Little did I know that God had been placing adversities in my life since I was born to prepare me for my calling to fulfill his plan he had for my life.– Chris Mitchell
I am a firm believer that “Everything that happens in your life happens for a reason”. The “Reason” may not be apparent to you at the moment that something happens in your life. It may not even become apparent to you an hour later, a week later, a month later, a year later, a decade later. Sometimes God does not reveal why we endured a challenge for decades – sometimes we don’t even know the reason until we are called home to be with the Lord. Then there are times we eventually figure it all out and see why God placed us in difficult situations.
At the end of 2010, I decided to close my eBay business. As I ramped down my work on eBay, I began my search to find something to do that was more meaningful and fulfilling than selling useless crap online.
I knew God has placed me on this earth to do more with my life than selling sports memorabilia online, so I asked myself a very important question:
“What can I do to make a difference in the world?”
That question was very difficult to answer. I was living in a small town, with limited public transportation and ever fewer opportunities for a physically and visually disabled person.
I thought back to my school years. The only thing I could ever remember was hearing multiple teachers telling me that I was good at (besides causing trouble and disrupting the classroom) was writing. But I didn’t know what to write about, so I began to feel discouraged.
I wanted to continue to be a contributing member of our community and society – a mantra I started after returning home from surviving an ischemic stroke to my spinal card eight years earlier.
When you feel that failure is imminent, take inventory of all your successes.
While I sat in the recliner in our living room, trying to find some talent I could use to work from home and contribute to society, I began to think of all the times in my life that my back was against the wall and I successfully overcame adversity.
At first, recalling my victories in life seems difficult but I forced myself to think hard.
Despite being legally blind since birth and still being able to drive a car and fly a private plane.
Despite beginning speech therapy for a moderate speech impediment before I began preschool, how I was able to fulfill a childhood dream of working in broadcast radio.
Despite being expelled from my high school my freshman year for a behavior issue, I was the first student to earn the right to return to my high school two years later and earn honor roll grades for one quarter.
Despite surviving an ischemic stroke to my spinal cord, eight years earlier, that turned my world upside down and left me physically disabled and fighting to get my life back….
When I thought about what I have accomplished since my stroke eight years earlier, that is when I really got the ball rolling on recalling how much determination I have inside of myself.
I recalled that when the stroke first hit I felt that I had lost everything. I had lost the ability to run, walk or stand, to control my bladder, turn myself in my bed, dress or even feed myself – and on top of that I was engaged to be married in less than 11 months.
With the fear that I might be spending the rest of my life in a long-term care facility, I began the fight to get my life back.
I realized how far I had come in the past eight and a half years since my stroke…
I could now stand and walk by either grabbing onto items within my reach or using a walker.
I was diaper free with about 98% (and growing) control of my bladder.
I could now feed myself, get myself dressed in less than 2 minutes, and I was turning so much in bed I that almost every night I would steal all the covers from my wife Kimberly!
Why not write a book?
I thought to myself, I am a year and a half away from the ten-year anniversary of becoming physically disabled. Not trying to sound arrogant, but I knew I had come a long way since July 25th, 2002 (the day of my stroke) and I believed that my story of my battle to get my life back and marry my fiancée could inspire others to overcome similar adversities.
While I was writing the book, I realized my teachers were right. I enjoy writing and I believe I have a gift for writing.
“Your talents are God’s gift to you. what you do with those talents is your gift to God”
That was a line that Peter Benton’s Mom said to him on the TV series, er, and it is something I believe with all my heart and soul.
I believe that my talents are writing, public speaking and being on the radio. I am not getting a job in the printed media. There is not much call for regular paying jobs as a public speaker in my community, and radio has changed in the past thirty years.
But I am not going to let those facts stop me.
Who says I cannot freelance writer form home? Who says I cannot find publish speaking opportunities both locally and around the country (and thanks to the advancement in technology virtual public speaking is something I see as a growing field). Who dares to say that I cannot transform my radio talents and experience into hosting a success podcast?
With the official launch of my web site and my newsletter this week (not to mention the release of my first eBook, “The Cheeseball Clann” Who’s Your Bully?”) I am taking the gifts God has given me and using them to inspire and motivate others to do what I have done all my life despite any disability or any obstacle, to live beyond limitations! That is my calling. That is my gift to God!