Let's Live Alive

My soul was made to frolic in the wildflowers and hike the rocky cliffs. But as things stand today, that isn't my reality. At least, not literally. I was born with an undiagnosed degenerative muscle disease, which began to show its crippling face when I was six years old. The journey from being a soccer-playing, swimming ballerina to a 22-year-old college senior has been full of challenge, frustration and deeply profound love. View More: http://alyssamarieaviles.pass.us/letslivealive

Over the past sixteen years, my muscles have gradually weakened and I have experienced the loss of most of the major functions of my body. It has been, and continues to be, a process of mourning and discovery.

At times, life has been heavy, but there is something about this whole mess that I have begun to see as quite beautiful. This whole reality, this daily struggle, has given me something very precious: perspective.

We are all shaped by what we encounter in life; our successes and our failures, our suffering and our joy – they all have the ability to turn our thinking and shift our perspective. These experiences can leave scars and bruises. They can also bring about growth and deep understanding.

Because of Jesus, the circumstances I have been placed in do not define me. My experiences have greatly impacted me, but instead of pulling me down and holding me there, God has given me the ability to see life in a new way. Every morning I am awakened to the truth that this very day is a precious gift. With that awareness comes an immovable sense of urgency – to fully live and to deeply love, without fear or reservation.

God redeems broken situations. He takes the hard and painful moments and turns them into something beautiful. It is from our deep struggle that we are able to see Jesus.

I look back on all of the challenges, and I am able to see growth stemming from each of those situations. God has used my suffering as a catalyst to deeper love and stronger ties. The hardship, while so deeply painful at the time, is such beautiful evidence of His's redeeming love and plan of adventure for my life.

Everything that’s been lost: the abilities to walk, to express myself without limits, to speak with clarity, to enjoy favorite foods, have all combined to intensify a longing that I believe exists at the core of each of us, beneath all the distraction and hedonistic pursuit. In this lack of diversion, something so very unique emanates: a deeply intimate relationship with the creator of the universe.

I will probably long to eat fresh strawberries and embrace those I love all of my days. And while that is challenging in such a deep and simple way, these sharp realities are refining me. These painful and messy difficulties are molding me into the person that Jesus is calling me to be. As much as I long for my body to be restored with strength, God has allowed this physical brokenness to heal me in ways that are of far greater worth. With every unwanted limitation, with each unfulfilled desire, my eyes are being opened wide and my focus narrowed.

I think maybe that’s the point.

Jordan has a heart for adventure. She is a graduating UCF Knight and the co-founder of Live Alive, an organization passionate about helping people discover their purpose and live out their dreams. Join the adventure (letslivealive.com). Follow her on this journey @jordeybug on Twitter and the Insta