The Access-Life Belize mission trip and outreach got a big boost from our good friends at Moody Radio South Florida with a live interview on the morning show with Eric and Bridget! Attached is the audio link so check it out and find out more about Belize. Thank you so much friends at WRMB for your many years of support!
“I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” -Isaiah 46:4
I struggle with allowing people to carry me. And, as someone with a physical disability, people offering or attempting to carry me happens more often than most, I’d assume. This struggle is that I like to do things myself. On the surface, I don’t think that this desire is bad or wrong but the reality is that this desire of wanting to figure things out myself has bled into my relationships too.
I don’t want to be carried or sustained by those around me because I am afraid that I will inevitably be perceived as “too much” or as “a burden” by those that are in my world. I’m afraid that people will get tired of needing to carry me at times, and as a result, they will eventually leave. So, I try to carry the load myself so that I don’t have to deal with being seen as a burden or deal with abandonment. I convince myself that putting everything on my own shoulders is ultimately better because it (in my estimation) won’t lead to loneliness.
This mentality isn’t limited to my relationships with other people, it is very much a factor in my relationship with God as well. I am afraid that God will see me as a burden and want to spend time and energy on a better option. Of course, this is an unhealthy and incorrect view of myself and of God. I can’t allow my own insecurities to dictate how I understand God’s love and the love of other people, for that matter. I have to push through my own fears of abandonment and allow myself to be loved, or as the verse says, be carried and be sustained.
Can I trust God’s love to carry me and sustain me? Can I push through insecurity? Can I trust that God won’t let me go? And can I trust that others around me will reiterate the love that God has shown?
The first Access-Life “3 in3” of 2023 is here! Happy New Year! You want to know more about jewelers and New Year’s Eve, how many good days it takes to make a good year, who can make any day a good day and all the good God has planned for the ministry in 2023? Then check it out, be blessed and HAPPY GOOD DAY. :)
Merry Christmas from Leanne, me, Hannah Spradling and Access-Life! We could not figure out a gift that we could get everyone so here is the December ministry 3 in 3 to hopefully bring a smile to your face, a little bit of Jesus to your hearts and some nosy news for your brain. LOL we all hope you have a very, very, very merry, merry, merry Christmas, Christmas, Christmas! #Jesusisthereasonfortheseason
1 Cor 13:7: “It [love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes always perseveres.”
As we collectively find ourselves in the heart of the Christmas season, a verse like the one previously emphasized feels particularly impactful. It’s beautiful to think about how God’s love always protects, trusts, hopes, and perseveres. As I let these words stay in the forefront of my mind over the last day or so, I noticed myself gravitating toward the end of the verse that talks about how love always hopes and always perseveres.
Love always hoping and always persevering has been a theme of mine during this Christmas season. Life can be difficult, and that difficulty can eventually create a feeling of hopelessness. When that is the case in my own life, I remember that I have to cling to something that is more stable than my own circumstances. Circumstances change, but time and time again, I see that God’s love is unending. God’s love is something that I can confidently put my trust in, even in the midst of difficulty. Christmas reminds me that not only does God love me, but that God’s love is not fickle love. It is worthy of my trust.
Christmas also reminds me that, like the verse says, God’s love is willing to persevere. This attribute is especially noticeable when I think about the incarnation or the idea that God came to Earth and put on a human nature. Fully God and yet fully human. How much does God love humanity? Enough to be willing to live the life like we live. God was willing to persevere through things like fatigue, stress, heartbreak, and pain because of God’s endless love. That is a deep kind of love.
This reality is what often draws me back to God’s heart for me. God sees me and knows what it feels like to be in a limited body. God knows what it feels like to be rejected. And yet, God’s love perseveres. This pattern of perseverance is not just seen at Christ’s birth, but it continues throughout Christ’s life and is culminated at Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection. How much does God love us? Enough to persevere through the struggles of life and even through death itself.
God’s love for us is unending. God’s love for us was and still is willing to push through any difficulty. That is what I hope to remember as Christmas continues to draw near. I pray that we all can remember that. God sees us. God loves us. God came for us.
So what is one of the best things to do during the Christmas season? Party! That’s right. I mean the whole reason we celebrate Christmas is because of the birth of Jesus. It’s Jesus’ birthday. And what do you do on birthdays? Throw parties. :)
That’s what we do at our Access-Life Christmas Jingle and Mingles each year. We invite individuals and families living with disabilities to come and do crafts, games, share food, fellowship, sing carols and tell the nativity story for starters. We have a birthday party for Jesus!
For some attendees it is the first time the make the connection between Christmas and Jesus’ birth for others it is a time where they can express their joy for God’s great gift. We even give out gifts at our Jingle and Mingles. After all God started the tradition with Jesus and the wise men followed suit with gifts for the Christ child.
All in all, our East Tennessee Jingle and Mingle held up this birthday party tradition well and everyone was blessed by the knowledge that Jesus was born for them.
Our final Access-Life newsletter of 2022 went into the mail this week and since we cannot “snail” mail it to all of the ministry family and friends, we thought we’d share it digitally, too. :) It covers the big Fall Farm Day we had in East Tennesse and our new Volunteer Spotlight Section! So, check-it out, enjoy the pictures, be blessed by the words and know that God is still doing good things out there in the world. #JesusStrong, #waymaker, #promisekeeper, #miracleworker, #lightinthedarkness, #DisabilityMinistry
Ok. Our Access-Life “3 in 3” for November is here! As you would suspect it is about being thankful but maybe not in the way you might think. So, check it out and may God bless you richly in this wonderous season of gratitude to God for His many good blessings [THANKSGIVING] and giving from God of the very best gift [CHRISTMAS].
Happy Thanksgiving to all of our Access-Life family and friends. We hope your day has been filled with thanksgiving to our heavenly Father for the many good gifts that he has bestowed upon us this year! We pray that you all enjoyed time with family and/or friends being blessed by each other’s company. Plus, of course some wonderful food. :-) Please know that Leanne and I are so thankful for each and every one of you who are involved in the ministry through prayer, giving, serving, and participating. We are all blessed to be a blessing to each other and that is a truth regardless of your abilities or disabilities. May God bless each of you richly in this holiday season of Thanksgiving and may we all continue display that spirit of gratitude to our heavenly Father for all of the good gifts that he has given us [“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17]. We hope this simple picture I drew back in 2019 along with the eternal truth of the verse included will rise up hope in your heart of all of the blessings that are being poured out upon us daily. :-)
“There, in the presence of the LORD your God, you and your families shall eat and shall rejoice in everything you have put your hand to, because the LORD your God has blessed you.” Deuteronomy 12:7
There is something beautiful about knowing that you are seen and wanted, and when I look at the verses surrounding the verse previously emphasized, I hear God communicating that very idea God has a deep desire to be with those that are near to God’s heart, both back in antiquity and today as well. God wants to be with us!
However, the conversation doesn’t end there. Not only does God want to be with us, but God also wants us to reflect that same type of love and generosity to those around us. As followers of Jesus, we have an opportunity to be people who walk alongside others, love them deeply, and always point back to Jesus and what God has done in our lives. When we are in community with others, we are able to have moments like one that is described in Deuteronomy 12. We are able to thank God for what we have and for the people that have been placed in our lives. As a community, we can celebrate together and point each other to the God who loves us, blessed us, and wants to be with us.
I did want to make sure that I took the time to say that I know that there are many parallels between this conversation and upcoming holiday celebrations, especially Thanksgiving. The fact is that for many of us, the upcoming holiday season can bring forth a lot of emotions, many of which aren’t incredibly positive. If you find yourself reading a verse that discusses topics like eating and rejoicing with family and find yourself struggling, know that you aren’t alone. God sees us where we are and wants to be with us even in the midst of incredible difficulty. Not only that, but God has also placed people in our lives to help us feel loved and understood.