Have you ever gone through a time in your life where you just wished you could see how it all worked out in the future?
Often when we struggle, we hear people say, “Everything happens for a reason.”
I have refrained from punching those people many times.
There were times in my life where I wished I could fast-forward, or at least look into a magic mirror and see how it all panned out.
I wonder if that is why some say with age comes wisdom. We are not able to look ahead, but we are able to look back. As I look back, I see the fruit the struggles bore . . . and I see how some crosses were actually blessings.
If you know of anyone carrying similar crosses now, please share my story with them and give them a glimpse of what the future might look like . . . I know when I was going through it, stories of hope found in Chicken Soup for the Soul – or anywhere else I could find them, helped me keep the faith and dream of better days.
This weekend I told a priest that my cross of infertility was actually a blessing, because it brought us our son. He responded that all our crosses are blessings, it’s just sometime we can actually see the blessing.
Hmmmm . . .
I know some crosses seem to have no silver lining, but I can recall some major challenges that brought me tears and many prayers of “why?” to God. Probably the first heavy cross I remember carrying started in elementary school and lasted until I was almost 16. That one was . . .
Being a nerd.
I remember being lonely. I was often rejected. I was made fun of. I was not cool.
I was not pretty. I was not talented.
It hurt. It lasted years. I eventually tried to fit in by cursing like a sailor, smoking an occasional cigarette and eventually acting angry all the time. I think as a young teen, anger demanded more respect than crying all the time.
But thankfully, a thought entered my mind around the age of 15. That thought was, when things upset you – you can choose to be angry or sad. Angry people hurt people.
I didn’t want to hurt anyone. I knew what it was like to be hurt.
Being a nerd taught me empathy.
I became extremely sensitive to those who did not fit in with the crowd. I found myself defending others. Sometimes, I found myself not defending others – and my conscience knew to point those time out to me. I found myself no longer being the extremely shy girl I once was . . . to the girl that offered her friendship and attention.
I wish I could talk to every young girl going through something similar now. I would assure them that God has a mission for them – to love the unloved; and this is His training. This reference may be lost on some readers, but I can’t help but think of the movie the Karate Kid. “Daniel son” was told to wash cars and paint a fence – and all he wanted to do was learn Karate. He respected Mr. Miyagi – the teacher – but questioned, “when will I learn Karate?” He then was shown how he was learning Karate . . . “wax on, wax off” and “paint the fence” were actually Karate moves of defense.
Being a nerd helped me develop a strong character. I learned to act out of sympathy and love – and not out of a need for the approval of others.
Being Single and Depressed.
In my 20’s I lived in at least 5 apartments. I had roommates that moved in and out .. . and most of them moved out because they got engaged and married. I ended up living alone for a little while. I remember how depressing it was to eat dinner alone. I remember wondering if anything happened to me . . . how many days would it take friends or family to even notice. As I write this I can’t believe how sad I was . . . thank God that time has passed.
It was during the time I lived in my own apartment that I started prayer journaling and a group of us started praying the Rosary together.
Those times when I felt like I had no one – I clung to the One who loves me more than I can imagine, and who is truly always with us.
In that prayer journal that I started in this time of my life . . . I wrote an idea for a book for young girls (inspired by my previous cross). I titled the book, “Be Yourself: A Journal for Young Girls”. Although the title is slightly different, that book has been written, a contract with a publisher has been signed, and pre-sales begin April 17th!!!
Not only did grow closer to Our Lord by using a journal to help me pray; this time period allowed me to make friends that I still pray with and care for. And in addition to those amazing blessings, I wrote a book!
If you are interested in purchasing this book and what to know when it is available; subscribe to our email list!!!
I wrote about this cross being a blessing here: Infertility: Carrying the Cross with Hope.
Before I became a mother, I talked to a woman named Jeanne who adopted all three of her children on the phone about adoption. Jeanne assured me that she
Thanks God for infertility at least 3 times a day.
I never forgot those words.
My husband and I love our son more than we could imagine loving anyone – ever. He is such a gift to us from God. We are so grateful that we are his parents. Adoption made me a very lucky momma!
I hope that whatever cross you are bearing passes soon. Until then, remember . . .
Don’t punch the “everything happens for a reason” people in the face.
Kristi @ Hail Marry says
Amy, what a fantastic post! I love the optimism you display here. Congratulations on your book! It sounds wonderful!
Thank you Kristi!!!
So, so, true. We don’t always realize it at the time, but there are often blessings whose root are in hard times. That’s the thing about faith. I don’t know why we had the pregnancy losses before having my daughter, but I know that she is perfect and meant for us.
I am sorry you experienced those losses. I imagine your love and appreciation for your daughter is much like ours for our son <3
I am one of those “everything happens for a reason” people, and I own it! That said, I try very hard to not say it to others because I know it makes some people bristle.
But, your story is proof there is a silver lining, and sometimes we do have to dig deep to find it. When I look back on my life experiences, it’s so easy to see how God’s hand was playing, and there was a reason for my struggles. But, there is the saying “hindsight is 20/20” for a reason.
Awesome reminder to turn to God as your source of comfort and encouragement. Thanks!
Thank you so much Anni!!!
Sara @ To Jesus Sincerely says
I love the way you saw joy in all these sorrows. The beautiful thing is, as I read these, even though they don’t perfectly describe me, I was able to see myself in them. And I was able to draw the parallels and find the blessings in my own hardships. Thanks for this awesome read today!
Thank you Sara! I am so happy you enjoyed reading it!
Very inspiring to have overcome these things.
This is such a beautiful perspective. A priest actually just brought up the joy of the cross in the confessional on Saturday, so it is a blessing to see tangible examples of that in your post. Thank you for sharing!
Wow . . . how about that? God’s timing can be pretty amazing!!!
Jean Schoonover-Egolf says
I can’t wait to buy your prayer journals from my girls, and I have already told a couple other families who were looking for prayer journal recommendations about it! Great post, Amy.
Thank you so much Jean!!!
I think this is an inspiring and well-written post, and I do believe we can reap blessings from our crosses, but I don’t believe everything happens for a reason. 🙂 I believe that God helps us to find the blessings in our crosses, but the crosses themselves often are just a sad result of our fallen world. An example: no doubt we have experienced many blessings after our house burning down, but I just don’t believe God decided to burn down my house on purpose. I won’t punch you (or anyone) in the face if you disagree though.
I understand what you are saying . . . that’s why I have to refrain from punching people sometimes lol!
Congrats on the book!!! So exciting for you! All those years of hardship has made you into the person you are today. I truly believe we are placed on this earth for a reason and I can’t wait to see how you will help others in so many ways to become the person they want to be.
Thank you so much Trina!
Thank you so much Allison! I’m so glad you enjoyed this post and love hearing how grateful you are for your children, including your daughter!!