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How I Live with Disability: An Interview with Krista Horning

August 24–28, 2015   |   Vol. 124, Week 6

Disabilities can cause children to focus on what they can’t do, and can make them feel inadequate. But in her book, Just the Way I Am: God’s Good Design in Disability, Krista Horning shows that being weaker does not mean being less valuable. Find out more on today’s Home School Heartbeat.

“Life is not about a pretty face or arms that bend. Life is about being known and loved by God.”—Krista Horning

This Week’s Offer

If you enjoyed today’s program, then you might like Krista’s book, Just the Way I Am: God’s Good Design in Disability. Follow the link to find out more.

Have your children ever wondered why God allows disability into some people’s lives? Join homeschool graduate Krista Horning on today’s Home School Heartbeat, as she talks with Mike Farris about why this question hit especially close to home for her—and how she answers it.

Mike Farris: My guest this week is Krista Horning, who has written a book about her experience with a disability. Krista, it’s really good to have you on the program. Tell our listeners a little bit about yourself.

Krista: Well, thank you, Mike, again, it’s an honor to be here. I’m twenty-five years old, and live with my parents. I have Apert Syndrome, which causes abnormal growth of my skull, hands, and feet, and have lots of other problems with that, and after I finished homeschool, I volunteered and now work at a clinic that serves children with disabilities.  

Mike: Well, you have faced some true affliction with courage and grace. How have you been able to do that?

Krista: Well, I know that God made me, and loves me, and He’s in control of everything, including Apert Syndrome. He is my refuge and my strength, even when I’m sad and hurting, He’s with me. God is good and wise in treating me as He has, for earthly life with pain, and eternal life with joy. II Corinthians 4:17 says, “For the slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory, beyond all comparison.” I wrote the book to thank God for His greatness, and encourage people with these amazing truths.     

Mike: Krista, thank you so much for reminding us to trust God’s good design in everything.

Mike: Krista, you have had over 60 surgeries to correct the physical results of Apert Syndrome. You know what it is to feel weak. How has God encouraged you along the way?

Krista: When I was born—like, minutes after—I almost died. And so, at that moment, my parents committed to sowing my heart and mind with God’s Word. They didn’t know if I would understand, but trusted the Holy Spirit to do His work. God’s Word continues to teach me that He is good, and wise, He is faithful to all His promises, and He has a special plan and purpose for my life.

Mike: Krista, your story reminds me of II Corinthians 12:10 that says, “when I am weak, then I am strong.” How have you grown to see physical weakness as a blessing?

Krista: I don’t like weakness, but every day I am reminded of how weak I am. I can’t take my own shower, or make quick decisions, I need my parents’ help to even put my thoughts together, for an interview like this. But I love what God has done in my life because of it. God has used my weakness to teach me to depend on Him more.

Mike: Krista, thanks so much for your testimony that weaker really means indispensable.

Mike: Krista, I’ve heard that your church really has rallied around you and your family as you’ve dealt with your disability. How can our listeners help the people in their lives with disabilities, just like your church family has supported you?

Krista: Well, it starts with loving God. My pastor, John Piper, says “Love is the overflow of joy in God that meets the needs of others.” So many people have loved me, out of their joy in God. They’re the kind of people that can’t ignore suffering; they take risks and keep trying. They ask how to help. They come to my house, and hang out, since I can’t drive. They pick me up to go out for ice cream. They’re kind and patient, even when it takes me a little longer to respond. They’re honest about the pain. They cry with me and rejoice with me. They pray all night for me. They give my parents a break by caring for my daily needs when they’re away. They see my gifts and encourage me to use them. They can’t fully understand what I go through, but my friends and family are a picture of Christ’s love and mercy. They point me to Christ, where all my deepest needs are met.  

Mike: Krista, you had a lot of questions growing up about why you were facing a disability. What advice would you give to parents as they try to answer a similar question from their child?

Krista: My parents ask God for wisdom and strength every day. They’re honest with me about the reality of life with a disability in a broken, sinful world. Sometimes life just doesn’t seem fair. Surgery is painful. Some people don’t like me because I look different. Over and over, Mom and Dad lead me to God’s Word. It doesn’t make the hurts or the questions go away, but God’s Word fills my mind and heart with amazing truths. Like God is always with me, and He is faithful, and He is in control, and has a good plan for my life. Most of all, Apert Syndrome is not my biggest problem. My sin against God is a bigger problem than the suffering of my disability, or the rejection that I face. It says in Romans 5:8, “God shows His love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” God’s love in Christ answers my deepest questions and gives me hope for the future.

Mike: Krista, I’m just going to tell you that my wife is in a lot of pain every day from Lyme Disease. I can’t wait to play this tape for her.

Mike: Krista, your mom tells your story with great candor and obvious love for you. God’s personal, tender care for you and your family is so clear. Looking back, what overarching truth stands out to you the most?

Krista: I’ve experienced the suffering and sadness of disability. I’ve seen more and more of God’s greatness and tenderness. We’re all broken. Those in Christ are waiting for the day when He redeems our bodies. Until then, we hope in God.

Mike: The photographs throughout the book are concrete reminders of how we all bear God’s image. I want everybody to notice there are so many smiles. Krista, what message do you want to leave with our listeners as we close this week?

Krista:  The children in the book are smiling because they are loved. Life is not about a pretty face or arms that bend. Life is about being known and loved by God. I belong to Him, so I trust Him with all He has made me. He is my best friend and greatest joy. I love Him and He loves me, just the way I am.

Mike: Krista, my calculation says that this is my 565th program of Home School Heartbeat. Nothing has touched me like this one. This is an amazing story.

Krista: Thank you very much.

Mike: Bless you Krista. This is really something.

Krista: Thank you.

Krista HorningKrista Horning

Krista Horning lives near Minneapolis, Minnesota, with her parents and two siblings. After graduating from homeschool she began volunteering and now works part time at a clinic that meets the needs of children with disabilities.

Krista has a disability called Apert Syndrome, which causes abnormal growth in her skull, hands, and feet along with numerous other problems. She has endured over 60 surgeries.

Krista enjoys reading, writing, and helping people. Her 2010 book entitled Just the Way I Am: God’s Good Design in Disability sold out its first printing in one month.  Krista wrote the book to thank God for His grace in her life and to encourage people with the amazing truth that He is sovereign over all things, including disability.

Krista’s life verse is Jeremiah 29:11: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”

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