Anna Sharkey

Anna Sharkey
Paralympian

I grew up in a Christian family. When I was a teenager, I went along to a big Christian conference called Spring Harvest, and it was incredibly inspiring to know that I could actually have a relationship with God. It wasn’t like this God was over there, and I am over here, but I can chat to God and he cares what I am chatting about.

I think the difference Jesus makes is that you have no fear. To know Jesus is to know that this being who has created you and loves you would actually sacrifice Himself for you. To love someone that much that they would die for you on the cross is not a half-hearted affair really. I think ultimately I still do things wrong; I am human. Everybody does. But I know my God – my father, my daddy in heaven – just loves me whatever I do. I think to live with that and to know that you are loved means that it is so much easier to love other people and enjoy life at the end of the day.

I am sometimes asked if I am angry with God about my eyes. It is always a difficult emotion to express. Would I say angry? I think “frustrated” would be a better word for myself to express. I have always been visually impaired, so I almost treat it as part of myself in terms of this is the way I am made. Having visual impairment means you are dependent on other people. There are times when things are tough and you wonder why this has to be as hard as it is.

I have had prayer for healing, for restoration of sight, and I believe that God does restore the sight of the blind. But I often think that just because my eyesight has not been healed does not mean that God is not active in my life. I think that when you don’t see fully through your eyes, God can show you things and you can see things that aren’t necessarily in a visual sense. I think God makes good out of a bad situation.

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If I weren’t visually impaired, I would not have got involved with goalball – an incredible gift which I am so grateful for. I have been given this talent and this skill, and I can express it on a goalball court. I cannot express that anywhere else. He really does bring good things out of it.

Anna Sharkey is on the Great Britain goalball team in the London Paralympics. She was born with a visual impairment and cannot see in dim lighting or in the dark.  

Photo by Goalball UK