What God-given Purpose could there be?
After my brain injury in 2011, I begged my doctors to release me back to work. Working with children was my passion, and being separated from them broke my heart. Well into 2012, I continued to plead my case. My pleas fell on deaf ears every time. My brain was just too broken, my emotions to raw, my body too off-balance to work effectively. Devastated, I constantly wondered what God-given purpose could there be in circumstances like these???
Somewhere in 2013 though, after a couple of years of being told, “no” over and over again, a deep sadness settled in my heart and the fight I had in me to work again dimmed. I finally accepted that I was now disabled and that the chapters of my life were being written painfully different from what I would choose. While the small, $799 monthly disability check I received monthly was helping us pay the bills, in my most quiet moments, I felt useless and no longer needed. A sense apathy settled deep within my heart. The beautifully vibrant colors of crimson red, periwinkle blue, canary yellow, tangerine orange and kelly green and that once filled my life dimmed to dull gray.
About year went by, and I lived in a haze of gray funk. I felt utterly helpless because though I still felt as though I had something to give, those making the decisions for me, felt differently and their decision stood.
Finally, a spark of strength developed against the disability box I was trapped in, during my yearly disability review. While talking with my case worker she mentioned that my benefits would last until I was 65 years old. SIXTY FIVE YEARS OLD. She further explain the final determination had been made that I was permanently disabled and was considered completely unable to provide for myself for the rest of my life. She seemed to think her words would make me happy. Instead they hit me like a ton of bricks. There was something awful about others determining the outcome of rest of my life.
If I was going to push back against the system and determine the outcome of the rest of my life, the perpetual receiving of disability benefits had to stop. Still, making that change meant I would have to wholly and fully reject the money that had just been awarded to me for the next twenty plus years. It’s funny when money is involved how lines can become a little blurry. It has its own little lure doesn’t it? It whispers that you can’t live without it. Like drug, it insists that you need it.
In spite of those whispers though, I halted my disability review and stopped all future payments. Freedom, and a future for me to write my own life story was far more important than some extra cash each month.
It’s been three years since my disability checks stopped and during that time, I worked hard for as much wholeness and strength that I could find. I went to counseling to help me get over the trauma of being overdosed by my nurse. I started volunteering and pushing myself back further into society. I created a ministry at church help those going through difficult medical crisis which caused me to focus on others instead of me. I started playing the piano again and singing too. I even started to take cooking lessons from a Chef and gained new skills galore. It was hard. I stumbled and bumbled through a lot of those efforts. Even through those stumbles and bumbles I grew, developed and healed.
God-given Purpose found
Here’s the miracle; 5 years after my brain injury, 4 years after the doctors said I was permanently disabled, and 3 years since I halted my disability checks, I am working as a respite care worker. I. AM. WORKING. I am successfully doing exactly what all the experts said I would never be able to do.
I have no doubt that I am able to do my job well, because I remember being helpless, broken and hopeless. I remember weeks in the hospital, I remember the day I had a stroke after brain surgery. I remember kind nurses and arrogant doctors. I remember walking with a walker and shaking all over as I tried stand tall again. I remember being utterly disabled so when I enter a home where a child is profoundly disabled, I see a distant reflection of myself. That reflection pricks my heart every single time and I am instantly filled with God’s deepest love, respect and compassion them.
I know that the opportunity God has given me – this second chance a living life free of the box of disability – must be handled with the utmost respect. I do not hold my life carelessly or without somber reflection. Each time I hold a precious child in my arms, look into their eyes, and tell them they are beautiful, important and oh so valued just as they are, I know I am walking out the God-given purpose for my life. That purpose is far more fulfilling than any dream I could have ever dreamed.
What are you being told no to today? Is it God that is shutting the door, or is something else? If it is the Lord who is shutting the door He will faithfully open a new one filled with great joy, hope and purpose. If however, it is something else shutting the door to His plans for your life fight for them. Endure to the end. Don’t give up. Keep on pressing forward. God is in your midst. He won’t let you go!