Dealing with a Physical Handicap

By Robert G

For everyone, the day of their birth is the first day of many. For me it was also almost my last. Choked by my own umbilical cord, my brain was deprived of oxygen, but thanks to brilliant doctors and the Lord’s help, I was born. The circumstances of my birth, however, had far-reaching consequences.

From that day, my parents noticed something was not quite right. I was not developing at the same rate as other children. So they took me to doctors, some of the best in the world. Some thought I had cerebral palsy, others thought autism, but none could really describe my problem. The only recognizable symptom was extremely low muscle tone, which means the signals between my brain and my muscles are weak.

So, as I continued to grow, I noticed physical tasks were very difficult. Even something as simple as writing with a pencil was physically demanding for me. Throughout my youth, I had physical and occupational therapy once a week. Things did improve, but not much. At school many asked questions like: “Why does Robert seem so normal, yet he can’t do a simple thing like riding a bike?” Or “Why do you get tired after writing so little?” No explanation could satisfy their questions.

Because of my challenges, it was difficult for me to make friends. There were those who made fun of me. But that wasn’t the worst of it. The thing I hated most was the lack of confidence people had in me. Throughout most of my childhood and part of my adolescence, I had many teachers and other trusted adults tell me that essentially, I would not amount to anything of worth. Constantly my parents and I heard: “Robert can’t do that, he just doesn’t have the capacity.” This eroded my self-confidence and my ability to trust others waned.

I Reached Out to God

By fourteen the only people I could really trust were in my family.  I felt very alone, and felt burdened by my lack of physical ability. That is when I reached out to God, my Heavenly Father. He knows me as an individual, and knows my worth and potential. I began to cry to him for support and then decided to put my trust in him. From that time, I did my best to be the person he saw me as.

As I gave my all to him, he blessed me more than I could imagine. He placed in my path loving angels who believed in me. They helped me to learn that I can succeed, that I can be “normal”. They helped me discover talents I never thought I had. But that is not all he has blessed me with. He has helped me do things I never thought possible.

I no longer consider my physical challenges a burden. I see them as a blessing. My challenges have helped me to learn and to grow, but most importantly they have brought me closer to God. Before I trusted in him, I could barely walk a mile. With his help, I now walk several miles a day serving as a full-time missionary for my church, something I never dreamed of doing.

I know now more than ever that God does love us. We will face trials and hardships during the course of our lives. I know God loves us and wants to help us through our trials. To receive his help all we have to do is reach out to him, put our hand in his, and let him guide us to where he wants us to go.

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