Life is so full of lessons!  Most of them, I think we totally overlook or it takes us a while to see them.  I use to think that when things didn’t go my way, or something bad happened in my life, it was a punishment.  I believed that I deserved it for all of the bad things that I had done in my life, for not being a better Christian, friend, daughter, mother, wife, etc.  Imagine that, me thinking that God would punish me for not being enough. It took some time for me to realize that I am enough, even when I sin, even when I fail, even when I do bad things.  God loves me through it all.  Finding Strength from the Hard, takes time but it is possible.

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in my adult life is that there is always an opportunity to learn and grow from our experiences-both good and bad ones.  Tragedies happen, hard times happen, there are times where we want to give up and throw our hands up in the air and ask God, “WHY?!”  Those are the times that we have to dig deep and look within to really see what blessings God is trying to reveal to us.  It is one of the hardest things to do in the moment.  If we can take the time to just breathe and talk to God, He will reveal to us the lesson to be learned.  But we have to listen.  We have to be patient.  And we have to have faith.

There are definitely times in our lives where its easy to do that and times where it seems impossible.  Having faith in midst of tragedy or heartache is one of the hardest things that you will have to do.  Tragedy will test your faith.  It’s up to you go stay strong and decide that your faith is stronger than whatever you are going through.  And when it seems impossible and that you can’t go on, turn to Him, let Him lead the way.  Ask Him for strength, but be patient and listen.

Lessons through my personal loss

I always think back to some of the hardest times in my life to remember how far I’ve come.  My faith was tested to the limits back in 2006 when my mother suddenly passed away at the age of 52.  I talk about this a lot because it was a pivotal moment in my life and it completely changed me.  My mother was my best friend and we spoke by phone daily and saw each other  a few times a week.  She was my rock, my biggest supporter, and my biggest fan.  Her death was by far the hardest thing that I had ever gone through at that point in my life.  I thought that there was no way, any good could come from such a tragedy.  I was angry with God for taking her!

As awful as losing my mother was, it also grew me as a person.  It took time, lots of time but eventually I was able to forgive God and find the strength to move on.  I had two choices when she died.  I could crawl into a hole, continue to feel sorry for myself and spend the rest of my life sad, lonely and in my own pity party of one. Or, I could pray for strength to move on, never forget, grow, become the person God intended me to be, learn from it and thrive.  I eventually chose option 2, but it took time, lots of time.

Losing my momma forced me to become more independent, a freer thinker, a more present mother and also taught me the importance of taking care of this one body that I have.  Her death eventually made me want to LIVE my life to the fullest!  It made me want to soak up every minute with my children and husband because you don’t know when your last day will be.  This tragedy also brought my siblings and I closer together.  While some relationships were lost after her death, the important relationships remained and became stronger.

Tragedy or a Blessing

Then there was the diagnosis of my daughter with Down Syndrome.  You’ve probably heard me talk about this many times.  Having each of my 3 children were life changing events, ones that I hold near and dear to my heart.  Stella’s diagnosis was life changing in my faith and in my relationship with God.  Just when I thought I had my shit together, I get this diagnosis that I thought, at the time, was tragic.

I’m pretty sure that day we received the news, I went through every emotion.  I cussed God, I pleaded with God, I told Him that He made a mistake, He chose the wrong person.  I prayed that the test was wrong.  I cried, I was angry, I was terrified.  I didn’t understand why this was happening.  I blamed myself.  The emotions were real.  They were raw and they changed every few minutes.  I let myself have a pity party for about 2 weeks and then I pulled my big girl pants up and did the things that I needed to do.

I continued to pray to God but I changed my prayers.  I began to ask him for strength, for guidance, for unconditional love.  I thanked Him for entrusting me to take care of another one of His children.  I listened for His guidance.  And as you can probably now see, I’m pretty darn thankful for our Sweet Stella.  She is exactly what I needed and she has taught me more lessons about life and being a good human then I could’ve possibly learned without her.  She has helped me develop a strength inside of me that I never imagined I could have. Her and her brothers make me want to be better and do better every day.  Yes, I still fail, I still fall, but because of them, I always get back up.

“God does not call the qualified, He qualifies the called”

I have learned to trust God in a whole new way.  He will provide you what you need if you let Him.  As one of my sweet friends always says, “God does not call the qualified, He qualifies the called.”  And He continues to do that for me.  I am His work in progress but what is so wonderful, is that He never gives up on me.  And He won’t give up on you either.

I’ve realized that all of the hard times that I’ve gone through in my life, have brought me right to where I am now.  God is using me to share my story, to share His story, to hopefully keep someone else from giving up and giving others the strength to push through the hard.  I use my mistakes and my past to guide and help others.  God doesn’t always reveal His plan to us, but He always has one. Listen and don’t be afraid to follow His plan even if it isn’t always the same as yours.