Imagine a life where, thanks to a rare medical condition known as tetra-amelia syndrome, you are born into the world without any arms or legs, making you unable to fend for yourself without the help of other people. In addition, you would also perhaps be afraid of how negative and pitiful people's impression would be due to your medical quirk.
That is how motivational speaker Nick Vujicic came into this world 31 years ago in Melbourne, Australia. Instead of being bitter and depressed about his birth defect, he has shown in his new book, Love Without Limits: A Remarkable Story of True Love Conquering All, that putting his faith in God has gotten him through the tough times in his life and overcome his fears of rejection.
"I've often written and spoken about the insecurities that dogged me as a child and young man," Vujicic wrote in an online excerpt of his book. "Because of my lack of limbs, I feared no woman would ever love me or want to marry me. I had many doubts about my fitness as both a husband and father. Frankly, there were people close to me who had their own concerns in that regard."
However, according to his bio on his nonprofit ministry website Life Without Limbs, Vujicic's family helped cope with both the challenges and blessings of raising someone who would not allow his lifestyle to be limited by his physical condition.
"The early days were difficult," his bio stated. "Throughout his childhood, Nick not only dealt with the typical challenges of school and adolescence, but he also struggled with depression and loneliness. Nick constantly wondered why he was different than all the other kids. He questioned the purpose of life, or if he even had a purpose."
That questioning of his life's purpose led to an unsuccessful suicide attempt when Vujicic was 10 years old. Five years later, according to Cath Martin of Christian Today, the Australian gave his life to God.
Despite dedicating his life to evangelical work at 19 years old, Vujicic admitted that he still had struggles in his life just like everyone else. In his book, he convinced himself for a while that "no woman would want to marry such an obviously imperfect man as me."
"I was flat wrong about that," Vujicic wrote. "So wrong, in fact, that I'm a little embarrassed to remember how despondent and self-critical I'd become after losing at love. Many people think of me as an upbeat, undefeatable person, but when it came to matters of the heart, for a while I struggled to stay positive."
However, it turned out that he had nothing to worry about. The Christian Post reported that Vujicic met Kanae Miyahara back in 2008 and married her four years later; he also has a son, Kiyoshi James Vujicic, who was born in 2013.
The book, which came out for sale this week, has 15 chapters and has practical insights that will benefit any couple. According to Christian Post, there's even one chapter in the book where Nick and Kanae tackled the sensitive subjects of sex and reproduction.
"She hadn't asked, but I wanted to dispel any questions or doubts she might have had," Vujicic wrote. "Believe me, I've been dealing with being asked such questions from childhood to adulthood. I've been asked every sort of invasive personal question you might imagine-and some you'd never think of, I assure you."
According to Christian Post, Vujicic recalled how one TV reporter in Dallas back in 2012 asked in a serious tone how he could become a father despite the lack of limbs. He replied in a humorous way, which helped end her invasive questions.
"I said, 'Actually, I hear that legs sometimes just get in the way!'" Vujicic wrote. "Believe me, that put a stop to her personal questions."
Vujicic warned in his book that like any other married couples, he and Kanae have faced some stumbles, noting that their relationship is still in the beginning stages.
"We don't present ourselves as experts in any way," Vujicic wrote. "Instead, this book is meant to share our love story with you and also to offer what we have observed and learned so far, sometimes from our own mistakes and sometimes with the help and guidance of others."
Vujicic added that his goal for the book is to inspire readers to help find "lasting and unlimited love" with others who want to "share a ridiculously good life with you."
While promoting his book, Vujicic had a message to a church audience in Alabama that encouraged them not to let fear hold them back.
"Fear can cripple you more than having no legs," he said. "By the grace of God, his love casts out all fear."
Love Without Limits is available via hardcover format both online and in bookstores everywhere.