With God’s Grace & Resilience

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Signs of a Life – Part X

When you finally come out of the dark clouds and can see the sun shining brightly, your heart feels light and you begin to walk with a bounce in your step. Everything seems to be going your way and then you start to recognize how all of the puzzle pieces are coming together and it all starts to make sense.  Everything you went through was for a reason.

For me, I am a much stronger person than I was three years ago. I have learned so much more about myself, my wants, my desires, and my needs. I have learned that I deserve more and that I am enough. God loves me unconditionally, and that’s the most important thing. He wants the best for all of us. Find a way to develop and grow your relationship with God. That means starting your day with Him. Be still in the quiet time and open your heart. Listen for that small soft voice in your head as the Holy Spirit guides you through your day. It doesn’t happen overnight, just keep talking with Him and trust that He is holding you in by the palm of your right hand.

The Faith that I have in Him and our relationship has grown so strong; it’s what gets me through every day and helps me when I do have doubts and concerns determining His Will for me. Right now, I feel like I am swinging on a high and God keeps pushing me higher and higher. So follow those signs He is leaving for you.  Turn to Him when you are struggling. Don’t be afraid to pray big prayers. Ask and you shall receive. Trust in His timing and believe that everything you want is coming your way!

Reaching OthersComing out on the other side of those dark clouds is not an easy path. It is full of it’s up and downs and confusing paths that all seem to go in different directions. These paths sometimes lead you outside of your comfort zone. They may test your tenancity. You may also learn who your true friends are and those who are not. Just remember that only God knows what you’ve been through.

Only God knows the walk you’ve taken and the lessons you’ve learned. God knows your every move before you ever make it, and He knows the true story! Don’t let what other people think get you down! He sees and knows everything! People will judge you, people will talk. It’s normal and it’s to be expected because we are all sinners. Just be true to yourself. Ask for His forgiveness, and bless those who trespass against you. Love them despite their actions, just as God loves each one of us! Just as they do not know your walk, you do not know their walk either. Everyone has a story to tell. Many people hide their emotions by stuffing them deep inside themselves. The problem is that you can only stuff so much until it starts to overflow. When that happens, it starts to get raw.

When I was a kid, I always heard, “it will get worse before it gets better”, or “it will be better before you get married’, “every dark cloud, has a silver lining’….. Just hold on because it will get better! God has your back. Hold on because when you have your faith – you have everything! The best is yet to come! Just keep moving forward one day at a time! Hold your head high knowing the only love you need, is the love and respect of God!

 

No Turning Back

Signs Of A Life – Part IX

No Turning Back

After that agonizing decision has been made and you feel totally at peace with it, do not turn back! It took a lot of work to get you to the point where you are now. Why would you want to go back only to start all over again?

I realize that this may not be a fix-all solution and everyone is different and every situation is different, but there is something to be said for your tenacity. Once you come to the realization that there is no turning back, you will feel like you can tackle anything! I so believe in signs from God and if you are reading this post, maybe this is just the sign He wanted you to see.

Remember my post last month when I asked God if that was all He could do for me when I asked to receive a heart shaped rock as a sign? When He put in my path that next rock, I was in awe! Literally breathless. All I could do was shake my head, smile, and thank Him! Only God can do something like that!

God can move mountains and He will make a way when you think there is none. We just have to trust and believe in Him. His way might not seem perfect to you, but none of us have an all-knowing gift of knowledge. We are not mind readers and we can not predict the future. What I do know though, is that God directs our steps and we need to trust Him with our walk. He’s brought us this far, so if you are having doubts, take a deep breath and ask God to calm your anxiety and guide you.

We can only see what we see and know to be true. God though, He knows everything. He knows our thoughts before we think them. He knows our steps before we take our next. He is the only one that has the crystal ball. That crystal ball is the gateway to happiness and living an abundant life. The key thing to remember though, is that it is not always just about us. You see our life touches many other people and there is a ripple effect. Every action we take creates a chain reaction and God knows the ending and where the next wave will crash. So we have to learn to always look for the good in any situation and try to look past our immediate needs and suffering. Look for the good that may have come to someone else as a result of your discomfort. Do not fear though, God will give you something even better in return. Even if you are unsure of what will happen next. Relying on God to direct our steps is the only sure way to get to our next destination – God’s plan for us.

 

Traveling The Road Alone

“Signs of a Life” – Part VII

 

Rugged CrossingTraveling the road alone is not an easy task. In fact, it’s quite lonely. The road ahead is full of uncertainty, twists and turns, fog, and lots of pot holes. You tend to second doubt yourself all the time. Did I make the right decision? Am I crazy? What was I thinking?

I went from having that hug I needed, to having no one to hug. Someone to talk to, to echos in an empty house. I never really lived alone before and this was definitely taking its toll on me.

What did I do? Well, I dove into my church and made some of my own friends. I started holding more events for Young Living and built those relationships up even more as well. I then realized that some of those puzzle pieces were fitting into place and I was able to realize why God brought Young Living into my life. I met so many amazing friends. Friends which have and still help get me through the mud puddles of life. He knew what He was doing and I am so grateful for these relationships. In fact the woman behind this lens, is one of those ladies that I was able to share my complete story with and has inspired me to document my story.

You see, when we are in the moment, the road ahead doesn’t always show itself but we have to continue to move forward in faith and hope knowing that God’s light is just around the corner. When we look back, the path seems much clearer as those puzzle pieces have come together. It’s like you dropped the bread crumbs that you can look back on. Though you have no idea where you will be dropping the next piece of bread until you get there.

I realized that I was never really alone because I had God with me the whole time. Our relationship keeps growing stronger and stronger and I am so thankful for His presence. He has given me many signs throughout this time in my life. Be open to recognizing the signs He gives you as they come in many different forms. I’ll share some of those I received in my next blog….

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

Driving With Jesus In Faith

“Signs of a Life” – Part VI

Driving FaithWhen times get tough and I need to clear my head, I love to jump in the car and just drive. I play my spiritual playlist pretty loudly, and have been known to bang on the steering wheel a lot! I’m always looking for signs from God while I’m driving too. Heart shaped clouds and crosses show up pretty often. Even when they don’t though, God is with me always.

I remember not too long ago making one of the toughest decisions of my life. I wasn’t quite to a place of peace with this decision, and I think that is why it was so difficult. I had planned to take the road that many of us married couples take when things aren’t working out and decide to walk away. I had been at this point in my mind before many times, but never acted on it because of how badly I wanted it to work out. I didn’t believe my husband would make the change that he needed to make for his health and our marriage, but he did give it a try so I felt I owed it to both of us to give it yet one more try. Yet, I had heard before that this time would be different. I was so torn apart. Driving down the road talking with God and doubting this decision and trying to hear God’s voice telling me what to do. I wasn’t hearing anything, so I decided I was going to end it once and for all.

It was at that point that God’s voice spoke up! He told me to give it one more try. He also told me how to present this opportunity in conversation. God gave me the words to say. God gave me the strength to speak His Words. God gave me Hope. God gave us a second chance. God gave us a second chance.

Unfortunately, despite the desire and the attempt, it didn’t last two weeks. This confused me even more. After all, if this was God’s plan and He spoke the words to me to give it one more try. Why then did it not work out? I’m sure many of you run into situations like this yourself. Those unanswered prayers. Why God? Why did you have me take this road if you knew it wasn’t going to work?

Many people give up on God at times like this. I was able to look for the good. There is always good in everything that God has planned. Yes, sometimes, even the unanswered prayers are God’s greatest gift. I love that song by Garth Brooks! In my situation, God gave us the opportunity to realize that no matter how hard we try, somethings we can not change or are willing to change. God gave us the ability to know in our hearts that we gave it our all. Had we not taken that one last chance to make it right, we would have wondered what would have happened if we had tried.

God gave us Peace!

Then the struggle became real and God was there too giving us both strength to get through the storm that tore us apart. Behind every cloud though, there are blue skies. In life we will always have tough decisions we have to make. I urge you to turn to God always in Faith that He will make the path clear. Ask for His guidance and His Will to be done! Listen for that small soft voice in your head and follow His lead! With God you can’t go wrong!

 

Managing Stress

“Signs of a Life” – Part V

Learning to deal with my stress after the heart attack was no easy task. Before I was even able to get out of the house to talk to a therapist, I first had to learn how to manage my medicine and my blood pressure without getting stressed out. That was no easy task. Any little twinge or extra beat I felt would send me over the edge. Every extra beat would increase my stress, then the blood pressure went up, and that created anxiety. It was a snowball effect. I was checking my blood pressure every 5 minutes and that just made it worse. I didn’t want to be left alone, and I had my cardiologists number on speed dial. Luckily for me, he provided me with his number. We had to play with my prescription strength a little, and I learned to listen to some meditative music and just Be Still.

2019_04_08_2019_03_29_Narrative Project_2069__DSC0362It wasn’t long into my recovery when my daughter sent me some essential oils and a diffuser off of Amazon. At that point, I didn’t really know what essential oils were or how to use and why would I. So I started diffusing since I received a diffuser with the gift. Since then, I have learned just how important essential oils are when you are using a reputable company that you can trust to provide pure therapeutic grade oils without the toxins and chemicals most smaller companies produce to make their oils cheaper for distribution. If you are interested you can check out my site because now I share as much as I can how these oils and Young Living has helped change my life and my stress levels. (www.believeinessentials.com)

Here are some steps I took to help with my stress & anxiety, and suggest you give it a try:

  1. Talk with God. I now journal to God every day! My relationship with God has become much stronger and closer. I am now able to recognize His signs and soft small voice. He has told me time and time again that He has a plan for me. I just need to ‘Be Still’ and trust in Him.
  2. Listen to Meditative Music – Give Yoga a Try!
  3. Talk with a Therapist – sometimes just hearing yourself talk it out can help you come to terms with your triggers.
  4. Find your triggers and respond immediately. (Refer back to Part IV for recognizing your triggers)
  5. Invest in some grade A essential oils and do your research! These oils have helped to keep me grounded emotionally and spiritually. They have helped me sleep, given me courage, and helped me release the negative, accept what is, and to forgive. I diffuse the oils, I apply to my body, and I can even ingest oils from Young Living! It is now the first things I grab when I’m feeling stressed!
  6. Look around you and focus on finding the below. This is called grounding. It can help you when you feel like you have lost all control of your surroundings.
    • Find five things you can see
    • Find four things you can touch
    • Find three things you can hear
    • Find two things you can smell
    • and one thing you can taste
  7. One of the biggest things my therapist helped me with was having those difficult conversations with the ones you love that are hurting you and probably don’t even know it. That seems easy right, but I learned that the way I was having these conversations was not productive and only made matters worse. What I learned though is a technique that involved sandwiching the information together and not making them feel so defensive right out of the gate. Instead of finger pointing, or raising your voice and telling them they need to do this or that, etc. You calmly ask to talk to them as a friend. Tell them you don’t want them to get defensive because that’s not how you want the conversation to go. You simply want to let them know how it makes you ‘feel’ when they do xyz. Odds are, they do not want you to feel that way and they didn’t even realize. It opens up the conversation for some much needed dialogue and compromising without all the finger pointing and rants that you might be used to that only led to nowhere in the past. Give it a try – you won’t be sorry!

“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

 

 

Learn To Recognize Your Triggers

“Signs of a Life” – Part IV

Saving GraceAs you can imagine, hearing the nurse call for the paddles and being in the hospital for 10 nights was pretty traumatic. I wasn’t home for long before my doctor recommended I find someone to talk with to help me sort through my stress and anxiety. The first thing she wanted me to come to terms with was recognizing my trigger points. I didn’t know what a trigger point was until much later, but once I learned the meaning behind it, I quickly knew what my trigger was. The way it was explained to me is that it is the first feeling you have of anxiety.  For example, you are sitting quietly in the living room reading a book and someone in the kitchen drops a frying pan or shatters a glass. It’s that feeling right then and there that you feel. What is it for you? Where do you feel it? Do you feel a tightness in your chest? Or is it a sinking feeling in your stomach. How do you react? What do you do?  Think about it for a second and the next time that happens pay close attention and you will learn with your trigger is.

For me, I feel a tightness in my chest and when I am really stressed I then find myself rubbing my hand over my chest to help calm myself. I do this sometimes without even realizing it. When I do, I do eventual realize I am now able to recognize this as my trigger and a sign of anxiety that I need to deal with immediately.  I then just start breathing deeply and talk to myself and God to get reassurance from Him that everything will be okay. Positive words and prayers of affirmation is the first thing I do. I close my eyes and quiet the room and try to feel the presence of God’s embrace. God has told me repeatedly to ‘Be Still’. I’ve taken this to simply mean, to Be Still in his presence, to stop striving for my will, and start embracing His Will and plan for my life. For Only God knows our next move and what is best for us! He wants us to live an abundant life.

“Be still and know that I am God,”  ~ Psalm 46:10

As time has gone by, this practice is all I really need to follow in order to calm myself and quiet my anxieties, but there was a time when this was not enough.  There are other ways to handle our stress and I’ll be sharing next several ways I learned to deal with mine and hope that it will help you!

Be Still

Do You Know Who Your Guardian Angels Are?

“Signs of a Life” – Part III

2019_04_08_2019_03_29_Narrative Project_1932__DSC0225During my recovery in the hospital, I also learned that God is not the only one watching over me from above. When I was in and out of sleep after my heart attack, I went into a dream state where I saw three individuals sitting on a bench much like this one. Except, the bench was just above my bed sitting in the clouds and I could see many silhouettes of people, whom I believed to be angels in the distance. I could see the sides of the first two gentleman closest to me as they were sitting there just waiting. I recognized right away the first man was my father. He looked exactly like he did back in the 70’s with his long sideburns, yet he could not look down at me. The second man, a bit taller than my dad, was my stepfather. He was looking over my dad and down on me with such a loving, yet concerned, look. The third man, I could not see, but somehow I just knew in my heart it was my grandfather. That surprised me more than anything, because for so long I thought my grandmother was one of my guardian angels. Oh, I’m sure she’s still looking down and watching, but this would be the second time now that my grandfather has come to me in a dream just like this and the only time I have dreamed about him since his death.

There is something to be said about the power of three and this holds true for me as well. Three has always been my lucky number and a number I gravitate to. I love to give three kisses good night or goodbye – one is never enough!  One night when I was so stressed out, I felt the presence of someone sitting on my bed behind me three times. It was as if one person sat down and got up, and then another, and then yet another. I swore someone was there; but every time I looked, there was no one. I was awake and it kinda freaked me out a little. Eventually, I just brushed it aside and thought it must be my grandmother checking in on me. After this dream in the hospital though, I now know it was my three guardian angels blessing me and letting me know everything was going to be alright.

Do you know who your guardian angels are? How do they show up to you? Some leave dimes, some show up as butterflies, feathers, hearts. Our loved ones find many ways to show us they are still among us and with us. Never fear for they are still very near! This dream I had in the hospital, it was very real and I no longer have fear of dying. I know my loved ones will be with me one day and we will all meet on the other side – the never ending journey with God!

God Has A Plan For Each Of Us

“Signs of a Life” – Part II

Jeremiah 32:11

As I heard the nurse calling for the paddles, I remember screaming in my head, “God, I’m not ready to die!”  The next thing I remember is grabbing at my face because I couldn’t breathe. As I came to, my nurse was getting off of me and so many people were in my room in a panic of chaos. It was then I realized I did not die, but now things really got serious and things didn’t look so good!

Over the next several days I was watched around the clock and I realized that God definitely had a plan for me. Jeremiah 29:11 eventually became a Sign from God and my favorite verse in the Bible.

“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.”

Follow the LightWhile God never promised us life would be easy, He did say He would be right there with us guiding us and holding us by our right hand. He did this for me that I am certain. There are times in life when God just has to take control. He realizes we need a break and sometimes forces us to do so! That’s what He did for me and I will be forever grateful.

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

Not only did I change through self-development, but my experience also helped change the course of how leadership at my job manages their projects and their teams now. If my experience helped even just one other person, it was all worth it! Since then, I am no longer intimated by anyone. I take life as it comes and know that God always has a better plan than I do. His timing is all that matters. If something doesn’t work out the way I planned, I am thankful that His plan will be much greater than I ever imagined. Trust me, I’m human and sometimes it does take me a little while to swallow my disappointment, but it doesn’t take long before God shows His hand and I am moving forward with much anticipation and excitement of what comes next in this journey with Him by my side!

 

 

It’s Not Worth It!!!

“Signs of a Life” – Part I

Under Pressure

 

Much like many people, I’m sure I’m not alone when I say I’ve lived a stressful life. We all face stress. Stress comes to all of us in many ways and we all deal with stress and react to stress  differently.  For me, I thought I handled it really well. I was strong during the moment when I needed to be for me and my family, though when I was alone I would break down for moment of release. I would recover and do it all over again time after time. I thought I could handle anything.

As a young teen, I watched my mother suffer five years of her life through a nervous breakdown and never knew if my mom would survive that ordeal. Thank God, she did as God had a plan for her. He miraculously healed her when the doctors gave up on her. You can read about her miraculous healing in our first book, “Signs from God” that we published in 2014 and made available on Amazon.  My mother has an amazing story, and while her story will always be a part of mine, my story has allowed us to expand our purpose even further. As you can imagine, watching your mother suffer something so traumatic as this, it makes you grow up fast and you have to learn how to handle that stress. This is where it all started for me at a young age.

At the age of 53, my stress level hit its peak and I broke!  On April 27, 2016, I went to work like any other day, but this day I was managing a difficult project. In fact, one of the biggest projects my team had worked before. We were getting oversight from our upper management team and leadership and we were taking the brunt of the project’s failure due to issues outside of our control. I knew my team and I were doing everything we possibly could, but we were already set up to fail when this project was incorrectly solutioned.  This particular day, I was in a meeting with someone that intimidated me so bad and I was so frustrated because he was not listening to me. When I am made to feel like my opinion doesn’t matter, I clam up. I think that is probably a normal response, and many people do the same thing. Some people might just brush that off and forget about it, but I let it fester, and over the course of several hours it built up so much that I found myself heading to the hospital to be checked out that evening!

The results were positive and they admitted me. I was there for ten long nights with lots more stress and anxiety to follow. Along with cardiac arrest, tests, and even a pump inserted up to my heart to relieve it from having to do all the work. This experience changed my life in so many ways. Some of which I will share with you in this series of blogs!

How do you handle your stress?  Do you internalize it or do you release it? I’ve learned it’s important to understand your triggers. So give that some thought as we move through this series together!

 

As I Look Back I Thank God For Everyday!

“Signs of a Life”  – Welcome

So It BeginsAs I sit back and look over the past three and half years, I thank God every single day for giving me a second chance. I used to think I was so strong that I could handle any situation. I used to think I could help everyone simply because I wanted to. I used to think that I could help people become better people. I used to think I could make a difference. Now, I understand so much more of the bigger picture. It’s not all about you and me. We are such a small piece of the puzzle in God’s masterpiece. Think about it, without every piece to the puzzle the picture is never complete. Things happen for a reason and we cannot change anyone. We can only change our reaction to the situations we are placed in.

The older I get, the more I am seeing the puzzle pieces come together. Like a book has its Chapters; a Play has its Parts; and, a Series has its Seasons. Life too has its Parts, Chapters, and is a series of events that must happen before we can see for ourselves the amazing never-ending Life God has in store for us all. He never promised it was going to be easy and that we wouldn’t experience heartache or pain. Though, I can say that every mountain I’ve had to climb has given me strength and determination to face the next mountain knowing that God will be there to guide me and pull me to safety every single time.

This Spring, I was honored to have been asked to become the subject of a photo-journal storyboard project from an acquaintance at the time. She has since become a very good friend, and I will cherish the memories we shared during this project for the rest of my life and I know we will continue to grow our friendship for a long time. This opportunity was very enlightening to me as she shared with me recently how she was able to capture my story. Seeing her interpretation through her lens was amazing. She named her project, “Signs of a Life”. Seeing how she was able to capture the past three years of my life in photos was a true testament to her God-given talent. To hear how I touched her life was such a heart-warming feeling, it gives me chills now and left me speechless as I turned the pages of the book.

I would like to share this story and her interpretation with all of you if you are interested in following along. I experienced a heart attack in 2016 and God gave me another chance. He opened my eyes, my desires, and my realizations that I deserve more! That Chapter of my life has ended, and I am facing a new and exciting Chapter that will be a page turner for sure. God gave me a talent and a dream to write, and lately He has been after me to share my story and my love of God and how He works in my life so that I can be a light to others. Heidi has given me a unique way of sharing. You will be able to feel my story through her photos and my words.

I encourage you to follow along – you won’t be sorry!