One Can Never Consent to Creep…Overcoming Adversity

One can never consent to creep when one feels the impulse to soar. Helen KellerAre you a fan of adversity? Do you wish it would go away and never haunt your life again?

I used to believe that adversity was a sign that my life was off track and/or I had done something to incur the Lord’s wrath.

Since the time of my near-death experience, I recognize it for what it is: difficult experiences which grow my depth, abilities and gifts.

My near-death taught me about the incalculable worth of adversity. Yet, even now, it is always difficult and often trying.

Yet, I find that as I keep my spiritual muscles well-exercised, I am able to utilize the Lord’s assistance with each trial and get through each event successfully. The bonus is that as I do so, I find myself additionally armed with greater wisdom, strength, and ammunition to address the next trial that comes my way.

What perspective do you use as you endure your trials?

I hope that as life provides difficulties, you will lean on the Lord to help you! I know that He is always there anxious to help you and me!

May great blessings be yours! I hope you will enjoy today’s story!:

Jim Abbott – A Story about Overcoming Adversity

If you’re a baseball fan—and even if you’re not—then you know that with spring comes Spring Training, wherein hope springs eternal…unless, of course, you’re a Mets fan.  (Sadly, we speak from experience here.)…

While we’re on the subject of pitchers, there have been quite a few who truly were and are inspirational people—you might say overcoming adversity is a prerequisite to succeeding in any sport.

Christy Mathewson, one of the game’s first clean-cut role models and a WWI veteran, and Sandy Koufax, another great pitcher and role model, throwing no-hitters (including a perfect game and Vin Scully’s legendary 9th inning call) while standing up for his Jewish heritage, refusing to pitch on Yom Kippur—the holiest day on the Hebrew Calendar—before coming back in pitch the Dodgers to victory, both come to mind, as does Tommy John himself, the pitcher for whom the surgery is named.overcoming adversity 6 Inspiring Stories of Overcoming Adversity You Might not Know ir t interconnectedlives 20 l as2 o 1 a 0345523261

But while Christy and Sandy are in the Hall of Fame and Tommy was a trailblazer, when it comes to overcoming adversity, few compare to Jim Abbott.  In making the big leagues, Abbott truly was one of a kind—he is the only player to have played Major League Baseball with only one hand.

As a boy, he would throw a rubber ball against a wall, slip his throwing hand into his glove—which rested on the stump which ends his right hand—and then fielded the ball using his now-gloved left hand.

But those rubber ball exercises gave Abbott great reflexes, and he went on to not just make his high school and later college baseball teams, where he not only pitched, but batted for himself—and hit home runs one-handed.

He attended and pitched for the University of Michigan, where he won the Big Ten Player of the Year in 1988.  From there he made the US Men’s Baseball Team and won an unofficial Gold medal in the 1988 Seoul Olympics, and the following year he realized his dream and made it to the big leagues, signing with the then-California Angels.

But his crowning moment of glory was still to come.  After pitching solidly for the Angels, Jim Abbott moved on to the biggest names in baseball—and sworn enemies of every Mets fan out there—the New York Yankees.

The original Yankee Stadium was called “the House that Ruth Built,” and it saw more than two dozen World Series winners, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, the 1950s Yankees of Mantle, Berra, Ford and Casey, the 1970s variety with Reggie Jackson—suffice it to say it saw some of the biggest names and moments in baseball history.

Even among such hallowed baseball history, Jim Abbott not only showed himself to be an All-Star when it came to overcoming adversity, he earned baseball immortality and joined those other Yankee greats in 1993 by pitching a no-hitter at Yankee Stadium.  He also pitched for the Chicago White Sox and Milwaukee Brewers, with whom he got his first MLB hit—an RBI.

No one overcame more physical adversity to make it to the major leagues than Jim Abbott, after that incredible no-hitter and a career that spanned more than a decade, he’s still working to inspire people, having appeared on Boy Meets World and making his living today as a motivational speaker.

Remember—with baseball, hope springs eternal.  Here’s hoping that Matt Harvey makes a great comeback this year…and that he and everyone else who plays the game may do so with the same degree of determination and character as Jim Abbott.

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Are You Thankful for Your Thorns?…Dealing with Adversity

rose bushes profile-girl-rose-young-girl-50998With Thanksgiving quick approaching, the last thing you may have on your mind is thorns. However, life is full of thorns and it is important to be thankful – even for some of the thorns! In that spirit, I share today’s story:

Sandra felt as low as the heels of her Birkenstocks as she pushed against a November gust and the florist shop door. Her life had been easy, like a spring breeze. Then, in the fourth month of her second pregnancy, a minor automobile accident stole her ease. During this Thanksgiving week, she would have delivered a son. She grieved over her loss. As if that weren’t enough, her husband’s company threatened a transfer. Then her sister, whose holiday visit she coveted, called saying she could not come. What’s worse, Sandra’s friend infuriated her by suggesting her grief was a God-given path to maturity that would allow her to empathize with others who suffer. “Had she lost a child? No – she has no idea what I’m feeling,” Sandra shuddered. Thanksgiving? “Thankful for what?” she wondered. For a careless driver whose truck was hardly scratched when he rear-ended her? For an airbag that saved her life but took that of her child?

“Good afternoon, can I help you?” The flower shop clerk’s approach startled her. “Sorry,” said Jenny, “I just didn’t want you to think I was ignoring you.” “I . . . . I need an arrangement.” “For Thanksgiving?” Sandra nodded. “Do you want beautiful but ordinary, or would you like to challenge the day with a customer favorite I call the ‘Thanksgiving Special’?” Jenny saw Sandra’s curiosity and continued. “I’m convinced that flowers tell stories, that each arrangement insinuates a particular feeling. Are you looking for something that conveys gratitude this Thanksgiving?” “Not exactly!” Sandra blurted. “Sorry, but in the last five months, everything that could go wrong has.”

Sandra regretted her outburst but was surprised when Jenny said, “I have the perfect arrangement for you.” The door’s small bell suddenly rang. “Barbara, hi!” Jenny said. She politely excused herself from Sandra and walked toward a small workroom. She quickly reappeared carrying a massive arrangement of green bows, and long-stemmed thorny roses. Only, the ends of the rose stems were neatly snipped, no flowers. “Want this in a box?” Jenny asked. Sandra watched for Barbara’s response. Was this a joke? Who would want rose stems and no flowers! She waited for laughter, for someone to notice the absence of flowers atop the thorny stems, but neither woman did. “Yes, please. It’s exquisite.” said Barbara. “You’d think after three years of getting the special, I’d not be so moved by its significance, but it’s happening again. My family will love this one. Thanks.”

Sandra stared. “Why so normal a conversation about so strange an arrangement?” she wondered. “Ah,” said Sandra, pointing. “That lady just left with, ah . . . ” “Yes?” “Well, she had no flowers!” “Yep. That’s the Special. I call it the “Thanksgiving Thorns Bouquet.” “But, why do people pay for that?” In spite of herself she chuckled. “Do you really want to know?” “I couldn’t leave this shop without knowing. I’d think about nothing else!” “That might be good,” said Jenny.

“Well,” she continued, “Barbara came into the shop three years ago feeling very much like you feel today. She thought she had very little to be thankful for. She had lost her father to cancer, the family business was failing, her son was into drugs, and she faced major surgery.” “Ouch!” said Sandra. “That same year, I lost my husband. I assumed complete responsibility for the shop and for the first time, spent the holidays alone. I had no children, no husband, no family nearby, and too great a debt to allow any travel.” “What did you do?” “I learned to be thankful for thorns.” Sandra’s eyebrows lifted. “Thorns?”

“I’m a Christian, Sandra. I’ve always thanked God for good things in life and I never thought to ask Him why good things happened to me. But, when bad stuff hit, did I ever ask! It took time to learn that dark times are important. I always enjoyed the flowers of life but it took thorns to show me the beauty of God’s comfort. You know, the Bible says that God comforts us when we’re afflicted and from His consolation we learn to comfort others.” Sandra gasped. “A friend read that passage to me and I was furious! I guess the truth is, I don’t want comfort. I’ve lost a baby and I’m angry with God.” She started to ask Jenny to “go on” when the door’s bell diverted their attention.

“Hey, Phil!” shouted Jenny as a balding, rotund man entered the shop. She softly touched Sandra’s arm and moved to welcome him. He tucked her under his side for a warm hug. “I’m here for twelve thorny long-stemmed stems!” Phil laughed, heartily. “I figured as much,” said Jenny. “I’ve got them ready.” She lifted a tissue-wrapped arrangement from the refrigerated cabinet. “Beautiful,” said Phil. “My wife will love them.” Sandra could not resist asking, “These are for your wife?” Phil saw that Sandra’s curiosity matched his when he first heard of a Thorn Bouquet. “Do you mind me asking, Why thorns?” “In fact, I’m glad you asked,” He said. “Four years ago my wife and I nearly divorced. After forty years, we were in a real mess, but we slogged through, problem by rotten problem. We rescued our marriage – our love, really. Last year, at Thanksgiving, I stopped in here for flowers. I must have mentioned surviving a tough process because Jenny told me that for a long time she kept a vase of rose stems — stems! — As a reminder of what she learned from ‘thorny’ times. That was good enough for me. I took home stems. My wife and I decided to label each one for a specific thorny situation and give thanks for what the problem taught us. I’m pretty sure this stem review is becoming a tradition.” Phil paid Jenny, thanked her again and as he left, said to Sandra, “I highly recommend the Special!”

“I don’t know if I can be thankful for the thorns in my life, ” Sandra said to Jenny. “Well, my experience says that thorns make roses more precious. We treasure God’s providential care more during trouble than at any other time. Remember, Sandra, Jesus wore a crown of thorns so that we might know His love. Do not resent thorns.” Tears rolled down Sandra’s cheeks. For the first time since the accident, she loosened her grip on resentment. “I’ll take twelve long-stemmed thorns, please.” “I hoped you would, ” Jenny said. “I’ll have them ready in a minute. Then, every time you see them, remember to appreciate both the good and hard times. We grow through both.” “Thank you. What do I owe you?” “Nothing. Nothing but a pledge to work toward healing your heart. The first year’s arrangement is always on me.”

Jenny handed a card to Sandra. “I’ll attach a card like this to your arrangement but maybe you’d like to read it first. Go ahead, read it.” My God, I have never thanked Thee for my thorn! I have thanked Thee a thousand times for my roses, but never once for my thorn. Teach me the glory of the cross I bear, teach me the value of my thorns. Show me that I have climbed to Thee by the path of pain. Show me that my tears have made my rainbow.

-Author Unknown

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Never Give Up!

Kites rise highest against the wind, not with it. Winston S. Churchill

When Life is Difficult

When life hands you difficult moments and challenges that seem insurmountable, remember that you never lose until you give up! Don’t give up! Don’t give up trying to improve and trying to make the world a better place. Don’t give up on yourself!

Winston S. Churchill

I love Winston S. Churchill! I love his spunk, his love of freedom and I love that he was such an amazing patriot! I suspect that he wasn’t the gentlest person that ever lived, but I am grateful for his tremendous heart and his efforts to keep this world free!

In 1941, World War II was raging. Winston Churchill left family and home just before Christmas to meet with President Franklin D. Roosevelt. He did this at considerable risk to himself. Christmas Eve, he and President Roosevelt spoke to the nation via a radio broadcast. These are the words he shared:

“Here, in the midst of war, raging and roaring over all the land and seas, creeping nearer to our hearts and homes, here, amid all the tumult, we have tonight the peace of the spirit in each cottage home and in every generous heart… Here, then, for one night only, each home…should be a brightly lighted island of happiness and peace. (Shared from the book In The Dark Streets Shineth by David McCullough)

I believe that his and other leaders efforts to inspire the people of the free nations to raise their hopes that evil could be overcome and that goodness would prevail helped to grow the faith needed during that dire time in the history of the world.

We Have God to Turn to

We each have a a personal mentor who waits for our request to be blessed with hope, faith, and all of the abilities we might need to triumph over life’s difficulties. He never gives up on us and He will always walk our path with us. He does not do for us what we can do for ourselves, but with His perfect knowledge and His perfect Vision, He will guide us where we need to go and bless us with all that we truly need!

i hope that as you read today’s story, you will commit to Never Give Up!:

Never Give Up

Sir Winston Churchill took three years getting through eighth grade because he had trouble learning English. It seems ironic that years later Oxford University asked him to address its commencement exercises.

He arrived with his usual props. A cigar, a cane and a top hat accompanied Churchill wherever he went. As Churchill approached the podium, the crowd rose in appreciative applause. With unmatched dignity, he settled the crowd and stood confident before his admirers. Removing the cigar and carefully placing the top hat on the podium, Churchill gazed at his waiting audience. Authority rang in Churchill’s voice as he shouted, “Never give up!”

Several seconds passed before he rose to his toes and repeated: “Never give up!” His words thundered in their ears. There was a deafening silence as Churchill reached for his hat and cigar, steadied himself with his cane and left the platform. His commencement address was finished.

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Only in the Darkness Can You See the Stars…There is a Purpose for Adversity


There is a purpose for adversity! We all learn and grow from the difficult experiences that we have. We often do not appreciate the adversity in our life as we are experiencing it. However, when we get to that point in which we can reflect on those experiences, we are inclined to be grateful for the lessons learned.

It is an inherent desire brought with us from heaven that inclines us to cling to the growth we gain from our life’s experiences. Truly, without adversity in our lives, we would not become all that is our potential.

I hope you enjoy today’s story!:

Strength from Adversity

A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared, he sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole.

Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could go no farther.

Then the man decided to help the butterfly, so he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings.

The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time.

Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It was never able to fly.

What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were God’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.

Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If God allowed us to go through our life without any obstacles it would cripple us. We would not be as strong as what we could have been. And we could never fly.

Author Unknown

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We Were Not Placed on This Earth to Walk Alone!


We were not place on this earth to walk alone. However, sometimes it can feel like we are alone. The truth is that we are never truly alone – no matter what we feel like,. Having been a sufferer of chronic pain and illness for a number of years, I wanted to share today’s story with you. Today’s story is by a man who suffered for several years from Illness and ill health. Ill health can teach us much about ourselves. As a person who went through 15 years of difficulties with my health, I can tell you that despite all of the difficulties, one of the most important things I learned was that I was not alone in my pain or my battle. God was and is always there for me and he is there for you as well!

A Lesson Learned: We Are Never Alone

A man wrestling with a chronic illness is led to the green pastures of Psalm 23.

I was 26 years old when I got sick. It started with a series of high fevers, some as high as 107 degrees. Then came the exhaustion. I experienced dizzy spells and nausea on a daily basis. The symptoms lasted for months, then years.

I was starting a career in the entertainment business, working at Disney, but I grew too sick to work. Friends, not knowing what was wrong with me, dropped away. I moved out of my apartment and back into the bedroom I grew up in at my parents’ house in Los Angeles.

Most days I could barely get out of bed. I saw doctor after doctor. I prayed. No one could figure out what was wrong. I couldn’t believe what was happening to me. Slowly but surely I was being cut off from everything I’d built my identity on, everything that meant life to me.

I tried to believe what my mom told me—that despite how things looked, God was at work in my life—but the more my illness isolated me, the harder it was to hold on to.

One February day two years into my ordeal, I had a conversation with God. More of a one-sided confrontation, really.

“You didn’t promise me that bad things wouldn’t happen. You didn’t promise that friends would still be there, or that I would get the answers I was after, but you know what you did promise?” I’d studied the Bible, read Psalm 23 closely. I knew I had a case. “Green pastures. Still waters and green pastures. Where are my green pastures?”

A week later I woke up early one morning and realized I couldn’t stand another day trapped in my bed. Not when everyone else my age was moving on with life. I made an impulsive decision. I always felt best in the morning, so I packed my car and told my mom, “I’m going to drive to Menlo Park today.”

During college I’d spent several months in the Silicon Valley town of Menlo Park, near Stanford University, helping my dad set up a branch of the medical company he runs. I’d attended Menlo Park Presbyterian, a big, active church with a thriving youth program. I loved that church and I loved that time in my life.

I could tell Mom was worried. She’d been taking care of me every step of the way, and she knew me better than anyone. “There’s a big storm coming,” she said. “The roads will be a mess. Are you sure you want to go now?”

I nodded. Even though I was in no shape to drive 400 miles north in the rain, I just had to do something.

“Really, Mom, will this storm be any worse than the one we’ve been going through?” I said, cracking a smile. “If I don’t go now, I might never get on with my life.”

Mom looked at me. “I understand why you need to go,” she said. “But I don’t think you’re stuck. We don’t know God’s plan here. He knows your heart and you just have to trust him.”

It poured the whole drive up. And it was still pouring when I arrived in Menlo Park. I made my way to the church. A pastor remembered me and signed me up to work with the youth program, where I could use my entertainment background to write dramas.

Then I ran into an old friend and she told me about a family who put up church volunteers. I could stay with them temporarily.

She gave me directions, and I set out for their house. It was dark and raining harder than ever. Normally I went to bed in the late afternoon. I hadn’t been up and active this long in months. I tried to ignore the exhaustion creeping up on me.

Soon I left the brightly lit streets of Menlo Park and began winding on dark, lonely country roads. The rain blurred my windshield. I turned the wipers on high and peered out. Where was God? Why had I thought he wanted me to do this?

Even if I found the stamina to work with kids at Menlo Park Pres, how would that help my illness? Every doctor I’d seen had agreed on one thing: I needed rest to fight whatever was attacking my body. I’d just driven 400 miles away from my place of rest.

Trees flashed past my window. I glanced at the directions. They didn’t say a thing about the road winding down into some sort of valley. Even with my high beams on, I could hardly see a thing. It felt like my life, descending further into confusion and darkness with each new turn. What was I doing wrong?

The words from Psalm 23 that I’d asked God about a week earlier were so clear about his promise to those who follow him. Yet I was still waiting for those green pastures.

An intersection. I slowed down. Here was the street. I turned and drove along another road. Finally the address in the directions. I parked. I grabbed my bag and made my way through the rain to the front door. I met the family and was shown to my room.

It was simply furnished with a double bed and a desk. The blinds were closed on a large window above the bed. I sank onto the bed. Cliff, what are you doing here? I asked myself. I crawled under the covers.

Rain lashed the windowpane. I was warm and dry, but I had never felt more alone. I prayed one last desperate prayer for peace before I fell asleep.

The next thing I knew light bathed my face. Groggily I opened my eyes. It was morning. The rain had stopped. Rays of sun slanted through the blinds above the bed. I reached for the cord. The blind inched up.

For a moment all I could do was stare out the window. Rolling hills, stretching as far as I could see. Last night I’d thought the road was descending, but it was actually rising. The house wasn’t in a valley. It was perched atop a hill, overlooking a majestic landscape. The grass, still wet with last night’s rain, glimmered, a brilliant vivid green.

Green pastures. Here, in the darkest valley of my life, God was present, as he had been from the moment I’d gotten sick. At every turn he’d met me—with his presence, with my parents’ support, with my mom’s loving care and unwavering faith. Who do you trust? a voice seemed to say. Who is your God?

I knew my answer. You are. You are the One I trust.

As it turned out I had to keep trusting for a long time. I was in Menlo Park only a few months before my illness forced me to return to my doctors in Los Angeles and to my parents’ house. It was another five years before a specialist at a research hospital in Los Angeles finally figured out what was wrong with me.

My system was infected with a rare drug-resistant bacteria. The high fevers and exhaustion were the effects of my body’s attempt to fight off the bacteria. The specialist had me try a 10-day, water-only fast to starve it out of my system. It worked. I regained a measure of health, but it took several more years to regain my strength.

I’m finally healthy now and am enjoying a successful career as an author. Some days I let my mind go back to my long ordeal. I wouldn’t want to go through it all again, but I wouldn’t change the work God has done in me.

I can still see those green pastures stretching to the horizon, pastures so green and beautiful that I could not fail to see the purpose of my being brought there. For seven years I was sick, but not for one moment was I alone.

Three Tips for Dealing with Chronic Illness

1. Pray and praise.
Prayer is the one resource everyone has when everything else seems gone. Pray in whatever way works for you, with words or silently. And praise. It is the quickest way out of the valley.

2. Don’t blame yourself.
People with chronic illness often feel their condition is their fault. It’s not. Focus your energy on healing, not on laying blame.

3. Trust God’s promises. Nowhere in scripture does God promise a life free of suffering. But the Bible is full of God’s promises to love us and be present when we hurt. Some of my favorites are Psalm 23:2, 1 Peter 5:10 and Psalm 91:11. And Psalm 103. I turned to that scripture so often that it’s the only page that has fallen out of my Bible.

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