"Frozen" is more than a blockbuster Disney movie. It's the headline for this record-busting winter in much of the United States.
Any time I hear myself starting to whimper over the long freeze, I think "Boston." Some 100 inches of snow in just a few weeks!
But out of those snowdrifts comes this really cool story. With a big shot of hope to people who've gotten slammed in their life.
Crystal Evans lives near snow-buried Boston. A winter like this could put her life on hold. But Crystal didn't get that memo.
She needs her wheelchair to get around because of the neuro-muscular disease she has. And she needed to get to the post office.
Wheelchair. Lots of snow. Ain't gonna happen.
Really? Crystal put a snow shovel between her footrest, rolled her chair and cleared a path as she went!
Then she looked back and realized what she, her wheelchair and her shovel had just accomplished. And then - "I can clear sidewalks for everybody!"
And she has - for over 100 hours so far since January! One place you can see her work is at a bus stop that was treacherous for mothers carrying small children and for elderly people. She cleared it so folks could get to a grocery store and a pharmacy.
And she's not the only snow angel in her town. Her efforts have inspired others to join her, some with their snowblowers.
She hasn't let a paralyzing winter stop her. She hasn't let a "disability" stop her.
She has instead found a way her limitations can be used to bless other lives. Her wheelchair - with a little help from her shovel - has become a snowplow, making a way for others.
She's modeled hope for anyone who feels "disabled" by what's happened to them. Disabled by a medical condition...by grief...by abusive treatment...by betrayal...by financial disaster.
Turn your hurt into hope for others.
The Bible says that something transforming happens when we open up our pain to the healing touch of God. He'll give "a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair" (Isaiah 61:3).
And the "crud" of our lives becomes "crudentials" to bring hope to other hurting people. "God is the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us" (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).
Pity party cancelled. No more "all about me." From now on, it's about how I can use the compassion that's come from my battles to lighten someone else's load. Walking the path Jesus did.
The One the Bible calls "the Savior of the world" left this earth with something He didn't come with. Scars. Nailprints in His hands and feet.
He is not a distant God, watching us bleed. He bled. For us. For me. I can trust this suffering Savior. I can take all the hurt, all the sadness, all the sin...and place it in those nail-scarred hands.
And - hanging onto Him - I can start using my hurts to help clear a way for someone else. Then, as God says, I become "more than a conqueror" (Romans 8:37)!