Rising From the Ashes

Jessica - San Luis Obispo, California
Entered on November 13, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

People come in many different emotional and psychological strengths based on their prior experiences. Every life comes with trials and tribulations. These hardships that we must endure can either make or break our strength. Most often the result is positive in strengthening our character. I believe that a stronger person arises from the ashes of complete brokenness.

In my short twenty years of life I have experienced more tribulations than many people my age. Because of these troubles I have developed a stronger character. One day in April of 2001, a day that seemed like any other day, my world was forever changed. My dad had just dropped me off at the mall to be with my mom. The next morning I was called downstairs to see my entire family standing before me and I knew something was wrong… very wrong. I was told of my dad’s hit-and-run accident and how the cab of his truck crushed him. My world stopped spinning in that very instant and I began to weep.

When I finally went back to school I was unable to speak to anyone and my mom had to come with me. I could not even utter the words to answer all the concerned questions. I had dealt with death before having lost my step-dad the year before but this was excruciatingly different. The pain was much closer to my heart and I ached for years. I think about the things my dad will never get to see like my prom, graduation, wedding, or even my future children. While in the depths of this brokenness I was greatly encouraged by this scripture, “Rejoice in trials of many kinds, for we know trials bring about perseverance; and perseverance character; and character hope, and hope does not disappoint” (Romans 5:3). I was stuck in the pit of ashes left from the fires that had swept through my life. As I kept moving forward and fighting to survive the pain, my character was shaped and my eyes were opened to a new view of life. I look now not for the things that I missed out on, but the wonderful memories of the times I did have. There are so many people like my little brother, who was born seven months after his dad passed away, that don’t get to have even the little time I did with my amazing dad. Now I cherish every minute that I have with my family and I try not to take any of it for granted, but it still hurts. Although my father died seven years ago, along with a piece of me, I am still here and I hold onto the hope that I have been given of a brighter future and a better tomorrow. Sometimes it’s the only thing that keeps me holding on. Each new day continues to deliver that bold hope and I pray that it will never fade away.

All of us will endure fires that may surround us in ashes that seem to be inescapable, but we must choose to be shaped and formed into a better person for tomorrow. We have the chance to allow our ashes to be turned into beauty, but we must embrace our circumstance and let our character grow. It is far better to feel pain than to feel nothing at all, so I take each day with a new attitude and continue move forward. I have faced many difficult times in my life and I consider each an opportunity… an opportunity to persevere and surface with a stronger character.