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Thank God for Pain

Life is full of uncontrollable factors. Most are good but some are bad. We always celebrate ourselves when we accomplish something in our life that is positive or that makes us happy. Maybe it’s a good grade, getting the internship or job you have been wanting, maybe a promotion, finally graduating, or maybe it’s just finding an awesome sale at Hobby Lobby. It is important to celebrate life’s successes, big and small. But I feel like it is equally important if not more, to celebrate the triumphs when you make it through the hardest days of your life.

The group Big & Rich says it perfectly in their song Thank God for Pain. “I know it sounds insane but thank God for scars. Cause every jagged little one got me closer to where we are.” I truly believe that I would not be half of the person I have become today if I had not battled the trials the Lord had placed in front of me. I was barely 12 years old when I found out that my brother was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. On April 18, 2011 my old life stopped and a new one began. I no longer had a typical childhood. I now had two extra bedrooms that I spent many nights in. One at my grandmas and one at my best friend’s house. I gave up my summers to become a caretaker. I helped watch over my brother and make sure he took his medications, drank enough fluids, ate enough, emptied urinals, and helped him to the toilet while my parents went to work.

Life was hard and it was scary. I lived in fear that I would lose my brother. I learned the meaning of words that no 12-year-old needed to know and shed tears behind closed doors into the neck of my now senior dog. Hospitals became normal and bald heads were the style. I overheard scary stories of what other patients were going through and I made friends with people I would never see again. Life was hard.

When I first saw my brother after learning of his diagnosis, he wrapped me in a hug and swore to me that God had a reason for all of it. He told me we may never know His reason, but we needed to have faith that there still was one. I am now 20 years old and my brother is 25. Eight years have passed and at times the question surfaces. Why did God do this? What was the greater meaning? I feel that as time passes, I get closer to my answer.

Going through the bad times teaches us how to be in the good times. To never be too comfortable and always be grateful. Be grateful for the minor issues. Don’t whine about things you don’t want to do, because at least you can run that mile and waking up a little sick really is only a minor inconvenience. Tough times remind you to look people in the eyes when you talk and always take the extra time to say goodbye. Even if it means you have to wait. Remember that hugs are important. After a graduation ceremony I made sure to wait until I got the chance to hug my old friend goodbye. I never imagined it would be our last. Time is precious so always wait.

The trials I have faced have made me who I am. I trust myself in times of uncertainty, can control my emotions and stay calm in times of need. My best friend was once in a bad accident and I was one of the first to the scene and the hospital. If it wasn’t for my past, I don’t think I would have held myself together while contacting his mother and waiting by his side in the emergency room until she arrived.

My past reminds me that I made it. In my darkest hours I got through it. My past made me strong and showed me that there is always light at the end of the tunnel. God only gives what you can handle so prove Him right. You can do this. Celebrate the hard times and thank God for pain. I’m thankful for mine.

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