Have you ever been in a situation where a friend offered some honest advice that you did not want to hear? Recently, I found myself in this situation. One of our mentors/advisors brought up an issue that Jamie and I did not want to address, and the only thing I could think while he was speaking was, “Why don’t you just mind your own business?” Great attitude for a Christian, right??? But I’m just being honest. The truth is that the issue he brought up has been a taboo issue in our family for as long as I can remember. For those of you who do not know, my Dad and my brother have a hereditary neurological disease that causes their limbs to be deformed. Over the years, they have both struggled with the pain and limitations that this disease causes. Even though Jamie refuses to let this disease stop him from ministering, the truth is that every day he lives in a lot of pain. Knowing how much Jamie suffers, our friend wanted to find a way to help. What he didn’t realize was that he was opening a Pandora's box of emotions and mental barriers that triggered my first response. Then to make things worse, our friend brought up the issue among a group of our friends/advisors, and they agreed with him! Together they decided that Jamie should get a mobility scooter to help him live and minister with less pain. Not only did they make the decision—-but they offered to pay for it!!!! I can honestly remember sitting there completely astonished, mind-blown and panicking as the choice was now taken out of our hands and we were about to walk down a road that I had never imagined. Clearly, it was time to talk to Jesus and gain a new perspective on this issue. Over the next few days, that’s exactly what Jamie and I did. You see, what all of our well meaning, very generous friends didn’t realize is that they were setting off painful triggers of childhood fears that needed to be addressed before we could move forward. The truth is that while we were growing up my Dad didn’t handle his disease in a mature way. Instead he denied it, he ignored it, and he used it as a manipulation tactic. Looking back now, I understand that he wasn’t emotionally equipped to deal with his disability, but as a child, his actions filled Jamie and I with fear. One of the biggest fears was that by the time my Dad was forty he would be confined to a wheelchair. In all of our minds this was seen as the Worst. Thing. EVER. Having the same disease, Jamie grew up with this fear. It was like a giant, hopeless, sentence constantly looming over our lives. When our well-meaning friends suggested that Jamie get a mobility scooter to make his life easier, this fear jumped to the forefront and all I could feel was panic. This was one of our worst nightmares! How could we let this happen? Why was God letting this happen? How could we go there without losing all hope that God would ever heal Jamie? Over the next few days, Jamie and I did ALOT of praying. We talked to friends to hear their perspective, and we talked to each other. And the more we talked to Jesus and others, we began to see that the fears we were living with were not real. Getting a mobility scooter was not the worst thing ever. It was actually a good thing. It wasn’t a death sentence, but rather a way to make life easier. As we honestly looked at where our fear and odd reactions were coming from, we realized that we had to make a choice: stay bound in the lies and fears that were passed on to us from our Dad or choose to take the amazing gift being given to us by godly people and give a new path a try.
We chose the later and a few months ago Jamie’s brand new mobility scooter arrived. Honestly, it has been amazing!!!! Not only has he been able to minister with much less pain, but he has gained so much freedom to do things that we could have only dreamed of before.
This summer, we took some day trips to explore local beaches, a state park, and even the Chesapeake Bay. Rather than staying in the car, we were able to go out and explore. Jamie was zipping all around going wherever he wanted to go and experiencing a freedom we couldn’t have imagined a few months ago. Now it's me trying to keep up with him rather than the other way around! One day as we were standing on the edge of a long pier looking out on God’s amazing creation, a thought occurred to me:
“Sometimes the truth you don’t want to hear is the key to your freedom.” Boom! The truth is that when our friend first brought up the issue, we did not want to hear the truth he was speaking. Completely bound by the mental knots of the past, his truth was painful. And yet, it was that very truth that has given us such amazing new found freedom. Freedom to travel. Freedom to minister without aggressive pain. Freedom for Jamie to go where he wants to go with or without me. For us, the truth we didn’t want to hear has changed our lives. When we chose to face the truth, accept it, and even embrace it….the results have been overwhelmingly amazing. Today I’m sharing this with you to encourage you. Perhaps there is an issue in your life that you aren’t facing. Maybe the traumas, the fears, or the lies of your past are holding you back from experiencing all that God has for you in life. Perhaps someone is trying to speak truth into your life and you’d rather not hear it because it seems so radically new and challenging. Can I encourage you to just for a moment, consider that this truth that you are avoiding may actually the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking into your situation? Could it be that He is sending light into your darkness and saying, “There’s a better way. Even though it scares you—-even though the lies in your mind are telling you to run—-this truth really can set you free.”? Today if you find yourself in this situation can I challenge you to listen to the truth that is being spoken into your life. Spend time with Jesus allowing Him to show you the areas of your heart that are blocking truth in your life. Talk to godly friends who will have a perspective that is not as emotionally charged as yours. Then take the leap and give truth a try. I promise, even if it hurts, in the end truth ALWAYS sets you free. So be brave, and embrace the truth! I’m so glad we did.
To Read More About the Embracing Truth, Read FINDING HEALING.....