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Josh Reed wakesurfing

April is Limb Loss Awareness Month! Based on a recent study, there are more than 5.6 million people living with limb loss and limb difference in the United States. Of that ~5.6 million, there are ~2.3 million people with limb loss and ~3.4 million people who were born with their limb difference. And every year, there are approximately 185,000 amputations in the US.

We are honored to support this community through our faith-based retreats. Through the years, we have met so many inspiring overcomers, and we know that each of their stories has a special opportunity to touch the lives of others. As we embark upon Limb Loss Awareness Month, this April we will be sharing many powerful, moving, and inspiring Stories of Hope from some of the remarkable young men and women with limb difference we’ve met over the years at our retreats!

No one wishes to walk through fire. No one dreams of journeying through the difficulties. It goes against everything in our human nature that desires safety, comfortability, and control. And yet, what if?

What if it’s the pain one endures that’s the very thing that launches them into their calling and creates vision for their life? What if it is the difficult parts of one’s story that pushes them to grow beyond their wildest dreams? What if the trying journeys one walks through will be turned into a purpose much higher and greater than they could have ever imagined?

When Josh Reed had his motorcycle accident back in 2019 — resulting in two months in the hospital, many surgeries, and ultimately, the amputation of his leg to save his life — he would have never thought that anything good would come from this painful journey.

Josh Reed

The first year after his amputation was extremely difficult. With family on the other side of the country and an initial lack of community due to COVID to support him in his recovery, Josh found himself in a low place. “I struggled in the first year slowly going into depression,” Josh shared.

“It was a journey that I never anticipated having to go through. I felt like continuing to exist was as much as I could do most days, and I wandered purposelessly into isolation and despair… and sometimes wondering if it would just be easier to throw in the towel and give up.”

Josh Reed in the hospital after his accident

Little did Josh know that in time that God would turn his pain into purpose that would push him, shape him, and propel him into tremendous growth to become the man of God he is today, the man God always created him to be. “Through the grace of God, my now wife, and some amazing friends, I realized that existing wasn’t enough I needed to learn to grow again. So, I started studying for a new career; pushed myself physically and mentally; made sure that I was being social within my small friend group; and made fasting, devotions, and prayer a fundamental practice. It took about two years from the date of the accident until I finally felt like I wasn’t just back, but surpassed the man that I was before.”

So often, growth happens in the shaking and Josh experienced that firsthand. He never imagined the resiliency, strength, and vision that would be birthed from one of the most difficult parts of his story, and that he would gain brothers in arms for life as a result. Brothers who walked similar journeys to him who he could encourage, and likewise be encouraged by them. 

His journey as an amputee is how he stumbled upon the Beautifully Flawed Foundation and the Forge Retreat for young men with limb difference. Deeply desiring to come alongside and encourage other Christian men physically and mentally struggling with their amputations, as well as wanting to grow more himself and find a support system, Josh immediately signed up to attend the 2022 Forge Retreat.

After the first day of the retreat, I was so happy that I had decided to come. There aren’t really any other retreats that are designed for Christian men with limb loss to push themselves spiritually and physically in this capacity.

The Forge is a place where we can develop a brotherhood with other men who understand what it feels like to endure the challenges of limb loss, the feelings of not being ‘normal’, the fears of failure, and not being enough. It is a place where the men have determined in their heart to not be limited by the pain that they have gone through but to push themselves to reach further than they thought possible. It is uniquely beautiful and a Godsend to others like me.”Josh Reed, 2022 & 2023 Forge Attendee/Leader

At the Forge Retreat, men get the opportunity to conquer so many of the fears, discouragements, and limiting mindsets that have been holding them back for so long. 

They discover they are capable of overcoming, growth is possible, and they can push past their own limits when they have a community cheering them on. Having a tribe of godly men who will constantly have their backs, are there to pull out the greatness inside of them, and do not let them settle or quit, is what gives our attendees courage and ability to become the strong men and leaders they’re designed to be.

Josh’s experience at the Forge was so impactful, that he decided to apply again for the 2023 retreat as a leader.

After experiencing so much breakthrough at the first retreat and seeing how it sparked vision for his life, Josh knew he was in a place where he could really give back to both the new and returning attendees. During one of the group sessions, Josh had the opportunity to encourage and inspire the other attendees with a message God put on his heart:

“Using examples of Israel’s first two kings, Saul and David, I talked to the men about what it takes to mature into a Godly man and leader. It is imperative that men learn to take ownership of their actions, pursue God with their whole heart, seek wisdom, and not make excuses.”

Forge attendees and leaders in a group session around a fire

With this year’s retreat theme being “How to Have Faith Like Iron,” the men focused on creating physical and spiritual goals for themselves and developed a support system for accountability to achieve those goals. Regardless of their physical distance from one another, they’ve created a group message as a way to check in, ask for prayer, and celebrate each other’s victories. 

“We all have weaknesses and blind spots in our lives. We all have avoided what makes us uncomfortable and taken the easy path. We all have fallen to temptations and made excuses. It’s through developing a brotherhood that we can truly grow past the limitations, fears, and pain. The Forge Retreat helps men physically and spiritually reach those areas that would otherwise be avoided, it establishes vision and boundaries to show where we need to grow, and it shows men with limb loss that there is still an opportunity to have an amazing and fruitful life.” Josh Reed, 2022 & 2023 Forge Attendee/Leader

Make Incredible Things Happen

Help further our mission and programs that support young people living with limb difference or those who’ve experienced traumatic limb loss by making a tax-deductible donation.