August 14, 2023
Today I wanted to share with you about my wife and me, our family, and specifically my youngest daughter, Danielle. She uses a wheelchair, has peace with it, and reaches out to assist and encourage others with disabilities. I’ve discovered that her reduced mobility can provide a valuable perspective to everyone trying to live life to the fullest. But first, allow me to set the stage for her introduction.
Typically, people know me as one who explains the raging spiritual battle. I do my best to reveal Satan, giants, fallen angels, Nephilim, and demons who seek our demise. I teach that these unseen forces are at war in the spiritual realm, bringing about devastating events. (See Roots of the Kingdom) They rage against human liberty, which often causes panic and destructive behaviors. These are at the root of the clash between good and evil. This is important in understanding our world, how it works, and why there are some “glitches in the system.”
Because I so often write about good and evil, it may seem like a contradiction that my goal is to encourage abundant life for you. Honestly, I want to make your life in this fallen world less complicated. I aim to give you the understanding and tools to face difficulty with courage and resilience.
“What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?”
GEORGE ELIOT, as quoted in Quotes That Will Change Your Life, p. 202, Edited by Russ Kick
It’s out of necessity that I tell about good and evil. Training our senses to distinguish between the Lord’s goodness and the evil of spiritual darkness is critical.
Hebrews 5:14 But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to distinguish between good and evil.
Why is it essential to perceive good and evil? Distinguishing between the contrasting poles is a mature Christian activity. Discerning between good and evil paths can provide a less difficult, less burdened, and more peaceful life! Remember, God adores us, and Jesus came so that we can experience abundant life. He wants to make our lives less painful despite the unavoidable stresses and trials we often encounter. Jesus said…
Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is comfortable, and My burden is light.”
All the words and thoughts I use to expose evil do not reveal my heartthrob. Stating my purpose succinctly, my deep-down motive for writing is to give you more insight to live life abundantly. All humans have brokenness in this bent and shattered world. Sometimes, situations in life sting. But fortunately, God offers a contrast to the friction and coercion that evil causes. Our loving God inspires us to assist and encourage each other during the burdens of life.
Galatians 6:2 Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.
Yes, the Lord Jesus wants His friends to have abundant life while they live in this world.
John 10:10b I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
This blog is a testimony that shows people have cared for my wife Linda and me amid our trials, providing us with a more abundant life. We may not be perfect models of endurance and fortitude, but we know what it’s like to receive help when struggling with the hurdles and predicaments in life. All of God’s people can make others’ lives more meaningful and less difficult.
A wise lifestyle is to remain faithful to Yahweh, avoid evil, follow God’s good and loving path, and enable others to have less stress by caring for them. We’ve received love from people of this sort and are grateful for it. Accordingly, we would like to credit others for their good works.
Glenn & Linda’s Testimony
I may talk in theory often, but not here. In this case, I speak from experience. Others have enabled us to live with less difficulty. Please allow us to share our story with you.
Linda and I were married in 1979, and our first son was born in 1981, about eight years before my daughter Danielle came along. We were fortunate to be walking with the Lord when Grant was born because we needed God’s help. At birth, he had a congenital disability called Spina Bifida. It’s a condition where the spine and spinal cord don’t form properly, causing paralysis and other bodily dysfunctions.
Many Christians say God is in control. But I don’t believe our loving Creator caused our firstborn to have an open, unfused spine with exposed tissues and nerves. This condition had its roots elsewhere, not from anything our faithful and just God had done. Instead, it happened because His love gives liberty, and He does not typically overrule it. Through caring people, God offered some solutions for us in the early years of our marriage.
Although we were young Christians with little knowledge, Linda and I were blessed to absorb some insight from the Bible that applied to our situation.
Sources of Tragedies
The passage I refer to is found in the book of John, in an episode where Jesus encountered a blind man. His disciples asked Him who had sinned that he was born blind – the man or his parents? Jesus said he nor his parents sinned; it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.
John 9:3 Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”
This has been a helpful verse to me. God gave us the wisdom to know He didn’t do this to us because of something in our nonbelieving past (Linda and I both became believers in our early 20s). I knew I had done things wrong, but this verse reassured me of God’s love and forgiveness.
Because neither the man nor his parents had caused the blindness, many assume the Lord caused it. While I don’t believe God was to blame, it’s evident that the works of God were displayed when He healed the blindness. What might have caused the inability to see? Various influences can cause disabilities and sickness that are not from God.
Let’s look at just one of those influences. When Job suffered from a tragedy, we know God did not cause it. Satan initiated the collapse in Job’s family and other matters, hoping to pull Job away from a relationship with God. (Job 1:6-22) Then, Yahweh used the occasion to restore Job, (Job 42:12), which displayed the works of God.
Also, part of Yahweh’s works during Job’s occasion influenced the book of Job to be available, to expose the devil. In other words, God pulled the curtain back to let us see what sometimes happens in the heavenly realm. Discerning Job’s experience matters because our thoughts form attitudes that influence how we handle our brokenness.
Conversely, not all accidents or tragedies can be attributed to the cause of unseen evil entities. Many human actions and events also bring about devastating occasions. Terrible things can happen when we are ineffective stewards of Earth. God gave us the Dominion Mandate to care for this world, and He does not revoke it. Sometimes, people, animals, and the rest of God’s creation can suffer from the hazardous conditions humans bring to pass on Earth.
This fallen world causes us to experience unintended negative consequences, whether from spiritual entities or human-caused events. But we have an alternative to being bitter and angry about our situation. We can buy up the opportunities to display His works through our lives. We are His hands and feet. We can endeavor to have attitudes that mitigate human brokenness so that life is less difficult.
Raising a Family
Let’s return to Linda’s and my world after Grant’s birth. Our son was born with a congenital disorder. It was no doubt caused by one of the abovementioned anomalies. What were we to do? We cried out to God. Our family, friends, and church uplifted us in prayer and gave us practical help, easing our circumstances. We were mightily blessed between what had been divulged to me from Scripture and the loving attention given by our acquaintances. Many people reached out to us and made our lives more abundant because of it.
We often felt the peace that passes understanding as we nurtured our children. We felt loved and significant because of all the care we had received from others.
Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and pleading with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Grant thrived; he walked with leg braces and crutches, and his smile lit up the room he entered.
We went on to have our son, Nathan, and daughter, Eva, free from physical disabilities. We did our best to treat each child equally and raise them according to their personalities and capabilities. Our state of affairs gave Linda and me high hopes for our fourth child, waiting to be born. We were upbeat and excited to be raising our young family despite the nuances of having a child with a disability.
Fast forwarding to 1989, we routinely visited the midwives to examine our unborn fourth child, and all seemed fine. Despite that, Linda went into labor two weeks early and noticed some unexpected amniotic fluid. We called Booth Memorial’s Birth Center, where we had planned for a midwife to deliver. They requested us to come in immediately to do an ultrasound.
That’s when they saw Danielle had Spina Bifida. Linda was now high-risk, so they suggested we revise our plans and deliver at University Hospital in Cleveland, OH. By going there, UH’s Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital could subsequently care for our baby in the days following birth. That’s the same hospital that took care of Grant after his birth. Following some anxious and worried hours, Danielle was born.
At that time, almost a decade after having Grant, the reality of having another disabled child settled in my thoughts in an entirely different, not-so-welcoming way. You may see my problem, dear reader, revealed in Philippians 4. We should not be anxious about anything, but I was.
I was crushed at the reality of having a second child with Spina Bifida. Spiritually, I had to seek more profoundly than I ever had before. I began a journey to learn many things, some of which are in this writing. I found that only faith in God’s goodness and the care of kind people would take us through this challenging life event.
Attempting to gain perspective, I learned that the apostle Paul had some physical disorder. He mentioned a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan that he struggled with. Although he asked for healing three times, God denied his request. Paul performed miracles for others; even a handkerchief or cloth that had touched Paul’s skin might heal their diseases. (Acts 19:12)
The heart-stirring apostle learned that God’s grace must be sufficient for his disability. I realized that if a person of Paul’s spiritual status struggled with an infirmity, then millions of God’s other followers would tread similar paths. Accordingly, I was given a verse less exciting but just as noteworthy as the one I received after Grant’s birth.
2 Corinthians 12:8-9a Concerning this I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”
I also fortunately had Linda, who never wavered a bit in embracing our family scenario. In this circumstance, I confess that only time and God’s grace carried me through. As life progressed, I was encouraged. After all, we still had our family, friends, and church that lavished us with good works done in kindness. Sometimes, just a caring word of encouragement made life better.
As Danielle blossomed, Linda and I increasingly saw God’s lovingkindness in our family. As time passed, our little girl grew in ways nobody could have imagined. Through various experiences, she became a wheelchair dancer, an able artist, a loving friend, a faithful sister, and an inspirational daughter.
At present, Danielle has a career assisting others as a client care specialist at a regional durable medical equipment company. Her responsibility is to ensure proactive communication between clients and insurance companies. She also assists with the company’s newsletter and optimizes its social media presence.
It’s not my intention to make it sound like I know all about life’s problems and why they happen. But I do admit that I seek answers to the questions people ask about life, particularly the ones that shatter, disappoint, and depress them. I do my best to provide an accurate take on this fallen world from my experience and study. It would be irresponsible to withhold my thoughts and opinions meant to inform and encourage others.
While writing this narrative, my daughter Eva and I discussed the best way to put all this into words. As one of Danielle’s best friends, she verbalized mature insight about our whole family experience. We discussed that disabilities happen as a reality of this world, and just as with any bad situation, they can be used for good, to the glory of God.
Eva said, “God wants us to have an abundant life, but part of it is our attitude and choice to make the best of our circumstances. I think your point is that Danielle has done just that? You’re sharing her story and all that she’s accomplished as an example that just because we may have less favorable situations, it does not mean our lives are not abundant. Instead, it’s quite the opposite. As seen with Danielle – because of the opportunity others took to bless us, that you and Mom took in training Danielle, and that Danielle has taken personal responsibility in, her life is quite abundant!”
Wow, I could not have said it better than Eva. Thank goodness for the wisdom of the whole body of Christ. All of us have valid additions and contributions we can make. In this description of our experience, I’ve used the input of Linda, Eva, and Danielle. I hope this short recounting of a facet of our family life has encouraged you, dear reader.
One of my desires is to provide you with a balanced perspective on the contrasts between good and evil. So often, people attribute to God the evil that Satan and the kingdom of darkness bring about. Or, they ignore the responsibility of the Dominion Mandate given by God to care for Earth. These examples of the undesirable use of free will – by unseen entities and human agency – show that God does not micromanage His creation. God influences us in various ways but rarely forces us to do His will. He loves us so much that He allows our liberty and freedom to act.
Evil happens, but laying the blame on Satan or the dark kingdom alone can be inaccurate. And, we often don’t recognize the incredible responsibility God gave us as stewards of this world – one He will not usurp from us. Our management of Earth is a deeply spiritual imperative God blessed us with. So often, the forces of darkness cause us to take our eyes off the guardian and caretaker roles we must fulfill for the land, air, and sea.
In this narrative, I aim to uphold Yahweh’s stellar character and steadfast love amid confusion in this world. I’ll close with one of my favorite, most quoted verses because it summarizes our world scene. How else could the battle in the unseen realm be happening unless God does not control the free will of earthly and heavenly agents?
Ephesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Get to Know Danielle
Danielle herself would not appreciate me gloating over her life with excessive accolades. She’s just living life and trying to find her way in a realm hijacked by Satan. He’s the god of this world, the prince of the power of the air. (2 Corinthians 4:4 and Ephesians 2:2) The devil’s persuasion sometimes influences us to take our eyes off the duties God gave us.
Please allow a case in point for why knowing and discerning the roots of good and evil is essential.
Over the years, Danielle has learned to distinguish between goodness and wickedness. Not that she has “arrived”; none of us have. But the fall of Satan, the incursion of the Watcher Angels, the Nephilim, demons, and the spiritual war all provide believers with knowledge of the matrix of this world. Also, she knows our responsibility to be stewards for the Lord. I realize people accept these concepts to varying degrees. I don’t intend to impose my ideas on Danielle. However, she has given me insight into some of her beliefs.
I’ve learned that the above perspectives and other insights have increased her knowledge of how God works. She does not feel God caused her situation, nor does He wish for her life to be difficult, but abundant. She has shared that she can turn to Him for comfort and love when life gets frustrating, instead of being mad at God.
Having learned God’s concern for all humans stimulates her to do the work she does daily in her career and her free time. Danielle has told me she loves thinking of her disability as a gift that has instilled a different perspective on life instead of a burden! She has embraced her wheelchair as an opportunity to serve and encourage others facing life challenges.
1 Peter 4:10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.
God does not always take away our thorn in the flesh. But by accepting His grace, and the grace others bestow on us, life can be less difficult. The Lord has inspired us to work within the human realm, using our talents and gifts to cooperate with Him. Humans can please God by doing the things we enjoy and are gifted at, thereby reducing others’ burdens during the trials of this world.
“Mostly, our lot is to work and relate to others with attitudes that please the Lord. In that way, we make lifestyle contributions in the spiritual battle.” (Roots of the Kingdom, Page 13)
We all have different gifts that can propel us into the marketplace, to assist others to gain a more abundant life. Our service to fellow imagers of God can be guided by our natural talents, the skills we develop, our efforts, and the initiative we exert. We can serve Jesus by being fruitful stewards over a portion of the earth by serving or enabling others. Each of us can develop unique talents and ways to do good works for others that make life less difficult.
I always enjoy hearing your thoughts. Feel free to email me at Glenn@GlennLMarx.com.
Please check out Danielle’s social media below, and until next time, all the best to you.
Danielle’s Social Media
Are you interested in knowing more about Danielle? About how she lives life using a wheelchair? She was recently a guest on a podcast, which can be found on Spotify. Also, she has a YouTube channel called Daniellability and a presence on Instagram and Facebook. One of my favorites as Danielle’s Dad is her video where she swims with dolphins. Ever since she was a little girl, she has passionately loved these beautiful aquatic mammals with a permanent smile!
Here’s a two-part video you may enjoy – “Q&A With My Parents”