Saturday, July 25, 2015

Article: Blessings in Disguise by Out of the Ashes Author Sandi Rog

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Blessings in Disguise

Sandi Rog

At one point in my life, writing was all I wanted, and I clung to it like a desperate child clings to its mother’s skirt. It was my “escape” from a lonely life of living in another country while my husband worked overtime a majority of the year. Despite having three children, writing was all I had of value. It gave me confidence and self-worth. It defined me. Really, it was the only thing I was any good at, that was really “mine.” Plus, writing was the only thing I had to offer to God, my children, and the world. Or so I thought.

After thirteen years of living in Holland, my husband and I moved back to America barely holding on to the broken pieces of our marriage, juggling three young children who had never studied in English, and climbing out of the refuse we had made of our lives. But one thing was constant, God . . . and my writing. Truth be told, writing had become my idol. I lived, breathed and ate it.

To make a long convoluted story short, after moving back to the States I was diagnosed with MS. This means that anything can go at any moment: vision, the ability to walk, the ability to speak properly, you name it. My biggest fear was waking up blind. By this time, I was facedown in the mud. What good was I? I desperately longed for my heavenly Father’s arms, and further lost myself in writing.
Interestingly, my books were all about “overcoming” through Christ. Overcoming abuse, trials, you name it. They were about forgiveness and remaining faithful to God despite getting beaten to the ground. A good portion of “me” was poured out onto all the pages of my stories.

Just when I thought I’d had enough, after an MS attack of vertigo, they found a mass in my head (I wondered what the “bruise” was that never went away), and I was diagnosed with Stage Four Non-Hodgkins T-cell Lymphoma: Cancer. Truth be told. I was relieved! I was so exhausted from this life and so ready to go home. After all, my mother-in-law could do a much better job at raising my kids than me. Plus, my husband wouldn’t have any difficulty finding a replacement for me. Only thing I begged from him was that he’d choose a Christian. Of course, he “said” he wanted no one but me, yada, yada. Naturally, I didn’t believe him. I just wanted out. And cancer was my ticket out of this miserable, wretched existence.

But during cancer, God showed me my value as a parent and a wife. Who knew I was any good at the things that counted? It was as though God said, “You believe your mother-in-law (MIL) would do a better job at raising your kids than you? Well, have a seat and watch what happens.” I was so sick, my MIL came to America to take care of my family for a year, while I watched from the sidelines, unable to do anything. It was then that I realized I was the best person for my children. Not that she did a terrible job, by any means. It’s just that I had an understanding of them, a connection and bond that she, nor my husband, had. God revealed my value as a mom!

It was also during this time, God revealed that my husband loves me and needs me. You see, my husband and I are very opposite in personality. He isn’t often “spontaneous.” He’s a planner, he maps everything out, and doing anything without “thinking” doesn’t happen often. E-hem. Yes, I often do things without “thinking.” But as I was saying . . . One day during cancer, I was sitting on a chair in the bathroom as my husband shaved my head. I looked at myself in the mirror and saw this strange-looking fat woman with no hair staring back at me. How grotesque! How can anyone love this? But when my husband was done, on impulse, he bent over and kissed my bald head. I always thought he was good to me and took such good care of me during that time because he felt guilty, but in that one moment I knew that he truly loved me. I mean, who would do that? Who would spontaneously bend over and kiss their fat wife on her bald head if he didn’t love her? It was in that moment, God revealed that my husband’s love was true. God saved our marriage!

So, when I got better (which is another story that you can read about here: I Beat Cancer with Vitamin B17 it was difficult to get back into writing. I couldn’t focus. I used to write in chaos, ignoring everything and everyone around me, but now I simply can’t. I don’t want to miss out on any precious moments, no matter how petty. I was also afraid writing would become an idol again. Through much prayer, God has held my hand every step of the way, and while I now know how to put God and my family first, he’s allowed me to write again. I’m taking baby steps, but I’m back on board, and this time, I wrote a light, inspirational romance that won’t make you cry.

God is good. Through the bad times and the good. He also revealed HIS LOVE for me during all of this, and I praise Him! It was through cancer that God brought me from a miserable wretch who believed she was worthless, to a confident daughter of the King.

Has what you been through as a Christian influenced your writing?

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