Blessed Are You
by Todd Payne
"Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say
all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for
great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you"
I was born with Cerebral Palsy, a condition that affects body movement and muscle
coordination, usually caused by brain damage. My Cerebral Palsy (C. P.) occurred at birth
and caused a deformity of my left arm and leg. From the time I was born, life was a real
challenge. As a baby, I could not crawl with only one functional arm and leg, so I
I sat on top of a dust mop and scooted myself across a hard wood floor with one foot.
At three years of age, I learned how to walk with a push toy. When I was four years old,
both pectoral muscles were removed from my left shoulder, because the doctors said this
would give me some range of motion, which I never had.
At six years of age, my forearm was surgically rotated 180 degrees because it was
backwards when I was born. At ages 8, 12, and 18, the heel cord of my left leg was
lengthened because my leg bone was growing faster than my calf muscle could handle. As a
result, my left leg is shorter than my right one.
Because of my disability, my childhood was a living hell. I wore corrective braces on
both my leg and arm so I couldnt play like normal kids did. I wanted so much to ride
a bike, roller skate, or go skate boarding, but I couldnt. At age twelve, I had my
second leg operation around Christmas time.
When I got home from the hospital, waiting for me was a brand new gold Schwinn Sting
Ray bicycle with a banana seat, high "sissy" bar, and training wheels! I was so
excited about the bike and wanted to ride it immediately, but I had a cast on my leg from
hip to toe. With a lot of God-given determination, I finally did learn to ride that bike!
All through my childhood, at school and in my neighborhood, kids teased me because I
couldnt play the way they could. They called me "retarded" and told me
that I would never amount to anything in life. To avoid being called names and being made
fun of, I just stayed in the house and watched TV. Television became my best friend
because it couldnt hurt me.
When I got older, people assumed because I was physically disabled, that I was also
mentally disabled. To try and fit in somewhere, I started doing drugs with my
"friends" from high school. My father was a Pharmacist and my mother was a
Registered Nurse, so I knew very well about the risks of taking "recreational
drugs," but I finally just gave in to peer pressure. I knew I was letting down my
parents and God, but I didnt care.
When I was 22-years old, God blessed me with a job at a State Hospital for the mentally
and physically handicapped. During the eight years I was there, I witnessed the appalling
way men and women just like me were treated. Many of them had no mental disability at all,
but were treated as if they did and were stripped of their rights.
Seeing this fueled my determination to live a normal life and not give up on myself. It
also showed me how very blessed I was to have been raised by two loving and supportive
parents who never gave up on me. Instead, they could have just warehoused me in a State
Hospital like so many of the patients I knew. My co-workers and bosses at the hospital
were impressed by how capable a worker I was, and this gave them a new perspective on the
disabled. Even this was part of Gods plan.
When I was 36, I was invited to Church, and learned about the love and peace we can all
have in Jesus Christ. I gave the Lord control of my life and learned to fully rely on Him
for everything. Jesus has changed my way of thinking and the cruel things people have said
to me, no longer hurt.
Jesus has brought me the good friends I never thought Id have, and took away my
fear of being disabled. He even gave me a sense of humor about my disability. I once had a
license place frame on my car that said, "Spastic Gimp Proceed With
My disability has truly been a blessing to me because it has taught me compassion for
people. I can and DO serve God single-handedly in a 2-fisted world. Matthew 5:11-12
says to not be disheartened by difficulty. God uses such difficulties (as my handicap or
other momentary failures) for His glory in His own time.
I have a friend whose car broke down and needed engine work. Another Christian friend
of his heard about his car and said that God laid it upon his heart to give my friend the
money needed for the repair, plus loan him his truck until the repairs were finished. When
your life is graced and blessed by God, helping people in such ways comes naturally.
Awhile back, God blessed me with a mini-van that I could not afford. By doing so,
Hes made it possible for me to give people a ride to and from Church or work, to
Christian concerts, to the Harvest Crusade, and to the orphanage in Mexico where my Church
serves. Yes, serving Gods people can be as simple as offering a ride to someone in
I want to some day serve Gods people by teaching stroke or accident victims (who
may find themselves suddenly with the use of only one arm) how to dress themselves, tie
their shoes, and do things that they think are impossible. Thats right, I said
"tie their shoes". Have YOU tied YOUR shoes with one hand lately? I do it
everyday with Gods help and grace.
In Germany, there is a statue of Christ that lost its hands during a bombing raid in
World War II. A sign was placed on the statue that reads, "Christ has no hands but
yours". Remember, Christ is counting on YOU to be His hands and feet. Continue the
development of the kingdom that began in Christ and share His love.
God has blessed you; and so now go and bless others.
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