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When Hard Times Give You Strength

When Hard Times Give You Strength

It's been a little over 2 months since the death of my youngest sister, Jorja.  The daily cries have stopped, but there's still this void in my heart that feels at times like it is raw and gaping open. I'm not sure how or when or if it will ever close and just be OKAY.  I often feel her presence and I know in my heart she is okay and watching over all of us that miss her so much.My brother Jason and I were asked to speak at her funeral.  I didn't know HOW we were going to make it through that and find the words to adequately honor her, but I knew we would. With a lot of divine help, we did.Exactly one week before her passing, I prepared to leave my home in Alabama to fly across the country at her invitation and request' for her siblings to come see her for "one last party."  I didn't really think about packing something to wear to her funeral, let alone speak at her funeral. In fact, it didn't occur to me at all.  I was pretty numb and heartbroken and scared and sick to my stomach as I threw clothes in my suitcase with my one-way ticket in hand.  I had to shop for something to wear on the morning Jason and I would stand together, look out at an audience of hundreds of people, and speak to those who came to honor her and support her family.  I normally love shopping.  This time I just felt sick about it.  It felt so trivial and unimportant.  I wanted to feel confident in how I looked as I faced the task at hand.  I say task, but it really was a sacred, humbling experience that stretched me in ways that only God could stretch me.A couple weeks later, after returning home, I was getting dressed for church.  I looked in my closet, teary eyed, wondering how I was going to make it through the church service.  I found myself reaching for the outfit I wore to my sister's funeral. I put it on and looked in the mirror.  I felt an incredible peace come over me, and then I heard this thought come to my mind and heart:  "If you can stand in front of hundreds of people at Jorja's funeral and speak, you can stand in front of ANY audience and speak."Those words came directly from God because there's NO WAY I would come up with that!!  I thought about the upcoming retreats I had scheduled for the year so far.  Suddenly I realized that I had nothing to fear because I had ALREADY given the most difficult talk I had ever given.  My sweet sister continues to bless my life and support me, even through her passing.  How can someone be so amazing?I recently flew to New Jersey where I attended the first business retreat where I was invited to speak.  I knew exactly what I was going to pack in my suitcase for that talk - my Jorja outfit.  I stood there in front of my audience with confidence and inner strength that outshone any hint of fear.  I showed up, shared the message I was meant to share, and felt my sister smiling down on me.What difficult or impossible life experiences have strengthened you?  Is there pain from your past that is keeping you from moving forward and finding peace, happiness and confidence?  You have an important purpose and message.  Is it hiding behind pain, anger, anxiety, fear, or self-doubt, just waiting to be discovered?   My team and I are here to support you in moving forward so that you too can stand in confidence in front of your audience, no matter how big or small, and show up with love and light and a message that will lift and inspire others. 

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