“The more difficulties one has to encounter, within and without, the more significant and the higher in inspiration his life will be.”
-Horace Bushnell

Thus far in my life, I have overcome many difficulties.  There were times I felt like throwing in the towel.  If I had decided to give up,  I would not be the person I am today.   Looking back on my past, everything, whether good or bad, has helped shape me and mold me.  At those times when life was hard, I wondered, “Why is this happening to me? I cannot handle any more of this.”  Trust me, I still slip up and think those thoughts. After recently reading an inspirational book, I thought back on my past. I recently have seen seemingly trivial events and wisdom learned at a young age in a new light.  I was brought back to  middle school youth camp during a quiet time.  We had no books or outlines to read.  It was just me, my Bible, and my thoughts.  I just sat there puzzled, not knowing what to read.  After sitting in silence, a scripture I had never even heard of before or read suddenly came to my mind.

James 1:2-8 reads, “2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.”

This verse instantly resonated with me, but I didn’t know why.  I memorized, it not knowing what true effect it would have down the road.  After reading that scripture for the first time, I sat and wondered why, of all the scriptures I could have read, that one came to mind.   In life we are faced with many struggles, difficulties, and temptations.  I used to go through life being angry anytime trials would arise.  My thoughts immediately turned to, “Why me? I cannot take it anymore.”

Later during that week of the middle school camp, again I sat quietly, not knowing where to turn.  1 Corinthians 10:13 popped into my head.  Once again, I had never read or heard of this verse before.

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

Again, the verse seemed important, but I couldn’t envision the impact it would later have on my life.

Years down the road, life became a real struggle.  I was in an emotionally and mentally  abusive relationship for 4 years. Later on, I attended nursing school where I was told that “You are stupid and will not make it.”  After graduating school, I worked for a doctor who did not like me because I was a Christian and who attempted to fire me. I eventually had to quit that job, even though I provided the sole income at that time to support my husband through graduate school. I struggled to find a job for a month or 2 afterward. A few years later, I developed a heart/adrenal condition that turned my whole world turned upside down.  I lost most all of my friends. The stress took it’s toll on my marriage, and I questioned life in general.  I was told it was not a good idea to have children with the disease.  Difficulties seemed to come one after another.   I felt alone in most of those times.  I harbored anger and bitterness, and I just wanted things to get easier.  How ironic that the scriptures that were given to me that week years ago are the very ones that pulled me through all the heartache and difficulties.  Without them, I would not have become the strong person I am today.  Things in life are no coincidence, even the little moments such as in those quiet times.

I look back on my life and see where all those struggles and difficulties have molded me into a person who does not give up no matter how hard things become. I took the huge step of ending the abusive relationship and proclaimed that I deserved better! I was given a gift of true love in my husband.  I became a nurse who graduated with an A average and went to work as a traveling nurse for 4-5 years after being forced out of my job. I am a person who is living with an incurable illness who faces physical struggles everyday doing normal tasks that most take for granted, and I work each day to win the battle of defeat over my illness.  I have gained a new appreciation for life and realized it does not matter how many friends I have lost.  I can still accomplish great things, and God is the only one that I really need. I am a person whose marriage, by the grace of God, overcame the most trying struggles of life that have taken down many relationships.  Finally, I have chosen, against all odds, to make something of myself when my world was turned upside down and felt as if it had no meaning.  I have chosen to accept my disease, forgive myself, and release all of my anger and bitterness. I no longer sit in a sea of pity, as I wrote and published a cookbook.  I try to face each day with the best attitude I possibly can muster, no matter how awful I feel physically.

Consider the quote above from Harry Bushnell. It is a great motivator and inspiration for us all to not give up no matter the difficulties.  The struggles are the testing of our faith and character.   When we think we cannot handle anymore, life will prove us wrong.  We will be inspired to accomplish all the dreams that seemed too hard, as we’re able to achieve even greater things than we could have done before.