Ability to thrive

My family filled the application out for me. I had been in the hospital for a total of three months and the social worker recommended that I apply for disability status…

Me? I was a teacher! I had travelled to China. I had spent 6 years caring for people with disabilities. I didn’t need disability help. I just needed to get off my butt and get a good job. I was just going through a lazy, rebellious period and I needed to get my act together. 

Besides when the government got the application they wouldn’t believe me anyway and I would be rejected support.

I remember sitting across from my sister and Dad in the coffee shop. The papers laid in front of us. “Lost in thought” my sister wrote, “inability to make decisions”…. That’s not bad, a lot of people struggle with that. I just need to go back to Comox and get my old life back and stop being so angry. 

At that moment, a nearby customer who heard our conversation came over to me and said, “you are very brave to do this. Good for you.”  My dad and sister were delighted. I felt touched but thought, She doesn’t really know who I am. She thinks that I’m a poor person with a disability. Really I’m just lazy and I’m avoiding working.

A few days later I moved to Quadra Island to be with my parents. I remember waking up in a beautiful room and heard my mom making breakfast. I had a second of peace. Then I heard an accusing voice, look at you lazy! You don’t have to do anything! Isn’t that what you’ve always wanted! 

I wanted to be a hard worker again and smiling all the time. I wanted my old life back.

I felt like an animal trying to run but my leg was caught in a trap.  Depression, spiritual oppression, unhealed wounds, weary mind… 

Eventually, I gave up trying to get my old life back and really did start to think of myself as an animal, sleeping and eating and wandering around aimlessly.

My family and friends would remind me of who I was, the beautiful girl, the sweet girl, the song writer, the worship leader, the friend, sister, daughter. 

Now I am just disgusting… 

The old life was gone so I sought to destroy myself.  Little did I know, a new life was opening up for me…

My disability status was approved four months after I moved to Quadra. In that month I also went to Esperanza and was loved on so well that I began to believe my life was worth fighting for.  I can’t even begin to name the countless people in my life who listened to me and prayed for me and kept speaking words of love even when I shot them down. 

When I opened the bible I no longer saw words of judgement and condemnation but acceptance, compassion and hope.

Light was breaking through the darkness. The battle was taking a turn.

For the first time in my life I had a regular monthly income. It allowed me to volunteer at the Elementary school without stressing about a job. I ended up working as a teacher on call there.

My ferry discount card allowed me to commute easily to Campbell River for appointments and work. 

Instead of limiting me, the disability status helped me take a deep breath and really take care of myself.

At first when I saw ‘disabled adult’ on my ferry receipt I cringed. But then I thought of the verse “he uses the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty”. (1 Corinthians 1:27)

By admitting my weaknesses and asking for help I was confounding and disabling the mighty strongholds of fear and pride and stigma and prejudice. 

My old life is gone and my new life has come: my old life of trying to making it on my own and shutting myself off from grace and love. My new life is one of being in community, saying yes and no wholeheartedly, knowing what I want and need. Understanding the weak. Receiving an overflowing cup of blessings from my Heavenly daddy.  

And how delighted Forest was when he discovered my money saving ferry card 😉

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