“Christamae’s Courage,” Ensign, Apr. 2004, 66–67
Christamae, my oldest daughter, suffers from muscular dystrophy. And although for several years she was able to get about without a walker or wheelchair, she moved awkwardly and fell easily.
When she was eight years old, she had a part in the children’s sacrament meeting presentation. Christamae loves to get attention, and she was very excited about saying her part. I had helped her with her talk, and I remember feeling very strongly that what she was saying would be profoundly important. She was speaking about what Jesus Christ’s sacrifice meant for her. “Because He loved me so much and was so very brave,” she practiced, “I can be forgiven when I repent. And someday when I am resurrected, I will have a strong, healthy body.”
On the day of the program I watched anxiously as she stood to go to the pulpit, her face wreathed in smiles and her eyes twinkling. Then on her way to the stand, Christamae fell face first to the floor. I knew she would be unable to stand without help, but a loving Primary teacher quickly came to her aid. As she lifted my daughter to her own shoulder and comforted her, I was grateful there were loving arms around Christamae. I nearly went to get her, but the Spirit reminded me of the importance of the message she had to give. I also knew that she would be disappointed in herself if she did not stand and say her part.
As her tear-filled eyes met mine across the chapel, I saw that she was deeply embarrassed but she seemed unhurt. At that moment, in a very small way, I felt I could relate to our Heavenly Father’s suffering while His Son performed His mission of sacrifice. While I choked back my own tears, I mouthed to her to go on and give her talk; everything would be OK.
I could barely believe her courage as she stood at the microphone and delivered her talk in a clear voice. Nearly every eye filled with tears as she spoke of her gratitude to the Savior for the strong body she would someday have. I learned through this experience that some missions cannot be accomplished in healthy bodies. The message she gave that day just wouldn’t have had the same impact if it had been given by someone else.
This lesson was an especially important one for me, since Christamae has a sister with the same condition and I too suffer from a mild form of muscular dystrophy. On that special day Christamae’s courage taught us about the ultimate miracle of Jesus Christ’s Atonement and Resurrection.