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.I was in the presence of the Lord.
It was time to worship.
And I worshipped.
I love to worship. Worship does something to and for us that nothing else can even come close to achieving. One of the things it does is that it places everyone under the Lord’s feet. Whether you have a disability or not, man, woman, child, black or white, gay or straight….did I cover all the political correct bases?…worship places each one of us on an equal playing field.
One of my favorite songs these days is “Great Are You Lord.” To listen to the song, click here.
As I listened to the song for the thousandth time, I realized it had something to say about disability.
The first thing that jumps out is this line, “It’s your breath in our lungs” and “Our hearts will cry, these bones will sing”. These lines remind me of my disability and that I’m totally reliant on God. I sometimes lose my breath when I talk. I rely on God for my breath. It is his breath in my lungs that allows me to speak. Not my breath. His.
Let’s look at the next line.
You are love
You bring light to the darkness
You give hope, You restore
Every heart that is broken
Who hasn’t had their heart broken or have sat in the darkness? I think about those parents of a newly diagnosed child with a disability or that young man who just discovered that he can’t walk. Talk about sitting in the darkness with a broken heart! But we don’t have to just sit in the darkness. The Lord gives us hope. He restores our broken hearts.
When we are able to give our entire selves to the Lord, when we can surrender ourselves regardless of our disabilities and when we can sing Great are Your Lord with all the power and gusto we have, that’s when the church comes alive.
Friends, this is disability ministry. This is why I am passionate about reaching out to churches and encourage them to include people with disabilities. I can write my books and blogs and meet with pastors. I can tell my story and explain why we have the right to belong to a church. However, when I can give people a taste of my passion for worship and take them into God’s throne room, I have just given a picture of disability ministry.
Whenever I worship, even at IAC, people come up to me to tell me how blessed they felt with my worship. I’ve even had people stop me on my way into service telling me that we are going to sing my favorite song. They know what I like. I used to be embarrassed when people said something about my worship because I don’t want to impress people. Then, because it felt good to have the accolades, I started to make sure that people noticed my worship.
The Lord dealt with my altitude really fast. I was quiet during one song at a concert. I felt his gentle reminder of why I worshiped. By the next song, I couldn’t be quite any longer. It was, after all, worship, and I love to worship.
Now I pray before I worship. I pray for the people around me that they can experience the Lord through me.
If you’re ever near me when I worship, you’ll see me raise my arms bellowing out worship songs. As another favorite says, “it’s who I am.”