When Setbacks Come, What Will You Do?

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“Our circumstances can either take us under, or we can fight and rise above everything and everybody that attempts to hold us down.”
                                                      Jonathan C. Johnson, A Fighting Chance

Last weekend I had the pleasure of hanging out with some wonderful authors at the National Black Book Festival in Houston, Texas.  As a first time author I knew I was stepping into a new environment and was a little bit apprehensive.  Needless to say that fear was soon kicked out the way so that excitement and enjoyment could take its place.

I was amazed at the different stories that each person told as to why they decided to write and get their story published.  I was truly inspired by the courage they used to put it all down in order that others who are facing, or have faced similar experiences, can find strength and determination to go through the challenge and live their life to the fullest.

One such author was Jonathan C. Johnson, a humble, quiet, young man who has overcome so many obstacles from birth all the way through his teen years.


Born to a 15 year old mother, he was conceived through rape. Due to a head injury, he was quickly taken from her at six months old by Children’s Protective Services.  Placed in a foster home, he was not the perfect adoption candidate.  He was considered to be “slow” with a head and feet that were larger than normal for a baby of his age.  Thankfully, he had a foster mother and foster siblings that loved him.

It was this love that made his foster mother tell her friend, who was looking to adopt a child, about the little boy.  It was love that made the friend want to take him as her own.  Despite the adoption agency telling her the child was not a “good fit”, she did not stop until she adopted her little boy.

Time would fly as the little boy grew in his new home, but soon illness would come and disrupt everything.  First, a heart murmur, then breathing problems and finally chronic kidney failure.  All before he had reached the age of fifteen.  Here’s what he said.

“While my classmates were out having fun, I was at home thinking of ways to improve my situation.  When you’re faced with a life-changing situation, it’s on you to sink or swim.  I decided to swim as hard and as fast as I could.”  Jonathan C. Johnson.

I’m going to stop here because I don’t want to spoil your enjoyment of the rest of the story.


Jonathan’s story is told in his book, “A Fighting Chance.”  It is a story of strength and courage that everyone should read. He also continues to encourage and inspire through his tweets at Kidney Kronicles.

I was so inspired by his book that I invited him to do a guest blog.  He graciously said that he would.  I know you will enjoy his post next week.

In the coming days I will tell you of other writers I met who chose to use their life story to inspire others. Instead of letting their setbacks and struggles leave them fearful, they chose to share and give hope to others. I believe that each one of them faced their fears and kicked it in their own way.  I hope their stories will help you too.


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