Forged by Fire

By Charla Misse

When I was young, I suffered severe headaches. My friends really never knew. I carried on throughout the day as best I could until I was home and able to retreat into my family’s care.

I remember my sister would bring me a cold cloth for my head. My daddy built in wooden shutters so that I could completely darken my bedroom. My mom would make me a bed in the den so I could be with them, even if I didn’t feel well.

On one occasion, I remember my mom saying she wished I didn’t have headaches. I replied that, if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be the same person. She was so surprised by my response that she remembers it to this day.

Even at that young age, I realized that suffering can shape a person.

I had noticed that I often worked more quickly and diligently than my peers, which was, for me, a necessity in the event I were to become unexpectedly debilitated.

As a result of my working hard “just in case” for many years, I often excelled. It became my lifelong habit. One of my greatest strengths was, indeed, a result of my suffering.

We all have crosses to bear of varying weight and duration. Let us be reminded that, by the grace of God, bearing a cross will make us stronger. In this way, suffering itself can be a precious gift from God.             

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