“What are you doing here?” is what Khaleel’s first facial expression communicated as he looked around the room with furrowed brows, seemingly annoyed that we disturbed his rest. It didn’t matter to Khaleel that he was just minutes old in a brand new place, surrounded by his family and caregivers; somehow we seemed to bother him, as though we interrupted his plans. That’s how we met Khaleel Alfred-Fenton, a forceful little man whose presence immediately commanded our respect.
There wasn’t an obstacle Khaleel deemed too big or adversity too formidable to overcome. I remember him asking me in late-May 2009, “Okay Mommy, what are we going to do next to get me well?” The fact that he could no longer see and was paralyzed in both his hands and feet didn’t faze him. He was ready for the next course of action, and in fact, as far as he was concerned, I was holding him back.
Khaleel pushed through his fears, limitations, and obstacles. He didn’t allow how he felt to stop what he did—be it running and jumping on top of the vacuum cleaner at age two because he was terrified of it, or diving into the lake at Camp Oochigeas before he learnt how to swim—he tackled challenges head-on, with the determination that he would prevail.
And so we learn…
Life will continuously present us with situations we think we are not prepared for, situations that seem to overwhelm us, and some situations that appear to bring us near death, both mentally and physically; but the fact that we are called to the challenge, that those issues were allowed to enter our lives, means that we have what it takes to overcome.
Understand that each situation brings with it the ability to teach, test, and promote. Each struggle teaches us what we are made of. You don’t know just how strong you are until you have to use your muscles.
Furthermore, each struggle tests us. How can we be trusted with more if we cannot manage the little? Many of us aspire to be, have, and do more than we currently are, have, and do, but for us to walk into the season of “more” we must first master the season of “little”. It’s a test of both trust and capacity. God’s inquisition is, “Can I trust you?” and “Can you handle it?”
It’s important to view life’s crises, obstacles, challenges, and road blocks as life’s exams. In order to be promoted, we must first pass the exam. As annoying as they are, these trials prove to you, and all key stakeholders, that you are ready for the next level.
Our attitudes, therefore, determine our victory. I’m not suggesting that you smile through misery, but I do suggest wearing the armour of a warrior. After all, you were not created to be defeated, and each challenge you face makes you stronger.
A warrior’s attitude says:
- I may be in a hard place now, but I’m not staying here.
- I’m hurting, but I’m not giving up.
- Today may be dark, but my future is bright.
- Hold on, greater is on the way!
Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations.
Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience.
But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing.
James 1:2-8 Amplified Bible