Sunday, November 16, 2014

How Faithful Are You?

When I sat down to write this post, several instances played in my mind; moments in my life that I look back on remembering how I handled them WITHOUT faith. The most prominent one that came to mind was when I became pregnant the summer after high school graduation at the young age of 17. Several people around me... especially family members were extremely disappointed and told me that I had ruined my chances of ever being successful in life. 

When I needed those who were close to me the most, backs were turned away and noses turned up. At this time in my life, I did not believe in God, my faith had been damaged as a child when my sister Teresa was killed, so I did not turn in that direction. I remember simply taking all the negative things people said about my situation and turning that into drive, passion and an undying motivation and desire to show them that they were all wrong; that's all I had to go with at the time so I went on a mission to MAKE things happen. Prior to finding out I was having a child, I was on a path of destruction, drinking every weekend and most nights when I came home from work. I had dreams and goals and had worked since the age of 13... but at the rate I was going achieving those goals may have been hindered by poor choices and sadness that was swirling deep inside me, so that pregnancy was a blessing disguised as an obstacle.

Fast forwarding my life to a year after Cierra was born... I was now a single mom who owned a salon and had purchased my first home, I was proud of this and felt I was well on my way but constantly struggled; everything came the hard way. When she was 2, I married her father but after only two years our marriage ended... another painful road block that left me sad, I felt unwanted and unworthy of love. I was led back to drinking and going out on the weekends trying to find a "guy" to fill the void in my life that I was feeling. After several failed attempts of meeting and dating that "awesome" guy, I was left with a broken heart and the thought that it would never happen for me. I was a young mom and simply felt that nobody would want me and my "baggage" so I threw myself deeper into my career and looked to drinking when I felt that emptiness. Then... I decided on a whim that in order to have a better life I needed to get out of the small town I was in and start anew, so I packed up and moved to Tampa, on a leap of chance knowing only one person who lived there.

It turned out to be a good move in the long run for my life and certainly my career, but over the past 15 years of being here I have had many struggles, have had 3 more children, another divorce and a failed long term relationship. I have hit several dead ends and learned many more hard lessons. It seemed for so long that no matter how many steps forward I took... there were always more steps back. There were many times when I wanted to just give up. Luckily that burning desire of wanting to prove that I can do it still lives inside of me. 

Back in 2005 when my faith was renewed, life as I knew it changed dramatically. It was not that I stopped struggling or that everything from that point on was "peachy", but when I hit those walls, when I was in the storm, I knew that I did not have to do it alone. In fact... all that I have to do is ask God to take over... to hop in that driver's seat and take all my worry. pain and sadness away. Miraculously, He does and I feel at peace. What I give back to Him is to utilize all the talents and drive He gave me in every way that I can, to keep Him in my heart and to share with others my journey. In my mind, that is the role I am to fill in this game called life, the rest I give to Him.

It is hard for me to imagine trying to get through all of the obstacles of everyday life without faith now, and I am baffled that I survived it for so many years. I am SO thankful that no matter how long I had my back turned on Him... that God never gave up on me.

I have had people ask me how I do it... how I can just hand it over to the "big guy" and not concern myself with worry of  how everything is going to turn out. I guess all I can say is that once you have a circumstance where you have nothing left, when your own efforts are exhausted and you truly have no choice but to surrender it all... you won't be able to understand. I was in that place... I had that moment and that is when God showed me His true grace. He brought a non-believer back to faith... TRUE faith and since then, every time I feel defeated, worried or pained, I quickly remind myself of the day He showed up in my life, showed me He was real, took it all away and solved the problem at hand. Because of that I do not stay swallowed up in worry, sadness or pain; I know how to find that peace.

So how faithful are you? Many people talk the talk and say that they are faithful Christians, that they "believe", yet they are walking around worried, sad, angry, pained and defeated without that feeling of peace in heir heart. It is SO hard to fully trust in something that you cannot see... I get it, I was once that person, but I promise you that once you have experienced what can happen when you just GIVE IT TO GOD you will always have your place to turn, and are left with unbelievable comfort. You will believe because you will FEEL it...  I know that seeing is NOT the only way to believing. 

Today... I want you to take whatever worry you have, take whatever is ailing you and ask God to take it .... then believe with your whole heart that He can and will. Cry out for help, be specific in your request and then wait, for God's timing is the best kind. Allow that weight you feel right now to be lifted off your shoulders and let Him carry it. After many years of trying to find that "awesome man" that would fill a void... I can happily say that I found Him and His are the most loving arms I have ever been wrapped in.

I truly appreciate ALL of you.... I hope that you can take something from this post today and that you don't just think I am trying to push something on you that you don't want to believe. I am sharing... not judging. I am letting you know how I do it... so take from it what you will and I hope you find peace in your storms.



Until next time...

xoxo

Shells


                                                   
                                                          

















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