I was born 2 ½ months prematurely and have cerebral palsy as a result.
As a young child, it didn’t bother me much to be different, except when my younger sisters started doing things I couldn’t, like walk.
Then I would get frustrated, but my parents were good at focusing me on my strengths and helping me develop those. Some adults nick-named me “Sunshine” because I seemed so cheerful.
In my teenage years, it became a lot harder. I was more aware of what I couldn’t do. It was especially hard when I turned 16, because I longed to be more independent and to be able to drive, like my peers. But the Lord was faithful to bring some amazing people into my life. One was the choir director at the Christian High School I attended part time in my junior and senior year. Those two years are still among my fondest memories. It was a huge step of faith for her to take me on, but my mom would go on the choir tours with us and some of the guys would carry me on and off the bus, and help get my wheelchair on and off stage.
I also went with groups to some of the school dances, including the prom, and my parents had a Bible study in their home for the choir students. I felt so accepted.
The Lord also provided the opportunity for me to audit Bible classes and choir for 2 years at Concordia University and 2 years at Vanguard University.
I had struggled with depression for years, but it wasn’t diagnosed until after a trip to Europe with my family in 2002. That trip was fun, but also physically and emotionally exhausting for me. (Europe isn’t wheelchair friendly.) I admitted myself into a psychiatric unit of a local hospital for a few days. The Lord ministered to me, and through me, in some amazing ways, and one good thing that came out of it is my parents learned about conservatorship and, with my approval, were able to establish some protection for me.
The post college years have been very lonely at times, and I still wish I could drive, but the Lord has provided some great roommates, Bible
study leaders and paid helpers who help me to have an active life. I also enjoy my Goldendoodle dog, Abby.
I have always listened to the Bible on CD, but recently I’ve really been motivated to read the Bible with my eyes. My mom told me that she prayed for years that I’d be able to read the Bible with my eyes, but then she decided it wasn’t the Lord’s will, and gave up asking. I told her all those past prayers must be catching up to me! She said this taught her to keep praying as long as there’s a heart’s desire. God may just be saying “wait” instead of “no”.
My dad has been great at helping me with mechanical things and home maintenance. I’ve also been learning valuable lessons like the importance of budgeting.
I find that God’s Word soothes my soul and helps me cast away distracting or disturbing thoughts. I also use music as a type of therapy or journal, listening to songs that capture my emotions, helping me to release stress or just rejoice. It also helps my tense muscles to relax, bringing some physical relief.
My disability helps me to relate to other people in difficult circumstances, such as the homeless or the elderly, or other disabled people. I can’t say that I would choose to be this way, but I’m thankful that God is able to bring good out of it. And I look forward to having a perfect body in heaven!