I’m one of those people who loves fall. For me, that love is a lot more than just a serene, “Oh, fall is so pretty” statement...it takes on more of a hardcore, “Fall is epic!” broadcast.
There’s simply something special about that new “crispness” the air takes on as the temperature falls a few degrees. Maybe it’s the way the sun hits the changing leaves from behind, igniting those classic fall colors that have just started to take residence.
Maybe it’s the anticipation of what’s coming next: those cold winter nights where snuggling up with a cup of hot cocoa and a book couldn’t sound any more perfect.
Fall is a season that exemplifies change.
Yet, I despise change.
Change can be difficult and it’s often uncomfortable. The things you’ve come to know or have planned out are suddenly different and you’re stuck trying to figure out “now what.” I don’t know too many people that truly like change, yet everyone deals with it in some form or another in our day-to-day lives. Maybe you changed jobs recently. Maybe that friend you were going to meet for lunch today just called and wants to know if you could meet a some other time. We all experience change.
I, likewise, am no exception to the “change” rule and I guess you could say I have experienced a bit more change in my life than the average 23-year old. You see, a week after I graduated college, I incurred a spinal cord injury in a freak accident when a dead tree fell on me as I was standing in the front yard of a friend’s lake cabin on a picture perfect day. That one moment changed the course of my life forever, altering not only the way I get around in the world—with wheels instead of legs—but the ways in which I experience and view life in this world.
Handling a change like going from walking to wheeling is something that’s pretty challenging to describe. How does one grieve the loss of that ability to stand tall and proud? How does one grieve the loss of friendships and a romantic relationship that stem back to something so physically rooted as paralysis? How does one handle that much change in life? How does one handle ANY amount of change in life?
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. –Romans 8:28
What a beautiful promise. What a comforting truth.
Those words are a wonderful assurance of the loving God we all have, even in those moments when we think He’s not around or paying any attention to tiny little me. Those words are beautiful reminders that God can use and does use change for good things. Notice how that verse never says change is easy (because it’s not) or how it never says we’ll understand why something happened (because we often don’t).
But it does say God works for OUR good. He cares about me and He cares about you and He plans to use whatever change you’re encountering in your life for great things.
Paralysis was certainly not on my list of “life goals,” but the things I’ve been able to accomplish with God’s help since that one fateful day are things I could have never fathomed. It has inspired a new appreciation of what faith actually means and what trusting God really is all about. It has allowed my eyes to be opened to all the false perceptions I once held (without even realizing it) about persons with disabilities. It has allowed me to travel the country as Ms. Wheelchair America 2015, advocating and educating others about those very lessons of the abilities of persons with disabilities. It has even pushed me to race in my first ever marathon (yep, I pushed all 26.2 miles of it) which I completed in a qualifying time for Boston.
Those things I never could have done without God’s help and guidance. Those things I never could have done without coming to embrace the unexpected change in my life.
Yeah, I’ve always loved fall, but now the season holds a bit more of a special place in my heart.
With a simple push out the door, a glance around at those vibrant leaves, and a deep breath of fresh fall air, God never fails to send me a reassuring message.
Change can be beautiful.
Sam Schroth is a perpetual learner, loving to live life to its absolute fullest each and everyday the Lord blesses her with. Currently in the midst of applying to medical school while adjusting to life as a paraplegic, Sam is “Never Sitting Still” as she learns and grows in God’s grace and never ending love.