Many of us have long stories of the trials and tribulations we have been through in our lives. Some dwell on the pain they suffered and find their lives at a standstill. Then there are others who lift themselves up and use their experiences to change others’ lives and to make the world a better place. Alexander Kovarovic honors such people with a special award called Saving Lives. He calls these people heroes and they are. They are saving people’s lives by the work they do.
I struggled through many challenges in my life and I rose above them. I struggled through mental illness, bullying, abuse, and breast cancer. Through my struggles I lost faith in my ability to write. When I was at the worst time of my mental illness I gave up writing for a while. I thought of myself as a failure. I told everyone I wasn’t meant to write a book. I gave up on myself. I lost the will to live.
I spent many years of my life suffering in silence. In school while being bullied, I only spoke when I had to. While I struggled with mental illness in college, I told only one person in letters. I spent many years feeling like my life would never get better. I felt hopeless.
I asked over and over, “Why me?”
When I was abused by a person who was supposed to be my friend, I asked, “Why me?”
When my boyfriend whom I was living with abused me and I fell deeper into my mental illness, I asked, “Why me?”
Over and over again while I faced these awful tribulations in my life, I kept asking that same question with no answer.
Then God whispered an answer in my ear, “I helped you rise above your trials to help others through your experiences. Your suffering wasn’t for nothing. Good comes from the bad.”
For a while I struggled with how I could help others. How could I tell my story of falling to the depths of darkness and rising above? How could I use what I have been through to help others? I was stumped. I started writing again. I tried writing fictional short stories, but I just couldn’t seem to get them right. I wrote humor and I was successful at making people laugh, but God whispered to me, “Your writing is meant to help others in a bigger way.”
Then I heard people in my writing Group, Pennwriters, talk about writing blogs. I decided to write a blog about recovery from mental illness. In 2014 I began this blog you are reading now, Finding the Light. But that didn’t seem like enough. I needed to help more people. I decide I could help others with my experiences and what I have learned in more ways. So I began writing my memoir about how I was bullied in school and found love and acceptance at the family garage. Then I went through breast cancer and put my memoir on hold. My blog suddenly became about recovery from mental illness and breast cancer.
I realized God wanted me to help people through my writing, but God had more plans for me. After I posted on a depression and bullying support group, Alex Kovarovic asked me to write for his organization, and in time he asked me to be the assistant to the director. Alex gave me the opportunity to help more people in different ways than just through my writing. I am helping teens through my work for the National Youth Internet Safety and Cyberbullying Taskforce. I have been helping them with an event, interviewing volunteers, advertising, and getting donations.
Last month I was interviewed for the news about being an advocate against bullying, my stories being published in Alexander Kovarovic’s book, Change Your life, and my own personal story of how I was bullied. My customers who saw the story hugged me and praised me for my work. I felt like I really made a difference.
This weekend I was interviewed for the news again for my advocacy and work for the Taskforce. Then Alex presented me with the Saving Lives award and I gave a speech about my experiences. I stood before 42 people telling my story and I felt like this was what God had planned for me. He not only wanted me to help through my writing, but through the Taskforce and by telling my story.
I rose above my struggles to help others and to share my story. God makes good out of the bad. God turned my bad experiences into a tool I could use to make a difference in others lives. I don’t think of myself as a hero, but just a simple person who found her purpose in life.
If you are struggling, know that God will help you rise above it. Don’t let your challenges leave you in a rut. Use them for good. Rise above and help others. Use what you have been through in some way to do good and to touch the world. Rise above the pain, the tears, the struggles, and bad times to help others who are going through what you have been through. Write a blog or book, start a support group, be a volunteer, and so on.
This weekend I received an award for my work and my husband threw me a cancer-free party. I am celebrating my ability to rise above my tribulations and the gift God gave me to be able to help others. Because I am able to help others, I am floating in the light of recovery.