I remember a day long ago when Patrick was about 6 years old (he’s 17 now) when he came to me and told me that Jordan and Shawn were carrying buckets of water and he tried to carry one, too, but he couldn’t. I asked him how full it was. He said it was about half full. I told him to dump out some of the water and try to carry less. He said he did, but it was still too heavy. I’ll never forget the sorrow in his voice when he said, “Mommy, the other boys can carry those buckets real easy. How come it’s so heavy for me? Why can’t I carry things like they can? I’ve tried to do other things they do, too, and I just can’t do them. Why is it so hard for me?” Then I know what the problem was. He was discovering the limitations that arthrogryposis had put on him. My heart was broken. I never made a big deal about the arthrogryposis because I didn’t want him to feel like there was something wrong with him. I wanted him to try things without thinking, “Oh, I can’t do that because I have arthrogryposis.” And it had worked really well. He did everything on time and better than my other kids. He was a daredevil and rode a bike sooner than his siblings. He did tricks and jumps on his bike! But he had discovered that his biceps were not as strong as theirs. And he was asking me why.
I told him about the arthrogryposis and how the doctor said he didn’t have as much bicep muscle because of it. But I told him that he could still work on it and try to build as much muscle as he could. I told him to start with lifting the bucket with nothing in it and gradually add a little bit of water to it. He wasn’t sure if he could even lift an empty bucket, but I told him to keep trying. I told him that he was already a miracle in what he was able to do. That the doctors had told me that he may never be able to feed himself or brush his teeth or groom himself or walk or …. He had proven all of that wrong. He was able to dress himself, feed himself – everything – all of his life! So I told him that God would help him with this problem, too. That we were praying, and we believed that God would heal him completely.
Just look at him now! He can bench more weight than his older brother! And he has a powerful punch. God is an awesome God. He is our healer. Patrick tells everyone he meets what God has done for him. God is willing and able to heal if we press into Him and believe His promises.