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

 

Turn Off The Noise, Turn Up The Love #ChangeTheWorld #HappyIndependenceDay

Noise. There’s so much noise out there, so much negativity, unfairness, and complete darkness. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by it and worst of all to actually believe in its all consuming nature. Hope, love, and faith have become overshadowed, like those ideals are things of fairy tales. But they are just as real as disappointments, despair, and hate. It’s “easier” or at least perceived to be by most, to expect the worst and be shocked by the best. Like good things are miracles of a lifetime and everyone is out to hurt us. Thus we live on guard constantly. We build walls upon walls around our beautiful hearts. We are the ones that put ourselves in dark places. When we peer out from behind our walls we are shocked to find no light or a dim one at best murmuring to ourselves, “I knew it! This is why I hide here in my self-made dungeon. It’s safer here.” Even though we forget we are the fools that put ourselves there.

We allow ourselves to be ruled by pain and fear instead of love and hope. Pain leaves deep gashes in our hearts but once we stop allowing the ache of our wounds to control us and allow the love in we can feel loved deeper than before our heart was wounded. Sometimes we get too busy holding onto the cold darkness of pain that we don’t allow the warm comfort of love in. Be brave. Find a way to let it in.

We live the same way (not giving too much of ourselves to the world) and wonder why nothing changes. We complain about “the problems” without giving thought to a loving solution. It’s easier to run our mouths instead of moving our hands. And for those that are moved to action sometimes it seems like an uphill battle. Don’t give up. Keep fighting the good fight.

As we think of today, our Independence Day, it’s time for us to fight again like our forefathers did. We live in a country of freedom but we choose whether it’s the freedom to be ruled by oppressive weight of negativity or the freedom to go against the grain and turn our country into one filled with respect, compassion, and love. It’s glaringly obvious that a large root of our “problems” stems from a lack of love. It’s time for us to make a change. The solution starts with a smile, a prayer, a hug, or any act of kindness. No good act is ever too small to start a positive change.

We get what we give. We have to expect more to get more.

It’s time we start giving goodness, expecting greatness, and leaving the light of love wherever we go.

For as I’ve seen darkness, I’ve seen light, love, and goodness. Light trumps the dark every time. Love is greater. And I know this because I’ve lived it. I know this because I’m reminded daily of the miracles in my life—the friends who send silly messages to make me laugh when I’m down, the stranger who holds the door open, the hugs received that warm me from the outside in. Love is alive. Hope is alive. Let’s open our eyes to see it, our hearts to feel it, and our hands to start sharing it freely.

Remember:

Miracles happen every day, big and small.

Never give up on your always and forever.

And don’t stop fighting the good fight.

#LoveHugsAndSunshine #HappyIndependenceDay #GiveLove #ChangeTheWorld #ShareTheLove #WarriorsOfLove #DontGiveUp