A homeschooling mom, Anita Mellott writes and blogs “Words of Encouragement and Hope” at From the Mango Tree:

“Lord, what will I do without my eyes?” I sank to the floor of my walk-in closet and buried my face in my hands. The darkness was a welcome relief to my eyes after the probing, bright lights at the ophthalmologist’s. The check-up confirmed that my recent bout with iritis had altered my vision drastically. In addition, the doctor found a troubling spot on the macula of the other eye. Fearing the worst, he referred me to a retinal specialist.

The days that led up to that appointment were difficult: medical tests for me, a car wreck, and worst of all–a tragic situation that blindsided our family, leaving us reeling. Through it all, a contract for my devotional book lay on my desk.

“Have you sent in the contract yet?” a critique partner asked me one day.

I remained silent.


“How can I sign it now? You know what’s going on. I feel like a hypocrite…What hope can I offer anyone?” My words weren’t so much a response to her as much as a cry to God, “Don’t expect anything of me right now. Maybe once this season of pain has passed, I’ll write again.”

“Oh, Anita.” My crit partner’s gentle tone reached through the phone and embraced me. “I like you so much better now that your life isn’t perfect.”

Her words stayed with me.

Pain sears the life of every individual. My valley is giving me a deeper perspective, a greater empathy with and compassion for hurting people. It’s providing a connecting point with others.

Pain brings a greater vulnerability to His work in my life; it deepens my need for Him. It’s on my knees that I can acknowledge His sovereignty and rest in it.

Contrary to my expectations, He didn’t lead me to write after the pain, but rather through the pain. So I signed the contract. It’s through the valley that my faith and obedience is tested. It’s not what I can do for Him, but what He can do through the pain. And, it’s because of the pain that I write. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God” (1 Corinthians 1:3-4).