My daughter Lelia gave this "sermon" at church about Hope. The congregation gave her a standing ovation at its conclusion and there were a few sniffles as people were very moved by what she had to say. I apologize for posting something personal on a Wargame blog, but I wanted to share it with everyone:
In my life the word "hope" has been a major feeling. Since I have CP (cerebral palsy) it is sometimes hard to keep hope alive. Why? It's hard to keep that four-letter word alive because of all that I have been through. I've been operated on, bullied, and have fallen down a great number of times.
My struggles began right from the moment I was born. When I was born, two months early, I was whisked away from my parents. This happened because, since I was born prematurely, I couldn't go home with my parents for a while.
I was diagnosed with CP at 18 months, and from then on, the "real" race for hope began.
I began life a little differently for a baby. I did not sit up when I was supposed to, or walk when I was supposed to. This made my parents very desperate, and probably they were thinking, "why us? why does God give us a beautiful child and then He makes her 'different' "?
But my parents did not have to be in this state for very long, because then the miracles started.
The first miracle was when I sat up and rolled over at eighteen months. The second miracle was when I began to talk at three years old. And the third miracle was when I walked at four years. Those huge miracles in my life gave my family hope, but there was still a long hard struggle ahead for my family and I.
As I got older, things took a turn for the worse. Where I used to go to school -- oh, don't get me started -- it was not pretty.
At my school, I was bullied for my disability. For example, there was this one boy who wouldn't stop bullying me. He pushed me into a chain link fence, yelled at me, and pushed me to the ground. It seemed like there was no Hope then.
Aside from being bullied, I had other struggles to deal with. Those struggles were my surgeries. My first surgery was on my left eye; my second surgery was to remove a cyst; my third surgery was to remove another cyst; my fourth surgery was for my back; and my fifth surgery was for my legs.
I felt very scared when I had to have my surgeries, and I also felt a little angry. Why did I have to have surgeries? Why couldn't God pick someone else instead of me? It didn't seem fair that I had to be so young and have so many surgeries. It was also unfair that, while everyone else was doing their own thing, I had to lie down on an operating table.
The fear pushed me into having a deeper relationship with God. My parents and friends could comfort me only so much, I had to reach out for something larger. This is where my real faith began, especially with the leg surgery. I had to find a faith that would work for me, and I did; I talked with God out loud, and I asked Him for His help, and I did get His help.
And God helped our family by sending His love, mercy, compassion, and presence to us. God showed us all those things by never leaving our family's side for one second. Also, the fact that God was "there" with my family helped us have hope.
In conclusion, since God was there to help my family keep hope alive, our family has grown stronger in our faith. Sometimes it is hard to trust God, but we know that God will follow through to,His promises for us; He will never let us down.
Also, not only did God help keep hope alive, He taught each member of my family something. For Mom, God taught her to hold things together, be patient, and when there is a problem, to let God take it and fix it. For Dad, God taught him the same things that He taught Mom. And for me, not only did God teach me what he taught my parents, but He also taught me to forgive everyone who bullied me.
So with all that my family and I have gone through, I can truly say that we now know how to keep hope alive. If it weren't for God and all that I have been through, my family and I would probably not know how to keep,hope alive.
Today my life is amazing. I'm a sophomore at a wonderful school where I'm in student council and in plays. I volunteer at a soup kitchen in Waukegan, and at PADS. I have tons of friends and excel at academics, except for math.
But most importantly, I am thankful to my Heavenly Father for all He has done for me.