Lavish Cardiff’s June event was held at Bethany Baptist Church in Rhiwbina on a lovely sunny evening. The ladies of Bethany did a great job of hosting us – we have never had quite so many cakes to choose from.
Worship was led by Julie, a member of the Lavish team. Her worship was thought provoking and prepared us all for what Sue would share. The worship band was made up of ladies from different churches across the city.
Our speaker for the evening was Sue Hurrell who spoke powerfully about her story of life and what she had learnt from it. Sue had a Christian upbringing and her family’s focus was on education and the importance of working hard to succeed. She was a high achiever and did a degree and PhD in Cambridge.
Several things had happened that challenged her belief that if she worked hard she could achieve anything and tested her faith, but also made her realise she should depend on God. Firstly when she struggled to conceive a baby and went through IVF before becoming pregnant. But then another challenge faced her. Her daughter was born 3 weeks early via an emergency c-section and ended up in the special care unit. This was a very anxious time for her. Her daughter eventually came home, but there were still issues and they could not explain why. During this difficult time the prayers and support of her church was amazing. Her daughter was eventually diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Sue explained how when you have a new baby you can feel as if the possibilities for them are endless, but having a diagnosis of disability causes those horizons to crash in. She said she had amazing health care professionals around her who enhanced the positives of her daughter’s progression. Sue described her daughter as having incredible strength. As a family they have tried never to let their daughter’s disability hold her back.
They had a key moment when a leaflet dropped through the door from a family looking for support for their child to have some innovative surgery in the US. Sue and her husband explored this for their daughter and through support they raised enough money to pay for the surgery on her spine. She said how a friend sent her a message during the 4-hour surgery suggesting she should listen to the song ‘Strength will rise as you wait upon the Lord’. She realised her strength could only come from God. After the surgery her daughter was soon able to take some steps using a walker and she shared the joy of her having muddy feet for the first time.
Sue shared how she realised she could use her skills and experiences to advocate and help other parents get what they need for their children. She also started a charity to support parents who are looking into the same spinal surgery, and continues with lots of campaigns for things that will improve the quality of life for children with disabilities and their families. She reflected that these skills are a gift from God and her calling is to use them. She reflected that God’s kingdom is an upside-down kingdom where the weak are strong and Jesus’s table has the disabled and marginalised people sat in the best seats. This is a powerful reminder of the individual nature of God’s love and how he doesn’t see the disability, but sees us all as equals.
Thank you Sue for sharing your story with us and the ladies of Bethany for hosting us.