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.

 

When We Have Doubts

Signs of a Life – Part VIII

Choices

 

How many times have you made a decision, acted on it, and then started doubting your decision and yourself all together? Making some of our biggest life-changing decisions are very hard to do; painstaking in fact! We overthink about it. We cry about it. We talk to others and gain advice. We talk to God. We get counseling. We make our list of pros and cons. Despite all of the steps we take and the support we gain, we still doubt our decision. We wonder and question ourselves over and over as to whether this was God’s plan for us. Why would God let us go through such pain?

It’s the lessons we learn as we walk through these tough times that make us stronger. He is making us stronger and better individuals all the time. He tests our abilities and our weaknesses and then builds us up. What I’ve learned through this entire decision making process is simply to trust God. Yes, I’ve had my doubts; and yes, I’ve cried many tears. Through it all though, I did learn to trust God and listen for His small soft voice in my head. The hardest part was learning how to decipher His voice, your thoughts, and the devil that is always trying to bully us and gain our attention. It took me a while, but I learned that if my decision does not bring me a feeling of peace and certainty, then it is not the right decision. You see, God gives us peace!

“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

In my circumstance, I had to give it yet one more try. Despite the many attempts in the past, broken promises, and yes, even lies, I had to give it one more try in order to feel at peace with my decision. Did that delay my progress? Yes, maybe a little but it left me feeling confident in what had to be done next. It allowed me to make my list of to-do’s and start crossing them off one by one and feeling proud of my accomplishments and confident in my decision.

I must say though, even after the dust settled, I still started doubting myself again. It’s a constant battle that we all must fight. When you are feeling that self-doubt, I encourage you to turn to God and He will help you get your heart back in alignment with His Plan and the peace He has in store for you will come. However you talk with God, whether it be silently in your thoughts, journaling, or spoken prayer, His hand is right there for the taking. You just have to reach out! Ask for His guidance, His strength, His love, His courage, His healing, His forgiveness; ask and believe it is yours!

“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” ~ Mark 11:24

 

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!

It’s All About Faith!

Many years ago, a baby girl was conceived unbeknownst to her Daddy. A daddy who, at the time, was only a young teenager. Her mommy was forced to put the baby up for adoption. They did what they had to do to get the adoption to go through without the father’s signature and this beautiful little girl was adopted. We all have a story to tell, and I believe Faith has an amazing story of courage, love, faith, and respect – despite everything she’s been through.

Fast forward 20 years, and with all the talk about DNA testing and DNA Ancestory, Faith decided to give God a chance to answer her prayers. Prayers that maybe one day she would be able to find maybe a brother or sister or even a cousin. She had no idea of what the results would turn up, but she desperately wanted to feel like she belonged to a family.

I couldn’t be more excited to share with you all this beautiful picture of my brother and the daughter he always wanted and never knew about!  I haven’t seen him smile this much. She has brought so much laughter and sunshine into our lives in such a short period of time. Faith now has a true sense of family and belonging like she’s never felt before. This is definitely not the end of her story and I’ve hardly scratched the surface of what could definitely be a movie in the making!  As you can see from the picture, Faith, is the spitting image of her father and the similiarities we are finding between her and all of us is mind boggling to say the least!

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God always has a plan and we just have to trust in his timing.

We are all ecstatic that the time is now, but we have alot of catching up to do!

“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