We just moved.
Our beautiful new home was carefully designed to be wheelchair accessible. Every detail was considered. Every decision thoroughly researched.
As I look around, I know I should be overflowing with gratitude at God’s provision. But to my shame, I am not.
I don’t want a wheelchair accessible house. I don’t want a wheelchair. I don’t want the life God is putting before me, even though he is graciously showing me how he will provide.
This isn’t the kind of provision I want. I want healing and wholeness. A body that doesn’t tire easily and the ability to do whatever I choose. I want freedom and independence. But God has something else in mind.
While I continue to pray for a miracle, God is calling me to plan with the information I have. And so building the house was bittersweet, as I had to anticipate the worst. What would I need in the future? What could I do? What potential weaknesses should I account for?
One thing I hadn’t accounted for was how emotionally difficult moving would be. I couldn’t pack a single box by myself and I couldn’t unpack anything either. This meant I needed to rely on friends to help me. To take things out of the boxes. To figure out where they went in the new house. To organize my belongings so that I could use them.
I was so grateful for the help, for my friends who sacrificially came over to serve me. It was a huge gift, from God and from them. At the same time, I often cried when they left because I so wanted to do things myself. I wanted to organize my own kitchen and closets, figuring out what worked best for me.
I was also ashamed to have others see how disorganized I was in some areas - the things that I held on to, the little mementos that I kept. They may have wondered why I have five long-sleeved white shirts (a fashion staple), or six boxes of storage bags (they were a bargain), or a can of bug spray in every room (doesn’t everyone have that?)
I wanted to present my best self, but as people packed and unpacked every single thing in my life, I had no secrets. There was not a single box that I could say, “leave that. I’ll do it myself.” My life was laid bare.
In addition to that, I don’t like asking for help. Not because of anything noble, but mostly because of my pride. Asking for help from anyone is hard for me. Having to depend on people makes me feel needy. I wish I could do everything myself.
While this struggle feels intensely personal and unique to me, I know it is not. Not everyone struggles with physical limitations, but everyone has limitations.
A dear friend who is struggling financially is growing tired of accepting help. She longs to provide for herself and her children without involving other people. It’s humbling. She’s tired of telling her children “no” when they want to eat out, or even want a new pair of shoes. “Everyone else does that,” is the refrain she hears constantly. But she needs to remind them, and herself, that it doesn’t matter what everyone else can do.
It doesn’t matter what everyone else can do. God is providing all that I need.
That sounds good, but do I really believe that?
Some days I do. Some days I am confident that no matter where I go, God will take care of me. He promises that. But other days, when I am faced with new unexpected weakness or pain, I doubt. As I look at a future that is headed in a seemingly irreversible direction, I wonder if God will truly give me all that I need.
Besides, providing today is one thing, but what about tomorrow? How will I make it tomorrow, when my arms are failing even more than today? How will I dress myself, feed myself, go where I want to go? What will I have to live without and how much will I have to depend on others? The questions seem endless.
As I spiral downward, increasingly agitated about what the future will bring, borrowing trouble from tomorrow, God ever so gently reminds me of the truth. His word speaks directly to each of my fears.
My fear: My arms will grow so weak that I can’t feed myself. If I don’t anticipate my future needs, who will?
God’s response: “Do not be anxious about your life… Consider the ravens; they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them.” (Luke 12) “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4)
My fear: My life will be depressing and I won’t have fun or enjoy life.
God’s response: David says to the Lord, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16)
My fear: People will think less of me when they see my weaknesses and hidden bad habits.
God’s response: “Nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be made known.” (Matt 10:26) “The fear of human opinion disables; trusting in God protects you from that.” (Proverbs 29:25 MSG).
This is truth. By faith, I must trust God’s unchangeable word rather than rely on my fears and feelings.
Through this word, I know that God is for me. (Psalm 56) That nothing can separate me from his love. (Rom 8) That God will work all things together for my good. (Rom 8) That God will never leave me or forsake me. (Heb 13). That God will provide all that I need. (Phil 4)
When I anchor my life on those truths, I am filled with faith. Faith in what I know to be true, despite what I see before me. There is no need to despair. God loves me extravagantly. One day I will see how he used all my circumstances for my good and his glory. Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil because God is with me.
I look around my house with new eyes. It is God’s abundant provision for me. No matter what the future holds, God will go with me. I will never be alone. He is all that I need and I will lack no good thing.