Living a Victorious Life
When I was two, my parents discovered that I had a profound hearing loss. But instead of looking at the size of the problem and asking, “Why Vicki? Why our child?” they asked, “How big is our Lord?”
Every day was a challenge. I was frustrated with the obstacles I faced. I didn’t understand why I had to learn to read lips and to speak. I would throw a tantrum or shout, “I don’t want to!” But my mom, always the patient teacher, would say, “I know you can.” My mother’s voice became a constant echo in my mind, “I know you can. I know you can,” until eventually I began to say it myself: “I know I can.”
In high school, my biggest challenge was being in large groups. Everyone spoke at the same time, and I couldn’t follow the conversation. I felt left out, but I made the best of the situation; I learned to ask questions. I still have moments when I feel left out. I can’t speak on the phone, listen to the radio, or go to the movies. But I have adapted, using text messaging and email, reading the newspaper, and renting DVDs with subtitles.
All of us have survival instincts that give us the ability to adapt. Instead of feeling sorry for ourselves, we can learn to make the best of our circumstances and to overcome the obstacles in our path.
When I was in my final year of high school, people said that I would be like Esther, using my beauty to save a nation. When I heard about the Miss Deaf South Africa pageant, I realized that Esther had won the Queen of Persia pageant. Taking that as a sign, I entered the pageant—and won.
As Miss Deaf South Africa, I stepped into a more public arena, with many opportunities to tell my story and to encourage others. As a motivational speaker, I often address the young people of South Africa. With primary school children, I talk about how I struggled with drama and ballet. I tell high school kids how I came to the Lord after a shooting accident that left me wounded yet grateful to be alive, instilling in me a deep desire to make something of my life.
Even as I participate in beauty pageants, I try to remember that we should not measure ourselves against other people. We each have our own path to walk. We try to develop the gifts and talents God has given us and to make the most of our decisions and circumstances. Rather than asking, “Why me?” we can ask “Why not me?” and seek to become the best people we can be.
As a child, I knew that God had a purpose for my life, but I didn’t know what it was. As I grew older, I realized that life is not about what I want and what I need. Whenever people tell me that I have changed their lives or that they needed to hear my story, I know I’m on the right track.
Having a positive attitude is a choice, and it requires practice. We don’t have to complain or wallow in self-pity and bitterness. We are alive, and our disabilities or difficult circumstances are nothing compared to the gift of life. Let’s embrace life, choosing to be courageous, to ask questions, to be curious about everything. Believe me, feeling angry about your situation is a waste of time. Instead, we can choose to make something of our lives. By discovering our talents and gifts and focusing on them, we can become the people God intended us to be. Instead of asking, “Why me?” we can say, “How big is our God!”—for God truly is bigger than any of the problems we face.
—from devozine (March/April 2012). Copyright © 2012 by The Upper Room. All rights reserved.