Monday, January 24, 2005

Krista's Testimony

Below is an article that was posted onto the new blog, About Face Now. This blog, created this weekend by a friend of mine, is "a forum of hope and encouragement for those suffering from perceptual disabilities, facial deformities, and cranial birth defects." Below is a testimony from a young woman at our church. Krista's testimony to God's goodness and faithfulness is a wonderful encouragement. I pray that God would graciously grant me to imitate her faith in His goodness.

My name is Krista Horning and I am fifteen years old. I have Apert Syndrome which is a genetic birth defect. People with Apert Syndrome all have fused skull bones, a sunken midface, and fused fingers and toes. We know 10 other people in Minnesota with Apert Syndrome. We all look a lot alike, but we also have differences. Some have trouble learning, some have hydrocephalus, and some have eye or ear problems. I was born with no airway through my nose, and fused shoulders and elbows.

After I was born, one doctor told my parents that I would never be normal (my eyes would stick out like a frog’s) and that they would probably get divorced. Fifteen years later, I don’t look like a frog and my parents aren’t divorced. Sometimes my life has been hard, but God has been good to us since the day I was born.

I have had over 50 surgeries. Most of them have been on my skull, arms, and hands. When I was 4 months old, a doctor took my skull apart and put it back together a different way. Making an airway in my nose was really hard, but I can breathe a lot better than I used to. Last summer we tried a rare surgery to make an elbow in my stiff arms, but it failed.
I get pretty nervous before surgery. I don’t like being put to sleep and I know it will hurt when I wake up. Before surgery, my parents and I read through lots of Bible verses we’ve memorized, where God promises He will be with me where ever I go. That helps me not be so afraid. God even does some things to make me laugh and let me know how much He loves me. One time I had surgery at a new hospital and I was extra nervous. I love pigs, and that day they showed up everywhere. There was a pig show on TV, I got a pig shirt, and a live pig even walked into my room!

Since I don’t have elbow or shoulder joints, I can’t do many things by myself. My mom and dad have to help me take care of myself. Sometimes I fall and have gotten hurt really bad. I’d like to be able to bake cookies and pick up little babies. We’re trying to find ways to make that happen.

The thing that hurts me the most is that everywhere I go, people stare and point at me because my hands and face look different. I’ve had to pray and memorize verses like I Sam. 16:7, “People look at the outside of a person, but the Lord looks at the heart.” I know my family always loves me, and the friends I do have are very special.

I like to draw, write, and make needlepoint bookmarks. That takes a lot of work since my fingers are stiff. I also really like babysitting kids in the nursery at church. I feel comfortable there because I am accepted and valuable to them. My favorite thing is when a little toddler sits in my lap and lets me read a book. Some day I’d like to work in the Children’s Ministry at my church. The people there have encouraged me a lot.

Even though my life has been difficult, I know that God loves me and created me just the way I am. He has taught me to persevere and to trust Him more than anything. Ever since I was born, a lot of people have prayed for me. That has changed my life and the lives of people around me. My favorite verse is Jeremiah 29:11. “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” I have known this verse since I was a little child. I say it to myself and know that God keeps His promises.

For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).