Madison (Madi) Clark faces a unique challenge: born with a type of dwarfism called achondroplasia, at 22 years old, she is just over four feet tall. But what she “lacks” in height, Madison makes up for in spirit, personality, and a broad smile that immediately lights up any room. For the last 10 years, Madison has attended Grace Community Church of Seal Beach, Calif. (Steve Williams, lead pastor).
“I was going into middle school when my parents found this amazing church,” she says. “It has impacted me in a way that I can’t even begin to describe. My faith in God has always been important to me, and going to Grace has made my relationship with Jesus Christ a whole lot stronger.”
“The entire church family has been such a positive light in my life and I can’t thank everyone enough for seeing me beyond my disability and what I may look like,” Madison notes. Madison has big dreams, including a desire to educate others about dwarfism. This past year, she self-published her memoir, “Always Looking Up,” which tells her story from birth onward.
“I had been writing notes in my journal since middle school and then in high school I started to get excited about possibly putting it together in a book,” she remembers. “It was after my recent book launch which Pastor Don [Shoemaker] attended that he read my book and learned about some of the unique challenges that I (as a little person) face on a daily basis and how I have tried to overcome them.”
“She was always most attentive and very friendly when I’d greet her before or after services,” said Shoemaker, pastor emeritus at Grace Community Church of Seal Beach. “I find her quite a remarkable young woman.”
Madison is currently attending Cypress Community College with plans to transfer to California State University, Long Beach, in the spring of 2017. She is majoring in Health Science with dreams to go into speech pathology.
“I’ve always had a love for children so my dream is to work with them in a hospital setting. I still to this day remember my speech therapist helping me as a child. I would love to be able to give back and hopefully inspire another young child as well.” You can read more of Madison’s story and purchase her memoir on her website,hulamadi.com, and send her a letter of encouragement at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This story first appeared in GraceConnect eNews. To subscribe to the weekly e-newsletter that includes news and information from congregations in the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches, click here.