Woman Born Without Arms and Legs Inspires Others
By Michelle Wilson
The 700 Club
CBN.com -Lisa Olson does what most all women do before leaving the house.
Lisa says, “I’m a typical woman, I like to apply make up and style my hair.”
But for Lisa it’s not so easy.
Lisa says, “I was born without arms and legs.”
Lisa depends on people for almost everything. Today, her caregiver Raina helped her put on her favorite dress and the pearls her mom Marie gave her. Her mom inspired her to overcome any of the challenges she would face in life. Lisa says she’s her inspiration.
Lisa shares, “Mom just encouraged me to persevere and to never give up.”
In spite of her disability she didn’t let anything stop her from following her dreams. She’s learned how to drive, competed in special Olympics, traveled the world and earned two degrees. She’s come a long way considering she was almost euthanized after her birth. Lisa’s story begins in Manipal, India. She was born on September 8th, 1974 with no limbs. It’s believed that thalidomide; a drug her mother took for morning sickness during pregnancy was to blame. Her parents dropped her off at the Kasturba medical college in Kasturba, India. Lisa later learned that the head of pediatrics wanted to euthanize her.
Lisa says, “He told his staff to give me half feedings, because they believed my body would weaken and die and I would ultimately die of a hospital infection.”
Dr. Kuruvilla George, a Christian objected. He traveled 37 hours by two buses and two trains with baby Lisa in a basket to the Ramabai Mukti mission. There she was given the name Manyata which in Marathi means “acceptance.” She lived there for 5 years until she was adopted by Marie Olson, the director of the Hope Town Christian school in Carmel, NY. She named her Lisa Manyata Olson.
Lisa recalls, “Mom always said that what won me over to her was that she had seen a black and white picture of me winking and that seemed to warm her heart.”
Now in a loving Christian home, Lisa accepted Jesus as savior at 5 ½ years old. Over the years, her mother taught her to take care of herself and enjoy life. Lisa still remembers their adventures.
Lisa remembers, “One of my favorite memories of my mom was going sleigh riding. And I would sit on her lap. And she would be the one yelling, ‘ahhhhhhh!’ And I would lean back into her, sit on her lap, and put my head back and close my eyes.”
Marie also taught Lisa how to persevere and was there to help her when her challenges became overwhelming.
Lisa says, “She would talk to me. And just say well, you have a lot of blessings in your life. And to think of the positive aspects in my life.”
Those loving words of encouragement would enable Lisa to take on obstacles for years to come. She’s completed her bachelors from Lee College in 1993. And received a master’s degree in communication at Regent University in 1999. Now a career services manager, Lisa gives credit to her mom for her success whom she lost in 2012 after she suffered for many years with Alzheimers.
Lisa shares, “I saw God’s hand even in her illness. The Lord just gave me the overwhelming sense of peace that, you know, that He was always going to be there for me. She was in the presence of her Savior whom she loved so much and whom I do as well.”
When she helps her students accomplish their career goals she thinks of her mother who inspired her to become the woman she is today.
Lisa says, “I definitely love to fellowship with them and encourage them, to help them to see the, really the plans and the purpose that God has for their lives.”
Lisa dreams of being married one day, until then she keeps herself busy inspiring others through her Christian based motivational speaking ministry she established in 2010 called Manyata ministries. She speaks all over the world letting others know they can overcome any set back with God’s help.
Lisa says, “There are so many hurting people out there. And they need to know the love of Christ. And they need to know that God is their source of strength. The Lord says that He has good plans and purpose for our lives. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you and to give you that hope and the future.”
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