A Tough Miracle

Thanks, but I’ve had mine

Every once in a while, when I’m feeling particularly masochistic, I pay a visit to a different church. All usually goes well on arrival. I find an empty spot along the side or at the back, planning a quick escape after the service. Then someone who knows me spots me, and my weakness appears… I love a good chat, and even more, a good cuppa tea.

I’m a social creature by nature, and very open to people asking me about my disability. So once I start chatting, I inevitably make a few new friends and the topic comes up. Then the inevitable happens, as if drawn by my magnetic brakes on my electric wheelchair , some well-meaning person will feel compelled to motor on over and insist on praying over me for healing. What they confuse is the message from God, and the voices in their head expressing their own discomfort at the thought of having a disability. It makes them realise their own frailty and humanity.

Make no mistake, I’m never going to turn down anything as powerful as prayer but I do ask that they rather include me in their prayers at home and that they listen to my story first. It’s always rather deflating to see people pray for healing with enormous expectation… And nothing happens. Occasionally, I meet people who are far enough in their journey to understand and appreciate my story, but I tell it anyway:

I’ve already had a miracle. My mother and I were hit by an out-of-control, on-coming car in 2007. The people who arrived on scene assumed we were dead. The professionals who did the accident reconstruction said there was no reason we were still alive. We should not have survived, but we did. That was my miracle. I’ve had my miracle. But I call it a “Tough miracle”.

Every day is hard. Every day I struggle. But I am here. This is my Tough Miracle.

We know the Lord always answers our prayers. However, as mere human beings, we have to accept His wisdom, and that sometimes His answer is “No”, or that He does things in His own time or his own way. He never said life would be smooth sailing, or that following His path would be easy. Those who stop long enough to really listen to my story, realise that I welcome their prayers to aid me through my journey, as long as it’s done in private.

I’ve had my miracle. God uses my disability in many ways. For my students in Inclusive Education, it’s very difficult to say that you cannot teach children with disabilities when your lecturer has a disability. I have learned first hand the difficulties faced by people with disabilities, and have the voice to speak out. And I have realised that physically and emotionally, I am stronger, even though I struggle, and that in God’s eyes, I am whole.

Please remember me in your prayers at home. Pray for those things you can’t see. Don’t worry about my wheelchair. Don’t focus on my needing to walk. Pray for my pain levels to drop.  Pray for the invisible disability I have: depression, which hides behind my smiling facade.

Pray that I have the love and patience to deal with well- meaning, over enthusiastic Christians who insist on praying for me in public, because I have a wicked sense of humour and am tempted to get up and walk (which I can do for short distances), shouting “Hallelujah! It’s a miracle!”

And pray for better understanding in society, so that people wouldn’t use the disabled parking spaces because stupidity is not a disability, that pavements would be flat, and that buildings would be accessible, for empathy not sympathy, and that people would stop assuming that because I use a wheelchair that I have a problem with it.

I’m here. I’m alive. It’s hard, but so is life. It’s my tough miracle.

[Helen is quite a busy woman and so doesn’t get to write too often, but when she does you can catch more of her words at Helen’s fabulous, frivolous, splendiferous, always-odd life on wheels…]

[For other stories from amazing and ordinary people who happen to have a disability or are faced with special needs, click here]