Fearfully and Wonderfully Made
Before I begin I must preface my remarks for all of you who do not know who I am. I was fortunate to be born with only one hand! Fortunate? Yes, fortunate. I was born missing my left arm from the elbow down and I can honestly say that I am ok with that. Now to be totally honest with you, I have had my moments. There have been times that I did not understand why I was created this way. Moments that I wrestled in life over this entire missing a hand deal. But now at 48, I feel as if I am fortunate to be entrusted with a gift that has allowed me to see life from a different perspective. I want to share one of those moments that made me see life somewhat differently.
I was 19, that age between 16 (where I had it all together) and 22 (where I wish I had it all together). You know that crazy ‘let-me-get-out-there-and-conquer the-world’ time in life. I had just finished my first year of college and was home for the summer break. I worked construction that summer and drove a forklift for the crew. I was a bad one-armed mamba jamba forklift driver. It sure beat trying to hammer nails into wood with just one hand!
I began dating a girl while I was home and things were going pretty good in the relationship. My parents liked her, my dog didn’t try to bite her, and two of my friends thought she was all right. These were all of the important things that are vital for a relationship to move forward.
As we progressed in our relationship, I decided that it was time that she meet my grandmother. I know what you’re thinking — not the grandmother test! Yes, it had to happen. It was vital that this young lady have the wonderful opportunity of eating my grandmother’s southern fried chicken. Nobody could even be considered as part of my family unless they were absolutely in love with “Nanny’s Southern Fried Chicken!!” I remember as we sat there for lunch that this girl didn’t eat much that day — that should have been a sign that something was not right. As we left my grandmother’s we decided to go over and spend the rest of the day at the beach.
As we were sitting on the beach, this young lady started being unusually cruel and rude. We had been discussing the serious stuff of relationships; marriage, family, and our possible future together. All of a sudden, she started to become extremely unlikeable.
She said, “I’m not sure I could ever be married to you. I may one day want to know what it feels like to be held by a man that has two hands!!”
I checked my hearing, cleaned out my earwax and asked, “What did you say?” She repeated it and then continued to rail on. “You are a freak of society. People stare at you when you walk by. I’m not sure I can be in this relationship and take it any further. I have been noticing how people treat you differently when you come into a crowded room.”
Wow. I know what you’re thinking — did you hit her? Throw sand in her face? Did you bury her in the sand all the way up to her nose?
No, my dad had taught me better than that, but for the first time in my life it did cross my mind. How could someone be so mean? What could be going through the mind of someone like that? Needless to say, the relationship was over. I probably should have just left her at the beach to take the bus home, but I wasn’t thinking real clear at the time!! We got in the car and all the way home I tossed those words over in my mind,
“You are a freak of society.”
“People look at you funny”
“People treat you differently”
“I want someone with two hands to hold me”
As I began to think about what this girl had said it began to dawn on me. Hold On!! I am not the one with the handicap here, she is! I have dealt with this, I was overcoming this, and furthermore, I was the one that wasn’t afraid to pick my nose with the end of my short arm. She was the one with the problem — Not me.
After our break-up, we both went on with our respective lives. But as I look back on it today, I often think of how sad that experience truly was, but not for me. I learned some valuable lessons from that one brief moment of my life. I learned that nobody could tell me who I am; I am the one that determines my outlook on my life. I am the one that determines what I am and what I can do and overcome. I learned something else — I wasn’t junk!!
You and I are created for a reason.
We have a lot of people that live their lives based on someone else’s definition of who they are. You cannot live your life worried about what people think of you or what people may say about you. I know you are reading this thinking, “But you don’t know what they said about me. You weren’t there when he walked out of our lives and left us with nothing.”
I understand that, but you have got to realize that you were not created for failure or for someone running you down. You were created for greatness, to be someone of value and an over comer. Don’t let anyone define you. I realize that I’m repeating myself here, but I want to stress how important this is: Don’t let anyone or anything define who you are. You were made a certain way and you have a choice: Will I let my circumstances define me or will I realize that I have potential to rise about the situations of my life?
The very best day of your life is the day that you begin right now. It is the one that you consciously decide is your own. (TWEET THIS)
The individual that rises up and determines that I am not going to blame someone else, rely on someone else, or lean on someone else in life is an individual that is on their way to success. My life has been a journey to get to this understanding just as your life is a journey — make it your journey! You have absolutely no control over when you were born, the place you were born and what will be the length of your life but you do have something to say about the depth, the height, and the width of your life. With the help of God you can control the quality of the time you have on this earth and the direction you go.
Always remember this — God doesn’t make junk! You and I are all fearfully and wonderfully made!