Saturday, March 26, 2011

Struggles, Weaknesses, Trials, and Finding Joy Through the Refining Process...

I was talking to a friend recently who told me about some concerns the school has regarding one of her sons, and that he may have Asperger's Syndrome. She was totally relaxed about it - no stress at all over the prospect. - I silently contemplated this, and then she continued. She said she didn't know if he has it or not. And then she added,
"But if he does have it, it really doesn't matter. It won't change anything; and everyone has something they struggle with."
Later, I thought about her calm acceptance, and the words, "Everyone has something they struggle with." And I LIKED it!

I liked it because it is TRUE. I also liked it because part of the reason parts of my past were so hard for me was because I had a distorted view that the majority of the human population have "normal" lives free of major struggles such as these. I couldn't have been more wrong!

Because of the distorted view I used to see the world through, I was trying to get rid of the challenges (without even knowing what they were), thinking that my kids needed a "normal" life to be happy, and that "normal" meant that there wasn't anything "wrong" with them or their lives.

Again, I was SO WRONG! "Normal" is really something like this...
What MAJOR issue or challenge do you deal with? Is it one that everyone can see, or is it more of a personal one that no one can see? Do you wish others could see it? Do you wish they couldn't? If they can't see it, do you have to bear it alone? Which is worse... harder? Neither. ~ If we turn to God, He can make all things work for our good!
I have a friend who recently told me about going to his college counseling center for testing and found out  about some disabilities that he has. I could tell that it really bothered him; it seemed to be a great burden to him, to have these struggles which so many other people DON'T have to deal with. I wanted to comfort him, but at that moment... didn't know what to say. I think my friend may have known what to say. Remember that simple statement she made to me? IT IS HARD, to have struggles, weaknesses, trials, disAbilities; and Satan, who seeks to discourage us and bring our minds to sorrow and depression, would have us focus on our struggles or the "dis" in dis"Abilities."
"...but if he does have it, it really doesn't matter. It won't change anything; everyone has something they struggle with.
Satan would have us think the hand/deck of cards we have been dealt with is unfair, and that our lives are harder, have less value, and less happiness, than they would have had without the struggles.

But that is not so.

The truth is that EVERYONE has challenges and struggles which are GREAT, and which can be hard to bear. But these struggles are allowed, and sometimes even "given" to us... thoughtfully, carefully, and lovingly ~ by a Father in Heaven who knows just what each and everyone of us needs to experience in order to reach our true potentials and experience total joy. It is an essential part of the refiners fire we must go through to become the kind of person we will find great joy in becoming.

There is a scripture about this (emphasis mine)...
"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness.I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."
Ether 12:27
Recently, I was having a really hard day dealing with weaknesses my kids were born with (Not that my weaknesses are any better! :o). I thought about the "flip side of the coin" analogy - where for every negative, there is a positive to go with it...  I wasn't in the most positive mental state, and was really struggling to endure happily, so I asked my husband, And then the spirit spoke through him; he said the same exact thing the Lord told me in my heart the day before...

"What is the flip side of the coin... the blessing that comes, in conjunction with that awful weaknesses our kids struggle with?
"The flip side, is that their weaknesses
will become their strengths."


Tears of joy...

God loves us ALL ~ SO MUCH! :D

And the Lord reminds me... I need to experience raising kids with these struggles. Their struggles ARE BLESSINGS TO ME! This isn't just about what their challenges will do for them; it is also about how their challenges bless their family, friends, coworkers, local church goers etc...

We need to strive to see others the way Heavenly Father does, and the way they can and will be after their life experiences refine them like valuable silver in a refiners fire... AND TREAT THEM AS IF THEY ALREADY ARE - the person they will be, once those weaknesses are made strong.

Isn't that what we want others to do for us? Don't we feel encouraged to keep trying, when others focus on our successes, rather than on our failures? And don't they do this because they view us as inherently good, and capable of reaching our goals... rather than as the person tainted by struggle X?

I guess that's why I don't want struggles, challenges, or weaknesses to be my focus. Why should they be? Everyone has them... What we need to be able to overcome, is the habit of not allowing obstacles to discourage us or linger in our minds..., and staying focused on our goals.

We each have our own unique set of strengths, weaknesses, challenges, and skills; we have to find our own unique path to accomplishing our own goals.

One of my goals is to teach my kids to focus on their Abilities; to set goals, and work towards them, and to realize that if they have to go about achieving a goal an a different way than many other people do, or if it takes longer for them than it does for others... to not let that bother them and just go ahead and do it anyway. 

I want them to realize that the same people who don't have the struggles that they have, DO have struggles that they don't have. And that a loving Father in Heaven allows each of us to go through the specific struggles we need for our own growth, and so we will all have opportunities to serve one another. A year or so ago, I added to my email signature the motto given in Meet the Robinson's,  "Keep Moving Forward." This is my current phrase to live by. And each time I see it I am reminded...
"Corine... No matter what obstacles stand between you and your goals..., don't let them stop you. Hurdle over them, and just keep moving forward!"
I don't ever want to discount any one's struggles or obstacles that seem to stand in our way. They are real. They are hard. For each and every one of us, in our own personal way, Life really is a climb!

But if we will remember that we are never alone, and that God in his Love, blessed each of us to go through what we need to go through, but He will never allow us to go through anything we can't handle... we can feel blessed and thankful, and optimistic that He believes in us and in our ability to handle, conquer, and overcome/hurdle any and all obstacles that come our way. He believes in us! And he is only a prayer away from helping us with anything we ask for help with.

I really believe these things. I hope you do, too.

I know He loves us and He wants us to know these things. If we don't, we just kneel down and ask Him... ;)

Corine :D

PS. A couple of months ago I posted a FABULOUS story about how the Lord teaches and molds us through the refiners fire of life's trials. You can find it HERE if you want to! It is short, and beautiful; but be forewarned... you'll need a Kleenex to get through it. ;D

PPS I found a quote on Tracy's blog that I have to add to this... Thanks Tracy! :D

"My imperfections and failures
are as much a blessing from God
as my successes and my talents
and I lay them both at his feet.”

by Mahatma Ghandi


Doesn't Ghandi rock? I love that man!!



  1. Last year, when my sweet daughter got diagnosed with a difficult and life changing illness, the words that came to me were simple.
    This is the exact same little girl that she was five minutes ago. Absolutely nothing has changed. You loved her when you did not know or understand what was wrong. Your love has not changed from that moment to this. She is still the amazing, talented, beautiful and righteous girl that she was before the doctor came in the room.
    That has given me courage to face everything. She is exactly who she was before, except each day the challenges make her even better.
    Very good post today. We all have a thorn in our side just like Paul, but some people have thorns we don't see. That does not make them more blessed or more loved. Whatever thorn they have is exactly what they need to help the get back to their Heavenly Father. That is the most important thing of all.

  2. Patty Ann - I LOVE the way you sumarize these for me in the comment section! :D

    PS I feel the same way about my kids challenges. I have seen many mom's freak when finding out their kid has a struggle, but with mine, I already knew they had struggles... it find it a relief to know what they are so I can learn about them and better understand and help. :)... But even without a name for a struggle, it is so comforting to know that the Lord still guides us.

    Corine :D

  3. Hi Corine, I saw your comment on Tracy's A Slice of Smith Life and I came over to say hello. I really enjoyed your post and I think why some mom's freak out when given a diagnosis is they some how feel "responsible" for it. If only they'd done something different...etc. God does give us what we can handle and even when it seems impossible, He is right there with us and we must offer up our struggles!

  4. Corine,
    Umm, I certainly needed to hear these words today and am trying to figure out how they can apply to my struggles. You're right, my struggles are not life threatening-an inconvenience, yes, but nothing I can't work through with the Heavenly Father's help. I just forget to ask Him and feel like it's a thorn I need to smooth myself.
    Thank you Corine, and my prayers will be specific...
    hugs to you!

  5. Noreen - You are SO RIGHT! I had forgotten about that. I forgot about how I used to TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY blame myself for my kids struggles, and wonder "what am I doing wrong?" For me, the diagnoses came as an answer to my prayers; it was God's way of telling me that I had NOT done anything wrong. So I forgot that, for a mom who isn't ALREADY stressed out about the struggle, and already blaming herself... the diagnoses can create the beginning of all of that rather than working towards the end of blaming.

    Thank you so much for your enlightening comment! And WELCOME! :D I hope to see you again.

    Tracy - I LOVE YOU! I hope and pray you are blessed with all the strength, courage, and inspiration you need to find blessings and peace in your struggles.

    Corine :D

  6. I totally needed this today! Thanks so much for taking the time to write it down!


  7. Beautiful! Thanks for sharing these words of wisdom.


There is a ripple effect in all that we do; what you do touches me, what I do touches you...

THANK YOU for your comments; you add so much insight and brighten my day! :)