The world is depending on you, and on me, to get this right.
By Guest Blogger Venus Bolton
There are times our children get sick and as parents we tend to them attentively, doing everything we can think of to make them feel better. Sometimes Mama’s home health care does the trick; but if you have multiple kids like me, your children may be on the germ-share program; so invariably what goes around tends to make the rounds.
However, imagine being told the illness your child has is life threatening – that time is running out and your options are few. When my husband and I received this news in 2011, it didn’t feel real. Doctors declared that our 4-year old daughter had severe aplastic anemia. Aplastic anemia behaves in the same way as several childhood cancers, with a similar course of treatment.
I now think back to the three years of active treatment that followed this diagnosis, along with two years of maintenance treatment, and I am truly amazed at how we navigated life during those five years. An illness of this magnitude can impose a crippling toll on a family.
The most significant lesson I learned is that beautiful things can happen in the midst of the worst storms life throws your way. My husband and I experienced what the hearts of people coming together to be the blessing looks like. We felt like every good thing we had ever done in our lives was returned to us through the love, prayers and generosity of others.
Through this unimaginable set of circumstances, we’ve had many opportunities to share our story as ambassadors for patient families, in conversations with lawmakers and officials, and by working with businesses and organizations that support patient families. We’ve walked alongside other parents (who became friends) through diagnosis, treatment, heartache and grief.
Our 9-year old daughter was recently released to full survivorship, and while it may sound cliché, my family has a renewed appreciation for life. We take very little for granted and have learned not to sweat the small stuff, because in the grand scheme, it all is smaller.
I never thought I’d say it, but what came to wreak havoc in our lives has ultimately ended up blessing our family in some ways we didn’t expect. Most importantly it gave me, and my husband, a greater desire to have a positive impact in our community, and to put ourselves in position to bless the lives of others whenever possible.
Venus Bolton writes and speaks on issues related to faith, wellness, caregiving and child advocacy. She lives in Midlothian, Virginia with her husband and four children and blogs regularly at Three & 1.
~ By Stacy Hawkins Adams
What dream, goal, plan or opportunity have you been talking about but failing to move toward?
What is your routine “I can’t” or “but” for standing still – a lack of resources, a lack of courage, a lack of support from others?
Whatever your response, ask yourself how long you’ve been giving this answer. If it’s longer than a month, that’s almost too long. If it’s more than a year, your victory is way overdue.
If you can recall having this same conversation with yourself 12 months ago or longer, remember where you were at that time (or those many times). Consider who you were sharing with and why you indicated you couldn’t move forward. Are those same obstacles standing in your way today?
If your answer is yes, it’s time to move. If your answer is no, it’s time to move.
Because faith without works is dead. Because if you stay frozen in the dreaming and planning phase, the people who could be blessed by what you have to offer may never have that opportunity. Because perhaps your finding the courage to live out your destiny could impact how others live out theirs.
If your dream, goal, plan or opportunity is meant to live and exist, you are the only one who can conquer the hills and mountains that stand in the way, and the first obstacle to overcome may be the doubt in your own heart and mind.
When you truly believe you’re worth what you long for, you’ll begin to take those baby steps to achieve it. Yes, baby steps. Do one thing a week, or in some seasons one thing a month, to move closer to where you want to be. When you move – that is, put your faith into action – and persist, eventually you’ll be rewarded with an equal reaction of some kind – big or small- that confirms that your dream, goal, plans or opportunity are worthwhile.
I speak from experience – even in launching this blog. I had a logo designed a year ago, planned it in my head for months, then hemmed and hawed about what it should focus on. But I knew within if I just wrote from my heart and invited others to join me in doing the same, everything else would fall into place, and that’s what is happening.
Whatever your obstacles or tasks are, seek wisdom, then create a plan and get to it. Somebody somewhere needs what you have to offer. And guess what? So do you.
“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
Living life to the fullest doesn’t mean living a carefree, pain-free life. It means finding meaning and joy in the things that matter most, no matter the circumstances.
(Inaugural post from Life Untapped curator Stacy Hawkins Adams.)
Your life matters because you matter.
Your hopes. Your dreams. Your flaws and failures that make you who you are and give you your unique (and valuable) perspective. The purpose only you can execute during your time on earth.
Life Untapped, the blog, is meant to be a source of hope, how-to and motivation as you seek your lane of service, love, joy and impact.
We all have one – whether it’s to be the best stay-at-home mom, office administrator or community leader possible or to change the world in some dramatic way. But the first shift toward our destiny begins with believing that the “story” we’re each living is our unique gift to the world – our personal opportunity for relevance.
Whether you aim to be a writer or simply want to read and write more intentionally to learn and grow, Life Untapped is here to help. We’ll provide inspiration and information you can use to move toward the reality you long to live.
Use the messages here – from me and my guests – as a guidebook and example of how to shape your life into your own particular masterpiece. Not perfect; just personal. And become intentional about enjoying the process as much as securing the prize, whatever it may be. That’s important, so that your memories will make you smile long after a task is complete, a goal is accomplished or a seed is planted and the flower of your life has bloomed.
Thanks for joining me here. I’m honored to be on the journey with you.