WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH, THE TOUGH GET GOING

Challenges are a part and parcel of our life which also bring fear with it. Also,I would say that these are very subjective and temporary. Something that is very challenging for me may not be as challenging for you and same goes with the fear.

So, in this small life of 35 years, I have come across many small and big challenges but the one that consumed me the most is being a mother. You may ask, why so?

We all think that’s its very natural to conceive and there is no rocket science in it. But it was only a few years back that I realised that conceiving was a BIG science.

10 years ago:

I was newly married and had some discomfort with my menstrual cycle. Hence doctor had asked me to do some tests. He said they were routine and normal. Once the reports were out, the first thing he said was, “You can never become a mother“. These words sound straight from a movie.. like ..  “Tum kabhi maa nahi ban sakti” but at the time it deafened me. I still remember the outburst I had after reaching home and poor Mr Husband didn’t know how to handle my emotional turmoil. Since starting a family was not an immediate thought because we were just married, finally I settled down after a lot of convincing that it won’t happen like the doctor said.

8 years ago:

By then, we were trying very hard to start the family. But failed every time. Doctors were consulted, horrifying tests were performed and we were asked to time the intercourse as the body was mapped to record the ovulation. Every effort failed! We could not conceive. We were then sent for an IUI. I am not going to go in depth with explanation of this process but do google it. Just understand that I would need to do a sonography every morning and then at the time of ovulation, I would need to visit the gynecologist to perform a medical procedure which will help me conceive. All this, with an extremely demanding corporate job was tearing me apart.

Finally a year later, we conceived! I was on cloud 9. I thought all the hardships are over. But I was wrong. It was a chemical pregnancy and it didn’t sustain.

Similar chemical pregnancy happened again in another cycle. By this time I was shattered. I could see all my perseverance go in vain. My body had gone for a toss because of innumerable injections and hormonal medicines and all that it got me in return was pain.

We took a break from medical treatments. It was much needed. It meant, we can experience the pleasure when we really feel like it and not when doctors asked us to! It meant we could go on a holiday and not worry about our sonography dates. It meant I needed not make my arms and thighs black and blue from the injections.

After a year, we returned to the treatments. In this time, I cannot forget to mention the continuous probing from the relatives and family about how can we have kids, how we need to visit an astrologer, how we need to do this and how we need to do that. Anyway, the IUI saga continued without any results. We made about 13 attempts with this procedure. After that we lost it completely.

Then came the time of a battle between mind and body. Mind wanted a baby and the body was tired. All through this journey, I had cried equal to make a sea of my tears, even thought of ending my life (only thought, i am glad i didn’t do it) and had slipped deep into the depression.

Then came a hope in 2017. It was 8 years to our marriage. We had our first consultation with an IVF specialist and she showed us some hopes. IVF meant draining a lot of money and preparing my body for even tougher medical procedures. We were game for it. I wanted to conceive and give birth to a live child any how! Please do google and read about what IVF procedure is. That doctor held my hand took me along the path of motherhood step by step.

Finally with a lot of hardship, in March 2018 I gave birth to Aarnav. I felt like I am the King of the world! I am ready to die now, I have got all that I ever wanted. I am a mother now!

I cannot miss to mention that my immediate family stood by me like a rock during all these years. They pulled me out of depression each time I slipped. They cheered me each time I have cried and they have assured me each time I had doubted about this whole pregnancy and birthing thing. I am forever grateful to them.

Also, I thank God everyday for giving us our baby. It wouldn’t have been possible without his blessings.

I could overcome this challenge because of God, my family and my will power. I am glad I came out of it alive. I now truly understand the meaning of the phrase

When going gets tough, the tough get going” I am glad that I was tough enough to face all this and come out being what I always wanted to be – A mother!

 

 

OVERCOMING THE UNWANTED PREGNANCY

Isn’t it true, we all carry the tendency of “UNWANTED PREGNANCY”! Metaphorically, we all feed some or a big amount of bad habits (imperfections) in our life since they are fun-filled and primarily we are enticed by their heroic personalities, whereas each of the bad habits we embrace finally results in kissing guilt and shame. Identically every human being, I was and is holding some amount of the tendency of Unwanted Pregnancy.

While in primary school, I observed some of my friends are using some foul languages and signs, which resulted to shut their counterparts up while fighting. I started learning and using those languages and by the time I passed my Board exams, I was well-versed with those bad languages and their meaning. Though often I behaved using it unintentionally, the truth was it was actually not so, since I knew what I’m quoting to the other person. I was so cunning that I was never scolded by any of my family members since they thought I didn’t know what is a foul language even. Gradually, towards my University days, I was already entangled with another awful habit that was “eve-teasing”. Chasing and passing on bad comments had become fun stuff for me. Somewhere I lost the sense of how hurting it must to them.

“If you give sin a foot hole it will one-day become your graveyard. But blessed are those who listen to good counsels and draw the line within the due time.”  

While being entangled with these bad habits, there will always be a voice either from inside of us or from outside of us that convicts us for our deeds. Exactly, in those days time and again I was reminded both in the Church sermons and by the godly people around me – foul language destroys your own character and it is an illicit pleasure. It was towards the end of 2008, my elder sister had to move to Delhi for her professional demands. Alongside missing her, every time as I pass-on bad comments to a girl my conscience convicted me – “how would you feel if someone does the same to your sister?” This daunting question put me into the cubicle of self-introspection.

American-Canadian-Indian author Dr. Ravi Zacharias rightly says,

“Any pleasure that jeopardizes the sacred right of another is an illicit pleasure.”

We may carry differences of status, religious views, influence, and political opinions yet one truth is absolute and holds each of us – Each of us has a sacred right to live life with due honor and it shouldn’t be hampered to treat our selfish and unmitigated pleasures. We are designed to exist within human society. As we put self in the first place the hurt of the victim of our Unwanted Pregnancy can be better felt.

Bad habits are easily learned but it takes a protracted period to break its chain. Though the protracted period consistently convicts us with the guilt of our failed commitments yet it has a lot of possibilities of overcoming it. Imagine the hurt of the victim of my foul words and eve-teasing, every time I made the commitment “NOT TO DO IT AGAIN”, yet often I failed. The tendency of failing happened not just once or twice but was almost for a year. With the years of inclination to sin and carrying the weakness of self-pleasure within, failing again is obvious but God searches our INTENTION. Perfection never comes one-day at a time. In the Bible LORD God says,

I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind.

Emblematically, the Unwanted Pregnancy (imperfections) has many faces – as we try to clean one the other one sprouts up. The closer the mirror is the more visible the pimple marks and blackheads are! As a kid, I had the bad habit of biting nails and as I tried to overcome it, I was stealing pencils and chalks from the classroom. When I started overcoming it I was subjected to malpractice in the exam, done and dusted overcoming it I was using foul languages… then eve-teasing… then illicit relationship… then addicted to cigars… then corruption… then addicted to porn… then extramarital affair… then lie… then cheating spouse… the list never ends. The inclination towards Unwanted Pregnancies refers to the existence of the tendency of sin within us. Sure enough, that has deserted us from the Perfect Being – GOD. As we realize and confess the tendency of Unwanted Pregnancies (imperfections/sins), our relationship with God restores. The closer this relationship, the more unwanted Pregnancies we operate. Overcoming brings perfection and perfection is the process to be PERFECT resonating the God-image within us.

 

MY THEN BIGGEST CHALLENGE, MY TODAY’S STRENGTH

It’s What” and not “Waaatt”. When will you ever learn to pronounce it correctly? It’s high time you learn English”, my friend mocked at me. Morning conversations with her, while waiting for the bus, every single day was torturous. Allowing her, to let myself down had become a part of my daily life. A person who studied in English medium school yet unable to speak in the language fluently, was instantly shamed. An introvert by nature, all I wanted was to run somewhere and hide myself.  

She was excellent in her communication skills. I thought, my language would improve, if I would talk to her on a daily basis. Nevertheless, I was proved wrong. She seemed to be more interested in pulling my leg than actually helping me get out of this situation. 

What if my grammar is incorrect? What if she makes fun of me again? I could be clowned. These were my inside thoughts, before starting a conversation with her. I was scared. I feared, I was not good enough for her or anybody for that matter.

Until, one day, I decided to break my shell, by challenging myself.  I didn’t want my story to end like this. Heading towards the College library, for getting a membership, remains one of the best decisions of my life till date. Reading turned out to be my favorite hobby and Alfred Hitchcock, my favorite author. I still remember how my mother would scold me for reading till late night, but all I wanted was to continue reading and finish the books as soon as possible. Gradually, reading became my favorite addiction and English my favorite language. 

At home, I requested my parents to communicate with me and my sister in English, as often as possible. Watching English movies with subtitles, listening to Ricky Martin and Enrique Iglesias’s songs, had become a part and parcel of my life.  After school, my younger sister, would come running to me to help her in her essays. No wonder, her teacher was amazed by her writing skills. My confidence was boosted, and I no longer shied away from speaking. 

English was my disability and today I have conquered it.  Yes, I am still in the learning process and not an expert, but the fact remains that, it is one of the biggest challenge I have overcome.  Today, when I look back, I have a smile on my face. My challenge to myself has made me reach so far, that today I am also known as a writer, who writes poems and quotes in English.   

Allow me share with you the lessons I learned in the process, that helped me overcome my challenges.

1. Now, that you have challenged yourself, remain committed to the same. No matter how difficult the challenge looks, if you are tired, pause but do not give up.

2. Even if no one motivates you or pushes you, BELIEVE in yourself. As the saying goes, “If there is a will, there is a way”, so find it yourself. Become a self-motivator.

3. Stay away from people who give you negative vibes and remain focused on what you want to achieve. Do not let their perceptions break you.

4. Now that you have achieved what you needed, remain grounded. Help those, who are in the same shoes you were in before. Become a candle in their darkness and let the light spread. 

5. Thank each one of them, who provoked you to take this up. If it were not for them, you wouldn’t have built your own ladder.

So, let me conclude by a quote written by me,

WA6z3465
(A product of Archana Dipu @YQ)

Keep reading and Take Care!

(Visit Ms. Archana Dipu’s personal blog at INKEDTREATS )

MY JOY OF OVERCOMING CHALLENGES

The day a child is born, it faces challenges of life in bits and pieces. When it is a small baby its challenges are negligible in regards to the challenges that it faces later in its life. And as the days progress the challenges keep increasing.

But those who have faced those challenges head on, they have actually succeeded in whatever avenues they got into. Challenges in life build our characters. As someone said, “God allows suffering to make us, not break us”. He allows challenges for us to confront and be the winner.

Do words have any value until they were culminated in actions?

Let me enlighten you with a challenge in my life which I dreaded the most but was desperate to overcome it…

I studied in an Oriya medium school in Cuttack. I was a good student yet apart from English all other subjects were in Oriya language. When I joined college after my tenth, I felt I was in the middle of the ocean when everything was in English.

Guess what!!!

I scored just 58%, second class without extra optional subjects. These extra optional subjects kept my izzat (my image) that year and in the certificate “First Class” was written. I had big problem getting a seat for B. Com, in the same college, Ravenshaw College (now it’s a university). But thank God, in graduation I managed to score better than before. Yet, I failed to learn speaking and even writing good English.

I remember, one time, I wrote a letter in English to my best friend, Binod Sharma who went for further studies after our college. I had to write in English as he could not have read in Oriya and I could not have written it in Hindi. I was so happy after I finished writing in the Inland letter. I read it 10 times before posting it.

When I started working in Cuttack, I started to writing poems in English though they were not so good but I tried. I was happy that I could able to at least write something in English.

When I came to Kolkata in 2001, I picked up Bengali within six months’ time but even when I was in an office set up and in one of the metro cities of India, I was struggling to speak English properly. My cousins and their Mom helped me a lot to rectify my pronunciation and grammatical errors while I started to converse with them in Or-Ben-Lish.

Khristina taught me how to chat on Yahoo messenger. There was not any Facebook, forget about Whatsapp. She created an email for me and taught. And my personal entertainment started as I was all alone for next three years till, I got married in 2004.

You may be thinking, why am I sharing my secrets with you all? It is because, Chit-Chatting on random people on Yahoo Messenger helped me to speak correct English. And slowly, I picked up after coming across foreigners and different official guests etc.

In 2006, I started Candles (not Online) and there was no looking back. I kept on learning and learning… I am still learning to speak and write good English even if I lead a team of wonderful writers.

When I look back, I wonder how amazing was my journey while I overcame this difficult challenge of learning English so that I can express myself to the whole world.

The second challenge that I overcome was riding a motor bike. My grand father and my father were carrying the stigma of not riding even a bicycle in their whole life. And I didn’t want to carry the same. But I had the biggest drawback – my health condition. I was restricted to ride a bicycle and a bike was simply out of question.

When I completed my post-graduation, I started a grocery shop at my home alongside my father as he was retrenched from his company. And I aspired to buy one scooter, at least second hand so that I can learn it and ride it.

But how will do that?

How can I balance it?

Why bike has two wheels only?

Just one more wheel will make my learning easier…

These thoughts popped up in my mind when a neighbor started helping me to learn. I never fell from the bike while learning because I was too cautious. I took time as I had never learnt or ridden a bicycle in my life. After 10 days I lost patience and told that brother who was helping me to stop. He did encourage me but didn’t force me considering my health. After couple of days, I again felt like learning it and I remember the feeling when I raised both my legs and saw the bike rolling without getting imbalanced.

Deepak Bhai, I can balance now… I didn’t put my legs down even a single time.” I shouted back looking at him who was standing at a distance watching me riding it with my spread-eagled legs in the air (not arms thought). He smiled looking at me and encouraged to keep doing that.

(Image Credit: Google Inc.)

I learnt riding a bike on the historical sea shore at Cuttack where the historical Baaliyatra Festival takes place every year before winter.

After someday, I hit the road with my green coloured Secondhand LML Trendy. Fortunately, I found a picture of it on Google as I wasn’t expecting a picture of an obsolete product. I enjoyed it for a whole year or so till I joined work at Kolkata.

I didn’t really ride bikes much afterwards as I didn’t have any scope for it but the joy of overcoming this challenge in life was in leaps and bounds.

In closing, I just wanted to quote a Bible verse that has always strengthened me whenever I faced any challenge:

For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, “Do not fear; I will help you”.

I haven’t mastered anything, but I wasn’t much behind anyone and anything. I give all the glory to my Lord God for letting me overcome these challenges in my life.

How about you?

As we keep writing on the challenges that we have overcome in our lives, you stay safe at your home and keep reading them…

Stay Blessed!

OF FEARS – RATIONAL AND IRRATIONAL

As a child, I feared darkness. If there was a sudden disruption in power supply while I was alone in a room, a spontaneous shriek was sure to escape from me. How I overcame it, is sure to add humour to your day!!

One fine evening, I told myself that – my mother doesn’t shriek in fear when she is alone in a room and the power goes off, and my father doesn’t either. Nor do my grandparents, aunts or uncles. So if I continue to be afraid of the dark, I would carry it with me to my adult years as well. And how am I going to comfort my children when they are afraid of the dark, when I am no less? As a child, my mother came to me with a lit candle when it got dark. How will I do the same if I continue to be afraid? From that day, I decided to make a conscious effort to calm myself in the event of being alone in a room when there was a sudden power cut. It worked! It wasn’t easy. Nor did the change happen overnight. But, it did happen.

Our fears can be overcome! While I say this, I also acknowledge the fact that all fears can’t be overcome. A strong determination, motivation and counselling, therapy can help overcome many of our fears. However, some fears still continue to reside comfortably within us. To give an example, I haven’t overcome my fear of caterpillars. Come rainy season, and my eyes scan all walls, doors and windows for any sign of the creepy creature. More than a fear, its just a yucky repelling feeling.

Fear is a powerful human emotion. It is a response to the perception of an imminent danger/threat. Fear may be aroused in the presence of the object of fear or in remembrance of a past episode with the object of fear or in anticipation of a future encounter with it. For instance, one may be afraid of the fierce winds, heavy rainfall and the sight of houses and trees falling down during a cyclone; or may shudder recalling a past experience of a cyclone or may simply be afraid anticipating the footfall of a cyclone some day in the unseen future.

Some fears are rational. You cannot obviously, expect to see a lion and run towards it with a welcome smile! Such fears are rational. Whereas there are some fears which are irrational. These irrational fears are termed as ‘phobias’. Phobias are not easy to do away with, and require short-term or long-term therapy in order to be overcome. Rational fears on the other hand, are comparatively easier to be dealt with.

Stage fear, fear of facing an interview panel, fear of darkness, fear of sexual intimacy after marriage, fear of conceiving a child are all rational fears under normal circumstances (unless there is some compelling aversive antecedent to it).

There is a difference between discomfort and anxiety and fear. I remember going to a metro station in New Delhi and changing my travel plans and returning, on finding it overcrowded. Seeing the crowd milling all over the platform with practically no breathing space, I didn’t even descend the stairs to the platform! Now, that has nothing to do with phobia. It is just a sense of extreme mental discomfort. On the other hand, there are people who, in such a crowded situation would have broken into a sweat with high palpitations and pulse rate. This is phobia.

The same object can induce rational fear for one and irrational fear for another. There can be no strict categories for objects of rational and irrational fears.

While fear perception is a sign of a normal human being, continuing to live with fears, is not healthy. It affects one’s functioning as an individual and one’s relationship with others and how one views the world. It is best to overcome fear or to be surrounded by people who can guard and guide in the event of occurrence of such fears.

Having said it all, I strongly believe that all fears can be overcome with strength from God. I’m not being a fanatic when I say this. But its the faith within, that if God is in control of this massive universe, He is in control of my fears and yours.

“O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.”

 

PRESERVE YOUR NECTAR

Horatio G. Spafford was a successful lawyer and businessman in Chicago. Blessed with a lovely family consisting of his wife and five children (four daughters and a son), Spafford had all that one would desire. It was then that tragedy struck. His two-year old son died of pnemonia. As he was grieving over this loss, the same year (1871), the great Chicago fire swallowed up much of his business. Gathering much courage, Spafford started rebuilding his business. But the economic downturn of 1873 further hit his business. He changed his plans to travel to Europe with his family – sending them first, promising to join them soon. As the ship carrying his wife and children was crossing the Atlantic, it collided with another sea vessel. All four of his daughters died in the mishap. Only his wife was rescued and she sent Spafford the telegram – “Saved alone.” Spafford hurried to meet his grieving wife saying, “The Lord gave and he has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” As his ship came to the place where his daughters had died, he penned a wonderful hymn which has been a source of encouragement for many, over the years. The first few lines read as follows –

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to know
It is well, it is well, with my soul.


It is well, (it is well),
With my soul, (with my soul)
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

(The hymn can be heard in the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nKPvBV4xqVw )

Joseph Scriven was a man born in Ireland in an affluent family and received good education. In course of time, he fell in love with a lady. However, the day before their wedding she fell from her horse, while crossing a bridge in the River Bann and was drowned in the water below. All this, as Scriven stood watching from the other side of the river! In an effort to overcome his deep sorrow, Joseph left Ireland and shifted to Canada as a 25-year old, where he was much loved by the people for his helpful ways. In course of time, he again fell in love. However, tragedy struck again and his lady-love died of pneumonia shortly before they could wed. Scriven devoted the rest of his life to helping the poor and the needy. In order to comfort his ailing mother who lived in Ireland and was broken at her son’s ordeals, he wrote a poem which was later converted into a hymn and has been a source of comfort and strength to many. A few lines of the hymn read thus –

Are we weak and heavy-laden,
Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Saviour, still our refuge—
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He’ll take and shield thee,
Thou wilt find a solace there.

(The hymn can be heard in the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SCorW9r_Is )

Friends, may be you have been where Spafford and Scriven have been and that has made you bitter – at yourself, at family, friends, society. Maybe your life events have not been of this type – but harsh, nevertheless. How has your response been?

It is easy to be bitter and remain bitter. If we turn around and observe people around us, we will notice that each one has a heavy burden to make him/her bitter – only the nature may be different (some born without fully grown limbs, some widowed within a day of marriage, some stricken with terminal illness, some battling marital separation, failures, poverty, etc.)

Let’s remember –

  • Each of us has ample scope to be bitter.
  • To remain bitter or overcome is a choice that has to be made.
  • A bitter spirit depletes the body and numbs the soul.
  • Forgiveness is a powerful weapon that defeats bitterness.
  • Accepting the Sovereignty of God plays a crucial role in coming to terms with bitterness.
  • Counting the numerous other blessings enables to shift focus from the bitterness-causing losses.

If you have been struck with life events that threaten to make you bitter, don’t allow these events/circumstances to suck the nectar out of you. Look unto God – the radiant source of Strength, Grace, Mercy, Love, Peace and Joy and with His power be an overcomer!