Personal Growth

How To Live Abundantly In The Middle Of Adversity

Last fall when I first sat in the otolaryngologist office and he told me that I was an ideal candidate for the surgery that he pioneered, called Selective Laryngeal Adductor Denervation-Reinnervation, I was ecstatic! I had flown to Los Angeles to meet with one of the best head and neck doctors in the world and I got the news that I was hoping for!

I had been struggling to speak for at least a decade and Botox injected directly into my vocal cords had been the treatment I had been getting since 2014. Although the Botox greatly improved my vocal strength, the outcome could be inconsistent.

The doctor told me that recovery from the surgery would be between 3-12 months. I heard him, but somehow only 3 months registered in my mind. I was processing how it would indeed be difficult to be so vocally limited for 3 months, but it would be worth it if it meant that my cords would work properly and that I’d been done with Botox treatments.

My surgery was 9 months ago and I still am very vocally limited.

We all face adversity

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines adversity this way : a state or instance of serious or continued difficulty or misfortune.

We all face adversity in life. For some readers, there is something that you are up against right now that is more serious than not having the ability to speak. My heart goes out to you and I am sorry. What you are going through is not insignificant, but there is hope.

Jesus actually told His followers,

I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace.

You will have suffering in this world.

Be courageous! I have conquered the world.

To say it another way, you will have adversity in this world, but we can take heart because Jesus has overcome the world.

So how do we live an abundant life when we’re in the middle of adversity?

Five ways to live abundantly in the middle of adversity

Focus on what is in your control.

Feeling overwhelmed is very common when we find ourselves in the midst of adversity. All that we can see are the limitations that come with the situation we’re up against. My limitations are using my voice at a volume needed to communicate with friends and family, make phone calls, order coffee in a drive-through, yell at my puppy to get out of the street because a car is coming (yes, that actually happened).

Currently my vocal strength is not in my control, but I do have a choice in how I show up for my family and for my friends. I can invest in them by choosing to be in the moment when I’m around them and listen well, I can send encouraging text messages (thank you Jesus for that technology), and cards in the mail.

Instead of focusing on what you cannot do, think of all of the things that you are able to do.

Know your limits.

When we are in the middle of adversity there are some things that will not serve us well and we have to discern what to say no to, for now. For example, if you are in a financially challenging season, as fun as it could be to go on a tour of model homes with your friends, that may not serve you well right now. Why? If you know that by walking through beautiful homes you will leave either in despair because you feel that you’ll never attain that, or the opposite, if it causes you to get into more debt, its not going to serve you well.

There have been some really fun opportunities that I’ve chosen not to participate in because I know the environment is going to be loud and very socially focused. I have found that when I’m in loud places and can’t even explain to the poor soul trying to talk to me that I’ve lost my voice, it makes me anxious. So, there are some opportunities that I have said no to, for now.

Don’t be afraid to accept help.

Knowing your limits is a good thing, but becoming isolated in your season of difficulty is a dangerous thing. We all need community. There are things that may be out of your comfort zone but with the help of a friend or family member, you can still participate.

I’ve had to learn to get uncomfortable and do things that I don’t feel like doing with a limited vocal capacity. For instance, I joined a CrossFit gym 4 months after my surgery. Thankfully my friend, Jill, offered to help me out early on. All of the questions that I needed to ask, like where equipment is stored, and how do I know what a 200 meter run is, my friend Jill asked for me.

Regularly put your comfort and pride aside and accept help from others. You will be glad that you did.

Recognize the opportunity that adversity brings.

Typically when we are in the middle of adversity, “normal life” is impacted in some way. This can feel restrictive and like a prison sentence, but every time we have to say no to something, that means that we can say yes to something else.

If you had told me last October that in July I still would not have recovered my voice, I would have been overwhelmed with despair. I had no idea, however, all of the growth that I was in for.

The very first blog post that I wrote was in July 2011. I didn’t write another one until 2013. In 2014 I was officially diagnosed with the vocal cord disorder, spasmodic dysphonia, and I wrote five blog posts that year. In 2015 I wrote one blog post. In 2017 I wrote one. In 2021 I wrote one.

Why did I share all of that data? Well, between 2011 and 2021 I wrote a total of 10 blog posts. Now in 2022, this post is the 20th post that I have written for the year so far. I’ve been reminded that I enjoy to write and encourage others from the experiences that I’ve lived.

The past nine months I’ve had more time to sit with Jesus. I’ve had more time to read books. I’ve had more time to write. I could have used these past several months binging on TV shows because I don’t have the ability to do many of the things that I used to, but I’m grateful that instead, I leaned into the opportunity to spend time growing.

Rest in Jesus

Not knowing how the details of our life will fall into place can be a difficult place to be in. I’ve found it so helpful to practice living in today; don’t worry about what tomorrow holds. There is much to be grateful for each day and when the focus is on that, the worries of tomorrow become less dominate.

Rest in Jesus. He told us that in this world we would have troubles, but to be courageous.

The apostle Paul had to live this out too. Here is what he had to say to the Christians in Philippi:

“I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content

in whatever circumstances I find myself.

I know how to make do with little, and I know

how to make do with a lot. In any and all circumstances

I have learned the secret of being content—

whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need.

I am able to do all things through him who strengthens me”.

Jesus’ timing is rarely our timing, but He is faithful to never waste the challenges that we go through, when we surrender them to Him.


Making lemonade out of lemons.

Today I am back at UCLA. Tomorrow I will be having my second surgery in 9 months in attempt to restore the use of my vocal cords. Tyler and I decided to make the most of it and we did an 18 hour family road trip from our home in Lakewood, Washington to Los Angeles, California. We’ve had quality family time, fun and a little rest and relaxation before my surgery.

As with most surgeries, there are no guarantees, but regardless of the outcome, I will continue to choose to live an abundant life regardless.

I’ve had the lyrics of the song God, I Look To You by Bethel Music on my heart:

God I look to You, and I wont be overwhelmed
Give me vision to see things like You do
God I look to You, and You’re where my help comes from
Give me wisdom, You know just what to do

And I will love You Lord my strength
And I will love You Lord my shield
And I will love You Lord my rock
Forever all my days I will love You God

Whatever adversity you may be going through, know that God’s grace is enough for you. If you want read an incredibly encouraging book from people who have chosen abundance in the midst of adversity, check out Suffer Strong: How to Survive Anything by Redefining Everything by Katherine and Jay Wolf.

I’d love to hear from you! What good has come out of adversity in your life?


  • Tim Bentz

    Love this, Amber Dawn! Great insight and excellent communication of your experiences. Love you!

  • Marcia Sollie

    Love you Blogs Amber. Know that Dad S and I continue to pray for a complete and total healing in your vocal cords. Praying that as you go in tomorrow that God will guide and give wisdom to your Drs. We Love you. 💝💝

  • Marcia Sollie

    Love yout Blogs Amber. Know that Dad S and I continue to pray for a complete and total healing in your vocal cords. Praying that as you go in tomorrow that God will guide and give wisdom to your Drs. We Love you. 💝💝

  • Joanie campbell

    Beautiful story Amber♥️ Praying for complete success on your second surgery, complete healing on your vocal cords🤗 your story inspired me and encouraged me to stay strong through my own obstacles and lean towards our Father, he is our everything. Ephesians 3:20, GOD can do exceedingly, abundantly beyond whatever we can think of or even ask for!!! Blessings to you and your family during your surgery and recovery time together ♥️