How Can I Move Forward When It Feels Like My Story Is Over?
There it goes again another article came out, with the title hitting harder than ever, “The Girl With The Zebra Leg. As a freshman new to college and new to this world of independence I sat with a heavy heart in my dorm room. My name is Patience Beard and I am the girl with the zebra leg. On April 19 of 1994 I came into this world and on that day my parents learned that I had something called Proximal Focal Femoral Deficiency, which is just a long name for a short left leg. The result of this diagnosis was the amputation of my lower left leg. At 8 months old my first procedure was underway. From this moment on my life was forever changed, learning and growing to walk and function as normal as possible with a prosthetic leg began. Growing up with prosthesis was a challenge, at times I would question why I was made this way, and I would wonder what the point of all of this was. For the most part I just kept on going as normal as possible. My parents would always say “God made you special, he made you different for a reason”, and those words to me were just empty. Just as empty as the very life I was living.
Upon graduating High school I decided to try to carry my love for cheerleading on to college. I made a decision to try out for the University of Arkansas cheerleading team, through a vigorous tryout process I finally made the team. I had finally felt like I had made it, that my life was about to be complete. I had everything I could have ever wanted, the dream college, the dream spot as a razorback cheerleader, and the perfect dorm , I thought I was set. Of course I was so unaware of the plans that God had for me upon arriving as a freshman. My first couple of months as a new college student and as a Razorback Cheerleader I gained a lot of attention for being an amputee, people noticed me more than ever before, and it began to bother me and that was something I had never felt before. All of the things that I had thought were going to fill my life with so much joy were doing exactly the opposite, I felt so empty. I began searching deeper for joy in all the ways of this world. However thankfully the Lord had a greater plan for me, I decided to attend a local church in Fayetteville for the first time. As I sat one Wednesday night at our college service, The Lord began to open my eyes to Him, He began stirring my heart for Him. I suddenly realized as I sat there the weight of my sins against such a Holy God. I was broken yet rejoicing in the truth that my life is fully surrendered to a God that loves me, that my life will be forever changed and that my hope was now in the Lord and that my sins were forever forgiven by the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
After that moment I realized that I was not just “The Girl With The Zebra Leg” but that I am a child of a King, and that my life is for His Glory and that I could no longer be defined by anything other than a Follower of Christ. That yes… I am a girl with a zebra leg, that yes that is a part of me but that my whole identity is buried deep within Christ Jesus my lord and savior. For the first time in my life those words my parents said to me that “God made me this way for a reason” finally made sense. I have been incredibly blessed, I didn’t just lose a leg, I had gained a story, a story that can only be told to give God all the Glory and that is exactly why God made me the way he did. I am learning every single day what it means to walk in Confidence in Christ, knowing that my identity is in Christ alone and that the one thing that can be seen as a curse is simply a blessing all for God’s glory. So no I am not just “The Girl With The Zebra Leg” but I am forgiven, righteous, redeemed, made whole, and a child of the King all in Christ Jesus.