Revelations at Chuck E. Cheese

by Emily Shanahan

 “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.

And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’ Also he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true’”

(Revelation 21:4-5, NIV).


During my fifth birthday party, I began to accept that I was differently enabled due to cerebral palsy. My friends could run to whatever diversion they wanted to experience whereas I had to ask my uncle to carry me to each location. My guests could chow down on their pizza at any given moment, but I had to wait on my mom to cut it up for me. This revelation sent me spiraling emotionally for three days.

On the third day, I heard a song by Joni Eareckson Tada called, Gonna Go to Heaven. The lyrics horrified my mom. “Some people think they’ll spend forever pushing up the grass. But I believe I have a date to leave this earth at last. That graveyard is just a place to hang this old suit to dry. And with a brand-new body, I will spread my wings and fly.”

I stopped her as she turned to pause the CD. “No Mommy! Don’t turn it off! Listen! Listen! I won’t be stuck in this body forever. Someday I will be in heaven having a party with my best friend, Jesus. I have a message in my brokenness and I can tell other people about him.”

I did not fully grasp it then, but hearing that song, Gonna Go to Heaven, changed my life. I realized this body and this life were not all there was.

Based on Revelation 21:4-5, I discovered tangible hope can be found in the person of Jesus Christ. Whether trapped in a broken body, tangled in a complicated relationship, or in a confusing life circumstance, I have learned that God loves to take our broken circumstances and transform them into something beautiful for his glory.

As writers, Jesus can use the power of our written stories to help further the Gospel message of His Kingdom. When we offer our willing hearts to obey him, God creates an eternal impact. From the surrendered parts of our brokenness expressed in writing, the Lord can turn someone else’s heart toward him.

Lord, please pick up the pen of my life. Help me surrender my brokenness to you and watch the redeemed beauty unfold. Write redemption over the broken parts of my story and provide an opportunity to reflect your glory. Amen.


Emily Shanahan headshot
Emily Shanahan

Emily Shanahan is the founder and chairwoman of Empowering the Differently Enabled. Emily’s life verse is John 9:1-3. Emily earned a BA in Communication Arts from Cedarville University in 2011 and a Masters of Arts in Christian Ministry from Anderson University in 2017. Meet Emily virtually at

10 thoughts on “Revelations at Chuck E. Cheese”

  1. What a beautiful reminder that we can all be a pen in the Lord’s hand and give other people hope,regardless of our circumstances

    1. Exactly,Maria! Thank you for your eloquent words! God loves to take our brokenness, transforming it into His Beauty for His Glory! Writing is one way to share those transformed gifts with others! I hope the Lord used this devotional to point you to Him! May Jesus richly bless your own writing Journey in 2022,Maria! 💜 Revelation 21:4-5💜

    1. You are so welcome, Diana! Thank you for your kind words of encouragement! I hope The Lord used this devotional to point you towards Him! May the Lord richly bless your own writing journey in 2022! Revelation 21:4-5

  2. Emily:
    Beautifully written.
    I love your heart of insight and one of surrender at such a young age of 5. 🙂
    Your kingdom moment lead me to mine for which I am eternally thankful.
    Keep up the joyful journey God has in place for your future.
    Looking forward to reading about more Heavenly moments God has written into your life….ones that take you to life’s edge – Jesus be my hedge and hilarious ones at that!

    Proud of you,


    1. WOW,Mom! I don’t even know what to say to your comment except that I feel very loved, humbled, blessed, encouraged, and instructed by your words! I’m so tickled purple and thankful that God gave me you as a Mom! Thank you for teaching me what it means to love the Lord your God with all your mind,heart,soul, and strength! You are one of my favorite adventure buddies whom Jesus ever gave me! I love you and I’m so very grateful to Jesus for you,Mom! 💜 Deuteronomy 6:4-9

  3. Emily, I love the way you share your store, for God’s glory. Your life and story continues to be a light in many lives, just like that song was in your life! I have always been grateful for your gift of your friendship.

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