3 Years Strong

There are certain days in your life that you will never forget. Like the day you got married, the day your child was born, the day you lost a loved one, your first kiss, etc. Well for me, today marks three years since I was admitted to the hospital for chest pains. This day three years ago is where my story of self-recovery began and I was far from strong!

I never knew that stress could effect your body so greatly. The day after I was admitted, I went into cardiac arrest. It was the worst feeling in the world because I could feel it coming on, I heard the nurse call for the paddles, and I saw the agonizing look on my husband’s face before I faded away screaming to myself, “God, I’m not ready to die!”

Luckily, God wasn’t ready for me to die yet either. He still has a plan for me. He just needed to take control because my stress was out of control. He needed me to take time to heal, learn how to deal with my stress, and to take time to just ‘Be Still’. I was dealing with so many different stressors at that time in my life, I guess I just couldn’t handle any more. Thank God for stepping in and giving me the time to heal. God does this for all of from time to time. The thing is though, is that we have to recognize it for what it is – a sign from God.

Looking back on this time and these past three years, I can see so clearly His role in my life, the decision He helped me make, and now the reasons why. It blows my mind sometimes and I feel so blessed to have this relationship with Him. Whenever I am struggling now with even a little decision, I turn to God and He seems to always find a way to answer me. It may be in a scripture I read, a thought the spirit puts in my head, or just finding a cross in my path throughout the day that lets me know He is with me.

This past year alone, I made the decision to separate from my husband, I moved into my own place, and I’ve met so many amazing friends that have helped me through some of my bad days and have been here to share in some of the fun times that give me such hope for my future. My life is now free from so many stressors, yet there is still worry because now I am living alone. Though, I know God is with me and I will be ok.

Despite boughts of anxiety and stress worrying about a high blood pressure reading, or a couple of skipped beats and palpitations from time to time, I have come to rely on the Lord to get me through. I do my best to push away the fear and welcome His presence and loving arms instead of falling into the downward spiral of doubt and fear. When Satan tries to grab my attention, that’s when I reach out and grab the hand of God that is always there stretched out and reaching to pull me closer to him!

1When I look at this picture that was taken a day after I got out of the hospital, I can see the pain I was dealing with, and I feel the anxiety in the pit of my stomach, but I also see the love in my mother’s eyes, but most importantly I can see how far I have come from that time in my life. I don’t wish that experience on anyone, but I pray that everyone learns or gains a better understanding through my writing and experience of the love that God has for each of us and that He is always with us. I wish I could say that you won’t experience heartache or trials or rough times in your life, because we all know that’s not true. Life is full of disappointments, setbacks and lots of tears, but it’s how we deal with these situations and how we learn to change our reactions to the things that scare us the most. The next time you find yourself in one of these unforeseen situations, think back to a time when you felt loved and protected, and then turn your focus to God because He is always with you, loving you, and reaching His hand out to you. All you have to do is grab it!

Defeat Doubt / Tackle Fear

Making decisions is not always an easy thing to do. The worst thing though, is when you start doubting your decision, you start reconsidering, you change your mind several times until you become some confused you just want to throw up your arms and give up! Don’t let the fear of making the wrong decision cause you to not make any decision at all and remain stuck in the same ole rut.

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” ~ Isaiah 41:10

29-11Do the best you can to decide and then go forward  Even if you make a mistake, it is not the end of the world. You can learn from your mistake and try again. When I’m trying to make a big decision I always turn to God for guidance. Sometimes He gives me my answer, and sometimes He let’s me struggle and figure it out on my own. In those instances, it is typically always a lesson I need to learn. Whatever the end result is, I feel good knowing that God will get me through. Whether I screw it up the first time, or together we win at the first go round. Either way, I’m learning and growing all the time! Everything happens for a reason and when we are open to looking for those reasons, it helps us tackle our fears and move forward defeating our doubts and knowing that God is the one in control and with him we can’t wrong. He will always re-route our paths to the road and plan He has for us!

“I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.”                 ~ Psalm 34:4

Looking For God’s Presence

log crossI have found that when I am open to Signs from God, I actually find more of them! To be open to finding them, we need to focused on Him and His presence. He is always with us. Though, when we aren’t focused on Him, our thoughts may wander. We may go astray. When you recognize this, turn your thoughts back to God. Look for the signs. They are there. God speaks to us in many different ways. The signs we receive may be different for so many of us.

For me, the signs I receive that leave me feeling like He is present, are crosses, hearts, butterflies, words of affirmation, and when listening to my spiritual music!

The other week when I was feeling down, I took a hike in the woods and the signs were definitely present. I received many that had me feeling so blessed. Being in nature always brings me closer to God and by the time I got back home I felt so blessed and in such a state of peacefulness.

To many, the picture above would have just lookedheart rock like two trees laying in the woods that had fallen down. To me though, when you zoom in on the picture, there laid a cross. Later on, I stopped by the stream and sat for a while. This is when I found a heart-shaped rock…another sign from God. When I recognize these signs, it’s like I stop in my tracks and I lose my breath for a second. Then I just take a deep breath in and know that God is with me! He cares, and He wants me to know that everything will be ok!

Life can be overwhelming, as I’m sure you know. Stress can be so overbearing and can truly affect your health in so many ways. I’ve learned this the hard way and am still learning how to better take care of myself.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” ~ Phillipians 4:6

After I had a heart attack almost 3 years ago, God has slowly been transforming me into the person He truly created me to be. I’ve found more natural solutions to help ease my anxieties and stress. I’ve learned how to listen to my body, recognize the signs of those trigger points that tend to appear letting me know I need to slow down and just breathe, and I’ve learned to rely so much more on God for everything!  He has shown me how to remove the toxins from my life, and that includes all types of toxins. Yes, harsh chemicals, but also toxic relationships that bring me down. Now is the time for me. A time for healing and restoration.

I realize that I’m not alone in this struggle and the struggle is real, so this is why I share. I want everyone to know they aren’t alone and that there is a better way to live a life with less stress. Maybe not less stress, because life happens right, but managed stress and knowing you are not alone. God never promised us a life without trials. It’s these trials that make us stronger. Recognizing my desire to share and help others through these stressful times, God has blessed me with the ability to be vulnerable and transparent, and I have taken this to another level recently.

stone cross

I’ve started leaving my own signs behind hoping that another believer will recognize this as a sign from God as well. I’m praying that someone walking along the same path may run into the crosses I leave behind and recognize it too as a Sign from God. A cross meant to touch their heart so that they too stop breathing for a second and realize that God is with them in that very moment and that they are not alone.

Blessing another believer gives me such peace and gratitude. Blessing someone who may be struggling with their belief into believing, or even wondering, ‘is this a sign?’, brings me joy and hope for a brighter future for so many more believers sharing their love of God and their story!

Decisions Are Not Always Easy!

hardest is the right wayThis week I was faced with a very tough decision on the work front that had me tied in knots. I am a firm believer in, ‘if it’s meant to be, it will be’ and ‘everything happens for a reason’ or ‘if it’s God’s Will’. Yet all of these affirmations still had me second guessing myself. I was ready to throw my hands up in the air and just say, “No, it’s not worth it!”

Then, God stepped in. Typically, I can rationalize my decisions and come to terms with making what I believe to be the best decision but this decision was different. You see, I was going against the recommendation of someone else and that made it really hard. I know what I felt was right, but standing up to my beliefs and fighting for what I thought was right, was not that easy.

I decided that I needed help. I turned it over to God. I prayed on it, and then I turned to my inspirational books for His guidance. I was amazed at what I read just flipping through one of my books, Spiritual Remedies, which God led me to. Right there in the chapter talking about Job Trouble, it said, “..we shouldn’t just throw up our hands and walk away, either. We have to work things through; we have to deal with challenges and process the experiences.” “Our growth comes through stress and challenges in one way, shap, or form. What God is allowing in our lives is for our growth and transformation.”

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

~ Proverbs 3: 5-6

At that moment, I knew that God had a hand in all of this too. I knew what decision I had to make and I knew I was making the right decision.

The hardest decisions we have to make, are those that truly challenge us. I think the reason it is so challenging, is because we know the right decision is the hardest decision. So when you are faced with making these decisions, I urge you to turn to God as well and ask for guidance. His guidance will give you the courage, the strength, and the peace you need to feel good about your decision. Know in your heart it is the right thing to do.

God never said life would be easy.

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” ~ John 16:33

“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” ~ Romans 5: 3-5

Go With the Flow – Don’t Fight It!

How many times have you fought to make your way through life’s challenges, only to be winded and out of breath as if you had no sails at all to pull you along? We all face these challenges and as hard as it is to believe, God does have a reason. He has a lesson to be learned. His plan is to make you a stronger person who is able to handle this same situation a little better the next time.

During my devotional time this morning with God, I was reading along and it reminded me of a situation my son faced when he was a young teenager. Boys will be boys and on this day him and two of his buddies went down to the stream by our house. We had a lot of rain the day before and the stream was raging. I’ll never understand why he thought it would be fun to try and cross the stream in that state of rage, and I’m guessing neither did God.

The moment he fell in, what days before was a quiet trickling stream of peace and wonderment, became a raging stream of uncertainty and fear. He struggled to get his footing but that was impossible as it quickly hurled him downstream. I can only imagine what he was thinking at that time, but I doubt he was screaming for God at that age. Though I am so grateful to God for being there with him in those few moments. He grabbed the only thing he could, a tree laying across the stream. He held on with all his might, but the current was too strong. He couldn’t get his breath as the water was rushing past him. The current pulled off his shorts and he even lost his shoes. He was fighting the current and fighting God’s will at that moment.

ragingcreek

He then realized the only chance he had was to let go. Unbeknownst to him at that time, he let go and let God take over. You see, when we fight the Will of God, we are fighting a losing battle. God always wins. We need to learn to let go and let God lead the way, because when we go with the flow of God, we will always come out ahead better than we ever expected.

Once he let go of that tree, he was quickly moved further down stream where the waters calmed enough to enable him to grab ahold of another tree and pull himself to safety. That was one of the scariest days of our lives and I’m so grateful that God took over and brought him to safety. He could have easily hit his head on a tree or rock and been knocked out, or even worse, drowned. When he was able to pull himself from the raging waters, he and his friends were separated. As he stood their in his underwear, with no shoes, he thought to himself how am I going to get home like this? He decided to try and cross the stream again where it was not so rough and he walk home through the woods. I know, you’re probably screaming, “No! What is he thinking!” I know I was when his friends came running to the house asking if he made it home yet and proceeded to tell us the story.

Well, if you are a parent, you know that sinking feeling very well. It was the worst feeling in the world when I saw that raging stream first hand and pictured my son in those waters and started calling his name to hear no reply. Luckily, as we head home our other son was coming to tell us his brother made it home safely!

I know now though that God has big plans for this young man and his love of God has grown greatly. I wonder though if he looks back on this memory and realizes just how loved and protected he was by God on the day he learned to go with the flow!

Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” ~ John 7:38

A Place to Belong!

Have you ever felt that you truly belonged somewhere? That it was meant to be! Have you ever met someone that you felt so connected to that you knew without a shadow of a doubt God set up that chance meeting?

Well, I have been feeling this way for a while now having met so many amazing friends through Young Living, but this picture speaks a thousand words to me! If you zoom in on it, you will recognize it is ‘so me’! A woman that just wants to be happy, have fun, and follow God’s path for the rest of her life!

Lifepoint

God led me to the woman on the other side of this camera and she made me feel so proud when she said she chose me to be her subject for narrative project she was working on in her photojournalism class! Her instructor said she had to choose someone she didn’t really know, but wanted to get to know. Wow! I was blown away, but she, like alot of you wanted to hear my story! Sharing my story and helping others is all I dream of.

I can honestly say ‘my story’ and transformation started at Lifepoint Church. From the day me and my best friend walked in the doors of this church we both felt at home and truy still feel like we belong here! I know God has big plans for me and this Church will play a role in it and I can’t wait to live out the rest of the story!

Thank you Heidi Marie Bell for your interest in me, and for the friendship we have created. Big things are in store for us!! God did not bring us together just for this project. He has a reason and a plan and together we are going places! 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11

What Would You Tell Your 6 Mo. Old Self?

This morning I jumped on Facebook and this memory popped up on my screen. It is a picture my cousin shared with me two years ago that she had run across. The first thought I had was what would I tell myself back then, knowing what I know now, if that were possible.

I’ve had some time to contemplate this thought today as it has been a rather rough few days for me – actually a rough couple of weeks. Many don’t even know. My own children don’t know how bad its been these past couple of days, but you always try to protect the ones you love most right.

Baby I’ll admit, and most of you already know this but, I have struggled with anxiety and stress most of my life. For the longest time I was able to be strong for so many and I was able to handle pretty much anything. Then as I got older, it began to take its toll on me and eventually my heart couldn’t take it any longer. That’s when the heart attack happened where I actually experienced cardiac arrest and it took me six long months to recover. I’m still recovering and now I don’t think I will ever be fully recovered. The threat is always going to be there and like this week, it gets the better of me from time to time.

So what I would like to share with everyone, and would share with my younger self, would be to to understand just how important it is to listen to your body. Take time to breathe, talk to God, and do what is right for you and your health no matter what the cost. Don’t worry what other people think because your health and happiness is what is important. If you don’t have your health, you can’t help anyone let alone yourself!

For those of you who may be dealing with some of these same issues and concerns and are given the advice to take an anti-depressant, I want you to know that it is not anything to be ashamed of. Everyone needs support from time to time, and some people need support all of the time. I know I felt like I needed to get off of mine because I didn’t want to get addicted or feel like I needed anything to live a normal life. I didn’t want nasty side effects, etc. I know alot of people feel the same way and that in itself can stress you out. I learned today though that anti-depressants have come a long way over the years and they are no longer addicting, atleast not all are, so do your research so you can feel good about the medicines you are taking and don’t be ashamed. Put your head up high and be proud that are doing what you need to do to be the best version of you!

Luckily, my cardiologist is such a caring man that I have his personal phone number and have been able to text and talk with him directly to get me in a better place of understanding what I needed to do to get my blood pressure and heart rate under control. Your life is precious and your body reacts to life’s struggles in many different ways. Ways that can land you in the hospital, or worse, just from stress. It can be a whirlwind effect as each symptom can impact another to create the perfect storm.

Today though after experiencing such an emotional morning and anxiety to the point I was ready to drive myself to the hospital, I finally went to the doctors instead and together we made the decision that I needed to go back on my anti-depressant because my body no longer handles stress well at all. The smallest amount impacts symptoms of that led to my heart attack, and then that creates symptoms of anxiety knowing I do not want to go through another heart attack and the cycle continues.

For someone who thought she had it all under control and was finally in a place of happiness and didn’t need her meds any longer, God knew better and He always has a way of grabbing you and throwing you down to make sure you listen to him. We need to take the time to be still, listen to our body, listen to God, and do what’s right. Don’t worry about what other people think. This is your life! Do what you need to do to live it and be the happiest you can be! This does not mean you are selfish! It’s ok to take care of you! God has a plan for all of us and He wants us to be happy and live out the plans He has for us!

“Things that are visible are brief and fleeting, while things that are invisible are everlasting.” ~ Sarah Young 

 

Turn Your HAVE to Into I GET To!

Instead of dreading the things you have to do, start thinking of all the things you get to do! This morning we got to get up an hour early to start our day and start sharing the love of God. We get to start following His lead on this new day He blessed us with. We get to decide on whether to reflect our attitudes positively or negatively. We get to share random acts of kindness. We get to inspire others by sharing our stories. We get to help bring people closer to God Grace. We get to change our reactions to situations that bring us down. We get to change our mindsets to always look for the positive in all circumstances.  We get to live the life God created for us. We get to be the person God created us to be. Become that person and you will be amazed at how much more God blesses you with and you too can live a life of abundance which God has waiting for you!

Turn Your Have To Into I GET TO

When I Come Home to Heaven

Cross

Whenever you are scared or fearing death, remember this!!! I was struggling with the thought of living alone and getting sick. It’s an anxiety I’ve had to deal with since my heart attack in 2016, but the day we settled on the sale of our home I went to the Christian Book Store and God led me to this beautiful reminder! No more fear because I know He is always with me and will get me through to the other side, no matter what!

Whether it is the other side of the mountain I must climb; an illness I must beat; a decision I have to make; or simply a circumstance; opportunity; or lesson I must learn, I know I will be smarter and loved unconditionally until I meet my maker face to face!

Life Is Short

Life is so short. My Mom says all the time that the older you get, the faster the time seems to go. That is so true. I realize now just how precious our short time here on this Earth truly is. I’ve watched loved ones take their last breaths and think wow they lived a long life. Some did, but some were taken way too soon! Some you can rest easy in knowing they were saved from their pain and suffering, and others we have to constantly remind ourselves and know within our hearts and soul that God took them because He had to save them from their future suffering. A suffering we may have known nothing about, and that’s where our faith has to be strong in knowing that God always has a plan.
 
The thing we have to remember at all times though, and something that my son recenty reminded me of, is that as long as we have God, we have all that we need. I know this and I’ve preached this, but we are all human. We all have fears that we face; struggles that we have to overcome; mountains that we must climb, but we are not put in these trials for no reason. God gives us these challenges to make us stronger. We will always come out on the other side a little stronger, maybe even more confident, and realizing just how amazing our God truly is. At times, the picture is so clear and sometimes it takes us longer to see all the puzzle pieces come together before we realize God’s plan and sometimes we never will know. Those times, again, it is our faith we have to rely on knowing that God is in control.
 
There are often many times when we need to be reminded that God is always with us; God is for us, and nothing can keep God from loving us! So live today to the fullest. Live every day like there is no tomorrow. Live without regrets. When you are struggling though, take it one day at a time. Feel good about the decisions you make, after all, you made it with God. He didn’t bring you this far to let you down.
 
If you have a mission or God-given dream you feel you need to accomplish, I urge you to follow your passion and make a difference! Life is so short and the time is now. So pray BIG, ask for big things to happen, ask for His guidance and He will lead you. Feel good knowing that you are on the road to all that God has in store for you. A life of abundance!
life-is-short