Nick Vujicic is an overcomer.
Born without arms or legs as the result of a rare disorder called tetra-amelia syndrome, he has gone on to become an internationally known author and motivational speaker who helps people of all ages overcome the emotional and physical barriers in their lives.
Vujicic, an Australian native who has gone through life without the ability to hug his loved ones, play certain sports or care for himself, knows what it’s like to experience intense challenges. While he eventually overcame these barriers and the bullies that came along with them, the journey wasn’t easy.
“For many years I felt it was sort of foolish to believe that God loved me when he gave me less than everyone else,” the 32-year-old told TheBlaze. “I just wanted to have fun or get involved in things my friends were doing. It was difficult to believe that there was hope.”
And kids are cruel. Vujicic said bullies often tormented him, sending him home from school crying.
Vujicic and his parents were faced with a lot of uncertainty when he was a child. Would he ever be married? What would he do for a living? There were many questions — and few answers — surrounding his future.
“At age 8, I looked at my life and I didn’t really feel that my life was worth living, so I thought the only way to end my pain was if I end my life,” he said. “At age 10 [I] tried to drown myself.”
But despite his suicidal inclinations, Vujicic said that the guilt he had over the pain he would have caused his parents held him back from following through — and the depths of his desperation remained a secret from his parents for quite some time.
“My parents felt helpless sometimes … all they could do was the best thing they did — plant those seeds of love and encouragement,” he told TheBlaze. “Even though they didn’t see much fruit from their encouragement they [continued].”
An injury eventually ended up changing Vujicic’s perspective.
“I was in bed and I realized, ‘I either can be angry for what I don’t have or thankful for what I do have,’” he said.
Two years later, at age 15, Vujicic became a Christian and eventually came to believe that God really did have a plan for him. All of his uncertainty began to wash away.
Vujicic said he soon began allowing God to use his personal pain to help others. He had his first speaking engagement at 19.
Fast-forward 12 years later and he’s been around the world, sharing his story of overcoming the odds, writing books and launching his own nonprofit ministry, Life Without Limbs.
His personal life has also flourished. Vujicic, who now lives in California, met his wife, Kanae, in 2008 and the two married in 2012; they welcomed a son in 2013.
Vujicic also recently released a new book, ”Stand Strong: You Can Overcome Bullying (and Other Stuff That Keeps You Down).”
“I’m in awe, I’m in shock, I’m humbled. It’s not about me or my story,” he said. “No one writes their own story. God is the one who chooses to write my story or not.”
And he’s helping others discover their stories as well.
People are in pain for a variety of reasons, Vujicic said, noting that he’s met middle-aged women still suffering from what their fathers told them when they were children. But he said everyone needs to realize that “this too shall pass.”
“It’s building yourself up in a way to hold onto the truth of who you are and why you’re here on earth and trusting God that even when you cannot walk he’ll carry you,” he said. “Continue to do good unto others as they will do unto you.”
Rather than lash out at bullies, Vujicic encourages people to pray for them and love them.
“Take one day at a time, never give up,” he added. “Know that you’re never a mistake.”