Take off the old self and grab ahold of the new!

This week I had a young man tell me that his soon to be mother-in-law didn’t want him to marry her daughter. I asked why, “He said, she still sees me like the old person I use to be”.

A few months back, this young man began to recognize things in him that he was no longer happy with. He began to focus on those areas and began to create change little by little.

When your in transition and someone still sees or remembers you as that old self that can be discouraging. No matter what you say they still define you as who they once knew. Which is understandable because they have never met the new you!

I know there are areas in my life that I struggle with and that I am working on. Some days are harder than others but I continue to press toward the goal.

Self reflection: Are there areas in your life that you are struggling with? That you no longer want it to define you as. Let’s hone in one thing at a time!

I said to this young man, “You do not have to prove that your a changed man. Allow others to see your behaviors and actions of who you have become”. Watch your thoughts and attitudes in your mind and continue to throw off the old self when it tries to creep back in and embrace the new self!

The key is continuing to move forward even if your afraid of embarking on the new you that you have never met. But do it, even if your doing it afraid!

In order to be world changers it has to begin within us. Here is quote I want to leave you with:

You can’t go back and change the beginning but you can start where you are and change the ending- C.S. Lewis

Carrier’s of Hope

Sandy Cortes

Breathing Hope One Life at a Time!

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What are you afraid of and how does it affect you?

It’s interesting to me how the word “change” means and affect people in different ways. One of my clients once told me, “That she wanted to apologize for the miscommunication she has had, but when she speaks to me that it is excellent, but it’s intimidating. She stated when she sees me; I represent change, a pleasant change one she feels she needs. But she knew this meant having to go within herself and do some changes which would be a tough task for her.

I realize that we are all trying to get through life with those fragmented pieces of our lives. Unknowing why we act a certain way or don’t know how to bring change. For many years, I believed I was damaged. I was comfortable with those fragmented pieces of me that weren’t healthy and thought those pieces would keep me safe. Until I couldn’t do it anymore, I was going down a destructive path of self-hatred and sabotaging and should have been dead. I could relate to my client and what it meant to change and had so many different fears towards change.

Change can be challenging and emotionally draining. Old patterns and habits are hard to break. I read this quote by Socrates, “The secret of change is to focus all your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” Focus on what you need to do to orchestrate change in your life. For example, I began to allow someone to have access to my messiness and hold me accountable. Someone who would not judge or condemn me, but that would let me have a “brave space” that I could trust and be willing to facilitate change.

This is where change began to take place within me, and yes, a lot of times I would be kicking and screaming and felt very much like the witch in Wizard of Oz, melting away. It was hard to face those fragmented pieces of myself that I had been so comfortable with. Someone came alongside and walked through those fragmented parts of my life that needed healing and change.

Even today, I still have someone who holds me accountable whether a new season in my life has come that seems unbearable or challenges that I may be trying to walk out. Accountability has become part of my life because it is easy to get complacent and allow old patterns in. Decide to let go of some of those fragmented parts that you are tired of living with. I want to challenge you to evaluate where you are at today.

Are you afraid of change, ask yourself these questions:
-What if I change this part of me what will life look like?
-What will people say, if that is who I have been and change?
-What will I do, if that change is gone?
-Who will I be?
-Has this been part of my identity?
-Will people still love and accept me?

I am so passionate about helping and encouraging others, the same I was. I speak hope into the lives of those that are hopeless, stopped growing, and are stuck in defeat, believing that this was the life they were meant to live-assuming that they are damaged and that is the path of heading towards destruction. It is easy to hold onto those parts of our lives that we believe help keep us safe or prohibit us from growing. Remember the meaning of insanity, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Choose today to want change and you will get the results you have always wanted! You are worth it!

Sandy Cortes

Carrier’s of Hope

Breathing Hope One Life at a Time!

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Calculate your prey…

I was fascinated as I was watching a documentary about Lions. Did you know that a lion is a large cat and are known as “king of the beasts?” They are very territorial and truly defend their area against intruding lions and other animals. One of the ways a lion proclaims an area is by their roaring and scent marking on trees or different regions. Interesting enough the lions were calculating how to take down their prey, and then all of a sudden lunged at the neck and bit down until the animal was strangled.

This documentary was such a great illustration of how easily individuals can become prey and be killed. It made me reflect on how easy it is to fall prey to certain things in our lives. One downfall the lions have is that they do not keep track of the direction of the wind blowing. Which leads the bigger prey to them due to their scent marking. Reflecting on the enemies in our lives we tend to not see coming and are caught off guard.

I know one of my enemies has been “thoughts.” Did you know that we get anywhere from 25,000 to 50,000 thoughts a day? Seems overwhelming and exhausting all at the same time. Experts say, typically it is more negative thoughts than positive that come and can change your whole outlook on life. Those thoughts usually come in at the midnight hours, while sitting dormant or when facing difficulties.

I know for me it is tough to shake some of those enemies off. I have watched people lose touch with who they were because this “enemy” crept in and took the life right out of them literally. Not realizing how damaging that “enemy” can be to our well-being. In the line of work that I do” thoughts” are the number one cause that enables people to remain stuck and from growing.

I have learned to decipher things and become a good listener, be more observant of where I am at mentally and watch my behaviors as well as others. At times it can be disheartening to see how people change due to the enemy that has come in and sapped who they were called to be versus who they are. We get so bombarded that one has to be intentional about deciphering what those enemies are so that they do not sap the life right out of us.

So I want to propose these questions to you:

What are some of the things that you did not calculate that have changed who you are?

Are you sitting with those feelings of defeat because you lost sight of the enemy and life has strangled who you are?

Learn to be alert and calculate how to take down your prey, so it does not take you out.

Be sober [well balanced and self-disciplined], be alert and cautious at all times. That enemy of yours, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion [fiercely hungry], seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8, AMP).

Carriers of Hope,

Sandy Cortes

Breathing Hope One Life at a Time!

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A death must take place

One of the hardest things to have to face is the death of a loved one. I know it is a part of life, but it is tough to go through. In 2007, my mother died of cancer, and there were so many different emotions that were taking place. I recall being numb and in denial, then came the outpouring feelings of rage and anger. The only way I know how to describe it is when you go on a rollercoaster and like it so much that you decide you want to ride it again and again. That is how I felt with my emotions, yet I had not permitted myself to go on that ride.

I am not one to go and visit the grave where my mother is buried. Every time I have gone, it brings pain that she is no longer here. I feel like she was buried before her time. I begin to reminisce of all our memories together some which are good and others that are not. I can hear her laughter and see her smile. It is a sad and hurtful experience for me. Emotions are raw, and technically her remains are there, but she is not. Even if I were to pull her out of the casket, it would not bring her back to life.

How about those emotional deaths that take place in our lives that we were not prepared for? The death of something that was done. Something that was buried before it’s time. Never taking the time to grieve the loss of whatever that was. Whether it was a betrayal, a relationship that ended or an unexpected loss of a home or a job, or a family member that decided to disown you at a young age. Do we ever really take the time to grieve the loss of those wounds. That pain is so unbearable that we disassociate ourselves from it and act like it never happened.

At the beginning of the year I decided to go back to school to get my Master’s in Counseling. Little did I know that I was playing two roles, the student and the client. You know that feeling of “Surprise,” but there are no balloons or party favors and realize this is not a celebration. Yes, that was my party and I was the only one attending! It has been a rollercoaster ride of emotions that have been oozing out of my pores. Things that I had buried before it’s time and never grieved.

Brene Brown says, “One must grieve the loss of what that was for something new to be born.” In my mind, this did not make any sense to me. Until I started pondering on the meaning of this. When things happen in our lives, it creates emotions, thoughts, and behaviors that came from that death that took place in our lives. Somehow we recreate this new identity due from that death that took place.

Remember that part of not liking to visit my mother’s gravesite, well this has been the process for the past 12 weeks. I have had to go to the gravesite of my deaths that have taken place and pull out the casket and look at those things in the face and mourn, cry, and scream. At times it is as if I am revisiting those same deaths. It has been one of the hardest things to face, harder than the emotions of the actual death of my mother. Different waves of emotion that surface without an invitation. I am not sure if I have ever felt so broken and to my recollection, I thought I had buried those things for good.

What I am learning from my schooling, and the wonderful Brene Brown is learning how to visit those deaths in the face and grieve the loss of what occurred and then close the casket. As you are reading this, I am praying that this particular blog touched your heart today. I am not sure where you are in visiting those areas of your life that caused death to take place, but I do want you to let you know that it may be painful at first but at the same it is so liberating. For something to be born something must die in us first!

So I say to you, “Do it afraid!” Face whatever that is, whether it is fear, bitterness, resentment or unforgiveness and mourn the loss of whoever caused it and go back and close that casket for good! I promise you it will feel so liberating and bring freedom and something new will be born out of it!

Sandy Cortes

Carrier’s of Hope,

Breathing Hope One Life at 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!

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Help my unbelief!

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Today, I am pondering on a season in my life where I thought, “If one more thing goes wrong, I am literally going to snap”.  Where my upbringing began to ooze out of my pores.  It tainted my outlook on life and question the beliefs I was raised by.  How many times in life do you feel like you do not understand why certain things have happened to you? Or you continue to be challenged in an area and watch it not pan out like you had planned?

One day I watched as some new neighbors moved in across the street from us.  I could see them come home from my office, don’t judge me,  I am an undercover stalker! That’s when I heard a still small voice tell me, “Go and introduce yourself to her” and my response was, ‘No way I am not going over their!  Next thing I knew, there I was knocking on the door.  That day I made such a beautiful connection with her and the family.  It was like a breath of fresh air to me.

The couple had been hurt by their church and no longer attending.  I knew to take things slowly and began inviting them over for coffee or anything to build a relationship.  I would share snippets of my upbringing and how I had turned my back on God because of what I experienced growing up.   We went on outings together, dinners at each others home, we had some special moments.  Then I invited them to our small group and eventually to the church I attended.  They began going to church and God was doing a new thing in their family.  God used my husband and I to minister to them by being an anchor of love to them.

That is when hardship reared its face at me again and in 2006 our neighbors were killed by a drunk driver leaving behind their three beautiful children.  My whole world became undone and I was at a lost for words.  I sat in disbelief and thought I need to wake up from this nightmare.  Then about 8 months later, I lost my mother to cancer.  In that moment all that I believed felt like I had been deceived.  I questioned, ” If there was a God and asked “Why do bad things happen to good people?”  Why would God send these neighbors or reconcile my relationship with my mom to take them away? It was an internal turmoil that had been bubbling for years and now ruptured.

I went through a dark time with a lot of sleepless nights. The last thing I wanted was my church friends coming over to encourage or pray for me. It was like pouring alcohol on a wound.  I felt so toxic inside and was so angry at God.  But in that dark time is where I heard that small still voice.  Whispering to me saying, “Allow me to come close to your heart and heal you and show you who I am”.  Well I answered the call, because nothing was numbing the pain I felt, except God.

I’ve had many incidents pop up in my life that have made me question God.  Where I avoided praying or believing with someone due to my own disbelief. Wondering if it will be an answer to prayer or not!  Again that small still whispers,  “Allow me to go deeper and bring another level of healing to your disbelief”.  I have seen God do some amazing things in my life.  He is such a gentleman and knows my heart and still meets me where I am at in that moment of disbelief.

Have you ever felt it’s an uphill battle to continue believing in something regardless of the outcome?  I am not sure what has happened in your life and maybe whatever that is has tainted what you believe in.

Life Application

  • I want to challenge you wherever you are at in life.
  • To listen to that small still voice that whispers, “Allow me to come close to your heart, heal you and show you who I am”.

Will you help me by sharing this blog with someone who needs a word of encouragement. You never know if they are in a place in their life and need to hear the whisper of that still small voice.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalms 34:18, NIV).

Breathing Hope One Life at a Time!

Carrier’s of Hope