Liza Zickefoose has six children. As if that’s not challenging enough, one of them, Bridgette Nicole Johnston, has Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS).
But from Zickefoose’s perspective, her daughter has a special purpose — to teach people of God’s love. That epiphany led to her writing a picture book titled “More Than a Syndrome.”
Published by Christian Faith Publishing, the story tells the touching imagined tale of how her special-needs daughter was handpicked by God to fulfill a divine mission.
“This is the story of my daughter Bridgette Nicole Johnston and her journey from heaven to earth, how she chose to leave heaven to be here with us, and why God decided to make her a special-needs child,” Zickefoose said in a press release.
“I watch her play and laugh, and I often wonder how she could remain so happy. She is so limited. There are so many things that she can’t do, so many things that she won’t experience. Then I realized, she was never sent here for me to help her. She was always sent as a gift from God to help me,” she said.
With this book, the Belize-born Texas resident felt the need to share her story to give others a fresh perspective on disability. According to the release, the story sees past challenges to the true nature of things as they are seen through God’s eyes.
The book shows that “often the greatest blessings are disguised behind the greatest challenges” and that special-needs children are special in more ways than one, the release states.
PWS is a genetic disorder that commonly causes abnormal growth, obesity, behavioral problems, and intellectual disability. Hormonal problems include delayed puberty and a constant hunger that often leads to obesity. According to the Foundation for Prader-Willi Research, the disorder is estimated to occur in roughly 1 out of every 15,000 births.
In an Amazon book summary, Zickefoose, who is married and also has seven grandchildren, says that while the daily task of raising a special-needs child has at times been daunting, it has also humbled her.
“Perhaps the disability we face is a blessing in disguise,” the summary states. “Our purpose is greater than we can ever imagine, and our calling is way more than we can ever understand.”
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