I’m always grateful for Spring. It’s the time when all things are made new again with warmth and sunlight. That usually also means The Lord will open new doors for me if I’m paying enough attention to find them. He led me through a few pretty big ones this year (Spring) and I realize I’m late in writing about them, but their full impact is only just now becoming clear.
On April 9th, I was honored to be a returning guest speaker for this year’s Arizona Partners in Leadership class through Pilot Parents of Southern Arizona (formerly called Partners in Policymaking). This year, I shared my personal insight into living independently; reflecting on the two years I spent in my own apartment. I felt so blessed to be able to provide some realistic, but still hopeful answers to a few tough questions and make many parents laugh at the same time. It was also a beneficial exercise for myself… Pinpointing exactly what I learned from the experience despite struggling with feelings of failure because my parents and I are now sharing a house again.
A couple weeks later, I had a very successful booth at the Ability 360 Health & Wellness fair. Everyone that came by the table seemed genuinely interested in my workshop and extremely enthusiastic about all the possibilities and variations of personal storytelling in general. I even connected with a fellow writer with a similar passion for telling realistic, but still encouraging stories of people with disabilities who is interested in starting a writing group with that focus. I’m beyond excited to see what comes of it in the fall!
The last part of May brought a huge and unexpected answer to prayer with it. I was able to visit my precious cheer buddy from high school, Kari in the Seattle area. Kari works for her dad John’s ministry called The Center for Strong Families. They have been two of the biggest supporters of my gifts since I first wrote The Little Butterfly Girl nearly ten years ago (John wrote the foreword). And since I began to discover my calling as a speaker, I’ve hoped to find an opportunity to partner with them at an event. Well, I know The Lord was listening to the whispers of my heart because John received a last-minute request to put on his Stronger Marriage and Family conference at a fairly large church near where I would be staying. Seeing a Divine opportunity emerging, they asked me to come and share a little of my story/experience with the group, as well. I was thrilled for the opportunity, but very insecure too… Sorta like I was just “crashing the party.”I mean, what could I add to a marriage and family conference? But, in her usual loving wisdom, Kari reminded me that God obviously had a plan in motion. So, I said a few quick “Lord, use me” prayers and went with it. She was right, of course. Come to find out, many of the couples in attendance were in a great deal of pain, so my message that The Lord is much bigger than even our most difficult hardship was absolutely necessary. I was incredibly humbled and blessed by the response I received.
The last event I’ll share in this post happened on June 8th (see main photo). I was invited to do the Transforming the Heart of YOUR Story Workshop with the Peer/Mentor group at Ability 360 Center. If I’m being honest, it was a bit intimidating to walk in the door and have 28 people expectantly waiting to hear what I had to teach them on only my third session, but at the same time I was totally psyched! Everyone was broken up into groups and it was such a thrill to listen to the steady flow of conversation and watch the ideas flourish. I even had a couple people say doing the workshop inspired them to start writing a book! Talk about a clear sign that is my calling! God is so good to me.
Ephesians 2:10 was brought to my attention recently, which says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Just another reminder that not only do my wheels have a higher purpose, but there’s a reason for everyone’s story.