Sunday, September 28, 2008

Pivotal Circumstances

Last Sunday, Andy Stanley at Northpoint Community Church finished the 5 part series titled Five Things God Uses To Grow Your Faith. Our Small Group is also doing a study based upon the series. Part 5 of the series - Pivotal Circumstances - really spoke to me and my life dealing with stuttering. When I discuss the subject with people today, I often will tell them how my stuttering has been a Blessing from God. Often, people have a hard time seeing why I think it is such a Blessing.

When I was younger - mainly before my PFSP therapy - I would often ask God why stuttering had to be the cross I had to bear in life. At times I would be very angry about it, but mainly during that stage of my life, I tried to pretend it was not an issue or problem.

After I first went through the PFSP program in '95, I felt as if I had been reborn. Due to my success with the program, all of a sudden my life was filled with Blessings and an empowerment I had never dreamed of before. However, as my pre-therapy life was very faith-driven - my life in the first few years after therapy was not.

When I met and married Staci a few years later, I started making some connections between my stuttering and it being a Blessing from God. As she often blogs about, my wife is extremely bi-polar. I don't know what it is like to be bi-polar, and Staci does not know what it is like to stutter, but we both know what it is like to wake up everyday with this "thing" in your life that you have to work dilligently to control so that it does not control you. I think Staci and I both needed to be with someone who understood what it was like to have that "thing" in your life.

The other piece of the connection is that after many years, I realized that my life has turned out much better because I stutter than it would have I have been naturally fluent. A few specific examples:

> I don't know if I would have had the motivation to start and/or finish college. I finally realized I needed a college degree if I was ever going to have a decent job. I was the first person of my immediate family who graduated from college (and I am proud to say that my oldest cousin - with a little encouragement from me - graduated from college a few years after I did).

> If I made a short list of the made who have meant the most to me in my life, 4 of the names would be people associated with the program (3 who I see every year and 1 who was in my original 3-week group).

> Even though my fluency is a continuing work-in-progress, the knowledge of how far I have come is extremely powerful. There are so many times when I see people so discouraged about something relatively trivial that has gone wrong in their lives. Small problems don't tend to phase me anymore.

> There are (many) times when being fluent and executing nearly perfect targets is extremely euphoric.

There was a lot of pain and frustration associated with my stuttering, but not for a second would I give up that pain and frustration if I also had to give up the experiences mentioned above. This has grown my faith in God in that it made me realize that His long-term plan for my life was much better than any short-term plan I may have had.


dspurgeon said...

I enjoyed reading your article, it was very inspiring! As a student working in the field of speech-language pathology I wanted to ask you if your family and friends were suppotive during your therapy process as well as fighting your battles with stuttering as you grew older. Did you seem alone at times?

Rob said...

dspurgeon - Thanks for the comment. Good questions - good enough that they justify an entire post.