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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!

 

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Who’s chomping on my crop?

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When I visited Indiana I was amazed by how many crop fields there were. There were miles and miles of nothing but crop, farmhouses and tractors.  I saw vegetables like corn and tomatoes it was pretty neat. Then I wondered about the work that goes behind in having to maintain those fields.

As a farmer they engage in raising organisms for food or raw materials. A farmer helps to promote or improve its growth of a (plant, crop, etc). They invest a lot of labor and attention to their crop so that it will flourish. But there are certain threats that the farmer has to be on the lookout for. One in particular insect that can pose a threat are locusts.

They enjoy damaging green plants and putting pressure on the crops and are very susceptible to green pastures. Locust are not dangerous or deadly insects but will damage most green plants. They pose a threat that’s more indirect and horrifying to farmers. They enjoy swarming around into their fields and literally eating away at the crop. That all the years of hard work and labor instantly gone and useless. Locust really enjoy the eating away at the crop and destroying them. Basically leaving a farmer to starve to death.

Locust fly away during the cutting and bailing process but are smart little insects.  They are clever and lay their egg beds alongside tracks, fence lines, and even in uncropped areas. So they can continue to reproduce.  See they are very sly insects and can make a farmer believe that there gone and boom there right in the area.  The locusts are pretty smart and I never knew how powerful they can be. Imagine being a farmer and thinking everything looks great with the crops, but yet these little bugs are eating away at your livelihood.

So I began to ponder about the crops in my life and how I believed everything looked great!  But on the inside I was being eaten away. I can relate in being that farmer that was caught off guard and not seeing what was happening to my crop.  I recall going through a hard season in my life where everything was oozing out of my pores.  I was so angry and bitter at the world and felt I was handed a bad card in life. My countenance was not approachable and I would spew poison with my words.

About 19 years ago I was at a place in my life where everything was being eaten by those locusts.  It was very dark time and was also very overwhelming.  The only thing I could recognize was the seething and feelings that I was slowly dying. My husband and I were on the brink of a divorce and I wanted out. It was a combination of both bringing in our own baggage into the relationship, plus adding a little extra of our own dysfunction.  I remember wishing harm upon myself and little did I know those little insects were eating away at me.

My husband was an alcoholic and ran the streets.  He was raised without a father and never had any role models in his life.  I came from an upbringing of being so confined and naive to life.  My parents were super strict and my step father was very abusive but yet very religious. Life was all about rules and not relationship. I left my home at the age of 17 and vowed that I would never go back. Shortly after is when I met my husband and became pregnant. I was clueless and broken and all I wanted was for someone to love and accept me.

One day my mother in law asked me to go to church and my heart cringed every time she would ask me.  Last place I wanted to be was church and if I being completely honest I hated people from church. In my eyes they were all hypocrites.  But out of obligation so she would stop asking me I said, “That I would go”.  I remember walking into the church and my body language was saying, “Don’t even think about talking to me about God and that fluff. The only thing that came to my mind was, ‘Great now I can divorce my husband because people will see who he is and they will help me get a divorce.

Little did I know that moment was going to be the turning point for my life.  I felt so broken inside but yet uncomfortable.  You know when your mind is telling you to do something but your body does something else.  Yes, that was me.  I found myself walking to the front of where the Pastor was at and saying “Yes” to something that I couldn’t even explain.  But that was when the turning point came and I felt the love of God. The Pastor began telling me, “It was going to be okay”.  Then the he shared a passage from the Bible.

“I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten– the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm — my great army that I sent among you (Joel 2:25).  I was saying “A locust what”! What is this crazy man talking about.  See I had plenty of locusts in my life that were eating away at my crop.  They even took shelter and laid eggs alongside me.  I was completely clueless to what was going on inside, but I knew I was decaying away. I did not know what to do with what was happening in my life.  So I had to identify the locusts and see where they were destroying my crop and remove any debris left that were left, including their eggs.

I’m forever thankful for me walking into that church because something was deposited in me. I know who God is and he has kept the promises of giving back to me what the locust had stolen. He has restored my marriage and family. He has birth inside me compassion and hope.  He removed my heart of stone and replaced it with a heart of flesh. I am able to speak and breathe hope into the lives of people. Knowing fully well that he will bring restoration to their crop.

So today I want you to reflect on the locusts that are possibly eating away at your crop.

Life Application

Identify the locusts.

Allow God to be the farmer of your life and removed those locusts.

Stand on his word

I pray this ministered to your life. Help me spread the word to those that need an encouraging word.

Be Blessed,

Carrier’s of Hope

Breathing Hope One Life at A Time!

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Plug in your address…

business-car-computer-1305305On my trip to Indiana I had the privilege of getting a free upgrade with my rental car. This was a great opportunity to get all the bells and whistle in a car.  So they offered my husband and I top pf the line pearly white Nissan Maxima.  As the words were getting ready to come out of my mouth, “We will take it”, my husband said, “What we need is a vehicle that has more space.” So the gentleman said, “Well we a have a mini van”. My thoughts, “A mini van, wow, what a Buzz killer!”  So we got the mini van it wasn’t pearly but it did have a fancy navigational system, seat warmers, and the doors opened from both sides of the van.

That fancy navigational system told me all the different places and pit stops around me. Being that I was in a new environment and didn’t know my way around it was perfect! Then I began noticing that every time I would put in my son’s address it would take us on a different route. Yet the address remained the same.  From my location to my son’s home it was a good hour and a half so it made me reflect on different things.  I began pondering, “Do I know where I am going on this journey called “life”? Where am I with my goals, and dreams?” What are some things I have set out to do that I haven’t accomplished?

There are areas in my life that I know the address but somehow fail to get there.  If I am being completely honest at times I don’t even know how to get there or don’t believe I can get there. For example, weight loss has always been a challenge my whole life.  My step father would joke about my thighs and how “fat” I was. He engrained in my head that overweight people are ugly and no one wants someone who is overweight.  Here is the real sad part, I was never overweight growing up but subconsciously plugged that destination in my head. So I had my reserved parking spot that I can pull up to at any time.

Remember when I mentioned how the navigational system continued taking me on a different route, but got us to our destination.  Well the same thing happens with our goals, and things we are wanting to accomplish or change in our life.  Self consciously I choose to take a different route that sabotages me from getting to that address.  It’s so easy to get sucked in to all the different pit stops around me like the cheesecakes, soda pops, and the pizzas.  Oh how I love those beautiful pit stops. They seem so gratifying in the moment and I literally get so comfortable in being at that pit stop that I have lost sight of my destination and remain parked.

I have come to the realization that I can’t afford to stop at the pit stops.  They are prohibiting me from getting to my destination.  I have to stay the course and remind myself of the address that was plugged in.  How many times in our life do we actually feel or know where we are going?  If only it was as simple as to just plug-in an address and boom there we are!  In our lives we have control deciding where we are going, but like myself many times have chosen not to.  We all have different pit stops along the way. It’s truly is a matter of the will and if we will stay or continue moving until we’ve reached the address that was plugged in.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us (Hebrews 12:1, NLT). 

Life Application

  • What are some of those pits stops that you continue to pull into?
  • Have you plugged in your address?
  • Now, do you know where you are heading?

Is their anyone out there that can relate to this? Let’s generate some conversation.  I would love to hear from you.  Share some your of your own pit stops.  Have an amazing week!

Sandy Cortes, Carrier’s of Hope

Breathing Hope one Life at a Time!

 

 

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Where is that smell coming from?

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“Where is that smell coming from?”  You find yourself looking around trying to figure out where the stench is!  You continue to search and still can’t find it.  It could be miles away but your nose has picked up the smell that it almost makes you gag.  I found where the smell is coming from, the landfill up ahead.

Have you ever really looked at a landfill?  You see all the trash that has been dumped and continues to pile up.  Then the smell is like something you have never smelled before. Every day the dump truck comes and dumps out all the trash it has picked up for the day.  No one goes through the trash to separate what is good or not it just gets dumped.

This made me reflect on our thoughts and how much our mind gets dumped on.  We have anywhere from 20,000-70,000 thoughts per day.  That is so fascinating and overwhelming to me all at the same time!  I mean no wonder why we may feel so overloaded. This means that about 35-48 thoughts per minute come through our minds. I have seen some stats saying that about eighty percent of those are negative thoughts.  So that leaves about twenty percent for positive thoughts.  All of sudden I see the landfill picture come up in my mind.  All different types of garbage goes into one location and gets dumped.

As I was on my way home, I started to get those racing thoughts, asking myself “Am I dreaming too much?”  “Am I called to do great things, or will I ever see those things I have dreamed about come to pass?”  There came that smell up again and I was reminded of the landfill.  It is so easy to just reminisce on what is not happening versus what actually is! My husband and I have this thing we like to call “Stinking Thinking”.  It is where our thoughts are smelling so bad.  It happens so fast and there comes the dump truck and emptied its load for the day.

I have found over eight-four scriptures that address our thoughts. The word says, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ”.  Clearly, Jesus know that we would struggle with our thoughts.  I am so thankful for his word and being able to apply that to my “Stinking Thinking.   So when the dump truck tries to deliver it sees that this landfill has been cleared out and closed for business!

Life Application 

  • I want to challenge and ask if you have located where the smell is coming from?
  • Are you allowing the dump truck to do its drop off?  That it’s created a landfill with such a strong stench that you can’t stand the smell of your own thoughts?
  • You have to identify when it’s happening, if not the dump truck is beeping its horn getting ready to make its delivery.
  • Remember no more, “Stinking Thinking”.

I hope this ministered to you, as it’s definitely ministered to me! I love how God sets me up.  In how I am able to share my vulnerability and own life experiences with you.  Do me a favor, and share (dump this forward) to someone who you feel can use a word of encouragement today!

Be Blessed,

Sandy Cortes, Founder of Carrier’s of Hope

Breathing Hope One Life at a Time! 

 

 

 

 

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What happened to your wind turbine?

energy-field-renewable-energy-112846.jpgAs I was traveling through the beautiful countryside of Indiana I was fascinated by these beautiful wind turbines. I was curious to see what they do. A wind turbine is specifically developed to generate electricity.  It is a device that converts kinetic energy into electric energy. As I watched the windmill, it continued to move in one direction. It stood tall, strong and was constantly moving.  This made me reflect with things in my own life.

I recall about three years ago God began telling me about the plans he had for me. He told me to write things down and start preparing myself for what was coming. It took me a long time to really implement some of the things, that I am still trying to work out the kinks.  I was so afraid of venturing out or even telling others about those things. Due to “fear of failure” or what if it didn’t play out in my life?

The output of a wind turbine depends on the size and the wind’s speed through the rotor. I had to begin to build my wind turbine and create some momentum on the things that God was telling me to do.  To begin momentum one of the things God shared with me was to begin a blog, which required writing. Just that word alone makes me want to run the other way.  Well as you are reading I have begun that. I can not say this is easy and sometimes I think to myself “I do not know what I am doing”. I even question if people are interested or even reading what I am writing. But I can not let those thoughts dictate and I have to continue creating that momentum.

Just like the wind turbine I have to continue to create momentum in what God has asked of me.  I know God called me to counsel, uplift, and teach others.  I was called to be a “Carrier of Hope”.  Then God gave me the name “Carrier’s of Hope” as my business name.  As you notice on the word “Carrier’s it has a ‘s on the end and that’s because, he comes alongside to lead and guide me into breathing hope in the lives of the hopeless”.  So it would not be a one man business or show and that his name would be glorified through it all.  The wind turbine is grounded and stands strong.  I must remain grounded and stand in alignment with God and his direction.   WIthout him I can not create momentum. I can make my wind turbine move.

So I ask,  “How is your wind turbine doing?”  Have you set goals and stopped moving for whatever reason or did you stop dreaming? Maybe you have lost the passion in your life? Have lost the excitement of what you were set out to do? I am familiar with that feeling.  I was never raised with goals or dreams and never knew what passion was. I had a father who told me “I would never amount to anything.” So that’s what I believed for the majority of my life. Until God got a hold of my heart and began to show me and identify my fears and beliefs.

I want to challenge you today, to step out and move on what God has told you to do. Maybe there are some gifts and talents you have that are just sitting stagnant.  Ask God to show you what he has called you to do.  I dare you to test God and see where he leads you.

Life Application

  • Have you built your wind turbine?
  • Is it time to revisit your wind turbine and give it a tune up to begin creating movement?
  • Journal what God tells you, so you can revisit those promises when the wind turbine stops moving.

Join forces with me and let’s create a movement that will electrify and change the lives of others!

Carrier’s of Hope

Sandy Cortes

Breathing Hope one Life at a Time!