In 1987, my family and I sat captivated like thousands of other people watching the attempt to rescue Jessica McClure. The eighteen-month-old girl had fallen twenty-two feet into a well and gotten lodged in a shaft only eight inches in diameter. We stayed glued to the television late into the night, then began watching CNN again early the next morning as we hoped and prayed with so many others that her life would not end in that well. We willed the equipment to open up a parallel path to her location and prayed for the strength of the workers who had not had any sleep in their effort to deliver the little girl back to her family.
For fifty-eight hours, the news channel kept people everywhere informed. The reporters told everyone how hard it would be to get to the little girl whose young and carefree life had been interrupted by this tragedy.
For much of the time that Baby Jessica was stuck underground, she let those within earshot know that she was alive. She "moaned, wailed and for a while even sang nursery rhymes to pass the time." (Biography.com)
As oxygen was pumped down the shaft to give her air, people kept calling to Baby Jessica, hoping for a response. Even though the situation was grim, her sweet little voice singing songs – along with her cries and moans – let everyone know that she was still there, alive, and worth the hard and diligent work of the rescue.
Years later, Jessica McClure has said she doesn't even remember that experience apart from what people have shared with her. Except for a scar on her forehead and a missing baby toe, Baby Jessica is just fine. She has gone on to live the life everyone hoped she would live.
Her darkest moment was only a moment in time. Even though that little girl was once hurt, bruised, scared, and alone, her life is not some sad extension of that one event. Jessica is still alive, and she is okay. That memorable experience marked her for life but did not define her life.
I've learned that is true for me, and I want you to know that is true for you as well. Your life, my friend, does not have to be a sad sum total of your hard or your heavy. Your darkest moments are only moments in time.
I would love to offer a simple answer or a quick fix, but here's the truth. Getting above ground can be hard work, and it can take some time. Whether it's because of the dull ache of disappointment or the deep pain of some disaster or deep regret, you might feel as though the energy necessary to excavate yourself from the deep is... Just. Too. Much. But here's the bottom line, and I believe this with all of my heart: You are worth the effort.
If you are breathing, you have life, and the life that has been given to you is a life that only you can live. You are the only person who can live your life with the unique combination of your gifts, talents, abilities, history, and design.
Don't give up. You are worth the work of the rescue. Fight for your life. Every day. Get up. Keep going. You are okay. Come on, say it with me: "I am okay."
You may have to say this over and over again until you believe it, and if that's what it takes, do it. Saying "I am okay" won't eliminate real problems or pressure, but it will allow you to offer yourself some hope. Your journey is a process, and it might take some time. Still, get up every day, look yourself in the mirror, and tell that person inside you that he or she is okay.
You might have to get up with tears in your eyes, cries from your lips, or heaviness in your heart, but I want you to choose to believe your life is worth the effort.
Don't settle for staying stuck. Decide to fight for your life. And with God's help, choose attitudes and actions that will remind you of this: You are okay. You're still here. You're still alive. So you're still worth the work of the rescue.
Chrystal Evans Hurst joins James and Betty this Tuesday and Thursday on LIFE TODAY. Adapted from She's Still There by Chrystal Evans Hurst. Copyright ©2017 by Chrystal Evans Hurst. Used by permission of Zondervan. www.zondervan.com. All rights reserved.