Friday, July 27, 2007

A Second Look

The story I posted yesterday of Lisa Reid was exactly as it was told on the TV show Medical Incredible. I saw a radiant Lisa interviewed and playing with her 6 year old daughter in a playground. She was glowing and I thought it was a happily ever after story!!

But being of the curious tribe, I tried to find more information about her.
Specifically, I wanted to make sure that she had indeed kept her eyesight and I wanted to know if she was a Christian or had someone in her life who believed in God and prayer.
Sadly, I found no evidence to believe that God was part of her life!

But I did learn more about her. I found out some things that the documentary I saw yesterday chose not to include.

Lisa did not have an easy life.
Almost dying of brain cancer, then being blind for ten years were only the beginning of her list of hardships.

Her father abandoned the family causing Lisa a great deal of pain which continues to this day. She has not seen her Dad since she was 12.

She was raped at a teen-age party.

She struggled with depression.

She became anorexic and almost died of starvation.

She dated someone she called “Mr. Wrong”, got pregnant and felt an abortion was the only way out. She says dealing with the aftermath grief resulting from the abortion was worse than being blind. (her abortion was in July, 2000, her sight was restored in Nov. of that year)

She became engaged to a man after her eyesight was restored who had to be admitted to a drug rehabilitation center for amphetamine addiction.
She was pregnant, but the marriage never happened, the fiancé dropped out of her life.
(They were afraid that giving birth would put strain on the optic nerve causing her to lose her sight again, but their fears were in vain.
Her little girl was born at the end of 2001, a beautiful little red head, just like her mother. )

She is a single Mom raising her daughter.

In 2004 her beloved dog ,Ami, was viciously attacked by a neighbour’s bull/terrier cross.
The dog smashed through a window to get at Ami. Lisa said she can still hear Ami’s agonized screams. It took three people to fight the terrier off – it was subsequently put down.
Ami recovered physically but is now a very timid fearful dog. Lisa said the incident would have been unbearable had it happened while she was still blind.

I was stunned to read the ‘behind the scenes’ of Lisa’s life. And it made me realize anew that we really cannot judge a person’s life by the snapshots glimpses we have.

I found an article about Lisa Reid, written in 2004, where she said that she sees her life’s hardships as something of a blessing and is considering studying counselling.
She said, “I’m not the only one who’s experienced everything that I’ve been through, But I’ve experienced all of these things because I’ve been one of the few people in the world chosen…to be able to teach people and share with people. What I really want to teach people is not to judge. Every situation is different, even if it looks the same on the surface.”

I admire Lisa for rising above the hardships and pain of her life and be willing to use it to help others! Her empathy would be so real on so many levels!
I do not know anything about the spiritual side of her life but I will be praying for her, that if she does not know God that He will reveal Himself to her and that her heart will be open to His love and grace!

But I think Lisa’s life is still an example to us.

Reading part of her story yesterday, it would have been easy for many of us to say, “Wow, I’m really happy for her…but how come she got a miracle and I never did --- my loved one never did!”
Finding out the total picture, the magnitude of suffering, the hardships she has struggled with makes us think again, does it not?
Everyone’s life is a package deal. Someone has said that if we were given a chance to exchange our life for anyone else’s, in the end we would choose to keep our own. Only we have been giving what it takes to live our life!
“For each one shall bear his own load!” (Gal. 6:5)

We really can trust God -- all the time!! Even when it seems that circumstances are impossible. When Lisa found herself pregnant from Mr. Wrong and realized that she was facing having a baby she could not see to take care of, and the father not someone who was going to be there...she regretfully paniced, thinking she had no choice. But her sight was restored in November, four months after the abortion. She would have been able to see and care for her daughter that she named Jessica Rose.

Lisa recognized that her suffering was a ‘gift’ that enabled her to share with others who were experiencing the same pain. Do we accept our suffering as a gift that fills our heart with compassion and comfort for others?
"God of all comfort…who comforts us in all our tribulation that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God….for as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ.” (II Cor. 1:3-5)

The other thing that really impressed me reading Lisa’s story is how faithful God is that He never allows the evil in our lives to completely overwhelm us. He reaches down and gives us a life line…something to hold on to that keeps us from drowning. And He does that for saint and sinner alike – “Love your enemies…. That you may be sons of your Father in heaven, for He makes the sun rise on the evil and on the good and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matt. 5:44,45)

And we also have God’s promise that nothing will be allowed to come into our life that is more than we can bear…
“No temptation has overtaken you except such as in common to man, but God is faithful who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape that you may be able to bear it!” (I Cor. 10:13)

For Lisa her load would have been overwhelming… but God restoring her eyesight made all the other mountains shrink into mole hills that she could step over! She says that even if she does one day lose her eyesight again, she will not mind – she has had the blessings the years of ‘gifted sight’ have given her.
How much more should those of us who profess faith in a heavenly Father and Saviour be able to look up and thank God in the midst of our deepest heartaches and hardships knowing that He will help us through and will bring others to stand with us to comfort and encourage us!
And how quick should we be to reach out to those who are struggling.

Isn’t it wonderful that God made us a socially connected people? We do not have to go through this life alone, but have people before us, behind us, beside us that we can learn from- whose life examples encourage and strengthen us -- people who comfort us and we can comfort in return!

What a blessing --- to love one another!!

”Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” (I John 4:7)


Lovella said...

Indeed a blessing.
It never ceases to amaze me what people go through in a single life time. I hope she finds a relationship with the Lord.

Carolanne said...

I'm reminded of a book by Max Lucado, "In the Grip of Grace". He said in it that we often "judge" the outside of a person's life - e.g. the limping woman but don't see the stone in her shoe etc.

It is by God's grace that He gives us the lifeline so that we're not overwhelmed by the evil around us.

Thanks for sharing the other part of Lisa Reid's story.

Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

There are precious few people on the planet who do not have behind the scenes heartaches and trama, sometimes circumstances just pile up, other times the harvest in is on wild seeds that were sown in sin. Sometimes I can almost see everyone wearing tee shirts that say "Person in need of grace: Be gentle"

By the way, did your little golden rod spider have a face on it's back kind of like the face in the painting "the Scream"?
They often do...

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