One of the duties I had as Senior Class President was to give the opening prayer at graduation. I knew this position would probably call for speaking in front of large crowds from time to time, but I was still very nervous. Even though I wasn’t giving a full speech like the Valedictorian or Salutatorian, I still wanted my words to leave an impression. I chose to tell the poem of The Footprints in the Sand. It has always brought me so much comfort.
One night a man had a dream.
He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the LORD.
Across the sky flashed scenes from his life.
For each scene, he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand:
one belonging to him, and the other to the LORD.
When the last scene of his life flashed before him
he looked back, at the footprints in the sand.
He noticed that many times along the path of his life
there was only one set of footprints.
He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times of his life.
This really bothered him and he questioned the LORD about it:
“LORD, you said that once I decided to follow you,
you’d walk with me all the way.
But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life
there is only one set of footprints.
I don’t understand why when I needed you most you would leave me.”
The LORD replied:
“My son, My precious child, I love you and I would never leave you,
During your times of trial and suffering,
when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.”
I love reading this poem because it always reassures me that I’m not alone. God allows us to endure difficult times so that we rely on His strength instead of our own. This poem reminds me that all pain has a purpose. It is how we use that pain to further ourselves that matters.
Pain is a universal experience all people share. It comes in many different forms and effects everyone differently. It can be difficult to relate to the struggles others go through because we all have our own unique demons we try to conquer every day. To quote my good friend Kelsey Purcell,
May be my boulder
What you find cold
I may find colder.”
Pain is something I wrestle with. It has the capability of diminishing you to extinction or, if you allow it, drive you beyond limits you never thought possible. Suffering takes so much energy out of you. It’s how we channel that energy that determines if we sink into hopelessness or breakthrough to new heights. With life comes suffering. It’s inevitable, so we might as well strategically use it to our advantage to reach our ultimate potential.
I am learning that you must actively make use of your specific strengths to help you rise above and develop your weaknesses. I would say my strength is my competitive nature. When I would step on the soccer field in high school, it was bye bye sweet Becca and hello little ball of attitude, rage, and aggression. Soccer Becca is my alter ego I try to keep stored away until duty calls. I would take losses very hard even as a washed-up athlete playing intramurals at Texas State. I would have to remind myself not to get too pissed off because it was just for fun. Driving has even proven to be a competition to me. When a car is starting to inch in front of me I’m like, “Oh hell no, you thought you were going to win this race? Funny.” And speed past them. I know, I know. I have a problem, but this quality is exactly what I needed to lift me out of my lowest moment recently.
A couple of weeks ago I went into three days of the deepest sadness I have ever experienced. All I had the energy to do was lay in my bed and cry. I didn’t want to see or talk to anyone and I had lost interest in everything. Seeing me this low caused a couple of my loved ones to suggest I stay home this Fall semester instead of going back to Texas State. I completely understood their concern and I know they would go to the ends of the earth to protect me. I didn’t have the energy to rebuke the suggestion, so I accepted it. This is when I noticed that the pain I was suffering wasn’t pushing me forward; it was dragging me down. I sat in church Sunday morning with tears in my eyes and anger in my heart. I asked God why He would take away something I loved so much. Why would He make me go through something so difficult? It wasn’t until I had a very honest talk with my dad later that day that ignited my competitive nature and filled me with the determination to not let this difficult time prevent me from living my life. I decided I will go back to school despite my worries and weaknesses because if I can prove to myself I can overcome this obstacle, then what future challenge can’t I handle? I love San Marcos and going to school gives me purpose. I know it will be hard. There will be days that I fall down, but I know I have the fire in me to get back up. I’m treating my struggle with anxiety and depression as the annoying midfielder on the opposing team that I beat to the ball every single time.
It isn’t about who’s winning the fight; it’s the fact that you are continuing to fight that matters.
A conversation with a close family friend who I always look to for spiritual guidance made me realize God hasn’t left me. He has chosen me to endure this struggle so that I can use my experiences to help others. Writing about my life and sharing it with you on my blog gives my struggles purpose. It makes it worth it. Get creative and figure out how you are going to give your own pain purpose.
The scarred up, wounded you that just got out of battle is the version of yourself you should treasure the most. It is in that state that you gain so much wisdom, strength, and grit. This time in my life will pass and I will experience even more peace and joy than I already do. Whatever you are dealing with at the moment will pass as well and you will come out so much stronger, tougher, and smarter. I can’t explain how much excitement it gives me to think about the transformation that comes from hardships. Like oh my goodness, you are already so beautiful and worthy now while enduring your pain, imagine the limitless strength and grace you will possess when you make it through! God will carry you when you feel like you can no longer walk. Remember to creatively utilize your personal strengths to cultivate your weaknesses. When life gets tough, find your own little ball of attitude, rage, and aggression to push yourself forward.
Until next time,