Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Calm (emotionally) (09/13/07)
TITLE: Calming the Butterflies
By Bonnie Way
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“The kids really need to hear you,” she persisted. “Come on. You talked to the women’s Bible study group.”
“That was different. Women are sympathetic. Junior high kids aren’t. Drop it, okay?”
She gave me a long look. “If you’ll pray about it.”
I rolled my eyes and agreed. That was always Leah’s last word. The problem was, it worked, because God usually told me the same thing Leah did. I spent a week arguing with Him. I hate public speaking. The women’s Bible study had been a small group. Now Leah wanted me to talk to thirty kids in a gym. And she and God wouldn’t give up. So finally I said yes.
On Saturday night, I sat in the pastor’s office just off the gym, listening to thirty rambunctious kids running around. I couldn’t talk to them! There was no way they’d listen. Leah would have to do something else. I was leaving. I pushed the door open a crack and peered out. Three kids ran past without noticing me. Leah was on the far side of the gym, talking to three girls. I pushed the door open a bit further, poking my nose out. That was when I saw the kid in the wheelchair. He sat against the wall, watching the others, looking ready to bolt for the door. The kids were ignoring him.
I pulled the door shut. I stayed where I was, listening while Leah rounded up the kids, settled them on the bleachers, and introduced me. “God, you wanted me here,” I whispered, barely aware of the fact that I was calm. Then I opened the door and rolled my wheelchair out in front of the bleachers. I looked at the kid. His eyes were wide. Then I looked at every other kid in the bleachers. They went from twittering and teasing each other to shifting in their seats. My prepared speech went out of my head and I just started talking.
“Most of you are uncomfortable with this things I’m sitting in,” I said, my voice just loud enough to reach the kid in the back. “You don’t know what to do with it or how to talk to me. Maybe you even agree with the doctor who told my mother she should abort me.”
I let that sink in, looking at any of them who would make eye contact with me. “The first ultrasound she had showed that my legs weren’t developing. The doctor told her that I’d never walk, that I’d just be a nuisance to everyone, and that she should abort me and try again. My mom said no. She kept saying that until I was born with short, skimpy legs.
A kid in the last row dropped one of the balls from the game; I looked at him. “I’ve never walked. But I completed high school and university. I have a job and I live on my own. And I know that Jesus loves me, even without any legs. I know that He died for me just like He died for you. I know that He has a plan for my life and that He can use me just as I am. And the same is true for each of you.”
For a second, I ran out of things to say. The butterflies returned to my stomach and I wondered what I was doing here. Then I glanced at the kid in the wheelchair. His eyes were glued to mine. The calmness returned. I turned to the other kids again.
“The next time you see a wheelchair, I don’t want you to pity the person or try to avoid them. I want you to remember that God created all of us and loves all of us. You. Me. Just the way we are.”
I released the brake on my chair and turned it around, but I didn’t make it back to the door before the other kid caught up to me. I gave him a smile.
“I’m in this chair ‘cause my mom tried to abort me,” he blurted out.
Leah knelt next to him. “How amazing that God wanted both of you here with us and wouldn’t let anyone prevent that,” she whispered, putting one arm around him and fixing her eyes on me. I just looked back at her as I leaned over to hug him.
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