More than ever before, there were elements we wanted to forget. Would the show even go on? The audio system was in severe disarray so amplification was intermittent or at times deafening. The janitor had locked the huge white screen so it blocked the stage where three dance numbers were to be performed. I spoke in the dark so my power point would be vivid… Bravely we waited. Thankfully our precious audience did not lose heart. Finally the show went on!
And all were inspired: the young adults with developmental disabilities danced like prima ballerinas with watching parents bursting their buttons. We watched the dedicated staff at Employment & Community Options shower their clients with love & devotion. I told my amazing story – one that resonated with the families. I saw my parents and yes, I saw myself in the families served by this organization whose goal is to educate and employer adults with developmental disabilities to achieve optimum potential in life (Learn more at: www.communityoptions.org).
I’d been told and reminded that the evening’s event was secular so I tailored my words carefully. Imagine my surprise upon meeting Nancy Batterman, the CEO of Employment and Community Options and discovering she too was a woman of faith. In fact she had read His Majesty in Brokenness and reread it with her book club.
Yes it was a secular event – a secular event where Jesus showed up. Who didn’t silently thank God when one by one the glaring glitches evaporated. I heard Him speak in the words of a single mom who said, “My son is angel. I wouldn’t want him any other way.” We watched Him aglow in the participant’s JOY – Alleluia! this is our night to shine! And no one could miss Him in the dance as the poised prima ballerinas, led by my daughter Emily, twirled across the thankfully visible stage to the song – You Raise Me Up – the words in the background put Him in the foreground:
You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up… To more than I can be.
Photos from the Evening
I don’t even remember getting onto my wheelchair lift. All I know is that David said he heard a big boom and came rushing to the living room. There I lay – unconscious for a short while, then disoriented – having back-flipped, maybe even somersaulted to our hickory hardwood floor fourteen inches below.
Falling has not been uncommon in my life with a physical disability. Falling with no warning was actually the reason I stopped walking on artificial limbs after fifty years.
Then there was the morning long ago when an unexpected fall shook my faith. I had read and claimed Psalm 91:11-12 that morning in my daily devotions. Lord, I rejoice that Your angels steady me on my artificial limbs so I won’t stumble. That was the morning one of our three daughters parked her bike at the front door so that when I backed down the three steps as was my custom I STUMBLED.
I must confess that tumble landed a chink in my armor of faith. God, I thought You said Your angels would keep me from falling? Where were they?
A chink in my armor of faith? Is that Christian? I believe it is. And I believe that God takes full responsibility for eliminating our chinks with His day after day and year after year presence. He invites us to give our doubts and our danders to Him since He is big enough to resolve them. Meanwhile He encourages us to admit them to ourselves and others as He heals us with His peaceful presence often most evident to us on those days when we land flat on our backs.
Two decades later – it wasn’t a bike that took me down, just some distraction or overconfidence on a lift that takes me up and down dozens of times a day. Having twenty more years of experiencing Immanuel – God with us – under my belt I am comforted knowing that He was with me. Jesus was that You I spotted stretched out beside me on the hardwood?
What about you, dear friend? Do you have chinks in your armor of faith? Have you trusted God for safety for yourself or a loved one to only have calamity strike? Was a foxhole prayer followed by seeming silence from heaven?
God’s ways are not our ways; actually His ways prove better than ours. And for those who choose, His presence is 24/7 in the highs and lows. Shepherd, I need You now! puts Him smack dab in the middle of all that touches us. Then just knowing He’s there cushions the inevitable blows of this life.
On the brink of 2012 I pass on to you one of my favorite faith-strengtheners – Ruth Harms Calkin’s paraphrase of Romans 8:38-39:
JUDY SQUIER has authored His Majesty in Brokenness, Living in the Names of God and the Living in the Names Bible Study. Husband David and she have three adult daughters, three sons-in-law and seven grandchildren. Never did Mr. and Mrs. Squier dream that their long-awaited golden wedding anniversary would coincide with David’s memorial service. Judy resides in southern Oregon, alone, yet not alone. Thanks to the Good Shepherd!