“One day you will be unable to walk.”
It is something no one would ever be prepared for or want to hear and at the age of 16, I was no exception. Those were the words that I heard on the day when I was officially diagnosed with (a muscle disease called) muscular dystrophy. Devastation did not begin to describe how I felt during that time. So many questions flooded my head. How could this be? Why me? What did I do to deserve this? What about my future? Why would God allow this to happen? I just could not understand and I was in complete shock.
After some time had passed, the shock wore off and numerous emotions took hold of me…confusion, sadness, frustration, and even denial eventually led me to a state of anger. Not just any anger but I was angry with God. I felt that my life was over and just could not understand why. All the plans I had for my future just seemed irrelevant now. I was lost.
Growing up, I was very fortunate to have a loving grandmother who helped build a spiritual foundation in my life. At a young age, she told me about Jesus, showed me who Jesus was, took me to church, and even taught me how to pray. Although I knew who God was, at that point in my life, and honestly even before my diagnosis, God did not play a huge role in my life or at least that is what I thought. I really did not have a relationship with Him and I had already begun to distance myself from Him. So, when I received my shocking diagnosis, it was not hard to distance myself even more.
I blamed God and was so angry with Him, which led me to stop going to church altogether and I even came to a point that I stopped caring about myself. I wasted nearly four years of my life trying to run from God, but during that time my heart ached and deep down I knew I needed Him. It was definitely an internal conflict and thankfully I eventually surrendered myself to Him. By surrendering, I released the anger I had against God and the burden it carried. I was no longer imprisoned by the hurt, guilt, and shame of my own emotions. I was set free.
There is no doubt that this life is hard, but God has and continues to love, provide, guide, and give me undeserved grace each and every day. I can truly say that living with this disease has given me more compassion, understanding, awareness, and love for others that I am so thankful for. I may not have known what my future held back when I was 16 and I still may not know, but I trust God and He knows!
“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.” Jeremiah 29:11
Leslie is new at blogging but was recently inspired to start writing about the experiences she faced due to living with a disability. Leslie hopes that through her writing that she can not only encourage others who may have a disability but even bring awareness to those who may just encounter someone with a disability. Leslie prays that each person with or without a disability truly realize how much they are loved by Jesus and how valuable they are to Him. She loves spending time with her husband and daughter as well as volunteering with the children’s and high school ministry at her church.