“Lord, when we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure.”
– Peter Marshall (Former Chaplain of the United States Senate)
Once during my early twenties, I was going through a rough patch in life when an older person I worked with said, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” I responded by rolling my eyes and shrugging my shoulders. The thought that ran through my head was, “Well then, I ought to be the Bionic Woman by now.” Self-pity won out that day.
Today, I understand that the strength my co-worker was referring to is an inner strength that can only be received after facing difficulties, challenges, and uncertainties in life. It is received when I put faith in God and His plan, even as I may suffer from internal doubt and anxiety. It is received when I step up to the plate of personal responsibility each day in life, even when I’m afraid of what might be coming my way next. It is received when I look cancer in the eye and defy it by letting go of the worry it wants me to take on, and instead trusting the doctors and healthcare professionals who are caring for me. It is received when I go to God each morning and ask His protection from the addictions that once held me prisoner.
That strength that my co-worker wanted for me is the strength of the mighty oak tree: solid, sturdy, and accepting. The peace and faith that live within me are solid and sturdy because of my trust in God as I have faced each day – no matter what the outcome. And the acceptance of assistance from wise friends as my roots grow into that faith gives strength to each word I write, each prayer I mutter, each hand I hold.
Dare I say, I welcome the contrary winds…?
Thank you, Jessica, for the gift you are in my life.
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