Let’s be completely honest here: No one likes challenging situations! Yet the fact is life happens and we all experience what I call life’s unscripted moments such as loss, poor health, setbacks, etc. These unwanted intruders invade our lives and can leave devastation in their wake. Yet, the Bible compels us to press on and move forward.
Over the years, I have come across people who just seem to bounce back no matter what life throws at them. Whilst Apostle Paul is a great biblical example, the people I refer to are everyday folk like you and I. And just in case you were wondering: No, they not super-spiritual nor do they have an extra dollop of anointing. They are just regular people who have chosen to take God at His Word and stand even in difficult times.
A common trait amongst these people I fondly call, ‘Bounce Back Heroes’, is that they have a knack of turning their challenging situations into something positive. Furthermore, they seem to grow from their experiences and positively transform the course of their lives. In recent years, Psychologists have termed this phenomenon, posttraumatic growth, where people experience positive change as a result of a challenging life situation or traumatic event.
But we already aware of this notion as the Bible is littered with instances of Gods ability to not only keep us through stormy times, but also work all things out for our good (Romans 8:28). So in short, overcoming and bouncing back is in our DNA!
Flip Your Adversity On Its Head
This is exactly what Zoe and Andy Coates did. They suffered loss through a number of miscarriages. Having to say goodbye to each child they lost was difficult for them. Yet, this Christian couple never gave up and pressed on. Today, they have two beautiful daughters. But their story did not end there.
They chose to flip their adversity on its head by deciding to offer support to others going through similar journeys. And so, they launched the Mariposa Trust (www.mariposatrust.org) and later on, Saying Goodbye (www.sayinggoodbye.org). Today, their website has over 650,000 hits per month, supporting tens of thousands weekly.
Zoe and Andy made a conscious decision to make something good out of their losses and touch other lives. They are living proof that, as long as we are willing, God can turn our darkest moments into a ray of light in someone else’s world. The question is: Will you allow Him to use your experiences for His glory? Oh, and by the way, it really isn’t about you!
Victim or Victor? You Choose!
Sometime ago, I heard the story of a young schoolgirl in Guatemala, called Griselda (www.ijm.org/griseldas-story). Griselda was coming back from church in a car with her mother and brother when another car cut in front of theirs. Griselda was dragged out of the car and taken by three men, who went on to rape her.
Griselda was thirteen!
At this tender age, she now had to live with the trauma of that violation. Thankfully, through the work of the International Justice Mission (IJM), Griselda not only received therapy, but her perpetrators were brought to justice.
What marvelled me about Griselda was her ‘victor’ mind-set. Refusing to be a victim, she took up an internship with IJM, where she was able to help other girls who had experienced similar ordeals. Her desire was to make her pain count for something.
Reflecting on her story, it is evident Griselda experienced posttraumatic growth. However, this was as a result of a choice she made: She chose to be a victor. Another important choice Griselda made was to forgive her perpetrators. This, in itself, is a huge stumbling block for many Christians and blights many peoples ability to move forward.
From Griselda’s story, we are reminded of God’s restorative power when we allow the greatest Heart Surgeon into our hearts.
Seeing that life happens, I encourage you to keep hope alive. Being hopeful whilst trusting God, is a choice and is the ‘stuff’ that keep us going even in our darkest moments. Also remember that adversity or suffering needn’t destroy you. Rather, allow Father to repurpose it for His glory, enabling your pain to make a difference in someone else’s life as well as yours. After all, God has a knack of using our ‘tests’ as a basis for our testimonies, our ‘mess’ to become our message and our stories to form part of ‘HIStory’.
So bounce back because God has got your back.
Written by Grace Gladys Famoriyo: Author/Speaker. Author of Bounce Back!: Surviving, Thriving And Maximising Your Life Challenges (978-0-9926195-2-7). Other titles from the author: Healing A Discouraged Heart; and Overcoming Emotional Baggage. Find out more at www.gladysf.com