Santana was my third Canine Companion. How we became a team is a remarkable story.
My second service dog, Lanzner, was getting old. I wasn’t taking her out as much and needed a young, vibrant dog to continue life with. I had already put in an application to CCI for a successor service dog.
A South Carolina man and his service dog was recently denied access by a church. My colleagues and I were shocked. As my friend, Steve wrote: “Every time I start to think that churches are finally starting to “get” the idea of welcoming kids and adults with disabilities, some elder board dreams up an absurd policy that convinces me I’m wrong.”
My service dog and I was too denied access to a church years ago, and the lessons I learned from the experience strengthen my faith and helped me understand how to approach this issue with churches. I have yet used these arguments with a church, but I think I’m on solid ground.
The excerpt below is from my book, In the Accessible Church (self published, 2013). I post this as a response to the church and to further educate the faith community.
Disability is not a brave struggle or ‘courage in the face of adversity.’ Disability is an art. It’s an ingenious way to live.”
I was surprised at how nice it was at the swim meet. It was not too loud or humid in the Air Force Academy’s Natatorium. I parked my chair near the starting blocks to watch some heats. After a while, the cheers got louder and louder as a race was finishing. I looked up at the giant tv screen and saw a participant making his way down the pool on his back. He seemed to be swimming a simple backstroke, something I might swim. Continue reading My Experience at the 2018 Warrior Games→
I haven’t posted for a long time. Working on a longer piece that I hope will be up soon. For now, please enjoy a recent devotional.
Ministry on the way
Read Luke 8:39-56
I’ve been thinking about the story recorded in Luke 8:39-56. Here’s the scene: a man named Jairus, a synagogue leader, asks Jesus to come and heal his daughter. On his way to see her, Jesus’ stride shortens as the crowd begins to press in on him. A woman reaches out to touch the edge of his cloak. Jesus stops and ministered to her. By the time he is done talking to the woman, people calls Jesus off from going on because the girl had died. But Jesus keeps going and heals the girl.
This story is hitting me because my days rarely go as planned. Like the other day, I I had my day all planned out until I received a Facebook message from someone who wanted to know how to start a disability ministry. I talked with him for a hour. A young man who has CP contacted me because he is frustrated and doesn’t know what he wants to do with his life. I’ve been praying for an opportunity to mentor a young person who has CP for a long time.
Please pray for both of these opportunities, that I’m able to share my life’s experiences with these two men.
There will times when I have to hunker down and finish something (like writing this letter), but I’m rather enjoying being interrupted and seeing the Lord at work. Thank you for your partnership so I am able to do this ministry.
I was glad to see my friend on my way into church. I can count on Dan to hear me out when I have burdens on my heart, and I had more than my share on that particular day. Dan and I spent a few minutes talking until it was time to go into the sanctuary. The opening prayer was just ending as I wheeled through the door. Right then, I felt a strong presence of the Holy Spirit like a warm, familiar comforter wrapping me up from head to toe. In an instant, my concerns that had consumed me just a couple of seconds before didn’t seem as important. Continue reading Worship with a passion→
Was it today when you stepped into my house for the last time?
When you sat down in the rocking chair and asked how I was doing? I had my school assignment laid out on the table and asked you to help me look at two companies’ balance sheets to decide which one would be better to invest in. You hadn’t helped me with my homework since high school math, and it felt good to have you in that role again.
Was it today when you walked out of my house for the last time? I watched you drive off not knowing that it would be the last time I’d see you. What were you thinking about as you rounded the corner? Did you even know that it might be the last time we would talk?
Was it today when we said our goodbyes for the last time?
Well, it has been ten years since you helped me with that assignment and walked out of my house for the last time. It seems like that was a lifetime ago. I finished that degree and established a ministry. I fell in and out of love. I fell hard on my face only and found myself in a counselor’s office after a suicide attempt. Therapy helped me discover who I am and set me free to fall in love again with my life’s partner.
If you were here today, would you be proud of me? Would you love my wife as much as I do? Would you understand my choices for work, faith and relationship? What would you say to me if you sat down in that rocking chair today?
I’m not the same person who you said goodbye to that fateful day. Ten years has passed, and seasons have come and gone. The world just keeps turning. Life certainly has a way of throwing us for a loop sometimes, and the Lord gives and takes away. But one thing remains: your legacy and God’s faithfulness.
If you follow me on Facebook, you know I’m very opinionated with my politics. I’ve backed off a lot with my postings since Trump won the election, but my commitment to the conservative point of view hasn’t changed. (Actually I’m probably more of a classic liberal these days, but I won’t go there.) I’ve struggled writing this piece (I’ve been working on it on and off for a couple of months) and debating whether to post it to the blog. First, I don’t want my blog to be known for my political views. Second, this certain subject could be misunderstood in that I don’t want any government programs to help me. Put all the burden on the church. I’m not that stupid! As I say in the piece, maybe the Lord does help me through the government. I’m just asking what is the role for each organization.
I know I’ll get push back, maybe even called names. Pray for me that I can handle it! I’m just asking questions so the country and people living with disabilities can thrive in the years to come.
You know the saying that dog is God spelled backwards? Well, it’s true. Okay, my theological mind can have trouble with this. I’d probably could write a theological article about how this is incompatible with Scripture and how ridiculous this is. Some might even call it heresy. Continue reading How God uses Dogs in my Life→
Encouraging Churches & Those Living With Challenges To Come Together To Glorify God