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(Posted December 21st 2016 @ 9:20 AM by: Melody Reever)
by Julie Bowden
Sarah's journey began on September 11, 1997. She was a full-term baby, born naturally with no complications. She has two wonderful, attentive, and very protective big brothers, and a close and wonderful network of family and friends who help every day.
When she was almost two months old, we noticed she didn't have the control and body strength she should. After countless tests, she was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is a “group of neurological disorders that … permanently affect body movement, muscle coordination, and balance” (NINDS Cerebral Palsy website). She has also developed severe scoliosis (a curvature of the spine). She is nonverbal and has never walked. We are thankful she has never had seizures (which can be common with cerebral palsy) and that she is only on one daily medication for muscle stiffness.
She is a beautiful, fun, bright, always smiling and singing girl. Today, she is eighteen years old and loves to shop. Shirts with glitter or anything sparkly are her favorite! She has a smile that lights up a room and an engaging personality. Sarah never meets a stranger and is friendly toward people all the time. She loves God, her family, friends, and trips to the zoo. Through our journey, she has taught me there are no special needs children, just children with special needs. I live a little harder, laugh a little louder, and love a little deeper because of our special girl.
In my daily routine of caring for my angel Sarah, I constantly reassure, encourage, and help her. I also feed, position, carry, and change her. God always gives me the strength, both physically and emotionally, to do what is needed. However, when I bathe her, and these eyes of the flesh see the severity of her scoliosis in her little back, I am overwhelmed with all kinds of emotions. My spirit knows God is in control and holds, not only her, but me as well, in His hand. But being a mother, I can't help but cry at the helplessness I feel. I am not complaining; I thank God for Sarah, and all that our journey is teaching me. It's just that sometimes Mom should be able to "kiss the boo boo" and make it better. As my eyes filled with tears tonight, I still smiled and talked and did what was needed. Sarah wrapped her little arm around my neck and shook her head no. She then touched my eye and shook her head no. She didn't want me crying. What strength and love my little girl shows me every day. I am so blessed to know that God chose me to be this amazing little girl’s mom.
We all have a journey, we all have struggles. It's how we face them that matters. I can definitely say that I’ve learned much more through challenging times than during times of smooth sailing in my life. We choose if we are "fearFULL" or "fearLESS." We are so thankful for the peace and strength God gives us as we walk through the storms of life together.
Sarah Odum attends The Pentecostals of Southern Illinois in Carterville with her mom (Julie) and her stepfather.