Who am I?
I am a follower of Jesus Christ. What does the mean to me? Well, it means I have the faith to know God will take care of my every need. As long as I put my trust in Him, all will go right. Maybe not right with me, but right with God.
Have I always had this attitude? No! I have known of God since I was a child going through those catholic classes with the nuns. But I didn’t really understand the relationship with God until I was much older.
I grew up in New York City in the 1970s. I am a visually impaired albino. I have experienced rejection all through school. I had no faith that anyone or any God would take care of me. I got arrested at 17 for trying to stand up for that rejection. Although, that one incident changed my life forever. It was because of getting arrested I met my wonderful wife of 30 years. Again, maybe not right for me, but God was protecting me and looking out for me.
A few years later, with the birth of our third child, Amanda, another example of God using situations not right for me. She was born with a cleft palate. Which means she had a hole in her mouth. Her tongue wouldn’t stay down. She had to be intubated to help her breath. She was in the hospital for three weeks. She had multiple surgeries the next three years. She is now a thriving young woman.
God blessed us with gift of our children. Yet it was the loss of the last pregnancy that brought us to the foot of the cross. Theresa and I wanted one more child. She was pregnant and in her 5th month when God had other plans. The Dr. called it a spontaneous abortion. We call it painful. We did not understand why God would allow such a happy event and then snatch it away from us. It was a tipping point. We felt empty inside. We had each other, but that was it. Again, not right for me. But God had a plan.
it was that year, 1998, that we decided to join a church. Reluctantly, we went not knowing what to expect. The people were welcoming. We opened our hearts almost immediately to a loving relationship with Jesus. After a year in church, we were in multiple ministries, from children’s to missions to education. I do have to say, when I was approached for the mission’s chair. I had no clue what missions were or for that matter what a missionary was. But, God did. We started to feel a sense of purpose. God’s plan was becoming evident.
Theresa and I founded Seek the Son to bring the disability community to an understanding of how God’s plans might not be our plans. But His timing is always right.
Who am I?
I answer to several names; wife, mom, gramma, pastor and lifelong student. My last degree being a Doctorate of Ministry in pastoral care from Bethel Seminary. I want to focus now my identity as a disabled person and a follower of Jesus.
I was born in Manchester Vermont. Early on, I discovered I just wasn’t seeing things the same as others around me. At 10 I lost my remaining vision and entered the ranks of a totally blind person. This actually came as a relief to me…since I wasn’t seeing too well before. I was taught alternatives for exploring my world…and it was fabulous. Growing up in a small town, I didn’t know any other blind people. The people around me just kept encouraging me to try whatever I wanted and to never feel like I couldn’t do something just because I was blind.
This attitude of acceptance of my disability just didn’t happen in my interactions with the world outside of my family and town. I encountered lower expectations from others, discrimination, and the painful reality of feeling voiceless and helpless. Society, in general, view the disabled as “less then” citizens and in many situations we are still fighting for basic civil rights.
Now let’s move forward several years. I started losing my hearing. I am still totally blind and now profoundly deaf. I am oral and can hear with the amplification of hearing aids. Losing my vision was no big deal…losing my hearing has been devastating. Even within the disabled community I struggle to find an identity as many blind people struggle to relate to deaf culture.
My identity as a “daughter of the King” provides refuge, strength, and joy daily. I thank God for the love and comfort he gives me to move forward as a disabled person. I joined a Baptist church in Columbia Heights, MN and immediaterly felt accepted by my non-disabled peers. Similarly, as growing up in my home town, this church, did not define me by my disability. As a matter of fact, my first ministry position at Oak Hill was helping to sort book donations for the library. NO, these were not Braille books or audio…they were print! Nobody wondered how I would get the job done…they just let me know if I needed help with anything they would be there. I never realized that most people do not feel so welcomed by their neighborhood faith communities.
The disabled are the largest unreached people group in the United States. If you put all the disabled people together from around the world, we would make the third largest country affected by high rates of homelessness, divorce, poverty, suicide and so many other troubling statistics. We need to know Jesus. His brokenness paid the price for all our sins, but yet, our brokenness through disabaling conditions made others feel we are unworthy to sit in a worship service.
Seek the Son Ministry was formed to help bring the saving power of Jesus Christ to the disabled. My husband and I want to help reconcile the disabled and the church. This has brought me to where we are now. Often I am asked what does this mean in the Bible or how does this relate to disabilities? Let’s prayerfully look though passages and find historical and cultural significance as well as determining how it relates to us as disabled followers of Jesus.
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