repping “the what”

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.

this is seriously how fast my feet were moving. seriously.

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.

ouch. that hurt.

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.

i see God in me

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.

that's right lil' girl!

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!!


14 thoughts on “repping “the what”

  1. Tracey- This really touched me today…you have NO idea how much I needed to be reminded that God made us the way we are for a reason. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thank you for sharing this. I would have never known but am totally inspired and encouraged. So grateful to know you even just a little. : )

  3. Wow girl. And I thought I was the only one letting all the “flaws” hang out for Jesus! 😉 awesome post; I love your writing expression. Feels like we’re hanging out, just desiring a closeness to the Father. You rock!

  4. You know, all the time I’ve known you,I guess you’ve mention it occassionally that you have cp but I just know YOU and all your other funny quirks. I just see you. It is funny how we so often inaccurately define ourselves by our woundedness rather than His truth. Right on!

  5. I love the “God goggles” thing. Fabulous.
    Oh and the Madea “halleighleyerrrr” reference. We give a Madea “hallerighleyerrr” in our household quite often. It’s just more fun to say it with an R on the end. 😉
    Love ya girly!

  6. Love this. I can totally relate, as hubs (a quadriplegic) and I constantly struggle with not letting his “disability” define him or become our story. The biggest surprise has been how many people are touched by reading our story and seeing their own somewhere within. Thanks for sharing your heart 🙂

  7. Sniff sniff wipe away the tears! There is not a morning that I don’t wake up and think about you and know that I can handle my Claire because she WILL be just like you! I vividly remember the night about 10 years ago asking if you had hurt your leg due to your limp. As an OT I didn’t even see it until pointing it out! You have hidden it well but we love you for your overall absolute awesomeness….I just may have to start referring to my Claire as “Baby Skillet”! You go girl!

    • claire will be BETTER than me because of you. that baby skillet is gonna ROCK for the Lord BIG TIME. i hope you and baby girl number two are doing great.. and please give baby skillet a huge hug from me!

  8. “Hallelujer!!”

    I honestly didn’t know you have cerebral palsy; never noticed characteristics which *used* to cause you so much pain before you discovered your “God goggles”. All I’ve ever seen is the Tracey you now see through them.

    I agree with the overall consensus here. You totally ROCK!

  9. This is beautiful. I had someone ask me the other day, What did you do to piss God off? In the past month I’ve had a bunch of not so great things happen – car stolen from my apartment, migraines from a fall, being written up at work because of said migraines, and then a miscarriage. I’ve also been overweight since two back-to-back knee surgeries have totally impaired my ability to get back to running. Basically I feel just horrible about myself, and I have been avoiding going out, being with people, because I wonder, did I do something to make God angry with me? Reading posts like this, to hear that reminder that God is in all of me, all the time, is a sweet sweet thing. It allows me to hope, and I was running out of that. Thanks, for sharing.

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