What would it be like to lose our sight? How would we accept it? What challenges would we face? Amy Bovaird gives us insight in her book – Mobility Matters: Stepping Out in Faith.
Her story is truly a story of survival and victory in the midst of loss. She shares her struggles with a rare sense of humor and optimistic attitude. And I love how she so easily confides in God like He’s the very breath she needs to move forward in life.
Amy has graciously replied to some questions. Though her answers relate to her losses, they are filled with insight, encouragement, and wisdom that can be applied to anyone who has challenges, limitations, and losses in their lives.
Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) is a hereditary, progressive eye disease that typically starts with night blindness, narrows to tunnel vision and results in blindness or near blindness. The time in which this happens varies from person to person. What we all discover when we are diagnosed–from children to adults–is that so far, there is no cure. I am the only one in my family to have been affected by RP as far as we can tell though both my parents must be carriers for me to have it. We hold onto hope of finding a cure within our lifetime.
To you, what is the worst thing about losing your sight?
The constant reduction and re-adapting. Right now, in large crowds and especially outdoors, I feel I am lost in the periphery. By that, I mean I can’t follow everything going on because of the lack of clarity so I often feel cut off from what’s happening. The real challenge is losing my hearing in conjunction with my vision. But God will equip me and if I stay positive, I am sure I can still enjoy my life. Who knows what is around the corner!
What doors has God closed and/or opened because of it?
That’s a great question! I think that God has closed the doors on me teaching in a classroom. I’m a little sad about that. But He has opened the doors to me educating in a speaking realm. I’m using many of the same skills but on a wider scale. I’m excited about that! As my faith has deepened, I’ve stepped through this new door and discovered a marvelous platform to share my faith that I wasn’t always able to accomplish in the classroom. I love that! Sometimes at events when there are multiple speakers, it turns out that I’m the only one to focus on God getting me through the challenges. Sometimes that feels weird but even when I focus on practical tips, somehow God is always part of my message.
Also, I’m getting to know a lot of vision-impaired / blind people over the Internet who amaze and inspire me with their attitudes and capabilities. For example, I know a woman in Australia who speaks about the “art” of mastering blindness. I never thought of it that way before! There’s another woman who is a trapeze artist and yet she has low vision! She is so determined to pursue what she loves despite some falls.
Also, a door of deeper gratitude has opened. If I look at my blessings, I have to admit that I have had wonderful experiences so far. I have seen so much of the world, and by that I mean, people and cultures. I don’t think that door is closed yet. I might still be able to travel back to the mission field. I don’t know yet what doors will fly open!
How has God helped you to grow closer to Him through this loss?
The longer I live with multiple losses, the more I am drawn to the One who can offer some kind of control in my life. I can’t control any of the outward problems I have, but I can trust Him to get me through each situation and show me His love, comfort and humor. I hold tightly to His hand because of His promises. One of the biggest challenges I’ve gone through is financial loss through leaving my teaching career. Sometimes it’s frustrating but God always seems to provide for the things I really need. The rest diminishes in importance after a while.
For someone who is despairing about losing their sight, what encouragement would you give them?
1. Pray and seek encouraging scripture. If I don’t know if someone has a relationship with God, I might suggest that he or she meditate, do yoga or seek out positive quotes.
2. Take time to grieve. Keep a journal and date it. Name your fears. Write out your frustrations. It will give you insight later as to how you’re coping. It’s okay to cry or let loose (Wail!). Share your heart with someone you trust.
3. But don’t let that period go on too long — how long depends on the person. Don’t dwell. Pick yourself up and focus on what you can do, not what you can’t.
4. Seek mobility training to maximize existing sight and learn ways to adapt. See a rehab teacher and find which low vision aids help you in everyday tasks, educate yourself about the disease,
5. Focus on Gratitude. GRAB ONTO HOPE.
6. Find activities that bring you pleasure – running is it for me, or being out with nature.
7. If you’re having a bad day, change your activity. Take a nap. Rest does wonders!
8. Look at life with HUMOR. Don’t be so serious. I often say, I’m the one who walks into the wall, a closed door, or the Men’s restroom, whichever I happen upon first!
What is the best way for us to approach or help a vision-impaired person? What do you want to or not want to hear?
Calmly approach a vision-impaired person and introduce yourself. Ask if he or she needs help. If the answer is yes, do help. If the answer is no, respect that. Don’t insist.
Don’t grab his or her hand or any part of the cane, even with good intentions. If the person is in danger, like is going to walk into an open manhole or something, do prevent the accident, however, by quickly reacting, halting and stating the danger. Otherwise, the person may well fear you are assaulting him or her.
Amy’s book is free
if you are on Kindle Unlimited!
Mobility Matters – Book Trailer
What losses have you experienced in your life?
What doors have opened/closed because of it?
How has God drawn you closer?
Jesus, You know each of the losses we deal with.
Please help us to grab onto the hope that is in You!
Linking up with:
Holley – Coffee For Your Heart
Jennifer – Tell His Story
Kelly – Cheerleaders of Faith
Bonnie – Faith Barista’s Beloved Brews
18 thoughts on “Stepping Out in Faith In the Midst of Loss – Amy Bovaird”
Thank you for sharing this encouraging interview! My son has MD (muscular dystrophy) and it’s hard for him to accept his limitations. I love her advice to focus on what you can do, not on what you can’t, but also feeling free to wail and lament, but not to stay there. I’m visiting from the #raralinkup.
I’m sorry about your son, Gayl. I love Amy’s advice, too. Praying Jesus will hold you and your son close and give you peace and strength! Hugs!
This is such an inspiring read! Amy has much to teach us about living as over-comers in a world where problems abound and life spirals out of control. There are so many riches in the words she shares here and it’s hard to single out any in particular. But maybe this is a statement I felt I could relate to strongly:”I can’t control any of the outward problems I have, but I can trust Him to get me through each situation and show me His love, comfort and humor” as I say a hearty “Amen!” to her words.
Amy may be losing her sight but she has gained a sustaining grace and sense of humour, an enormously resilient faith, perseverance and endurance, and a beautiful heart which sees life better than any physical eyes can. Bless you for sharing, Amy, and thank you for hosting her words, Trudy. I’m grateful to both of you. Xx ❤
I’m so glad you can relate to it, Joy. Yes, Amy does have a beautiful heart and is full of inspiration for anyone who struggles. Her words really apply to our limitations with chronic illness, too, don’t they? I met her a few years ago at a Writing Conference, and I was immediately taken in by her optimistic attitude and humor. 🙂 Blessings and hugs to you!
Thank you for sharing this Trudy! As a sufferer of chronic illness I can totally relate. God is SO good to us and sustains us even if healing and deliverance never come. Having a chronic illness has taught me to appreciate the little things, trust God always and lean on Him not my own understanding to get through each day.
You’re welcome, Lauren. I’m sorry you suffer from chronic illness. I, too, must deal with it and can relate. Yes, God is SO good! Thank you so much for sharing what you have learned through dealing with it. We could never get through it without God, could we? I try to remind myself – “I don’t need to understand. I just need to hold His hand.” Praying Jesus will hold you close and give you peace and strength for each day! Hugs!
Wow! What an incredible testimony of God’s faithfulness. I especially love what Amy said about the door opening for a deeper gratitude. In the face of circumstances that many would be ungrateful for, she sees the opportunity to give thanks for the bounty of blessing God is yet pouring out. Beautiful! So glad to be your neighbor today at #TellHisStory.
Hi Becky. I found that so beautiful, too, that Amy said a door opened to deeper gratitude. God has certainly gifted her with His grace. God be with you and keep you! Hugs!
Thank you so much for featuring this interview. We all have a story to tell and God works in each of our lives to help us through the difficulties. He places people in our lives. Like Bob, in my book.I loved your questions. They forced me to think about my life and see how God is using my vision loss for His purposes. Great questions! One of my readers commented in one of my groups how well she liked your questions 🙂
So glad that we are back in touch!
You’re welcome, Amy. God certainly is using your vision loss for His purposes. He has filled you with His light and it shines forth to others and gives hope. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us! And your inspiring advice with your answers to your questions. God be with you and bless you with strength, hope, and peace! Hugs!
Thank you for sharing your heart. My recent loss has been my job. I was transitioned out of my office job to cleaning the offices at night. It was completely beyond my control and it was very hurtful. But through seeking His face I’ve found contentment. I’ve had doors open that I didn’t expect, i.e….blogging, speaking. I’ve had a new closeness with Jesus, more time in the Word. I still don’t like my job, but God is faithful.
I’m so sorry you lost your office job, Debbie. That had to hurt. 😦 How wonderful that God is turning it to other open doors and ways to use you and towards a new closeness with Jesus. Thank you so much for sharing this with us! Praying Jesus holds you close, gives you peace in all your circumstances, and uses you through blogging and speaking and wherever else He sends you! Hugs!
Debbie, when I click on your name to get to your site, I get a warning of a possible phishing site. What is the name and link to your site?
I am constantly amazed at our ability to overcome and find hope in all situations. Perhaps I shouldn’t be because that hope is Christ within us. But He is pretty amazing 🙂 Thank you to you and Amy for sharing!
P.S. Your site is gorgeous. You’re not a part of a Chrysalis/Emmaus community? They’re big on butterflies 🙂
You’re welcome, MB. Amy’s story is amazing. Yes, “that hope is Christ within us!” Not possible without Him, is it? Praying Jesus will give you hope and peace for each day!
Thank you for your compliment of my site. I love butterflies as they speak to me of the freedom to fly and of how God brings forth beauty. No, I have never heard of a Chrysalis/Emmaus community. 🙂
What a beautiful and impressive woman she is, Trudy. Thank you for sharing her. I can’t even imagine losing my sight and hearing. Her continued faith is truly inspiring. The tips she shared encouraging those who are losing their sight could really help us all!
Yes, she surely is a beautiful woman of faith, and she shares such inspiration for all of us. I can’t imagine it either to lose my sight and hearing. Praying Jesus will show you daily what a beautiful person you are, Candace! Hugs!