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The Sweeter Side

By Elizabeth Ressler

The best things in my life have come from suffering. It’s a strange concept to wrap your brain around. When we think of the word “best,” we think of joy, smiles, energy, happiness. In the midst of the suffering, it’s hard to see that those could be outcomes, but the more suffering I’ve gone through, the sweeter the other side has been.

A simple and not-too-intense example comes from my days as a High Jumper in high school and college. High Jump as an event itself teaches you about failure – you are given 3 attempts at every height and no matter what, you always end in failure as the stopping point is when you miss three times. That said – it’s still hard to experience a large failure. I had a dream of making it to nationals in college and missed by ½ inch. I spent all-year-round training for four years, which involved intense workouts, sacrifices of other pieces of college life, jumping in snow/intense weather, and emotional misses at meets. I was known to be one of the hardest workers in my league and got so close, but missed. 

At my very last meet of my college career at regionals where I had my last chance to make it, I “no-heighted” for the first time in my 8 year career, which means I didn’t even make one height. That time period was difficult for me, but it was also formative. I have since then faced much harder sufferings and challenges and that experience absolutely built my perseverance and character. God used that experience to help me build the foundation for what I needed to face bigger challenges later.

We’re in the thick of it. Right now, it is emotionally painful for me that my 10-month-old daughter Fiona started walking this weekend and her grandparents cannot see her. I had always thought they would be here for big milestones like this and have looked forward to specifically this milestone of walking. It has been 2+ months since either set of grandparents has seen her and she was a much different baby then. Even though they see her on facetime and skype – I worry – will she recognize them when she sees them again? 

I don’t know what God is using this moment to prepare us for yet, but I do know that it is something. He is adding a new layer of perseverance, character, and hope and I look forward to learning what the sweeter side will be on the other side.

Grace and peace,

Elizabeth Ressler

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