“And so I sought but I was not to be found. And so I looked but there was none of me around. And so I cried, but my tears fell on shallow ground. But then I prayed and my life began to quickly turn around.” Shelia E. Lipsey
What is my life but a vapor that one day will quickly fade away into eternity? Yet, I am finally confident because I know that when that day arrives, I shall be ready. Why? Because you see, I have found my reason for life and living. I have finally realized my Purpose in Life. Let me tell you how it all began. When I was but a small child, two years old, no let’s go back even further to when I was eighteen months old. At that tender age I was being sliced open right down the middle like a watermelon. My heart was sick and so to provide a cure, it was necessary to remove what I have come to call the ‘bad seed in my heart.’
Much like a wound that must be lanced and cleaned in order for healing to take place, so was my heart. The procedure they used to correct this abnormality is called a patent ductus. However, six months later, at two years of age while still trying desperately to mend from this heart surgery, along came the dreadful, awful, crippling disease called polio. It raged a vicious attack upon my frail body. An attack that continues even though it’s been almost half a century since it made its grand entrance into my life. As I grew, it grew. Wherever I ventured, it tagged right along. Even now, it shows no remorse for having changed my life. It shows no regret for having intruded in such a vial manner. Somehow it seems to almost enjoy its presence.
For many years, I despised its leeching on to me and not letting go. At first, I thought I could fight against its nasty grip, so I tried to avoid the name calling. I tried so hard to dismiss the teasing from supposedly innocent children. I all but ignored the stares from adults as their heads turned everywhere my deformed and braced legs hobbled. I pretended not to be bothered by their insensitivity and obvious ignorance of my disease, so much so that I withdrew into myself. But God. God has His own plans, His own purpose and His own will for our lives.
So many times we think we can do a better job than He can, but how can that possibly be when He is the very one who formed us and knew us before we even entered the womb of our mothers? Unknowing to me, God had already orchestrated the way things would play out in my life; even at the moment when as a little girl I accepted Him as my Lord and Savior. I was eight years old when I took that giant leap of faith and accepted this man name Jesus, whom I’d heard my parents talk about and pray to over and over again.
I figured that there must be something about Him because every single night I saw my momma on her knees talking to Him, even though I never saw Him in person. I have experienced many trials and suffered many heartaches and disappointments in my life. I’ve also been fortunate to experience joy and happiness and blessings upon blessings from a God who continually showers me with his love and forgiveness. I didn’t always know why my life was designed and weaved in the manner in which it was. I couldn’t understand why I was the only one out of three older siblings to contract polio. I had no inkling of an idea why I faced turmoil and trouble as a child of God. However, as I grew in the knowledge of God and His word, I began to see that all things do work together for good to those that are called according to His purpose. I began to realize that the purpose for my living is to radiate God’s love in a sin-sick dying world.
I see how polio works as an enabler for me to better reach others and tell them about the love of Christ Jesus. I have been endowed by God with the gift of drawing people to me and then being able to share with them the story of the salvation that can be found through accepting Him. I can enjoy life and living because I know that God is the one who is in control. Oh, I still get stares and looks of curiosity from time to time, but it doesn’t bother me now. I don’t despise polio like I used to. It is now my weapon against the carnality of this world. It is now my weapon to fight against the enemy as he tries to destroy the lives of God’s people. Instead of looking at polio as a curse or thinking ‘why me Lord,” I use it as a tool to gain access and exposure so that I can get the message of love out to others. What the devil meant for bad, God meant for good and it is God who blesses me even in the midst of my brokenness. Now, here it is some forty years later and what does life hold for me today? I‘ll tell you what it holds. It holds joy, unspeakable joy.
I know now that as God’s child, I am one of a kind, special, chosen, of a royal priesthood, an heir, joint heir, adopted, and predestined! I am a child of the most high God! I am an example of someone who was born to be broken so that I could be blessed. I am blessed because I know who holds all blessings in His hands. I am one who knows my purpose in life is to live totally for Him and carry out His will for my life and His glory. I wouldn’t be who I am today without struggles and difficulty and sorrow in my life. As a matter of fact, sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If God allowed us to go through our life without any obstacles, it could cripple us spiritually. We would not be as strong as what we could have been. You see, polio was never meant to break me. God meant it to strengthen me and the testimony that He has specifically for me to share with others. Polio may manifest itself physically in my life. It may render me physically challenged but it cannot touch my spirit. It cannot touch my soul!
My trials have been designed for me to learn as much as God intends for me to learn so that I can identify with others who are hurting or physically challenged or experiencing trying times! I must be about my Father’s business. I must be found doing what He has purposed for me and me alone to do. Everything that I have experienced and will experience in life serves to make up who I am and whose I am. Thank God I now realize my purpose in life. I know that I am who I am. I am an individual struggling to perceive all that is going on in this world in which I live. I am a strangely unique woman, eccentric to even myself. I am one of a kind. I am special. I am somebody.
There is no one else in the entire universe quite like me. I am a creature molded and shaped into human form by an omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient God. I am His child with a never-ending anticipation and longing for His return. I am nothing more, nothing less, than the essence of me and created in His image. I am a compassionate child of the King; grasping, groping, fondling for that same piece of “me” in others. I am loving, I am strong, mighty, weak and sometimes I am even fearful but in him I am everything I need to be. I am reaching out tenderly to those who are hurting. I am the “called according to His purpose.” I am sensitive and passionate. I am a Christian, a saint, a sinner saved by God’s never faltering, never failing, always abiding grace. T
he chains of a physical handicap shackle me, yet my spirit is shackled by nothing but the love of Christ Jesus. I am a visitor on foreign soil on a journey called Life. I am a citizen of the eternal Heaven, the city of the Most High God, my Savior. I am His walking, talking, breathing, living spokesperson. I am a believer in the mercies and blessings of God. I am God’s child fearfully and wonderfully made. That’s who I am. That’s why I was designed and molded into the person that I am. My purpose in life is to be all that I can be for Him! To serve others with the same love, compassion and mercy and forgiveness that He shows towards me.
My purpose is to help someone else find the way to Him. My calling is to live for Him so that I may one day die in HIM! Living for Him…doing for him…sacrificing for Him…that’s who I am. That’s my purpose realized.
Shelia E. Lipsey 2008