Making Life’s Challenges God’s Victories Jon Sheptock
“Friend, you are about to see that God can make anything happen. I am just a regular “soccer dad” who serves an extraordinary God. I have always known that I was given the music to share God’s story, and I have been giving that testimony since I was a child. At that I have been ridiculed, and persecuted, but I have followed God’s leading as I have shared my music in schools, churches, and prisons across the United States. I can see, as I you can also, the moving of God in my life. As I have steps of faith, He has been more that sufficient in His grace.”
This is the testimony of an extraordinary man of faith who has indeed made a habit of “Making Life’s Challenges God’s Victories” is the title of the recent DVD of his incredible life story. Jon Sheptock was born in New Jersey in 1976 with a very unusual affliction. He had no arms and a short right leg, He was more than his birthmother could bring herself to see, and without even holder her baby boy, she turned him over to the State.
Fortunately for Jon, after six months in foster care, he was adopted by an amazing couple who felt it was God’s calling upon their own lives to give a home to unwanted and afflicted children. All together the Sheptock family included 27 adopted children, seven biological and three adopted grandchildren – a total of 37 Sheptocks!
And that’s where the beautiful – not all good, not all easy – but beautiful part of the story begins.
Jon was not physically able to do many of the things that most children take for granted. But as a Sheptock, feeling sorry for oneself simply was not an option. As a small boy, he scooted in a sitting position or slid against the wall. When he could not hold a pencil with his hands, he instinctively drew by using his feet. At age 4, he was struggling to be mobile, his dad told him to walk during a prayer meeting, and astonishingly, he stoop up for the first time and did just that! Somewhere in the midst of these miraculous developments, he found what was to him an even more precious ability. He found his voice. God revealed His special calling to Jon and that sweet young child realized that he had a gift of his own; he could sing!
As Jon grew physically, he was faced with other kinds of challenges that were not so easy to overcome. The stares, sense of abandonment, self-doubt, being ridiculed, and even that upon as a young boy was what Jon became accustomed to. In his teenage years, he had a particularly hard time not knowing where he fit in. He contemplated suicide, but instead, he gave his life fully to Christ and found that with God anything is possible. Jon is literally a poster child for God’s miracles.
God blessed Jon beyond his wildest dreams; he has a supportive family, a wonderful Christian wife, Staci, and two beautiful daughters – Anna and Sadie, and another very special addition due in November. His musical journey has also taken flight. When Jon was a young boy his father would call him to watch Bill Gaither and the Homecoming series on TV. Who would have thought that one day Jon would be performing on state with his hero? God. That’s who! (And perhaps, Jon’s mom!)
And perform he did! Any tentative reservations that the audience might have had when they saw Jon, completely evaporated when they heard the sure tone of his resonant voice.
At Family Fest this year, fans had the privilege of meeting Jon and his family. AS you might guess, his mom was the most amazing of that group. What a delight to visit with this woman of God who is willing to share her life with so many children, let alone those with special needs. There area so many obvious questions, but they do not need asking. Joanne Sheptock bubbles with information, and no surprise, the answer to most questions is God.
“the only handicap is not knowing Jesus as Savior,” says Joanne adamantly. “He says, ‘I created everyone for My glory. In God’s sight, they are perfect . Suffering isn’t in arms, legs, intelligence, appearance, but in the Lord Jesus Christ. Jon never complained. God did that for him.”
Joanne recalls that she took Jon to school. He was in special classes where he learned to compensate for a great many things by using the Internet. (he uses his toes on the computer.) “It was not always easy,” she says, “but God’s promise in Psalm 112 has saved my life so many times: ‘Don’t fear bad news. Don’t worry about what might happen. Settle in your heart that Jehovah is going to take care of you.’ My favorite thing in the word is telling people about Jesus. I’m where I’m suppose to be where God wants me.”
Who is going to argue with or even wonder at the veracity of a woman who feels blessed by God to be raising 37 children? (She still has 10 at home!). Who is going to doubt a God who has given her joy in raising those 27 sons and six daughters?
Jon Sheptok’s story is about just one of God’s chosen children. He is a walking example of the miracles God had in store for him even before hew as born. Jon has given the gift of his voice to God for His use, and his testimony continues to bless others: “I have surrendered my life to Him, and His power shines through as others witness what he is doing for and through me. If a guy with no arms and a short leg can realize his dreams, so can you!”