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Overcoming Challenges

How I Turned Negative Experiences in Life Into Blessings

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All Scripture references come from the King James Version of the Holy Bible (KJV)."

Everybody goes through negative experiences. If you can take those negative experiences in life and turn them into inspiring stories to help others, well, then you’re on to something.

In the early days, as a new quad amputee woman, I never thought much about being an inspiration to others.  My goal was simply to start life all over again and relearn simple everyday activities. However, everywhere I went, people commented on what an inspiration I was.  Over time, I realized that I could do something with this idea.

I didn’t want to be an inspiration because I was a quad amputee woman simply carrying on with her life.  I wanted to deliberately inspire people and help them all at the same time. Thus, One Exceptional Life was born.

Amputation:  My negative experience in life

In 2011, I contracted a flesh-eating bacteria called necrotizing fasciitis.   To this day, we don’t know where the bacteria originated from. But as you probably already know if you’ve read my About me section of the blog or know anything else about me, that bacteria put me in a coma for 3 weeks, and the hospital for 3 months as well as provided the impetus for both hands and both feet to be amputated.

The inspirational story came once I decided to learn and grow beyond simply living.  Everybody likes to hear how a quad amputee woman went tubing with her daughter. How on earth is that possible?  Check out Big Tater Takes on the Pemi for some comic relief.

But the inspiration also came in my quest for gratitude, positivity and happiness and my willingness to share it with others.  Here are some of those blog posts to get you started.

pink backgroung, happy dog, negative experiences in lifeHow God uses our negative experiences in life

The really cool thing is, though, God can use all of our trials and negative experiences in life for His glory as well as for our good. I know that God can use the testing of our faith on Earth to reward us in heaven so it’s important to focus on eternal rewards instead of our temporary earthly discomfort.

What if we are to view our present experience through spiritual eyes and not physical eyes?  Paul wrote that the difficulties we face during this temporary time on Earth are actually preparing us for glory.  With that in mind, if we take our negative experiences in life and look at them from a Godly perspective, they’re all blessings.

Let’s look at things which are unseen as eternal

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 KJV tells us “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

If we recognize our negative experiences in life as blessings, than how can we not turn them into inspirational stories?  I am fully convinced that my story is one to tell, even though it took me a long time of praying and meditating on God’s Word to recognize my amputations as a blessing.  Through this blog I have been able to connect with folks like you who may need to know that even through your struggles, with God’s help, there is a way to go over, under or through the obstacles put in your path so that you can bring honor and glory to God.

But wait, there’s support too!

If you’re interested in a support community on Facebook,  I’ve set up my own group called Overcoming Challenges through Inspiration.  Simply answer a few questions and you can join a great group of new friends who live around the world.  The folks in this group have been such a blessing to me, and I know you will see that too.

Cancer:  My negative experience in life

Have you ever met someone who has a list of major negative life health crises like I do?  I know it’s crazy! But if I can keep a smile on my face and share the blessings with you, I can actually say, it was worth it.  Although, at the time, I would have disagreed with that statement.

When I was 36 years old, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  I went through a lumpectomy first, then 8 rounds of chemotherapy and 5 weeks of radiation.  My kids were 2, 4 and 6 and my husband was a long distance truck driver. Thankfully, his employer was accommodating.  He would stay home with me during chemo week, then drive for 2 weeks straight. It was hard, but it worked.

The Lord was always with me

The Lord was in this as well.  I am so thankful to have a relationship with Jesus Christ.  He gave me the strength, courage and faith that I needed to get through both of these health challenges.  I honestly believe that without him and the prayers from our church family, things would have turned out differently.

John 16:33 KJV tells us “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

I know this verse is talking about being courageous in spite of worldly hatred.  But I believe that it’s a message to be courageous in all things too. Because Jesus is victorious over everything, we can be courageous in the face of trials because we are followers of Jesus and He loves us.

At the end of my chemotherapy and radiation treatments,  I took a break. However, the story continues. Due to a really strong family history of cancer, my risk was still pretty high for recurrence.   After much prayer and discussion, I opted to have elective surgery. I underwent a double mastectomy, hysterectomy and oophorectomy (the ovaries, too.)  I also underwent reconstruction in the same 8 hour surgery.

Where is the blessing in this?

Although I had a strong family history, that surgery reduced my risk of cancer recurrence by 90%.  I’m so thankful that I had further options after my cancer experience.  Not only that, but both of my sisters had cancer struggles in their 20’s and 30’s.  When the first bout of cancer occurred in my younger sister when she was 26 years old, I was a fairly new Christian and was learning about faith.  But when she got cancer, it was an opportunity for me to share the love of Jesus Christ with my mom.

Through that witness, my mom accepted Jesus Christ as her Savior.  Not only did He save her soul from eternal hell, He gave her the peace that she needed to watch all three of her children go through cancer struggles.   Praise the Lord!

More negative experiences in life bringing blessings

I want to share with you some other negative experiences in life that resulted in positive blessings from other bloggers.  Angie from Resounding His Love works as a phlebotomist in her local oncology department. Her blessing was Michael, a very special cancer patient. You can read about him in Treasured Memories.

Karen from Warrior Women shares how some disappointments in her life led, through God’s blessings, to a new way of thinking and a new dream.  You can read about her story in A Fresh Start for a Hurting Heart.

Diane from Worth Beyond Rubies shares her experience of having a stroke at 53 years old and shares her story in How to Trust God when Bad Things Happen.

Ultimately  friends, we need to remember what Roman’s 8:28 KJV tells us “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”  This simply means that even though we may not understand the negative experiences in life that we go through, they’re all for our good and will bring honor and glory to God.

There’s one other blessing that I’ve experienced through my challenges. That is the privilege of writing an ebook that addresses the challenges in our lives and how I’ve used my situation to overcome them.  The book is called Victory Over Affliction: 30 Mindset Challenges to Motivate You. Be sure to check it out!purple text, love, wendy


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20 Comments

  1. Wendy, you’re a true woman of God. I co-pastor with my husband and am blind myself so can relate to many of your emotions. However, I see many hurting people who struggle with not understanding the trials in this life. II Cor. 4:16-18 is one of my favorite verses. Then, humility and the ability, or willingness, to glorify God is rare. I’m blessed to find a treasure like yourself.

    1. Exactly, Jena! We’re enduring our trials for a small moment in time, in the whole realm of eternity and the rewards in Heaven. Keep smiling! We can be our best witness that way.

      1. Thanks Wendy
        So blessed reading all your experinces. So many lessons to learn. The storms of life are will never end. BUT when we Count our blessings and name them one by one it can be beyond measure.

        Thanks Sister for sharing

        1. I agree, Phoebe. Recognizing our blessings is important for a happy joy-filled life. I’m so thankful that you enjoyed the post. Thanks for reading.

  2. Thanks for sharing your story of courage in the face of negative experiences in life. These scriptures and your story are a perfect combo for inspiration. I love that you made inspiring others your mission! I can see how that took intentional pushing through and am inspired even more!

    1. Thank you so much, Rachel! I love inspiring others, even though my story was a hard one. If it helps someone else, that’s what God intended me to do with it!

  3. Your testimony is so incredible. And you are a beautiful soul! There was a young girl who contracted the same bacteria while her family was on vacation here in Destin a few weeks ago. She had a scrape on her big toe and went into the ocean here. The flesh eating bacteria is some serious stuff.

    1. Thank you, Donna! I’m so sorry to hear about that young girl! I know what shes going through. Give her my info if she needs a resource, okay?

  4. Wendy, your optimism on negative experiences in life is by far one of the most inspirational ones I’ve come across. I personally don’t think anyone could view YOU and your story in a negative way because being in your presence would motivate them to see the “brighter” side of everything. I Love that about you! Thank You so much for mentioning me and my blog in your post because Michael is SPECIAL to me and I keep his photo in my bay that displays his award winning smile to remind me “WHY” I do the job I have, especially when it gets “TOO HARD” some days to witness the suffering. It can wear on you. Thank You again for your sweet spirit, humbleness and gracious attitude!

    1. Thank you, Angie. I’m honored to highlight the story of Michael. I appreciate all you’ve said and I pray that I can continue to be a lighthouse for others who go through struggles. We all need the Lord and the peace He offers.

  5. What a beautiful testimony! Thank you so much for sharing! So many cannot see the light in their situation because their perspective hasn’t shifted. I know our journeys are all different and vary, but I share your same perspective, that in every negative, there are blessings, things that we can praise God for.
    So thankful for you and your testimony! I know He is using you to reach so many!

    1. Thank you, Christen. It took me a long time to turn my mindset around. But once I did, there was no turning back. I pray that I’m honoring God in my story and in sharing it.

  6. Wendy, you have such a powerful testimony of enduring through so many negative experiences and yet, finding a way to bless the Lord and bless others. You are truly an inspiration and your story makes a difference!

    1. I appreciate that, Karen. That’s all I want to do, help and bless others. God has blessed me with this forum. It’s my job do do all I can with it!

  7. Thanks again Wendy. You truly are an inspiration to so many. Your wonderful attitude in the face of some extremely hard trials is incredible. As you said, if we allow it, God turns negative circumstances into blessing.

    1. Thank you, Fleda! I believe that we can either take a bad experience and feel sorry for ourselves or we can use it to inspire others. I prefer inspiration.

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