Special Guest Blog By: Brooke Brown
I think it’s safe to say everyone, no matter who they are, has one prominent chair in their lives. It’s the thing that’s always there in the corner of every room, regardless of where they go, inescapable and unavoidable. Though others may not see it, it’s that one object or condition they constantly “sit on” and wrestle with. It dictates how they live each day.
My “chair” is precisely that –a power wheelchair because I was born with cerebral palsy (CP) and can’t walk independently. CP is a developmental disability that affects overall muscle function, including speech in my case.
That simply means while all of my thought processes are normal; there is miscommunication between my brain and the rest of my body.
This obviously makes the majority of my daily living activities much more difficult and time consuming than they should be.
But what’s even more infuriating than my never-ending fight to be productive each day, is the battle to overcome the prejudices and unfounded assumptions of others. There are a myriad of examples I could cite, but the most common and sometimes hurtful is having people jump to the conclusion that I’m intellectually deficient because my speech isn’t readily intelligible.
If it weren’t for my faith, my gut reaction would likely be to take great offense, then respond with angry sarcasm. But, I don’t because I know The Lord has just given me an opportunity to be a vessel of His Grace.
So, I surrender my chair to Him and follow His prompting in my explanation.
Some wonderfully blessed conversations about God’s love and faithfulness have grown out of such situations, as described in 1 Peter 3:15-16 – “Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ.”
I frequently also have strangers approach me, offering to pray for my healing.
I never refuse prayer because I most definitely believe the Lord is capable of repairing the communication between my brain and my muscles if that is His will for my life, but I have to consider the greater plan He may have for me being in this chair.
Allowing Jesus to use the burden I bear has fostered my deep compassion for and provided ample opportunities to reach an ever-expanding group of people who desperately need Him.
Joni Eareckson Tada, President of Joni and Friends Ministries is an internationally known speaker, author and artist who only found her calling after becoming paralyzed from a diving accident at age seventeen.
She often says, “People with disabilities don’t need to be ‘fixed’, people with disabilities need Jesus.” The Lord has a specific purpose for whatever circumstance you’re in at this very moment. “’It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,’ Jesus answered. ‘This happened so the power of God could be seen in him.’” (John 9:3) God also knows the condition of your heart and I believe that more often than not the Lord will make the healing of our hearts a priority over our bodies.
Surrender your chair to Jesus, no matter what bad shape it’s in or how incredibly uncomfortable it is and I promise you He’ll use it to fill your life with unspeakable joy.
“Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12:8-10
About Brooke Brown:
As an honors graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at ASU and a recipient of the Walter Cronkite Outstanding Undergraduate Award, storytelling runs in Brooke’s blood. She’s the author of The Little Butterfly Girl and is currently an actress and writer in the Improbable Theatre Company. Brooke has also completed various creative writing projects for organizations such as Southwest Institute for Families and Children and Scottsdale Community College. And, she is in the process of starting her own business called, Brooke’s Butterfly Touch, which strives to help others discover the power in sharing their own stories in order to cultivate opportunities and understanding.