Life would be better if _________.

We’ve all had struggles. Physical, mental, emotional, marriage, money…the list goes on. Some of our struggles are temporary, but some of us have permanent ones. Wouldn’t life be so much better if we didn’t have to deal with these struggles?

Life would be better if I could walk.

Life would be better if I had a job.

Life would be better if I just had a little more arm muscle.

Life would be better if *insert your reason here.*

I’ve mentioned before some of the details about my disability – Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). I can’t walk, stand, transfer on my own, raise my arms, reach far, do my own hair, dress myself, cook, etc.

But, I wouldn’t change my past for anything. (Of course I shared about Spinraza – the drug that could stop or reverse the effects of SMA – which I would do in a heartbeat should I get approved.) Overall, though, I’m grateful for the 31 years of my life with this particular struggle. I have learned some valuable life lessons that have made me the person I am today.

Patience

Thankfully I learned this lesson early or I may not be married right now 🙂 The seven year wait really tested my patience, but I passed and couldn’t imagine my life without my husband in it. He continues to test me just to be sure I don’t forget how to be patient by “forgetting” to throw away pop bottles or granola bar wrappers or rinsing his plate…#firstworldproblems

My life is full of moments that help me practice the art of patience. One of the biggest – care providers. I rely on care providers to get me in and out of bed. Sometimes they’re late (hey-life happens), sometimes they just don’t show up (so I wait in bed til someone can get there), sometimes they’re new and haven’t quite mastered the tricks of the routine. Whatever the case, patience is a must. By practicing patience, I end up with some of the best care providers!

Compassion

I love people! This is a little weird because I consider myself an introvert – I’m a naturally shy person. But, if someone comes up to me and makes conversation, I generally enjoy whatever they have to share. I love getting to be someone they can rely on or vent to. Knowing that I can either relate to their struggles or at least empathize. Man, why didn’t I major in psychology?

Determination

Let me tell you how much I love to prove people wrong! 🙂 Mostly kidding, but on some level I truly mean this! I am not a confrontational person by any means, but you know how when someone tells you not to look, and obviously you HAVE to look? That’s me, but on a different level. If you tell me I can’t do something – specifically something because of my disability – I’m going to do it. It may not be right away, it may not be how others do it, but I’m going to do it!

One of my dreams is to drive. I was so determined to make this happen. To the dismay of some (caring persons who were scared for my safety), I got my permit and set up an assessment. She discussed with me my physical limitations and then sent someone out to LET ME DRIVE. He hooked up some equipment into his van, removed the driver seat and hooked me in! I had a small steering wheel on my left laying in a flat position instead of upright like normal and a lever to control gas & break on my right. I spent about a half an hour driving through the Kmart parking lot practicing accelerating, breaking fast, wide turns, small turns, etc. Then, you guys, HE LET ME DRIVE ON A ROAD. It was the most amazing feeling of freedom, yet so scary at the same time.

I was determined to drive – but, all those little gadgets he hooked up for me to use come at a hefty price. My driving days day ended there. But, don’t tell me I can’t drive! 🙂

Struggles teach us valuable lessons. They make us stronger people. They help us to relate to others. They encourage us to rely on God. Struggles are the only reason we know how amazing it feels to overcome them!

Could life be easier if _________________? Of course! But, let’s just remember how good it feels to overcome!

What struggles have you faced/are you facing? How are you overcoming and what joys have you found because of that process? I’d love to hear about it! Comment below or send me a message on Facebook!

For more encouragement – check out this book by Nick Vujicic. I love love love his attitude about life. Unstoppable: The Incredible Power of Faith in Action along with his other books and videos will definitely uplift you!

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