Educating others about disabilities

By Mike Messersmith - Guest columnist

Mike Messersmith

Mike Messersmith

A young Mike Messersmith.

For many years I have strived to bring the word of God to individuals and groups through an informal effort I call I’m Not Broken Ministries. It started out as an endeavor to educate people about those of us with disabilities, and how God allows us to live full and meaningful lives.

As I have cerebral palsy, I am among the 1.7 million Ohioans living with some form of physical, emotional or developmental disabilities. When I originated my ministry, I felt that my goal was to simply use the word of God to encourage others struggling with such limitations.

Through the course of time, I realized that it was even more important that I worked to narrow the informational gap of those unaware of the realities we face.

It was my realization that I needed to encourage those unfamiliar with disabilities to focus on the whole person, not just the physical or emotional limitations that may cause people to make assumptions and underestimate capabilities.

In my childhood, I was taught that the presence of a disability did not mean that we are not to strive for as much independence and self-sufficiency as circumstances allow. I came to understand that God intended for me to use my disability as a tool for accomplishing good.

I was taught that mindset by my parents who provided unconditional love and support, along with firm and clear expectations that the limitations imposed upon me by my medical condition were just that – limitations – not an exemption from the need to do all I could for myself.

This is part of how I see my role a servant of God. We learn early in life that God made us in His image, and yet He creates us as individuals with a variety of talents. It is then up to each of us as Christians to go forth into the world and take the word of God to those who have not yet been so blessed.

Mike Messersmith Messersmith

A young Mike Messersmith. young Mike Messersmith.

By Mike Messersmith

Guest columnist

The writer is the founder of I’m Not Broken Ministries.

The writer is the founder of I’m Not Broken Ministries.