At the age of 33, Beckie Horter began to lose her sight. As her vision narrowed and the world grew darker, the Lord opened her eyes…and her heart…to His love for her. Here is Beckie’s story…
Twenty years ago, my life changed radically. The diagnosis of a blinding retina disease put a stop to life as I knew it. Plans for the future got iced. I grappled with the impossible realization that over time my central vision would be erased bit by bit. First one eye, then the other. My condition would progress slowly, but predictably, and always with the threat of total blindness. I was 33 years old.
As I struggled to come to terms with vision loss, practical matters took precedence. Obviously I could no longer continue my job proofreading the newspaper; the pace was too hectic. I stopped driving a car, and ouch! That hurt. Daily matters like reading my mail and quick stops at the grocery store became arduous tasks.
About that time, my sister hosted a birthday party for my mother. I looked across the room where my big family was gathered, and I couldn’t tell who was who. I felt sick as I contemplated my blurry future.
I started to wonder…
Why had God allowed this to happen? Was I being punished? What type of future could I have as a legally blind person?
The grieving process set in. From denial to bargaining; anger to depression, and then back again, my emotions ricocheted. Peace eluded me. The final step—acceptance— came after much wrestling with God.
One morning as I searched the Scriptures for answers, I read Psalm 34:18: “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (NIV).
The verse leapt off the page! Surely this was written just for me. Although King David penned the words centuries ago, they fell fresh on my heart that day at the dining room table.
The words “brokenhearted and crushed in spirit” perfectly described my mood. But there was good news, too. The Lord was close, and He would save me.
Up until this point, my relationship with God was based on head knowledge alone. I had graduated from a Christian college. I believed. I had always believed, but now I knew more was necessary. God was calling me deeper.
I had come to the end of myself, and doctors provided no hope. My fear of going deeper with the Lord dissolved as I felt the words of Scripture tear down walls built over a lifetime.
The Holy Spirit moved in. The Bible came alive as never before. I realized God wasn’t mad at me or punishing me. The entire planet was under a curse. Our bodies included. Death was inevitable, but God was in the midst of the broken. He felt the pain and entered into it.
A crazy thought took root in my brain: Maybe I can do this blindness thing with God’s help. For the first time in years, a ray of hope poked through the gloom. A future seemed possible.
I prayed in earnest, and God brought committed Christian women into my life. I heard three simple words: “Jesus loves you,” and they no longer felt like a cliché. I found a Bible-believing church and got baptized. The pastor’s wife asked me to speak at a women’s gathering. There an older saint specifically prayed for writing opportunities to open up for me. A short time later, a shy friend said she felt led by God to tell me about a ministry seeking proofreaders for devotions. I applied and got the position.
These days I sit in front of a large screen television monitor, which doubles as a computer screen. I have published many articles. I have proofread many devotions and continue on my writing journey—albeit slowly.
Over the past fuzzy years of walking with God, I have learned that His love is far different than a Hollywood script. It is so much deeper and more surprising than the turn of a man-made plot.
Like a messy bird’s nest I recently discovered above my desk outside the window and under a metal awning, God’s love is uniquely formed for my situation. It’s personal.
Sometimes I marvel that twenty years have passed since my diagnosis. I remember how long and difficult the days were at first. I remember saying, “I can’t live like this.”
Although my physical sight is now worse than before, my spiritual vision is 20/20. When I look down on the bird’s nest as I stand on a chair beside my desk, I don’t see a mess. Instead, I see four fragile blue eggs huddled close. I watch the mother bird coming and going, carefully tending her clutch. I see new life about to burst forth, and I smile at the irony of God placing this nest where only I can see it.