I was asked to choose something I believe in. I believe in many ideas, but there is one idea in particular that I believe in whole heartedly: pushing forward. Despite everything people have been through and will go through, we must push forward and overcome challenges. All throughout our life, we are given issues to take on. Some of those things come to us like a slap in the face, while other issues sneak up on us slowly but surely. What we often find is, the events that sneak up on us slowly, kill us, or at least try too. The past 18 years of my life have been a rollercoaster. I’ve dealt with more things at a young age than most people will ever have to deal with in a lifetime. The point is, we have a choice: we can let our challenges in life defeat us, sit back feeling sorry for ourselves, or we can choose the alternative route and push forward. I choose to believe in pushing forward.
One of the biggest reasons I believe in pushing forward no matter what life throws at me is because of the things I have faced thus far. At the age of three years old, I was diagnosed with a rare form of Leukemia called Hypereosynophilic Syndrome. This disease wasn’t like most diseases. To be more specific, no other person in America that we knew of had it besides me. Hypereosynophilic Syndrome is where ones white blood cell count elevates too high as well as their Eosinophils. A normal Eosinophil count is 0-4%, while mine was as high as 63%. I was constantly poked with needles (let’s keep in mind I was 3), I got pneumonia and was on a ventilator for 45 days which then scarred my vocal cords causing my voice to sound softly strained. I was allergic to wheat, gluten, dairy, corn, and sugar. I had a total of eight surgeries including open heart due to a blood clot. I lost all of my hair from chemo, and slowly lost all of my strength. I was eventually unable to raise my arm off of the hospital bed until I went through intensive physical therapy. It took me a few years to fully recover from my disease, but by the age of ten I was in the clear and 100% healthy. From this point life was starting to look up, until my parents decided to get a divorce, which changed everything yet again.
It was around the age of 12 when I got the news my parents were getting divorced. Many children of divorced parents are too young to remember. Unfortunately for me, I was in the most critical years of development which seemed to make everything ten times worse. I spent the majority of my childhood sick. Therefor my parents homeschooled me until 6th grade. So, as 7th grade was starting my parents were getting divorced. Not having many interpersonal skills, I struggled to connect socially with others. Because of this, trying to make friends at school proved harder than I thought. I was angry with my current situation and took it out on those around me.
After going through cancer, and my parents getting a divorce, I didn’t exactly know what to do with myself. I constantly wondered, “Where do I go now?” and “How do I let go of all the pain?” Other people always thought I had the perfect life because I hid behind the pain, and learned to smile when I was hurting the most.
At this moment in my life not knowing where to go, I went to God. I finally found my happiness and let go of the pain. At first I just went to church and would pray once in awhile. Then I realized I needed more than that. I needed God to actually be in my life and make Himself real to me. I learned that Christianity isn’t about whether or not I go to church. It’s making the effort to read the Bible and trust Him in the good times as well as the bad. God made me realize who I am. I’m not just the girl who was sick and had a horrible life; I’m not just any average girl. He made me realize I had a purpose, and that in those moments when I wanted to end it all, that I shouldn’t. Looking back, I realize that one of my purposes was to witness to those around me. Before any poke or procedure, I would jerk my arm away and ask the nurses to pray with me; being three years old this often brought them to tears seeing how much faith I had. It’s only now that I realize the effect I had on others.
God made me realize I wont gain happiness from how good or how bad my life is. He made me realize that ultimate happiness comes when I share my faith with others. Happiness is when I trust God and realize that with Him, and because of His grace, I can have hope for my life. Without hope we have nothing; without hope life is meaningless. Because I had hope and faith, I am alive today. I am alive with no allergies, no medications, and I am just like any other healthy person.
The doctors told my family and I multiple times that this is it, “She is going to die.” However, my parents would never say goodbye; they always had faith. Eventually, the doctors had nothing else to offer. My parents had perseverance and began trying everything they could such as sneaking things down my feeding tube (natural supplements). I had entire churches praying for me (Pioneer Memorial being one of those), I had support groups and received numerous amounts of cards from people saying that they were praying for me. I would’ve been dead, but because God chose to save me, my whole life I’ve felt like I’ve had a purpose; that’s why I chose to make the best of my life and to keep pushing forward, never giving up.
We all have a purpose in life. The key is to find that purpose and to realize that no matter how bad our life is, no matter what horrible things we’ve done, we still have that purpose. I could have chosen to end my life (suicide). I could’ve chosen to hang on to my anger. I could have chosen to be angry with God for the things I went through. I could’ve chosen to sit back and feel sorry for myself; I’ve had a hard life. I could have chosen anything. However, I chose God, and too have faith in Him remembering that there is always hope.
I’m not saying my life is perfect now because it’s quite the opposite. I still struggle with my relationship with God, and I still make mistakes and sometimes feel like giving up. I sometimes feel that I never measure up to anyone and that I will never be a “normal person.” However, at the end of the day I realize that I don’t want to be anyone except me, and that God created me to be different.
I am a miracle created by God. I realized that I need to keep my head up, be strong, and find the positive in life. Yes, my parents divorced. Yes, I had cancer. Yes, I had all of the other day-to-day stresses. Those experiences made me a stronger person, and because of my disease I know that God loves me and has a purpose for me. I know that because my parents divorced I can learn from their mistakes, and change the patterns; because of my illness, I can have empathy on others.
I may have scars, I may not be the average person, I may have a different voice than others, but I’m me and I chose to push forward through all the challenges that life threw at me. No, it wasn’t easy, it wasn’t fun, I have been made fun of, but I made it. Along the way, I always had one person by my side, God. I may have not felt that He was there the whole time, but that’s the thing about God; He tests our faith.
No matter what we go through in life we have to remember our purpose that we aren’t alone and that no matter what we face we have a choice. Will we choose to sit back and feel sorry for ourselves and do nothing, or will we choose to put our life on the line and push through all of the challenges. I believe in pushing forward. What do you believe in?