On my birthday, I reminisced about the challenges and blessings in my life. I asked my readers about what blessings they've received from challenges in their lives and what they would like to see written in their personal Book of Life. Here are some wonderful responses I've received:
My life has been very difficult with bi-polar disorder, PTSD, Depersonalization Disorder, and Anxiety Disorder. These all have roots in my family of origin. However, a great light came into my life with the Gospel. It took six years after my conversion at age nineteen to find the person who has contributed the most joy to my life--my husband. He was a golden contact, I met by chance far from where I was living. I bore my testimony in the middle of the wedding reception where we met. A voice told him, even before we met and spoke that I was the girl he was going to marry. He pursued me by letter for many months. Then things sped up and he began calling several times a day. Then he flew to see me and flew me to see him. Finally, we made a decision, that I would write my Master's Thesis in Chicago (where he lived) if he would take the missionary discussions. He was converted 10 minutes into the first discussion. After he was baptized, we became engaged. We married 2 months later (at advice of bishop). We were sealed in the LA Temple. He has stayed with me through my entire mental illness and helped me to raise a wonderful family of three outstanding children, all deeply committed to the gospel. Life has been hard, but our family makes it more than worth it. In the next year, I hope I will be the agent of helping many people with mental illness through my writing, and will bring many people under the healing influence of Jesus Christ through my story of healing and testimony.
- GG Vandagriff
What do I want to be remembered for? Kindness, Integrity, and standing up for truth. It isn't always easy to do the right thing. I want to make a difference.
- Linda Gardner
What would I want written on my page tomorrow? What would I want everyone to know about me or remember? Just that I stayed true to the gospel and myself.
Someone who was a blessing to me: At the very worst time of my life, my best friend was there for me in the very best sense as a true disciple of Christ, and in the very worst time of her life, I was there for her in the same sense, as a disciple of Christ. For her, when I was Primary President, I called her to a position she felt she had no talent for--music--because I woke up early in the morning and knew that was what I was supposed to do. She has born testimony numerous times how listening to DVD's of the primary children's songs while driving the long drive to and from work each day kept the spirit with her during a horrendous time in her life. For me, when I was Young Women President and suffering a severe (triple underline severe) challenge in my life, this same friend served as Laurel Advisor and stayed to talk to me every Sunday after church, freely sharing a listening ear, a patient heart, and a supportive soul. Christ came to me through her.
- Kathleen Brebes
In a very, very literal sense, tomorrow I'd love to write in the book of my life that I had an inspiring, informative and totally worthwhile church training meeting. I also want to try to give of myself to my children tomorrow, and love it.
Suddenly that seems a lot to ask.
Someone who was a blessing to you as you've been writing the "novel" of your life: the first person that comes to mind is my husband, of course. No big stories, just little things he does. He's so good with our kids, and wants to be involved with them and their lives (this isn't remarkable at all to him, of course, but I still love it). Lately he's really developed a talent for defusing my frustrations when they get overwhelming, and he's amazingly patient. He does the dishes every night so I can have that time to write.
- Jordan McCollum
I hope to be known as one who cared about and helped others. The longer I live, the more I recognize how important people are. I have to remember that from time to time as I give up my precious writing time to others. My mother was a great example of this, always finding something to say to help someone's self-esteem.
Thanks for letting me put this in words and reminding myself of this.
- Renae W. Mackley
I also have bipolar, and that has been the cause of numerous challenges in my life.
What I would want written on my "tomorrow" is that I never gave up, no matter how bleak things sometimes seemed. My yesterday (the literal kind) was one of those days where everything seemed bleak to the point of hopelessness. But today I got up and decided to stop looking at everything I was "failing" at, which was quite literally everything, and just try to focus on one thing I could make a slight improvement on. I really have to break everything down into teeny tiny baby steps and let myself feel good about taking them, no matter how small they are compared to the big picture.
Someone who has been a blessing in my life is my mom. She's shown me what it means to be strong and stay faithful no matter how hard things got.
- Jenn Wilks
I love how each of us has a unique story to share. I am grateful for God's blessings in my life and for the healing atonement from my Savior, Jesus Christ. The Gospel and my family are counted as the greatest blessings in my life . . . but there are so many other blessings too. Including my bloggie friends. Thank you for sharing your humor, insights, and friendship out here in cyber world.
I promised to give away a copy of my book, (dis)Abilities and the Gospel. Writing this book is just one example of how I took a challenge and turned it into a blessing. Random.org chose #4 as the winner. Congrats, Jordan McCollum! Please email me your snail mail address.