Paralysis becomes a blessing in disguise

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I came to know Christ at a young age and surrendered my life to Him as a young teenager.

When I was a teenager God began stirring in me a real heart for children, especially those who were orphaned, or in foster care, that didn’t have homes and families that loved them. My heart would break when I read stories about children in these circumstances. When I was 17 years old I felt God calling me to work in children’s ministry and God opened doors in two different ministries where I taught Bible stories and songs about the God that I loved. This was always the highlight of my week!

When I was 19 years old, I felt God telling me that I would raise children who were not my own, that my calling was to raise other people’s children who needed parents. Two years later God led me to work at a local Christian girls’ home where I was a house parent to seven girls ages 9 to 14. I learned so much about loving the unlovely, how to minister to the broken, and how to teach them to love God with our daily lives. After working there for a brief period of time, God led me to leave. I was so brokenhearted as I love my girls very much.

In the years following Jesus lead me to work in two other children’s homes. After that time, I took a break from full-time ministry and worked in office administration jobs.

After doing this type of work for 3 ½ years, God called me back to full-time children’s ministry. I was so excited! I went back to work at the first children’s home that I’d worked at when I was 21 years old. It was truly the happiest time of my life.

That February I attended a World Missions Conference that was so powerful and greatly impacted my life! While I was there I felt compelled to make sure I was once again fully surrendered to God and His Lordship over my life. God had given me such an amazing gift of bringing me back to this place of ministry, but I told Him that it was OK with me if He wanted to scrap the plans and send me to deepest, darkest Africa as a missionary. I wanted to be sure I was all in, with being wherever God wanted me to be. God didn't say anything to me that day, so I just continued on with life and was loving it. My relationship with God exploded to new levels. I was so on fire for God and passionate for Him. I was experiencing him in ways I never had before! I know this was a result of being fully surrendered to him.

One day that summer, I went swimming with seven of the girls who lived at the Children’s Home. After picking up my boss we headed into town to get snow cones.

As I was driving, I went off the road and when I came back on, the van hydroplaned and rolled several times. The girl who was sitting next to me in the passenger seat had a dislocated shoulder. My boss who was sitting in one of the seats behind me broke his arm, vertebrae and some ribs. The other six girls who were sitting with him in the back of the van were miraculously unhurt; they didn’t even have a scratch that required stitches. When the van rolled, the driver’s seat took the brunt of the impact. The roof of the van was leveled where I was sitting. I broke my neck and was instantly paralyzed from the chest down.

It would be an understatement to say that my life changed that day. I feel like I was taken out of one life and dropped in an entirely new one. Every single aspect of my world changed. I spent the entire first year in the hospital doing intense physical and occupational therapies. When I was discharged from the hospital my parents moved in with me so we could figure out how to live the quadriplegic life in the “real world,” outside of the hospital walls.

In the last 12 years I have often thought of my prayer to God at that world missions conference and feel that God, instead of sending me to deepest, darkest Africa, sent me to the wheelchair world … It has definitely taught and continues to teach me a lot and has expanded my sphere of ministry. When we go through hard things in life and make it through to the other side, God isn’t wanting us to forget it happen, or just keep it to ourselves. He wants to redeem it and use it for good. God doesn’t waste our pain. If we give it to Him and walk with Him through the healing process, He wants us to share our story with others, to give them the same comfort we have received from God.

Second Corinthians 1:3-5 says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, for who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

Our testimony is our greatest weapon against the enemy.

I heard a long time ago that if you speak from your mind, your intellect, you reach a person’s mind; if you speak from your heart then you reach a person's heart; if you speak from your life, your story then you reach a person’s life. And God is a life-changing God and we bring Him glory when we testify to the things He's done in our lives.

Because of the things I’ve had to endure I can now relate to people who have suffered much loss in life and gone through the grieving process; I can relate to people who suffer horrific, chronic pain; I can relate to people who have endured intense emotional pain and have found the healing that only comes from Jesus. But I also know what is like to have Jesus as my anchor of hope that is gotten me through every peak and valley, every twist and turn of this thing called life, and I can pass that same hope on to others. Because at the end of the day, I would rather be in this wheelchair with Jesus than walking and running without Him. He is so worth it.

Shonnie Moore earned a Christian counseling degree in 2014 and graduated in May with a master’s degree. She counsels women and children from a home office in College Station.

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