Featured

When it is not easily detected

There it was moving quickly and agilely into different parts of my environment. Not being able to see fully, it camouflaged itself, and it took over my surroundings. I felt this crippling pain and recognized that it had its tail so profoundly sunken in me. With no sudden movement, it continued to stare at me, this overbearing ugly thing. It was not intimidated, yet intimidating and seemed it knew its surroundings and felt welcomed. So, I decided to do some research and finally able to identify it; it was a scorpion.

Just some fun facts, did you know that scorpions can be deadly predators and are fast and can catch and hold their prey while injecting venom into their prey? To my discovery, this was not just any ordinary scorpion, but it had different characteristics and was unique, and it was the deadliest of them all. It was a “Bitterness” scorpion, only one of its kind. Have you ever been attacked by this particular type of scorpion, or recognize it being active and overbearing in your environment? There are times when things happen that it sticks its tail so deeply in you that it can be hard to bear, distressful, and sorrowful. Especially when you feel there is no action left to take because everything is out of our control. It can be so toxic and drain the life out of you literally, and what is so disheartening is that many times you cannot undo what’s happened either, especially if you are dead.

You may be wondering how do I know so much about this particular scorpion called “Bitterness”? Well, just to let you know, I do not specialize in anthropods, but in the counseling world, there is a fancy term called “embitterment.” It is known as a negative feeling in reaction to adverse life events and a reactive emotion towards injustice, insult, or breach of trust. I work in the helping profession of mental health. I help people speak about their challenges, feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. Anyhow, let me not bore you to death with my scorpion or fancy terminologies.

I had this client that this scorpion showed up in her life at a very young age, and it was her stepfather that brought it in. Anytime she did anything wrong, he would become angry and hold unto it for months, sadly even years. From this, it turned into bouts of anger and rage, eventually him teaching her hands-on experience if you know what I mean. Every day she was reminded of all of her shortcomings, as she needed to learn to be better, yet what she did learn was to be bitter. She became a master student in this area and walked away with honors and her degree. She learned how to pick up this scorpion and knew precisely when and how to use it in her life.

See, this client is me, and that was my life, and it is not something I am proud of. I have battled with shame and guilt in just how easily I allowed this ugly thing to rear it’s head and poison different parts of my life, yet knowing what I know today it was ingrained at a very young age, and it became part of who I was, not who I was intended to be. It caused significant collateral damage throughout my life with friends, family, and even upon myself, I have the battle wounds to prove it.

The thing with scorpions is its unique venom; thus, they all have different toxicities. They use their venom to paralyze and kill their prey in self-defense. Fun fact, even small young scorpions can inject you with the same amount of venom as adults; that’s how potent they are. So that’s to tell you no matter the size of your scorpion (bitterness), it can be as just as deadly. To stop this toxicity in my life, I had to learn to get rid of pain after many years later and begin applying specific steps, and even then, it still has a way of creeping in and rearing its head at me! Below are some practical steps I have learned and visited too many times that has helped me overcome this particular scorpion.

Life Application

For starters, I had to begin by asking myself some hard questions:

  • What happened that upsets you?
  • What are the things that eat at you about what’s happened?
  • I had to learn to forgive but only at my own pace, not how others were telling me to. Forgiveness is a powerful tool and a great release.
  • I had to learn to forgive myself for the damage I caused due to my unforgiveness, lashing out, and resentfulness; this was pivotal, which may be hard for but will help to move forward out of being bitter and becoming better.
  • I had to look at things from a new or different perspective.
  • Lastly, I had to learn how to seek help at times, it was tough doing it by myself, and it literally would take the life right out of me, and I felt lost in how to heal and move forward. This is one of the most powerful steps, in my opinion, because it kills the pride in you when you go and ask for help. We were not created to do life alone. Iron sharpens iron.

In actuality, holding onto this scorpion (bitterness) will only keep you stagnant, captive, and eventually will kill you. They say that bitterness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. The truth is that you are not only mad at your situation but also yourself. Learn to use the steps that have been essential in my life because bitterness has a way of creeping back in without knowing it.

Each heart knows its bitterness, and no one else can share its joy (Proverbs 14:10).

Carrier’s of Hope,
Sandy Cortes
Breathing Hope One Life at a Time

Featured

That one thing that is crippling you!

Do you know you have the power within you to be a change agent?

It is easy to allow our thoughts to dictate what we do or where we go in our lives.

It’s like the meaning of insanity “Doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results.”

What is that one thing in your life that you want to change?

Whether its to get up early, get a workout in, make that business decision, not yell at the kids, or want more for you live.

•Our emotions dictate our thoughts.

•Our thoughts dictate our decisions.

•Our decisions determine our behaviors.

•Our behaviors shape our relationships and those things around us.

Here is one of the crippling thoughts: “I am never going to write a book; I am such a bad writer.”

Then I feel like poopie and feel like a loser. Then this enables me, and I do nothing towards my writing, and there goes another year of “nada.”

Action Steps:

I begin to change those thoughts by speaking life, taking that one thought captive, and speaking God’s word over it!

“I will publish my book, and I am an amazing writer.” I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me! Then I begin to envision myself at Barnes and Noble, and people are filled to the back, wanting me to sign their book!

See, with our thoughts, one must put forth action and then envision your thought and see it come to fruition.

I want to encourage you and tell you that you can be that change agent in your life—one step and day at a time. Remember, you are called for greatness! Now go and be a “change agent!”

Today, focus on that one thought that is crippling you and begin to be a “change agent” in that area!

Carrier’s of Hope

Sandy Cortes

Breathing Hope One Life at a Time

Featured

“Caution, don’t get caught in the conflict jungle”

There is so much going on in our world today. People are being hypervigilant are in a state of increased anxiety which can cause so many different emotions due to what is going on with the CoronaVirus. Creating conflict in areas that we did not plan and were unprepared for. People are having to social distancing themselves, not by choice. Organizations and places of business are closing shop for a minimum of two weeks, and are up for reevaluating, which can mean no income coming in for many, kids having to be home, individuals and parents worried about the bills, Which creates isolation, stress, fear, anxiety, and scarcity, the way we respond to what is going on in the world around us is crucial.

I am working on a study with my middle schooler, yet before this whole thing with the Coronavirus, it had been one of the hardest challenges to set time aside. Other things were taking up our time, which seemed to take precedent or more critical. But luckily, since we have a lot more time in our hands, it has allowed some deep conversations to take place. As we came upon one of the chapters, it discussed conflict. It was a great eye-opener to realize that we all handle conflict very differently. Some handle conflict by being explosive, shutting down, feeling annoyed, and having feelings of being attacked. We are discovering conflict is not the underlying issue but revealing what is underneath.

This whole child-rearing a middle schooler has definitely been a challenge as a mother for me. Growing up, I did not have a good relationship with my mother. Yet that has been one of my greatest desires is to establish that with my daughter. In my upbringing, conflict was handled by screaming or being physical or given the silent treatment. I did not know how to handle conflict or adequately taught. A lot of self-reflection within my upbringing, parenting skills, and how I currently managed conflict. I would not say I was like my parents but handle conflict in other ways by shutting down or even having that fourth of July experience that takes place once a year, in losing control and yelling, not proud of those moments. Especially in a heated situation, you honestly can tell what is underneath by what a person is saying, and then once you have spoken, you can not take back what was said. 

It was beautiful to see my daughter, and I discover what conflict is genuinely about and that despite the attitudes or the silent treatment, it was not what I saw through my own eyes but finding what is underneath all of that is taking place. I walked away with a valuable lesson that I am sharing with you today. It caused me to seek more in-depth and approaching things humbly once I discovered what was underneath it. We even created keywords when we sensed conflict coming knowing when to take a step back and reflect. 

So our keyword is “chili pepper.” I wish I can take credit, but my daughter came up with that one. As I reflected on a chili pepper, chili peppers are hot; we agreed that when we would use the word, it could not be directly said as chili pepper, hello chili peppers! That would create more spicyness in our environment, but use it against our surroundings. For example, did you notice that there’s a lot of chili peppers growing on the tree outside? Or look at how big those chili pepper are, silly, I know, but having this in place allows us to see if we can help defuse the situation and then identify what is truly going on that is causing the conflict.  

Conflicts can seem more straightforward than we think or complicated and, at times, hits you out of nowhere one moment you are okay, and the next thing you are in a heated argument asking yourself what just happened. We came to an understanding that conflict doesn’t create the problem; they reveal the problem and expose what is in our hearts. A lot of times, we want our way or are annoyed, and you have to ask yourself what it is that you are craving at this moment while this conflict is going on that you are not getting.

How many times in our lives do we feel like we were are not getting our way, want to be left alone, or feel like we are not understood, or we want to be in control? Or feeling unappreciated, or perhaps you wish to get even or inflict pain or win the argument. It is a question hearing the noise that is happening and seeking what is going on underneath the sound?  

So I want to leave you with these few tips:

  • Reflect on if your conflict is more profound than what you are hearing? 
  • Work quickly to resolve your inner conflicts. 
  • Choose to walk into them humbly.
  • Come up with a keyword when things begin to become spicy.
  • Do not allow fear to paralyze what you are facing, but stand in faith that this too shall pass. 
  • You decide how you want trespond to the noise that is happening.

Carrier’s of Hope,

Sandy Cortes 

Breathing Hope One Life at a Time

Featured

It is time to unlock whose within you.

I remember growing up hearing my stepfather tell me, “I would never amount to anything.” So I allowed fear to paralyze me and keep me hidden. It was when the failure part came to reality to me. I had learned to remain unseen and never discovering who I was within me for so many years bound by fear and unworthiness.

I recognize where I was failing at was not trying and not believing in myself. I had to unlock what was within me and be seen. I had to reevaluate the lies and replace them with the truth. I had to get out of my comfort zone and do it even if I was afraid of the outcome. So many lies kept me stuck and handicap. What a great feeling of accomplishment when I stepped out of the way of me! Where would I be today if I had decided to be locked away somewhere? Are you afraid of failing like I was?

Are you in the way of you? Are you stopping yourself from grabbing ahold of the things you have dreamt of and locked away not to be seen? As the world sits on the other side longing for someone to speak life and give them hope, yet you are the carrier, the one they have waited on.

Can you envision yourself making a difference, strutting in your accomplishments? Get out of your way, step aside, and let me introduce you to the “New You.” Please get to know that person, he/she is waiting for you to unlock those dreams and release the real you. You have something so different and unique about you. Now unlock you and take a look at all you have inside of you. The world awaits your talents and gifting and your presence.

Learn to evaluate the lies and replace them with the truth. The only thing stopping you from unlocking you is YOU!

The greatest mistake we make is living in constant fear that we will make one- John Maxwell.

Carrier’s of Hope,

Sandy Cortes

Breathing Hope One Life at a Time!

Featured

Invisible vs Visible

Have you learned to live with your mask? Or maybe you wear many different masks? Because your hustling for worthiness and continue to numb yourselves so that you do not feel or show your vulnerability to others. By holding a mask at all costs, because what if they would discover the real you? 

Who is the real you? Have you been hurt due to someone shaming, putting you down, or downright did something to you? It is so exhausting to live an unauthentic life and hide behind a mask. I had many masks and a tendency to put on at times, even now, as your reading this blog. Why? Because then people would read or see my pain, and then I would have to hear the criticism of showing my vulnerability to others. People can be downright mean in this world. I understand how hard it is to be vulnerable. Society teaches you not to show vulnerability as it is a sign of weakness.

I was raised by a father never to show any feelings in front of others. Anything outside of that was considered a weakness. So, do you understand now why I had to wear a mask? There was enough criticism to paralyze me for life and continue on this path of always wearing a mask. Eventually, I had to look at myself in the mirror and ask myself, “Why are you hiding behind this mask? I knew it was a matter of time where it would call for me to put down my mask. There was an enormous amount of fear within me. Risk of people not liking me if I shared my vulnerability or them having thoughts of being messed up. I had to do some soul searching and figure out why I was so afraid of people seeing the real me. Of always remaining invisible, yet I was visible in front of others. I even had these twisted thoughts of somehow my father finding out and hearing his disapproval voice.   

I had to learn to lay that all down and be free to be me. One of the things I recall God telling me one day was, “Whatever you do, remain true to who you are and keep things real.” Being authentic to yourself and in front of others. That is hard to do in this day in age where there is this plague of comparison, not enough or vulnerability is such a bad thing you can see it in magazines, reality shows, and even social media.  

A mask is usually worn on the face as protection and to disguise yourself, so no one sees the real you. 

Life Application

  • Do you love the mask you put on every day?
  • Why do you wear your mask? 
  • Do you not want to be visible in this world? 
  • Or do you feel like your going through this world as invisible? 

Therefore, you put on your mask? Those are some big questions right, but a great way to cause some self-reflection on why you are wearing that mask. No more pretending and being invisible, choose to be visible to the world, and allow them to see how beautiful you are.

Carrier’s of Hope,

Sandy Cortes 

Breathing Hope One Life at a Time!

Featured

The Tyrant

henry-hustava-81799-unsplash

Have you ever looked back at the medieval days and been so fascinated by the ruler over their kingdom. I love the way they align themselves up for battle. Anything that stepped foot on their territory, they were armed and ready. One of my favorite movies is Troy. This movie portrays the struggle between the ancient kingdoms of Troy and Sparta. I love watching the different rulers and how they govern their empire.

There is a part in the movie where the city is celebrating and the night comes. Everything seems to be quiet, and then Achilles, Odysseus, and a small group of Greek soldiers emerge and slay several guards and open Troy’s gates. The Greek army quickly pours into the city, burning homes and killing any Trojan who stands in their way while Priam can only watch. The soldiers of Troy attempt to defend the royal palace but fail. Typically there is always a greedy, cruel tyrant in these movies. In Troy, it was Agamemnon. His brutal nature nearly leads to the destruction of his men and the loss of a war. Tyrants are willing to sacrifice others for their wants and are very fearful of losing their power.

Have you ever been in a place in your life where things were going well, and all of a sudden, you found yourself threatened and unguarded?
Like the story of Troy, there was a cruel tyrant that came in, whether it was in your mind, heart, and soul. Where it decided that it was going to go and destroy every bit of your kingdom, these tyrants can be a fear of failure, low self-esteem, bitterness, disbelief, and even unforgiveness. It continues to throw darts at all times and begin to govern your kingdom.

One of the tyrants that have come in and out of my life has been fear of failure. Every so often, that tyrant comes in at odd hours of the night and throws its deadly missiles. Trying to destroy everything that I have worked towards and set out to do. That tyrant comes when life seems out of control or when something doesn’t go as planned.

I’m amazed by how many thoughts come through our minds thinking to the point that we feel like we’re bleeding out. Where we can’t feel or have become numb to certain things in our lives because we have allowed a tyrant to govern our kingdom.

It happens to the best of us even when our life is going great. All it takes is that one tyrant to come through and can quickly destroy the kingdom, especially if you’re not awake and watching them as they arrive or as they are coming in and out. The enemy is very strategic in what he does and thinks things through.

What is your tyrant that continues to bombard and dominate your kingdom? Our kingdom is our heart, mind, and soul. What remains governing you that is stopping you from walking in your purpose and calling? Take some time today and reflect. Be on the lookout, gear up, identify the tyrants, and destroy it. Chop it off by its head, and do not allow it to come back into your kingdom. Be a watchman on the wall.

I hope you are enjoying reading this post if someone came to mind as you were reading this, please feel to share it with them! Could you help me, help others along the way? You never know who needs to hear this today that may be struggling and is needing one good thing to happen to them today. This could be a tool of encouragement and bring hope back into their situation. Please help me to continue to breathe hope one life at a time!

Carriers of Hope,

Sandy Cortes

Breathing Hope One one Life at a Time!

Featured

Don’t stop being you!

I learned a valuable lesson in 2019. I was raised in an environment where I had no voice growing up. I quickly took inventory that when people are used to you being a certain way, and then you bring change, they no longer want to be buddy, buddy with you.

Your new growth becomes a threat when your light shines in on them and what they lack or need to grow in. You become the so called “bad guy” and labels are placed on you, words are talked about you. Thinking no one is listening or that its being covered well.

As you begin to shake things up to bring forth the better and leader in you, growth, maturity and healing it becomes a bad thing. I have learned I don’t need to be quick to want to prove my point. Or share my version of the story. So that my name or reputation are cleared. I know who I am so there is no need to do this.

I have watched that anything hidden always comes to light. Learn to be a watchman on the wall and watch as the pieces fall right into place.

Don’t change who you are becoming; it’s okay if not everyone likes you. Your not meant to be liked by everyone and thats okay! Be you! Let your light shine and those who are not for you, get out the way!!!

Carrier’s of Hope,

Sandy Cortes

Breathing Hope One Life at a Time!

Featured

Dig up the root to find the truth!

Have you ever wondered why we do the things we sometimes do? Maybe you are unaware that you are doing it! Sometimes the things we struggle with is rooted in something that might seem unrelated to the behavior itself. 

I have been guilty of saying, “I’m going to stop doing this. As if it was that easy, right. These approaches are helpful, but in reality, that particular challenge does not just go away or was not created overnight. I have not seen problems successfully stop; they continue to sprout back up. It’s like cutting a weed off at the top without ripping it up from the roots. It is going to continue to happen and grow back. 

In our lives, we have to get to the root of what may be going on. Before even touching the challenges or behaviors. Let’s take a look at our belief system and not at the behaviors but the roots of those. As he/she thinks in his/her heart, so is he. 

So how do we begin this process?

  1. You start with the one lie.
  2. Then you locate when this lie first gave birth. Ex. For someone to love me, I have to perform. Growing up, my parents only acknowledged when I would do good, and then they showed me love and acceptance.  
  3. Asking God to help heal that hurtful place in your heart. 
  4. Make a declaration statement. Ex. I am loved for who I am, not by what I do.
  5. Focus on that declaration statement for the next 30 days, have someone hold you accountable and ask you how you are doing. Whenever the lie comes up, remind yourself that you are loved.  
  6. It may take some time for you to adjust and believe that you are loved, but if you practice this, it will become ingrained in your heart and mind. Continue to chisel the lie with your truth.
  7. I believe in journaling as it keeps inventory of all that is taking place in your life. This is where you can reference and review if your growing in that particular area. 

Remember to find the root of your truth. You will quickly discover that it is a lie and needs to be uprooted. Fill it back with the truth and learn to love it again! I hope you enjoyed reading this blog. Feel free to share this with someone who could use some encouragement.

Carrier’s of Hope, 

Sandy Cortes

Breathing Hope One Life at a Time!

Featured

What are you giving birth to?

Do you know that everyone has a purpose and calling in their lives?

I was never one who believed that I had a purpose in life. My upbringing was a rough one and I did not like people, especially the religious ones. I was a person who was full of anger and could spit acid in how much bitterness I was holding inside my heart! I grew up with a religious and legalistic stepfather.

Religion was shoved down my throat and not in a loving way but more of a legalistic harsh way! Who wants to know about this so-called God after that right? This was my core reason why I disliked religious people. I felt they were over religious and hypocrites.

My perception came from what I saw in my upbringing. It was my reality throughout those years. Then came that place in life where desperation kicked in and it was time for a change, change within! I had to figure out why I was so angry.

I had to do my own research and search within my own heart. I began admitting some of my pain and issues that took place. Allowing healing and accountability and this where something was birth within me. This is how the name, “Carriers of Hope”, was birth from.

See from my pain came his gain. Today I able to share with people from all backgrounds, different walks of life. Knowing that the big guy upstairs sent me to share my story with others. To breathe life to into those areas that have died, are dying and breath Hope One Life a Time!

Just in case you feel like you have no purpose, reread this post, so it encourages you and reminds you that YOU to have been called for a purpose and that there is something birthing within that you need to deliver that the world needs to hear.

Carriers of Hope,

Sandy Cortes

Breathing Hope One Life a Time!

Featured

What road are you on?

I like having control over things, like what my upcoming weeks look like or knowing when and how I am going to handle a particular project. Or how to get my kids or husband to get them to do something I want them to do. I can predict the outcome and prepare accordingly for attitudes and negotiation and even compromising. Yet there have been other things that I had no control over. I have mentored and counseled many individuals throughout life. But, how about when you can not control an unexpected issue like a terrible break-up, a divorce of a couple, a severe illness, a loss of a job, or a loss of a loved one. Listen to the news and hear all the things that are taking place in our day to day society. But what do you do when it happens and it mainly affects you?

I woke up thinking about the tragic accident that took place yesterday with Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and the other six passengers. I am a mother and wife, and my heart hurts for those families. I think of the call that was made to his wife and envision what may have gone through her mind to not only receive the news of her husband but then in the very next breath hearing that her daughter passed away too — the same with the other families. Life will never be the same for them. A part of them will be missing that will not be given back. I have no relationship with any of these individuals. However, I know the pain of losing a loved one. My heart and prayer go out to the families.

How does one deal when you receive news like this? How does one deal with all the emotions that come from those situations of trauma or tragedy?

With my own experiences, I recall being so angry when I got the news of good friends of ours that were killed by a drunk driver and when my mother passed away from cancer. Devastation kicked in, and I had all these mixed emotions. I did not know how to process what was said, yet let alone how does one grieve, and go back to day to day life without that person no longer being in their life. How does one hold and process everything that they are feeling, thinking, and wishing it was a bad nightmare? Then evenutally coming to terms, and realizing that it happened and that those loved ones are not coming back.

I wish I had those answers on what to do. I know for me, I was in a state of shock, and the world stopped at that moment. Nothing else mattered, and nothing could soothe the pain of losing someone you love. Then all the should of, could of the sit-in and you try to remember the last conversation or last thing said. For me, it took many years to talk about what happened, I went through a dark time of being depressed. I do not know if it was that I was just not ready to procesd and/or just trying to survive, in denial, or just not go there because of the pain I felt. Eventually, I had to learn to go to that place of torment. I am one who, when I begin to cry, and I am trying to express myself, all I can do is cry, and there goes the end of that conversation. That when I finally do share, it is ugly and hard. Yet it is therapeutic; it didn’t make the people I love come back but help soothe and made it easier to process the emotions I felt.

I have learned the importance of accountability. Yes, I did say accountability. It is going to require you to speak about those things that have occurred throughout life. You are not truly going to know how to process or handle what has happened. Having someone in your life helps hold your challenges, and that will guide and be there with you through the aftermath. Many times the risk of being accountable and authentic is hard for individuals. Being on the receiving side at times, we feel that we have to have the right words or have to say something, but it is okay to sit and just listen. Just being there for that individual can bring healing to their life. But one of the things that can help me help others is putting myself in their shoes and being in that moment per say in what they are vocalizing.

Beloved, I am not sure what you are facing today, I am hoping that you would be ready and open to share those hard places of your life. Reflecting on the importance of going to a friend or relative or yes, a counselor/therapist. That you feel you can share that brave space with and share your pain and sufferings with is so therapeutic. It is the first step forward in beginning your healing process. There is not a timeline of when to no longer hurt and mourn over the loved ones you have lost. Embrace each day as it comes. I know when the holidays come, I often think of my loved ones and become sad, and I embrace it and I know there in a much better place than I am. From these hardships, I have learned that life is too short and learning to be present at the moment with those loved ones that are still here. Life goes by very quickly.

There was a meta anayalis done and it stated, “The average person who received therapy is better off at the end of it than 80% of those who do not”. This is something I can vouch for as I have taken therapy and believe in it. It has help me to cope and heal and given me tools to utlize when those unexpected things come up. So take time out today and make that call and share those things that are holding you back and/or that have been hard to deal with. I promise you will not regret it!

Carriers of Hope,

Sandy Cortes

Breathing Hope One Life at a Time!

Featured

Authentic Self

Have you struggled to share your authentic self with others? Do you even know who your authentic self is?

When I think of being authentic, I think of a person who wears no makeup. I am not saying that a person who wears makeup is not genuine. I am saying this is what comes to my mind. A fresh, clean face with nothing on it to cover it up. No highlighters, foundation, or concealer are covering up the imperfections or flaws.

So many times in our lives, we try to cover up our authentic self because of rejection, acceptance, or fear of being judged. So we create a counterfeit of who we think people will accept and approve. Or show up as a person we believe will fit in and be liked.

In some of my own experiences, people have ridiculed me for being authentic. Either when I have shared my heart on a matter, or my feelings got hurt, and I have expressed it to the offender. Or when I have been wholly misunderstood.

2019 has been about self-discovery. I had many counterfeit moments before embarking on this new journey. I thought if this is the response I get for being real? It’s better to be fake! But is it really? Your only cheating yourself!

Being authentic comes with a pretty hefty cost. There is a risk that comes with being authentic. That not a lot of people will buy or like you for it. Many years ago, God reminded me, whatever you do, Sandy keeps things real.” So this was brought back full circle in 2019.

What I discovered is that not a lot of people can handle someone being authentic or showing their vulnerability. It is like a mirror reflection of themselves, of them being counterfeit, hiding behind all the fluffs, titles, and whatever other concealers and become threatened. People, including myself, can say hurtful things that can scar us if we are not careful when we see our true reflection.

So, are YOU being your authentic self? If you have been a counterfeit, then its time to come out of hiding and get around people who are willing to take the risk and be authentic with you!

“Staying real” is one of the most courageous battles that we will ever fight.

Carrier’s of Hope,

Sandy Cortes

Breathing Hope One Life At a Time!

Featured

“WHY?”

Some many things happen in our lives that we don’t understand the reasoning behind. I am always making a mental list jotting down in my mind when things have not gone as planned. Or rather, as I prayed accordingly to my selfish desires or needs. Some of those specifics things made me question my faith and blame God. Seeing my mother healed once of cancer, and yet the next time, it completely took her out. Praying for marriage and seeing them go through the hardship of a divorce. Death of a loved one unexpectedly after we poured our hearts out and p[rayed and saw their entire family restored than all of sudden killed by a drunk driver. Those things left me feeling unheard or beating myself up, saying, I should have prayed or fast more — those times when I felt like God had not come through. Or these are the results of my poor choices throughout my life, and it being payback.

It was discouraging for me when the results were not what I had expected or prayed. Those things caused me to question his existence. I created no space to look outside of that and allowed my heart to become hardened and stagnant in my relationship with him. Envisioning myself that when I got to heaven, pulling out my list and telling the people behind me, “I need a few minutes so he can answer these questions. Things that I took to heart and did not understand why it did not come through. Being so angry at God and questioning his goodness.

Yet, the more I get to know him today, I realize his goodness and love for me and others in this world. The more I am on this earth and commune with him, I am learning that he is a good and kind father like no other I have ever known or experienced. The kind of father who loves me unconditional without walls or barriers. With my imperfections, questioning, doubts, and fears and yet meets me at my ugliest moments knowing how I feel. Do you recall when Jesus was on the cross and cried out to his father, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me”? He questioned his father and felt abandoned.

I am so thankful that he rescued me from a life full of brokenness and searching for validation in all the wrong places. I should have been dead or not living the life I am today. I am learning to trust that he knows the “WHYS.” See, I know deep in my heart he has always looked out for me throughout different situations that have crossed my path. Yet, I have struggled with doubt, and my faith has waivered so many times.

I heard something so profound by Bill Johnson and thought, “Thank you for explaining to those that can be close-minded like myself and that have had a lack of faith, still learning to trust in taking him at his word. These words hit home, and it has begun to change my perspective about everything and silenced my doubts and questioning — something so profound but not as simple when you are in your head and has struggled with disbelief.

He stated, “When it doesn’t work, we don’t blame God. We celebrate and give him the glory. We celebrate his goodness. Nothing about our experiences, difficult or not, changes who he is”. Thank you, Bill Johnson, for setting me straight! Immediately that list came to mind, and I felt such a wave of peace with those words. I am laying to rest my list of questioning, struggles, and of blaming God for specific things. Giving Him glory and praising him for his goodness and that I will continue to see his glory.

Beloved, what is it that you have felt that God did not come through in your life? Is this what is holding you back from experiencing his goodness and from moving forward? Sometimes we have to take a step back and reflect and trust the process. We may never know why something occurred, but he knows the “WHYS”!

I want to encourage you to go deeper in your journey with him. Learn to share those hard moments with God in how your feeling and to help with disbelief. I encourage you to seek his face and goodness in those parts of your life that have been difficult? Throw away the list and embrace his goodness. Do not let the “WHYS” paralyze you! I am jumping from the sidelines, getting my praise, and waiting in expectation of what God is doing within you!!!

Carrier’s of Hope,


Sandy Cortes


Breathing Hope One Life at a Time!

Featured

“You may bend, but you won’t break.”

So many times in our lives, things happen that are out of our control and make us feel like it is going to break us. Well, mine started at the beginning of this year and has been steadily moving daily. This year has been a year of change, pushing me to face fears, insecurities, and tons of self-discovery. I realized that things that are taking place are forcing me to be more of a well-rounded individual as a wife, mother, leader, and friend. I had to step back and look at it from a different perspective. It is recognizing that this season is refining and positioning me into my calling. I am learning to embrace the process, no matter how overwhelming it can be.

One of my professors said, “You may bend, but you won’t break.” This season is realigning me into the person I was called to be. I am learning to visit those areas that have been stagnant or that have been hard to face. By evaluating what has been beneficial and getting rid of the things that are choking me out. Those things have kept me from change. I am learning to put those things by the waste side as they are not supposed to be part of my life. That is where they need to go. I have started to prepare for the harvest that is coming my way. Excited and reflecting on how this season has brought good change and pushed me forward of what needed to happen within me.

So, I want to encourage you today and ask you:

  • What area in your life do you need to stop putting off and face?”
  • What do you need to put by the waste side?
  • Do you need someone keeping you accountable?

Reflect and reevaluate where you are today. Sometimes sharing those challenges will help us because that individual will ask you how you are doing? It keeps things shaking in our lives. It may be challenging what you have to face, but this may be the season to do that. Trust me; I get it sometimes we have to go backwards to move forward. Which can be very painful or exhausting. It will push you but yet bring renewal and refreshment to you. You will never know until you step forward and face it. Learn to trust the process and remember, “You may bend, but you won’t break.”

Carrier’s of Hope,

Sandy Cortes

Breathing Hope One Life at a Time

Featured

“Did I just say that?”

In the line of work that I do, it requires me to speak, address, and encourage. At times this can be a challenge for me, especially when you see someone making the same decisions over and over again, knowing that this has not been beneficial for that individual or the situation.

I have been guilty of saying something that I did not utilize wisdom in the way I spoke towards myself, with my children, spouse, and my influence of friends. Where the words just came spewing out of my mouth. You know that feeling you get when you were wanting to kick yourself and are saying, “Did I just say that out loud.” Knowing that no matter what, I said, it wouldn’t change anything, and I can’t take it back.

I am quickly learning that I have to use wisdom in the things I say and that my tongue can steer what direction I want to go in and not. It is like a rudder on a ship in how it determines the direction a ship will go. My tongue has the power to steer a conversation in a positive or opposite direction. I have been guilty of hitting many avalanches, and my ship quickly sinking like the titanic.

Our tongue has the power to produce life and death. It can speak words of encouragement to people and their circumstances or can crush an individual’s spirit and create discouragement and the will to fight the good fight on their growth. It is so easy to spew out words out of frustration.

I am becoming more conscious of watching what I say. Asking myself, “Is this going to edify or tear down whatever that is that is that I am facing.” I am completely transparent here at times I want to go straight to tearing down whether it is to myself that I am speaking to or speaking of others. Then the light bulb begins to flash, and I have to ask, “Is this helping the situation,” and I do walk away feeling any better? The answer is, “No.”

So I want to challenge you today to come on this journey with me. To be conscious and watch what you are saying and then ask yourself, is this helping the situation or tearing it down? Let’s speak life into our situation and whatever it is your facing today. There is already enough negativity in this world; let’s be the light and shine in the midst of those dark moments of our lives, so we can help others shine the light on theirs.

Carrier’s of Hope,

Sandy Cortes

Breathing Hope One Life at a Time!

Featured

I can’t take it anymore!

There I was in the middle of the night my chest felt tight, my left arm became numb. I did not know what was going on and never felt this way before. Little did I know I was having an anxiety attack. There was a lot of late nights and that particular night I had many things on my mind. Things that I had to get done or that were not done. On top of all of that I was in the middle of a research class.

That day the signs in my body were telling me, this is too much and it is time to slow down. Lately, I have been reflecting how certain things in our life can be so crippling. The busyness and hustle to get things done. The endless to-do-list can be very exhausting and create so much tension and anxiety.

I am learning how anxiety is so dangerous for our bodies. It can weighs us down enabling us from moving forward.
It was time to take a step back and reflect on what was going on and how to minimize the anxiety and stressors. Figuring out a way to let go of certain things and being okay with that process.

I have identified something that has helped me along this journey with anxiety and my ginormous to do list. I like to call it the “dumping site”. Where I grab a sheet of paper and write down what I am feeling at that moment and/or things that need to get done. This allows me to reflect on what is on my mind and decide what to let go of, delegate or postpone for another day. Then I speak to myself and say, “Sandy, you can do this, or it is okay that it did not get done or this is something you have to say “no too”. If I am having negative self talk and being hard on myself, I replace those words with encouraging words and speak life into that negativity. This has empowered and has allowed me to continue moving forward.

Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up! Learn to be kind and speak to yourself when your having those paralyzing moments in life. They will come, it’s just a matter of finding out what you do once it is here.

So, if you are struggling with anxiety or the stressors of life I want to challenge you to try visiting the dumping site. Write down your feelings in that moment and rewrite any negativity.

Carrier’s of Hope,

Sandy Cortes

Breathing Hope One Life at a Time!

Featured

The Bully Within

Throughout my upbringing, I recall having two physical bullies at my school. Every day they would find a way to pick at me, steal my lunch, or push me around. It was terrifying not knowing what was going to happen on any given day.

Until one day, I said, “No more, no more am I going to allow this.” I confronted those bullies. It was terrifying and I knew there was a risk of getting beat up. To my surprise, they were quite shocked that I took a stand, and from that day, they never bothered me again. I couldn’t believe that all those months I allowed them to bully me and push me around.

Those bullies left a scar on my heart with all the hurtful things that they would say to me. It was tough to shake those things off, and eventually those became a part of me.

Some of my bullies within have been “You are not enough, your not smart enough, and what makes you different from anyone else? Those bullies taunted me my entire life until I learned to face those bullies as I did in High School.

How often do you confront the bullies in your mind?

These bullies nag, criticize, judge, and take you down just if it was like a physical bully in front of you. Every day they show up to pick and fight. Those messages tear down our self-esteem and security. If we do not fight those bullies within, they hinder our emotional well being. We can remain stuck in life.

So what are some of the inner bully messages that keep you stuck and hamper your well-being?

Take action and stand up and fight that bully within.

Carrier’s of Hope,

Sandy Cortes

Breathing Hope One Life at a Time

Featured

The other side

Have you ever had that feeling where you felt paralyzed and felt your heart racing Where you feel the hairs on the back of your neck, and your hands begin to shake? All of a sudden, there it was on the other side.

I was sitting outside on my patio, taken back by the beautiful skies, embracing the fresh air, and feeling the temperature starting to change. My cute boxer was excited that momma was coming to spend time with him. I watched as he began to jump around and took full advantage of our backyard as he ran from side to side. When all of a sudden, we heard a roar on the other side of our fence. I was taken back by the noise and felt threatened. I watched the hairs of his body stand up, and he got into position as if something was coming at us.

Have you ever gotten that sudden call where you are so disoriented by the news? Engulfed feelings of fear and unsure of what to do. Saying, “No, no,no, please, do not say that almost anticipating what they were going to say next. I recall receiving that call in 2014 that one of my loved ones had tried to commit suicide while away at college. I was confused and taken back by the details. All these emotions came full force of anger, fear, and I thought, please wake me up from this bad nightmare.   

As a mother, how does one cope with such news? No matter what anyone says,you are left with those feelings, wondering how did we get to this point?  You even begin to reflect on your parenting skills and ask where or how did I miss these signs? How many times in life have things happened that you felt paralyzed by the sound of the roar? That its sting makes you question everything you have ever known or even believed.  Maybe still feeling in shock and succumbed by waves of denial.

I am not sure what you are facing today, but I have had many of those roars try and take me out. Some were hard.  Others I had to stare at the aftermath of those and figure on how I was truly going to cope with those.    

The critical thing here is that you face those things and not allow the boom to paralyze you. Sometimes in life, we do not understand certain things that come our way and are out of our control. Just as my dog stood stout and prepared for what was coming, you do the same. If you are uncertain on how to deal with what has happened, call a friend or a loved one. Where you can process and speak about the situation. I know many times with me that was not enough, I had to ask God to help and guide me through the process, and I know he can do the same for you. 

By the way, the roar on the other side was a German shepherd that sounded like a lion. Today my adult child is whole and now has a family of his own. I even have a grandbaby, and I have fallen into a new title of being called, “A Glamma,” too young and hip for any other terminology.  So, no matter how loud the roar is or what this may look like, know that this also shall pass and do not allow it to take you out.  

My prayers are with you today and know that whatever is roaring on the other side cannot take you out! It may feel like it at first but stand stout and look at in the face to let it know you see what is happening, and you will overcome this! 

Carriers of Hope,

Sandy Cortes

Breathing Hope One Life at a Time 

Featured

Slowly dying..

How many people do you think we pass by every day that is contemplating whether they should live or die? Here is something that will blow your mind; about 44,000 people try to commit suicide each year. As sad as it is people use different measures to get through life, whether it is drugs, alcohol, or sex or hide behind certain things, so they do not have to face or deal with what is going. Sadly, even suicide becomes an option.

I find myself wondering how does someone get to this point in their life that it becomes an option. I believe it begins with our thoughts, especially when things seem like they are falling apart and no longer have the energy to fight or do not know what to do to change their situation. We all struggle with our thoughts, and at times, the challenges we face can feel unbearable that the circumstances are destroying the very life of them slowly and are crying out for help and do not how to get it. Becoming a prisoner to whatever they are facing and give themselves their sentencing. Life gets hard; people begin to believe that there is no escape and that their situation will not get any better.

My heart is heavy and sadden as I was reading about a Pastor in California that committed suicide a few days ago, leaving behind a wife and two beautiful children. I can not even imagine what the wife and children are experiencing — lingering with unanswered questions.
Everyone asking the same thing why did their friend, child, parent, spouse, or sibling take their own life? They felt enough despair to want to die, but why did they think that?

A person’s suicide often takes the people it leaves behind by surprise. In 2013, I lost a loved one to suicide and can still feel the sting of that. Left with so many unanswered questions and wanting to know the same thing, why? I knew challenges were going on but never envisioned not seeing that person again. We think to ourselves all the could of, would of or even feel guilty that maybe we were not their enough for that individual because we have so many other things tugging on us. We may genuinely never know what all was going on in that person’s life that made them make that choice. But it does make you pause and reflect when you hear about it or occurs in that person’s life.

Today, I find myself reflecting on how life gets busy and passes by so quickly. Not knowing if that person in front of you is struggling and contemplating if they are better off no longer being here. Going through their battles and killing them softly inside, crying out for help, in hopes that maybe someone will notice, recognize, speak to them in giving them an encouraging word, prayer, or hug. Let’s slow down and pay attention to who we are passing by each day. Maybe at the grocery store, or the gas station or your neighborhood or community of people that you come across. Especially our loved ones, sometimes they are the ones that need us the most.

My prayers go out to those who have lost a loved one to suicide. Let’s embrace them and let them know we are there for them. Take some time to reflect and pick up the phone, text, or visit with someone that has come to mind that you can uplift. You never know how much life can bring to them and how that can be the shift that they needed.

Sandy Cortes,

Carrier’s of Hope

Breathing Hope one Life at a Time

Featured

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!

Featured

Imperfect Being

Lately, I have been doing a lot of soul-searching. Wondering where did this fragmented part of me called “perfectionist” come from? In my early years, I was all over the place, and “order” did not exist in my life. Not until I had children and got my first corporate job is when I started to understand the importance of order and how it needed to become part of my life. Then I began to notice that if there was something that was not in order or that was not done right; then I would come undone. I would become frustrated, or the little lie would whisper, “You could have done a better job at that.” Honestly, I never paid attention to why I would respond to certain things like that.

Growing up, I knew my parents always wanted the best for me and loved me. They wanted me to have a good-paying career, and an education which who doesn’t want that for their children. Both parents were hard workers. My stepfather was strict and had a lot of “do’s and “don’t.” So whenever something was not up to his standards, he would vocalize or demonstrate how disappointed he was of me and my behavior. It could have been the smallest things, like not washing the dishes properly. Then the harsh comments would come, “You can never do anything right or “You are so lazy, you will never amount to anything or my least favorite, “You will always be a failure.”

Earlier this year, I began the journey of self-discovery and started to search in places that had always been there but never had I visited. I have been on a quest of trying to connect the dots of why I do certain things or why I allow certain things to bother me. There is where I found that fragmented part of me called, perfectionist.” The connection in why things had to be a certain way. Whenever I would hear those words in my head, “You can never do anything right” the actions would follow right after where everything needed to be perffect for it to be considered right, how twisted is that? What saddens me the most is that I spent many years in that vicious cycle.

I even introduced this fragmented part of me to my children as well. I did not vocalize it but by giving a cold shoulder or my disapproval look, that said enough. I am quickly learning to extend grace and forgive myself and be an encourager to them when they have their moments. I find myself praying that they too will get the same revelation I have; not called to perfect. It is okay to want to have things in order, and it is reasonable to want to strive to achieve a specific goal for personal reasons that are healthy or that will help you grow. But when you attempt to be perfect or hard on yourself for falling short, that’s when it becomes unhealthy.

That is where that fragmented part gives birth and creeps in and eats at even the best parts of you. Everyone is imperfect, and there is not a perfect being on this earth. So why continue to strive after something that no matter how much you attempt to perfect never happens, and waste years achieving something that is a dead end. Everyone is flawed in their way and has challenges that they may or not recognize in them. But when you begin to get stressed out, or it becomes compulsive in reaching an absolute perfection, this becomes a weakness, and now that pesky little guy has gnawed his teeth inside of you and seeks to suck the life out of you, which hinders you from living a life of being content, fulfillment, and happiness.

So beloved, I want you to ask yourself what you are striving after? Who or what have you allowed to creep in that resides and is continually eating away at you?

I pray that you would know that you are enough and are loved. That you would know God sees you as his beautiful masterpiece and made no mistakes when he created you.

Carrier’s of Hope

Sandy Cortes

Breathing Hope One Life at a Time.

Featured

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!

Featured

To be continued…

Have you ever watched a tv show or movie that had you sitting at the edge of your seat anticipating what is going to happen next? Then all of sudden it ends with “To be continued”.

You have all these emotions running through your veins and left wondering what just happened and why would they leave you that way? When will it be continued?

If you are like me I pull out my phone and search online to see when the next sequel or episode is coming out. Only left feeling more disappointed when there are no answers to those questions.

Have you ever felt like that about life? All of sudden things are going great and then something happens that alters your life, causing a pause. Either by a tragedy, loss of a love one, a separation or divorce or unexpected illness. Left wondering what just happened? What is going to happen next?

When I look back at some of the episodes of my life many have brought different emotions like pain and brokenness, while others caused a hardness of heart and bitterness! Left wondering will this pass? Some of those painful moments created self reflection and brought change within me or my situation. Learning from many of my “to be continued” series.

Just like the tv show or sequel it continues and shows you the next part of the story.

I am not sure what your facing today, but I want to encourage you that the things that have been left “to be continued” will be continued! You are building your story, your sequel, your next episode.

Every episode in your life builds upon the story that was created for you! Be encouraged today, this too shall pass! Then you will sit back and play the reruns of your life with others and those episodes will bring hope and encouragement to others as your share.

Carriers of Hope,

Sandy Cortes

Breathing hope one life at a time.

Featured

Who is coaching YOU?

What is a coach?  It is a coach who comes alongside you to see you where you are at and help you get to where you want to be. 

I recall watching a commercial with a well-known basketball player and thinking, “He was not always a great basketball player”.  He had to work with someone behind the scenes that showed him different techniques and calling out some of the areas where growth needed to take place in.   The coach had to come alongside the basketball player on the sidelines and outside the games calling out different plays to conduct and not conduct while being in and out of the game.  Even the best experts utilize a Coach. A coach will listen to your story without feeling judged, criticized and provided the greatest support during those hard times.

We all have blind spots in our lives that we are unaware of and need some guidance in.  In having coach or accountability partner, they help in areas that are challenging and approach beliefs that are crippling one from making genuine connections and have fulfilling relationships.  They help individuals to gain the courage, strength and discover some of the passions and gain the confidence needed in overcoming life challenges that come unexpectedly.  

A coach helps to work on self-confidence and explore obstacles that have kept an individual stuck and has enabled them in believing that they can move forward.  Especially if you have not identified them as blind spots or mental blocks.   With Coaching one can explore many different topics like personal goals and/or professional goals.  It is not just about dealing with the past but closing the gap of where one is currently at and where you would like to be in your ideal self. Together creating an action plan that the individual and the coach are held accountable to fulfill and achieve those goals.

When your sitting down with someone who is a coach or is holding you accountable that person is able to examine where you are at and learn what patterns have been good for you and not.  Honing in and taking a look at some of the life challenges and misunderstandings about yourself and others.  That has occurred throughout life and learn to follow through in trusting yourself to revisit those areas. A coach helps with your personal life, goal setting, and dealing with life challenges.  It helps an individual to get unstuck and create healthy habits, as well as learning how to have fun, unleash the gifts within you, and improve relationships.  Furthermore, it helps create awareness in identifying your life purpose and reaching your goals.

People that have chosen to have a Coach have been successful in life because they have chosen to do something different and together brainstorm and create a plan that will lead them to become a better individual. 

The role of a Coach is to help provide the tools needed to help achieve goals and carry out the vision for yourself at the same time holding you accountable.  It is a great resource to utilize that allows an individual to move forward in life where the life coach is there to motivate and supports individuals that face roadblocks along the way.  Everyone has life challenges but it is what you do with them that matters.  With each challenge, there is always a solution that eventually becomes part of your story.

Where we get to explore and face those areas of life that have been challenging and help shape you into a stronger, healthier and empower the person within you.  It is a place where we provide the tools to help empty the garbage out. The goal is to gain new tools to deal with life challenged one has experienced as well as prepare you to cope effectively with the stresses and challenges that life brings. 

Life Application

Do you want to achieve happiness and true fulfillment in your personal life? Do you want to begin let go of any fears and concerns? It is time to seek after a coach or accountability partner, as we all need in our lives.

Carrier’s of Hope,

Sandy Cortes

Breathing Hope One Life at a Time!

Featured

Are you letting your junk build up?

Have you ever felt like there so many things going on all at the same time?

Then that one little thing sets you off and you reflect on everything that’s not going right.  What do we do with that? Do you deal with things as they come up or are we just continuing to stuff things and tell ourselves I’ll deal with that later? Yet later never comes!

I know from personal experience I have been one to stuff what I was feeling and then never come to address it ever again.  Either because I was afraid of having to go there and relive that experience or those feelings of being angry would come up all over again.  What I have learned on this journey is that by holding on to things in and never addressing them it begins to create a hardened heart.  It begins to take away from who you were called to be.  You begin to become complacent and believe that this new journey is a part of you.  When in reality it is taking the life out of you.  You become hopeless in the process and start losing the fight.

Like the rest of the world we are all struggling with some type of brokenness, wound or challenges in our lives.  The suicide rate continues to  escalate or people begin turning to things that they believe can numb or fix the pain.  Then to circle right back around and stay stuck in the same place we  started.

I want to advice you to change your thinking and change the lane your on and head towards the path of bettering yourself.  Remember we are all a work in progress.  Learn to deal with stuff along the way or kill the pride and ask someone to walk alongside this journey so your not going at it alone!  Two are better than one!

Take time today to deal with one thing that you can change and have control over versus the opposite of that.  Your worth it!

Carrier’s of Hope

Sandy Cortes

Breathing Hope One Life at a Time!

Featured

What is your verdict?

Today I was convicted in how many times in my own life I have judged, condemned or looked down upon others. Whether they have done something that was not according to my standards. I have been quick to express my opinion, even when the person has not asked for it. Or I have turned my nose up at people. I know I’m not the only one in the world to do this, but the conviction I feel is real.

As I was sitting in class and was reading about different cultures. The chapter discussed about having self awareness when working with people and their culture. As a counselor I have to flow and know my audience and become familiar with their culture. By being open and understanding certain decisions and why they choose certain beliefs, lifestyles within their culture.

The more I read the more I was I raising my nose up as if I was better. I actually said, “Those people need to straighten up and that just won’t work for me”.

I had to quickly tell myself “Get over yourself”. In order for me to be an effective counselor, leader and friend, I have to be able to accept others no matter what”. By putting aside my own opinions, beliefs and not being bias. Or act as if I’m better than whoever.

A perfect example that comes to mind is with my Hispanic culture. Hispanics are known to be late. I’m not saying all hispanics so please hear me I’m saying in the Puerto Rican culture or community. Perpetual lateness has always been acceptable and this is one of pet peeve.

At that moment is when I realized, “What are you talking about sister? “You use to be late all the time and many times have been in a crisis situation that you couldn’t control not being late. I have also made poor choices throughout life that weren’t the best. I quickly said, “Sandy, get over yourself”. Just like that I had to shut down every time she tries to speak foolishness!

I was totally convicted by a book that I am reading called “What if we start over”, by Ricardo & Susana Rodriguez.

Here is what it said,”Keep in mind that by the way you respond to someone’s else sin you can either spark the process of restoration in their lives or create further pain and worsen the wound. Our words and attitudes are decisive. The worst mistake is to judge

My prayer today would be that we are quick to not judge or condemn. That when we do that we are quick to repent and ask the Lord to forgive us.

Jesus laid on the cross and indicated, “Forgive them for they know not what they are doing”. This is the same response we should have with others that we may not approve their lifestyle or decisions.

Let’s mimic Christ in this and ask the Lord to lead us to those who need that unconditional love and compassion as Christ has with us..

Carriers of Hope,

Sandy Cortes

Breathing one Life at a Time!

Featured

Being deformed rather than transformed

shattered doll

I recall back in my high school years I loved wearing high heels. Back then they were called pumps. This girl had a struct like a runway model always feeling ready for a show.

Several years ago I began having pain on my left foot, so I decided to see a podiatrist. I am embarrassed to be putting this out there for the world to read. He said, “Sandy, you have a bunion growing on your foot.” I quickly said, “A who, come again, an onion.” I’m laughing as I am typing this. He could see the puzzling look on my face. So I asked him, “What in the world is that, how did that happen and how do we get rid of it?” He mentioned, “It a bony profusion that forms in the joint at the base of the big toe.” Then it begins to put pressure on the big toe causing it to grow outward. I had this confused look on my face; it was not registering.

Here are some stats, do you know that about 8% of women over the age of 21 reports having this condition. I thought to myself, “I am not trying to be part of this girl’s club. The analytical in me kicked in and pondered on that percentage being low. Well, come to find out that it is about 18 million women, and I was one of them.

I was still waiting for how did it happen part, and he mentioned several things. Then the light bulb went off when he said that it could come from the high-heeled, pointy toe, poorly designed or ill-fitting shoes. Remember that runway model back in high school. The doctor recommended not wearing those cute high heels caused the bunion would continue to grow. My feathers were already ruffled and sprawled out like a peacock having to let go of the crown of my days as a runway model, and now all those beautiful heels pointed shoes to go away.

Then he said, “It is a slow process, and you have no control when it begins to a happen and over time the toe starts to shape itself to the right. Toes are not supposed to do that! That day I was not about to let not podiatrist tell me what to wear let alone take my runway crown. Then it began to happen as he predicted. Have you ever seen a bunion on someone’s foot? Let’s say it is not attractive no matter if you are wearing the prettiest sandals. Those beautiful heels became so uncomfortable to wear and would hurt. I quickly made that call when I began to notice this take place and wanted that ugly thing gone. I had to have surgery. Throughout the years, I have not worn those pretty heels as much I as would wish too; the doctor did state that it can come back.

Have you ever had something in your life happen that grew on you without having any control over it, as that bunion did for me? I can not tell you how many people I speak to that life took a turn that changed them: an unexpected illness, a divorce, or a loss of a loved one. Seeing the warning signs and having no control of what direction it’s going. That ugly thing did not have permission to be there.

As I was reflecting on one of my journal entries back in December of 2009, I recall going through such a hard time. I had recently lost my mother about two years to cancer and my neighbors were killed by a drunk driver, leaving behind three beautiful children. Life was hard, and I wanted answers, I was angry and felt like life was not fair. I was mad at people, God and did want no spiel of “only God knows or this is part of life, it happens.” So many emotions were taking place, and everything seemed so out of control. It began to deform a lot of areas in my life. To grow and take shape into parts of me that started to change who I was — not seeing it grow on me and then not knowing how to remove them.

I wish I can say, that I went back to the doctor and had surgery to get it removed. If only it were that easy, right? It took a lot of time to heal, and at times things still come up from those hard years. I had learned to permit myself to grieve those things, to allow the anger and hurt to be expressed versus keeping it bottled in or putting it in a file to deal with later. Then as time went on, I ask God, to help me heal and let it go. I was not allowing the analytical Sandy to want all the questions answered before moving forward. I was tired of being angry.

One of the most significant things that took place was that it brought a lot of transformation in my life. It allowed me to have compassion for those who are grieving the loss of something whether it was a death or not. Something was birthed in me in wanting to help others identify those deformities that take place. Then to begin to have surgery on callous areas and use those things to cause the transformation to take place.

I have had a lot of deformities take place in my life and eventually I became so tired of having them there. I was afraid to have to go and get them looked at. I want to ask a question, “Are you afraid of being deformed rather than transformed?” I am not sure what you’re facing, but I want to encourage you to permit yourself to feel those things that have happened in your life. To take a look at the deformities and ask yourself has this cause a transformation or is still deforming different parts of your life?

Beloved, know that you have a story to share just as I am sharing some of the chapters of mine. Begin by picking up the phone, or send an email or text and ask someone to help come alongside and help you with those deformities. How much longer before you have them removed?

Carrier’s of Hope,
Sandy Cortes
Breathing Hope One Life at a Time!

Featured

The importance of having friendships

Having friends in our lives is a necessity and can positively impact our lives. You can have acquaintances, which are more casual friends and than there are those that are worth chasing after to have a strong friendship. Some are closer to the heart. Those are the ones that have created influences in your life, are ones you can rely on and make time. Friendships take time to build and require effort. As long as your willing to put in the time and effort, those friendships can bless your lives.

I was one to never really have friends growing up. Maybe a handful is what I recall. I realized I needed to have friends. In meeting new people, this can be very hard and uncomfortable. It requires putting yourself out there and at times can be hard just to let loose. Will requires stepping out of your comfort zone. Some of the ways that you can step out are by joining a book club, or going to a social event and inviting a casual friend that you may have and want to grow the relationship. Alternatively, talking with people from your job or school.

My eyes have been enlightened to watch how people struggle with being rejected by others. I once was a product of that and would be quick to reject before someone would reject me. I am a grad student, and I have observed how people can be standoffish and to themselves. That I have purposely made it a point to conversate with my classmates and invited them over to my home, remember the part that I mentioned in having to step out of your comfort zone, well that is a huge stepping out for me inviting them too “Casa Cortes.” The more you share and spend time with one another the more it will blossom. You also begin to create memories. The other day I was thinking to myself, “It would be so awesome to have a slumber party or making a one day trip together. These are some ways to bond while doing some of the things you all can enjoy.

When making a new friend, take some time to get to know them. Ask about their family and things they like to do for fun. You are going to want to spend time with them and make plans together. This is how people begin to form bonds- by sharing experiences. The more time along the way the more the friendship will grow. It may take time, but it is worth it. Remember it is not about the quantity but about spending quality time with them and building relationships.

One of the most necessary things about friendships is being open and transparent without having those fears of being judged. The more you share with an individual, the more likely they are to share with you. If something is upsetting you call your friend and share with them. Alternatively, if your friend is bothered or upset make yourself available and express your concern and be that listening ear. It is vital to make sure you have a listening ear and avoid judging them as well.

Lately, I have begun practicing on my school nights acknowledging others and expressing, “How thankful I am to see and do life with them.” Especially those classmates that are harder to express their emotions, I go the extra mile to let them know I appreciative I am for them. One of the best things that you can give a new friend is making sure you are being authentic and keeping your word in what you tell them. Shows that the person is reliable and trustworthy and helps make the relationship stronger.

Lastly, be quick to reconcile versus allowing things to simmer within the friendship. Friends fight and have disagreements, and this is normal. It is okay to agree to disagree. It is essential to take the necessary step to reconcile and keep accounts short. As a friend, one must take responsibility and apologize and share your heart in the manner and finding ways to prevent a similar situation in the future.

Throughout my journey I have learned many things about myself and was one to be on my own island. Realizing that there were people across the island mingling. Friend that came along the way that God brought to my life to help, encourage and provide something in me that I was missing, to be loved and accepted and to feel apart of a community. It has been a blessing to have friends in my life that I consider my family. That I am able to be authentic and share from the heart still being friends after so many years.

One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24).

Carrier’s of Hope,

Sandy Cortes

Breathing Hope One Life at a Time

Featured

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!

Featured

Motion Detected

I recently purchased equipment similar to the ring door. It was fascinating that every time any kind of activity came near it would alert me. I can watch through the camera as things were coming up towards the door and how it just alerted. It would indicate, “Motion Detected” whether it was an animal or someone walking by it automatically picked any motion.

Being who I am I always look at things as an opportunity to dig deeper which made me reflect on how unalert we are with the things that we allow in our lives. Or sometimes are alert of the those. How many times in our lives have we detected something and just kind of brushed it away and figured oh it’s nothing. Years later it reared it’s ugly head up again and are still dealing with those things that were detected years ago. 

What I found the most fascinating about this device was the fact that I can watch those things as they were coming near. How many times in our life do you really keep an eye out on those things that are getting to close and can be a threat to our well-being?  Whether it’s an unwanted relationship, unhealthy habits or boundaries that we’ve allowed or crossed and jeopardized our morals. 

We have to be like that device and detect any type of motion and really see if we can give it access. Whether it is with our emotions, behaviors or attitudes. Even with our own hidden beliefs that something goes off to alert us that it’s not okay and that we need to be on the lookout. I can’t tell you how many times in my life I’ve simply ignored those things that I detected with habits, behaviors and the things I have done to make myself believe it is okay. 

This device has come in handy, and one of the primary reason I purchased it was my daughter is heading into middle school next year. I wanted a sense of safety and security for her if I was not home. This device caused some self-reflection and question if I was monitoring my own life or not. Was I taking inventory of everything that was coming in and out of my heart, mind, and soul? This caused me to hone in on those things that aren’t necessarily good and not settle for things that I have allowed or highlight those things that I am unwilling to deal with.

Go on this journey with me and ponder for a quick moment. What are you detecting? Is it time look at those things in the face and detect what does or does not my belong in your life?  Have you detected some motion taking place and either not face them or maybe you are ready to deal with it or just simply are okay with ignoring it? 

I believe everything in life happens for a reason, and I don’t believe in coincidental. Every detail of our lives is part of our story whether it’s good or bad. As an individual’s, we have to learn to embrace the good and the bad but work on the things that are not good and learn to keep those things out. Detecting any kind of motion that may be detrimental in the long haul.

Beloved, are you ready to go on this journey with me and detect what those things are? It is time to take inventory of what has been happening lately.

Life Application

  • Reflection
  • Ask yourself, “Are you okay with what you have been detecting?” Whether it is good or bad, do not beat yourself over it!
  • Now set an action plan into place!
  • Grab an accountability partner, who will hold you accountable and be there during this new stance and journey you have taken.

Carrier’s of Hope,

Sandy Cortes

Breathing Hope One Life at a Time!

Featured

Stop Copying Me

animal-animal-photography-blurred-background-1207875

As a child did you ever mimic someone in what they were doing to be silly?  Or decided to do something in return to because they hurt you?  There are so many times that I think to myself, “It can be difficult to be a Christian”.  Then being who am I ask, “Why, do you say that, Sandy?”.

Well we are not called to act and behave like the world does. Yet this can be hard to do when someone is being malicious towards you or towards one of your loved ones. Your instant response is to want to rough them up with your words or possibly with your bare hands!  It’s in our nature that we want to do to others what they have done to us.

I was convicted this morning and heard the Lord say, “Your acting just like the world handles these situations”.  I thought, “What are you talking about Willis?”.  Yes, I do talk to my daddy like that at times! He happened to shine the light in a situation where I witnessed someone bullying someone with their words.  Making them feel inadequate and questioning their abilities.

So, you’re probably asking how are you acting like the world? For starters, I lose my cool when I am seeing this behavior take place and I allow bitterness to sit in. I allow this situation to steal my joy and instead of praying for them I slander them with my mouth. Well there you have it, acting how the world handles their affairs.

If I am called to be different from the world then why am I mimicking their behaviors and the way the handle things? As a Christian I am called to be different and be a witness for the Lord. I am called to live in the light, so I shouldn’t allow darkness to influence me.  In these different situations I’m to ask the Lord to help me pray for that individual and for those that are being affected by it. I need to learn how to avoid these types of spiritual pitfalls.

I have to learn to leave it at the feet of Jesus and respond the way he would.  It’s actually having to die to what I would l really like to do.  I want to tackle that individual and do what they are doing to others or call it out in their life, but my approach would not be godly in any way, how I am being a witness if I play this out.  I’m mimicking how the world would handle it.  I was reading something that said, “The best offense is a good defense”.

Beloved, what are you mimic from the world today? Are you carrying bitterness or unforgiveness in your heart? Has someone done something to you that your carrying resentment towards that person?

Will you join together with me and leave whatever your situation is at the feet of Jesus. Let’s not allow the enemy to have a foothold in our life-like I have with mine. I’m choosing to release this situation and allow him to transform my thinking and my heart towards that.   Now this is mimicking God’s behavior!

Romans 12:2 “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect”.

Carrier’s of Hope,

Sandy Cortes

Breathing Hope One Life at a Time!

Featured

Magnified

I found myself struggling with a situation that as the minutes went by it became magnified. The thoughts began to creep into my heart. I felt my chest becoming tight and was feeling a lot of anxiety.

I kept replaying the movie over and over asking myself, “Am I making the right decision? What if I’m not qualified? What if I am not chosen?

I had to ask myself, “What are you allowing into your heart and mind? This is what is keeping you away from the very thing that you’re longing to do. The situation becomes so magnified to the point that you become paralyzed and do not go into what you’re wanting to do.

That enemy is called “FEAR”. It becomes magnified in our lives that it keeps us away from the things that we’ve been called to do. It prohibits us from pushing forward and going after those things that God has placed in your heart. Those desires didn’t come from you, God placed them there.

So, I decided to go and face the very thing that I was most afraid of doing. I got in my car and begin driving towards that very magnified situation. I had to stare fear in the face and tell it to get out of my way! In this particular situation I knew there would be prestige people there with high educational backgrounds. I knew that they were going to be probing and interviewing me to see if I’m qualified to get into their program. That was the fear that was eating at me. It was telling me, “Sandy” are you crazy, they will not pick you! “You were not called to do this”.

Not only did I take the action steps to go but regardless of what they said I had to make a decision that if I was not accepted into this program I had to know God had something better. Regardless of the decision I was not going to allow it to dictate who I am. I had to look at myself in the mirror and say, “There’s a lot of qualities about you that can help others. You were called to do great things and by allowing the leading of the Holy Spirit it will bring healing and hope to the lives of others. You have to know that if your not selected for this program, this is not the one God wants you to do!! That’s what I had to remain focused on”.

Typically the program will notify you in 24 hours with a decision. I thought to myself, “This is going to be a long 24 hours for me”. So what was suppose to be 24 hours later, came within 2 hours. I received an email that I had been accepted into the program to pursue to my Masters to become a Licensed Mental Health Counselor. I quickly knew that God hand was all over this.

I thought to myself, “All the energy I was wasted prior to this! Did it make the situation come sooner? Did it help any by allowing fear to become magnified in my heart?

I want to ask you some questions:

• What is it that your most afraid of?

• What is it that you’re good at?

• What is one desire in your heart that you have wanted to do and haven’t done it due to fear?

• Focus on those things and those things will grow.

• Become more selective in your thoughts and more intentional on what you focus on.

• Stare fear in the face and walk into the very thing your afraid to do!

DO IT AFRAID!!!!

Carrier’s of Hope

Breathing Hope one Life at Time


Featured

Did you sign a verbal agreement on that?

contractsignedAs I was working with a client on her belief system. I had her identify what some of her beliefs were.  As we were working through some of the lies, we ran across one that indicated, “I’m not smart enough”.  So, I probed a little and asked where did this stem from?  She indicated to me, “I do not really know, but I do recall when I was a little girl I was always taken out of class and had to review certain concepts in another classroom by myself”. She had a slow learning disability and because of this memory she developed the lie, “She was not smart enough”. 

I recall a situation in my own life that I could identify the same lie.  I believed the lie because my stepfather would always tell me, “You’re not smart enough and won’t amount to anything.”  So, with this being my step father telling me, that knows me, then he is correct in what he is saying.  It was not until I decided to go back to school to get my undergraduate degree that I realized that this was not correct. I had to request my transcripts from my High school and a previous college I had prior gone to.  Once I received the transcripts, I was amazed at the grades that were on them.  I had called the school and asked them, “Are you sure this is correct, and are you sure there is not another Sandy Pagan out there?  The grades were all “A’s”.  

Our beliefs create patterns in our lives that can paralyze us. Our perception becomes our reality, our life experiences shape us in the good and in the bad.  Without even recognizing it we do not even realize why we’re acting a certain way.  Or why we continue to do the same things over and over again.  This is based out of our belief system. It is like we have signed a verbal agreement and are bound to it. 

Signed and said, “Yes, this is correct information about me.  By signing this agreement, it becomes a legal document in our minds that we feel bound to what it says.  I cannot tell you how many lies go through my mind on a daily basis.  It feels like torpedo’s being launched waiting to see which one will land and explode.  It can become exhausting trying to combat those lies.  Especially if you do not have truths to combat them with.  So the key is identifying the lies and combatting them with truth.  

So I want to ask you, “Are you living out what was spoken over you?” Have you signed the verbal agreement that makes it an official document that you’re bound to today?

Life Application

  • What is a lie that you have been challenged by and want to work on?
  • Create a truth statement and agree on that!

I want to hear from you, tell me what is a lie that you have been challenged by and want to work on?

And, YOU shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free! (John 8:32).

Carrier’s of Hope

Sandy Cortes

Breathing Hope One Life at a Time.

Featured

Puzzle Pieces

puzzle

Have you ever felt that when your going through something in your life that you want to retreat!  It’s never pretty, it’s ugly, it feels like it’s oozing out of the pores and it smells. Why would someone want to face that!  I was deceived into thinking people who are going through challenges in their life are messed up.  This is what I believed for many years. Little did I know I was looking at a reflection of my own life in the mirror.

I want to paint a picture for you, anytime something came up in my life that showed any signs of not having it all together I would retreat.  For many years I have portrayed to others that I have it all together. I put on this front of being so strong and recognized that I am a perfectionist.  I believed, “That I have to be perfect”. What a false deception and a prideful way of thinking!  The reality is I am completely not put together and go through hard times all the time!  I am imperfect, broken and can be very critical of myself and others.  If I am being completely honest my flesh and pride are warring against each other as I am revealing truth about me! Ha! How about that, I just kicked the enemy in the face, POW!

I also believed that whatever I was going through was either contagious or showed signs of weakness.  So I would run for cover so no one would see me this way.  It’s like someone took every piece of my life and tossed it out of the puzzle box.  I was broken in so many areas of my life.  As I look at the different pieces I realized I was no longer in charge and that I could no longer run.  I recall how hard it was and how many times I felt like I was not going to make it. The pruning and growing pains hurt so badly that made me question, “What is wrong with me,  I’m such a mess”.

As I reflect today, it’s a beautiful process when brokenness is taking place in our lives. Yes I said, “That all the breaking and pruning that takes place is beautiful”!  Those out-of-place pieces helped me to see where I needed to grow and recognize my triggers. It allowed me to be okay that I have not been called to be perfect and will have challenges. God allowed certain pieces to take place that created a breaking within me.  It brought exposure to things that were in me that were not of him! I had to face things that were dormant and retreat towards him.  It drew me closer to the one that picked up the pieces of my life and placed them where they needed to be, my creator.

Beloved, if you can relate to my story and/or are experiencing different challenges and are feeling broken, I want to encourage you that it will get better and to keep going.  A refining is taking place within you.  God is picking up those pieces and placing them right where they go.  He holds the puzzle box which holds all the pieces together that shows the full picture of your life. Every piece that has felt out-of-place, he strategically has placed it there because it is part of the process!  Eventually you will step back and take a look at a this beautiful picture.  Where God will hand you the puzzle box, that is your life!

Life Application

  1. Allow God to take those pieces of your life and lay them where they need to go.
  2. Remind yourself that brokenness is part of the process of building your story.
  3. Mediate on this scripture.,”But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong ( 2 Corinthians 12:9-11).
  4. Share your weaknesses with others.

 

Carrier’s of Hope,

Sandy Cortes

Breathing Hope One Life at a Time!

 

 

Featured

INGREDIENTS

Have you ever marinated meat that required different types of ingredients? Maybe some of the ingredients you never heard of or have never tasted before.

This is how things can be for us in our lives. There is a time for marinating that has to take place. In order to help us grow and mature in certain areas. Yet fear of all those ingredients being thrown at us can be scary. Not knowing how it will all turn out.

Have you been that individual that has had ingredients thrown at you that has made you push forward or stayed stuck in 2018?

For 2019, I want to give you a word of encouragement.

I’m not sure what your gone through but I know one thing.

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them (Romans 8:28).

Whatever ingredients that have been thrown at you this past year know it’s all going to work together for the good. Its marinating you for something great!!

WHY?

•YOU have a purpose!

•YOU have been CALLED!

•All of life’s ingredients that have been thrown at YOU, has been all part of the plan!

•YOU have a story to tell.

Sometimes we have to stare adversity in the face and tell it “This isn’t going to break me down, but will me stronger!”

Life Application

•What’s going to be your declaration statement for 2019?

•MARINATE IN THAT!

Carrier’s of Hope

Sandy Cortes

Breathing Hope One Life at A Time!

Featured

STORY

What is YOUR story?

Have you ever spoken about it?

Have people heard of it?

Do you have it written down?

When was the last time you reviewed it?

Share your story, it was not meant for you to only go through it and be kept silent!

It was meant to bring encouragement and healing to others. To awaken those dead areas of hopelessness and birth hope in others.

Not sure where to begin?

Begin by journaling so that you can see how God has worked throughout the course of your life! Then share it, even if it’s to one person.

Sandy Cortes

Carriers of Hope

Breathing Hope One Life at a Time!

Featured

Confined and Uncomfortable

adult-art-beautiful-1437440

You never really know what you a scared of until you see something or are put in a situation where you to begin freak out in.  There I was getting ready to get an MRI done on my neck and shoulder.  Trying to figure out why I am still in a bit of discomfort after my accident in September.  As the tech began pressing the button and sliding me into the machine I begin to panic.  Thinking this a very confined space for me to be in.  So she began to speak to me through the speaker asking me “Sandy, how are you doing?”  My response as I was trying to be strong but yet really scared, “Yes, I’m Okay”, but really meaning I am freaking out right now, somebody get me out of here”.

I recall a time in my life when I was in a bathroom stall in Middle school and a girl came and cornered me in the stall and began to feel all over my body.  I did not know what to do nor did I know what was happening.  It was like someone was pressing the button and putting me in that confined space.  That day I walked around in a state of shock and wondering what just had happened.  Then it became a pattern, it was as if she was waiting and watching to see when I would go into the bathroom.  She would always tell me, “If you tell anyone, I will beat you up”. She would laugh at my facial expressions whenever I would see her as I walk through the halls.  As if it was some kind of joke.

I think to myself today, “Why did I never say anything or stick up for myself”.  All I can recall is that paralyze confined feeling.  Like that same feeling of when I was getting that MRI done. But the only difference was that there was no one asking me, “How are you, are you okay?”  Sometimes in life we don’t understand why certain things happen to us? Maybe those fears lead back to a trauma in our lives or something that really affected us and are paralyzed in, even today.  There was a violation that took place that day that wounded my heart and questioned, “Why didn’t  say anything”.  The only certainty had been that if I spoke I would get beat up by that girl.

Fast forward to that day of the MRI, those feelings of confinement were real and I had to pray.  Asking God to help me through this moment as it was a good 45 minutes of being in that confined space. So many times I would relapse with those feelings of being paralyzed, but I had to tell myself, ” Sandy, you can do this, it will be over soon”. I am thankful for the tech that day that checked in every 3 minutes.  This was a hard thing for me to expose once I realized what had happened.

How many times in our lives are we put in a position that makes us uncomfortable? Or that we feel confined?  Or that there is no one there or asks, “Are you okay”.  I am thankful that God was faithful in bringing someone along to help me talk and heal from it..  Maybe you’re a victim of sexual abuse and have had an encounter like I did or something similar. I want to stand in the gap for you.  I do not know if you are still in that state of being confined and uncomfortable.  Possibly paralyzed in that area that it has affected other areas of your life.

I want to encourage you to know that God is there for you and wants to bring healing.  I want to encourage you to know that God is there for you and wants to bring healing to your heart, soul and mind.  I pray that the healing balm of God reaches you right where you are.  That he will send someone who you can share this trauma with that can help walk alongside and bring healing.   Today, I have the honor and privilege of helping women who have gone through those traumatic events and are needing healing and closure.  That are wrestling with those feelings of being paralyzed and confined.

Thank you for reading and ask that if you know of someone who has gone through something similar or could use an encouraging word, I ask that you would forward that to them.  Help me a Carrier of Hope to that individual.

I want to leave you with this prayer.  Lord, I ask for you to go right where this person is and bring your comfort and love to them. That they may feel your presence and that they would allow you to bring your healing to their heart, mind and soul. Amen. Thank you and God bless you.

Sandy Cortes, Carriers of Hope

Breathing Hope one Life at a Time!

Featured

Retract or Come eat

animal-animal-photography-blur-1264060Have you ever wondered why a turtle retracts its neck back into its shell?  I believed that it was used as a source of protection from their predators.  Many years ago, I was one who would retract as a source of protection.  Just as the turtle if I sensed fear or danger, I would go into my shell.  By going inward, I was protecting myself from harm and keep others from harming me.  I was raised by a stepfather that was in leadership in our local church and a completely different man at home.  From the very beginning there was a lot of rejection.  So, I stayed away whenever I felt threaten and retreated to my shell.  It was a defensive mechanism for me.  Hiding became a way of living for me and subconsciously I did not know that I was doing that.

By the age of 24, I endured a lot of hardship.  I had a dysfunctional upbringing with abuse, was a wife, a mother of two children and on the brink of a divorce.  I was on a vicious cycle full of anger and shame oozed out of my pores.   I had major trust issues and always questioned people’s motives.  Everyone was considered a predator out to harm me.  I would flee the scene whenever I felt threaten by things in my environment.  This was a habit that was really hard to give up until I recognize the patterns in my life that I was constantly repeating.  My behaviors were out of control and I had to draw a line in the sand.  I had to decide that if I was going to continue to live this life or let people in.  I had to keep my heart from retracting and going into my shell.

In 1999, I decided to go visit a church that my mother in law had been attending for a number of years.  I wish it was because I voluntarily went I did it more out of obligation so that she would not ask me again.  I had a hard countenance and thought to myself, “This people are all being super nice, why”?  It was hard to not show on my face what I was thinking about all these crazy nice people.  I cannot recall the message the Pastor spoke on that day.  I can recall the intense look he was giving when he was making a call for people who wanted a fresh start in their life.  I found myself walking towards the front and saying “Yes” not knowing how or why I was up there.

Little by little I began to see who God truly was in my life and how he began to bring women who loved me unconditionally.  Who would challenge me to think and grow, but there I was going into my shell whenever people got to close.  I had to reprogram my mind and say to myself, “They are here to help you and not harm you”. They walked alongside me and can see that I struggled to let people in.  Thank God for their patience and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit.  Which allowed them to usher in the healing I needed.  As well as allowed me to walk in the freedom I was intended to walk. I definitely feel it was a divine appointment when he brought me to that church.

Church is another tool that we can utilize that brings accountability if you are willing.  It can also bring healing if you are ready to allow others in and not retract into your shell.  So, would you like for me to tell you another reason why turtles retract their necks in and out?  New research suggests that its original purpose was likely not defense, but was to find food.  That is correct, I said, “food”. They would use it for hunting or attacking their prey.  I have heard of snapping turtles and I definitely came in with those characteristics and can act upon them at times, if were being honest.

Hebrews 5:12-14 says, “for though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil”.

When I came to this church, I needed to retract and put myself put there.  I sought guidance and needed someone to teach me the basic principles and spoon feed me.  In equipping and teaching me with the tools I needed to be able to stand on my two feet. As challenges came up, I sought guidance and knew that my community was there and so was the word of God as my nourishment.

It was important to not retract and come out and ask for help when I was stuck and trust me, I still do this today.  Church has been a great community for me and I want to challenge you to get involved and find a church home. I could no longer sit in the pew and remain spiritually fat.  I had to go out and give what God had given to me.  God has brought many “Sandys” around me that I have been able to be that source of community and accountability too.  I have been a member of this church for 19 years now. Those leaders played a huge role in my life and have a lot to do with the person I am today.

Life Application

  •  Have you found your home?
  • Ask God to lead you to your church home where your welcomed and people will not judge you and love you as you are.

This is what Jesus would do when he would hang out with the imperfect people.  He shared and communion with them and loved them unconditionally with nothing in return but for them to know him! And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,  not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching (Hebrews 10:24-25).

Be Blessed,

Sandy Cortes

Carrier’s of Hope,

Breathing Hope One Life at a Time!

Featured

Im starting with the “Man in the Mirror “

beautiful-black-blur-987627I like shopping for clothes especially when I see them on the mannequin and think, “That outfit is super cute”. So I try on the outfit and say to myself, “Girl, you look good”.  I walked right out the store with the entire outfit. I got home and put the outfit away for a special date.  When I find a nice outfit everything has to match from the makeup, down to the jewelry.  The special day came and I worked extra hard to do my makeup, hair and had jewelry set out.  So I pulled out my special outfit.

I looked at myself in the mirror and I was ready to take myself on a date. I started to put things away that I had used to get ready.  As I was coming out of my room I looked at in the mirror again.  Once I got into my car, I pulled the visor down to look at myself.  Then as I was arriving at my destination I decided to look at myself once more.  I am not sure why we do this but I want you to picture yourself standing in the mirror and turning to one side and then the other. Then walk away and come back and do the same thing again.

It sounds so crazy right, but it is something we do.  I noticed my dog has looked at himself in the mirror as well, its hilarious to watch because he startles himself and then barks.   Looking in the mirror is like verifying that we still look the same from the last time we looked.  There are many times we look in the mirror and are not happy with what we see.  We can easily even have people be our mirror and allow them to dictate who we are.

Have you ever looked in the mirror and were not happy with that you saw?  I know many times I have looked in the mirror and did not want to go back to be reminded of what I previously saw.  This reminds me of that song by Michael Jackson, “Man in the Mirror”.  This song is basically about looking at yourself and making a change.

The key line that stands out to me is “I’m starting with the man in the mirror and I’m asking him to change his ways, And no message could have been any clearer” If you want to make the world a better place.  You better take a look at yourself, and then make a change”.  Well what if we don’t know how to make that change?  Acknowledging that we need change in our lives but then what happens.  We have to work towards brining that change.

The word of God tells us of who we are versus having to go back to the mirror to remind us or dictate who we are.  By applying scripture, we have to retain and act on what we see and the mirror is not the source we should be using as our guide.  By reading his word it reads our lives and helps bring healing to our mind, body and soul.

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.  Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror” and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it–not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it–they will be blessed in what they do (James 1:22-25).

Life Application 

  • Are you looking in the mirror?
  • What is it telling you?
  • Are you going back for it to remind you of who you are?
  • Are you ready to make a change?

I’m starting with the Man in the Mirror on this end. By allowing the word of God to become illuminated in my life and letting it dictate who I am. His word doesn’t come back void. and it will bring that change.

Sandy Cortes, Carrier’s of Hope

Breathing Hope One Life at a Time!
.

Featured

Where did that come from?

blur-car-drive-451590.jpg

One of the greatest opportunities I have is to coach people and get to know their story. I am all about getting into their world. I love getting to the root of things. Discovering the whys and hows.  In trying to figure why someone is acting out or are constantly in that situation.  When I see clients, some need someone listening or need help with their challenges. The greatest part of the job is figuring out how I can help an individual move forward and identify certain things. Everyone comes in with an area of their lives that they are not aware of.

I look for those blind spots. Which tends to be an area where it is impacting them in a negative way and that they cannot see. Similar to when you’re driving and do not see the other car as you were attempting to cross over into the other lane.  The blinds spots that are ignored can be dangerous in life. Some can be things that an individual does by hurting others and themselves. Knowing full well what they are doing or go unnoticed. Whatever that is it can cause a great deal of pain and dysfunction.  These blinds spots can hinder seeing things accurately and misjudge things.

As I work with clients I love when I see the light bulb go off. So many different emotions of either joy or hurt come.  It is such a beautiful thing to see that unfold. They begin to realize some patterns in their character. Some wonder, “How have I missed this for so long?”  As I was coaching the client with her belief system and helping identify some of the lies.  Gradually moving along into helping build some truth statements.  The lie I was working on was, “I have to put up walls because people will always hurt me”.  That client I mentioned was “me”.

A lot of the times I am the client and God is the coach.  Being bullied throughout life I had a problem trusting.  I was guarded and anytime anyone wanted to be my friend it was a bit foreign to me. As I began to allow people in my world they would leave.  I am not sure if the pain of someone walking out of my life out did being bullied.  I always kept people at arm’s length setting an imaginary line that if people got too close they were not allowed to cross.

That was a blind spot in my life and I never knew it was there.  I began to realize that I had built walls.  I truly believed that by having walls up it was a healthy way of protecting myself.  It was so hard to bring those walls down and allow people into my life.  I was doing it afraid, but I was doing it.  The light bulb went off and I began to see the blind spot in my life.  God began to heal those broken pieces inside of me and has been faithful in his approach.

He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn—and I would heal them (John 12:40).

Life Application

  • So, what are your blind spots?
  • Do you have someone who is helping you along this journey?
  • Have things happen in life as you were crossing over you didn’t see the blind spot and were side swiped?

 

Sandy Cortes, Carrier’s of Hope

Breathing Hope One Life at a Time.

Featured

Here we go!

adrenaline-amusement-carnival-66143.jpg

There went the weekend and Monday was here.  Attempting to start another diet and telling myself, “I need to log my food”.  There I was dealing with the feelings of disappointment and failing once again.  I was on another roller coaster ride.  Yet, I was not holding my arms up screaming with excitement, they were more like feelings of defeat.  I asked myself, “Sandy, Why are you not taking care of yourself?”  Your not happy with yourself and do not like how you feel.  Those feelings of self-hatred began to taunt me.

Growing up, I believed this is who I was, due to what my step father would say, so this was normal to me.  When I looked in the mirror I always saw the “overweight girl”.  Yet, I was not overweight but partnered with this belief.  I wore it like a necklace around my neck it was part of my accessories.  I went through sexual trauma growing up and was bullied by a girl who continually molested me.  She would make threats that if I said anything she would beat me up.  So I believed that no one would no longer touch me inappropriately if I was overweight.

My father would say, “Your fat and no one likes a fat person”, “Do you know being fat is not attractive”.   Eating became a way of soothing and self sabotaging myself.  I slowly began to eat away the pain.  I did not realize I was an emotional eater.  At 17, I left my home and gained about a hundred and fifteen pounds.  I was finally able to hide behind the weight.  It created this self-hatred within me and can hear the lies of my stepfather.  Thank God I was able to lose that that weight.  Lately, I noticed some old behaviors coming back.  I was positioning myself to stand in line waiting for the roller coaster to arrive.

Have you ever done something where you knew what you had to do?  Yet, you don’t do it and go back to what feels comfortable.  Knowing full well your supposed to do.  It will make you happier, confident and being content with yourself.  I myself had to do some soul-searching lately.  Wondering, why I have been out of control with eating?  What is happening internally that is causing  me to respond this way?  I definitely do not want to gain all that weight back. Then I hear this scripture, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do”.

Somewhere along the line I became comfortable and complacent again.  I lost my focus of the goal and I stop believing that I can do this.  Just when you thought this girl was down, the fighter in me doesn’t just quit, quitting is not an option!  As I was standing there I saw the roller coaster go right by me.  Why? Because I decided to do something simple for myself and not get on the rollercoaster.  Today, I have not eaten any candy and I am back to drinking more water.  As humans we can complicate things more than we need too.  I have to keep things simple so that I don’t become overwhelm and quit on myself.  I walk away feeling like a winner and watching the roller coaster go by.

I want to encourage you, that if you are on a roller coaster ride, it’s okay.  Let’s do some soul-searching on whatever is oozing in your life or has become a struggle. The biggest part of this race on earth is to keep going and not quit.  Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize!

Life Application 

  • Are you on the roller coaster and ready to get off?
  • What promises have you made to yourself that you have not showed up too?
  • Start with something small you want to add to your life, maybe something simple like drinking more water or watching your thoughts, or mediate for 5 minutes on the good things that are happening in your life.
  • Once you have accomplished what you have added, focus on one thing you want to change and keep going.

No longer standing in line, waiting to get on the ride!

Sandy Cortes, Carrier’s of Hope

Breathing Hope one Life at a Time!

 

Featured

Where is that sharp pain coming from?

Man Wearing Polo Shirt Holding Left Chest

Have you ever walked into a room and there was a group of people laughing and having a conversation? Everyone stops, looks and then continues to laugh and carry on.  Or do you ever recall being in grade school and the teacher picks a different helper week after week and your never picked.  You begin to wonder “Why are they not associating or picking me, and begin to think something is wrong with you.  Rejection can take on a root system over the years that can happen in so many ways.

My mother had me at the age of 15.  I can not even imagine being so young and knowing how to raise a child at the age.  My grandmother raised me until I was about 8 years old. She was this short little Hispanic lady that her attitude was much taller than her height. She was strict and reminds me of “Edna Mode” from “The Incredible”.  At times my mother would pick me up and take me with her for the day and I would see my father. He would come in at late hours of the night from partying and then the arguments came that led him to striking my mother every time.

The next day my dad and I were sitting at the stairs with this big basket full of chocolate just talking and laughing.  Little did I know that was the last time I would see my father.  So my mother came back home to grandma and we were all a happy family.  I never wondered what had happen to my father.  Years went by and my mother meet a new guy that swept off her feet.  I began to see less of her and I was so jealous of him taking all the attention I was finally getting. Eventually my mother decided to relocate from New York to Florida and take me with her.

This is when the physical abuse came from my step father, but this time it was towards me.  He was angry all the time.  Then our family began to grow and my mother had two beautiful boys.  My step father was protective over his boys.  One day as we were sitting at the dinner table I asked, Dad, can you pass the green beans”, he quickly responded, “Do not call me your father, because I am not your father”.  Everyone continued to eat like nothing was said.

There was years of abuse and a lot of days of missing school.  There was name calling and jokes about my weight and my brothers being told, “Don’t turn out like your sister, She will always be a failure”.  My step father never communicated love to me and whenever I would go to hug my mother she would push me away.  This is when I began to wonder where is my dad?  I began to have those feelings of no one likes me and I am a bad kid!  Which created the belief that I was not wanted and was a mistake.

Rejection is to be cast aside and having no value; to refuse to give affection or recognize.  That day at the dinner table, those where the feelings that spoke to me in wondering why doesn’t he tell that to my brothers?  Why am I being treated so differently? Why does my mother push me away, is there something wrong with me? Those lies began to take root and created a system of beliefs that intertwined together.  I questioned who I was and wanted desperately to be loved, accepted and valued.

It became a vicious cycle trying to figure out who I was.  Spiraling out of control having an identity crisis, eating and throwing up my food in trying to fit in whatever was the perfect size.  I was broken and felt like such an outcast.  In 1999, is when I had an encounter with God and he took this broken, damaged girl and showed me who I was.  I had to allow God to rebuild who I was and allow his word to begin to dictate who I was. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free (John 8:32).

Maybe you were an unwanted or parents wanted a girl/boy instead or were adopted? Compared to your siblings (Why can’t you be like your brother/sister?) Maybe you were in a relationship that was unfaithful or a friend walked out on you.  Exposed to abuse or were withheld love?  Lastly, maybe you felt rejected by God that he didn’t come through for you.  Rejection can be so deeply imbedded in us and not even know the source of where it is growing from.

Beloved, I am not sure what you’re experiencing today.  I want to encourage you today and let you know I understand how hard this can be for you and I believe that God is wanting to bring healing to you today and know the truth.  You are loved and accepted!  I leave you with this scripture “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created YOU anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Grab ahold of the truths of who you are! 

Carrier’s of Hope,

Sandy Cortes

Breathing Hope One Life at a Time

Featured

Aftermath

abandoned-abandoned-building-broken-930434.jpg

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!

 

Featured

Who’s chomping on my crop?

blade-of-grass-blur-close-up-531208

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!

Featured

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!

 

 

Featured

Where is that smell coming from?

disposal-dump-garbage-128421

“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! 

 

 

 

 

Featured

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!

Featured

Go,”I will hold the Frontline”

action-army-battle-163347.jpgToday I am reminded of a movie called “Tears of the Sun.”  In this movie the country was on the brink of a Civil War.  A.K. Waters, (Bruce Willis) was assigned to lead a team of soldiers into the Nigerian jungle to rescue Dr Lena Kendricks.  That was his mission in the movie.  He shares the mission with her but she does not want to leave her patients to be slaughtered by rebels.  A.K. Waters witnesses all the great work she is doing to help the refugees and decides to help bring her and refugees to safety.  Stay with me here, it’s a great movie..

So as they set out on the mission there are bombs and bullets flying everywhere.  The most powerful statement in this movie was when it was time to cross over the border and A.K. Waters tells the Dr. and refugee, “Go, I will hold the frontline”.  A.K. Waters and his soldiers were being shot, he was losing some of his men in the crossfire.  Yet determined he and his soldiers aligned themselves in one unison to “Hold that Frontline”.   A.K. Waters knew the mission and it did not matter what was coming at them as long as he completed the assignment that was given to him.

This made me reflect on how many times in our life do we lose the fight in us because there is a battle going on.  We see the bombs, the bullets flying and everything is so loud and scary that we stop moving.  I recall one of the those battles in my life where I was on the brink of a divorce.  My husband and I had a very tough upbringing and we brought that baggage into our marriage.  We were losing the fight and sought counseling and even in our counseling we were cutting each others throats with our words. I wanted nothing more than to hurt him the way I felt he hurt me.  I wanted him to feel my pain and the pain of my past.  I was spewing hate and was angry at God for all I had endured.  I wanted nothing more than to walk away from marriage. That’s when God sent in an A.K. Waters along my way and some soldiers to help and they saw the mission in my life and decided to “Hold the Frontline”.

When I think of this I think of our friends and loved ones that may be going through their own battle in life and feel they are losing the fight.  That is where we come in and “Hold the Frontline”, we hold their hands up and pray and fight when they are losing hope and are wanting to quit.

Are you feeling defeated today or losing the battle in your life?  I am here to encourage you and let you know, you are not alone.  I am praying for you, I want to be able to “Hold the Frontline” for you.  Praying that God will send you some reinforcement like an A.K. Waters, to hold your hands up when you feel like your losing the will to fight.  God knows the mission in your life, so do not lose hope! Your not meant to fight this battle alone!

Life Application

  • What is it that your facing today?
  • Is is time to call some reinforcement in?
  • Pick up the phone and call that person that comes to mind that you can share what is going on.

If this ministered to you today or you know of someone who needs this, please help me share it to your friends and love ones.   Leave a comment if you’re needing prayer.  It would bring me so much joy to come alongside and be praying for you!

God bless you!

Carrier’s of Hope

Breathing Hope one Life at a Time

 

 

 

Featured

Beware of the Signs…

beach-blue-sky-cliff-555709Don’t you just love it when something is being exposed in your life that you never saw the signs?  There were never any inclination that it was coming your way so that you can prepare for it.   Like an “Stay Back” or “Road Work Ahead , so that you can chose to go different route.  If only things in life where that easy right?

My husband and I host a small group in our home for relationships every week.  We have covered this curriculum for many years.  Then the organization implemented a new topic that I had never heard or prepared for prior to that evening.  The topic was,  “Destructive Husbands and Wives.”  It went through things that can occur in a marriage that can be very toxic to a relationship.

It went over 3 types of past hurts: Emotional, Relationships and Parental Hurts that you feel you brought into the relationship.  It went on to cover different behaviors that occur like Criticism, Control, Dominance and Checking Out.  There I was being a sponge and writing away, so I can be ready for recap.  I love our small group because they are so good about engaging and being so personable.

I feel my husband and I have a way of creating a safe environment for open discussion.  So I probe the question “Which past hurt do you feel you have brought into the relationship that has affected it?”  Everyone went around the room and shared and that’s when the impact came without even seeing the signs ahead. It was as if I was seeing a movie being played right in front of me.

The scenario was that I was sitting at a dining room table and my siblings and I were there and I heard the words of my stepdad, “Don’t talk to me I am not your father”.  My father could go months without speaking to me.  SIx months had gone by and not one word was spoken to me.  Then I saw my husband and children when they would be upset and not speak to me.

This is where the behavior of “Checking Out” came full circle.  When someone is checked out they are not present. There physical body is there but they are not engaged.  That is when I heard God say to me,  “Sandy, when life gets overwheming or you begin processing things, this is what you do”.  “You become disengaged and close your heart towards your loved ones and me”. “This stems from what your dad did to you growing up”.

The hazard lights of my heart were flashing and my heart rate began to rise.  This is called, “Emotional Abandonment”  This is when someone shuts their emotions and feelings off because of what they are experiencing.  They abandon the situation that is going on.  This is when I saw how my dad emotionally abandoned me many times in my life.

This is pretty raw and I knew had to share it with our group.  God has called me to be real about my life experiences.  This is why I am sharing this with you as well.  I have been completely undone by this topic. I knew God orchestrated this setup for me.  Maybe throughout my life I avoided the signs, or maybe I saw them but chose a different route so I did not have to face the pain of that abandonment.  But God knew it was the time.

Ecclesiastes 3 says, “There is a time for everything and a season, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and time to build, a time to tear and time to mend.  But through it all God is there every step of the way for us.  God shows up and redirects the route and does not allow you to avoid the signs any longer.

Life Application

  • Have you seen the signs?
  • Have you avoided them all together?
  • What past hurts are you experiencing?
  • What seems to be the ongoing behavior?

IF you feel this ministered to you or know of someone who could use some encouragement, help me spread the word.  Help me be a “Carrier of Hope” for those God is trying to reach.  To Breath Hope One Life at a Time!

God Bless You!

Carrier’s of Hope

 

 

Featured

Help my unbelief!

alonepic

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

 

 

Featured

Layers vs. Nakedness

alone-bed-bedroom-271897

There are times that I lay in my bed like the old days of Adam and Eve, just with the fig leaves!  As I was laying in my bed I was sleeping with two different blankets.  One was covering my upper body and the other one was covering the lower.  I thought to myself, “How many people are living under multiple layers?” That they cannot even remember when the last time was they were completely vulnerable and exposed.  When I think of being raw and vulnerable I think of being naked in front of a mirror or being completely raw about what is really going on in life.

I have hidden under many layers so that people could not know who the real Sandy was. I covered myself with different types of layers of: comparison, fear of man, acceptance, and those feelings of being unlovable.  I was not even sure how to come out from underneath those layers and some were harder than others.  There were days that I wanted to stay underneath them on out of comfort or feeling safe under those layers

My whole life I always walked around under the layers of wanting to be accepted and approved.  I jeopardized certain standards that I had been raised by.  All for the approval of man and waiting for them to pull out that stamp of “APPROVED”. I always felt like the odd ball in crowds or the loud mouth, so I would feel the temperature in the room and become that chameleon. This was a lot of maintenance and by the end of the day still was left with those feelings of feeling unaccepted.

I had to decide of not wanting to live under those layers anymore.  Deep in my heart I wanted to expose who I really was and be vulnerable, be raw!  Show my nakedness in areas of my life that I was still working on, that were flawed and imperfect. Those layers were heavy and were suffocating me and I was growing tired as the years went by.  But yet I fought against the lies in not knowing how to come out confidently and say, “Surprise, look at me”.   Until one day I became tired of hiding for all those years.  Regardless of the temperature in the room, I was going to be happy with me and no longer hide under those layers.  That day came were I said “Surprise, this is me”.

See, I had to find my acceptance in my creator, not in man.   That no matter the temperature in the room and in revealing my nakedness, I was still accepted.  God had to get to the heart of my layers and begin to lift and expose those lies and feelings.  My entire life I always felt like I could not add up or feel accepted by my parents.  But God, He made it safe for me to show and give him my nakedness with the good, bad and the ugly.  At times I find myself still being sharpened in this area of my life and being reminded of what my creator has said about me, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Psalms 139:14, NIV).

I want to encourage you and tell you that God wants to lift those layers off of you today and welcomes the good, bad and ugly of YOUR life and he reaches down to you and hands YOU the stamp of “APPROVED”  I am praying for you today and I know that God is close to your heart and has his arms wide open and says, “I reached out from heaven and rescued you”.

Life Application

  • What layers are you hiding under?
  • When was the last time you experienced vulnerability and rawness around others or close friends?
  • Are you constantly searching for that stamp of “APPROVED”?
  • Grab it and tattoo it to your heart, mind and soul.

Comment below and share it with someone who you feel can use a word of encouragement.  Help me to be that anchor of hope to others by sharing this blog!

Breathing Hope One Life at a Time.

Carrier’s of Hope