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The Power of Choice

power of choice

As a young girl I didn’t realize that my thoughts created my reality.   Years later, as I look back in time, I was often a victim.   Yes, there were circumstances that contributed to this way of thinking, but I was in the dysfunctional emotional triangle.

It is so easy to fall into the triangle of dysfunction.   There are three roles:

  • The Victim: thoughts of poor me, why do they treat me this way, life is always hard, actions that demonstrate feeling unworthy, and the world is against you.
  • The Savior: thoughts of I can save them, they need my help, I need to rescue the situation, actions that demonstrate a sense of urgency at every corner, helping put out fires and acting like superwoman/man in every situation.
  • The Persecutor: thoughts of why did they do that, they caused the problem, it was all their fault, at every corner this person plays the blame game.

Do you see a theme here?   Emotionally driven reactions.     When we are in this triangle we cannot see the situation for what it is.     I was in this triangle for most of my life.   How exhausting hey?   But when you are use to a state of drama in your life, that’s what gravitates towards you on a continual basis.

This leads me to the power of choice.   We all have the power to choose a reaction, and a state that is different.  I have heard people say that I have always been this way, that’s just me, can’t change.   I will respectfully disagree, because we all have the power to choose a different response.   The power of choice is an amazing thing.

There was a moment in my life where everything shifted, and I realized that I had the power to move forward or the power to become a victim of my circumstances.  This occurred when I almost lost my life.    My injury was one that 10% of those people that have the injury survive and live a life where they are able to function normally.   Odds totally against me right?  WRONG.

My choice was to believe in something beyond all of our understanding, to trust in Him completely and move forward in His grace.    Looking back it was a scary time, so much unknown.   I am not free from physical pain, but I choose to believe in the best outcome.  My fracture in my neck never healed or fused completely, but I choose a life that is full.

Every moment of every day I choose to see the good.   There are times where the old habits catch me a bit, and I fall back in for a few moments, but I pull myself back out.    The power of choice is an amazing thing.

YOU my friend have the power to choose the good before the bad, to move forward in your life and create your own silver lining in every circumstance.    What you put out there in life comes full circle.  Do you choose to project the good?   Because I am telling you once you remove the drama, and the emotional dysfunction, life becomes sooooo good.

 

May you be blessed my friend, and know you have the power inside of you in every moment.

~Ness

A Letter of Love to My Boys

a letter of lovePerspective is everything.    All we have is NOW.   It is the response we choose to this life that makes all of the difference.    I have been very blessed to be given two little beautiful gifts in this life, along with a best friend and husband.    We don’t know when it is time to meet our Maker, and I have been thinking lately, if I left tomorrow, what would I want to say to my boys.   I am not the perfect parent by any means, but over the course of this life thus far, these are a few of the lessons I would leave.

A letter to my Beautiful Boys

I don’t know how long I will be here, but I want you to both know how much I love you.   Being your mother has been the greatest gifts in my life (aside from having a wonderful husband and my best friend your dad).

I often wish I could tell you everything I have in my head, and transfer everything I have seen to protect you from hurt or sadness.  But this is one of the greatest things in our lives, is learning and living.  We will stumble yes, but it is how we choose to respond to the moments that make all of the difference.  Learning to love myself from the inside out was one of my most difficult journeys.  Love for self is one of the most important pieces in this life.   You have to realize your strengths and your unique giftings in this world – and realize there is only one of you. Do not envy what others have.  Be comfortable right where you are. You are perfectly made from the inside out and it is your journey to figure this out. You were beautifully made, from the beginning of time by God.    I am far from perfect, and what I have learnt the most in this life, is love yourself and show others the same love you give yourself.

Here are some thoughts that I wanted to bring together so that you can think of these things when you go up and down the hills in this life.  

  • Love yourself, realize you are beautifully made. And yes we will hear things from others  – they may not like who we are or what we are made to be.   This world is full of differences.   Make sure that what you allow to go through your ears is the truth, do not create a fiction based story. The truth always comes from a place of love – not jealousy or envy.    You can control what voices you allow in and what ones you push out.  Remember this.   You have control of your thoughts.
  • If a friend does something for you, or even sends you a nice note or text, thank them for it. Genuine gratefulness has the ability to create ripple effects.   It is like dropping a rock in the water and then all of the ripples go outward.   Remember a kind word, or thank-you makes all the difference.  Also think of something you can do for someone else – expecting nothing in return.    This is the pay it forward concept – whatever good you put out there will come back to you J    It may not be the same way – but by doing good – good will always come back to us.
  • If you see someone in need, or have something you could do without – extend the hand and help. There will be times in your life where you will require help and it is through our actions that these things come full circle (a bit repeating the previous but this is looking to help where you can). It is important to maintain balance with this, because you must care for your own health first.     Expect nothing in return.   If you live your life this way, great things will circle back.
  • Get rid of clutter in your head, house, and life. Clutter can be defined by items, clouding thoughts, or people that zap the life out of you.   Clean up, it will help you in all that you do.
  • Remember good friends like you unconditionally. These friends will not hurt you; they will not try to make you to do things you feel uncomfortable with.   They will not be spiteful, jealous or envious. Good friends will make you laugh so hard your belly hurts, you feel comfortable and not judged in any way.  A special friend is someone that really “gets you”.  They understand the person you are. Remember this.  Surround yourself with people that like you just the way you are.
  • Exercise, stretch, and keep your body healthy. Take care of your body and don’t overwork it too.    Make sure you rest when you need it.  This is the only body you have.
  • Eat foods that are good for your body and are not overly processed. What you put into your body is what you will get out. Rinse, floss, and brush your teeth gently and regularly. Take care of the body you have been given J
  • Enjoy life, don’t take for granted any of the moments. We are only here for a short time, so focus on the beauty not the darkness.
  • Every day, pause, reflect and look back on the good things. Be thankful for the little things.  Also, look at your life and focus on what is working.  If gratitude is the focus of your heart you will always be happy.
  • It is ok to say NO. Boundaries are healthy. Sometimes when we say No we feel guilty, but if the No is coming from a place where you are taking care of your own health and welfare, it is perfectly healthy.   Let go of the guilt and realize you are taking care of yourself.
  • What you see in others sometimes is what you may see in yourself. Make sure you evaluate and look inside and get rid of the bad.   Remove any envy, anger and resentment if it exists – as these items will bring us down in all we do.  Fill your heart with love, kindness, and beauty.
  • Do not let jobs, possessions or wealth be your focus in this life. These things will only bring temporary satisfaction.  It is love, and love for life that will bring long term happiness.
  • Priorities, establish them in your life so you can make healthy decisions. In my life, my priorities are taking care of my own health (this means spending alone time, exercise, and taking time to pray and be with God), then dad and I ensuring our relationship is strong, then spending time with you and dad, and then family and then friends.  If my own bucket is nurtured, everything else will fall into place.
  • Forgive and let go. Do not let anger, or resentment feed your life.  It is important to forgive others and let God hand the rest.   He wants you to rest, so He is there to help.    You can forgive, but that does not mean allow people to walk all over you.  There is a difference.  
  • Find someone to love that loves you for who you are. Choose someone that makes you feel full.   Someone that when you see them you get excited.   Someone that treats you with respect, love and kindness.     Find someone that would be your friend for life that you can learn and love with.
  • Pray, if you are struggling through the day or need to let go of something. Ask God to help you navigate through this life.  He has been so gracious to me.   He is a miracle worker.   All He asks is that we trust Him completely.      Lean not on your own understanding, reach for prayer and ask Him to intervene.
  • Lastly, always be truthful, honest, kind to others. Be yourself, you both have an amazing gift for love for people.  This is an awesome gift.  Life to love life and people.  Embrace the good.

I am so thankful for the gift of you two bundles in my life.  I cannot imagine life without you.   God has blessed me with abundance.  In the moments where my breath was taken away, I focused on love, prayer and gratitude and it carried me through.  Thank-you two boys for teaching me to be patient, thank-you for loving me the way you do.    Thank-you for cuddles, for grandma kisses, butterfly kisses, eskimo kisses, mommy kisses and Marcus and Drew kisses.    You have been and always will be the best thing that has happened to both your dad and I.  We love you, we are so very proud of you, and we believe in you.   And know, if something ever happens to us, we will be with you.    

Love You so much you fly high in the sky, and love you more than you say.

Mama

The Day that Life Changed ~ 5 years ago

image1January 10, 2011, was a magical day, she watch the whales and glanced at her family.   Her eyes filled up with tears, and glanced across the row of her beautiful family.  She looked at her mom and dad and how happy they were, her brother and his beautiful family, and then her own.

Gratitude set in.   She then thanked Him for all that He had given her, and was so thankful for the state of peace, euphoria that set in.   The day at sea world was over, she was on cloud 9.    She wanted to pinch herself is this for real?  

They had just been through three years of heart ache, pain, loss, and recovery.   She discovered through that difficult time –  family is everything.  Family is what defines us, and at any given moment you can lose someone that you thought would be there forever.   Her heart still swelled at the thought of it all.   But they came through it stronger.

That evening they went grocery shopping for the family.  It was exciting, but exhaustion set in.    Although she was exhausted, her heart was full of joy and anticipation.   They got home, everyone was fed, and then the kids went off to bed.    

That night the six of them sat at the table, laughing, and feeling so happy.   The adults all were celebrating with bubbly.    A couple of glasses and spirits soared.   She watch the flicker of the light on the pool, started to dance and then it all changed.   She dove head first into a 2-4 foot deep end of the pool.    She thought it was 8 ft deep.  Everyone screamed, but they were merely echoes as she entered the water.  Early that day she would not go outside and even think of entering the pool – without a heater who would want to be in the freezing cold water.   But that evening she felt so alive, and just wanted to be free.

Minutes felt like hours, time stood still as her head nicked the bottom of the pool.  A voice came to her, and light surrounded her, You are going to be ok but this is going to be a long road.    She came up from the water, and felt like a child, she called for mommy.    She could hear her husband yelling at her, she felt so stupid.  How could she have been so careless?   How could she only think of herself?  Guilt set in.   Ruined, it’s all ruined.

She walked out of the pool holding her chin in her hand, sat down on the couch and her mom called 9-1-1.    No No don’t do it…. She felt ok, sort of except the pain at the back of her head.    Blood then trickled down her face.    The ambulance came, and they set her down to stabilize her spine on the spine board.   Now everything hurt, her body started to shake.    Inside worry started to overwhelm her, what would happen when her 3 and 6 year old boys woke up?   How could she have done all of this…..

In the ambulance, time stood still again.   So many things went through her mind, guilt, anger, and fear.   She started to pray.   Help me Lord, I am so sorry for doing this.  Please let everything be ok.

At the hospital in the emergency room, they cut open her clothes, and her brother, dad and husband looked with worry as everything was happening so fast.    She had an x-ray and CT scan, it revealed she had a C1 fracture – burst fracture shattered on the right side.   She didn’t understand what that meant, and as the doctor started to explain the seriousness she wondered, am I going to live.    Oh my God what have I done?   Her hands, feet and head started to feel numb.  More fear as she called for a priest.   She then asked him to find the scripture where the disciples did the healing of the hands, and had the ability to heal.    The priest couldn’t find the scripture. She asked her dad, brother, and husband to join hands as they all prayed for her.  It was Matthew 10:10 she was thinking about “He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.”  

Her thoughts raced.   And she prayed inside God I know I told you I would never want to live in a capacity that made me disabled.   But I am just praying that you allow me to stay here and be there for my babies.   Please Lord , I am scared of being paralyzed or dying.   Help me please.  I am so sorry for my foolishness.

Her hands, feet and head stopped tingling moments later. He was there, reassuring her she was going to be ok.       

These were a few moments in my story.   My injury only a small percentage of people survive and of those that do survive often are quadriplegics.   I was and still am His miracle.    

The days that followed were very difficult.  One of the most difficult moments was the first time my boys saw their mama for the first time.  The look in their eyes are etched on my heart.     Eyes completely in fear and looking at their mama in an 8lb halo with bolts drilled into her head.  I remember my little Marcus, he looked at me and his eyes were so wide in fear, I then said to him a lie but prayed for strength in the right words “Marcus mommy is ok, she isn’t in pain and is going to be ok.  You know what is cool you can show me for show and tell and say your mommy is a transformer.”  He then smiled but still was scared.  IT was hard leaving my family in the most magical place in the world, but I really didn’t want their time to end with so much uncertainty and unhappiness.   I then flew back from Florida with my mom, and began the journey of trying to be normal again.  

Have you ever been in a situation where you don’t know if your life will be normal again?   I was in this situation, and felt like I caused it all.    I had to forgive myself, but every step I took it was because of God.    For those of you that are unbelievers, I wish you could hold my hand and see everything I saw.

  • Laying in the hospital in the dark, the nurse took the emergency button from me.  Alone, unable to breath or talk properly because of the compression on my vocal cord.   I could barely utter a sound as loud as a whisper.  In pain that was beyond all comprehension, whispering for help.   I prayed, and asked God to allow someone to hear me.
  • When the bolts were drilled into my head, and the halo was fastened, they want you to try to walk after it is put on.  8lbs of weight pushing down, I got up and my heart almost stopped.   I sat down and thought, how am I going to do this? Again I prayed.   He helped me and I was walking again.  First only a few feet, then down the hall.
  • Being at Disneyworld only for a day when I wanted to be there with them forever, walking around with my halo, I prayed.   Please God help me let this go. 
  • Leaving my children in a wheel chair on a plane, and my husband that I depended on for everything.   I prayed, and He helped me again.
  • Coming home and trying to be normal again, doing laundry, cleaning the house, being a mother of strength, and a wife, sister and daughter.  I prayed to keep it all together.  He was there
  • After 80 days of being in the halo, and the CT results revealing the break was worse off than before, my heart was shattered, I didn’t know what this meant for me and my life.   I headed home and prayed.   He asked me, Do you trust in me child, that I am the God beyond all comprehension. Up til that moment, I felt like after being in the halo – I would be normal again –  it was my plan – not His.   In that moment, I cried and said I am sorry – and said YES GOD I TRUST YOU PLEASE FORGIVE ME.

 

God is loving.  His doing is beyond all comprehension.   Today, my C1 did not heal based on conventional medicine.  When you look at me you would never know that I still have a broken neck stabilized by scar tissue and cartilage. 

This was the beginning of what God was going to show me.    These past 5 years, many things have happened to me and the ones I love and cherish.   But HIS GRACE REIGNS.  In each of every story we have come out stronger, with love that is so deep.    I have learnt

  • My material goods, job, or wealth does not define who I am.
  • Love is created through actions, and it is through each one of us that we can create a difference in the life of one or many.   The more good we put out there the more that comes back.
  • Yes there will be hard times in this life, but it is through the love, support, and faith that we will come through stronger.  Good always comes out of the bad.
  • God loves us unconditionally and does not want any harm to come to a hair on our heads.  However, he will allow things to happen for the good of all.
  • One can help many, by opening up our experiences to one another we create healing.
  • I do not need external validation to realize I am a good person.
  • What you put out there in life comes back full circle.
  • Miracles really do happen.
  • I cannot control what happens to me, but I can control how I choose to respond.
  • Love really love the people in your life.  Extend the hand when you can to others.
  • Family and the ones we love may not always be there so enjoy every single moment together.
  • Forgive, let go, let God handle it.     If you cannot do this, it will eat you up inside.
  • Live today, do not be anxious or worry about things that are beyond your control.
  • Take care of yourself inside out – learn to love You the way you are.

 

There are many more learnings, but I am so very thankful for every single one of them.   Tomorrow is my 5 year anniversary since I broke my neck.  I am reminded of the gift of life.   I choose to celebrate this by making someone else’s life a bit better.   We welcomed Esther from Uganda, our third sponsor child into our lives today.    Finally a girl!!   

Life is about the moments that take your breath away, the good the bad and the ugly.    So much of this life is not in our control.  We have the power of choice in every moment.   I choose God to guide me.   Thank-you God for saving me and allowing me to be on this wonderful earth with my children and to be able to laugh, live and love.  I choose to trust you always have my best interests at heart.

These moments take me back 5 years ago:

https://www.youtube.com/user/nessachesters

 

SO thankful for this life….All of it.

~Ness

 

An Ordinary Day

an ordinary dayIt was an ordinary day.   

  • Prep the meat, throw it in the crock pot for lasagna. – check
  • Make the lunches  – check
  • Have the soccer and ball hockey stuff ready.  – check
  • Get the hairstuff out – check
  • Get my working mom clothes on – check
  • Get breakfast ready – check
  • Get the list out for after school – check
  • Write the note to the teacher – check
  • Get my laptop ready for the 8am meeting – check
  • Drop the kids off at the before school program – check

The morning went well, we worked as a well oiled machine.   As I drove to work I asked myself, how did it go so well given I only had 4 good hours of sleep?  It was a full moon last night – so restless, was praying all night to fall asleep.  What did I do differently today???

I prayed, I started the day in prayer, and gave thanks as each item worked out.    I hit no red lights, made it to work with time to spare.  As I entered the office, I felt tired, but ready for the day.   The day went by and the next phase began.  Two busy boys needing supper, and out the door to two different activities 15 minutes apart.   All worked well, we all had smiles on our faces, how could this be?   

The day went on and I saw my two boys and I was so very proud of them.   They contributed, they took the lead.  

Gratitude.

Pause and reflect.

Give thanks.

Check.

This ordinary day became extraordinary.

He led, He helped, and He showed me how special my two boys are.  They need a mom that empowers and doesn’t control. 

I was so proud of them today, and I have realized that I am here for them for a short time.     I am here to help, lend a hand, give a perspective and ultimately to guide.   Not to control.  By guiding – they thrive.

He is in control.

I give thanks, I am so grateful for this day that may seem ordinary – but to me became extraordinary. 

Thank-you God. “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” (Prov. 27:17).

Reflection ~ Take some Time for You

untitledOnce we make the time to rest, we begin to realize things we want to change or adjust in our lives.  

I feel like this woman, my life is intertwined like a string of Christmas lights, a bulb burns out, they all go out.  Rest is so important and allows our minds to hear the sweet voice of our Maker, and allows for perfect perspective.  

Can you calm the mind, and get rid full of the lists during this Christmas season? As we read the words coming from John the Baptist we see such a great perspective:

John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 9 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”

10 “What should we do then?” the crowd asked.

11 John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.”

12 Even tax collectors came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?”

13 “Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” he told them.

14 Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?”

He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.”

The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering their hearts if John might be possibly the Christ.  John answered them all, “I baptize you with water.  But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.” Luke 3:7-16 NIV

The first concept in this verse refers to not taking more than you need and giving to others.   Needs vs. wants is an interesting concept in our culture, and especially interesting this time of year.  

I have found myself overwhelmed with what we actually have compared to our two sponsor children…. So fortunate we are, but are we aware?

Have you noticed how many bags people are carrying in the malls during this season?  I often watch and wonder is this all necessary.  Are we getting caught up in the “right” things?

This season, perhaps you have something to give?   Can you give of your time, or items that you may not need?

One concept I really want to teach my two boys, is giving without expecting to receive.

When you reflect on your needs vs. wants do you see abundance? 

If you do, then why not take action and give?  

The action of giving does not need to be in monetary terms, it could be helping out at a soup kitchen, it could be buying a coffee for the individual that is behind you in line, or saying a prayer for those you see in pain, or even smiling at someone that seems down.   To you, this action may be small but to the other it could have made their day, and made the difference.  

I believe the state of contentment comes when one realizes that their needs are fully met and in turn realize we are not in control what happens tomorrow.  The only thing we can control is our actions.   Once we reach this state, we have so much capacity to give.  It is overflowing.   It is through our giving that a ripple effect occurs.  We may not see this effect instantly but it is there.  

Sit back and reflect, what can you do?  Do you have more than you need?

The second part of this verse in the bible refers to the coming of Jesus Christ; our Savior.   As we reflect on this season much of our reflection should be centered on Jesus.  This is what Christmas is about.  He came to bring us salvation, what an amazing gift in Him. 

Over the course of the past couple of years, many times I have felt overwhelmed with what has happened in our lives.  Any one event could have sent someone into a tailspin.  However, in every one of these situations, I came to Jesus and my Lord God.   I presented my requests, fears and anxiousness to Him.   I did this because I knew I could not control what was happening, all I could control is a response.  Don’t get me wrong, there were moments where I stuffed feelings, or where I would sit and just let the tears flow.  But I knew that God would reign,  and He had my best interests at heart.  God does not want to see His children hurting.

Larry Crabb wrote in his book 66 Love Letters that in addition to relying on themselves rather than God, the thing that kept His children out of the Promised Land was not believing God. In God’s voice, Crabb writes:

And they wouldn’t believe that I could overcome every problem, the ones inside them, as well as the difficulties in their circumstances that stood in the way of real joy. So they refused to walk the narrow road of belief that welcomes exposure of failure and conflict, knowing I have a plan to overcome them.

Amazing isn’t it?   What stands in front of real joy for us? Realization that God will always overcome.   The enemy wants us to get caught up in the “things” of this life.  He wants us to live in the “fears”.  When we give into the fears our minds cannot rest, be content, or really present in the moment.    We also are not trusting in God, that He will meet our needs because our minds are filled with lies and fear.  

During this Christmas season, rest, reflect, and take in what Christmas is really about.   Our Saviour came to set an example for us, and to save us from the hurts or the pain.   Be content in this season, and fill your mind with joy, thanksgiving, love and happiness.   Be “present”, because that action in itself makes all the difference.

Share with me your blessings!  I want to hear from you 🙂

Ness

Living for the Moment

image

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world,” (John 16:33, NIV).

As I read this today, I paused and realized how very fortunate I have been in my life.   God has granted me a life that is full.   There have been moments that took my breath away, but I believe these moments we are meant to experience fully.  Some moments may not be ideal, but they bring us where we need to be.   The light always overcomes the darkness.

As I drive to work every day, on my ride I am overcome by God’s goodness, His faithfulness, His never-ending love, His forgiveness.  I start my morning ride with a prayer, “be my eyes to see what you want me to see, be my ears to hear the words you want me to hear, be my mouth to speak what you want me to speak….”  I pray this with conviction and ask for God to direct my children and husband in the same way.   I then pause, and cry, my eyes water and I feel full of thankfulness.  “Thank-you God for saving me, and giving me a second chance.”

You see not long ago, 4 years ago (January 2011), life changed in a moment.   The moment felt like forever, seconds seemed like minutes, diving into the pool a whisper said, “You are going to be ok, but brace yourself, this is going to be tough, brace your neck.”  The reassurance I felt to my core, and I knew it was Him.     A few days later I had my halo, a halo brace that weighed 8lbs.  A c1 fracture that not many survive displaced and never healed on paper.   But by the grace of God, I chose to TRUST in him.     He has shown me so much, and His grace has extended beyond my greatest expectations.   

By His grace this is what I am learning:

  • Life is about the moments that take your breath away good and bad.
  • Trusting in Him is the only way.
  • Don’t give up when you feel like you can’t take it any-more, He has overcome the world!
  • Start and end the day with Him, He will help me navigate through the days struggles.
  • Family is what matters, live every moment in Love for family, friends and those close to you.
  • Extend a hand when you feel like you can’t. Whether it is sharing a smile or giving love, support to those in need.  We all are hurting, reach out and touch someone, it will make a difference.
  • Live for today, don’t look back.
  • Don’t judge, everyone has a story and we are all children of His.
  • Forgiveness goes a long way, let it go and give it to Him.
  • Love, love, love, spread the love, it has ripple effects.
  • Be grateful, live a life of gratitude. It’s all in the attitude!
  • God is in control, all we have control of is our response.

Thank-you God for all of your love.  Thank-you for leading me to a place I would never change.   Father, I pray that  my days will be filled with your grace.  I thank-you Father for saving me in so many ways and for the blood of Jesus, that promises us a life where the sun is always shining.  You promises are everlasting and I love you with my whole heart.

As you pause this season, may you take all of the moments in fully.  May you be blessed my friends over this season where we have so much to be thankful for.

~Vanessa

What are you grateful for today?  Live for today and spread the love!

If you have a question or a musing for me would love to hear from you, send me an email at nesschesters@gmail.com

Sharing our Stories for Good

image (2)We all have a story, but did you know they were meant to be shared for good?   We all have gone through experiences that have built us to be the person we are today.     He has built us for good…

Too often we build up a shield after we experience something to protect us from the pain. But let me ask you, isn’t He there to protect you? Isn’t our Father there to guide us, to help us heal, to aid us in letting go and giving it to Him?

“You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept.” Matthew 5:14 (MSG)

Do you have a story inside that you know someone can benefit from hearing?   Have there been instances where you have felt a little nudge at your heart, asking you to share?

I will tell you this much, not once did I ever think in my own life that a girl who was bullied for most of her life and didn’t love herself, or a girl that was raped and physically assaulted, or a girl that fractured her neck and nearly lost her life was built for good.   Looking back on my life, I realized that all of these experiences built empathy, courage, and aided me in realizing I am not alone.  

Our wonderful Father uses this for the good of others.   But first you have to take the hardest step….

Forgive.

Then you have to…

Let go and give it to God.

He will use it in a way you would have least expected.       Today I want to share a story with you all where I know it is used for His good.   The courage, love and miracles in this story will amaze you. God is here with us every moment.   I am so thankful I broke my neck 3 ½ years ago on a family trip because I would never have seen how one can turn into many.

Here is Coffy’s story:

Just sharing my story with the hope of help for my 6 children and I. My name is Coffy. I am a 39 year old single mother of six, ages 1 ½, 3, 4, 6, 10, and 12. I was born and raised in San Francisco, however I moved to San Mateo County after having my 2nd child. As anyone I have had my struggles, but I continued to fight to rise above them. In 2012, my younger children’s father walked out on us while I was 7 months pregnant with our fourth son. I thought to myself, “How will I ever make it without him?” I hadn’t been working; we had no money! I was devastated and in a dark place but I immediately started looking for a job. Soon after delivery, I was employed and on my way to being self-sufficient and a provider for my children. Life was looking AWESOME….I pulled it all together even when I thought I couldn’t! I was paying for my son’s’ to go to a Christian private school and my daughter goes to a College Prep School. I was so proud of myself and all my children. I never thought, not for one second, my life could get any worse than it was when he left me…Boy Was I Wrong!!!Thursday, February 20th at exactly 6:47 a.m., all our lives were changed forever. While turning onto a freeway entrance, my children and I were victims of a hit and run. The guy who hit us caused our truck to flip violently across the freeway as he drove away. After the 4th or 5th flip, I lost count. My children’s screams, “Mommy, Mommy, Help Us!” is all I could hear now.” “Hold on Babies, Mommy’s Coming, Mommy’s Coming…Mommy’s Coming! (Please Lord, let me get to them!)” Now we’re skidding and I see a glimpse of what I thought was light which I believed to be a clear path to slide until we stopped. It turned out to be a burial of white concrete bricks and I thought to myself, “Oh God, no please, we’ll blow up!” Simultaneously, the Lord flipped our truck away from the bricks. We flipped three more times and finally came to a sliding stop on the roof. Everybody was screaming. My head was pounding and my left arm was burning and wouldn’t move. At the time, what I didn’t know is that I would later hear the Doctor tell me my neck was broken from the C5 to C7 on both sides. Spring into action, “Go, Go, Go”, I keep telling myself, but I can’t move. My legs are pinned under the dash, I’m losing feeling in my left hand…my left arm is burning and my left leg is tingling. I started to silently pray and then I hear my 12 year old daughter scream out, “Our Father who art in Heaven” My sons are now praying. God is so good he allowed my feet to pull free! Now I go for my seat belt. Not thinking to brace myself, I unstrapped it and my head crashed to the roof. My daughter screams out “Your head is bleeding” totally dazed and more than confused I was able to shimmy backward out the window. I kept saying out loud, “Stay Awake” and “Lord be with us. Please let me get them out first”. It was the screams of my children that kept me up. My four year old hops out quick; the rest are in shock. I’m crawling on the ground trying to get to the baby, but I’m losing consciousness. I feel someone grab me it hurts… I scream, “No, I gotta get my babies out of here” and I hear, “We’re going to help you.” I stop and look up, he picks me up and suddenly there are people everywhere and before I knew it they were all in action. I keep going in and out of consciousness I hear 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 we got them all!” I started screaming, “No, 6! There are 6…6 I look up and my daughter was trapped, not only were her feet and legs pinned under the dash, now the truck was smoking. I screamed, “Please, my Daughter, my Daughter!” I try to get up and run, but I fall. The closer I get they yell out; “Get away from the truck!” I scream out, “Please help her! You got to get her out.” They are holding me back as I dig my nails into the cement trying to pull myself to the truck. I’m almost to the truck and he picks me up and says, “I have to get you away from the truck; it’s smoking.” Then I hear, “I have a fire extinguisher.” I lose my mind and drop! Crawling, clawing, and pushing away, I make it to my daughter. She looks at me and says, “Mommy, I can’t get out. I’m stuck!” I don’t know what to say to her. With every, bit of faith I had I say, “No baby, you’re free, just push yourself out of there!” All praise be to God, because she pushed and they pulled, and I heard, “We got her!” Not one of them was physically hurt except for a scratch on my daughter’s shoulder, however mentally their lives have been changed forever. They are now tormented with PTSD and flash backs, both in their sleep and while they are awake. I on the other hand went through an eight hour surgery to repair my neck and nerves. I was in the hospital for 3 weeks. I lost the use of my left side for the first 9 days. Slowly, I began to learn to walk again, however I can’t feel my leg. I’ve also lost feeling in the left arm and hand. When I was hospitalized, I got tired of repeating this tragedy, so I shared a piece on Facebook for family and friends. It was also at the recommendation of the doctor who was concerned with my mental health. When I could talk I made a call to a lifelong friend to get some help. He found me a lawyer who shattered all hope. He told me I had no case since I had no plate number or information on the other driver. He had nothing to go on and that since I only had liability, unfortunately, I would be walking away from it all with only my injuries! I was so devastated. How can this be? We’re the victims. How could you not help us?”Based on the disappointing news from the lawyer, I decided to advocate for myself. I called CHP to get a copy of the report. When I received the report it made no sense to me. I took it to victim services who told me it was the first time in their career that they had ever seen such a shallow report. She also raised the point of why there was no follow-up after the accident. I mean after all, there were cameras at the intersection where the accident occurred, as well as, all through the parking lot in front of the airport. The cameras were never checked. That car was next to me at least 60 seconds before the light changed and no one even bothered to get the plate number and now it may be too late to retrieve it. I also showed the shallow report to a Daly City Police Detective who said, “Where’s the rest?” and after reading it completely, he looks up and says, “It’s amusing that the last sentence of this report says no injuries to report! Are they serious? Your neck is broke!” That confused me even more. No injuries to report, wow unbelievable. Something is definitely wrong here. Someone messed up big time. I’m so lost I don’t know what to do. I’m not looking for pity. I’m looking for help! I’m looking for justice! This is the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do. My children and I have no quality of life. I can’t get my three older children to school, so they stay in San Francisco at my dad’s in a studio. I am a prisoner of my home…. I can’t pick up my son, nor anything over 5 pounds. Nor, can I do anything for myself physically. Here I was an IHSS care giver and just yesterday I had a visit from an IHSS worker and I am now a patient. That broke me down to the core of my soul. If I wasn’t strong willed, I’d give up. But that’s never been me; especially with regards to my children. This is not fair. My children and I just put our lives back together. I’d been working only a year. All of my focus was on continuing to build myself up so I could be a strong single mom. I had not one sick day out all year! I was striving to be a productive person my goal was to give back to the people and community that gave to me as I have all my life. On February 20th that was all taken away from me and my children. No matter what, I will continue to fight my way back to get as close as I can to being 100% of who I was before the accident. Therapy brings mind blowing pain, but without it I won’t have any function of my arms which only rise to my shoulders. If it’s God’s will, I will regain full use and feeling of my left side. I just want to reiterate, I’m not looking for pity. I’m looking for help to get justice and a peace of mind for my children as well as myself. As if the accident wasn’t enough….just as I’m starting to try to adjust to life as a broken neck survivor, Murphy’s Law hit me harder than ever! May 13, 2014, 1:37 a.m. I am awoken by my care giver who is my mother. I’m confused as to why she is shaking me with such force then I hear her say, Fire! I say, “What”? She says, “We got to get out of here.” I’m dizzy from my meds, but I get up! I go to run to my children and I hear they’re outside already. I break down as I watch the flames melt the paint and make its way violently through what was my house. I’m in shock. I see the flames tapping at the window where my son lays his head Dear Lord…is this really happening? I should be making my way out of the house, but all I can do is focus on my life and the events that are occurring. Am I really going to lose my house and everything I tried so hard to give my children? We just moved in six months ago! Before I know it, I’m on the curb watching my house and the two houses next to it where the fire started burn to its leisure. I stood there until 3am and watched my house burn praying that we have something left. We stood there with no shoes half-dressed freezing, my children traumatized crying to my mother as they trembled and I stood there in a neck brace not able to comfort either one of them physically not even hold my baby. My 4 year old starts praying, I break down he says mom, we’ll be OK. God will take care of us. I’m amazed at his courage and draw strength from him. I’m told we cannot go back into the house until the next day…I’m devastated. I was given a referral to the Red Cross for temporary housing and shelter referrals. Wait what…did he just say shelter?! Lord why….why is this happening to us? So here we sit all 8 of us in a 1 bedroom shelter with 1 bed and 1 bunk bed. Don’t get me wrong, I thank the lord for putting a roof over our heads; and I also think of all that was lost some things can’t be replaced. Feb. 20th I lost myself to a broken neck. I’ve not yet found myself. May 13th, I lost my children’s home and most of our belongings. Yes, I did sift through the rubble to see what I could save, but with the damage not much was salvageable. It’s now September 10th and we are still at the shelter. I have 80 days left to find permanent housing or I lose my Section 8 voucher. Which leaves my children and me in the shelter until our time here is up. We have nowhere to go, Lord please help us! My girlfriend started a fund for us 2 days after the fire. A prayer for my children and I is all I ask for. If your heart compels you to do more…..God bless you.!  https://fundly.com/for-coffy-fam-a-little-help-to-bounce-back

Thank-you Father for this opportunity to know these people through You and your work in my life.

I pray for Coffy and all of your children, may they trust in You and Your works Lord.  May they give it all to YOU.  I pray for this in Jesus Name Amen ~ Vanessa