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“Sometimes bad things have to happen before good things can.” – Crescend
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What if our trials in life created the opportunity for our greatest successes?

What if failures financially, mistakes relationally, missteps professionally, brokenness personally and unfortunate health circumstances weren’t seen as errors that needed to be avoid, but realities that needed to be embraced to transform our lives? Let me explain.

Parkinson’s disease is debilitating and those who endure it lose their balance, speech and physical capabilities.

Because of it, they lose their ability to drive, work and live a normal life. My father was diagnosed with this disease more than 20 years ago. It has been extraordinarily difficult for my mom and dad, but: it’s also been an absolute gift.

You see, growing up, my family and I rarely discussed the fire that burned me, destroyed our home and profoundly impacted my entire family. We didn’t talk about the months in the hospital, years in therapy and lifetime of physical scars. We seldom mentioned the nurses, doctors, athletes, announcers, celebrities and ordinary individuals who stepped forward, served beautifully and transformed our lives. This was a chapter of our lives that were grateful to close.

That changed when my dad was forced to quit his job due to Parkinson’s disease.

Searching for a new purpose, he and my mom reflected, prayed and journaled. They realized that one of their greatest experiences of pain was also one of their finest gifts of love. They were inspired to write a book about it.

Together they wrote Overwhelming Odds as a thank you note to their community and as a reminder that there is always reason for hope. They printed 200 copies. They’ve since sold nearly 60,000.

Overwhelming Odds changed my life. It showed me that the scars I’d always hidden from were worthy of being celebrated. For the first time, I had real confidence, a true purpose and understanding of the truth that sometimes bad things must happen so that we may have room to grow relationally, professionally and personally.

My friends, as a result of this book, I have been asked to speak to more than 250,000 people in a dozen countries and 47 states in five years.

This month our Rising Above Book Club is reading this very book (get your copy here). I’m excited to pour into this book together. Next week, in a special interview, my parents’ will share what the impact of the book has meant to them, what they’ve learned from it and what it’s been like to realize that, through embracing our family scars, others are now embracing their own.

My friends, recognize this truth: from our scars and failings our greatest successes originate. In every fire in our life we can choose to see: a life muted by pain, rejection and challenge or a life on fire with hope, perspective and the mantra that the best is yet to come.

Celebrate your scars, grow from them, change your direction, rise to new heights and soar in life.

What opportunities have come from the fires in your life? What could life be like if you began considering your fires instead as opportunities, today?

 

0 replies on “Celebrate the Scars”

Because of your accident and your parents writing the wonderful book I have met one of the most remarkable speakers in the world. You have touched our lives and continue with your e-mails and stories of encouragement. I have read the book many times so will not be reading it during the month of June as I started it the other night and stayed up to finish it again. ( I think I have read it at least 10 times since John spoke in Maryville a couple of years ago) I will comment on the book club blog through the month of June as others experience the remarkable journey with you in the book. Thank you to your parents for sharing this book with us and also for encouraging their son during this journey. He is so motivating to our family – we look forward to his stories. I think he needs to write a book – it would also be a best seller. Thanks again to wonderful parents, family and your son.

Thank you, sweet Gail! Your words mean more than you know. I look forward to your shared thoughts on our June Book Club Discussion page. I will pass on your kind words to my parents! And guess what – I am working on a book! More details to come but hoping to release it by Fall 2014! Thank you for all you do. Enjoy your day. J

We continue to celebrate you, John, and your family and Mom & Dad as we carry our challenges in life and celebrate the scars, as we walk home to our Father.

Thank you, Eileen! And I celebrate you and your scars too – life truly is a blessing. Enjoy it and remember that the best is yet to come. J

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Live Inspired Together is a community of friends changing the world together, starting with their own. In a world that often focuses on negativity, John O’Leary - Live Inspired shares the other side of the story through his member-supported channels (essays, Live Inspired Podcast, video, webcasts, social platforms) to connect our community and share inspiration and actions to live it. Support now.