Many of us gathered to watch a movie last Friday night partially-based on the real life story of Gianna Jessen, an abortion survivor who today travels the world sharing her passion for Christ and the unborn. Gianna Jessen has spoken before Popes and Presidents, and not only gives voice for those who have no voice, she also reminds us that every life is beautiful – the unborn, and those with various disabilities. Gianna survived the abortion but due to the procedure, today lives with cerebral palsy. (See last week’s blog to watch her video!) In person, Gianna’s infectious zeal for life, and unapologetic love for Jesus Christ eclipse any focus on her limitations. She is a woman very much alive, and she is beautiful!
In the news recently there were two stories that particularly struck my heart. One was the story of a beautiful young fashion writer who accidently walked into the front of a friend’s plane propeller after a flight to look at Christmas lights. She lost an eye and a hand. Another story was of a Georgia college girl who suffered loss of limbs and disfigurement after battling a life-threatening bacteria she got when she fell from a zip line into a river. In both cases the girls were under national spotlight, and in both cases they testified to their faith in Jesus Christ for their strength and hope. They have been recent reminders to me of what true beauty is, and that every life – no matter how scarred or disabled – is beautiful.
I grew up going every year to a children’s hospital in south Florida for children with birth defects. Once a year I’d go for consultations and planning, while another time every year I went for surgery. I was born with a birth defect on my left hand where all my fingers were conjoined into one tiny fist. Immediately after being born the doctors rushed me into surgery to begin what was the first of almost a dozen procedures over the next 12 years of my life. Since my fingers were conjoined, they had to each be separated, and then each joint (if they existed), needed to be repositioned for movement. It was largely for aesthetic purposes, the doctors never expected me to have actual use of my left hand. Today I’m thrilled to type this at 55 wpm, using my left hand! I’m truly blessed. I’ve had some say, “Well Heather, when you get to Heaven you’ll have two hands exactly the same.” I have to laugh though, maybe they’ll both look like my left hand! Who am I to say what is “perfect” in the Lord’s sight?
When Jonathan and I talked about getting engaged, I debated over whether to give him the ring size for my left hand or my right hand. He gently refused the option though, saying he was marrying me the way I am, and that meant his ring was going on my left hand. This beautiful diamond ring is a picture of grace now to me, like God’s perfect love for my disabled soul.
I say I’m blessed not because I have a physical disability. I’m blessed because through that disability I have learned more of true beauty, more of God’s grace and love. When I was in the children’s hospital, I met lots of children with much more serious limitations. One boy in particular marked my life forever. He was born with no arms or legs, and was dependent on others to daily do everything for him. When you met him though it didn’t take long to forget what he didn’t have, because you were touched by all he did have: love. When he entered a room he beamed with life and joy and looked for opportunities to make another child smile. It was hard to feel bad for my little left hand for long when he was around. He was beautiful.
Another man shares a story like my friend with no arms or legs. His name is Nick Vujicic. Nick too was born with no arms or legs, but His life is an example of what our lives can look and sound like when we give God everything we are – or are not, and let Him fill us with all He is instead. Nick’s ministry, Life Without Limbs, has inspired countless people around the globe, and has served as a platform to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Nick doesn’t let his disability define him. He lets God define him and then his disabilities bring glory to God. Some day Nick will have arms and legs, but today Nick is living his life for a greater purpose. Like my childhood friend, Nick’s life is beautiful because God is living through him. Nick’s willingness to trust God with his circumstances has opened the door for him to impact many others in a life-changing way.
God can do the same with you!
Rebekah is one life touched with hope through Nick’s testimony, another beautiful life—even with disabilities. Listen to her story...
Wow! She decided to stop living with self-pity and praise God! Oh Lord, let it be so with me.
Women, our culture is ruthless and leaves no provision for imperfections. We have been beat up by beauty standards that don’t fit us, none of us. Our daughters are daily getting the message that they have to look, act, speak and be perfect. This is impossible and a disservice to all. Those with noticeable disabilities or other kinds of limitations suffer perhaps most of all. Let us speak back to the messages of our day and influence our culture with Christ’s truth that beauty is found in being God’s and letting Him live through us, loving others as He loves us. Let us praise Him for we are fearfully and wonderfully made!
On Friday, November 30 from 5-8pm, GFC will host its first Respite Night for families with children with special needs who attend our church. This is an opportunity for families to spend time together while their child is loved and cared for by adult volunteers. Dinner will be provided as well as games and activities.Would you pray for this exciting event? And if you want to serve these families and make this special time possible, please contact Kelly!
Posted on Wed, October 31, 2012
by Heather Yates