Since I’m new to the blogging world I’ve just wanted to give you an idea of who I am and a glimpse into what my life is like living with moderate disabilities. I hope I haven’t given the impression that my life is harder or more stressful than anyone else’s. We all deal with “stuff.” I’m just sharing mine. I like to hope, though, that my “stuff” has helped shape my character in a way that makes God happy because when He’s happy with me life is just better.
I admit, letting God mold me and shape me on the potter’s wheel is probably a whole lot harder than living with hearing and visual disabilities. I’m not always easy in God’s hands. Sometimes He’s gotta carry me kickin’ and screamin’. I think it’s a whole lot easier to sit in sack cloth and ashes and wear a banner over my head that says, “Woe is me!” But that’s not really me. It’s hard to let the Potter have His way in me. The times when I want to have a pity-party are the times God has to remind me that His banner over me is, “Love.” Always. On the days when I feel insignificant or unimportant I can’t tell you how glad I am to feel the power of God’s mighty love washing over me.
A few years ago a young man berated me in Sheetz. Seriously, he gave me a verbal beating. A tongue lashing. A stoning. I’ll never forget it. Just when I think I’ve finally gotten past my insecurities I encounter someone who makes me feel small once again in the eyes of the world.
I love me some frou-frou coffee. That’s what I call a fancy cup of espresso with lots of caramel and white chocolate syrup. I eliminate the whip cream and opt for soy milk to make it a little bit healthier, but I know it’s still loaded with calories I don’t need. My husband says I don’t want a cup of coffee, I want a melted candy bar. LOL. Anyway, he spoils me rotten and we never pass by a Sheetz without stopping.
On this particular day, my husband waited in the car while I went in to get my sugar fix. I ordered my usual from the kiosk, swiped my ticket from the machine, and got in line behind a man waiting for the next available cashier. When he moved up to the counter I stepped forward and within seconds, I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned to face a 20-something young man who asked, “Are you with that man?”
“No,” I replied. “Why?”
That’s when he lit in on me like a firecracker. “I was standing right here. You cut right in front of me. I was next. I thought you were with that man so I didn’t say anything, but you need to wait your turn.” And on and on and on…
I was so humiliated all I could do was apologize all over myself. I thought about groveling, even getting on my knees, but what I really wanted to do was cry. I was so upset I couldn’t form the words to tell him I was hearing impaired and blind in one eye. He had been on my left side so I didn’t see him in my peripheral vision and I didn’t hear him. I guess he was camouflaged by the coffee bar so he could’ve been a gigantic vanilla latte for all I knew. For pity’s sake, whatever happened to respect?!
When I got back to the car I couldn’t even tell my husband what had happened. Those old feelings of shame and guilt washed over me and threatened to steal the breath right out of me. I beat myself up all day long. Why didn’t I stick up for myself? Why didn’t I have the courage to speak up about my disabilities? It wasn’t until the end of the day that God opened the eyes of my heart to see it wouldn’t have made any difference to this young man whether I was partially blind or severely hearing impaired. This young man was clueless in the strongest sense of the word.
“Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.” 2 Timothy 2:23 & 24
Trying to explain myself to this young man would have been foolish. I would have felt even worse if I had tried to make him understand and he still didn’t get it. To be rejected and ridiculed for being physically impaired is cruel. It makes my heart hurt just thinking about it. I have tears pooling in my eyes as I write because there are people like this in the world. I may experience a small taste of it from time to time, but I know there are others who face this kind of ridicule every day of their lives. And I weep for them, too.
I take great comfort in the fact that when others don’t “get it,” God does. He is Jehovah-Nissi: The Lord My Banner. On the days when I feel defeated, discouraged or doubtful I remind myself that God goes before me with His banner of love waving high over me. When I face the uncaring, fight the unfeeling or fault the unloving I can raise my hands to the sky, lift my face to the heavens and bask in the power of His mighty love. There are just some battles I don’t have to fight because God fights for me. He says, “I’ve got this one, Nina. You need only be still.”
So, I’ve come to accept that I’m going to encounter people on this earth who just don’t have what it takes to see with kingdom eyes and feel with the heart of Christ. That’s all there is to it. I’m not responsible for them. I’m responsible for me. And the beautiful thing about grace is that there’s so much of it to go around. Grace isn’t something that we keep to ourselves. It’s meant to be shared.
This earthen vessel has been cracked time and time again, yet the Master Potter knows just how to repair all those cracks. To think, He still sees something in me worth repairing. Something worth rescuing. To think, He fills this vessel so full that when He tips me over I’ve got more than enough to pour out.
And that means I have enough grace for the clueless in this world.
That’s a grace-bit, if I ever heard one!
“Indeed, we have all received grace after grace from His fullness….” John 1:16