My Confessions: Fighting the “Impossible” and Danny Gokey Fangirling #MondayMotivation #DontGiveUp

Confession. Sometimes I feel like a lone soldier fighting for “impossible” dreams. I’m constantly battling the world I see with my eyes and the world I see with my heart. It’s a relentless war of trying to share, prove, and show to others and myself that there’s more beneath the surface. There’s great hope in our future.

When I was awakened by my adorable yet persistent dog at some ridiculous hour this morning, between the whining (from both him and myself) I climbed out of bed with a consistent thought on repeat in my sleepy head, “I know the plans of I have for you, plans for hope and a future.” Now that’s not the exact verse verbatim from the Bible, you can read the whole verse in Jeremiah 29:11 if you’re interested.

First of all, when I wake up in the wee hours of the morning my brain typically is not filled with thoughts other than, “if I don’t move maybe he’ll stop whining and go back to sleep.” (By the way, that rarely ever happens. He knows when I’m awake.) As I stood at the door waiting for my old pup to do his business and come back in side, the thought kept repeating in my brain like a broken record, “I know the plans I have for you, plans for hope and a future.” Well that’s all fine and wonderful but why do I keep hearing this? Especially at four o’clock in the morning when I should be sleeping.

After waking up at a more suitable hour that included coffee and breakfast, I finished reading an amazing book and I think I’m starting to get the message.

Since hitting publish on How I Learned to Shine Again, I’ve been pulled back into the not so fun places of sadness and loneliness. Also, all of the little issues with getting the paperbacks out (to no fault of my designers or my own) has been incredibly frustrating. (And I’m still fighting that battle.) I’ve come to learn when I get in those low places, I have to reach out and find ways to help myself work through the feelings and re-ignite my fire again. Sometimes it involves spending time with my peoples, reading the Bible, listening to music, taking a walk, or writing, but it always includes lots and lots of prayer. This time I think I prayed so much God had to be thinking, “I know, I know. Chill out.” Okay so He probably wasn’t thinking that but I’m telling you if I wasn’t sleeping, I was praying.

I went through my usual “How to Make Michelle Feel Better” checklist but still the funk held on. Every time I’d get close to kicking it, it would return at full force. When this happens it steals my focus from my work and throws it back to my obstacles. It’s difficult to be creative and to move forward when you’re stuck on the negative. And I was really stuck, but I was trying. I still am.

The Friday after my book released I had the wonderful opportunity to see Danny Gokey in concert and even got to meet him! It was just this last spring that I even “discovered” him and his music. (I know. I’m totally late to the party.) His song, “Tell Your Heart to Beat Again” came on one of my Pandora stations and left me in tears–the emotions, the words, the music–everything about it felt like me. I downloaded his albums and realized his music is the soundtrack to my heart. It perfectly captures the feelings of my life since losing Chris–the pain and the hope. In writing my book, those songs allowed me to transport myself back and forth from the tough memories to the hope in my heart. And while wrapping up final edits, his latest song, “Rise” gave me the extra push I needed to kick the self-doubt and rally to finish it.

In case you want to check out the songs…

Also, I started following him on social media. I cannot tell you how much his posts with his beautiful wife and adorable children remind me to not give up on the dreams in my heart, to not give up on my always and forever. As humans we need to see real life moments and victories to help strengthen our hope and faith for our future.

While at the concert I realized he wrote a book so of course I HAD to buy it. Again totally late to the game here. I was disappointed that I didn’t have a copy of my book to give him because I’d written about how his music helped me. I’d planned all along to give him a copy, but you know life–things don’t always go as planned. Regardless, I was still super excited to meet him!

14915210_10100263470694919_6084696830045117188_nThis morning, I finished his book, Hope in Front of Me. I read about his struggles, his loss of his wife, and his journey. The love and respect I already carried for him grew even deeper while at the same time it felt as if I was reading my own words–my own story from a different view. I had several, Holy crap! I talk about that in my book, too kind of moments. It wasn’t until the end of the book–those last few chapters the tears hit me.

I was reminded I’m not the lone soldier fighting the good fight of “impossible” dreams, trying to find ways to instill hope, comfort, and healing in the hands of those who need it most. I’m not the only person who’s endured these struggles.

Of course I know that. I know I’m not the only one who has suffered but in reading his victories–personal and professional and the “real life” obstacles that accompany them it allowed me to push away the barrier of isolation again. It allowed my heart to believe it.

I know I’m not the only one with a mission in my heart that people don’t always understand. I know I’m not the only one who doesn’t feel ready for what my heart is calling me to do. I know all of these things and more but just like seeing your life in black and white makes the pain and loss undeniably real it also makes the love, hope, and healing incredibly real. It reminds us what seems impossible isn’t always the case.

I needed to read that book just like I needed to wake up with that broken record thought spouting hope for my future. I don’t understand how or when but I know the dreams in my heart will happen. I’m not stuck, I’m still moving forward even if I don’t always know where the next step is going to land me.

And so are you. Sometimes it feels like nothing is happening and we’re stuck in the troubles of today while worrying that the what if’s of tomorrow are only going to make things worse. I know how hard it is to put faith and hope into the good possibilities of our future and I’ve seen and felt first hand miracles in my own life. How easily we forget miracles. How quickly we believe we’ve already received our life allotment of magical moments. I’m going to keep believing in my always and forever’s (that’s right I’ve got more than one dream.) I hope you find it in your heart to keep hoping and moving towards yours.

If you’re interested in Danny Gokey’s book, here’s the Amazon link–> Hope in Front of Me

And remember never give up on your always and forever.

#MondayMotivation #DontGiveUp #BookLove #MyConfessions


Control, Anxiety, and my Soapbox #MyConfessions #Feelings #GiveUpControl

I’ve been in a funk lately, my emotions have been all over the place these last few weeks AND I haven’t been able to figure out what is going on with me (over and above the obvious.) When I can’t figure something out I get really annoyed. I keep trying to dig inside my feelings box and figure out what’s happening with me, but sometimes all of those feelings get tangled up and it’s hard to figure out what the actual issue is.

I’ve been praying, mulling it over it in my mind, and talking to my peoples but finally it hit me. Last night as I was talking to a friend baffled as to why I’ve been feeling anxious and overwhelmed the answer rolled out of my mouth, “I’m trying to control my feelings. Crap. There it is!” *insert eye roll and sigh of relief/agitation*

I looked down beneath my feet at my soapbox, the one that says, “We need to feel more, control less.” Talk about feeling like a hypocrite! One of the things I feel called to help people with—the task of giving ourselves permission to feel and then actually doing it, I wasn’t even doing! This is the part where I start getting really judgy with myself but I only let that last for a few minutes, because I had to forgive myself for not taking my own medicine and then swallow that pill.

Do you know why I’m compelled to help people see how attempting to control their emotions is hurting them? Because I know what it’s like. I know how attempting to put my feelings in a box somewhere hurts me. When I try to put those feelings away, it works momentarily but then the anxiety builds because I haven’t allowed those feelings to move through me and move on.

Letting those emotions move through you isn’t easy and they often hit at the most inconvenient of times, but we still have to allow them to pass through our hearts so they don’t get stuck there. This means we have to let the not so fun emotions like sadness or loneliness pass through. Those are the two I try to fight the most. I’ve tried to pray them away but I’m thinking that’s the wrong approach. Instead of praying them away, I’m going to pray for the strength to process them and let them move through me.

I’m a positive person, but being a positive person doesn’t mean I don’t feel the darker emotions from time to time. Instead it’s finding the place of balance. It’s knowing that life isn’t always sunshine and rainbows just like it isn’t always doom and gloom. Being a positive person is about being authentic and striving to live in a place of balance. It’s living in a place of hope.

It’s being able to understand that feelings come in waves, continuously changing. We have the choice to try to put up a wall to keep the waves out (not really the best idea), to let the waves drown us (again not really the most fun), or to swim through them feeling all the motion they contain which ultimately moves us closer to shore.

I say let’s be swimmers. When we get to shore I’m going to hop back up on my soapbox and you can hop on yours, whatever important plight that may be. I’m going to allow myself to feel today. I’m going to throw my hands up as I ride the emotional roller coaster remembering that God’s in control and He’s got it covered.

Our emotions are a tool but we must feel them in order to understand how to use them. We can harness them for good, for healing, or for comfort. I firmly believe there’s always a purpose—a purpose to our pains, a purpose to our joys. But most importantly, YOU have a purpose. Let those feelings move through you so you can move others with them!


#DontGiveUp #MyConfessions #GiveUpControl #FeelMoreControlLess