From hospital to hospital, surgery to surgery, it seemed that a young, curly-haired Michelle would suffer a lifetime of restricted potential, with far fewer opportunities than the other little girls she’d often watch from the sidelines in those early years.
But life, as I quickly learned, really is what you – and God – can make of it. So, I am blessed to say, that is not at all how my life has turned out.
I owe a great deal to my mother, who – with a strength that only God could have provided to a woman with a husband, family, and the heartache of watching one of her beautiful children lay helpless in hospital gowns time and again – had the greatest impact on my young, impressionable heart.
Following one particular consult around age ten, wherein a well-meaning doctor determined that my mother would need to finally accept that I would simply be “limited” in my ability, she took my small, frail hand, looked into that doctor with a fire that only a mother could know, and denied him right then and there the satisfaction of his diagnosis.
“Michelle,” her fierce strength, unmovable, piercing itself into my little mind that day, “don’t you ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do something.”
That, her love, the love and dedication of my siblings, my husband, family and friends over the years, and most notably, a steadfast faith in my Lord Jesus Christ, is the reason I have never had to live the life of “limit” assigned to me that unforgettable day many years ago.
My physical disability has made life more challenging, but from that small bloom of my mother’s tiny delicate seed of defiant strength so long ago, a child determined to achieve through no more than the childlike faith of perseverance – and just because Mama “said so” – I worked hard over the years to become an independent young fiery version of myself.