Roadblocks

While I listened to best-selling author, Bradilyn Collins speak about her writing journey at the Oregon Christian Writer’s Conference, my spirit was alerted when she read Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

 

As she talked about how often she had to wait and re-do her manuscript, and then wait again, and re-do it again and again. I couldn’t help but think about my own journey.  When I graduated from George Fox University, I assumed that God wanted me to serve Him by working in an office, helping people with special needs.  I didn’t understand why I encountered one roadblock after another, and I finally ended up at what seemed to be a dead-end.  It was until much later that I realized I had put my own slant on God’s promise. It was my assumption of how He wanted to work through me that caused my sadness, not God.

 

I have cerebral palsy, but I’m not any different than the typical person.  It is so frustrating when things do not come together the way that we think they should. All of us have things that we want to do, people we want to, see and places we want to go; and none of us like to stop and wait.  That is why we all speed up just a little bit when we see a light turn yellow! Another thing we often do is make one last attempt to make our plans workout the way we want them too.

 

It can be disheartening to feel like we are on the treadmill of life, but it’s the way God prepares us for future opportunities to serve Him.  It is kind of like my friend who just ran in the Portland Marathon, she said that when she ran throughout the week, it was hard to visualize how those shorter runs would help her in a 26.2 mile distance, but when the day of the race came, those runs collectively and gave her the ability to finish strong.

 

Our struggles are not the end of our story or a waste of time; instead they are the way He prepares us to accomplish the works He has set aside for us to do.

My dear friend and mentor, Marion, and I at the Oregon Christian Writer’s Conference

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Co-Laborers with Christ

 Twelve years ago when I turned 50, my life changed forever. When I attended my first Joni and Friends conference,  I celebrated the person God had created me to be. Before that time I was determined that I wasn’t going to be limited (or be put it in a box) because of my cerebral palsy. Despite my college degree and raising a daughter, I wanted to forget I had a disability. But as I stepped into this conference that was the very part of me that I was able to not only embrace but celebrate.

Throughout the past several years, I’ve been able to attend some of Joni and Friends family camps and learn about the different ways they minister to people with special needs. Last week, two friends and I were privileged to be able to attend a leadership conference at the Joni and Friends, International Disability Center. Going there was like going behind the scenes and getting to get to know the people who worked there.

After our last meeting, my heart was gripped by a picture of a man with bent legs and skinny arms being ministered to by a servant from the Joni & Friends Wheels for the World team. For some reason, it also made think about another organization that I’ve been involved with for many years, Good Samaritan Ministries. I choked back a few tears, as I considered how God binds up our wounds, and calls each of us to be co-labors with Him (1 Corinthians 3:9).

 

  Lyla at the chapel