One of my favorite subjects was and still is history. I think we can learn a lot about our todays and our futures by learning from the past. For example – think about how hard life was in the 18th and 19th centuries, how undeveloped medical science was and how short “average” lifespans were. Yet, think, too, about how much so many people accomplished!
Amazing! What was their secret? What can we learn from them and apply to us today?
One of the figures I admire greatly in American history is Dolley Madison, wife of President James Madison. And, she has a quote that resonates to us today, especially those of us living with chronic illness. She said, “There is one secret, and that is the power we all have in forming our own destinies.” (www.firstladies.org)
Notice she didn’t say, “making our own destinies.” Rather, she used the word “forming,” which has a whole other sort of meaning, especially for people of faith.
Forming our destinies includes praying over our purpose, approaching life with positive thoughts and much goodness. Forming our destinies is the color we give to our days and nights with illness – bright and hopeful or dark and dismal.
We form our destinies by doing all we can to make our lives as health-full as we can.
We form our destinies, our lives, with faith and understanding that, as we form our attitudes, God makes our way.
Another important word in Dolley’s quote is “power.” So often, when we live with illness and pain, we feel powerless. And, in truth, many times there’s nothing we can do to change our health situation.
But we do have the power to form our attitudes, to cling to God and stay with Him in prayer. Yes, that power we have – and are able to use.