Long on Faith


I’ve had a lot of trials, but my life is a blessing, because the Lord is shaping me.

I was born a dwarf, live as a dwarf, and will die the same. I am already, at three feet, nine inches, taller than my expected adult stature. But can I let you in on a little secret? At least 75 percent of the time I don’t even really think of myself as different. I just feel like part of society. It’s not just because I live in a wonderful ward and stake, but because I have tried to make my life into something far more worthy of a child of God.

Last year I reported to my doctor in Baltimore, Maryland. We had a full surgery scheduled for my right hip, which would mean a body cast for several months, perhaps even endangering my ability to attend my senior year of high school. We’d known about this for a year, since the last checkup when he made it known that my right hip was in bad shape.

When my dad and I got in the examination room, my doctor placed the X rays to the light. After looking at them, examining me, and looking back at the X rays again, he announced, rather astonished, that there seemed to be nothing wrong at all with my hip. He could see no reason to perform the extensive surgery he had planned. He said that, except for some work that needed to be done on my feet, I was in fantastic health and would need no more surgeries.

That was some kind of news to someone who had already had eight major surgeries and a handful of minor ones.

It is more than important to note that many prayers had been offered by our family and others prior to my examination, and I had many dear friends praying and fasting.

Sure enough, my hip was healed. I know that only Heavenly Father could have done what I witnessed. As a result of the many times I have had to face the reality of surgery and the consequent recovery, I have learned to pray—fervently and with real intent, exactly as Heavenly Father wishes for it to be.

I know I have been healed by a miracle, but a miracle is not always required. Sometimes the greater miracle lies in how someone deals with not having a burden eased.

My condition has brought me much closer to God. Without the constant surgeries and hindrances from many physical activities, you might see me today participating far less in scripture study and more in football.

Despite the everyday trials I face, I feel my life is actually quite a blessing. My experience is merely an example of how Heavenly Father’s influence is in our lives. A description of what Heavenly Father’s hand does for us is found in Jeremiah 18:6 [Jer. 18:6]: “O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand.”

Heavenly Father is not trying to break us, as is Satan, but to mold us into celestial beings like him. Let us be certain that we never ever mistake him for the enemy. He loves us more than we can comprehend.

When faced with challenges, we can get bitter or we can get better. I’ve definitely learned that.

[illustration] Illustrated by Keith Larson

[photo] Photography by Tamra Hamblin