About four months ago, I sat in a doctor’s office at Vanderbilt Eye Institute and heard some devastating news. After a few weeks of tests and scans and different opinions, my retina specialist walked in, pulled up a chair and gave me the monologue that I replayed in my head every day for the next three months.
Here’s the key phrases:
“retinal detachments in both eyes” // “inadvisable to operate” // “hemorrhaging in both eyes” // “prepare to lose all or most of your vision within three months”
If I’m honest, I freaked out initially. I seemed pretty chill on the outside but I was a little out of sorts on the inside. I felt so lonely, scared and angry. I struggled with why. But then I had an encounter with God I will never forget.
I was standing in church one morning and Bethel Music’s “Reckless Love” began to play through the speakers. As our worship team led, I lost sensation in my knees. I struggled to whisper out the words, “It chases me down. It fights til I’m found. Leaves the ninety-nine.” In that moment, I wanted to believe that. I wanted to believe that God was doing something I just couldn’t see. I was also really scared. The very moment I felt a tear form in my eye, I turned around and left the building. I practically ran out and around to the alley in the back of our church. I leaned against the concrete wall and slid to the ground. And for the first time since the news, I bawled my eyes out.
I could still hear my church family inside singing the words to my all-time favorite worship song and it almost felt like God was using them to reassure me audibly that His love really is overwhelming, never-ending and reckless. It took me a couple minutes to gain composure. But once I did, I began to pace up and down that alley and chat with God. I agreed that He knew what He was doing and that if me losing my vision would somehow reach someone far from God, I would agree it was all worth it. I also asked if there was any other way, please break this diagnosis in such a way that only He could get all the honor, glory and praise for it.
My resolve that morning was, “No matter what, I will praise you.” From that day on, I did. I woke up every morning and thanked Him for allowing me to see that day. I never let it get the best of me again. I made a conscious decision to live every day like I was able to see because I could. And I continued to praise God for the miracle I knew He was going to perform in my life. Many of my friends and family prayed for and with me day in and day out. So did other people from churches from across the country. Actually, many of those people are still praying for my vision. I somehow always had a peace that other people thought I was crazy for.
I went back to see my retina specialist about a month ago. The cracks in the walls of my retinas had healed up completely and the hemorrhaging had ceased. The retinas had not torn or detached any more in three months. And my vision tested at about the same, maybe a little less than three months prior.
“Your vision won’t get any better, but it shouldn’t get much worse either.”
I believe God still performs miracles. I believe when He said, “It is finished” on the cross, He was just getting started. I believe God could say the word and I could have perfect 20/20 vision, which I have never had in my life. I also believe if He doesn’t, I am still a living miracle and testament to His goodness and grace. I believe in the power of His name. I believe in the power of prayer. I believe in the power of my Heavenly Father.
I think most of us are looking for God to show up in our lives in one way or another. I know I spent most of my life looking for Him to just show up. I had it all wrong though. God is already there and He’s just waiting on us to show up and trust Him. He wants to perform miracles in our lives. He wants to use us as displays of His love and redemption. All we have to do is show up and say, “No matter what, I will praise You.”