God never said life would be fair. Some people simply deal with more hardship in life than others. But one thing is for certain – at some point, we all will face obstacles, and with every obstacle comes a choice: to lose hope, or to trust in God.
Having been blind since birth, I knew there would always be things I couldn’t do. I could never play baseball, drive a car, or see when a girl was smiling at me. But God gave me a passion for music, and I clearly remember dreaming as a little kid about what it would be like to share my music with the world someday.
My blindness presented many challenges growing up, from learning to play the piano to learning to cross the street. But none of that compared to what I would face in the biggest obstacle of my life.
At nineteen years old, I was diagnosed with stage-four kidney failure. At the time, I had no idea what this meant, but I soon became so sick that I couldn’t even play the piano or sing in my own living room. Music had always filled our home, but all of a sudden the house was quiet. It felt like my dreams were dying. I believed with my whole heart that God wanted me to share my gifts and talents with other people, but when I couldn’t even do that in my own home, it was devastating. After exhausting all options searching for a cause, there was no where else for me to run, no safety net. I was faced with a very clear choice: trust God, or nothing.
Eventually, I ended up on dialysis. I went three to four times a week and sat in that dialysis chair while the machines cleaned my blood to keep me alive.
Then after over two years of praying, hoping, and waiting, my former college piano professor’s wife donated her kidney to me and saved my life.
It was less than a year after that life-saving transplant that I auditioned for American Idol, and I was just grateful to be on any stage, let alone the American Idol stage. God had been faithful to bring me through the most physically, emotionally, and spiritually difficult time of my life. And now he had blessed me with a platform from which I could share my music and my story with the entire world.
I wouldn’t wish what I went through on anyone, but looking back, I wouldn’t change a day of it. I’m so grateful to have my health, but I’m just as grateful for what I learned on the journey. God taught me to walk by faith, even when I couldn’t see where He was leading me. Not only is God faithful in the good times, but he is faithful and worthy of our trust in the hard times as well. If we put our trust in Him, there is no obstacle we can’t overcome.
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