Choose to Overcome

We use a lot of different words when discussing life.

Life is a roller coaster.

Life is filled with valleys and mountain tops.

Life is filled with rugged terrain.

Notice anything about those words?

Can you relate to any of the above phrases?

Are you currently traveling one of those roads?

Do you notice none are a straight line. That is like our journey in life. It’s never a straight line. A lot of times our lives are filled with winding roads and roller coasters. One second live is treating us well. Family is doing well. Our job is going well. Our life is filled with great adventure. Our health is fine. Then in a second, life throws you a curveball.

Your day started off with a few challenges, but nothing you couldn’t handle. Then in a blink of an eye, your life is turned upside down. Has anyone experienced one of those moments?

I have on several occasions. Let me share a few of those experiences and how I made the choice to overcome.

Mr. Shoemaker, you have cancer. What? A lot of things go through your mind when you hear those words. What does this mean? Will I survive? I not only survived, I thrived. I started running again. Not just leisurely weekend runs. I started running marathons. Not just one marathon, but several marathons a week. No, that is not a misprint. In one year, I was blessed to run over a 1,000 miles. I chose to overcome.

Mr. Shoemaker, you have Young-Onset Parkinson’s. What? How can I have Parkinson’s. I’m only 40. No one in my family has Parkinson’s. How did I choose to handle this new storm? I went skydiving. That’s right, I decided to jump out of a perfectly fine airplane. What a rush! I also became an Abolitionist. That has been life changing. I continued to complete marathons. I chose to overcome.

Mrs. Shoemaker, your husband might not make it though the night. What? He just has a cold. I wish. No, I actually had Myasthenia Gravis and was having a major crisis. I would spend months in the hospital fighting for my life. I would have to go on disability. I had to stop running. After the initial shock, I made the choice to become a missionary at doctors offices and during my hospital stays. I made the choice to turn a negative into a positive. My new goal in life was to encourage others going through their own storms. I chose to overcome.

Mr. Shoemaker, if we don’t insert a feeding tube you might last another two weeks. A feeding tube. Seriously? My weight had dropped dangerously low and my body was shutting down from the effects of Gastroparesis. How in the world could I turn this newest storm into a positive? This was one of the toughest storms I had faced. During this latest storm I spent a lot of time in the hospital. I had the chance to share my story of hope to a lot of new people. Being in the hospital definitely was not fun, but the chance to encourage others was priceless. I once again made the choice to overcome.

Yes, everything above is true. My wife and I have faced these storms together. Sounds like a book or a Hallmark movie. Well, my wife and I are currently writing a book to share our story. But, enough of that. Back to the blog post.

My prayer is that you never have to face so many major storms in your life. But I pray if your ideal life is ever thrown off course by the storms of life, you will look past the pain and challenges to find the positives. That is not always easy. Believe I know. I have to make the choice daily to find the positives. They are not always easy to find. Sometimes you have to look outside of your comfort zone to find the positives. To find your purpose. If you can find the strength to take that step, I promise your life will never be the same. Choose to overcome. ~OC

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