I have faced criticism in my life, as both a pastor’s wife and a human. I have come to the realization that although it hurts, not everybody is going to like me, and that is ok. Recently, a comment was posted to a blog I wrote. The comment stated that I, “see life through rose-colored glasses and obviously have lived a life without the struggles and pain most people face”. As I thought about this comment, my first response was, that it was correct. I do try to find the good in every situation. However, I have not lived a cushy life without problems. In fact, I have dealt with hurts and difficulties that are common to life in this imperfect world. I have faced struggles, as each of us has. I do not share mine for the reason of comparison, nor do I seek to win the honor of people. Each of our paths is different, for the purpose of growing us in our relationship with Christ, and into the individuals He desires us to be, to fulfill His greater purpose.
One of the most difficult struggles in my life has been with Crohn’s Disease. Crohn’s Disease is a digestive disease that starves the body of nutrition and makes the digestive process painful. I have dealt with symptoms of this disease since I was 9 years old, and was eventually diagnosed when I was 12. I have been hospitalized and have had surgery to remove part of my intestines. Daily, I live with pain, it is just a matter of what level. However, it is a beautiful thing to rely on God for the strength for each day.
Another difficulty I have had to overcome is with the emotional after effects of being assaulted. This probably explains why I signed my daughters up for karate, so they could learn to defend themselves, and not be a victim like I was.
Probably the most painful experience of my life was losing four babies due to miscarriage. It is difficult to explain the feeling of loss one feels when they lose a baby. It is profound! I think about it less frequently than I used to, however, it is always with me, and those children are always in my heart.
I felt the pain of having a women I was ministering to, commit suicide in a very difficult to comprehend manner, leaving three children behind. My heart broke for her family, and for her, as I imagined the depth of sadness she must have felt, to choose this option.
Lastly, I gave birth to triplets prematurely at 29 weeks gestation, due to my failing health. I watched my triplets suffer in the NICU, unable to breathe or eat without medical intervention. My son had holes in his heart and would need open heart surgery. My Rachel had hydrocephalus and would require a brain shunt. Although, I was struggling for my own life, I also felt responsible for their pain, and health issues. If only my body could have held on longer, and an emergency cesarean was not needed to save my life.
I would say that my optimist view of life is actually a reaction to the difficulties I have faced. Some days have been very dark, yet, my Heavenly Father has brought me through those days. He has done miracle, after miracle in my life. I know He will continue. My God is consistently faithful. I have experienced a lot of physical pain and spent more time in the hospital or in bed, than I wish. However, it has created in my heart, a passion for seeing God’s creation and a desire to suck in all the life that I can. I realize because of my past, that there are no guarantees, so I enjoy every moment I have. A family member told me I should go into politics, as I can spin anything into a positive. If it is raining, I find beauty in the rain. If my kids are sick, I find joy in spending extra time being with them. If I have a day where the pain is overwhelming, I use it as a reminder of how blessed I am that most days I do not hurt so bad and I thank God for carrying me through. I realize this personality trait can be highly annoying to others at times. I apologize for that! It is true, I do see the world through rose-colored glasses, my glass is half full, I can find a silver lining in anything. Not because life has been easy…rather because my God is good…all the time!
The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him. Psalm 28:7