“We are never defeated unless we give up on God”—-
When I was in kindergarten, I was suspended from school for the first time. In the Third Grade, I was expelled for the second time. Although when I was in school my academics were never an issue, I had meltdowns in class and would run out of school, and it goes without saying I was never especially well-liked by my peers. No one knew what was going on with me, and my parents struggled to find clarity. To find answers as to why their intelligent, inquisitive and kind daughter had so many social issues in school. Teachers told them there was no hope, but they continued to have faith.
Eventually, a therapist at the Children’s Hospital of Richmond put together the pieces of the puzzle. Although I had been previously diagnosed with everything from Oppositional Defiant Disorder to ADD, none of those quite fit, and the treatments I was given did nothing but make me feel and act worse. For around two years, I faced an incredible amount of uncertainty- I wondered if I would ever be okay. Throughout my childhood I was constantly reminding how “atypical” and “problematic” I was- and I desired, more than anything, to just be considered “normal”.
But, where did the answers lie? Why had God given me this burden? Why had he given me so many trials at such a young age?
The bible tells us that God knows his plan for us. Jeremiah 29:11 states that “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” In High School, when I first read that verse, I wondered to myself how I had been saddled with a disability that had made most of my childhood so difficult, how I had been made the way I was when it made it harder for me to make friends, when it made me a constant target for bullies. But eventually, I realized. The trials I had gone through have made me stronger than I ever could have been without them. They have allowed me to inspire other people who are coping with their own individual trials, and to be a better professional, a more empathetic person and someone who is able to use their voice to empower others.
By sharing my story, I hope to encourage and uplift others going through times of trial. To share the impact faith has had on my life. To show that no diagnosis will ever define me.