Dance by Faith

November 3, 2018 | 3:00 am

Updated November 3, 2018 | 1:43 pm

Leah Christian says her husband Joe and daughter Faith have always had a special bond. Joe is a planning engineer at AT&T, but he also leads worship at Living Hope Community Church and runs a small business, Laudo Drums, where he makes the world’s only glueless stave drums.

The Christians raised both of their children — Faith, 24, and Elijah, 19 — with music in the home.

“There was always a guitar in their way,” Joe said.

And it was music and their faith — which lead to their daughter’s name — that remained a constant when the Christians learned during a prenatal ultrasound that their first born child would be born with abnormalities. Doctors eventually diagnosed Faith with arthrogryposis, a condition that means she can’t bend her joints, and multiple pterygium, a webbing syndrome.

“During our pregnancy there was no way to know the extent of her challenges, but whatever the outcome we would have Faith,” Joe said.

In her early life, Faith was able to get around with a walker. But fear of wearing out her upper body led the Christians to opt for a wheelchair for their daughter. Faith required multiple surgeries and regular physical, occupational and speech therapies throughout her childhood.

Leah remembers one surgery where Faith needed to be in traction prior to the operation. Instead of being in the hospital for the traction, the Christians set up a bed in their living room. At the time Joe worked nights and Leah worked days.

“I came home from work and thought Joe would have laundry done or the house picked up,” Leah said. “But he stayed by her bed all day and played guitar for her.”

Faith has always been her dad’s number one fan, her mom says.

“She is always moral support when Joe plays or sings,” Leah said.

Recently at a friend’s wedding, a special moment between this father and daughter was caught on camera and lovingly posted to social media. The video — of Joe and Faith dancing despite her being in a wheelchair — has now been viewed almost 5,000 times.

Joe says the two danced to the same song, “God Gave Me You” by Blake Shelton, at another wedding earlier this year. In charge of the sound at the second wedding, Joe planned the special moment for his daughter after she asked her dad if he thought the song would be played again.

“Sometimes I don’t like to be in front of people,” Faith said. “But I just had fun with Dad, and I love that song.”

Joe admits that he’s not the best dancer, but he has been practicing his dance moves for a while. Leah remembers Joe and Faith dancing together when she was younger. Faith’s need for wheelchair now won’t stop this father from asking his daughter for a dance.

“We just make up moves as we go,” Joe said. “If I don’t break any toes on her chair, we are doing all right.”

November 3, 2018 | 3:00 am

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