Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Story of My Life

One day last week, I was reading a blog post about how difficult life can be, and how we sometimes have to look so hard to find the blessings in a situation.  My first thought was, "Isn't that the story of my life?"

Girl Holding Book Looking Out Window free creative commonsphoto © 2009 D. Sharon Pruitt | more info (via: Wylio)Yes, I've had some challenging times.  I've had my share of heartaches.  I've struggled with depression for most of my adult life.  I had Lyme disease before most doctors knew much about it.  Getting a diagnosis took well over a year ... by which time the infection was so advanced that treatment took another two years or so.   The out-of-pocket medical expenses put me deep into debt.  I've had back problems, knee problems, and "female problems."  I've had more surgeries than I can fit into the allotted space on the medical history form at the doctor's office.

But although those things were huge at the time, I don't want them to be what defines my life.

It's been said that, even if problems aren't your fault, the way you respond to them is your choice. So rather than let those challenges--whether past or ongoing--define my life, I've been looking for the silver linings.  As I did that, I discovered that the threads that run through everything are love and compassion:
  • My parents took me to doctor appointments, brought me groceries, "babysat" my dog, and did so much more to help me.
  • My manager found a way for me to keep my job--and my health insurance--when I was too ill to work full-time.
  • A few of my coworkers made a point of encouraging me with phone calls, visits, and prayers.
I can't think of a way I'd rather define my life than by love and compassion--as a wife, a mom, a friend, a neighbor, a Christian.  This is one of my favorite prayers:
Lord, help me to be a conduit for Your love.  As I've received unconditional, unfailing love from You, help me to let that love flow through me to the people around me.
What's the story of your life?  How would you like your life to be defined?

February logo
Photo by Adriana Cecchi / text added


  1. This is beautiful, Melissa. I don't want to be defined by my losses or hard things either, even though sometimes I am. Being defined by love and compassion is much better. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. Melissa, this is great. I needed to hear this today. I think sometimes I feel I'm defined by the deaths in my life that were so close to me - my dad, my brother's suicide, my mom...and then numerous other trials like dealing with Aspergers in my daughter and sensory disorder in my son. Yesterday I was just so sad about those things with my kids, I almost felt hopeless for their futures. But I don't want that to define me and I don't want labels to define them either. This is a good reminder of that. Thanks for sharing it.

  3. This is just beautiful, Melissa. I can't think of a better way of expressing how I'd like to be defined.

    So I say, "What she said."

  4. Boy--it's like we're going through the same thoughts! I keep reminding myself that Christians are called to be a light to the world and nobody's going to notice you waving your little light around in the middle of sunny July. It's in the dark nights of your December that they're going to see the light from your smile, from your positive words, from your HOPE. What a lovely witness!

  5. Recently found your blog.... I loved this post.

    It does make me wonder how people see me or how I will be remembered? I am guilty of letting the negative define me and I don't want to be known as that anxious, depressed girl. I needed to have this to think about today.... glad I found your blog. :)

  6. I have a similar story/history. My medical history is so long with bad things and it all began in 1994. That's more than 10 years. I guess "luckily" I mostly have "invisible illnesses," so hopefully I emit love and respect. I also hope it's defined as helpful.

  7. You know my recent medical history and struggles. I refuse to let things like that define me. I can't stand when someone (normally at the doctors) refers to me as the young Mom with high blood pressure.
    Thanks for the reminder that I have to stay focused! Your blog and words certainly show your love and compassion...

  8. What an awesome post! And yes, they way we look at things makes such a HUGE difference! Thanks for stopping by / commenting on my blog the other day. Blessings!

  9. I recently found your blog. This is a lovely post! I definitely want my life to be defined by God's love and mercy--I'd be lost without them. Blessings!

  10. Beautiful, thank you so much for sharing. I followed you from Frugal Granols. I also noticed you wanted a recipe for Spanish rice, and I've got a good one for you here:
    You can use any kind of rice and either beef, turkey, or chicken.

  11. i do not want to be defined by the hard times, but rather by the life i leave behind... the impression i leave on family and friends...


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