What you wouldn’t know if you hadn’t struggled

Written By: JoJoisms - Mar• 09•16

cob web glassesThere are more ways in heaven and earth, Heratio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy…to skin a cat! If you haven’t had the benefit of struggling with health and financial issues for years, you don’t know what you’re missing!  OK, you’re probably happy about that, but really, you’re missing out on some important lessons I’ve learned along the way.  These are things I would never have figured out on my own had I not had a burning desire to continue to do things like…eat and put on my pants (be they one leg at a time or whichever way would give me the end result I needed to go out in public and not be arrested).  It’s okay though.  You don’t have to pray for trials in order to learn these valuable life lessons.  Just twist my right arm a bit and I’ll cry Uncle and share them with you.  (Now that I think of it, please keep the twisting to a minimum. My right arm is still a bit stiff and painful from my seven month bout with Frozen Shoulder. Thanks.)

Let me first preface this blog post by giving you a tip about how to come up with your own “creative” solutions to whatever daily challenges you may have because nobody goes through this life unscathed.  (Actually, I’ve never heard of anyone being scathed.)  To get your creative juices flowing, you first have to start by looking at the problem with rose-colored, webbed glasses.  If you look at your challenges from the perspective you had BEFORE the challenge (the webbing that represents your problems),  you will never see the problem from the perspective you need.  You’ll never see how to fix something until you’ve lived with it broken.  Next, you’ll need to make those glasses rosey.  You’ll need to be able to look for a positive way out.  Lastly, you’ll need to squint your eyes and cock your head sideways.  Don’t worry about that guy across the street; he already thought you were weird because you were a bit overwhelmed this morning when you got dressed and you’re shoes don’t match.

If that doesn’t help, here are some of the things I have figured out along the way.  I pray they ignite a spark of creativity.  By the way, just so you know, creative juices are a result of overwhelm. No, really!  When you are overwhelmed by trials and struggles, your mind turns to mush. From there it’s just a hop, skip and a jump to a liquid state!

What I learned from struggles:

1. To be resourceful: Can’t use your right arm when right handed? Learn to be left handed.  There are more ways to put your bra on than front to back!  Put it around you backwards, clasp it in the front, then turn it around and slide your arms in.  VOILA!

purple cast

2. To be inventive: Can’t afford to buy food this week?  Create a new dish from what’s in your kitchen.  We’ve had pot luck tacos from left over chicken, rice, veggies and a splash of salsa.  Can’t eat certain foods? Create your own dishes!  I can’t eat gluten or dairy so I eat a burger and hold it between two large spinach leaves.  Can’t afford to buy clothes? Create your own style from what’s in your closet: dye them, or cut them up and sew them into something else.  I love purple. I’ve taken old clothes, dyed them purple, cut them up and sewed them together differently in order to make something new.  An old pink shirt someone gave me that was too big became a purple dress that I wore over stretch pants to hide my hind quarters.  I just dyed it purple, took in the sides and shortened the sleeves!

3. To be patient:  Can’t do something you really want this year?  Plan for next year! Most things I couldn’t do or have at one time were available to me later on.  Sometimes they were even better later.  I couldn’t seem to get pregnant after having my daughter in 1990. I thought I was pregnant several times and I had one confirmed miscarriage.  When I was able to have another child, I can tell you he was worth the wait.  He’s incredibly kind, supportive, funny and he loves God.  I couldn’t afford to fly to my parent’s house for our annual Thanksgiving family get together last year, but I can plan to go this year and make it even more special.

4. To be practical: Can’t get something done?  Did you really need to do it anyway? Haven’t you ever had a hard time trying to get something done only to realize that you really didn’t want to do it anyway and were relieved to be able to quit trying?  I once had a deadline for something business related, but I just was stymied at every turn until one day I realized I never really wanted to do it anyway.  It felt good getting that anvil off the ledge above my head.

5. To be grateful: Can’t do X?  Be glad you can still do Y! Look for the blessing. THIS is hard to do sometimes.  It can be difficult to try to find the blessings in some of the trials we go through, but it helps to look.  My husband had been out of work for almost a year. While it’s been scary and frustrating to deal with trying to earn money from home and the disappointments of jobs that have passed him by, it’s a blessing that he’d been home.  It’s hard for me to drive with my left hand still aching from the car accident two yrs ago and my right shoulder which necessitated the physical therapy appointments in the first place.  PLUS as I’m writing this, I’m recovering from Snow Scare.  We just had a close encounter of the 18 wheeler kind!  Yes, driving home from PT and going a mere 1mph to a stop light, we almost slid into an 18 wheeler who was stopped ahead of us.  The slush underneath our tires during the snow storm had tried to persuade our car to continue where no man has been before.  Through my dh’s skill and God’s grace, we stopped just shy of fitting our SUV neatly underneath.  If I had been driving, I’m not sure that would have ended as well.

6. To make lemon-aid out of sour grapes: Can’t be at the family’s Thanksgiving event?  SKYPE!  It’s almost like you’re there!

Big glassesLife is difficult.  Things don’t always go as planned and they rarely go by the book.  Be flexible. Think outside the box and look at life through those rose-colored, webbed glasses until things become clear.  Oh, and don’t forget to cock your head to the side.  In fact, do that now.  No really.  Do it now.  What do you see? Is that a way out you never noticed?  A work around?  An alternative?  A hidden blessing?  A better idea?  If you look at things differently long and hard enough, you just might find your answers hidden there near the three week old left over veggies sprouting mold behind the milk in the fridge.

I’ve been looking for answers for over 35 yrs. I haven’t always found them, but I have found them more often than I thought I would.  Sometimes it’s harder to see them than others, but I keep looking.  What about you?

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  1. Susan G says:

    You have a great way of looking at things and I really enjoy your posts!

  2. JoJoisms says:

    Thank you, Susan! And thanks for commenting. I appreciate it.

  3. Angie says:


  4. Julie says:

    I love your perspective. I think about all the times we literally dug in the couch for change to buy a loaf of bread to get by and know I learned so much through those times. I worry my kids won’t have those same challenges because they seem so spoiled (I try not to, really, but still…). I don’t want them to have the challenges, but then again, I do. I suppose that’s generational.

  5. JoJoisms says:

    You are quite welcome.

  6. JoJoisms says:

    I hear ya, Julie. My kids have lived through most of this stuff with us. They are so grounded and thankful and sweet and helpful. They know what can happen and they know what it took to get around or through it. I think it does help them, but I don’t wish it to be tested on them and I almost wish they didn’t have to live through it.

  7. Tricia says:

    Wow Jo-Jo, this is timely for me. My health seems to be going in a downward spiral after a short period of wellness. My birthday is tomorrow and it’s been well, depressing. At 47 I can barely walk and when I do the pain is pretty high. I’m so fatigued all I want to do is sleep. It’s hard to homeschool, hard to be there for my adult children & husband and it’s hard to see the positives but I’m going to tilt my head, maybe that will help! 🙂 Thanks for sharing! ?

  8. JoJoisms says:

    Awww…Tricia. I’ll be praying for you! I homeschool as well and I know how tiring it can be when you have health issues. I’m so glad this post helped you!

  9. Susan says:

    Nice post. I am presently looking for solutions and probabilities. If I just wasn’t so tired and easily fatigued. My mental strength no longer can override my physical strength.

  10. JoJoisms says:

    (((Hugs))), Susan. I know what you mean. I’m praying for solutions for you and to find more strength both physically and mentally. Having physical issues does tend to wear you down mentally.

  11. Tanya says:

    Well written….and glad you found some good in all the hardships you have gone through….and that’s not easy.

  12. JoJoisms says:

    Thank you, Tanya! You are one of the reasons!

  13. Denise says:

    Thanks for the humorous encouragement!

  14. JoJoisms says:

    You’re welcome, Denise!