Adversity – a condition marked by misfortune, catastrophe, or disaster – is, unfortunately, something most all of us will experience at some point in our lives. It may be marked by a negative situation, but it doesn’t have to leave a negative mark on you. Adversity can have a positive outcome if you know how and where to draw inspiration from negative life events. I used my adversities to better myself, my situation, and my life. I took inspiration and direction from the very amputations that took critical parts of myself away from me, and in the end I gained much more than I lost. Of the many things I gained was a better understanding of myself and where I was headed with my life.
I began writing Amputated Yet Whole right after I finished my Ph.D. This is significant for two reasons. The first reason is somewhat of a contradiction. Even though I felt others could benefit from me opening up my life and telling my story, I felt like such a fraud at the time, especially in the beginning. I felt that since I was now a Ph.D. I should have my life under control; I should have it all together. When in reality my life still felt very much out of control, chaotic, and depressing. I was still dealing with a lot of fear and anxiety. There’s a perception that Ph.D.’s are authority figures who should be looked to for guidance and advice. In reality, I felt less in control of my life after I was a Ph.D. than before. I was a hot mess, a complete train wreck! How could I advise others on how to become complete from their adversities when I still felt like I couldn’t get my own life together? That’s when it hit me!
These emotions were the very mechanism that was guiding me to write this book. These fears and anxieties, these ups and downs, were the very vehicle that allowed me to look deep inside myself to find out who I really am. I had already learned so much about myself before I started writing Amputated Yet Whole. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have been able to start the book in the first place. However, I still needed to experience these negative emotions in order to really understand my story of struggles, hope, and self-discovery. I needed to truly understand where I was, where I came from, and where I was going if I was to inspire others in their journey towards becoming whole. I had to understand the depth of my struggles, the depth of my hope, and the depth of my self-discovery.
The second reason for why beginning Amputated Yet Whole right after I completed my Ph.D. is significant is because I finished my doctorate amongst all of the struggles I describe in this book. It was only by the grace of God I was able to survive the ordeals I was facing, much less complete my Ph.D. at the same time. I look back on that time and wonder how I did it. I wonder how I was able to keep it all together. God was obviously in control of my life at that point. Whether I knew it or not, he guided me through that very turbulent time in my life. There was no way I could have done it alone. Knowing that God was in control of my life made me realize he wasn’t just guiding me through these rough times, he was also molding me into a much stronger person along the way. It also led me to the understanding that I had a unique opportunity to help others benefit from the struggles I’ve experienced by showing them what the human mind, body, and spirit is capable of enduring.
I open up my life and share my story of struggles, hope, and self-discovery in order to help inspire you to overcome your own adversities. Amputated Yet Whole discusses where I was able to draw inspiration in my journey towards completeness and how my faith in God guided me towards becoming whole again. It is my desire to inspire you to better your life by focusing on adversity as a positive life force, rather than a negative one.
As you read Amputated Yet Whole I encourage you to embrace your challenges. It’s these adversities in life that will form your character, build your strength, and shape who you are. It won’t be easy; I can definitely speak from experience about that. I still have days when I struggle. As I mentioned earlier, while writing Amputated Yet Whole I struggled with fear, depression, and doubt about my ability to inspire others. How could I encourage others to become complete by embracing their adversities in life as I struggled at times to feel whole and complete myself?
One day in particular I was feeling very overwhelmed and doubtful. I was questioning God’s purpose for me and if he really wanted me to tell my story. As I scanned through my Facebook news feed I noticed one of my friends posted this statement, “Never sell yourself short because of things you’ve been through; you could be playing a key role in someone’s life as you inspire them with your story.” I needed that quote and that inspiration at that very moment. For me, it was a clear sign from God I was doing what I needed to do and that I should keep working at it until the task at hand – writing Amputated Yet Whole – was complete.
This is a great example of how God will send you a message of courage, strength, and purpose when you need it the most. It’s my genuine hope that I can send you a message of courage, strength, and purpose when you need it. I also hope that I’ll inspire you, but most of all I hope you will inspire yourself.