I TURNED FIFTY THIS YEAR
Every year on my birthday, I receive a letter from my pastor with a commitment to pray for me. This is a long-standing tradition at my church. On the standard birthday form letter this year there was a hand-written note that read, “I know your life has been turned upside down.” I immediately realized that my life had been turned right side up. It would not seem that way to you. I am living a paradox.
Before June 2014, everything in my world seemed right and good. My career as an obstetrician/gynecologist was at its peak. I have been happily married to my high school sweetheart for over thirty years. My children are grown, getting along well and succeeding in their chosen paths. I have a great sister and parents and lots of friends. I was in the best physical shape of my life, literally able to pedal my road bicycle to the top of a mountain. Life was good. I was strong, happy, healthy and independent.
THE GIFT OF TIME
Rather suddenly, my life was turned right side up by a rare, life-altering disease that took away my strength, my career, my independence, my appearance and literally changed all of my relationships. Ironically, illness and adversity have a way of giving gifts, too. I have been given the gift of one thing I never had before: the gift of time. I have time to think, time to read and study, time to pray, time to spend with people I truly care about. I have also been given time to write.
I have wanted to write since I was in grade school. In fact, when I was young, I co-wrote a book called, Mr. Mouse and Mojay. My fifth grade collaborator and I even went to the public library (because that’s what you did back then) and mailed copies to a couple of publishers. We never heard back from them. I don’t even know where the book is now, but it was cleverly illustrated and dedicated to my grandfather. Neither do I recall the details, but I think Mojay was a possum-like creature that rescued his forest friends. Maybe Wendy remembers.
THE DESIRE OF MY HEART
Writing has long been a desire of my heart, but there was never time. We are promised that God will give us the desires of our heart, if we delight in Him (Psalm 37:4). He knows I have a heart for encouraging others, speaking, teaching and writing. I have often thought I could write but I never had a story, until now. I am confident God really loves me and looks at my heart rather than my feeble efforts and shortcomings. He has chosen this path for me because He knows what is best for me. I trust Him. Others have repeatedly assured me that God has a plan for me. I know that. I know it deep down where it matters. In a strange way I cannot explain, it feels like divine love. He is providing for me. He is revealing Himself to me in new ways. He is giving me the desires of my heart. My disease takes so much away but it also gives. I’m not sure I would have chosen it, but I’m not sure I would trade it either.
WHAT GIFT HAS ADVERSITY GIVEN YOU?
I am terrible at wrapping gifts; uneven edges and crooked tape. It is as bad as my handwriting. Truly, I am embarrassed to take a gift I wrapped to a shower. But once the paper is off, the wrapping paper is trash anyway. It’s the gift inside that matters. Every good and perfect gift comes from God. You may not like the way it is wrapped, but be careful not to miss the gift inside. Let’s exercise a little sacrifice of praise, a little rejoicing in suffering. (Hebrews 13:15, James 1:2)
Psalm 20:3-5, “May He give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. May we shout for joy over your victory and lift up our banners in the name of God.” NIV
Leave a comment below to share the gift you have received from adversity. I’ll start…