Stories of Hope
The ophthalmologist shined a bright light into my eyes. "She did inherit it," he said to my parents and me. "You need to be prepared. There is no cure."
He leaned back in his chair and reassured us I'd not see any negative effect until the age of 60. But the doctor was wrong.
At the very same time, when I turned thirty and my father fifty-five, the retinal disease began to rob our peripheral vision.
In a matter of eighteen months, our vision closed in completely, leaving us both in darkness with no trace of shadows or color...only a dark gray nothing. My world crumbled as the black curtain fell, destroying the dreams my husband and I had for us and our three young sons.
But when I turned to God for hope and strength, He responded by opening my eyes to a new revelation.
My father had given me not only the RP gene, but the example of determination and tenacity as well.
Only a couple of decades prior, we were all living in Bolivia, our native land. At that time, he defied the family's opposition to move to America. Instead, he and mom worked tirelessly to satisfy the requirements imposed by the U.S. Immigration Department to enter the country and establish residency.
Once in the states, he overcame humiliation, intense loneliness, helplessness, and uncertainty. He endured ridicule because of his lack of fluency in English, but he pressed on. And he managed to gather enough money for the basics: rent for a small apartment, modest furniture from thrift stores, and a down payment on a car. Nine months later, he sent airline tickets for my mom, my brother, and me.
Years later, living in physical darkness, I look back and at what my father had shown me. He taught me the determination to move forward when facing adversity. He set an example proving that humility is crucial to success. He demonstrated commitment to God and family, and the importance of setting priorities.
Like a baby takes its first steps, holding tight to his father's hand, my dad held onto God as he stepped from the comfort of our hometown in Bolivia to the unknown in a foreign land.
I did the same as I stepped into the unfamiliarity of a sightless world. Holding onto God's hand, I gained confidence and learned the language of appreciation.
Gratitude is what my heart sees. Thankfulness for God's promise that when in the dark land of discouragement--in a place that is unfamiliar and the path is unknown--"His Word shall always be a lamp for my steps, and a light for my path" (Psalm 199:105).
With His light shining the way, fear faded away, joy was ignited, peace came to my heart, and today I have a passion to serve Him that allows me to see the beauty of a brand new world.
How about you? What does your heart see today? In the darkness of your circumstances, ask God to shine His light and show you beauty through His eyes--a beauty that will give you hope.
Janet Perez Eckles
Those who share their story are people just like you, who, at one time, felt lost and alone. Yet, their lives turned around by the hope and deliverance they found in Jesus Christ.
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