Goodmorning on this very uneventful day in February! It doesn't get much notice except for the last minute Valentine's shopping! I would bet it is the highest day for card sales...which next year I plan to have a line ready.
Anyways, I was thinking the other day that you all may wonder why I say to "choose joy" so often. Or why I mention pain and struggle in life. It is because I am no stranger to it.
A small portion of my story involves an accident 5 years ago that forever changed my life. For good, although, it may not have seemed that way in the beginning. I learned that choosing joy was not an option, but something I had to do to keep moving forward.
You see, I decided to take on the back end of Semi Truck. With a little Ford Focus. At about 45-50 miles per hour. Yea. Go big or go home, right? The funny thing is I had always been very "careful" in my life. I didn't play sports that would result in physical injury or damage, I wasn't into anything extreme, I didn't (and still don't) ride rollercoasters. Needless to say, I had never broken anything in my life, and never paid a visit to the hospital. Until this day.
I fractured my neck in multiple vertebrae, dislocated both shoulders, and sustained a concussion. Anyone reading this would assume my career and life as I knew it was over. And, in some sense of it, it was. I was about to become a licensed Master Cosmetologist, which 3 years later I was told I had to quit for good. I now had to be even more careful (which was hard even for me) with everything I chose to do in my life. My energy levels have never quite recovered even though I fight against it every day. I suffered multiple other injuries over the course of the next few years and a couple of surgeries to boot.
BUT let me tell you the amazing part. How could beauty come from this, right? Well, for starters, I AM WALKING AND CAN ACTUALLY FEEL PAIN. Something that astounded the doctors. I decided in that first ER that I would fight on and be positive. That Christ in me, that alone was my saving grace, and anything else I could face and I was NEVER alone. I decided to "consider it pure joy" when I was suffering.
Things to this day are not normal. I live with chronic pain that, somedays, find me in bed all day. I still can't lift with my upper body...and may never be able to do so. Somedays it is hard to paint. My neck and arms fatigue easily. I still cry and vent and get discouraged. I am no superhuman. I never will be. But I have come to BELIEVE that your attitude isn't HALF the battle...it's ALL of the battle. I know that I went through what I did to open my mouth and share what God has done in my life.
If it hadn't been for the accident, I would have never learned my TRUE identity. I don't know that I would have ever learned full reliance on God for my every day. I would have never started this venture of painting full-time. I would have been happy as a hairstylist, but I was forced to step away. I would have never gotten to talk to some of the people I have and encourage them on to greatness and JOY.
That's what I believe this is about. Making me speak. Open up. Be vulnerable. Welcome someone into my story so I can step in their's. We all face major trials in life. Some worse than another. Some with scares and wounds so deep, we believe they will never heal. But what JOY is it that we can encourage, that I can encourage, just one more person. To look outside of myself and my pain for just a moment. WHAT BEAUTY IS THAT?
So I want to say THANK YOU. Thank you for letting me share my story. For taking the time to read. Maybe it has encouraged you. I would LOVE to hear if it has. You aren't alone. I am not alone. The ONE who sees is always present. I pray His arms are around you today. Choose JOY, my friend. Start today.