i have cerebral palsy.
it’s a fact i’ve lived with all my life.
i’ve never wanted cerebral palsy to define me, and i’ve work really hard to not let it be the what that makes me who i am. but, last week i made a woman REALLY, REALLY happy BECAUSE of the what.
i was at the ymca with my killer-fit ‘skillet and had just finished her treadmill class (by “finished” i mean i hung on to the panic bars for dear life a total of 27. 5 minutes of a 30 minute run).
so. i was nursing blisters on my right “baby” foot (as i call it) and was explaining how i battle blisters all the time because i have cerebral palsy and can’t flex my right foot– when this complete stranger looks at me SOOOOO happy and says, “AWWWWW, can i give you a hug??!!”
i thought okay— if the lack of flex feels like a “hug moment” for you– we can hug it out.
after the hug– this young mom explained she has an 8-year-old son with mild cerebral palsy and she’s never met anyone like him. she’s been around families and children with more severe cases, but no one like her little boy. in that moment we connected. i understood. we talked about how the word “disabled” wasn’t in our vocabulary, how he/i could do anything we wanted.
this is not how i’ve always felt inside. there have been moments in my life i’ve been deeply wounded by people who have seen, pointed out, and judged me only by my physical limitations. each time it happened i vowed to work harder to hide the thing that made me different.
but, after experiencing the joy and love of this stranger– i began to wonder how much i had grieved the Lord all these years by avoiding, covering up, or ignoring how special He made me.
i used to call it “my cerebral palsy”– like i was the ONLY ONE on the planet made differently (i’m sooooooo self-centered like that). when i was young(er) i held on to the cerebral palsy and pushed it away all at the same time. i’d think about how i was going to enter a room, hold things, and function as normally as possible in each situation BEFORE i was actually in it– to overcompensate or distract from my physical differences. this push/pull was exhausting and wreaked havoc on my self-worth and my identity as a whole.
but, i’ve gotten better– SOOOOOO much better.
and what’s made me better, more complete, is seeing myself through my God goggles.
my God goggles allow me to see Christ in me. i truly believe He lives in me and anything good reflected in me or through me comes from Him. slowly and faithfully, God’s love has stopped the tug-of-war in my heart and i can say i love everything God’s blessed me with– even cerebral palsy.
when i look in the mirror– i can say, “i am awesome. i am beautiful. I TOTALLY ROCK.”
because i am saying that about my Lord and what He is accomplishing IN me– through a baby leg, a skinny, un-stretchy arm, and a defective hand.
can i get a great-big-madea, “hallelujer!!”
my whole life i’ve worked really hard to push past my physical limitations and keep my heart on display– NOT cerebral palsy.
but, a sweet, encouraging stranger showed me if i want to see God’s work in me– then for better or worse my whole life (the what included) must be the focus.
God blessed me with this body. and, if i feel it’s anything less than AWESOME– i miss an opportunity to rep for the Lord. holla!!