By Dane C.
Growing up, I never was the best reader. In fact, reading has always been something that I struggled with. For some reason it just didn’t click for me. I disliked reading; it made me tired and always gave me a headache. Around the third grade my parents and teachers noticed that I was not progressing as quickly in my reading skills as the other kids. I took some tests and was diagnosed with a learning disability known as dyslexia. At first it was something I was ashamed of; I felt like a defect and there was nothing anyone could do to fix me. My disability was a very sore topic and I kept it very personal.
Going through school was a challenge; homework and assignments always seemed like they took me so much longer to complete than my fellow classmates took. I was always the last one to turn in a test or quiz and reading out loud in class petrified me to death. Sometimes, instead of paying attention, I would figure out ahead of time what part I was to read and practice it before it became my turn. And if that wasn’t enough of an embarrassment, there were always those moments of humiliation when little signs or messages became a large and daunting task. My self-confidence started to drop and great feelings of inadequacy started to set in. I would often get angry and frustrated and asked myself, “WHY, WHY ME?”
One night I was voicing my frustration with the Lord in prayer when a scripture that I had previously read popped into my head. It said, “And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.” I reflected on this scripture time and time again. My problem didn’t go away but the scripture passage helped me to reflect on my situation. In a way it answered my question. I was no longer asking “Why me?” But instead I asked, “What should I do? What needs to be done to make this weakness a strength?” Then I began to reason that I have this disability because I can handle it. The Lord gave me this weakness, not to punish me but to humble me and it is shaping me into the person He wants me to be. In spite of the disability, the Lord will help me adapt and find strength. Most of all, the scripture and my reflection gave me the assurance that through our Savior, Jesus Christ, I can change this aspect of my life. I can become who I want to be; nothing will hold me back.
I started my strength building journey by first building my confidence. I no longer shied away from reading out loud. I made it a main focus to read correctly and not hesitate in class or just pass by it if I was unsure. I often got down on my knees and asked the Lord what strategies or techniques I could use to improve my reading skills. My disability was no longer a “ball and chain” to my self-confidence, but became the aid I needed to push myself and grow. It came to a point when I started realizing that I was enjoying the stories in the very books that were so daunting to me in the beginning. I have not overcome my disability but I have dealt with it and worked on it enough to where it no longer defines who I am.
I know I am not alone. Everyone has weaknesses in one form or another. My particular weakness is difficulty in reading. I may not be blessed with a mind that will excel with ease in academics but He has blessed me with determination not to let it hold me back. There are so many things the Lord has abundantly blessed me with and I know that this trial is for my benefit and learning. So instead of viewing this disability as a curse I view it as a worthy challenge, a challenge I am ready to meet.