Hello my name is Joseph Pierce and I was born in Florida and lived there throughout my childhood. For the past several years I have been living in Maine. I live in a family with five other kids; all who are adopted accept for one. I was adopted when I was only a few weeks old. My biological mother carried and gave birth to me and my twin brother.
Throughout the early days of my infancy my biological mother took care of my brother and I. Unfortunately she had a lot of problems of her own. As a result, I was badly injured when my grandmother caught her drowning me in the bathtub. After words, my brother and I were removed from the home and put up for adoption. Because of these acts of abuse I ended up being diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. As a kid I struggled emotionally trying to fit in. This was tremendously difficult because I felt so disconnected from everyone else even at a young age. Looking back, I now realized that it was all part of God’s plan to draw me closer to Him. I believe that He intentionally separated me from the world to become closer to Him. The intense loneliness and rejection that I have experienced in my life have been an invitation to rely solely on God and not on the things of this word.
When I was between the ages of five and eight I had a series of operations. Several operations included the lengthening of my Achilles tendons, and strengthening of my Femur bones. My early childhood consisted of frequent hospital visits and constant physical therapy. Even when I was a child, God always comforted me in times of struggle.
I remember one night in the hospital I was laying down on my back trying to fall asleep, despite my frustration and anger. As I lay there immobilized, God spoke to me. His voice was incredibly loving and tender and he said, “Joseph, get some sleep. Just close your eyes. Morning will come before you know it.” It was as if God was sitting at my bed side holding me until I fell asleep. This foundation of knowing God at a very young age helped me to get through the struggles of growing up with a disability.
As the years went by I grew stronger and stronger, and my love for God continued to grow. When I was around the age of twelve or thirteen I was at a really low spot in my life. I regularly experienced deep depression, anger, and anxieties that overwhelmed my thoughts day in and day out. My depression got so bad that I began seriously contemplating suicide.
When I least expected it the Lord came to my rescue. One night I stumbled across a Christian radio station. The host on the radio station asked if I wanted to invite Jesus into my heart, and with everything in me I replied “Yes”! Almost instantly I felt the incredibly overwhelming presence of God wash over my entire body sending chills throughout my body from head to toe. This feeling was so intense it caused me to start shaking. After the shaking subsided I felt a deep sense of joy in my heart and an overwhelming sense of peace. I had become something brand new. I will never forget the feeling of waking up and getting out of bed the next day. I was completely changed. From that day on I have been steadily walking with the Lord.
During my senior year of high school, I felt the Lord calling me to attend Bible College. Throughout my senior year I was encouraged and mentored by youth pastors. This encouragement and belief in me helped me find the confidence to act upon Gods call. However, this did not resonate well with my parents. Because they are not believers, and have not supported my dream, the thought of me flying to Minnesota for Bible College was ridiculous to them.
Because they are not believers, it was hard for them to understand the calling of the Lord. As the days went by more arguments started to arise about me going to Bethany. In addition to the negativity and deep oppression I was experiencing at home, I was consistently insulted and told I would never amount to anything or make it on my own.
Despite the many lies I was told about who I am, the truth about who I am has been cemented in me through the time I’ve spent alone with God. The truth is that I am the blessed child of God. I am His and He loves me! That’s my identity.
At home I was being attacked for my desire to follow my heart, and things eventually came to a boiling point. While being screamed at, the Lord told me to walk out of the house. So, I did. While I was outside letting off a little steam and praying, He spoke to me in the same almost audible voice that I had heard many years earlier in the hospital bed. “You’re leaving soon” He said. I felt a little shocked and taken back by this idea, so I kept walking until finally He said “Go upstairs and pack your things. It’s time”. When I returned home, my parents were gone and I now had the perfect opportunity to get out. I began packing frantically. Feelings of oppression, guilt, and doubt came over me and I thought “maybe I’m over reacting”, “I can deal with this a little longer”. Again I felt God say “just keep packing”! I got out and was able to stay with friends who gave me a place to stay and helped me get to Minnesota for college.
I am absolutely astounded by the way God has provided for me, and believe He will continue to be faithful in His provision for me. I strongly believe that the Lord has called me to Bethany College of Missions for a reason and want to continue to pursue the path that he has set before for me. I would like to humbly ask for prayer. Pray that God reveals to me his plan for my future, pray that I am able to soak Him up, pray that I continue to experience His healing, and please pray for my family to come to know the love of Christ.
To conclude my story I would like to tell you and assure you that the Lord is good, and His intentions are always good. This is the number one lesson that I have learned throughout my trials and tribulations. He will use your flaws and imperfections to bring you closer to him (in my case CP). He never wants you to suffer; he wants you to be closer to him even if it means that you have to go through pain. His love is far greater than the pain that you feel. Matthew 7:14 says, “But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (NIV) The sufferings of this world will never offset the glorious eternity with our Heavenly Father.