“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:6-7
Alexa Grady and Carley Cottingham both experienced arm amputation. Their stories are ones of survival, strength, and the journey of finding beauty in our differences.
At the age of 17, Carley discovered that she was born with extra cervical ribs at the top of her rib cage. The extra rib caused clotting in her dominate right arm, resulting in amputation of her right hand. As an outgoing athlete Carley knew her limb loss wasn’t going to put an end to her adventures. Instead, at my Beautifully Flawed retreat, she found a platform to begin sharing her story more boldly and purposefully.
Carley reflects: “As I sat in a room full of beautiful women who all have stories of their own I could not help but be overwhelmed with the presence of God. Each one of those girls who surrounded me had to overcome something extremely hard, painful, and even very tragic; each of [us had] experienced loss. Yet there we all were, sitting in a beach house in beautiful California, laughing, loving on one another, looking past our scars and limb losses.”
Alexa, also an arm amputee, had lived for years hiding her physical difference with a prosthesis. For 16 years she had never let anyone in public see her without it on. At the retreat, she was blown away by the many women walking around confidently, baring their scars without prosthesis. Over the course of the weekend, Alexa heard time and again powerful testimonies about the God who loves her and sees her as beautiful exactly as she is. God’s perfect love for her was liberating, and for the first time, Alexa discovered a new-found freedom in not having to hide her limb difference.
Alexa and Carley both experienced in tangible ways the freedom available in Christ to feel confident regardless of our flaws.
God doesn’t see our differences as deficiencies. He views us as beautifully unique and loved each and every one of us all the way to the cross.
When I’m unstoppable, I’m freed by God’s love to just be me.