Chantal Huinink introduces herself better than I could in the following post, so I will leave that to her. I do, however, want to welcome her as one of the primary new bloggers here at the Disability & Faith Forum. Chantal has worked alongside Christian Horizons for a number of years, but only recently became the Coordinator of Organizational and Spiritual Life. We are thrilled not only to embrace her gifts within Christian Horizons, but to have the opportunity to share her gifts with you on this forum and elsewhere.
Keith Dow, Manager of Organizational and Spiritual Life at Christian Horizons
I am a Christian, a daughter, a niece, a cousin and friend. I am an author, a speaker and social justice advocate. I am a swimmer, a sports enthusiast, a music lover and traveler. I am a student and surprisingly, a professional. I am both serious and silly. I am also a woman with a physical disability. This brief interview from the Global Access 2015 conference describes a bit of my ongoing journey. It has been one of discovery and integration of multiple facets of my identity. This process has enabled me to live more and more into who God has created me to be and the purposes which he has created me for.
The more I have opened myself up to being all of who God has created me to be, rather than simply emphasizing the aspects of myself which are more easily explained or seem to be more well-liked, the more opportunities for ministry and belonging I have been able to enjoy.
One of the most important things I have learned is that the various aspects of my identity are not mutually exclusive. Therefore, I do not have to be a woman with a disability without being a swimmer, music lover or a professional at the same time. Given my “disabilities,” there have been those who have discouraged me from making lofty goals or pursuing my dreams, for fear that I or they may be disappointed. Thankfully, the voices of my Christ centered advocates, role models, mentors and supporters have been louder. I know that every challenge or opportunity I have been given has played a role in preparing me for the roles that I have now. Likewise, I suspect the roles I have now are preparing me for who God wants me to become and the way in which he desires me to serve in the future!
There is not a single soul that fits neatly into a box. Rather, each unit fits uniquely into a puzzle and each of us is necessary to complete the beautiful picture of community within God’s creation. Regardless of any person’s abilities or challenges, it is important to remember that all people are comprised of multiple characteristics. Further, there is no role that is insignificant, especially in light of the fact that it may be preparation for something to come.
“So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Cor. 10:31)