Websters dictionary defines resilient in three ways
I was asked to come up with a creative way to express the word resilient for a series our church is doing this year. Each month our pastor will be speaking on various topics. Each topic will be one word that will then be creatively expressed by an artist or creative mind in the church. I was tasked with the word “resilient”. I knew about this for about two or three months before I finally figured out what I wanted to do. I prayed about this word and asked, what does this mean to me? What does it mean in life? Should I draw a picture? How do you do that? Then it hit me. I had to find people. Resilient is an adjective and it describes the stories of humanity if we let it.
My very first thought was children. My time as a pediatric intensive care nurse taught me that children are incredibly resilient, both physically and emotionally. I would see children in the darkest of circumstances and they would be filled with an unexplainable joy, even in the midst of their painful procedures, numerous ER visits, and challenging lifestyle. Although that job was incredibly challenging, I was blessed each day to learn so much from those children.
With that in mind, I immediately thought of a little girl who has endured more than most adults do in a lifetime and she does it with such beauty and grace. She was born with a rare condition that has meant multiple surgeries, hospital visits, and will ultimately require an organ transplant. Oh how I love this child. Her little face should be in the Websters dictionary next to the word resilient.
I then thought of my sweet friend, who has lived a life of abuse, loneliness, sexual brokenness, abandonment, healing, redemption, and love. Her story is off the charts. The Lord has exploded into her life.
The Lord also reminded me of a family who has beat all the odds. A family that fled a country in Africa, found themselves here as refugees with the clothes on their backs and a few belongings packed in small bags. They shortly discovered a diagnosis of cancer and a pregnancy when they arrived. They overcame. They were constantly swimming upstream but they survived. They inspire me and bring me to tears.
I was reminded of a sweet teacher who loves her special needs kids. She is a light to all who know her. She lost her husband too early in their marriage. She is a widow at a young age, but shines brighter than any young woman I know.
I was reminded of a dear friend of mine and partner in ministry. A wife and mother of 3, not even in her 30’s yet. She is fighting a disease in her body. She is fighting and gives 100% to her family, friends, church, and husband. She is the type of person who receives her chemo infusion on a Friday afternoon and then shows up to a ministry to pray for others that night. She is amazing and is resilient.
One of the godliest women I have had the privilege to know over the past few years is also fighting the same fight. She lives with terminal cancer and pours her life into everyday as if it is her very last. She has already affected so many through her story and wise words than most people will in 100 years. She is strong and she laughs at the days to come. She is the Lord’s and she lives without fear.
We also have a friend who went through a season where it just didn’t seem like he and his family could catch a break. Multiple miscarriages, unexpected childhood seizures and open heart surgery for their children, and the unexpected death of his hero and beloved (only) brother.
Then there is Sierra Leone. A war torn country that survived a brutal civil war in the 90’s, leaving many orphans and widows. A country that has been building back what it lost through many efforts. They have been restoring their hope with the help of many partners. They were then struck with the horrible Ebola virus that has swept over the country. They needed a break. Not this country. Not again. They now have orphans who are twice orphaned, losing parents and grandparents. They are not in the news today, because that was yesterday’s news. Yet they have hope and they are resilient. They are the type of people that won’t leave their sick neighbors alone, even if the consequence is contracting this virus. They love deep, even unto death.
This project was more than a check off my list of things to do. It had nothing to do with me. This was incredibly meaningful for me as I hope it is for you. You can overcome. You can live without fear and laugh at the days to come no matter how dark the circumstance. A wise woman once told me that it’s not about the quantity of your life but the quality. The way in which you live your life daily is more important then how many days you live. The way in which you face trials is more important than when you finally overcome them. People are always watching and waiting to see how you will respond. Everyone I have mentioned above I have watched. I have wondered why they didn’t complain more. I have watched them live this life to the fullest. Sometimes there are no words to describe a word, only people and the way they live. So here is my best attempt to capture the word resilient.
Real lives. Real struggles. Real joy. (read their full stories over the next month HERE)
“And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces
perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame,
because God’s love has been poured out into our
hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”