I haven’t always been so vocal about my disabilities. Most of my childhood friends didn’t even know that deep down inside my heart I carried around some pretty heavy stuff. I never talked about the eye accident that stole my eye and I didn’t tell them I couldn’t always hear what was going on around me. I didn’t want them to feel sorry for me, but more than that I had some emotional baggage I just couldn’t understand. As I said last week in my very first post…I faked a LOT. My parents didn’t even know that sometimes I cried myself to sleep at night.
Losing my left eye as a child in a backyard accident wasn’t the worst thing that could happen to me. I can still see. I still have one good eye. I’m not blind, for crying out loud! So why did I carry around that awful shame for so long…
…because life can be cruel sometimes and people can be mean. Don’t misunderstand me. My parents never made me feel as if my disabilities would hinder me from success in life. There have been many deaf and blind people who have led very influential lives, inspiring others to have a vision and pursue their dreams. They’ve learned to live life to the fullest within the boundaries of their disabilities, but I’m neither completely deaf nor blind. My disabilities aren’t obvious. As several friends have told me over the years, “Nina, no one thinks of you as being disabled because you don’t act like someone who is.” That’s a grace~bit. Only God can do that.
How do you make others understand what it’s like to live in a hearing~seeing world when you don’t hear and see like everybody else without sounding like a whiner or a complainer? I’m not a “woe~is~me” kinda person, but if I want to get the most out of life I have to be real…I have to be honest…I have to be vocal about the fact that there are certain things I need from others…like, “Look at me when you talk, please” or “Would you mind repeating that?” or “Don’t approach me on my left side because I won’t see you or hear you.”
I don’t want to be labeled. I want to be accepted. I want to be included. I want to sit at a table and take part in conversation. I want to be in a roomful of people without feeling like I’m on the outside~looking~in. I want the checker at the grocery store or the teller at the bank to speak to me with clarity and patience. If I want these things, I have to be honest about what I need. I don’t want to feel like I’m a “bother” or a “nuisance,” but let’s face it, if you want to be friends with someone like me it’s gonna take a bit of work on your part.
I wish I’d had more backbone, more fire, more confidence when I was younger. Instead, I put a wall around my heart on the day some young, cruel boys made sport of me by calling me, “False-eyed,” at the community swimming pool. I can still hear their laughter ringing in my ears. I can still remember the shame I felt because I was physically imperfect. I formed a different opinion of myself that day and it’s not a pretty picture. I saw myself as a freak. It would take years before I let God heal my wounded, broken heart. I am not what the world says I am. I am a daughter of the King. I’m a princess. And princesses wear beautiful clothes and costly jewels and crowns on their heads. But the most important thing about being God’s child is the way He changes me…the way I see myself and the way I see others. He makes me beautiful on the inside. Now that’s a pretty picture!
Clueless. That’s what some people are. They don’t have a clue. And I’ve dealt with a lot of clueless people in my life so I’ve taken it upon myself to educate them. I’m just warning you. This blog isn’t so much about education, though, as it is about sharing life. We all need to know that someone “gets it,” someone understands, someone else has been there.
The definition of clueless is “having no knowledge or understanding.” The Nina definition, though, is “having no idea what’s going on!” Like the man who said to me once upon a time, “God can restore your hearing.” Well, yeah….I know that, but He hasn’t so I replied, “Yes, He can, but God said No to me.” To which he stepped back with a look of utter disbelief and said, “Ma’am, God never says No to anybody!” Oka-a-a-a-a-y……(picture me saying that in my best singsongy voice.)
I know God answers prayers. He’s answered many of mine over the years. Sometimes He answers yes, but sometimes He answers no because we bring Him more glory in the No’s. I quoted in my first post a passage of Scripture from 1 Corinthians 12. Paul actually says that he pleaded 3 times for God to take away his thorn, but God said, “My grace is sufficient for you.” In other words, God didn’t take Paul’s thorn away even though Paul begged him over and over again. God wanted Paul to depend upon His grace every day for the rest of his life. Paul did that so beautifully, don’t you think? If I could only live life half as gracefully as he did…sigh.
One of things I’ve learned over the years is that I don’t have to be clueless. I have God’s Word. I have His sustaining grace and I have Jesus to show me how to grace those who have no idea what it’s like to wear a prosthetic eye and hearing aids. Jesus loved on a whole lot of clueless people while He lived and walked among us. He was misunderstood. He was labeled. He was wounded by the words and actions of those He came to seek and save. And He knows how it feels to hear God say No. Remember the Garden? He prayed to His father to take away the cup, but Jesus had one thing on His mind….to bring His Father glory by giving His life for you…for me…for the clueless.
Jesus is still lovin’ on a whole lot of clueless people today and I’ve been one of them so……I just want to ask, what are you gonna do with God’s No’s?
I don’t know about you, but I’ve got a clue…I’m just gonna trust God to grace me.
14 thoughts on “Grace For The Clueless: Part 1”
Nina, I am simply amazed at you being able to step out in your calling. Praying this blog touches many lives. Sometimes it is a no… and we don’t understand why it is a no, but we know that His plan is perfect, even if it hurts (emotionally or physically). Praying for this new ministry of yours!
Your sister in Christ,
Thank you, Trista…oh, how I miss our talks already. Just the few times I sat with you and shared I knew you were a woman after God’s own heart. I’ve wanted to write and share about the wonderful ways God has graced me for such a long time. This really is a dream coming true. Thank you so much for your encouragement and support. Blessings, sweet friend. Nina
Nina thank you for delivering God’s Grace to me this morning.. .
Nina, thank you for telling your story for it will encourage other who are carrying around years of greif and ashame . Continue to let God use you to pour out your heart to others as you have always done even if you did not realize you where doing down through the years!
James, your words have brought a smile to my face and a tear to my eyes. You knew me during those insecure teenage years so your words mean even more to me. Thank you for your support in this ministry God has called me to. Blessings!
Nina, Thanks so much for sharing. I had no idea how you suffered. You definitely hid it well.I always admired the person that you were then and are now.
I also have some experience with God saying “No” to a healing. When I was around 40, I started with neurological symptoms that I tried my best to ignore. When I turned 45, I was at work one day and all my symptoms hit me at once, tingling and numbness in my legs, dizziness, and tremors. I thought I was having a stroke. I came home and went in to see my doctor and my blood pressure was skyrocketing so we thought that was the problem. As time went on these symptoms persisted so I was referred to a Neurologist and was diagnosed with possible MS. I have all the symptoms but no scarring on my brain or spine which means I have a very mild case which I do thank God for. About 5 years later I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and in the middle of all that I was diagnosed with cancer. God did see fit to heal me of the cancer which I am ever so grateful. However, I went the opposite direction, I did not accept my limitations with CFS and MS so I did not take care of myself. I continued to work 12 to 14 hours a day, commuting to DC and moved along in my career to a manager which also gave me additional emotional stress.. Then one day all the symptoms hit me again at one time and I was flat of my back for 10 days, I could not drive or walk by myself. It took that experience with no where to look but up for God to be able to speak to me, I asked his forgiveness for not listening to my doctor; I stopped feeling guilty that I could not longer do for everyone else and not take care of myself; I made the decision to ask my supervisor for a early retirement which was very hard because the early retirement affected my monthly pension. So, only through God’s grace am I listening to his still small voice and continuing to serve him for his glory.
Oh, sweet friend, I have tears in my eyes. This is exactly what I dared to hope that God would do with this blog. Enable others to open up and share how God has worked in their lives and how He enables them and strengthens them to live life with His grace as the sustaining element. I read your posts on FB and love how you enjoy life and how you are pouring yourself out into ministry at the women’s shelter and how you are loving on your family/grandchildren. Life is such a precious thing and so many miss out because they don’t ask God to give them what they need to live within the boundaries of their limitations. I love what God is doing in your life and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing….grace on you, Kathy…the joy of the Lord is our strength!
And, Kathy, I’m so glad we have a multiple~chance God, aren’t you? When we don’t listen to Him the first time (or even the second) He will still use us for His glory when we let Him have His way in us. He never abandons the work of His hands.
I know we serve such a mighty God who loves unconditionally!
And thank your for creating this blog….this is my first time blogging….you are such an inspiration!
It’s my first time blogging, too. It’s a whole other world full of inspiration for all of us. I can’t wait to see where it might lead.
You are so so beautiful, inside and out. Awesome blog. ♡
As are you, Rhonda! Thank you for being my friend….