in. A few weeks ago I traveled to Springfield to meet with some people who feel as strongly about disability ministry as I do. I have never been so sure about the path that God has placed me on. With that being said, the enemy has been hitting me as hard as a freight train. I’ve had wonderful opportunities in my ministry, but in other aspects, I’ve felt like I’m hanging on by a thread. The adjustment of going to a new school has been a struggle. I don’t see many familiar faces and when I do it’s only for a class or in passing. The last couple of weeks I have been really sad, not sleeping, and crying over everything. I’ve been a wreck and it’s been affecting my day to day life and my drive to write. It’s been super hard to write because I have felt like if I wrote a blog that wasn’t genuine, then there isn’t a point.

I’m sharing this not as a sob story or to start a pity party, but because through this experience, I learned something. It has only been since March that I’ve really had an understanding of God’s goodness and his calling over my life. So, I’m fairly new on this journey I only have seven months under my belt. But I have grown more in Christ in seven months than I have probably ever in my life and let me tell you something, Satan HATES growth. He hates progress. He hates that we’re not just overwhelmed and in anguish.

The other night on Facebook, I saw a post about anxiety from a woman accompanied by a picture of her fingers. They were my fingers. All chewed up and bloody. The bruises underneath her nails were a carbon copy to my own hands. My hands are ripped apart by my own fears and worries every day. It makes me think of Jesus’s hands. How nails were driven into his hands so that I wouldn’t have to chew on mine. Jesus Christ is stronger than my anxiety. He is bigger than my fears. He’s certainly bigger than the enemy. He died so that I could live, live in eternal life, yes, but he also died so that I could live this life for him. With him. My anxiety doesn’t stand a chance against the love of Christ. I hope if you struggle with anxiety that this is true for you in your life as well.


7 “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.”

2 Corinthians 4:7-9

Embrace The Awkward And Be A Catalyst For Change

Then the Lord asked Moses, “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the Lord?” -Exodus 4:11

 


Hi all! I haven’t written in forever! I have started college at Shawnee Community College, and I have been trying to get into the swing of things. Even though it’s not that far from home, it seems like it’s an entirely different world. It always blows my mind when I go into a new environment where I don’t know many people my disability seems to be put on the forefront. Disability is something that people don’t like to talk about it’s weird and uncomfortable. I can see it in people’s faces when they see me rolling down the halls, and they don’t know what to say. Can I let everyone in on a little secret? It’s okay. It’s okay to feel awkward but don’t let that deter you from asking questions (that aren’t weird like “who puts your clothes on for you?”) because that’s super awkward for everyone. I feel like we learn from a very young age to be polite, don’t stare or point. Though this is important, it’s important to know that everyone is different and that God made them that way.

I was talking to someone close to me last week about disability ministry and why I feel like it’s so crucial in today’s world. The rate of disabilities in the world isn’t going down, and these people are an unreached people group. They need to be reached, and they need to be told of Christ’s love. God has revealed to me in the last couple of days that it’s okay to be vulnerable. I am not the type of person to sit down and give everyone the low down on all of my issues, especially when it’s Spina Bifida/ wheelchair related. I get asked from time to time what it’s like to be in a wheelchair, and I always say “fine” or “it’s not that bad,” and it’s NOT that bad. When you see all the things that go on in the world being in a wheelchair is like a cake walk. My point is, we all have things that “aren’t that bad.” That doesn’t mean it’s all that good either. Life is hard whether you walk or roll. But if life weren’t so full of sin and pain, then we wouldn’t have Jesus. I can’t imagine where I would be without Jesus. I don’t want to. I don’t have to, and neither do you. Jesus is for everyone black, white, wheelchair-bound, or track star. There are no stipulations. We all need him.

The reason I wanted to share this with you is that I want to be a catalyst to change the way we think about disabilities. I’ll be the first to admit people with disabilities used to make me uncomfortable. Which I know, is so so weird but I was never around others with disabilities. Once I started to accept my struggles, I became empathetic to those who go through similar things as me and those who have different situation than me. The bottom line is don’t be scared to be real with people if you’re going about it in a kind respectful way. I think that when we share our struggles with one another, it’s a way to strengthen one another in our personal walks with God. img_5859

 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;  persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.”  2 Corinthians 4:8-10


AUTHORS NOTE: I am just sharing my thoughts based on my own opinions and experiences. I do not want to generalize disability because I know it is very complex and different for every person.