"But God. These two simple yet powerful words can change everything." Erin Burkhardt

“But God. These two simple yet powerful words can change everything.” Erin Burkhardt

BACK TO BLIND

 

After a long day with an aching eye, going from a walk-in clinic to the emergency room to the specialist’s office, I was told to remove my contact lenses for the foreseeable future. I sadly dug into my purse for my magnifying eyeglasses that dig into the temples and slide off my nose; glasses that give me about a foot’s worth of vision. I felt my heart sink and sighed, resigning to the reality I had feared. I was back to blind.

 

BORN BLIND: IN THE BEGINNING 

 

Over 28 years ago, my vision journey began, entering this world without sight. Taking their infant daughter, my parents found great specialists at one of the best hospitals in the country to begin the first of many attempts to restore my vision.

After removing the initial problem from both eyes, the path towards sight only began. Doctors experimented with eye drops, contact lenses, eye patches, glasses and surgeries to give me the best chance at a life with as normal sight as possible.

From one month old, they would hold me down and place hard plastic contact lenses upon my eyes. A practice that would make our neighbors question our home environment due to the morning and nightly shrieks coming from our house.

 

RESPONDING WITH HUMOR INSTEAD OF ANGER

 

Thankfully over the years it became routine and the ritual had become one I was familiar with. As a little girl, they also tried to strengthen one eye by patching the other. For several hours a day I would strain to see out of my weaker eye and simultaneously try to ignore the snide comments from onlookers.

 

Do you have an eyeball under there?

This question came from one of many curious children and by this point in my life; I had chosen to switch from anger to humor in my responses.

No, I don’t, but I do have it here in my pocket!

I can still see the horror on the kid’s face as he bolted down the hall. He never made eye contact with me again.

 

BORN BLIND BUT SOME SIGHT REGAINED

 

Over the years, with corrective surgeries and medical advancements, I grew to have fairly normal (corrected) vision and was able to lessen the frequency of my trips to the doctor.

Although minor surgeries were needed every few years, we praised God for the incredible sight I regained. Contact lenses, drops, and check ups became routine and I was even able to get my driver’s license. While never being cured, I was stable and simply went about my life.

 

BACK TO BLIND – EVERYTHING CHANGES  

 

Until one month ago.

Sitting in the office of the on-call specialist, I was crushed to hear that my eyes simply had had enough. Eyes which were stable for many years suddenly were deteriorating and in desperate need of rest and healing. Taking away the tools that gave me one of my greatest senses left my head spinning with questions and anxiety.

How did it come to this? Everything had been fine for years! I had a check up not long ago! How could this happen after all we’ve done? However, my pleading and questions did nothing to change the fact that my eyes were not stable anymore and I prayed for the courage to ask my most ardent question.

 

Am I legally blind now?

 

He answered as quickly as blinking. No hesitation or even a glance up from his desk where he was vigorously writing notes.

Placing my only source of sight on my face, my whole world, as I knew it had changed. Driving, cooking, caring for my kids, it all looked impossible now. All those years of struggle and pain to give me a future with sight seemed to be going down the drain. I was back to blind.

 

But God.

 

These two simple yet powerful words can change everything. Through all the tears, grief, anger and sense of loss I’ve felt over my eyesight, there is a grounding in my soul. It’s a source of strength that has been growing day by day, as I face my new reality. While I still feel all the emotions and desire to simply slink into despair and self-pity, a small still voice pushes me forward.

This voice tells me to not give up and give into the darkness, to fight for independence and stand firm on the truth of who I am in Christ. This strength is not some Christian cliché that is said to sound spiritual and humble, but is instead is the bewildering power of the Holy Spirit from of which I could never conceive. It is in this power I can put my trust, knowing it’s not my willpower or positive attitude that will undoubtedly fail me one day, for in my strength I can do nothing.

 

BACK TO BLIND – THE ROAD AHEAD

 

Though I am back to blind, I do not know the future of my vision. There are several treatments we are looking into and I am immensely grateful for my big “coke bottle” glasses that allow me to see the screen before me and other things within a short range. However, it is possible that this is permanent and it’s scary and sad. It makes me wrestle with the hard questions like: Why did we go through all that pain and struggle over the years only to have the rewards stripped away?

I do not know the answer and may never fully understand my physical disabilities on this side of eternity, but therein lies my hope. Eternity. Not just for a healthy body with perfect eyesight, but remembering that this life is a grain of sand. Yes, it contains heartache and brokenness but that doesn’t change God’s plan for my life. In fact, this may bring about something great for God in my life!

So for now I will cling to eternity and remember the words of Charles T. Studd:

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

 

I may be back to blind, but because of Jesus, I have all the sight I’ll ever need to live my life for Him.

 

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. ~ 2 Peter 1:3

Erin Burkhardt

Erin Burkhardt

Chronic Joy® Contributing Writer

Erin is a grateful follower of Jesus, navigating the different stages of life through the eyes of severe chronic illness. She has a passion for empowering others by encouraging them to trust God in even the most difficult of circumstances. Erin and her husband, along with their two young boys live purposely and passionately to be the hands and feet of Jesus as local missionaries in a low income and high crime neighborhood. Her other passions include freelance writing, loom knitting, and fishing. Check out her blog chroniclivinginchrist.com.

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