Joni and Friends Blog
From Wrestling to Finding Rest
When I was 8 years old, I sat in the backseat of my mom’s car with a smile on my face and no worries of my future. My mom tried to comfort me as I had just received the diagnosis of a genetic eye disease that would lead to my vision loss. As she tried to comfort me, I responded with such child-like faith. I told my mom that I knew I would get new eyes in heaven one day. My response is something that both my mom and I have held onto for the past 17 years.
I wish I could say that I kept that child-like faith and joy as my vision began to fade over time. As I went through childhood into my teenage years, I began wrestling with God about my disability. I questioned his purpose for my life. I knew that He could heal me if He wanted to, but I did not understand why He would not do it. I was not only physically blinded, but I could not see a future with purpose. I wrestled with God and my child-like faith began to dwindle.
I told my mom that I knew I would get new eyes in heaven one day… I wish I could say that I kept that child-like faith and joy as my vision began to fade over time.
I became bitter and frustrated with God. I hated that I was different and began trying to hide my disability. When you look at me, you cannot tell that I have a visual impairment, so I used that to my advantage. My disability became what I like to call “the elephant in the room.” Those around me knew it was there, but we never talked about it. I was uncomfortable with my vision loss and thought that if I ignored it, somehow it would fade away.
As I got older, I could no longer hide my disability. My vision loss was starting to affect every part of my life and I needed more daily support. When I went to college I had to learn to ask for help and advocate for my needs. I began to realize that I could no longer navigate through life without depending on others, especially God. I could no longer ignore my disability, but rather I had to confront it head on.
I was not only physically blinded, but I could not see a future with purpose. I wrestled with God and my child-like faith began to dwindle.
During this time, God began placing people in my life that had disabilities. I saw value and purpose through their lives. Through these interactions, God began teaching me that I have a purpose even with a visual impairment. Through this turning point, my loss of sight began to give me spiritual vision.
In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul asked God to take away a thorn in his flesh. He begged God three times to take it away. God responded to Paul saying that His grace was sufficient and that His power would be made perfect in Paul’s weakness. This passage showed me that God uses our “weaknesses” to demonstrate his power. Our weaknesses are actually making us stronger because we surrender ourselves to God’s will and allow him to work through our weaknesses.
Through this turning point, my loss of sight began to give me spiritual vision.
My vision loss has led to my dependence on God and in that dependence, God has given me purpose in my disability. He has shown me that I am an indispensable part of the church and that I am actually needed in the body of Christ. Paul continues in that passage to say that now he is content and actually boasts in his weakness because when he is weak, then he is strong. Our strength is found in that full dependence on God.
Now I have found contentment in my visual impairment. Is this always easy, no. Every morning I have to wake up and surrender my heart recognizing that I cannot do life on my own. When I finally stopped shaking my fist at God with doubts that He could use me with a disability, I found rest with palms opened to His will in my life. Through the wrestling, I now have rest and joy, just like that 8-year-old girl!
My vision loss has led to my dependence on God and in that dependence, God has given me purpose in my disability.
If you are struggling with accepting your own disability, I want to encourage you with the truth that God works through weakness. He desires to know you deeper and wants you to surrender fully to Him. Through that surrender, He will strengthen you and give you rest and full acceptance of who He designed you to be.
Written By—Kristin Hamer, Cause 4 Life Intern
To hear more from Kristin Hamer, visit the Joni and Friends Ministry Podcast!
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