#writing, purpose, reflection

Make Your Setback Your Comeback Story

Photo by MI PHAM on Unsplash

Excerpt taken from Shannon Turner’s interview with me for her Comeback Story Contest.
ST: What was your setback?
MAB: By the time I learned to read, I started writing poetry and songs. This helped me express feelings that I could not possibly speak out loud. By the time I attended college, I had two binders full of poetry and songs.After a very negative experience with an evangelical church, I threw the binders into a dumpster. I somehow connected writing with depression and thought it caused a nervous breakdown in high school. I stopped writing for about 15 years. I lost my identity and gave up on my dreams of ever being a published author.
ST: What did you learn from your setback?
MAB: During the time I stopped writing, I read the bible and studied scripture. I also read personal development and leadership books, trying to figure out who I was and why I was put on this earth. After I left the evangelical church about ten years ago, I joined a few writer’s groups and started journaling. As I wrote in my journals and spent time alone with God, my desire to write resurfaced. I learned that if God gave me a gift, no one, not even myself, can stop me from using it. That part of my life was an unfinished story. He called me to be a writer and gave me the desire to connect with others.
ST: How have you used your experience to help others?
MAB: About three years ago, I started attending local conferences and started hanging out with authors, coaches, and entrepreneurs. They spoke my language. I felt alive again on the inside. All the things I had been studying and time I had spent with God journaling, came together in my life. I started speaking positive declarations over my life, made vision boards and took steps to achieve my goals and dreams.
Last year, a publisher accepted my manuscript and once published; I will use my story to help others tell theirs. I also became a certified life coach. I teach others how to find their identity and live out their purpose.
ST: Looking back how can you see that God brought beauty from your ashes?
MAB: God is a God of restoration. He restored the desire to write and the desire to help others. He healed my mind and I am free of the grip of depression. My heavenly Father turned my ashes into my purpose. He turned my story into a beautiful song of hope for others.
ST: What is a message of encouragement you would that you would give to someone currently going through what you went through?
MAB: I don’t know what you have been through, but I know we all have unfinished stories. You know the ones I am talking about. Some keep you up at night. Others bring you to your knees. They break your heart. We hide them and bury them deep inside. We don’t want anyone to know because we are afraid that if they know, they might reject us. If they turn away, they are not a true friend. Surround yourself with people who speak life into you and your dreams. Finish your story and share it with others.
We all have a story. Have the courage to tell yours.

Shannon is hosting a 30 day Devotional Writing Challenge to be a published author starting March 1st. Contact her below for more information and sign up for her free webinars and daily inspiration.
 Shannon TurnerOrdained Minister, Certified Life Coach, 11X Author, and Speaker
reflection, trust

Trusting God in Life’s Seasons

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplashaaron-burden-wsowOKsHLDU-unsplash (1)

Fall is one of my favorite seasons. I love decorating our home and watching the leaves change colors. We feel a difference in the air and even start to see the evidence all around us that something new is happening.  Change is upon us; a new season has arrived!

The same is true with seasons in life.  We can feel that something is different and may even be able to see the change in our physical environment. It could be a new baby, a new job, unexpected news or a move across the country.  Change brings with it uncertainty and sometimes requires us to go through growing pains as we adapt to the new situation. Lack of confidence and doubt try to creep in when we start something new. Sometimes it is hard to trust God or others during change.  It can be scary going down that road alone.

I use to retreat from the world and put walls around myself to try to shield myself from the pain. Over the last few years, I started to reach out to others and to my Heavenly Father instead.  I am realizing more and more that we were never meant to walk alone.  The burden of those dark seasons pass quicker and are easier to walk through when they are shared. Even if we cannot physically see Him, I believe we can feel God’s prompting to lead us to a path that is productive.  A path where we see the fruit of our labor and reap the harvest of what we sow through life’s ever changing seasons.

Sometimes, I wake up early, curl up with a blanket and read scripture to comfort my heart. Here are some of my favorite verses from the bible regarding trust that have helped me through tough times.

Trust confirms that we are traveling down the right path.

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 (KJV) King James Version

Trust leads us to victory.

O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me. Psalm 25:2 (KJV)

Trust increases Godly desires and accomplishment of our goals.

Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. Psalm 37:4-5 (KJV)

Trust gives us wisdom.

The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. Psalm 19:7 (KJV)

Trust brings us courage.

Mine enemies would daily swallow me up, for they are many that fight against me, O Thou Most High. In the time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee. In God I will praise His word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me. Psalm 56:2-4 (KJV)

Trust provides safety and protection.

I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Psalm 91:2 (KJV)

Trust results in peace.

In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust: let me never be put to confusion. Psalm 71:1 (KJV)

There is freedom in walking in the shadow of his wings. I did not always trust God and at times turned away from his protection by doing things that were not the best for my life. The consequences came, not as a punishment from Him, but rather, an effect of me choosing to walk outside of his protection. As I look back on my journey, I see that he has always been there with me, through every season of life.

What is your favorite season of the year?

What is something you struggle with now or have struggled with in the past?

What helps you through the tough seasons in life?

What advice would you give to others who may be struggling to trust God in those times?

The world needs to hear your victory stories and how you reached your goals and dreams. It gives us hope and brings light into our dark seasons.

Stay connected by subscribing to my blog to receive updates and joining my private Facebook group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/MABlaunchteam/

#writing, purpose, reflection, strengths

Turning Detours into a Path of Purpose

detour signs

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

Can a detour be a good thing? I believe it can.

Have you ever been thinking so deeply about a memory when you were driving and wake up and realize you missed the exit? Then, you spend extra time on a detour trying to get back on the original path.

Yep. We have all been there.

We have a few choices to consider at that point.

  1. Beat ourselves up for making a mistake and miss new opportunities
  2. Look at the detour as a learning experience and see where the road takes us

My mom always said I was the most positive person she knew, so you think I would pick the second choice. But that was not the case in every season of my life. There are many times that I have repeatedly got off track and struggled to find my way back.

At 16, my life changed forever. I lost my personality, my memories and my voice.

It took over twenty years to rediscover what was lost so many years ago.

I have not fully recovered all of my memories and have finally accepted the fact that some things are better left in the past.

These are the steps I took to rediscover the buried treasure of my authentic self, where I was comfortable in my own skin and found my voice again.

Use them, modify them, to help you find your true north, your way back home.

  • Spend quiet time in prayer

I cannot begin to describe how much this has impacted my life once I gave God my full attention. He helped me to remember the goals and dreams that he had placed deep inside my heart so many years ago. Prayer is the great multiplier. When we pray for others, it magnifies their prayers. It helps strengthen them as they wait for answers to their prayers.

  • Journal your thoughts

I have been  writing in a journal over the past ten years and have discovered that reflection on the entries have brought clarity and given me direction. Conversations with my Heavenly Father show up in here as well. I see His prompting and His will. I feel more like myself when I write.  It is the strongest way for me to communicate my thoughts and feelings that are inside my head and heart.

  • Find things that inspire and motivate you

When I listen to inspirational teachings and songs or attend workshops and conferences, I receive vision and it sparks a desire for me to grow and develop. About three years ago, I experienced a shift in my thinking. I started attending local conferences and started hanging out with authors, coaches, and entrepreneurs. The courage and confidence to tell my story came from surrounding myself with people who were speaking life into me. They spoke my language. I felt alive again on the inside. I started speaking positive declarations over my life, made vision boards and took action to achieve my goals and dreams.

  • Discover your talents, strengths and passions

A good way to find our strengths is to take personality tests and other types of assessments. Other ways include asking friends and networking. See what people are asking your opinion about and advice you are giving in reply to their request. Passions and talents show up when we try new things and give to others through our time and resources. It could be teaching someone your favorite hobby, volunteering or playing sports.

What things do you need to discover about yourself, your passions and purpose?

What part of your past could be used to show others the path that lead to victory?

Use the detours and details of your life as an example of triumph over struggle.  Use your talents and strengths to pave the way to your purpose and to bring hope into the world.

If you are interested in finding out more about the publishing and writing process, I would love to have you join my launch team.

Find me at https://www.facebook.com/groups/MABlaunchteam/

When you sign up, you will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a book titled: Writers on Writing: Top Christian Authors Share Their Secrets for Getting Published.

How have detours impacted your life?  Share in comments below.