Tag Archives: Testimony

“I’ve never seen so clearly since going blind” 20 Years Of Sight-loss!

Me playing my Taylor K22ce at church and in front of a cross on the wall

Hi friends. As it is 20 years to the day since i went blind…I thought i’d share one of my older posts(yet updated) from 4 years ago when i was asked to share a little of what i went through when i lost my sight at 24.

I really hope that you’ll have the time to read it, and that it blesses you in some small way?! 

Here Goes…

I was asked by our Minister Nik if i would share my Testimony in the parade service. The theme was ‘Faith through Adversity’, Nik said “i can ask you some straight forward questions, it will only take about 5 minutes(or so we thought)” “Yeah, ok, if you think it will help?”.

Sunday 8th May 2016…

Walking into the church building Sunday morning, it was quite full, as it was parade service, the scouts and other uniformed groups were there, but Nik found us seats at the front, then showed me up the steps and where i’d stand to speak, after testing the microphone i remembered the steps and sat back down. 

As i’m blind, i can’t use any notes, so i spent a little time trying to etch some answer headings into my mind, hoping i’d not veer too far off track. I then prayed that i’d use this time to Glorify Him, as i talked about the Truth that sets us free, and how i’m not ashamed of the Gospel, it’s the power of God unto Salvation to all who believe…please make it real(be careful praying this, lol).

It;s time…

Steve, we are looking at people who have showed faith in difficult circumstances and I have asked you to share some of your story with us.

Many people here, even those who have seen you around at various church events may not know that you are blind.

My Testimony…

Nik stood next to me at the microphone and started with the first 2 questions:

Have you always been blind? How and when did you loose your sight?

I explained i’d been fully sighted until i was 24, and after 2 brain haemorrhages(March – July 2000) that burst my optic nerve, i’m now registered blind and have Severe Hypertensive Retinopathy.

“How did that change your life?”

I said “I can only scratch the surface this morning, but if ever you see me walking around here or in town, please ask me anything. But now i’ll try and sketch you a quick picture and give you a flavour of what happened…”

“I went to the gym 6-7 days a week, played football most evenings and was quite violent, acting the tough guy.  I wasn’t a Christian, i hadn’t been born again, or even been inside a church building…so…As i stepped out of the eye consultants office after being told i’d be blind for the rest of my life, it was out of character but i collapsed on the floor sobbingg my eyes out. And as my crying out got a little too loud they pulled me into a small empty room….And this was the easy bit”.

“Following this was pure isolation… all my football mates left me, i lost my job, my car and ability to do anything…i lost everything, i was completely broken, and on top of that i was left to my acusing thoughts “Nobody wants you, you’re useless now, unwanted, rejected, unloved and unlovable!!”

Suddenly, as i was telling my story…

My mouth was silenced, an image of Jesus in Glory(Revelation 1) filled my mind, it was so clear(not blurred by my blindness) I could see His flaming eyes of judgment…then…the image changed, it was Jesus on the cross, now His eyes were filled with Mercy, Compassion & Grace, and while looking down straight at me he said “I did this for you, so that you can live. I…LOVE…YOU!!!

I started sobbing uncontrollably, and it took a couple of minutes for me to try and start talking again….but more sobbing…i was completely undone. But these tears were different!

I already knew He’d given His life so i could live. He’d come down so far to save me it is immeasurable. His blood washed me clean, white as snow. He’s forgiven me all my sins, past, present and future, and there is no more condemnation for me, it is finished!

I’d been  praying for so long for God to “Break my heart for what broke His” and sang the songs many times, but rarely had i caught a glimpse of the true cost of His Love, and His free gift of Grace to those who Repent and Believe in Him. I knew He wanted me to share the True Gospel to people listening(and now reading), as it alone is the only Hope. It is the Power of God unto Salvation for anyone that believes.

Still sobbing, i continued…

My every word was a different pitch but i said “My pit was so dark, my accusing thoughts were too heavy, and this led to a daily cycle of waking up and trying to kill myself…failing, which made me feel worse…then drinking so much i could drown them out for the rest of the day, until i woke the next day, then it started again. 

I didn’t have the strength to kill myself, and i didn’t have the strength to live…i was without God, and without Hope!

Nik, who’s hand was rested on my shoulder asked question 4 “I know you were deeply unhappy at the time, what changed that?”

The world followed it’s pattern and sent me to Counselling, then Psychotherapy & finally Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, they didn’t work, they all had no answer for me, they couldn’t reach far enough down to pull me out. I needed a Saviour, I needed the light of the Gospel! 

The Good News & Lovely Sarah

Meeting Sarah changed my life! I have no idea how she’s put up with me. She’s  been so patient and long suffering as i tried attacking her Faith and this Jesus! But she kept on loving me. Sarah always seemed to have a rock to stand on no matter how bad things got for her, and i was being dragged deeper into the sinking sand. She always had this Blessed Hope that i didn’t,

Jesus worked through Sarah to shine the light of the Gospel, the Good News i was dying for. 

Words failed me as i was trying to describe how much i love Sarah, so when my mind filled with thoughts of how far we’ve grown together in love…i broke down again. 

The sobbing was still making me pause every few words, but mentioned Jesus doesn’t want to see anyone perish, but he pursues you, He has come to seek and save that which is lost. He loves you and no matter how bad or hopeless you think you are, He’ll keep coming with His free gift of Salvation!

Nik asked Question 5 “some people would say that your life must be worse now, would you agree with them?”

I’d gone way over my time slot, and i was almost pulled away from the mic as i was so overwhelmed…BUT i knew these tears were not about me, or my losses. I had 1 focus and that was to share the Truth that sets us free. I had no feeling of sorrow or pain. I knew it must have seemed like this to the congregation, and i thought they’d stick me in a counselling room when i’d finished!

The Holy Spirit was filling me like never before, and made the Power of the Gospel so real to me i almost exploded.

I continued “I wouldn’t agree with anyone who thinks(or measures) life by how good our circumstances are. I’d lead them to 2 Corinthians 4 & 5 where it talks about living by Faith, not by Sight, and now that we are born again in the Spirit, we should walk by the Spirit. Not living for things that are seen which are temporary(like my sight loss), but living for the unseen which is Eternal”

“I used to hate this song, but now i’d play it every service if i could…have you heard Amazing Grace, the Chris Tomlin version? If you pass me in the street you’ll normally hear me singing or humming these words:”

“Amazing grace how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I’m found, was blind, but now I see. My chains are gone I’ve been set free. My God, my Saviour has ransomed me. And like a flood His mercy reigns. Unending love, amazing grace”.

“I’ve never seen so clearly since going blind” This is one of my fave sayings. 😀 

Nik then walked me back to my seat next to Sarah. The church was completely silent, it had been silent since i first started sobbing. I could feel Sarah was upset as she didn’t react for a while, then she said “People kept on running up and passing me tissues”. Nik sat down next to Sarah, and Sarah said “You’re not borrowing him again to speak”. 

After the service people came over and said they really connected with the things i said, although i think everyone thinks i’m back in dark depression again, lol.

He showed me the reality and Power of transformation in His Gospel, and how vital it is to share it, as Jesus is the  Way, the Truth and the Life and no-one gets to  the Father but by Him. He’s the forgiver of Sins, breaker of chains, and the only Salvation for Eternal Life in Heaven.

John 3:14-21 New King James Version (NKJV)

14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but[a] have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

I felt i needed to share this post to try and explain a little more of what was happening to me, and maybe reach out to someone who is struggling with the creeping death called Depression,or who is just simply lost and without God, and without Hope.

Related Post: My Full Testimony 

My 7Cubed Interview!

7Cubed Logo

by Heather Mertens ~ 40YearWanderer

Blind Photographer – Steve Rebus {Worshipping through his art, his music, and his writings.}

Me playing my Dean Razorback Rust USA

Meet Steve Rebus. You can read on his website how he breaks the ice about who he is: Blind Photographer.  But we’ve gotten to know Steve as so much more than that – although he is a fabulous photographer! He is a writer, a musician, and most importantly he is a follower of Christ. In every sense, he seeks to be like and love like Jesus. WHAT A POWERFUL testimony he has!

  7Cubed: Hi Steve. Tell us about your life, your music, and your photography. 

Steve: Two Souls Entwine….. 

Me  Sarah in Church

I‘ve been married to Sarah for nearly six years now and I’m really struggling to put how I feel into words! My heart overflows with love for her. She has encouraged, inspired and loved me and is the sunshine that warms me along my journey.  

My love of music….

Since being registered blind I’ve learned to play the drums and guitar. This is amazing in itself but being able to play alongside Sarah every Sunday to assist myself and others in worship is just mind blowing. I play in two churches – drumming in the morning and playing guitar in the evening and I feel so blessed to be able to come before God and thank him with the gifts he’s given me. Gifts that give me great joy too!

Blind Photographer?? 

“You don’t need sight to see, you need vision“ 

“I strongly believe that Disability doesn’t have to mean inability or lack of creative talent!” 

I used to enjoy photography when I was sighted, taking and developing photos in my dad’s darkroom, When I lost most my sight 13 years ago I thought this would put a stop to my hobby, but I have learned that my camera can act as my eyes allowing me to see what my own eyes will not. I am proud of the fact that I have been able to produce photographs despite my visual impairment– and like to think that although I may have lost my useful sight I have not lost my vision and instinct for a good photograph. (see Blind Photographer).

7Cubed: In what ways has life changed for you and your relationship with God because of your blindness? 

Steve: When I was fully sighted I never had a relationship with God, nor was ever taught about him. We didn’t go to church and he was never part of my life. In my early twenties I was really into body building, football, driving, and night clubbing. I judged people on looks alone; if they didn’t look fit, they were nothing! My fuel was pride and vanity. Since I have been blind and the eyes of my heart have been forced open by God’s amazing grace I’ve found my identity in Him, and as He is continually transforming me into the person He knew I could be. I simply just love people without any preconceptions of what the world thinks is beautiful.

7Cubed: Obviously, God blesses your music, your writing, and your photography! They are all wonderful. At what point in your life did you really understand that Christ wanted to work through your adverse situations?

Me playing my Taylor Macasser Ebony

Steve: I think it was when I wrote my testimony at the beginning of this year when God started to show me what he can do through me. I posted it onto iChristian and my blog seemed to explode with blessings. I realised that my little story can actually help connect, encourage, and inspire people on a few different levels, and I will share His good news for the rest of my life. 

7Cubed: We’ve seen some cool pictures of you playing your guitar! Do you play any other instruments? When did you first learn how to play your instruments? 

Steve: Yes, I also play the drums. I first started playing 13 years ago when a teacher at the college I reluctantly attended (as it was only a few months after I’d lost my sight and I was in a real dark place) asked me, “Steve, is there anything you would like to learn?” I said I would like to play the drums, so she found a local drum shop called “Rattle & Drum” that also had teaching rooms upstairs and that’s where I started my lessons. Dave, my drum teacher, was fantastic and worked around my struggles, and playing the drums to my favourite songs quickly became my therapy and still helps to this day. 

I didn’t start playing guitar until 2005 when I had met Sarah and had to sell my drum kit to be able to move into her flat. As I’ve been a Metal fan for most of my life, I’ve always played the air guitar, but never really tried to play a real one. Harry, my fantastic guitar teacher, recorded our lessons with my video camera so I could sit for hours with my guitar in front of my huge TV to try and figure out what finger went where. As I can’t see to read sheet music or guitar tabs, I have to play from memory. I now have quite a few beautiful guitars that I love playing, and I’m truly blessed to be able to play my chords for the Lord on such amazing instruments.  

7Cubed: You take some awesome photographs! What kind of camera do you use? Do you have any specialized equipment that assists you when taking these amazing photos?  

Steve: I have bought 5 cameras over the 8 years of digital photography. I have 2 DSLR cameras. My main camera is a Nikon D2Xs and my second is a SONY Alpha a100. I also use a Canon Powershot SX40 HS which is a bridge camera, and my compact camera is a Samsung WB550. Oh and my iPhone! As you can imagine there is not much in the way of assistive technology for blind photographers as it’s not something that many would think of. The only piece of adapted tech is a 2x magnifier that is screwed onto the Nikon’s viewfinder, which doesn’t help me at all, but I can’t get it off! lol Having said that, my iPhone is the only camera that’s accessible for me. It speaks to me when it has focused, and when I take a portrait it will tell me where the face is on the screen and if its a big face or a small face so I can get the right distance. This feature is fantastic and also standard on the iPhone, and I’d love to see this software on other cameras!  

7Cubed: What advice and encouragement would you give to others who have been through a similar situation? 
Steve Koa 1

Steve: If there is someone reading this who is experiencing the creeping death called depression, then I’d just like to give them hope. The hope that although you may feel that no one cares and that there’s nothing to live for anymore, there’s no pit too deep that God won’t reach down and lift you out of. He wants a living relationship with you starting right now! He loves you no matter what you’ve done, no matter where you’ve been; He loves you completely and he wants to bless your life and bring you that peace inside that you’re craving for. 

 7Cubed: How did you became a Believer and Follower of Jesus? 

Steve: I hope you don’t mind but I’ve answered this question using the text from my iChristian blog. 

Broken, Psalm 116:3 The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came over me; I was overcome by distress and sorrow. 

Another day, another attempt! …. Oct – Nov 2000

 I kneel down in the centre of my living room. Tears stain the blade I hold to my chest. “Come on Steve, don’t fail again! All you need to do is throw yourself forwards and thats it!” I’d been doing this every morning for the last couple of months and still I waited, willing myself to do it. Then nudge…nudge.. my three month old Boxer dog “Bruce” pushed against my leg with his nose. His whimpering cries pierced my very soul. “He relied on me for everything and I had no idea I would be relying on a furry angel to help me through this dark period in my life.” 

After three months of failed attempts I felt more useless than ever …. I couldn’t even manage the task of killing myself. I realised I didn’t even have the strength to do this properly. I just didn’t know how I could get lower than this!!! – I’d been registered blind at 25, after loosing my sight quite suddenly. in the same month my mum finally died after a 12 year debilitating and demoralizing struggle with progressive MS. Missing her added misery to my own struggle to come to terms with the isolation and insecurities of managing life with sight loss – I’d lost my job, my custom car, the ability to drive, my girlfriend and nearly all of my so called friends! 

My answer…. 

To throw myself into binge drinking, womanising, dark depression, and raw anger. I felt that this was what I had to look forwards to for the rest of my life. 

Then I met Sarah…… July 2004 

She wasn’t like the other girls I’d met. Sarah too had suffered sight loss and depression because of her uncontrollable diabetes but no matter how bad things got for her, she always had comfort in someone called “Jesus”. Oh no I thought not a Christian! She suffered all of my taunts, jibes and nasty comments but worst of all my coldness and my inability to show love. I made it a personal challenge to show her that everyone will let you down and no one can be trusted or faithful! I felt that if I could make her hurt as much as I did then she’d hate this Jesus and know that he wasn’t real! 

Then HE came to visit ME…. 

Hope, Psalm 116:4 Then I called on the name of the Lord: “Lord, save me!” 

I’d seen a guitarist called Eric Bibb on the music show ‘Later with Jooles Holland’ and called Sarah up to see if she had heard of him too. She hadn’t but as a lovely gift she booked tickets to go and see him in London. I’d only ever been to Metal concerts before so i didn’t know what to expect. It was Eric Bibb’s “Friends” tour and when Eric started the song “Needed Time” and sang the words. 

“I’m down on my bended knees, I’m on my knees, praying want you come back, come back here?
Even if you don’t stay long, oh my Jesus, If you don’t stay long, I’m praying, Come back here.
Singing Right now is the needed time, I know you feel the needed time right now. Bless us!” 

This was the moment when I asked Jesus to save me saying “I can’t fight any more. Please help me!” From that moment something happened inside me and I just felt an outpouring of my entire being. My heart seemed to clear itself of all the darkness, hatred and anger I’d filled it with replacing this with pure love. I couldn’t stop my river of tears for the rest of the show. 

February 2013 – Now and into the future….

 Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will. 

My eyes are filling with tears as I write this section. I just can’t believe I’m sitting here typing this. If it was up to me than I’d be dead. I’d have missed God’s amazing grace and a living relationship with Jesus along with the countless blessings I simply didn’t know existed! He’s transformed me in so many ways and I’m no longer held captive by drinking, swearing, anger, lack of compassion and self loathing, along with much much more. I’m also getting a long way to overcoming my ever big struggle with over eating.

7Cubed: Steve, we agree with what you said “there’s no pit too deep that God won’t reach down and lift you out of.” Praise God for that Truth! Thank you for taking a moment to share your beautiful life with us and may God bless your work and vision throughout the mission He has laid on your heart!

Don’t miss Steve’s beautiful photography on his blog

Have you LIKED our Facebook Page to read more great interviews and reviews?

My Recent Spiritual Attack

💬 Quote From My About Page by Broken Halo

Steve, what an amazing testimony you have! I am so thankful that when the world took sight from you God gave you a new vision and perspective. What a blessing that God graced your life with a love in Sarah when your life was at its darkest…I pray that God continues to bless you both…. ~*~

My Thoughts 💭

After receiving this lovely comment on my About page from Broken Halo, it convicted me to write about the recent spiritual attack I have been battling with.

A couple of people have said to me that if I just had more faith or if I believed just a little more then God would heal my Sight!

The God I love and believe in is awesome and bigger than I can imagine, so I know he can heal anyone or anything if it is his will.

In the amazing book “Where is God when it hurts” by Phillip Yancey, I’ve read how destructive and poisonous peoples comments can be, it makes me wonder what they think about people like the truly inspiring and faith filled follower Joni Eareckson Tada?

Would they say f she just had more faith would she not be disabled and her amazing ministry Joni and Friends that helps transform lives and bring so many into the kingdom of God not even exist??

Can anyone please help me clarify?

All I know is, if God didn’t arrest me from my old life where I spent every day abusing my eyes with all kinds of wrong things,then I would never have had a relationship with him, never have found such a loving wife, never have this blog to hopefully inspire people, I would be another wasted lost soul.

The eyes of my heart are truly open and I’ve never seen so clearly since I’ve been blind, and if God thinks our relationship could be improved by having the sight that veiled me for so long, i’m sure he would give it me.

I know the apostle Paul talked about the thorn he lived with that God would not take away as it was for his own benifit that he didn’t receive healing.

 I would love to hear your opinions on this!

Alice Cooper’s Christian Testimony

I first started listening to Alice Cooper when I was 14, fully sighted and 16 years away from becoming a Christian. I had been to a few of his concerts and had over 20 of his albums. I had no idea he was a Christian so when i found this video i was pleasantly surprised and had to share! 😀

Related Posts:

Amazing story! 😀

One7Blog

At One7, our goal is to raise up a generation of Jeremiah’s who will go out into the world and share the Gospel of Christ. The beauty of grace is that God can use an imperfect vessel to illustrate His ultimate perfection. The youth of One7 would be the first to tell you that they are not perfect. They make mistakes. They struggle. They fall. The good news is that they get back up and keep moving forward because, when they are weak, God is powerful.

SoliMeet Soli. She is from Ethiopia and started attending the One7 Academy this year. She is one of five children living here in the US. Like most refugee families, they escaped their country hoping to make a better life here in America. While on many levels, they do indeed have it much better than in the past, but they still face hunger, pain, and rejection.

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