By Carol Westerlund

Living with a disability can present some unique challenges. But as a Christian, I can face them with the aid of the Holy Spirit. And in that way, what was meant for evil becomes good, as Joseph once said.

One major problem a disabled person often faces is self-image. I have epilepsy and get petit mal seizures five or six times per month. It’s not your typical lifestyle. Seizures limit me from carrying out everything I would like to do. My schedule has to be flexible.

A few times, people have even been fearful of me due to my epilepsy. After all, it’s abnormal. Some people define me as ‘an epileptic’–as if that is the main point about who I am. But epilepsy doesn’t define me. It’s just something I Iive with. This is true of any disability.

So, what does the Lord say about all this? “You are made in My image. I chose you.”

For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.

I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. -Psalm 139:13-14

Can that be? Yes, God’s Word assures me that He wants me as His child. There is so much security and comfort in knowing He is not ashamed of me. He wants me. I find so much joy in knowing that He looks at me with love and accepts me as I am.

Loneliness can be a problem, too. As a single Christian, I find it comes up at times, though even those who are married encounter loneliness, too. Having a disability can make this challenge harder to overcome. It’s often more difficult to go out and meet others.

How does Jesus respond? He reminds me, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.”

The LORD is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” -Deuteronomy 31:8

Knowing Jesus is with me, even when no one else is, matters very much indeed. “And lo, I am with you always, unto the close of the age,” He tells us in of the Book of Matthew. Knowing that He wants to be with me gives me comfort and strength.

A person with disabilities can also be limited in some practical ways. Everyday tasks like getting groceries, cooking, or getting around can be much more difficult. Because of these limitations, I am not always able to perform tasks as well as I’d like to.

What does Jesus say? Jesus tells me His way of looking at me is different than the world’s standard.

Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly… -Romans 12:6a

Remember His parable of the poor widow who gave only two pennies? Jesus said that she gave much more than all the rest, because she gave out of her lack. The Heavenly Father saw her heart. Sometimes I feel like I give so little. And yet the Heavenly Father has his own way of weighing things. He alone knows the state of my heart.

Finally, there is the question of security. I can get a seizure anywhere. I can fall in the street. But Jesus is with me and He is my security. Every day I start out with Him even before getting out of bed. And my day finishes with Him, as I give Him my sleep.

In peace I will both lie down and sleep, For You alone, O LORD, make me to dwell in safety. -Psalm 4:8

The very best way to deal with a ‘challenged’ life is to put it in the hands of the Lord and let Him take care of things!

Carol Westerlund is a freelance journalist living in Finland. She finds you can face long Nordic nights best in fellowship with Jesus and other Christian friends. She also enjoys writing, music, and handwork.