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You just left the doctor’s office after discovering that the problems you were having had been diagnosed as cancer.
This was totally unexpected. You are shocked. What do I do now? I am a widow and live alone. How will I deal with this?
So many things can happen without warning, that stop us dead in our tracks. We had been busy with life, and suddenly we are hit with a life-altering diagnosis.
As we try to absorb the enormity of what is happening, we struggle for answers. We are in uncharted waters and want to deny that this is real. We try to find a way to push it away.
Things like this happen all the time to everyone. It may not be a cancer diagnosis that stops you dead in your tracks, but a financial crisis, or a family member in trouble. There are a thousand and one ways we can be hit with something totally unexpected.
We know we’ll have tough times, but we aren’t as prepared as we think. And when the unexpected happens, we experience shock and helplessness.
My life-stopping moment
Let me share one of my unexpected and life-stopping moments that happened to my husband and me. Our third son was born without the muscles to hold up his head, along with other muscle weaknesses.
When the doctors examined him at six months, they told us they didn’t believe he had much mental capacity and probably would never walk. Coming home from the hospital, we were in a state of shock, wondering how we would raise a child with such severe handicaps.
I knew we couldn’t do this alone and that I needed to pray to God for help.
After arriving home, I knelt by my bed and prayed. I knew I couldn’t just ask Him to take it all away, so I prayed for strength and wisdom to raise this special child of mine.
To this day, I remember the incredible peace I was given. I got up, energized and excited about raising our son. God not only answered my prayer, but He was with us the whole way. Getting up from prayer, I knew beyond a doubt that we would make it.
And we did! Our son was an absolute treasure to raise. And the diagnosis given to us that day couldn’t have been more wrong.
After he was fitted with a brace designed to hold his head up, Don not only walked, but attended regular school, was in the cub scouts and participated in the drama department. He was very intelligent and an extremely gifted artist, starting to draw as soon as he could hold a pencil.
After college he was a sought-after conceptual artist. He always had a twinkle in his eye and was a joy to be around. He never thought of himself as handicapped.
Related article: Living Life with Enthusiasm and Optimism
We had been hit with something totally unexpected. We were in uncharted waters. Yet with prayer, and equipped with God’s strength and wisdom, we were blessed every day as we raised him.
We started with tiny steps.
- What did we need to put in place to help protect him?
- How could we give him as much independence as he needed to succeed?
We did not want to hover over him every second. As we put together a plan to allow him the freedom needed to become an independent adult, he never let anything stop him. He would figure out a way.
Everybody enjoyed being with him, and when he succumbed to pancreatic cancer later in life, the large home that held a celebration of his life was overflowing with people.
One such memoir, Unstoppable: The Incredible Power of Faith in Action, was written by an individual who was born without arms and legs. His name was Nick Vujicic. He not only overcame this but went on to become a worldwide speaker.
This is only one true-life story among many that illustrates what can be accomplished with faith and a belief that, yes I can. No matter what, with God’s help, I will find a way to make it.
“You are never too old to set a new goal or to dream a new dream.”
No matter what, I can make it
One of the most important skills we can develop is a mindset that says, “Yes, I can.”
It is a mindset that believes in yourself and looks for ways to overcome whatever has been put in your way. It reflects a willingness to dig deep inside and find the resources needed to meet those unwanted and unexpected challenges head-on.
This isn’t just about putting a positive spin on a serious or life-threatening situation. It’s looking at your situation squarely and saying, “Yes I can. With the help of God and doing whatever it takes, I can work through this.”
It won’t be easy.
It takes determination and the ability to be flexible.
It requires saying “no” to doing what feels good in the moment.
It takes ingenuity and creativity.
It takes looking at the lessons learned from the past to find new, beneficial ways to incorporate them today.
But there also is excitement and enjoyment as you make things work and move forward.
Think about all the things you have mastered in the past and what you did to make those things happen.
We will make mistakes and sometimes misinterpret the information we have. We will get discouraged, have doubts and concerns.
But when you grant yourself grace to make mistakes and learn from them and believe that God will be with you, giving you the strength and wisdom you need, you will be ready.
Related article: Yes, You Can