As someone with a severe visual impairment since birth, I’ve lived my life by one rule:
Never say the words, “I can’t.”
Any person with a disability or a minority ethnicity has to work twice as hard to be half as good. Get busy.
This philosophy worked for many years. I’ve accomplished far more than my rehabilitation teachers thought I could. Early on, I learned to bring God into the equation. Often I saw Him provide and use me in ways I could not explain by human standards. In spite of what He did, I failed to call on Him enough. It was more, “I can do this. I’ll call you if I get into trouble.”
In recent years, my favorite verse, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength (Philippians 4:13)” became my nemesis. I grew tired of the struggle, always having to do everything everyone else did, always needing to be a step ahead so I could prove the power of God. I became weary of the “all things.” If I wasn’t doing it or if I didn’t think I could do it, I must not be trusting God enough, my lifelong mantra told me. Was it ever acceptable to say, “I can’t?”
I’ve had a long publishing career, but not the joy of a published fiction book. I’ve completed three novels and have come so close to a contract/ No cigar. No celebration with chocolate either.
|Karen and two Russian students when Karen|
served as a short-term worker at a
Bible training center in Southern Austria.
A week before I attended a writers’ conference, I was ready to give up on this writing life. Why was I going to a conference that wouldn’t take me any further? Too much was stacked against me and I don’t have the strength to keep fighting any longer.
I threw my reasons at God. I’m visually impaired, remember? I’m a pastor’s wife. My husband, who suffers from chronic back pain and diabetes, can hardly manage when I’m gone. Moreover, silly me had written an edgy novel and had the audacity to sign up for appointments with two of the largest CBA publishers in the business. Whatever was I thinking?
“This is impossible,” I told God. “If you want me to publish a book, You’ll have to do it. I can’t.” The Bible stories of David and Gideon came to mind. “Just call me Gideon,” I muttered at an elevator wall when I first arrived at the conference.
Then I walked into Allen Arnold’s continuing education class, “Writing On The Wild Side.” He distributed spiral bound notebooks, saying he had penned a separate message for each of us on the front flap, praying that God would direct each statement to the person who needed those particular words.
My inscription read. “Nothing is impossible with Me. Let’s do this together.”
Did the instructor have a thing about Lowe’s Home Improvement tagline?
Unlike Lowe’s, God provides the resources of His strength, the guidance of His wisdom, and the partnership of His labor. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28, NIV).” Rest. Oh, sweet rest. It’s available if I agree to do things His way in His time.
That verse I had come to dislike? Catch those words. It says, “I CAN do all things.” It doesn’t say, “I MUST.” If I’m joining God’s partnership, He chooses what He wants me to do. I don’t have to do it all. I do what He asks me to do. Each day, I convene with him for His daily assignment. If He wants me to get that book published, He’ll take care of it. If He wants me to be the only one blessed by its words, that’s His choice. If He wants me to spend a week writing blogs and magazine articles, or stop my editing to pray with two women from my bible study group, I do that instead. I don’t have to get it all done. Whether I finish everything on my to-do list is His decision, not mine. I do my best with what He has given me and leave the outcome to Him.
I walk in God’s strength. I must also walk in His wisdom.
“Lord, help me hear Your voice. Help me choose wisely.”
Karen's Ah-hahs To Tweet:
Can you relate: Writing frustration led Karen Wingate @kwingate715 to ask God what He wants her to do? (Tweet This)
Karen Wingate @kwingate715: living and overcoming a #disability when it comes to #writing. (Tweet This)
Ever cry that God’s asking the impossible? Visit Karen Wingate @kwingate715’s on Everyone’s Story. (Tweet This)
Karen Wingate wrote Christian education curriculum for nearly thirty years for Standard Publishing, the Salvation Army, and Rainbow Publishers. She has written over 300 articles and devotions for both adults and children. Now she has turned her attention to fiction writing and loves to write about the history of the places where she and her husband have ministered. Karen and Jack have two grown daughters. One serves as a U.S. Army optometrist and the other is a university TESL instructor. Karen keeps up with her blog at Grace On Parade, writes a column for her newspaper, and as the Lord leads, is working on her fourth novel.
Places to connect with Karen:
--I will soon launch a specially designed website that will incorporate Eveyone's Story blog. I hope you will follow me on this new site. When it goes live, I'll make the announcement!