Christian Women

My Circumstances Don’t Define Me (Panel Introduction)

July 10, 2017
My circumstances don't define me

When I was two years old, I was diagnosed with retinoblastoma. It’s a type of cancer where tumors grow on the back of your eye (on the retina). Because of the size and placement of one of the tumors, the safest thing to do was remove my right eye. So I have lived most of my life with a prosthetic.

Because I was so young, I easily adapted to being blind in one eye. There are times when I forget that I’m not “normal” but at other times, it’s painfully obvious. Like when my best friend called me a cyclops in 3rd grade. Or anytime I look in the mirror…

I have shared my story online, and in my book, “Mirror Mirror… Am I Beautiful?” but last week I was invited to be part of a panel that discussed reclaiming our identity after a serious illness or disability. You see, my story isn’t all that unique. Yes, it’s mine. But while my circumstances may be different, so many of us face illnesses or have disabilities that change our lives.

Even with those circumstances we can’t change, we do have the choice of whether or not we will let our circumstances break us. We can chose to find our true identity at the foot of the cross and use our circumstances for the glory of God. It took me quite a few years to learn that lesson, but it’s definitely a lesson worth learning.

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A special thanks to April Boyer from Resting In His Shadow for hosting this panel.

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22 Comments

  • Reply Terri Grothe July 10, 2017 at 9:03 am

    I am guilty of this, I let my circumstances decide if I will have a good day or a bad day, after reading this I am going to make that change

  • Reply Alice Mills July 10, 2017 at 2:34 pm

    Have you read “Beauty, When the Other Dancer is the Self”. Alice Walker wrote it about what losing the sight in her eye meant to her and how she came to terms with it. Your story reminds me of that essay.

  • Reply Andrea July 10, 2017 at 6:50 pm

    Circumstances shouldn’t be allowed to define us – God is what matters!

  • Reply Susan Evans July 10, 2017 at 8:28 pm

    How mean that your friend would call you a Cyclops when you couldn’t do anything about it. Kids can be so mean…

  • Reply Amy Hagerup (@amyhagerup) July 10, 2017 at 9:26 pm

    I love the title of your post. It is a good reminder to be careful not to let our circumstances define us. I want my identity to be in Christ alone.

  • Reply Amy Christensen July 11, 2017 at 7:25 am

    Heather, I commented on the actual post, Sorry. It was a great article and so informative for those of us who don’t struggle with these sorts of disabilities. Thanks for sharing! – Amy

  • Reply Heather July 11, 2017 at 10:25 am

    I have a bad habit of letting my emotions and circumstances guide how I react. I have been working so hard to leave my concerns with Jesus and not let things break me down, but it is hard. Very good post, I am glad that you have not let this “break” you!

  • Reply Chelsea Bolks July 11, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    This is where the old trusty Philippians 4:8 comes in handy! 😀 It’s so easy to let our thoughts become consumed with our circumstances, but if we re-align our minds to what is good and true and lovely, it makes our troubles seem so much less significant!

  • Reply Christia Colquitt July 12, 2017 at 6:50 am

    It is so easy to fall into the trap of letting circumstances define us. Sometimes I feel like I have some sort of a handle on this, but sometimes I am blindsided by how much I let circumstances get to me. Thank you for the reminder and encouragement.

  • Reply Kristi July 13, 2017 at 12:58 am

    Very powerful! Yes, we don’t have to let our circumstances break us but we have to choose to take them to God instead.

  • Reply Maria Hass July 15, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    I have experienced having a chronic illness change everything I thought was me… but I’m learning that the things I lost do not define me, and finding more of my identity in Christ.

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