by Paige Snedeker
Have you ever asked yourself what your purpose is for this life?
I have. Every day I wake up, I ponder these questions:
“Why am I here? What can I do?”
Being Deaf, legally blind, confined to a wheelchair and with breathing assistance, I can hardly do anything without help from others. My life has changed so much that I now have to depend on other people for everything.
Sometimes I have felt like there is no reason for me to be here, but Jesus Christ has shown me that there is a purpose no matter the situation.
|Paige as a |
As a toddler, I was struck with a very rare neuromuscular disease that doctors could not identify. They didn’t know the cause, and there was no cure. My twin brothers were struck with the same disease, several years before I was born. The doctors told my parents that we would not live for very long.
My family searched for a diagnosis for 27 years. We finally found out the name of our disease in late 2016. Praise the Lord! It is called BVVL, which stands for Brown Vialetto Van Laere syndrome. There are less than 100 known cases in the world. It is the rarest of the rarest diseases.
Regardless of my limitations, all my life I have had a strong interest in art – painting, drawing, anything that involved creative expression. So, in my first year of high school, my art teacher asked me what I would like to become after I graduated. I told her that I would like to become a writer and an illustrator. She challenged me to embark on this journey, even though I thought it would be impossible.
At that time, I was only 14, and I honestly had no idea what was to come. Yet, I began writing my first book, Sofia and Her Morningstar. I almost gave up. I actually stopped writing for a long period of time, but as I got older, I felt the call to complete the story.
I could not move as much as I could a few years before. However, I had a fierce determination to illustrate my own book, so I asked Sue, my art teacher from homeschooling, to assist me in this journey. She became a great friend, and she taught me many things. To illustrate the book, I used a technique called “mouth painting.”
As stubborn as I am, I did not care how difficult the task became. I continued the project to completion. When it was finally finished, I began the search for a publisher. I was finally able to publish the book when I was 19.
Later on, at the Florida Christian Writers’ Conference in 2014, I won second place in the ‘Children’s Picture Books’ category for Sofia and Her Morningstar. I was in shock! What a great honor this was!
After winning this award, I came to realize my purpose. God wanted me to continue writing and to use my talents to glorify Him.
With Philippians 4:13 in mind, no matter what struggles I have faced, or will continue to face, God reassures me that I can persevere through His strength. This is my favorite verse. It has helped me through many dark times.
After I graduated from high school, I had another dream. I felt led to write a sequel to my first book, Camo’s Journey. My first book tells a story of friendship that can withstand anything. My second book tells readers to walk the path God has put before them. Do not be afraid. It teaches us with God, we can overcome our greatest fears.
The little gecko, Camo, represents me, because he is fearful about fulfilling his purpose just as I have been. My greatest fear becoming a writer was due to my Deafness.
For those who do not know much about the Deaf world, many people who are Deaf do not have good English. This is because we cannot hear the spoken words. Many American Deaf people use American Sign Language (ASL), which is extremely different than English.
Sometimes when writing English, I use phrases that would be proper in ASL, but do not make sense in English. I was embarrassed and afraid that my writing wouldn’t make sense to other people. So, I started reading and practicing my writing almost every day. The more I did this, the more comfortable I became with English.
Through all I have endured, I have learned that there is a purpose for my life despite my countless trials.
James tells us:
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” James 1:2-4 (ESV).
|Artwork by Paige Snedeker|
I continue to find joy in Christ through my suffering because I know that it is not purposeless. God does not have me go through my suffering for nothing. He has promised that it is trivial in comparison to eternity.
Romans 8:18 (ESV) says,
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Everyone who is on this earth is here for His greatest purposes.
Friends, have you been as blessed and encouraged by Paige's words as I have?
You can learn more about Paige and her books at her website:
If you've enjoyed this post be sure to check out the post where I interview Paige and post a review of her latest book. PLUS, we have a fantastic giveaway that you don't want to miss!