There have been many challenges in my life that I have conquered. Many mountains that seemed insurmountable, but with a bit of determination and stubbornness, I have climbed those huge obstacles and reached the summit. But there is just one thing in my life that I have always believed that I simply cannot accomplish. For most people this is a pretty easy thing to do, many people do it very well and it comes naturally to your average person . . . . but not me.
I managed to rise above a childhood of minimal opportunities, in a small rural community, from a broken family where the local bar was our second home and alcoholism tainted every day with fear. I escaped from a world of negativity and sadness to discover that God gave His very own Son to forgive me and redeem me from this world of sin . . . . and that He loves me no matter where I come from.
I returned to college at the age of 35 just to prove to myself that I wasn’t, really, as stupid as I had been made to feel by those who should have loved me and encouraged me; and I managed to figure out how to write, edit, and publish an online women’s magazine that now reaches thousands of women every month. I have taught myself how to maneuver around cyberspace, learning how to manage HTML code to make websites and blogs do what I want them to do.
I have gained weight and lost weight; I have overcome illness and discouragement to become healthy and joyful; I have loved and lost more than I could ever have imagined, and I have had the courage to walk away from abusive relationships. I have traveled to the other side of the world when God called us to bring our daughters home from China; I have faced financial challenges with the attitude, “I can do poor!” – I grew up that way, and I knew that if we had to eat Cheerios or oatmeal for supper that no one was going to die.
I faced criticism and gossip when I finally had the chance to return to college after all of my older children were in school; “friends” and family who all had an opinion about a mother (of all people!) “abandoning” her children (some of whom were teenagers at the time) to take a class and be away from home for two hours, three times a week. When the Greek professor at said Christian university, looked me in the eye when I was the best student in the class (all the rest were men, of course) and said quite sincerely, “Why don’t you go home and have another baby?” – I simply smiled and continued memorizing Greek verb conjugations. Or whatever it was called ;o) I did it – and I did it well – in spite of sometimes overwhelming obstacles.
And when my marriage fell apart, after 25 years of smiling through cycles of infidelity, deceit, and emotional battering (using the Bible as the weapon of choice) . . . . those same “friends” and many family members heard, listened to, believed and repeated lies about me. But I’m still standing, it hasn’t killed me yet, and so I go on. Why would people listen to and repeat absurd rumors about a woman who had never given anyone a reason to doubt or question her morality, her commitment to her family or to her God? I guess because it made a pretty good story!
And I learned that people will think, say, and do whatever they want to, and I can’t do a thing about it. Except hold my head up high and keep on moving, knowing that God is very well aware of the truth even if everyone around me didn’t care at all about “truth” (all while claiming to possess “TRUTH” with a capital “T”) . . . . . and I kept on walking even when people in my life made it clear to me that “Well, God might have forgiven you, but I’m certainly not going to!” For what, I’m not sure, because whatever they thought they were not going to forgive me for, probably never even happened . . . . . . even so . . . I’m still standing, and it hasn’t killed me yet. And so I go on.
But there is one thing, just one thing, that I can’t seem to learn, I can’t seem to overcome the fear, the obstacles that hold me back from conquering this one mountain. But apparently, “I can’t” isn’t really part of my past experience, so I’m trying not to let it become part of my experience today and for all my tomorrows. So, today “I can’t . . . ” will become “I WILL!” and I will choose to believe that I can conquer this mountain, too.
PS A BIG Thank You to my friend Jackie McMullen for sharing this inspirational image with all of her FB friends the other day . . . . it inspired me to finish this blog post and actually publish it!
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