I shared my story with the Illinois Association of Community Action Agencies this year for International Day of Acceptance in my first webinar. As I share the video from this, remember that this presentation is my perspective on diversity and inclusion as someone with a disability. It is not exhaustive, nor is it universal. It is my experience, and it also includes some research. Also, remember that Jesus demonstrated and taught that we should treat all people with respect—those of a different race, those with disabilities, those who are poor, young or old, male or female. God sometimes makes a choice of those as his messengers, who have the least of the advantages of art or nature, that his grace in them may appear the more glorious.—Matthew Henry Commentary on Exodus 4:10–17 (Roper, David. Teach Us to Number Our Days . Discovery House Publishers. Kindle Edition). We must never consider others as being beneath us in any way. Paul says we need to live in harmony with others and not be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. I want to be more like Paul, who said of his weakness, “I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses . For when I am weak, then I am strong.” because His power is made perfect in MY weakness.
In Revelation 3:19-21 (NIV), Jesus speaks to the church of Laodicea (in a letter written by John) after His death: 19 “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. 21 To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.”
Jesus longs to have an intimate relationship with all people. Although we can’t fellowship with Him in the flesh like some in the Bible, we can have a relationship with Him through the Holy Spirit. The first way we can have this relationship is to believe, confess, repent, and get baptized. The second way is to remember His promises, then listen to and act on what the Holy Spirit tells us. The gospel tells us He came to seek and save the lost. Jesus already knows each one of us, our every thought, and every hair on our heads. He is just waiting for us to surrender every aspect of our lives to Him. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I find it hard to submit every part of my life.
I believe God will use my disability and my life. But my desire to be working as a social worker, the object of my wait, has caused depression, doubt, and discouragement (what Wendy Pope calls the three Ds in her book “Wait and See”). Oh, there's been so much discouragement. The object of my wait consumed my time and caused me to lose sight of what's important, my relationship with God and others. It’s not purposeful, but because of my disability, I have difficulty splitting my focus, and for me, an eight-hour workday is never just eight hours. It takes me twice as long to finish things. Along this journey, I have felt guilty and like I’m letting God and others down because I know I haven’t been able to use my gifts to their fullest. Guilty because I sometimes forget His promises, and I’m not always able to prioritize my relationship with Him the way I should. The Holy Spirit is convicting me of this.
If we’re waiting for something to happen that we fear may never come, it will take work not to let the wait become our downfall. We’ll have to work twice as hard to strengthen our resolve and keep the faith. We need to change our thinking and maybe re-arrange priorities to become right-minded. We must believe in God and ourselves, trusting that we’re not alone and our enemies won’t win.
It’s difficult for me to understand my situation or see how He’s working. But I don’t have to understand or wonder if He’s working; the Bible tells me He is! What a comfort. I have been praying for God to use my life for HIS WILL and to SHOW me the path HE WANTS me to go. At various points in my employment journey, I felt I was where He wanted me to be, only to be disappointed eventually. But the truth is that His path never disappoints. Revelation 3:7 reminds me that when Jesus opens doors, they will stay open, and no one will be able to close them or vice versa. This promise is both a comfort and a concern. It talks about opportunities He gives us, jobs, relationships, etc. Still, the time is coming when our chance to have a relationship with Him will be gone. He will close the door forever.
Are you making the most of your relationship with Jesus? If not, I encourage you to answer His knock and let Him in. Don’t delay, and don’t be afraid. Ask Him to teach you and give you an undivided heart to show you the area(s) of your life that need uprooting so you can be more firmly rooted and established in Him. I know I’ve got more work to do with my life and relationships. I want to be on the right side of that door! As of 8/22/22, I resigned from my job. It was tearing me down, and I didn’t like where my priorities were. Now, I find myself on what could be another divine detour. Only this time, I am genuinely lost. I don’t know what God wants me to do next, and I have little motivation to keep going.
Have I been praying wrong? How do I discover His will/plan for my life again? If you know the answers to these questions, please leave a comment below. I feel ridiculous asking, but I haven’t had any God-winks lately and don’t know how He wants me to move. Until I know these answers, I will stay in the Word and keep praying. I will take a cue from David’s story and be where I should be, doing what I should be until He asks me to move. When I struggle and fall short, I will ask for His grace, forgiveness, and guidance as I learn to wait well! As a believer, I know nothing, and no one can separate me from God’s love as long as I continue to live for Him.
Jesus, I pray the person reading this will pause to examine their life and answer your knock. Thank you for the truths You share with me. Please help me remember Your promises and put You first. Continue to work in me and show me Your will for my life.
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