I am 29 years old, and have experienced adversity and hardship through my childhood and in my teen years. My father passed away when I was seven years old, and I started suffering from post-mortem depression, however, I did not know this at the time.
Also, at 16, I lost 80 percent of my eyesight due to a rare eye condition. As a result, I had to withdraw from studies and from all social activities. Life felt like it had ended for me. Nothing would ever be the same again.
Losing All Hope
It was the hardest battle I had ever faced. I lost all hope and faith in God. I rejected all comfort and advice being given by my family. I started isolating myself from the world, my family, and especially from God.
The fear of being blind caused me confusion and anger. My world turned up-side down. I began to think of suicide--endlessly it rotated through my mind every day. My dark thoughts of death were all I hoped for.
Seeing myself as a person with a disability bought shame and low self-esteem. My personality was shy and modest, and I was also filled with pride, which made it even harder for me to ask for help.
I started blaming myself. I felt God was continually punishing me for losing faith in him. My heart that had broken as a child, now felt impossible to mend.
Life became endless darkness, each day living in a world unknown. There were tears of sadness, anger, and frustrations. It was literally a hopeless barrier that felt impossible to conquer.
As a person who never showed my emotions in front of anyone, I was severely broken in spirit. Hiding my depression from family was something I became very good at. Secretly, I broke down every single day. It truly felt like millions of thorns were piercing through my heart. I was at the edge of a breaking point, ready to jump, ready to tell God that I had chosen my path--to give up.
Today it has been 21 years since the passing of my father, and 12 years since being visually impaired. The reconstruction of my spiritual walk with God started about two years ago.
A Split DecisionMy mother is a faithful servant of God who always attended church. I know she endlessly prayed for me, but I was too stubborn to even care. During this time, I began to go through some personal problems.
Something inside reassured me not to give up. It took one split decision, and I'm not even sure how I came to this conclusion. I guess only God knows, but I finally decided to give church another go.
Praying for the first time in years, I opened up to God. I shed tears of a person so damaged, of one whose heart had been severely crushed. I gave all that I had inside of my shattered soul. Each day I would cry out to God that I was tired of living, and I was too weak to go on.
A Change in Attitude
As I continued to abide in the Word of God, I started noticing a change in my attitude toward life. A vision of hope in my heart was beginning to grow each day.
It took a while for me to realize how much God loved me. As I attended church and received advice from my priest, the burdens and every day struggles became lighter.
A word I had ignored from my priest a long time ago, started to reappear in my heart each day. With the strength I had now, I finally acted upon that advice.
Swallowing my pride, I went and saw my family doctor and told him about my situation. I was then diagnosed with the post-mortem depression that I had suffered in childhood. And I was told I had become clinically depressed after losing my sight.
For the first time I had medical terms for the things I was told long ago. But back then I didn't know how serious it was. I never trusted in anyone or anything. I was oblivious to the help God had tried to show me all along.
Answers to My Prayers
The Word of God, advice from my local priest, counsel from my therapist, and my family's boundless support were all answers to my prayers. The overwhelming support of everyone in my life and organizations that have lent their services for me to use was more then I could have ever ask for.
I learned about God working in mysterious ways through this process of becoming who I am now. I realized that in order for us to grow, we need others for comfort and strength, and to always have connections with humanity.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God."
Healing in My Heart
At last my faith became stronger, and I no longer felt alone. An overwhelming feeling of relief and peace entered inside me. My heart slowly healed. I understood Psalm 34:18: "The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."
My life is not perfect. I still go through the normal stresses of life, but I thank the Lord for the outpouring of peace that I have now. God's guidance of mercy leads me to discover all his promises.
I now believe Jeremiah 29:11: "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
I have found my purpose in life. I have begun to acknowledge my strengths, and with courage am taking on life in an assertive way. Despite losing my sight, I am hopeful I will see again. In the meantime, I am blessed and content to live life as God has planned it to be. After all, God knows best.
I am now a student at university, studying for a bachelor of human services, majoring in disability. I'm hoping to do a post-graduate for counseling psychology.
Things would have been easier if I could have felt a miraculous force of the divine Spirit come upon me and change my apprehensive way of thinking and living. But, if that had happened, then what would have been the point of my afflictions and struggles? The death of my father and losing my sight was not in vain. If I had never gone through these tribulations and adversities, I wouldn't have the privileges I know now.
My passion in life now is to give back to others all the blessings I have experienced--to assist or inspire anyone who is struggling with hardships in life, to offer them hope in themselves and hope in God.
I am proof that God exists and actively works in our lives.