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Aftermath

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When you hear of the word “Aftermath” what do you think of?  It makes me think of a hurricane and I think of consequences of something.  As I am look more into the effects of a hurricane it can be a scary thing.  The strong winds move in a circular motion and when you look at the eye of the storm this is where the strongest winds are happening. They cause a lot of damage when it hits land.  I wondered to myself how does the hurricane grow?  Well once it comes into contact over warm water it helps the hurricane to become stronger.

I love the analogies that the Lord uses to speak to me when it comes to things in life. Hurricanes can happen in our own lives emotionally.  It can start off as something minuet like a thunderstorm like having a rough day at work or something that’s been brewing or sitting dormant in our hearts.  Then it comes in contact in warm waters and things begin to happen more frequently.  That’s when it begins to cause the eye of hurricane to grow in our hearts.  The trauma can cause torrential storms in our mind and hearts.

One of those torrential storms came in 2014, after receiving a call where one of my kids attempted to take their life.  My whole world turned upside down when I got that call. There was already a lot happening with my family and life.  As a parent this is one of the most devastating news that a parent could receive.  So many thoughts went through my mind,”What just happened and what could have been so bad to want to take your own life?” You begin to decipher through the thoughts “Did I parent well enough or did I shelter too much”, Was I too hard and the thoughts began to pick up speed.

The eye of the storm began to create strong wind forces that began destroying everything in its path.  I could not handle the circulating lies that were trying to destroy me. It was one of the loneliest times of my life. It was a time where everything was dark and my husband and I were getting beat up from the bands of the hurricane. My husband and I were on a sleep rotation to make sure it did not happen again. While trying to help stay attentive to our other children and life.  This journey of mine has not been easy. Being a Christian doesn’t mean that I have it all together and haven’t had to deal with anything.

In fact, I’ve had all types of different storms throughout my life. I wish I can say somehow the problems skip me because I serve God.  That in those dark times I felt alone, without God. Knowing deep in my heart that he was there every step of the way. Especially in that particular dark season.  Today, my son is alive and well.  I am thankful to God that he rescued him that day and had preserved him all these years.

Sometimes we do not understand why certain things happen and maybe never saw it coming.  A lot of times after a storm there is the aftermath that we have to deal with. Things happen in a blink of an eye either from an unexpected illness, a loss of a loved one, divorce or even a financial setback.  The storm hits so hard that then we have to deal with the aftermath.  That our whole life can be in a billion pieces and do not know where to go to for coverage.

Today, I like to say I am a “Storm Chaser”, because I am curious and love to investigate and interrogate people and observe their interactions.  I want to find out the media coverage of their lives.  Like when the live news comes on the television.  I find myself being sensitive to what they say, because you never know if they are threading on warm waters.  Or if the winds are picking up and the eye of a hurricane is about to hit their life. In these situations I think to myself,  God is wanting to come in and bring calmness to the storm.

Beloved, I am not sure what you may be facing today, but I want you to know your not alone in this.  Allow me to pray for you today.  Lord, touch my friend and allow him or her to feel your presence.  Help bring the peace and calmness to their storm wherever they are at.  That your love for them would be like a rushing wind that they are overtaken by it. Thank you for you reading this blog.  I am still in awe of the things that God has done in my life and I know he has great things in store for yours! There maybe someone who is struggling and going through a hard storm.  Be a storm chaser and help me, help others find coverage!

Storm Chaser,

Sandy Cortes, Carrier’s of Hope

Breathing Hope One Life at a Time!

 

Why do you keep ringing that bell?

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Have you ever read the story of Corrie Ten Boom? She was a Holocaust Survivor. Corrie was in a concentration camp with her sister. They were mistreated and eventually her sister died.  There was a guard that mistreated Corrie and her sister for many years. On one particular day she was scheduled to die and somehow they made a mistake and released her from the camp.   For many years she held unto what that guard had done to her and replayed it over and over in her mind.

Have you ever seen those beautiful large bells and how beautiful they sound when you pull on them?  She used an illustration of letting things go. Well the ringing of the bell was her feelings that continue to remind her of what was done. Once she began to let go of the rope, the noises of the bell seem to begin to slow down and eventually stop. Meaning her feelings began to subside and she no longer heard the noise.

Well forgiveness is like letting go of the bell rope. It is not easy to just stop pulling on the rope.  I can relate in being a professional at pulling that rope.  Many years of my life I recall being so angry at my step father for all he had done to me.  I believed that if I forgave my dad that it meant that what he did was okay.  See, forgiveness is not about what was done to you it is about letting go of the person that did what they did to you. That sounds so simple right? Wrong, if I can be completely vulnerable here, whenever anyone has done something to me, it has always been a challenge to just let it go.

I held my position my at the bell post and God called out things pertaining to my stepfather and I refuse to leave the position.  This was an area of my life that was dead to me.  My heart was calloused and there was no heartbeat there.  When the Lord asked me to forgive, I was having a tantrum and refused to give him that area of my life.  I believed that if I trusted once and people hurt me then there would not be a second chance and basically your dead to me!

When the Lord asked me to forgive, I refused to give him that area of my life.  Then he gently reminded me, “I have forgiven you and have not turned my back or closed my heart towards you”.  That was like a scene out of the Wizard of Oz where the witch is saying, “I’m melting”.  It was one of the toughest things for me to do.It was really hard to forgive and even today I have to remind myself, “Let it go”.

Forgiveness is not about forgetting. Forgiveness is a process that can take years to overcome.  By extending forgiveness it doesn’t make things right or say that the person who caused the offense won’t do it again. Or that the person will ever come to you and ask for your forgiveness.  You may be saying Sandy, “You don’t understand what this person did” or maybe this person continues to hurt you.  Please know I don’t expect for you to be a doormat and allow that person to continue hurting you, not at all!

I knew I could not do it in my own strength and needed help.  I am reminded of the words that he said as he was laying on that cross, “Forgive them, for they know not what they are doing”.  He chose to forgive even with what was happening to him. I wish I could say that I have been that quick to forgive, but I am working at letting it go a lot faster than where I once was.  I have resigned of my position at the post.

So are you ready to stop pulling on the rope?  I promise you it takes a lot more energy continuing to remind yourself of what was done versus releasing it to God and allowing him to teach you how to forgive.

Beloved, I am not sure what you are facing today but God knows.  He is such a gentleman and extends a hand in the process to help you forgive.  Maybe your father or mother abandoned you, or maybe you experienced some type of trauma, or you’re in a relationship that person continues to hurt you. Or just maybe you need to forgive yourself!  Whatever it is God is here and says, “It’s time to let go”.  He will be right there as you release it to him and will help bring healing and restoration to your heart.

Life Application

  • Identify if you’re a professional at pulling on the rope or have a position at the bell post
  • What are those areas that you have held unto to, that it is time to give to him.
  • Allow the Lord to bring healing and restoration to those areas of your life.
  • Share with someone so that they can help walk alongside this process.

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you (Colossians 3:13, NIV).

I pray this has ministered to your life.  Help me by sharing it to someone who can use a word of encouragement!

Be Blessed,

Sandy Cortes, Carrier’s of Hope

Breathing Hope One Life at a Time!