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  • Stephen Dahlin

Overcoming your Disabilities

We all live in suspense, from day-to-day, from hour-to hour; in other words, we are the hero of our own story.  -Mark McCarthy 

For those of you who have never met me in person you may not know that I was born with a “disadvantage” (or at least most people in society would assume this). I would never be able to be in professional pictures or modeling, I would never be on broadway in a really important role (despite my talents), I could never cross the monkey bars, and I would have to learn how to button shirts, breastfeed my children, and open jars in a different way. My left hand has no bone or fingers past the first knuckles.

Despite this, most people I first meet never notice. My parents never treated it as a disadvantage or disability, and I learned to tie my shoes, and even play the piano at the age’s everyone else did.

College papers were tedious work on a computer, and some people were out right cruel as I grew up, but there are a few lessons I learned as I grew to appreciate how I was made and born.

One: We are all unique and I showed many people the beauty of individuality and how it can become a launching pad for you to grow as a person.

Two: Never let someone else tell you what you can and can’t do. I still tried modeling, I was a top-dancer for a prestigious company in the south, and taught classes for the next generation of on stage performing artists. Someone told me I would never be able to play the piano….next day I was in lessons. My favorite piece to play? Ludwig Van Beethovan’s “Fur Elise”.

Three: Use it for your advantage. So many people use health, and disabilities to keep them from trying or doing things. I decided on a different tactic. I believe when we are faced with challenges and rise to the actions we create a better version of ourselves. Even better than if we had been born “normal”. If I did not have these challenges I would have never taken piano lessons or started a blog (typing still is beyond a tedious task).

Would I have chosen this for my life? Do I want my kids to have other kids look at them and ask questions about why their mom is “that way”? Would I have been in the professional ballet world more? The answer to all of these questions is… “no”. I wouldn’t have chosen it but it has made me a stronger and better person. Overcoming some simple tasks and some even harder ones has created who I am today.

My question for you today is what is holding you back? What are you using as an excuse for why you can’t do something?

David Ring, another person who was considered “handicapped”, came to my church as a young kid and shared his own personal story of incredible odds. He was born with cerebral palsy. On top of this, his mother died when he was just a kid. He was tossed to different foster families and eventually raised by his older sister. He was so depressed that he one day attempted suicide. But his sister took him to church and for the first time, he heard the gospel. He surrendered his life to Christ. He told his pastor in his very difficult to understand speech, “Pastor, I want to be a preacher.” Overcoming all of this he is an evangelist with a beautiful and unbelievable outreach. His life quote is “whats your problem?” He has personal touched thousands of individuals with the gospel and with what people can do with God.

God can and does use everyone who is willing. And in beautiful ways. I pray that is my story.

*previously posted 4/2015

#devotion #feelings #beauty #authenticity #personallife

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