It seems as though I’ve always gone against the grain. Not so much in a bad or disrespectful sense. But that I’ve seemingly defied the odds in so many ways. GOD seems to have wired me in this unique way — but truth be told, I didn’t always view it as a faith-way characteristic.
My genetic inheritance gave me an abundance of ‘things’ with which to deal with, to learn from, to empathize and commiserate with others, to investigate and study the research of, to build integrity among communities within and just flat out develop a stronger relationship with the Lord — because He has heard from me since day one.
Being born with joint-challenged issues (nice way of saying that those joints and bones will act differently than everyone else’s), I have been both innovative and embarrassed all in the same breath. It’s not easy going through your childhood trying to conceal ‘deformities’ which, in the childlike world of school aged humans, translates to ‘weird’ and ‘strange.’ Who wants to be odd? Let’s face it, no one wants to stand out as being the peculiar one — especially as a kid.
and call on me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you will honor me.” Psalm 50:15 NIV
Somehow Mama knew that I would face difficult times, as she would remind me that prayer is my saving grace. Thank you, Mama.
I entered the world with a condition known most commonly as ‘knock knees.’ For those who understand a bit of the orthopedic world, it simply means that instead of standing with my legs looking like two parallel lines, they resembled an ‘X.’ Which now that I think about it, this ‘X’ would have been my exit from many activities and areas of personal development and relationships had I allowed it to remove me.
I managed (only by the grace of GOD) to defy the odds early on and insisted on engaging in sports in an effort to experience and live a somewhat ‘normal’ lifestyle. After all, there was no pain and no hazard involved — my bones were holding up pretty good. Participating in physical education in those early developmental years of elementary school was a must (when you’re a bookworm, wearing glasses, of an ethnic and cultural background that is not exactly welcomed, you do whatever it takes to be accepted). And mind you, back in the day, we didn’t have access to the fancy athletic gear for physical education. When we were told to run on that dirt track, it hurt your feet — but you obeyed.
Middle school and High school felt like a pandora’s box swung wide open to a variety of opportunities to taste physical challenges. But accompanying all that were some very embarrassing moments of revealing those concealed oddities. Changing clothing in the school gym and going barefoot — and let’s not forget, shower time post class. Gym-issued towels seemed slightly larger than kitchen towels as I recall (who measured those things?) and we were allowed only one. When adolescents point the finger and whisper to their friends about what strangeness they’re staring at in real time, it can cause you to withdraw in a heartbeat. But the determination in me said, ‘Go for it!’ When I’m fully dressed, who’s to know what’s beneath the clothing. So a deeper dive into sport circles that included drill team, cheerleading, racquetball … granted me access to a world of friendships, while still maintaining academic studies and status. Those relationships kept me grounded and sane.
For you [who are born-again have been reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, sanctified and] are all children of God [set apart for His purpose with full rights and privileges] through faith in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:26 Amplified
The resolute personality that GOD planted within me was ignited with such a powerful lightning force — I was on the path to bulldoze anything that tried to stop me.
Making the decision to create a bi-racial family — now, that’s defying all sorts of things on all kinds of levels. You literally have to call upon every fiber of your being to rise to the surface in an effort to maintain your focus while managing your emotions. There is never a ‘good time’ in the arena of controversy — you’re always going to upset someone. What really matters is that you remain true in your obedience to the One Who created you with all your quirkiness and uniqueness and move forward in strength and dignity.
Strength and dignity are her clothing and her position is strong and secure;
And she smiles at the future [knowing that she and her family are prepared]. Proverbs 31:25 Amplified
As our family grew, GOD gave me the desire to focus on our children, so I gave up a lucrative career for the privilege of being available to these three gifts (our daughter and sons) as they needed me. Of course, this performance driven mama couldn’t sit still long and I landed opportunities to develop a flexible career in the fitness industry. Purely a GOD ordained venture — I never would’ve orchestrated or written up the blueprints for that. This lasted two-and-a-half decades. And my knees were the exiting factor. They had finally caught up to my brain.
By the time I arrived at my orthopedic surgeon’s office, with the x-rays hanging in the dim light that exposed my obvious reason for being there, I could not move without pain. His question to me: “How long have you been operating like this?” I knew he knew I was in a lot — A LOT — of pain. And without reservation, he expressed his amazement at the length of time I had defied the odds of functioning at that painful level, doing what I had been doing for so long.
Post-operatively, I recovered quite well. I underwent a bilateral TKA (total knee arthroplasty = knee replacement). Yes, you read that correctly: both knees at the same time. Only GOD could have prescribed that and the healing that accompanied the surgical procedures. I literally did not have a leg to stand on. But I did stand on the Word of GOD.
casting all your cares [all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully]. 1 Peter 5:7 Amplified
The graciousness of our GOD surrounded me with Christ-following professionals that cared for me, coached me, encouraged me, loved on me, took me to my appointments, brought me meals, visited me as I lay in pain and unable to reach up and give a gratitude hug. From showing me how to get out of bed to reach for my walker, to assisting me to the commode, the Lord provided people to aid my every move. And I am beyond thankful!
In less than six months, I was ready to return to work teaching my group fitness classes, hosting upwards of 80 persons per session, five days per week. Defying the odds? I’d say so. A special shout out to my awesome physical therapist who endured my weekly moans and groans and attempts to negotiate my way out of certain (excruciating) exercises — I love you dearly!
Man can do the mathematical computations and calculations on the probability of things — that may occur — as the result of a variety of factors coming together to form a situation.
Remember your promise to me; it is my only hope. Psalm 119:49 NLT
But GOD … He is the Only One qualified to put the period at the end of my healing statement and has the power to launch me back into action thereafter. Which is exactly what He did.
Defying odds still yet in ways I cannot fully explain. As the days roll by, I am reminded of the beautiful heroines of Biblical times (I will be spending much time talking with them in Paradise) that were ‘into their golden years’ with the vigor that only GOD could breathe deep into their soul. Their life experiences and resounding faith calls me to continue to live life fully cognizant of the Creator GOD that empowers me (and you) to continue moving forward using the gifts and talents He pours into me as I do life with Him.
22 The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
23 Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning. Lamentations 3:22-23 NLT
To the outside world and onlookers of this life, I have defied the odds in so many (more) ways. But to the GOD Who purposed my every breath and gave me new mercies every morning, defiance is Defining. My identity in Christ defies all manner of human limitations and pushes the boundaries on what is viewed as being ‘the norm’ or the ‘usual’ because the One Who calls me out to live in faith is the One Who defines how valuable I am.
I love you to Heaven and Back, Girlfriend ~~
LindaRJohnson, TitusTwo Visionary