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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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.

Give It To God

“Embrace uncertainty some of the most beautiful chapters in our lives won’t have a title until much later.”


Uncertainty is something that has always freaked me out and set me off. If I don’t know the ten year plan and it isn’t detailed and color coded then I’m being sent out of orbit. Unfortunately, life isn’t always certain. Death, sickness, most things in life can’t be planned. But uncertainty, I’m learning, is a way to dig in our feet and draw closer to God. Because his plan is good even when we don’t understand it. Bob Goff says it best, “God uses uncertainty in our lives to remodel our hearts.” God is showing me this week that even in a storm he is there. I find great comfort in the story in the bible where Jesus walked on water. When Peter took his eyes off of Jesus he began to sink. When life gets stormy I know that when I take my eyes off of the Lord then I will start to sink.

I want to encourage anyone who is going through times of uncertainty because in our weakness his strength is shown. There are two verses that I’m living by right now. The first is Matthew 6:34, “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” (MSG). This verse has become my prayer and I hope that it is the prayer for anyone else walking in a season of uncertainty. God is good all the time. And all the time God is good.


Author’s Note: Hey y’all I am writing from Daytona Beach, Florida on my senior trip! I’m having a great time and I’m gearing up for school! I wrote this blog more as my inner thoughts this week rather than an actual theme. I hope it impacted someone who is going through uncertainty, I’m sure we all are in some way. After my trip I have another speaking engagement and I’m super excited! Until next time let’s all keep Rolling In Faith.


34 “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. Matthew 6:34 (MSG)

No Coincidence; Just Christ

“Overlooked by everyone else. Handpicked by God” -Proverbs 31 Ministries


Think through some defining moments in your life. Is there anything that seemed to be a coincidence at the time that you now look back and see God at work?” These were the words that I read today in my new bible plan called “Exploring Your Gifts.” Last summer I went on a mission trip to Chicago. I was nervous to go because at the time I was still wrestling with God. I was still struggling with being sick and the “why’s” of that situation. So, I went into that week a nervous wreck. Honestly, it was so terrible; I would go out into where we were doing surveys and I would feel my body shutting down. It was absolutely ridiculous. On one of the very first days we start walking down the street and my friend, Kenzie could tell I was nervous. So she asked me if I wanted to talk about the trip or anything else. I flat out told her “no, no talking.” How rude is that? Now, we laugh about it but at the time I was scared out of my wits.

I went on this trip and I felt like I wasn’t meant to be there. The whole week I was just so weighed down by my fear and I just wanted to go home. Until one night, I don’t even remember the sermon or the songs but I started crying during worship. It was like after everything I had been through that previous year God was telling me that this is the first hurdle. Going on that trip stretched me to the max. I remember going up to Cliff and saying to him something along the lines of “I’m supposed to do something for God for the rest of my life.” I think that’s pretty wild that God laid that on my heart, especially since Rolling In Faith wasn’t even a thought yet. I was still so confused about the why’s. Why did I have to be on bedrest? Why did I get sick? I wasn’t even thinking about the future because I was stuck in the now. So that brings me back to the very first question I read in my bible plan. “Is there anything that seemed to be a coincidence at the time that you now look back and see God at work?” At the time, if someone told me that I would have a blog and that I would be comfortable and passionate enough to speak about my blog and my disability I would think you were absolutely crazy. But God had a bigger plan and has given me a heart for sharing my story with people about my disability. The moral of the story is when you feel like the Holy Spirit is saying something to you, don’t discredit that. God wants to use each of us to do something especially for him so be available, be vulnerable, and be used.


 But the LORD says, “Do not cling to events of the past or dwell on what happened long ago. Watch for the new thing I am going to do. It is happening already — you can see it now! I will make a road through the wilderness and give you streams of water there.”

—Isaiah 43:18-19 GNT

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Rolling Where He Leads

“Where could I go to escape from you? Where could I get away from your presence? If I went up to heaven, you would be there; if I lay down in the world of the dead, you would be there. If I flew away beyond the east or lived in the farthest place in the west, you would be there to lead me, you would be there to help me. I could ask the darkness to hide me or the light round me to turn into night, but even darkness is not dark for you, and the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are the same to you.”

Psalms 139:7-12


Hi friends, I haven’t written an actual blog for a while!! I was at Camp Mac last week and the internet wouldn’t have been strong enough for me to post! I have a lot to share, God is doing exciting things in my life. At camp, we have three sessions for the three age groups we serve. On Tuesday and Thursday we have time to recoup between sessions after the first group leaves, so after the campers left on Tuesday me and my Lala (Aunt Holly) decided to go have lunch at Chili’s. On our way to Chili’s we were talking about a lot of different things and somehow we got into the topic of disability. We discussed how our family is majorly impacted by disability through myself, and my two, cousins Sarah and Seth. 

As we kept talking about this I mentioned how I heard a statistic that 1 in 5 people in the world are disabled and yet there doesn’t seem to be many disability ministries. After we had talked about this I felt the Lord convict my heart. I heard him saying to me, “Hadley, what are you going to do about it?” This really struck a chord inside of me. So, throughout the course of the day, I kept trying to make a list of reasons why I shouldn’t answer this call from God. So, I was praying about it again and I was giving my reasons to God and here are a few:

  1. God, I am disabled I can’t do something that hasn’t been done before.
  2. I can’t go and start a ministry I have my own needs that I need to think of.
  3. I just can’t do it.

After I had brought what I thought was a very good argument to God I felt so convicted. Like God was saying, “ Hadley, after everything I have brought you through you still don’t trust me.”

So, I finally stopped fighting God’s call and before church service Tuesday night I told my Lala that I needed to talk to her and the other leaders of the camp. After I told them, I felt so at peace. Like I’m finally doing what God is calling me to do. I’m very unsure of where this call will lead me but I know that God is in control and I am going to keep following after him. Disability isn’t something that is a hindrance it’s a hopefulness. I want to share the hope I have in Christ with others with disabilities because their stories can be used to show the power of Christ. I realized when I was making all of these excuses of why I can’t do what God’s calling me to do are all ways that God’s power can be revealed. Because in my weakness He is strong. We serve a mighty God. Pray for me, that I follow where he leads. I’m excited for where this journey will end up. My disability, I’m realizing, is a great gift from God and I am so glad he chose to give me this life.


“How completely satisfying to turn from our limitations to a God who has none.”

– A.W. Tozer

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Thankful For Freedom

“You restored me to health and let me live. Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back.” ~ Isaiah 38:16-17


I’m sure all families have their traditions when it comes to the holidays. But let me tell you something, no one takes holidays more seriously than The Bunch’s. My mom’s family will use absolutely anything as a reason to get together. I appreciate it more now than I did when I was a kid; although, I could do without my Pa trying to set the deck on fire every time he lights up a firework. This Fourth of July made me think of how we were celebrating very differently two years ago. As a lot of you already know my health was in critical condition at this time two years ago. I practically spent my whole summer in the hospital and got out just in time for the Fourth of July. I was scrolling through Facebook today and I saw a post from Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, a place that ought to have a wing named after me by now!! They were celebrating the fourth with patients and it made me think about my experiences with hospitals.

Oddly enough, I’ve never been scared to go to the hospital. I’ve been scared by the situations but I always have felt a sense of relief and safety because I know that whatever’s going on that one of two things are probably going to happen: (1) They’re going to figure out the issue quickly and then I can heal. (2) If they don’t, my mom will, and then tell them what they’re going to do about it. In all seriousness though, hospitals don’t scare me, I have always felt at peace when we end up at Vanderbilt. I know whatever is happening is about to be revealed to us and then we can go from there. A lot of it has to do with the fact that from a really young age my parents were honest with me about what was happening in regards to my health.

This whole story wasn’t so that I could go on and on about my past hospital visits. When I saw that picture of sick kids celebrating Independence Day it meant something far greater to me. I feel like as Americans, for the most part, we are very fortunate to have peace. In our country, we don’t have to all be one religion or have one stance. We have freedom and therefore we can be at peace with ourselves and our decisions. I have been at peace with the things that should have scared me because I have peace in Christ. The freedom I have in Christ has allowed me to be able to handle the things that I have been through. In some of my darkest times when God was the last place, I wanted to turn I still felt like everything was going to be okay. I always laugh and say, when I think things are going to work out they usually do because I worry about everything. But truly, the freedom we have in Christ can overcome any obstacle. I’m so thankful that I get to celebrate the freedoms that we have as a nation and for those of us who are Christians we get to celebrate the freedom we have in Jesus. Let’s not forget to reflect on the freedoms we have and be thankful for them every single day.


(This picture is from when I was in the hospital. My dad had just gone home so mom and I decided to get out of the room for a while. We had lunch outside and encountered some interesting people on the elevator. It might be crazy to say but some of my best and worst times have been spent at Vanderbilt Children’s.)

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Pray It Out

‘because you answer prayers. People everywhere will come to you on account of their sins. Our faults defeat us, but you forgive them.”

Psalms 65:2-3


This week I feel like the Lord has shown me areas in my spiritual life where I am lacking. I have written before that I’m a control freak, especially when it comes to my writing and speaking. I want to be able to not have to rely on anyone. I hate really asking for help and its affected my prayer life. I realized that when it comes to prayer, I don’t really know what I am doing. I’m sharing this because maybe someone else feels the same way. Today I started a reading plan on the YouVersion app called, “Talking With God.” In my devotion time tonight Judah Smith was speaking about King David and how when he went to God through prayer and he would yell, scream, challenge, and sing. David had an extraordinary prayer life, it was raw but it was real. I for a long time, haven’t been using prayer for how God intended it. I just rush through my prayer time and I don’t open up in the way that I need to. I’m challenging myself to be more open with God. Even though he knows everything going on in our lives for us to communicate with him and have a relationship with him we need to pray.

Up until recently I never fully got the importance of a real true prayer I went on a mission trip last summer and my teams’ job was to do community surveys. There were two surveys, one was a community needs survey and the other was one on prayer. Questions like “Where do you pray?” and “How many times a week do you pray?” When the people in my group were giving these surveys I got super awkward and closed off even though I wasn’t the one being asked. I didn’t realize it at the time but I think God was trying to tell me something then and I just didn’t realize it. God is opening my eyes to see the bigger picture. Everything that has happened in the past two years was a part of God’s plan to lead me to this very moment. I’m so thankful for a God who pursues me for as long as it takes and opens my eyes to his goodness. Jesus chases us down with reckless, agape love and because of that love, I have the strength to keep rolling in faith.

 

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To Be In His Presence

Guys, I’m eighteen! Today is my first blog as an “adult” and I’m sure eighteen will be just as great as seventeen was! I have been on the lake today and I have been thinking about a good topic to blog about this week. My writing process, if you can even call it a process is always a little different and the last couple of weeks I have struggled with writer’s block. So I began to think about birthdays.

I was thinking about my last birthday and what God has shown me in the last year. Psalms 27:4-8 is rejoicing in the Lord for what he has done and wanting to be in the presence of the Lord above anything else. It’s about worshiping him for the things that he has done for us. I think it’s a great verse when reflecting on a birthday or the past.

Now, this last year has been full of mountaintop and valley moments, but God has been faithful through it all and now I only want to be in his presence. I got the opportunity to speak at Twelve Oaks Baptist Church on Sunday night and it was such a blessing! I love to write and speak about what God has done for me and I hope the next year brings opportunities to do more of that. More than anything though, I hope the next year brings me closer to the Lord. Just to be in his temple. Just to be in his presence. Just to be closer to Him.


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