I have always heard about God’s faithfulness. Growing up in a church and a Christian home will do that. I’ve heard and read both the Bible stories and the missionary stories, and God’s faithfulness has become a fact, written in stone on my mind. Something I took for granted. Something I stopped noticing. And then I met Sarah Cauley, who made God’s faithfulness come alive again. What encouragement!
More about Sarah
Sarah is a ballroom dancer, a church volunteer, a receptionist, a generous friend, a prayer warrior. Sarah also has cerebral palsy. It is through the pain, Sarah says, she has learned of God’s faithfulness, and how gentleman-like His is. Through the pain, and through the dancing.
When Sarah was five, she knew she would have a harder life. Yet she recognized that despite any circumstances of the world, Jesus would always be there for her. She saw the joy and peace her parents had, and knew it was from Jesus. “It was just that simple. It’s not any more detailed or extravagant. I just asked Him in, from the side of my bed. He came into my heart and He’s never left me since.”
Cerebral palsy and God’s faithfulness
Sarah says that it is because of her cerebral palsy that she has learned God’s faithfulness these past 30 or so years. “I am a walking example of His faithfulness. I wasn’t supposed to live. I was born three months premature, and that’s how I got CP. It’s a condition, it isn’t a disease. It’s very much like a stroke, as it’s instant and permanent. Your muscles are really tight, and you have literally no control over it. By the time I ask my body to do something, the message from my brain to that specific body part is completely different. So, I basically fight against myself to do anything.”
“The last two years have probably been the hardest, actually, of my spiritual walk, due to change in job and money, and having to live on a lot less, but I’m finding that in everything He’s still faithful.” I asked her to expound on that. “He never leaves us, no matter what. And no matter what people choose to say about believing God, and as cliché as is sounds, I tell people that Jesus is my best friend. He is so faithful, even if it’s not in the way, or what, we ask for. He is such a gracious Father and He truly knows what’s best for us, even when we think we know what’s best for us.”
As a triplegic, Sarah is familiar with dependence. She cannot drive a car. She cannot curl her hair. “My life is a planned event, from getting to work to going to the grocery store, to a million things.” But Sarah isn’t a fan of being dependent. “The less I ask help, the better. But then, in the last few years, my friends have started to point out to me that by not letting them help me, it robs them of serving. My friends are like, ‘We want to help you, not because you have cerebral palsy, but because we love you.’ ” Receiving, Sarah confided, is still a struggle, but she’s getting there.
And although she’s not a great receiver yet, she loves to serve. “I will do anything for anyone, whether it’s cooking, baking, being there on the phone, or giving of what God has given me financially to help someone else.” Sarah lamented that she couldn’t babysit, be a part of a friend’s moving crew, or scrub the baseboards in the house of a friend who is moving, but she has found other ways to serve. She continued, “I can find out what you’re struggling with and walk beside you and pray for you in that. I know sometimes physically I can’t do as much for people as I would like to, but I know I can pray for them.”
Dependence is spiritual, more than physical
It would be easy for Sarah to become bitter or resentful, but she doesn’t. I could hear her joy right through the phone! Sarah has an incredible attitude and miraculous optimism. “I realize that I’ve been given so much. And there are people in this life who can’t feed themselves or dress themselves, and I can do that.” Sure, there are still rough days. But Sarah sees the tension between dependence and independence as more of a spiritual struggle than a physical one. Sarah has learned to depend on God, and she sees His faithfulness at every turn. “Being in constant pain is so very tiring. But the Lord is faithful still!” Her testimony about God, even in the midst of her pain, is an encouragement to me. It’s just more evidence that God will be faithful to me, too, despite what my circumstances scream.
God and dancing
A conversation about God’s faithfulness was familiar to me, even His faithfulness through trying, painful times. Sarah caught me off guard, though, when she talked about God as a gentleman. Look at these parallels she has drawn between God and a gentleman dancing partner:
“He’s the most perfect gentleman that there could be. He respects us, He calls us gently, He doesn’t force us into anything… It’s like when a gentleman comes over and they ask you to dance. He comes over and asks us, and he respectfully waits for us to say yes. And he will lead us gently and quietly onto the ballroom floor. And we have to follow his leading. If we don’t, we get off time and then we stumble and fall, but he’s right there to pick us up and to start over. We have to let him lead.
Following God’s lead
“Once I know my choreography, I’m so focused on what comes next that, sometimes, I forget that I’m
dancing with someone else! And my partner’s just like, “Wait a minute, wait a minute, I’m in charge, not you. And I think that correlates to our walk with Christ, too. That we forget sometimes that God is in charge, and we just go ahead and do something and we find out that maybe that wasn’t the wisest choice. You’d think after thirty years walking with Christ, and seven years as a dancer, I’d get that concept in both areas of my life, but I don’t.”
We are all learning, aren’t we? God wants us to wait for His leading and timing, and although it isn’t easy He calls us to grow in obedience. Often, following God is hardest when times are tough—Sarah has plenty of experience with that. And yet there is a truth Sarah clings to that gives her hope even when life is just plain hard:
“Even through times that are not so great, He can still be glorified through that. And that’s what I just have to trust in, because in the moments where I don’t feel like it’s going well, spiritually, or physically, or both, that somehow, even through the hard moments, God can still be glorified. And that gives me encouragement to go along.”
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