by Adam Harris
My name is Adam, and I just wanted to share my story. I felt like I should share this to encourage everyone that God is with you through your struggles and He will provide the strength you need to overcome any trial.
Life Is Hard
I was born three months before my due date. As a result of that, I had a brain hemorrhage and a collapsed lung, which almost killed me at birth. Because of the brain hemorrhage, I have had the side effects of mild ADHD, Tourette’s Syndrome, mild anxiety disorder, mild cerebral palsy, and loss of vision in my right eye.
All of these disabilities are mild, but combined they create a unique challenge for me. The ADHD affected my attention span and I was diagnosed with a learning disability in elementary school, which means I was slower to understand concepts and often required further instruction or repeated instructions.
I am unsure of how Tourette’s Syndrome affects me because for a long time it was assumed that Tourette’s contributed to my stuttering; the cause of my stuttering has since been linked to Cerebral Palsy. Cerebral Palsy affects the muscles in my jaw, which also affects my speech. It also affects the muscles in my legs and arms; lifting heavy objects and standing for long periods of time are more challenging for me.
The doctor says that the Cerebral Palsy in my jaw muscles are the root cause of my stuttering, but I’ve noticed that my stuttering has become more of a problem when I’m anxious or nervous. Personally, I think anxiety plays a big part in my stuttering as well.
In Grade 11, I barely stuttered, but it came back at the end of Grade 12 and has continued to this present day.
I have struggled with these disabilities since I was born; and since my graduation from high school I have noticed some unique challenges with those disabilities as I move closer to my goal in life.
Some of the Best Years
The past five years since my grad have been some of the best years of my life. I have served two summers at Camp Cedarwood, graduated with a Certificate of Biblical Studies from Steinbach Bible College (SBC), and attended Briercrest. I have built tons of friendships, the closest I’ve ever had, and I am closer to God than ever before.
But they have also been the most challenging years of my life. I suffered through a retinal tear in 2015 and could have gone blind. This was healed in August 2015. Praise God! On top of this, I have had to live with a cataract since September 2015. The cataract is mild and currently stable, but it will get worse eventually. I have poor depth perception as well because of only having one functioning eye, and cannot see as well as I should in the dark.
My struggle with stuttering has been worse than it’s ever been. I struggle with self-esteem because of my stuttering, and I suffer with anxiety for my future. If I compare myself to others, I feel inadequate. I feel like I should stop trying to achieve my goals because others would be better at achieving them than I would. But I know that God is good and I can find my worth and ability through what God thinks of me rather than what people think of me, or even what I think of me.
God Is Good
Through all this I have never given up because I know that through my weaknesses God will make a way, and that his power is made perfect in my weakness (2 Cor. 12:9). God has the miraculous power to work through pain and suffering to bring about His glory.
The promises of God will take us through anything that this world can throw at us. God’s power is made perfect in weakness. And he will most certainly strengthen us and uphold us (Isaiah 41:10). As I look back on my life and the struggles I have gone through, I know that there is one constant that has never changed: God.
He has been there with me every step of the way (Isaiah 43:2), and that if He is for us, then who could be against us? (Rom. 8:32). It says in Galatians that we will “reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up” (Gal. 6:9), and that is what I intend to do. Never give up. The future is definitely bright when God is on your side.
Adam Harris is from Winnipeg, Man., and attends Braeside EMC. His goal is to serve full-time in youth ministry.