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

 

Somehow the Light Gets in #GriefReflections #Gratitude #AugustBirthdayBabes

August is a month filled with the birth of so many amazing people in my life both past and present. Today we celebrate one of my favoritest people, my mama and next week is Chris’s birthday. I’ve been a little mopey this week. Getting back into the groove of teaching and all of my peeps busy with other commitments, I’ve spent more time than usual at home.

Even so, I’ve accomplished some super cool things this week and made some plans that even when I tell people about them I think how is this my life?! In a positive way. 😉 With all this alone time I start to reflect on all the amazing people who were born in August, who’ve changed my life, AND all the ways my heart has (and continues to) change. Taking a few moments to think on the people in your life who make it better will fill your heart with gratitude, or at least it always does mine.

The last two years I begrudgingly waited and endured the final week of August and the dawn of September. Why? Because of birthdays. Those reminders on the calendar that come September I’m getting older and come August 31st Chris isn’t. I used to think I would never get over this, the pain in my heart would never let up, and I’d always despise this time of year when it once brought me such joy. I truly believed, down in my soul that I would never embrace another birthday with pure joy rather than obligation. I was wrong. I’m so SO happy I was wrong.

The bittersweet remains when I think of Chris’s birthday but there’s a difference between that feeling and the feeling of intense dread and sorrow. I’m so grateful those feelings have fled my heart. I’m not saying this to brag, I’m sharing this because if you feel this way (full of dread and sorrow) know it won’t last forever. Put your hope in knowing one day your heart will change. When it has had ample time to mend, things WILL change.

There are so many things happening in my life—opportunities and wonderful people that remind me of how far I’ve come and where I’m going. I’m so thankful God has put all these puzzle pieces together. I’ve managed to do things I’d never thought I could and prove that nagging negative voice in my head wrong. You can do the same. You have the same “powers” that I do.

Life is truly one grand adventure filled with all sorts of hurts and healing, setbacks and successes. The more you learn to find the happy in the everyday the more fulfilling your life will be. I’m grateful for a mom, who’s always taught me to put on my shades and find the sun through the clouds. And who reminds me to always be a brave little soldier and never give up.

I’m passing those lessons on to you. My life has become a testimony that it’s possible to beat the sorrows of life and those lessons are legit real deal life occurrences. Crap is always going to be slung your way. The real winners find the best ways to dodge it or clean it off when it hits them. No matter how dark things may be remember somehow, someway, the light always gets in. Open your eyes and see it.

May your last few days of August be filled with love, hugs, and sunshine! To all my August birthday babes, it’s been a great month and I’m so glad you were born, even if the coolest people are born in September! 😉 <3

#NeverGiveUpOnYourAlwaysAndForever #GriefReflections #LoveHugsAndSunshine #AugustBirthdayBabes