I had a great time at my latest book signing last Saturday! I was blessed to meet some warm and kind-hearted individuals,some of whom had already purchased and read my book. It was humbling to see their reactions as well as hear their own perspective on my book. It felt almost surreal to observe their excitement as they related specific points in my book that made the most impact on them. The surrealism I experienced is correlated with the fact that for many years I felt invisible in certain settings, whereas in other settings I was looked upon as an anomaly. Consequently, still now, realizing those in attendance were there because of me was surreal and humbling. One lesson that I was reminded of is not to underestimate where you start in life. If your present circumstances are less than desirable, it does not necessarily reflect what your future will look like. It’s a question of faith, determination, and endurance: Do you have the faith to believe you are meant for more? Are you determined to pursue what’s meant for you (i.e. your destiny)? Are you willing to endure whatever comes along without deterring you from your goals? In other words, how you begin in life doesn’t have to be how you finish… As long as you keep pushing through the hurdles.
That book signing was very different in an amazingly good way. What was a complete eye-opener for me was my understanding, as well as confirmation, of why God permitted my burn injury. Although at that very young age I trusted that God still had my best interest at heart, I could not refrain from wondering why He allowed such a tragedy to capsize my entire life, He could have easily prevented it. After the fire, many years went by without my having an answer as to why God signed off on my burn injury. But, I continued to trust Him because His word reassured me of His unwavering plans for my life: “I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Slowly in the last couple years, I started noticing glimpses of such plans. And this past Saturday’s event gave me a clear understanding of why I had to endure what I went through. As I reflected on it, the conversations I had with each attendee solidified my newly-acquired insight: I was blessed to have had the privilege of meeting those wonderful people who reignited my sense of purpose to new heights, as I came to understand I survived everything for such a time as this. I was given the grace to overcome all the physical and emotional afflictions for such a time as this, so that my story may inspire, encourage, and most importantly demonstrate God’s sovereign ability to reverse even the most horrendous calamities. Nearly two decades after my burn injury, I’ve come to learn and make peace with these life lessons: 1) God honors our faith and persistence, especially when you have every reason to stop trying. 2) Sooner or later, we do arrive at a point of understanding as to the purpose behind our pain. Two days later as I was watching a sermon on television, I was reaffirmed of this realization when the pastor stated “If you move forward, God will turn your scars into stars for His glory.” We may not understand why we face our challenging situations; one thing is for sure: God can shock us big time when He reveals His master plan for our lives, even when we are hit with unimaginable tragedies.
Louise Beaubrun-Macaluso, PhD