What Frames My World

by Michele Perry on January 16, 2013

I sit here in the night time silence and remember.

The air hung swollen that day, pregnant with rains ready to be delivered.  The dry blowing out with fits and bluster begrudgingly making way for the wet to come.

I watched the winds blow the first real cloud cover we had seen in months onto our evening horizon.

That evening I wrote a story in pixels to send to “Grandmother” and “Grandfather” in America. (I bet my parents never guessed they’d have QUITE so many grand babies!)  I must say I have raised camera happy children a world away.  They are anything but shy of the lens.  And a few of them are maestros behind it as well!

We sat in the fading light huddled together with bursts of giggles over silly shots and dramatic poses.  I managed to sneak in a few “keepers” too.

All at once my crutches went walking away without me, held hostage by my then almost four year olds.  ”Eh” I call out, “ITA- ita silu de, ita be arfa wa gobadu ana.”

Everyone dissolves into laughter as I tell my preschoolers:  “You, if you take my crutches, you will have to pick me up and carry me. ”  I think they strongly considered my response a challenge.  I can only hop so far on one leg.  {But oh how they have carried me these years in their prayers.  Now feisty first graders, they carry me still.  I am humbled to tears by a love so big it reaches across continents and oceans.}

I watched them turn the crutches I lean on into picture frames for my lens.  I snapped away arresting time, freezing moments in place.  I didn’t want the light to leave.  I held it captive with my shutter and refused its departure.

Could the very thing the enemy meant to disable and destroy become that which frames the greatest release of God’s glory in our lives?

Some of you know my broader story.  Born too early with multiple birth defects, 23 surgeries by age 13; standing on one leg, 2 crutches and an eternity of grace.

I have watched God turn the things meant to take me out into that which He has used to bring me in. Again and again and again.  Into slums in India, leper colonies that refused any other witness.  Into hostile trash dumps in Africa and onto national stages in Central Asia.  Most of all, deeper into His heart.  I am certain the enemy is regretting his efforts because every single one of them has backfired– his current attempts included.

Do I think it is God’s perfect plan for me to have one leg?  Absolutely, categorically not.  Do I know God is a good Papa who works ALL things together for my good?  I stake my very life on it.

The limitations, challenges and obstacles that could disable me, when submitted to Jesus, become the very things that frame the greatest displays of His goodness in and through my life.

Impossibilities are His greatest invitations. Miracles can’t exist without them. {And how we are trusting for a miracle now, a miracle as big as our growing family from all over the world.  We are radically trusting for each and every one of our children in South Sudan to be fully sponsored so we can keep our doors flung wide… }

Let me ask you my friends: what crutches, what challenges are you holding onto that God is waiting to turn into a picture frame for His beauty to be revealed in your life?

All He needs is your YES.  He really will do the rest.

Michele Perry: Artist, Author, Executive Coach & Founder of Iris Ministries work in South Sudan
blog: From the Unpaved Road | twitter: @micheleperry | work: Iris South Sudan | USA: Create 61, Edge Creative Consulting, LLC

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About Michele Perry

  • What a moving, brave post. I have both my legs, but I also have a chronic illness called lymphedema which means I need to wear compression stockings on my right leg every day to (try) to keep the swelling in check and minimize the inevitable long term damage to my joints. It’s a condition that’s greatly aggravated by heat, and flying. Hello, living in Laos with two sets of parents anchored on opposite sides of the world. To be honest, I still don’t see how this is being turned to good in my life most of the time, but thanks for sharing your story and your encouraging challenge.

    • I am well familiar with lymphedema as I help my mom on with her compression garments everyday. Praying for total healing. Nothing is inevitable in God’s economy. Nothing. We know all our circumstances are being worked together for our good simply because He has promised it. Even when we can’t see the how, we know it is because He has said it. And He is faithful. In the night we hold on for morning. Praying for breakthrough for you…

  • When I think of the fruit of the Spirit, what you are describing is what I see as gentleness – leaning back into the arms of God, trusting Him and letting Him work in, work through and work out the hard, impossible, ugly and unbelievable things in our lives… Isn’t His work always the work of redemption?

    Thanks, Michele, for these beautiful and challenging words.

  • Oh, Michelle, this, THIS:

    “Could the very thing the enemy meant to disable and destroy become that which frames the greatest release of God’s glory in our lives?”

    This is so deeply true. What a good reminder that God takes our crutches and uses them as giant mirrors for his light, if we’ll let him.

    I loved reading this and being encouraged, once again, that God uses our brokenness best.

    • Ah Laura He loves us so much as to reframe our brokenness with His beauty and too much to leave us there. He takes broken places and hearts and knits them together so that the very places of greatest weakness become the places of greatest strength in Him. Such grace.

  • I have sometimes wondered what the powerful impact might be here if people were to see a person, and a WOMAN no less, with one leg or blind or with a twisted hand or a chronic illness like Lisa shared – working and loving?! Not chained (literally) to a bedpost or kept out of school or assumed to have no brain. Your testimony and life is a mighty one indeed, thank you for the exhortation to embrace what the world might call limiting.

    • My whole journey has been one about redefining possible and pushing limits out of the way… I was blessed to be raised by parents who were lid lifters. I would be told by well meaning people something was impossible for someone like me to do successfully and my first response was- oh really? watch me. From birth I was told I could do anything anyone else did, I might have to do it differently and I might not be the fastest or the best but if I loved what I did that didn’t matter. A life calling for me is to be a lid-lifter for others. I mean if God could take a little white gal with one leg and crutches who thinks {more than ever} mascara is a survival essential and send her into a warzone in central Africa… well you see my point 😉 He can send anyone anywhere who just says yes with their lives.

  • Vicki

    What a lovely attitude! One of my favorite verses is Joseph’s response to his brothers in Genesis 50 :And as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good….”

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