Faith Stories: God’s Way Became My Way
Have you ever felt as if God was working behind the scenes, bringing people or things into your life without your being aware that he was working His Way? I think that a lot of “God’s seeds” are dropped along the lives that we live, and it is not until a lot later that we realize his Hand was guiding our lives and helping us make our way become His Way.
That happened to me when I was in high school. I was planning to major in physical therapy when I went to college. So, when I was a junior in high school, I applied for a Girl Scout Wider Opportunity to volunteer at a camp for disabled girls in Kansas City, MO. Only 25 girls from around the United States were chosen for this opportunity. I felt fortunate to be chosen considering that this would give me a great experience to better understand a variety of disabilities. There were girls between the ages of 9 and 22; the girls had cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, affects of polio and accidents, visual impairments and some were deaf.
I experienced helping very intelligent teenagers eat because they had no muscle control in their body. I asked another girl “yes/no questions” until she could indicate the answer by looking up for “yes” and down for “no” to figure out what she needed. I helped another 17-year-old college freshman balance her head on her spine so that she could “sit up” enough to move her hand to write or draw (the only movement she could make on her own) and to wake up every 3 hours to turn her over during the night so that her body would not fall asleep; it had happened one time in the past and it took 2 days for her body to stop that tingling you and I feel when our muscles falls asleep. There were many more life impacting experiences during my two weeks at this camp.
But there was one more that changed my life; I met six deaf or hard of hearing girls who attended camp and most importantly a 12-year-old whose name was Grace. In many ways, Grace touched my heart and piqued my fascination with sign language and working with the deaf. Although none of the counselors could communicate fluently with the deaf girls, we utilized the hard of hearing girls to help, used gestures and a few signs that we learned by observing the girls. The most memorable experience for me was teaching Grace to dive during swimming sessions. She delighted in her new skill as did I. It gave us a bond that lasted even after we said goodbye at the end of camp.
It was through that camp experience with Grace that I decided to change my career aspiration; I changed my plans and majored in Education of the Deaf.
At the time, I didn’t realize that God was working in my life through a young girl named Grace. He had through His “grace” planted a seed that grew slowly, blooming again the summer after my senior year in high school when a 6-year-old deaf boy joined my diving team that I coached.
Even during a summer check-up a couple of years later when my dentist asked me if God had played a part in my decision to work with the Deaf, I quickly responded, “I don’t think so.” Fortunately, I have since looked back on those couple of years and realized that God was working His Way quietly behind the scenes. I thank God for the seeds He planted. They certainly made a major difference in my life and the opportunities that I had to touch the lives of the Deaf children I taught for 32 years here in Louisiana.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
– Jeremiah 29:11