Burned Beautiful

When I was in Jr. High, I journaled this prayer: "Use my life for your great purpose, Lord." He answered my prayer, but I had no idea it'd mean being blind, burned and broken at 20. In the summer of 2000 I wanted to get away. Junior College wasn't all that great and I had a desire to escape for adventure. On a whim I dropped everything to serve God, hoping I'd find some meaning and purpose in my life.

I left Orange County (along with all my regrets and bad choices) and headed to Colorado to serve at a youth camp.

During my 2nd week at camp, I was cleaning a snack bar drain and a bottle of cleaner exploded in my face. The sulfuric acid inside gave me 2nd and 3rd degree burns on my eyes, face, neck and arm.

I was transformed immediately.

In an instant, everything I found security in and everything the world had taught me was important, was taken away. My physical appearance was now disfigured and my eyesight was gone! My life had completely changed.

I was rushed to Porter Hospital where I spent 7 days in the intensive care unit, then was transported to Los Angeles and admitted to the Grossman Burn Center, where I stayed for 23 days.

I was in extreme pain and for the first three days I was completely blind. On the outside, the situation appeared to be hopeless. I really did feel bad for the people who had to look at me. But inwardly God was doing a miracle.

I knew all the while that God was using my experience to answer my request I had journaled about years prior. My heart was broken at the feet of Jesus and seeking Him was all I wanted and needed. The nurses found my mom and me in the intensive care unit singing my favorite worship song “Open the eyes of my heart Lord, I want to see you.” In my darkest hour I saw God moving and it was there I chose to embrace the love that he had for me.

In that moment, I chose thankfulness. Everything else had been stripped away. It was during this time that God truly captured my heart and showed me what true beauty and the value of your soul is all about.

I give God all the glory, for what He did drew me to Him. Jesus had come to restore, renew and capture me as his own!

There are days when I long to go back to the clarity of my hospital bed where God’s love was so tangible. After more than 30 reconstructive surgeries over a 3 year period, God had healed all things both inside and out. Because I experienced God's goodness at work through my own story, I'm compelled to continue to share the truth about what true beauty really is; and there is nothing more beautiful than a heart set free through a relationship with Jesus Christ.

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"But whenever anyone turns to The Lord, the veil is taken away. Now The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of The Lord is, there is freedom. And we all with unveiled faces all reflect the Lords glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from The Lord." 2 Corinthians 3:16