Greenville, S.C. – September 8, 2016 — When an attractive, articulate and well-educated professional woman like Laura Bratton suggests we face our challenges with grit and gratitude, we might be inclined to scoff, thinking she has no idea of what life has thrown us.
Until we realize: Bratton is blind.
Diagnosed at age nine with a progressive eye disease that left her blind by the time she started college, Bratton went from a normal, active childhood through the traumatic transition of adjusting to life without sight. As she matured into adulthood, she learned how to be accepting of herself and her life as a person with a disability. Bratton recognized the gifts with which she’s been given and can share with the world. Now in her 30s, she’s found her passion and earned the right to speak truth into peoples’ lives.
“We all need the resources of grit and gratitude in our mind, body, and spirit. We will all face unbelievable challenges and obstacles as well as times of happiness and joy,” Bratton writes in her forthcoming book, Harnessing Courage: Overcoming Adversity with Grit and Gratitude.
She advises we need grit to hold on for the long haul, to persevere when it would be easier to quit, and to face those who would discourage us whether mean-spirited or well-intentioned.
But we also need to balance that grit with gratitude for all we have and all we are.
She’s learned not only the spiritual benefit but the emotional and practical benefits of being thankful.
“Living a life that embraces vulnerability, courage, and strength takes a combination of grit and gratitude,” Bratton says. “Living into daily grit gives us the ability to remain grounded as we experience those times of adversity and trauma as well as moments of joy and laughter. Having the grit of determination and perseverance gives us the strength to live into the tension of those moments that are discouraging as well as the moments that are encouraging.”
“Along with grit, the gift of gratitude gives us strength,” she continues. “Through gratitude we are able to live a life centered on the loving actions that surround our lives. Gratitude also allows us to focus on what we have rather than what we do not have. Gratefulness gives us the opportunity to be aware of the supportive actions that hold us in difficult moments.
“Expressing our gratefulness both when life is easy and when life is difficult brings healing and strength.”
In the book, Bratton shares her story of adjusting to losing her sight, transitioning to work with a guide dog by the time she left for college at Arizona State University, then her life as the first blind student at Princeton Theological Seminary. Through the stories of each challenge she faced, and the ones she continues to face, she demonstrates the hard work of applying grit and experiencing gratitude.
It was her faith and realizing that God was with her through this journey that led to her decision to serve others as a clergy who offers spiritual support to people experiencing trauma and loss.
“Going through the horrible traumatizing time of my vision decreasing and adapting to life without sight, I experienced the powerful Spirit of God,” Bratton says. “Yes, I spent countless nights telling God I could not do life without sight. Yes, I was mad and angry that God had not healed me instantly. But, along with those emotions of sadness and anger, I was and continue to be forever changed by the love of God.
“The love, power, and strength of God came through family, friends, community, and complete strangers. There are countless times when I receive the experience of God being with me through the pain and difficulty and God, at the same time, empowering me to move forward with purpose and meaning.”
Today Bratton serves as senior pastor of a United Methodist Church in South Carolina.
She is also an inspirational speaker and coach for businesses, organizations and individuals. She founded Ubi Global, LLC, which seeks to empower all people to overcome challenges and obstacles with grit and gratitude.
She concludes the book with this.
“So we each have a choice. We cannot choose many of the circumstances that occur in our life. However, we can choose how we respond. We can choose to allow the struggles and difficulties of life to define us. Or we can choose to respond in a way that allows us to live into our full potential.
“We can choose to respond in a way that blocks the gifts we are able to give to the world. Or we can choose to respond in a way that allows our gifts to be fully received by the world. The choice is ours.”
Harnessing Courage: Overcoming Adversity with Grit and Gratitude [ISBN: 978-1-942557-62-3] releases in October from Clovercroft Publishing.
For information about obtaining the book or to connect with Bratton for speaking or coaching, visit www.ubiglobal.org or the Ubi Global Facebook page. Or connect with Bratton on, Linked In or Twitter (@LauraRBratton).
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