Hello Everyone! My name is Abby McCage and I'd like to talk about how God has turned something I felt was ugly and unlovable into something beautiful and purposeful. I was born with a rare neuromuscular disease called Collegen 6 muscular dystrophy. Growing up and adapting to living with a disability really affected my self-worth and how I saw myself, with that being said, living with this disease led me into a dark spiral of self-hatred and low self-esteem.
Growing up with Muscular Dystrophy
With my particular type of MD growing up I was able to walk and from the outside looking in, it didn't look like I had a disability. From the time of elementary school through the middle I didn't use a wheelchair. Not only that but, I made it my life goal to hide behind what physical ability I did have so that others wouldn't know that I had a disease. I wanted to fit in and be seen as "normal" that I changed my whole persona to fit what society saw as good and worthy. My whole life was revolved around others. Although I could walk it was still very difficult. However, I refused to use my wheelchair or speak admit I had Muscular Dystrophy because to me it was a symbol of weakness and I refused to be seen in such a vulnerable way.
The small whispers of hope
For all of the middle school, I was emotionally and physically exhausted. My body was tired of pushing itself beyond what my muscles could supply. My heart and soul were tired from trying so hard to hide something that was never going away. Every day there was a constant battle going on behind closed doors that no one saw. Anxiety was crippling, depression was drowning me. The only thing that I was holding on to at the time was my faith and relationship with God. When hard trials came and self-doubt surfaced the small whispers in my soul led me to peace that exceeded every other battle I was facing.
Leaving behind the standards of the world
While school was the hardest for me I was eventually placed in homeschool due to the dark place I was in. With that being said, leaving school was one of the best decisions for me. During that time my mental health became much better and not only that but, it was also when I grew the most in my relationship with God. His words that spoke to my soul were words of strength and hope, which I never really saw in myself. I only saw the bad things and the negative words that others said about me. My whole mindset was focused on how the world sees me that I forgot how God sees me. Romans 8:28 specifically talks about how everyone has a purpose and before truly knowing God I sincerely doubted someone like me that had this disease had a purpose when the world around me constantly look down upon anyone that was different. As time passed I began to open up more about my disability to others. I remember being able to present to a class about my disease and it was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. at that moment I realized I didn't have to hide who I was or be ashamed of myself.
Finding freedom in what God says about me
I am now in college and am still learning each day to put God's truth over what the world says. Some days are harder than others, but looking back and seeing how far I've come is what keeps me looking into the future with hope and patience. I'm fully open now about my disability and having Muscular Dystrophy. I use a wheelchair now due to the progression of my disease, and can fully be okay with the vulnerability that comes along with it. I am learning to take one day at a time and not become overwhelmed with the uncertainties of life. Knowing and believing that God is beside me through every battle is the strength I hold onto today. Not the opinions of others or the unknowns of my disease. God is my strength, the one who has turned my weakness into his strength.