Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Thought for the Day: How can your life story help someone?
Occasionally, I have the opportunity to tell my life story. Telling the story is special and hard at the same time. Recently, I was able to tell someone about my story and where I have been in my life. As I tell my story, I hear my words and think, “If I were that other person, I would listen to this story and feel sorry for this girl.” As I tell my story, especially when I see the reaction of the other person, I quickly make sure I am telling about the blessings my family and I received from God and how those tragedies in life made me who I am. I remember a pastor friend saying to me once, “Donna, you are an example to many of someone who has shown how to remain faithful to God as you have gone through all of your tragedies and grief.” I remember walking away from that conversation and saying under my breath, “But I don’t want to be known for that.” The statement actually haunted me for a long time and it still surfaces occasionally. Recently, I was talking to a friend who told me about someone who had gone through several miscarriages. She said, “You understand how she feels – would you pray for her?” I quickly, of course, said I would pray for this young friend but then I said, “I really do not know how she feels, though. Yes, I was diagnosed as a carrier of a disease and made the tough decision not to have children at an early age, but I have never carried a small, living baby inside me. I have never lived through losing a baby in that way.”
I thought back over the words of that pastor friend many years before. He was right in a way, I have remained faithful through the tragedies in my life and I have been able to be there for friends who have gone through similar losses. What I realize today is that through the tragedies, I can have empathy for a person going through a hard time. There are times that I have been able to say, “I understand how you feel because I have been where you are before – Lean on me.” In those times I meet someone who is grieving something I have never experienced before I am able to say, “I have not been where you are and I don’t understand everything you have been through, but I have grieved and I have felt loss before – lean on me.”
Today, as I sit and write, I think about all the blessings God has given me and how many of those blessings came to me through grief. My husband, Mark, is a special gift of God that I received a couple of years after the death of my first husband, David. His death blew me away into a deep grief but through dear friends, God pulled me through to the other side to see love again. Since then, we have adopted two children who are perfect for us. If I had not made the decision as a young adult to not have children of my own, I would not have these two little boys today. They are my “Gifts from God.” I am truly blessed.
Prayer: God, thank you for loving us as we go through tragedies and hard times. Through Your love, we can come out on the other side and see the blessings. Help us as we grieve. Help our friends and loved ones as they go through hurt and pain. Help us know what to do to show empathy to them. Thank you God, for all You do for us each day. Amen.
Prayer Focus: Those Sharing their Life Story