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Episode 50 - Overcoming Adversity


A Biography is a detailed description of a person’s life. Facts like where you were born, where you grew up, went to school, who your parents were, what relationships you’ve been in, and all the other markers in your life. I remember in 5th grade doing a timeline of my short 11 years of life. It was a bunch of letter-sized construction paper taped together that was longer than my little frame. It seemed like such a big life. So many things that had happened, like breaking my collar bone twice, getting my appendix removed, running relay on the winning girls track team. That was fun. Then there were things like sending Mike and David a note that said, “I like you, do you like me? Circle yes or no.” They both came back as a “no.” Rejection. Going to Gardner State park in the summers with my family. Anyone been there? Remember the dance floor? Sadly, I do not, because no one ever asked me to dance. Rejection again. All before the age of 12.

If you were to see the construction-paper-timeline of my life in the past 6 years, you might look at it and think, “Whoa, that’s just too much to handle.” Or “Such an unfortunate state of events.”

In May of 2015, my father died after a 5-year battle with prostate cancer. Six weeks after we buried my dad, I had to take my mom to the ER when we thought she was having a series of TIAa - those are ministrokes that are usually precursors or warning signs of a major stroke to come. The brain scan revealed an inoperable brain tumor that was terminal. She was released home with me with hospice care and was given three to four months to live. She died nine weeks later. Four months after that, my mother-in-law died of lung cancer. The following year, my daughter, who graduated from college one week after we buried her second grandmother, went through a very difficult time dealing with life events and needed some immediate help. So, I quickly scooped her up and took her to an inpatient care facility in Tennessee for two months. The following year, my husband who had been suffering from debilitating, chronic back pain for five years took his life. August 5th marked four years without him.

Do you agree with these statements?

- Biography (that is, the detailed description of a person’s life) determines your destiny.

- What you’ve done in the past is only what you can do in the future.

- Your setbacks limit you.

- Where you’re from determines where you can go.

- Your circumstances dictate your ability to live a full life.

I’d like for you to listen to this particular biography and see what you think about each situation, obstacle, “unfortunate event” and decide for yourself what the outcome might be:

There was a young 13-year-old girl who got pregnant. She didn’t have a father or mother around. Only her grandmother. Upon finding out she was pregnant, the baby’s father leaves. The girl decides to have the baby and to raise it all by herself.

What do you think about the outcome of this baby’s life? What kind of chances does this baby have to grow and thrive, and live a full life?

So, this 13-year-old girl was having a hard time parenting the baby, so essentially, she gives the baby to the 70-year-old grandmother to raise or help raise. There were people in and out of that house, and by the time that baby was 9 years old, she had been sexually molested 8 times.

What are your thoughts, now, about this 9-year-old child? The outlook feels worse. Right?

So, the troubled 9-year-old girl grows up, and at 13 years old gets pregnant herself and decides to have the baby to raise herself. She has no idea who the father is. But she’s determined to do it on her own. She has no support and no one around her to help.

At 9 months pregnant, this girl gives birth to a stillborn baby. Already troubled and now deeply grieving and confused, the people around her decide they must put her in an institution because they couldn’t handle her anymore. The State will have to raise her. She’s off the deep end.

This girl was African American and in the 50s & 60s at that time in the US there wasn’t a lot of support. It was a much harder time for a black woman in the US to get the support she needed. What do you think about the prospect of her future? Anyone would look at that situation, and if you think biography is destiny, you would think her life was a complete wash. It’s over.

She was getting older, now 15, and the state couldn’t support her anymore, they had no more beds. A man came forward claiming to be her father. The state releases her to the man and he agrees to raise the 15-year-old. She’s had quite a construction-paper-timeline, huh?

Well, that girl grew up and got into broadcasting, started a radio show, went into daytime talk, became a best-selling author, started her own network, ran the Oprah Winfrey show and is now one of the most successful people in the US. And maybe the planet.

That is just one of a million stories of people who have overcome adversity. They’ve beat the odds. Gone against the grain of what people would think they could attain/overcome if they had just looked at all the black markers on that construction-paper-timeline.

This is just evidence that no matter where you came from, no matter what you’ve been through, no matter what obstacles you feel like are in your way, no matter how hard your present life looks or how daunting the future looks, your circumstances do not dictate what you can or cannot do. What you’ve experienced has nothing to do with what you can experience now or in the future. When you decide to set aside the details of your circumstances, which when other people look at the details of your life they may say, “Whoa, that’s some really unfortunate stuff. You’ve really had it rough. You keep getting the raw end of the deal.” If you refuse to agree with them, set all that aside, and decide that you can move on from there, grow from there, live another beautiful life from there, that’s when you’re able to create a life on purpose. Now, I don’t know where Oprah Winfrey is spiritually. First Kings 8:39 tells us that only God knows the heart of man. But if someone could overcome those obstacles in the natural, just imagine what could happen with the power of the Holy Spirit directing your life. A life full of the abundance Jesus wants you to live. But you must decide. You must decide if you want to be a victim of your circumstances or an overcomer.

So, after my husband passed away, I really felt like my life was over. There was nothing more to live for. After all, all my hopes and dreams of the future died with him. All our plans with our children, our future grandchildren, all the things we wanted to do together as empty nesters and in the future when he retired, all gone. In an instant.

One day as I was crying out to God to just let me go, too. I was done. I felt Him say, in my spirit, “Tricia, you have lived a beautiful life up until now. And you can have another beautiful life. It may not look like you thought or hoped, but it can still be good, and it can still be beautiful.”

So, there it was. A choice. My choice. Do I look at the biography - those dreaded details of all the loss and pain and grief of the past six years, as well as the daunting fear of the present - and decide that it was going to define my future? Or was I going to decide to overcome the adversity and embrace another beautiful life?

Well, I think you know what I chose. It’s why I have this podcast and record episodes week after week. To share with you what I’ve experienced to give you hope in your journey. Because I’ve seen the power of the Holy Spirit move in incredible, and sometimes seemingly miraculous, ways in my life when I said yes to God’s offer of Another Beautiful Life. But it was a choice. My choice.

Friend, you have a choice today, too. Your circumstances or life experiences may not look like mine at all. In fact, yours might be a lot worse, a lot more painful, than mine. But you, too, have a choice, right now, to set aside the circumstances of your life, set all that aside, and decide that you can move forward from there, grow from there, live another beautiful life from there. That’s when you’re able to create a life on purpose; the life of freedom God has intended for you to live all along. What will you do, friend? Will you choose to overcome and live another beautiful life?

Friend, if you would like some one-on-one help in overcoming adversity in your life, I’d love to be your coach and mentor. I’ll teach you some simple but seriously effective tools that will help you as you reject the notion that your past experiences or your present circumstances keep you from living a full, joy filled, purposeful life.

I’ve put a link in the show notes to my calendar to book at quick 30-minute chat to see if we’re a good fit. Or you can visit my website and send me an email there.

Have a great week, friends! See you next week for the next episode of Another Beautiful Life podcast.

Calendar Link for a free Life Coaching Consult Call:

Don’t forget to go to my website to get your 3 Guided Worksheets for personal development that complement my podcast episodes. They’re free, and I pray you’ll find some healing and freedom there.

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