Florida Gators · Cerebral Palsy · Faith

🐊Heading Down to Gainesville🐊

“Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have, I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”
Acts 3:6

I read this verse earlier in the week, and it made me think of the last time I visited the Ville (as freshman quarterback Jake Allen refers to it). I thought I’d share this story since I’m on my way to Gainesville now!

 We’d come to town for a basketball game. On the day we left to go back home, I’d waited downstairs in the hotel dining area while my family went up to get our luggage. I’d been absentmindedly watching the news when I noticed a young man cleaning the table beside me. His name, I learned a moment later, was Cory. I said hello, and we got to talking. When I saw him glance at my walker, which sat right beside me, I explained about my cerebral palsy. He listened, and then asked if he could pray for me. I told him yes, thinking he meant he’d pray for me in private. To my surprise, he came over, and, after making sure it was alright, laid his hands on my leg braces and began to pray. He prayed for His healing, and for Him to help me walk on my own. I was touched by his kindness and I loved how open he was about his faith. His prayer made my day, and the thing was, my legs actually felt stronger once he finished. It reminded me just how strong our Lord is. It’s amazing what happens when someone professes their faith so openly, and goes out of his way to be kind to someone else.

Have you ever had someone ask to pray for you in public?

Cerebral Palsy · Faith

God is Within Her

“God is within her, she will not fall.”
-Psalm 46:5, NIV

I think I’ve written before about my fear of falling. It absolutely terrifies me, because I don’t have the ability to put my hands out and catch myself before I hit the ground. My cerebral palsy prevents those signals from being transmitted from my brain to my limbs. The best way I can think to describe the fear is that it feels like being in the ocean, with no way to come up for air. It’s that intense. It’s that scary.

I think part of the problem is that I can’t get up off the floor by myself. It’s something I’m working on learning how to do, but right now, I’m not strong enough to get up on my hands and knees and then pull myself up using my walker. That’s part of the source of the fear, because all I can picture is falling when I’m alone and hitting my head and then being stuck on the floor for hours because I can’t reach a phone.

Whenever that fear starts to overtake me, I lean on the words of Psalm 46:5: God is within her, she will not fall. I lean on those words, and I picture Jesus standing next to me with His arms outstretched, ready to catch me if I fall. My faith is my life vest when I feel like I’m drowning. Jesus brings me comfort, He gives me strength, and He gives me the courage I need to do whatever task it is I’m trying to accomplish.

What verse do you lean on when you’re afraid?

Cerebral Palsy · Faith

God is Stronger (Part 2)

Earlier, I wrote a post about how God is stronger than our fears, stress, and pain. This weekend made me realize something else: He is also bigger than my disability.

We spent the weekend at the lake, and yesterday, I asked my dad if I could go on a jet ski ride with him. Despite the fact that it would probably hurt their backs and that it would be difficult, he and my mom helped me get into the jet ski, which was… an ordeal. But my legs are so tight that I couldn’t ride it- the pain from the way it stretched me was too intense to bear.

It was frustrating. It was so, so frustrating. I hate it when my cerebral palsy prevents me from doing something I want to do- it makes me feel like my disability controls me. But I think what’s worse is the knowledge that no matter how much I stretch, how much physical therapy I have, or how much I wish I could change it, my battle with my disability is one I’ll always have to fight.

Long after the physical pain disappeared from my legs, the emotional pain remained. I was discouraged, I was upset, I was frustrated. I felt trapped and bound by my disability. I felt like I was a puppet and my disability pulled my strings. After a few minutes, I did the only thing I could think to do: I closed my eyes and prayed.

The night before, I had asked Him to help me overcome CP. I’d asked Him to walk with me as I learn how to live independently; I asked Him to carry me through it, because I can’t do it alone. So this time, I did something else: I thanked Him. I thanked Him for my family, my friends, the beautiful sunshine, His love, and His blessings. And as I prayed, I realized something: He was so much bigger than what I was feeling. He was bigger than my frustration, my pain, and my disability. I realized that while there are times when  I’m discouraged or frustrated, I’m never alone. He’s always right next to me, and He’s with me every day, every minute, every moment. And  I realized something else: He is so much bigger and stronger than my disability.

*Photo via Google

Cerebral Palsy · Faith

With God, All Things Are Possible

I have a crazy goal, one that only God can help me achieve.

I graduate from high school next year, and, since I was three years old, I have walked with a walker. But my goal for graduation is that I’ll be able to walk across the stage with crutches. Without anyone holding my shoulders, without being terrified. I want to walk independently with the crutches, and with total trust in the Lord that He will be with me, and keep His arms around me so I don’t fall.

I’ll be honest, it’s scary. Falling absolutely terrifies me, because my cerebral palsy prevents me from being able to catch myself, should I start to fall. It’s scary, but God is stronger. That’s what I remind myself every time my fear overwhelms me, or every time the pain becomes too much. Because it does hurt. It hurts a lot, actually. But God’s love and grace is stronger and more intense than any fear I have or any pain I am in, and He is who I lean into to get me through those moments.

Yes, it’s a crazy dream. Yes, there’s a possibility I could work for the next year and still not be able to do it. But yes, I serve a big God who is strong and powerful and mighty and who can make my crazy dream a reality. So I’m going to try. I’m going to put in the work, get through the pain, overcome my fear, all the while trusting in Him and His love. Because with God, all things are possible.

Cerebral Palsy · Faith

Thoughts and Musings on My Cerebral Palsy and Faith

There are so many things people take for granted that I would give anything to be able to do: walk, run, dance without fear of looking strange. I would give anything to be able to walk down to the dock at the lake and dive in. And it’s so frustrating that I can’t.

It’s so frustrating that I have to wait for someone to come help me get down to the dock; it’s frustrating that I can’t go running with my dad. It’s frustrating that my cerebral palsy prevents me from being able to dance and have rhythm. As a result, I don’t dance because I’m afraid I’m just going to look strange and embarrass myself. But what frustrates me the most is that I can’t play sports. I LOVE sports. All of them-softball, volleyball, football, basketball. I would give anything to be able to play sports. Anything.

But as much as it frustrates me, I know there’s a bigger purpose for my disability than frustrating me. The Lord will use my CP somehow for His glory, whether that’s inspiring one person or impacting millions through my writing. My disability has given me a perspective on the world I wouldn’t have otherwise, and it’s something I’m so grateful. I know God will use it somehow. He has a plan for me, and for my life, just like he has a plan for you. So when things are tough or frustrating, we just have to remember that we serve a benevolent, loving God, and He will use our trial for something good. He has a plan. We just have to trust it.

Cerebral Palsy

Overcoming Cerebral Palsy with Goals and Faith

“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.”

-Proverbs 31:25

It was this verse that came to mind during occupational therapy today. I know I’ve shared that I walk with a walker, and I graduate from high school next year. A goal I recently set is to walk across the stage not in my walker, but with crutches.

My physical therapist thinks it may be a little far-fetched, but I have to try. To me, using crutches during graduation would be a battle won; it would be one day where I overcame my disability. To me, using crutches is one step closer to full independence. I don’t care how difficult this journey will be. I’m going to fight for this, fight through the pain and the frustration that is bound to come, because I control my life. My disability does not.

My crutches goal is the reason why, today in OT, I was working with a pulley system to help strengthen my arms. I could definitely feel it, and doing it with minimal help was what brought Proverbs 31:25 to mind. I realized that I’m strong; just because I need help with tasks such as getting in and out of the car does not make me weak. That realization made this mountain I’m climbing to reach my goal seem a little less tall; it made this journey seem a little less daunting.

So yes, this goal may be a hard one to reach. It may be difficult; it may be frustrating. There might be tears and frustration and pain, but with His strength, perspective, and guidance, I can laugh through it all. I will keep fighting, and overcome the obstacles. Because my independence is worth it.

Cerebral Palsy

The Thing About CP

For those of you who don’t know, cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that affects movement and posture. For some, affects can be severe, but for others, it’s more mild. I’m blessed to be on the more mild end of the spectrum; for me, it affects the way I get around. I’ve used a walker and worn calf-high braces since I was little, and weekly physical therapy is routine.

I try to have the perspective that my disability is a way for me to inspire others and impact lives; it’s a platform the Lord has given me to spread His Light and Love. While that is the way I look at it, there are days when I lose perspective and end up crying, because the frustration has become too much. Like when I see my dad get ready to run, and wish I could go with him but can’t. Or when I wake up, and taking a step sends throbbing pain through my feet. Or on the days when I’m so tight, I feel like I can barely move.

But here’s the thing about CP. It is an it. It’s a thing; it’s not me. It doesn’t define me or who I am, and it may affect the way I get around, but it will not affect the way I live my life. I want to be known for lighting up a room; I want to be the reason someone’s day is brighter. I want to inspire others and make an impact, and be known for that. Not my disability.

So here’s the thing: I may have cerebral palsy, but cerebral palsy does not have me.