The 700 Club with Pat Robertson


Determined Not to be Different

By Rod Thomas
The 700 Club “I just love the gift of drawing. It soothes me. It relaxes me. It makes me feel good about who I am.”

“I was born without arms and impaired use of my legs because of the drug Thalidomide that was given to my mother when she was pregnant with me.”

For most of her life, Tawana Williams was determined to prove that she was no different than anyone else – but as a child, it was hard. “Growing up, it was tough for me. At home was good, the home setting was good. The love, the support; but outside was hard. I had to fit in, by any means necessary. If they did it, I wanted to do what they did. I became a follower. I started smoking marijuana and drinking.” 

In high school, she learned that following others for also came at a cost. One night a friend invited her to a party. She didn’t tell her it was at a crack house. “Smoke was everywhere. The room was full of smoke. And my girlfriend said, ‘Tawana, try it. It's going to make you feel good.’ She put the crack pipe to my mouth, held it, lit the lighter, and it was over. First hit. I was hooked.”

The addiction quickly took over Tawana’s life, derailing the dreams she had for her future. “I did not pursue the college and the aspirations that I had in my heart in knowing what I wanted to do. I didn't know how to stop. I just got stuck in my life.”

Eventually, she got pregnant from a man she was dating -- Tawana was terrified. “I was afraid to have her because I thought she would be born like me, honestly.   When she was in my stomach I was like, ‘should I abort this baby? Or should I have this baby?’"

For the sake of her baby, she stayed off the drugs and her daughter April was born healthy. "How am I going to take care of her? I don't have arms. How am I going to take care of a baby?" But I did it. I figured it out.

Though Tawana was a good mother, she still struggled with occasionally getting high. Eventually, she started dating a childhood friend, Toby, who was also in the Air Force. He saw beyond her physical appearance, and her addiction. “I really didn't look at her as not having arms. I looked at her as being another person. I knew that she was a good person on the inside,” Toby said.

They talked about marriage, but he told Tawana she had to get clean first. “He kept talking to me. He kept praying for me. In the back of my mind I knew that one day I’d be set free, that it would be over. The drugs would be history for me. I knew it.”

When Toby was deployed to Saudi Arabia for 30 days, he gave Tawana money to take care of bills while he was away – but the temptation was too great. “I betrayed Toby. It was sad. It was hard. I was fighting to not get high, but I did it.”

When Toby returned home, Tawana couldn’t hide the truth. “I was devastated but he knew. When he looked me in the eyes, he knew,” she said. “That night, we cried, we prayed. I cried out to God. I said, ‘God, if you're real, you've got to help me. I can't do this anymore.’ I said, ‘I want you to either kill me in my sleep or deliver me from this lifestyle, from these drugs, from this crack addiction.’ I had an encounter with God that night and went to sleep and it was done. The addiction was done. God delivered me instantly.”

Tawana never touched drugs again. She and Toby were married. They also started going to church and Tawana surrendered her life to Christ. “I stood and I came to Him. I gave my life to Christ. And I told Him that I needed Him more than ever and I did it.”

Toby was excited for his wife. “When she gave her life to Christ I knew that we were on the right track. I was like, ‘she got it. She finally got it.’" 

She started to understand how much God loved her. “I realized that God was there all the time and I didn't even know who He was, but He was there.”

Tawana says she has found true acceptance and purpose through Jesus Christ. “When I realized that I could do all things through Christ who strengthens me, that thing resonated in my heart and in my life and in my spirit; and that's who I am. I'm unarmed, but I'm dangerous.”

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