By Miriam Rossow and Melissa Barber
Melissa Barber is a young lady who desires to grow closer to Jesus. She desires to know who Jesus is and see Him work in her life. She has been involved in BSF for three years now and enjoys the strong Christian women that surround her at BSF every week.
She enjoys learning from them and hearing how God is working and leading them in their lives. In turn, she is able to share with them how Jesus has worked in her life, which for many of us seems very hard.
Melissa was born with Cerebral Palsy that was caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain when she was born. Cerebral Palsy, or CP for short, is a general term describing conditions that cause movement problems and can range from being very mild to very severe. In Melissa’s case, her CP is mild and affects her speech and some muscle control.
Melissa recalls growing up in a home that did not attend church regularly. She always felt there was something missing in her life. When Melissa was 7 or 8 she remembers a friend taking her to church.
When she was 10 or 11, she got involved in an after-school program called Kids’ Club at her school where they would tell Bible stories every week. The Lord spoke through the people in her life and called her to Him.
Listen to Melissa tell how she views life and lives her life for Jesus.
I try to live my life by Philippians 4:13, which states, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me” (KJV). I believe that God made me the way that I am for a purpose; I may not know what that purpose is for me yet but through faith in Him, He shows me His will for my life.
I have good days and bad, more bad than good, but I believe that He is showing me things through my struggles and trials. I never let my disability get the better of me nor do I want anyone to take pity on me just because I have a disability. I don’t really think of myself as having a “disability”, actually I never really did.
I may not know what that purpose is for me yet but through faith in Him, He shows me His will for my life.
CP is just something I was born with; it doesn’t define who I am as a person or how God sees me. I’m very thankful to my parents who taught me to be very independent and to always try my best in whatever I do. As a result, I always strive to be a very independent woman.
That’s why driving was a big deal to me and was one of my bigger goals in my life since many people with CP do not have the ability to drive. Every day I thank God for the abilities and strengths that I do have versus those that I don’t.
CP is just something I was born with; it doesn’t define who I am as a person or how God sees me.
As I previously stated, I have my bad days when I get totally frustrated and angry at myself for not being able to do something as simple as buttoning a shirt or another simple task when I know that I can, but my fingers just won’t cooperate in that moment.
I used to get upset and impatient with myself but I’ve learned that getting upset won’t help accomplish anything productive. So I would find ways to adapt, like taking a rubber band or hair tie and looping it through the buttonhole while having the button around it to pull it through the buttonhole.
In little moments like those, I thank God for giving me a clever mind to work through things to come up with alternative methods of doing things. When I do have good days, I think that I praise Him even more for just being so good and patient with me because I’m not always a patient person.
I thank God for giving me a clever mind to work through things to come up with alternative methods of doing things.
Just as a little tidbit, I have always wanted to write a book about my life and growing up with CP and the struggles that I face. Maybe someday I’ll get the ability to do so, but that is all in God’s precious timing!
Bible Study Fellowship meets on Wednesday mornings at St. Luke from 9:15-11:30. If you are interested in joining there are introductory classes on the first Wednesday of each month.