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Encourage: Use Your Story

Written by: Jenny

My family had a several-year-stretch where bad thing after bad thing happened. And I'm not talkin' a leaky faucet, flat tire or 24-hour flu. I mean bad things. Really bad things.

A tragic car accident that took the life of my sister's husband.

Cancer. Mega health issues. Multiple family members.

Infertility. Miscarriages.

The death of my brother due to a drug and alcohol overdose.

Just to name a few.

My mom and I talk on the phone every morning during my drive to work and every single day we would say to each other -- when is this black cloud gonna scoot on over? We can't take anymore.

There were days I would wonder how some people and families seemed to skate through life without a bump in the road. I would get angry about that. I would get angry at God. It all seemed so unfair and the words 'everything happens for a reason' just didn't seem to make any sense what-so-ever to me. In fact, those words also made me angry.

Inside, I was a mess.

Outside, I carried on. My family carried on. We continued to live because that's just what you do. You get up. You keep moving.

I don't understand the 'reason' for some of the bad things that have happened to me and my family. I don't understand why one of my girlfriends had a stillborn baby and another will lose her precious child because of a genetic disease. I don't understand why there are people throwing their newborns in dumpsters while so many would give anything in the world to have the chance at motherhood. I don't understand why anyone would give heroin a try when we all know exactly where that road leads.

But, here's what I do know.

I know that through some of my darkest days and biggest trials, I have met the most amazing people. I have gotten involved with incredible charities raising money and spreading the word to hopefully spare others from similar situations. I know that burying my head under the pillows doesn't change or help anything. But, getting up, staying positive and getting involved does help. Even if it's letting another human being know that they're not going through the trials of life alone.

I also know it has given me perspective. On a day when things are definitely not going my way, I think about two teens I know about who are fighting their way back to life after traumatic brain injuries. I think about my sister who is raising six children alone after the loss of the love of her life.

I've also learned that everybody has their 'something'. Even if you can't see it. I find it impossible to believe that anyone is cruising through this life unscathed!

So, be a friend. Love hard. Stay humble. Don't waste a minute. Say what you need to say. Do what you know is right. Be kind. And use your story. It's one of the most powerful things you can do.






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