A Remarkable Story of God’s Grace
It says in James 1:2, “Consider it pure joy, my Brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds.”
It seemed like a tall order to “count” hurt, pain and struggle as nothing but “pure joy” when my birth date arrived. My parents were Christians; my Dad was even a Pastor of our church, so that verse was quite familiar to them. However, on the morning of December 4th , 1982, in Melbourne, Australia, the last two words on the minds of my parents was “Praise God!”. Their firstborn son had been born without limbs! There were no warnings or time to prepare themselves for it. Having no answers at all, the doctors were completely shocked and taken off guard!
The whole church mourned over my birth and my parents were absolutely devastated. “If God is a God of love, “ they questioned, “Then why would He let something like this happen, and especially to committed Christians?” My Dad did not think I would survive for very long. But, tests proved that I was a healthy baby boy with just one hitch, I’d been born without any limbs.
Understandably, my parents had strong concern and evident fears of what kind of life I would be able to lead. The first big hurdle was for my parents to be at peace, trusting that God was still fully in control. It took a number of months and a lot of tears, questions and grief before coming to terms within their own hearts. God provided them with the strength, wisdom and courage they would need through those early years. Soon after that, I was old enough to go to school.
School was really enjoyable for me and I really tried to live life like everyone else. But, it was in my early years of school where I encountered uncomfortable times of feeling rejected, weird and bullied because of my physical difference. It was very hard for me to get used to. In spite of this, with the support of my parents, I started to develop attitudes and values which helped me overcome these challenging times. Though I knew I was different, on the inside, I was just like everyone else. There were many times when I felt so low that I wouldn’t go to school in order to avoid all the negative attention. With encouragement from my parents, I began to ignore the bullies and tried to start making friends by just talking with some of the kids. Soon the students realized that I was just like them. Starting there, God began to bless me with new friends!
Many times I felt depressed and angry because I couldn’t change the way I was, or blame anyone for that matter. In Sunday school, I learned that God loves us all and that He cares for us deeply. At that stage in my childhood, I could understand His love to a point. But, as you can imagine, I still got hung up on that fact that if he really loved me, why did He make me like this? I wondered if I’d done something wrong and began to feel certain that this must be true. Otherwise, I thought, God wouldn’t have made me the only weird one out of all the kids at school. Feeling I was a burden to those around me, I sensed the sooner I’d just go away altogether, the better it would be for everyone. So, at a young age, I wanted to end my pain and my life. But I am thankful, once again, for my parents and my family who were always there to comfort me and lend me their strength. Thankfully, a real turning point arrived!
Due to the emotional struggles I had experienced with bullying, self-esteem and loneliness, God began to instill a passion of sharing my story and experiences to help others cope with whatever challenge they might have in their lives. Turning my struggles into something that would glorify God and bless others, I realized my purpose! The Lord was going to use me to encourage and inspire others to live to their fullest potential and not let anything get in the way of accomplishing their hopes and dreams.
As I grew older, God continued to prepare my heart and teach me to seek Him. One of the first lessons that I have learned was not to take things for granted. With a wake-up call around the age of twelve, I realized just how much God had blessed me. My foot, what I’ve termed “my little chicken bone” I had been taking for granted. But it serves me well. God had freely given to me and so much with my loving family, and so many other blessings, I realized “Why should I still complain?” God directed me to Romans 8:28 and there I found this, “And we know that in all things God works for the best for those who love Him.” Wow! That verse really spoke to my heart. It convicted me to the point where I’m confident that there’s no such thing as luck, chance or coincidence and that these “bad” things happen in our life to make us more like Christ.
In James 1:3 & 4, it reads, “…know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” Enlightened through God’s Word, I felt complete peace rush in, knowing that God will not let anything happen to us unless He has a good purpose for it. At the age of 15, I completely gave my life to Christ after reading John 9. In this chapter, Jesus said that the reason the man was born blind was “so that the works of God may be revealed through Him.” I truly believed that God would heal me so I could be a great testimony of His awesome power. As I grew in Christ and in spiritual maturity, the Lord gave me the wisdom to understand that if we pray for something within His will, it will happen, but in His timing…not ours. And likewise, if our prayers are not within God’s will, then I know that He has something better. His purpose became clearer to me and now I’m fully convinced and understand that His glory is revealed as He uses me just the way I am. And even more wonderful, He can use me in ways others can’t be used.
Now twenty-five years old, I’ve completed a Bachelor’s Degree in both Financial Planning and Accounting. Also, I’m active as a motivational speaker. Again, my number one passion is for souls. I just love to go out and share my story and testimony wherever opportunities become available. Over time, I’ve developed messages that relate to and encourage students through topics that challenge today’s teenagers. The Lord has used me to speak in the corporate sector as well. For more information on Nick’s presentations, go to “Nick’s Ministry”.
In recent years, I’ve learned to become independent and can now take care of all my personal needs. I’m able to do everything from brushing my teeth and combing my hair to dressing up and taking care of my personal hygiene, including shaving. I get around the house by jumping around and, outside the house; an electric wheelchair assists me. For recreation, I enjoy swimming, fishing and playing soccer.
Passionate for reaching out to the youth, I’m constantly ministering in schools from elementary to high school. Ultimately, I make myself available for whatever God wants me to do, and wherever He leads, I follow, for I’ve learned to trust Him fully.
Achieving goals and pursuing dreams is something I’m actively pursuing on a regular basis. Some of these include becoming the best witness I can be of God’s love and hope, to become an international inspirational speaker and to be used as a vessel in both Christian and non-Christian venues. These goals are, even now, being realized. Other aspirations of mine yet to be realized is my desire to modify a car that I can drive, to be interviewed on the “Oprah Winfrey Show” and share my story, and to write several books. With anticipation, I look forward to starting on the first of these this year. Not surprisingly, the title will be, “No Arms, No Legs, No Worries!”
Many would think these goals were too far-fetched. However, I believe that if you have the desire and passion to do something, and it’s within God’s will, you will achieve it in good time. As humans, we continually put limits on ourselves for no reason at all! What’s worse is putting limits on God, who is well able to do all things! We put God in a “box”. The awesome thing about the power of God is that if we want to do something for God, we must refocus. Instead of concentrating on our capability, our attention needs to shift to our availability. For, the Word of God is clear; it is God working through us. Without Him, we aren’t capable of doing anything on our own. Once we make ourselves available for God’s work, guess whose capabilities we rely on? God’s! Philippians 4:13 highlights this point well, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” God has a truly great purpose for your life!
As far as your unanswered prayers, remember that God is Faithful. What are we to do when we are seeking but not finding? Jeremiah 29:12 states, “Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord.
Take courage my friend for the Battle is the Lord’s. Let me urge you to keep striving for the truth. The truth, found in Jesus Christ, is what will set you free. It’s His peace, reigning in your heart, that will give you true freedom from the fear and doubt that has previously resided there. May the Lord bless you as you diligently seek Him and grant you Godly wisdom and strength through your journey.
Lastly, if you know of an audience which may benefit from hearing Nick’s story, please contact us at email@example.com. Also, watch the updates on our websites and see if I’ll be speaking your area!
In Christ’s Service,