I’m a terrible speller, I don’t always say the right thing, but the best part is that I am also in a wheelchair.
Weaknesses. We all have them, but rarely do you hear someone boasting about them. In fact, most of us view them as negative things and try to hide them. The resumé we present to the world is filled with all of our strengths and abilities. Author, speaker, Miss Wheelchair Canada Miss Kindness World. But how much sweeter to hear that I’m a writer when I struggle with English in general. OR that I am Miss Wheelchair Canada when for YEARS I struggled with insecurities and low self esteem.
You see I’ve learned that God sees my life with all its failures and weaknesses and says, I can use that.
“God, I’ll love and serve You with all of my heart.” That was my honest prayer. I remember telling God during my first year in Bible college that I would go through anything as long as I knew He was with me. I truly believed that with God all things were possible. After graduating from Bible college, I received an engagement ring from the love of my life. The day Vaughan asked me to marry him, I felt like the luckiest girl in the world.
One week to the day after Vaughan proposed, my life took a drastic turn. I started experiencing excruciating pain in my upper chest and back and was rushed to the hospital. I remember trying to roll over as I waited to see the doctor and not being able to move my legs. I knew something wasn’t right and cried out for the nurse. When I told her what was happening, she immediately wheeled me into the emergency ward. Every fifteen minutes, they came and checked my vital signs. I was losing feeling and movement so rapidly that the doctors were scared my lungs would stop working and they would lose me. By evening, I was paralyzed from the chest down had a feeding tube inserted and I lost the use not use of my right arm. No one knew what was wrong. Terrified and overwhelmed with fear, I cried out, “God, I’m so scared!”
In that moment, I sensed Him say, I am with you always.
Knowing God was with me gave a peace I cannot explain. Over the days that followed, I was subjected to every test you can imagine. After about a month, the specialist gave me my diagnoses. “Vahen,” he said, “you have transverse myelitis, a virus that attacks the nerves of the spinal cord and causes paralysis. There is nothing we can do. From now on, you’ll require medical care and be dependent on a wheelchair. We’re going to send you to a facility where you’ll receive full-time support.”
With all the uncertainty surrounding my health, my biggest question was, “Do I still have a fiancé?” I knew I had to ask Vaughan if he still wanted to marry me. You can imagine my surprise when he said, “Vahen, I love you! God gave you to me. I’m not going to give you back now and say you’re not good enough.” So we began looking forward to our future together. I ignored the doctor’s prognosis and focused my attention on two things: my rehabilitation and planning our wedding—which included my walking down the aisle.
One year after the doctors said I would never walk again, with one of my parents on either side of me, I walked the aisle to meet my groom. Everyone was in tears to witness me reach my goal. When we were pronounced husband and wife, Vaughan swept me off my feet and carried me from the church. Although we began our life together a little differently than most married couples, we assumed that our biggest problems were behind us. We had no idea of the many challenges we’d face as a newlywed couple.
I had loved and served God my whole life. I believed in healing and expected great things from God. Even though this was a tough road, I knew He was with me. What I was not prepared for were the many times I would hear, “Maybe you’re not healed because there’s sin in your life,” or “You just don’t have enough faith.” I was completely blindsided. What did I do wrong? Does God not love me like I thought He did? Is that why all of this is happening? I found myself in unfamiliar territory—angry at God and all the well-meaning people who thought they were helping. I started to withdraw. From God and my husband. Marital challenges crept into our lives: financial stress, communication breakdown, a miscarriage, mistrust, and finally, my infidelity. My life had spun completely out of control.
I hit rock bottom. I confessed my infidelity to Vaughan in order to push him out of my life. I felt he deserved better.
“I forgive you,” he said.
It was something I never imagined hearing. He said that we both needed to take responsibility for our marriage failure and that he wanted to work on “us.”
But I was consumed with feelings of guilt and shame. I couldn’t see how he could ever really love and trust me again. When I finally reached a point of total desperation, thinking there was no hope for me, I cried out, “God, if You are real, help me. Change my bitter heart. I can’t live in this constant turmoil, consumed with shame and feeling unworthy of love or forgiveness.” I surrendered all my failures and weaknesses to God.
And that’s when He said, I can use that.
The choice to give God my weaknesses and failures and push forward has enabled me to reach beyond my wildest dreams. And now He is using my weakness as a platform of hope to be a woman of influence and it’s all for his glory. I am now an author, international speaker, ordained minister, and hold the title of first ever Miss Wheelchair Canada and Miss kindness world. This transformation was not an overnight operation, but I did have a heart transplant. God has totally transformed my life and my marriage. And the biggest blessing in it all, is that I now have undeniable peace, defiant joy and contagious courage.
And it’s because of my journey through brokenness that I founded Going Farther, and it is our vision to: Ignite hearts with hope, Empower the wounded and Equip the willing to go farther than they every thought possible. Why? Because that’s what happened for me.
We know life isn't easy and that many people are facing impossible challenges and paralyzing fear keeps them from moving forward. We understand that in order to take that first step, people need encouragement and support. We empower individuals to take that first step towards freedom. So, whether you need hope, inspiration, resources, or connections…Going Farther is there to help. To access resources and supports that we have available please visit https://goingfarther.org/
I want people to know that my success was not found in highlighting my strengths or “filtered” truths, but by surrendering them to God and boasting about His strength in me.
My challenge to you today is this, instead of trying to hide your weakness or failures, surrender them to God, so He can use you to help others and display His power. Because you know what? He is saying to you, what He has said to me. “I CAN USE THAT!” Allow Him to help you understand the strength of your weakness.
Vahen King is an author, international speaker and founder of a Non-profit organization "Going Farther.org" In 2017 Vahen was crowned the first ever Miss Wheelchair Canada and went on to win the prestigious title of Miss Kindness World. Vahen's courage is contagious, transparently she shares about her own abilities and self-worth. Her ultimate call to action is to encourage others to lean into discomfort, ditch our “I can’t” mentalities, and choose courage to overcome your own emotional and physical challenges to go farther. Are you Ready?