Jessica Long is the second-most decorated paralympics athlete in history. She is a world-class swimmer for Team USA. She is also a double amputee.
Jessica has gotten a lot of attention after Toyota ran a Super Bowl ad featuring her story. In the ad, Jessica is swimming in the background when her would-be adoptive mother receives a call from the adoption agency. They tell her they have a baby for her, that she was born in Siberia, Russia, but there are, “some things you need to know.” Jessica was born with a condition called fibular hemimelia, meaning she was born without most of the bones in her feet. Both of her legs required amputation.
The woman from the adoption agency tells Mrs. Long that the little girl’s life won’t be easy. Mrs. Long replies, “It might not be easy, but it’ll be amazing. I can’t wait to meet her.” The Longs, a Christian, homeschooling couple, adopted Jessica.
The adoption agency was right. Jessica’s life has not been easy. She has required eleven surgeries over the years and wears prosthetics that still hurt her legs. She was told by those in her church that God made her this way and, for a long time, she says, “I didn’t want anything to do with this God who made me this way.” She struggled with anger and with feeling unwanted. But, at a Bible study, she prayed with a fellow believer and gave herself to God. “And as soon as I prayed,” she says, “it was the first time in my entire life that I felt enough.”
Jessica has won 13 Paralymics gold medals. But, it’s still not easy for her. She wears prosthetics that hurt her legs. But, having given her life to God, she regards the pain as “a really cool, beautiful reminder that I can’t do it on my own.”
In 2013, Jessica visited Siberia to meet her birth mother, to tell her how much she loves her and how brave she was not to abort her, but to give her a chance at life with an adoptive family. Jessica is now an outspoken pro-life and adoption advocate.
When she swims, she pictures God swimming with her and calls on Him when the swimming is difficult. She hears Him encourage her, “Just keep trying, Jess. I’m here with you.”
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.