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Category Archives: My Life

How to be Resilient, How to Recover from the Adversity? Step 3. Your Focus.

How to be Resilient, How to Recover from the Adversity? Step 3. Your Focus.

Focus on what you have and what you can do. Focus on the solution, not the problem.

After the affliction or generally during hardships, it is crucial to be aware of your thought patterns, what you are focused on. Naturally, we grieve and are longing for that which was lost. And yes, we do need that time to grieve. It is important though not to stay there longer than we need. At some point, it’s imperative for the focus to be shifted away from the tragedy to the newness, from the problem to the solution, from the limitations to abilities and opportunities. What you focus on will have a significant impact on your journey to recovery.

While we’re going through a hardship, normally we don’t think about what’s far ahead because we are focused on what’s going on at the moment, how we feel at that time. Would you agree that naturally, we think about the problem, often focused on analyzing how difficult it is rather on our ultimate destination?

But it is imperative to keep our ultimate destination in mind, not the problem. How many times have you heard sayings like, “I got bombarded by so many problems that I didn’t have the energy to continue,” or, “The challenges I encountered were too much to bear,” or, “I got so tired that I just couldn’t do this anymore.” And you find out that they gave up on something they were just recently passionate about. There might be different reasons why they gave up on their pursuit, but overall it all comes to the same point: their difficulty overpowered them. For the most part – because they put so much attention to how difficult it was – more attention was paid to the challenge than on the ultimate goal. When we face any difficult situation, what will determine what’s next is:

  • How you are going to look at the situation (choosing the perspective),
  • What you are going to focus on, and,
  • What you are going to do about it.

I believe putting your focus on the wrong aspect of the situation is one of the fastest roads toward failure. It’s very easy to give up when you focus on the obstacle or difficulty you are facing. Why? I am sure you have noticed in your life – the more you think about the bad situation and how difficult and painful it is, the worse it seems. Negative thoughts become more and more dominant and darker, and your problem snowballs into something bigger and more challenging. It reaches the point to where it seems irresolvable and you might say to yourself, “I can’t do this.” And here you are, you have arrived at a different destination that you first intended to.

I want to share an excerpt from my upcoming book “Unstoppable. It’s a Choice”, one of those special moments that set a direction of my journey of recovery.

“I don’t remember exactly when this happened, but it was soon after this marveling revelation. One day my mom and I were walking outside enjoying the beautiful spring day and we saw a young guy in an electric wheelchair, sitting alone, enjoying the weather as we were. We walked up to him to chat. He was approximately my age and he was completely paralyzed up to his neck. He was not able to use his legs or his arms and he had a hard time speaking. Like mine, his life had changed in a heartbeat when he got beaten up by a gang, resulting in total and permanent paralysis. This young and handsome guy was sitting in a wheelchair with no ability to move his body, even having difficulty speaking. Were that not enough, his family had abandoned him, forcing him to stay at various Rehab Centers and nursing homes, all the while being taken care of by strangers. As he was sharing his story, a thought came to my mind “See? You could’ve been in his place. That is what Rose was talking about.”

That moment it seemed as though the entire world has stopped. Suddenly, the astonishment of my new revelation of how well it ended for me overshadowed the horror of my loss. “I am so blessed! In addition to the miracle of not breaking my neck, though I had a strong head injury, I can think clearly, I can express myself easily, and I can move!”

I wanted to shout out with happiness. It seemed like my eyes were opened and I saw with clarity how fortunate I was. While talking with the young man, my mind was captured by the astonishing facts of my blessings. All I felt was gratitude. After we ended our conversation, my mom and I continued walking toward the lake. I was completely astounded with what I had just realized.

“Wait a minute,” I thought. “I have a clear mind and I can communicate. And while I do not remember many things due to the brain injury, I can think and express myself the way I did prior to the accident. I still have my right arm functioning. What if I still can be independent? I could learn how to do things with one arm, and then I could take care of myself independently. I can move my body freely, so I will walk again wearing prosthetic legs. I won’t really have to depend on others. My body is not the same anymore, but I am still able to use what I have left. I will do everything in a way that I can. The important part is that I can! I am blessed that it ended the way it did. I will come back to life.”

I was so consumed by my sudden realization that I didn’t hear what mom was saying. And as I was having this inner dialogue, I felt how everything was changing within the core of my being, specifically in what I noticed and how I perceived my situation. Instead of looking at my losses and limitations, I saw how much I actually was able to do.

Instead of despair, I felt enlightenment. It felt as though with every breath, I was gaining the hope that I would have a way out of this hopeless place in my life. As I was being rolled in the wheelchair through the forest, in my mind I was building a strategic plan to end this rolling in the wheelchair business to bring myself back to life. “

The time in a Rehab Center was the most painful and difficult time I can remember. But, it was a pivotal time.  The realization that I have so much to be thankful and how much I was able to do, transformed the way I saw my new life and the way I felt about it. I understood that my life experience will greatly depend on what I focus on. Since then, I began changing my thinking.

Instead of thinking that I no longer was able to do something because I did not have my legs and could not use my left arm, I looked from a different angle – I can think clearly, I can move my body and I still can use my right arm – there must be a way for me to be self-sufficient, how can I use what I have to achieve what I desire? I focused on the opportunities and possibilities rather than what was destroyed in my life and how many doors were shut because of my physical limitations. Instead of dwelling on how I no longer could go out of my home and do the work that I used to be able to, I looked from a different angle – what are the possibilities for me to go out of my home, how could I manage things independently, and what kind of work I could do in my situation? And then, while focusing on my abilities and opportunities, I was seeking for the solution to build my future rather than dwelling on the problem and grieving about what’s no longer there.

Imagine a race with hurdles. When an athlete runs close to the hurdle (obstacle), he jumps over it and continues to run. When he gets close to the next hurdle – he overcomes this as well and races until he reaches the finish line. The interesting thing is that while the runner sees every hurdle ahead, his eyes are not on the next hurdle, but where the finish line is. His focus is the destination, not obstacles on the way. I know this because I used to be an athletic runner when I was a teenager. We were taught not to focus on the hurdle, but always to focus ahead where the race was ending. Why? Focusing on the hurdle most of the time resulted in the failure to overcome it, and the chances of winning were reduced. The major focus was the final destination; hurdles were just obstacles along the way which we needed to overcome and continue on running no matter what until we reached the finish line.

That’s the mindset I had when aiming for my goal. My eyes were set on my ultimate goal where I was going, and difficulties were something I needed to overcome so I could continue my race until I reach my final destination. Obstacles are there to be overcome, and not something that could stop me.

Now I see that I unconsciously had the same thought pattern every time:

  • During difficult times, I never focused on hardships, no matter how difficult or painful they were.
  • My mental eyes were always directed toward my final destination.
  • The immediate focus was on the work I had to do to attain my goal.

It’s one of the most important key points in self-management that played a major role in my ability to break through the obstacles or handle hardships when it felt unbearable.

Now, after a while, I can see that such mindset, by concentrating not on the problem but on its solution, strongly and consistently moved me forward. Managing my focus empowered me to aim and achieve goals that others said were unattainable for me. And then, this skill empowered me to move across the globe from my family and establish my life in the United States even though at the time of my decision I had no place to live, no work, not a lot of money, and even no right to live and work in America.

If I had looked at those challenging situations as if they were insolvable problems and focused on how difficult it was, I know I would have been stuck and it would have taken much longer to achieve my goals. In fact, most likely I would not have reached them at all. If I had focused on my limitations, what I have lost and what I could not do anymore, my life would be miserable. In comparison, focusing on my abilities and opportunities and solutions empowered me to attain life’s transformation.

When facing a difficult situation, instead of being worried or stressed out about the problem, begin immediately to focus on the solution. And then, make every effort to solve the problem the best way you can.

In my next message, I will share how to focus on the solution and how to find it.

Meanwhile, be Unstoppable. It’s a Choice.

Inga

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How to be Resilient, How to Recover from the Adversity? Step 2. Perspective.

How to be Resilient, How to Recover from the Adversity? Step 2. Perspective.

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Now that I look back and analyze myself what empowered me to recover my life after the devastating crash, I see there were several aspects that worked together intertwined. I talk about my faith a lot because the Lord has given me the strength, tenacity, opportunities, courage, endurance and a blessing in everything I aimed for. I would not have made it without the Lord. But then there are other aspects that I don’t talk much about – besides the Lord’s intervention and His blessing I work with myself a lot. There are several components that helped me to recover from my personal adversity:

  1. God’s blessing and unshakable faith
  2. Self-management
  3. Personal Action and relentless effort to do the best I can do under any circumstances.

Self-management plays a significant role and I want to elaborate on that aspect.  Overcoming deep depression, emerging from hopelessness, breaking through the impossible odds, achieving goals and positive mindset is not a coincidence, but it is a result. Or, in other words, it’s the fruit of my efforts that nobody sees. It’s the result of hard relentless work.

Have you thought about why some people give up and others overcome seemingly insurmountable situations which confront them? Why some people get depressed and give in to circumstances and others refuse to give in and find a way to improve their lives? Is it that some are stronger than others? I don’t think so. I believe that what sets those people apart is their ability to manage themselves.

What is self-management? It is the skill to master your perspective, your thought patterns, your thought focus and your feelings. It’s the ability to manage yourself. When you have the skills necessary to manage your inner state, you will be able to respond to life’s events in a way that empowers you. It is imperative to be able to manage your outlook and your inner state at all times because you make different choices and different decisions depending upon how you view a situation and how you feel at the time your decisions are made. Would you agree that you make different decisions when you feel hopeful, confident, tenacious, strong and determined, and make entirely different decisions when you feel hopeless and helpless, defeated, doubting and pessimistic?

There was a time in my life when I realized that in addition to God’s blessing, my experience greatly depended on how well I managed myself. My biggest eye opener and probably one of the most significant ones was when I realized that my experience about one or another event depended upon how I choose to look at it.

I learned and realized that thoughts and emotions don’t just “happen” to me, leaving me powerless against them. I choose what I think and what I focus on, what meaning I give to the events and what I am going to do about them. Nobody and no event has the power to make me feel in any particular way unless I allow it. I am the one who chooses my response, and that depends on my perspective and my interpretation of what it means to me.

We always in our mind communicate to ourselves what things mean to us, how we feel about occurred events and what we are going to do about it all. When we are doing well, we are excited and think about how thrilled we are that things are going well,  what it took for us to achieve success, and having an even stronger belief of what is possible for us, we move on to another venture. Likewise, in the event of various complex circumstances, we weigh our current situation, ask ourselves why it happened, and make conclusions and decisions for the future. While we are thinking about one or the other situation, we feel certain emotions. It’s easy to see the good side and feel positive emotions when the circumstances are in our favor. But it’s more challenging to feel positive if it’s a painful and difficult event for us.

One of the combining details that affect our inner state and our subsequent decisions is our how we interpret it and how we communicate it to ourselves. Depending on our perspective we will give the meaning to that particular event, and from there follows our emotions and decisions what we are going to do next.

Having the same event, we have a choice of how we will look at it and how we will interpret it.

  • Is this a punishment or is this a lesson for me?
  • Is this a crash or is it just the end of something that will be replaced by something that really needs to take place in my life?
  • Is this an unrecoverable tragedy or is it a test for me?
  • Is this a loss or an opened opportunity to have new and better?
  • Is this a dead end or is it a challenge for me to find a way because I know there must be the way?
  • Is this too much for me to handle or is this opportunity for me to overcome a new challenge and become stronger?
  • Is this a problem or is it a challenge for me to find a way, to improve and create what I want?

Let’s take a very simple example. Let’s say Dave come to work and finds out that he was let go. What is he going to do about it? It greatly depends on his perspective. He can see it as he’s not good enough and they are getting rid of him, it’s a big problem, it’s the end of his security and well-being. How will Dave feel? Most likely he will feel defeated, not needed, self-insecure, stressed, fearful for his future, not confident to look for another well-paid job. But what if this is an opportunity for him to get a better position? What if this door closes, so he would open another door to have a career that he really wants? Maybe this is an opportunity for him to apply for the position that he always dreamed about or maybe even create his own business? How will Dave feel having this perspective? Most likely he will feel having a new beginning, intrigued, excited about the change to a better, opportunity to learn new things and improve, eager to take action, curious, hopeful. Having this kind of perspective will make him feel in a whole different way and a very different behavior than in the first case. A person can have two different perspectives about the same situation and both of them will create totally different outcomes.

Let’s take a gambling game. It is just a game, nothing more.  But how we feel about it depends on how we look at it and what gambling game means to us. We can look at it as a fun time with friends, the excitement of a mystery of what’s going to happen next and a great opportunity to gain an unlimited amount of money with no effort and work.  Also, we can look at it as a waste of time, opening doors to something that can bring a great destruction into our lives and it is just throwing away our money that we can spend on something more meaningful.  It’s all how we look at it will make us feel about that object or any event.

What if we look at circumstances or occurred events as just the facts? The fact itself can’t make us feel in any particular way.  It is just a plain fact same way as an object. It’s how we look at the fact will shape our attitude and our feelings about it. Events, the same way as objects or activities are simply neutral matter and they have both likes and dislikes, depending on what it means to people. Our perspective is the foundation of what meaning we give to the event or any circumstance, and depending on that we will feel about it in a particular way and will choose what we are going to do about it.

 

Perspective depends greatly on our beliefs. We have a choice to believe that everything that happens in our lives is in God’s control and everything happens for the purpose and for the better. We also may believe that there is no God, life is whatever events happen to us, it’s all about luck and most often life’s not fair. We may believe that with our decisions we can shape our destiny, and we may believe that all life’s events and circumstances are out of our control; therefore, it is meaningless to work hard and make the effort. We may believe that we are not good enough and are not really worthy of love and strong family, and we may choose to believe that everybody is worthy and can have it, so we do as well and we will have it when the right time comes. We may have a belief that we will not succeed anyway because we are not worthy of success or we are simply not as lucky as others, and we can believe that success is not a mere luck but a result of our efforts and we will be blessed and will succeed in everything we aim for.

These are just several examples of general beliefs about God, life, love and us as people, which shape our perspective.  Belief is nothing more than what we are convinced about, which we can choose as well. I cannot stress enough how critical it is to pay attention and choose your belief and perspective.

In order to show it better and make it more real, I will take my own life. The car accident that I was involved in was something that I could have never expected nor was I ready for such drastic event. I was 22 years old, and this event was a major turning point in my life and my family members. The result of that crash was that I lost a person, who I was dating at the time (he was killed), and lost everything that made my life fulfilling.  In addition to losing it all, having multiple injuries and losing both of my legs and having my left arm fully paralyzed, made me totally helpless and not able to take care of myself at all.  From being active, joyous and having strong potential to be successful in life, suddenly I found myself helpless in bed not being able to move or do anything independently, except see, feel and speak a little bit.  My life was changed overnight.

There were many different opinions on why it happened, questions about my destiny and advice what I should do with my life at that point. I have heard people had ideas that God has punished me. Others said probably this was my destiny and I should just accept it. “Such is your fate…he broke your destiny” was a very common conclusion, implying that I needed to accept it and give in because there was nothing I could do to get it all back or make my life better. I also had to hear advice not to try so hard pursuing my dream, because what I wanted was unrealistic. I disagreed with them all and decided to fight for my life because I had a different belief.

Today, one of the things I am most grateful for to my Creator is that from the very beginning I had a positive perspective about what had happened and faith of what my future would be like. I had unshakable belief that my life’s under God’s control and therefore, I will not fear. There was a reason why I got into this crash and also there is a purpose why I survived, even though I was given 30% to live.  I believed there must be a serious reason why this had happened. Even though I didn’t understand many things, but I believed there’s a purpose in everything and Lord was going to restore my life. I didn’t believe that this event happened for me to spend the rest of my life being in regret and depression, watching how my life passes by in sadness and restricted lifestyle.

I decided that I would not be a victim and wouldn’t spend my life continuously thinking about what had happened. I refused to be in self-pity or collect sympathy from others. The decision to restore my life no matter how much effort it would cost fueled me with unbreakable determination. I had a very clear understanding that my destiny was not going to be “broken” because of the event that had happened. I believed I could change my destiny the way I wanted and with God’s help that’s exactly what I was determined to do. I was going to live a full life in spite of my injuries. My understanding about it was so bright and clear, as if I were given a palette of paint, being told that I could draw only black or gray house, and I knew that I could use all the colors I wanted, and paint not only a house, but also blossoming gardens, green trees, colorful flowers, bright yellow sun, blue sky…

I did not know how my situation could possibly resolve to a better, but I knew that I would live well. I completely ignored people’s sayings “Such is your fate…” I did not listen to what anybody said about my position in life and their opinions about my goals that I wanted to achieve. I always had a vision of how I wanted my life to be, believed that it was possible to implement it and did everything I could do to make it become my reality.

I set the goals for myself, which step-by-step transformed my life from not being able to speak, move or do anything independently to traveling from Europe to the United States by myself and building my life all over again. I had a vision that I would live a fully active lifestyle in spite of my injuries, consistently worked toward my goal, and today I get to live my dream that seemed nearly impossible.

Now, after a while, I clearly see that if I also believed that God has punished me, I would have spent the rest of my life in misery, thinking that I would not have anything beautiful in my destiny. If I also had looked at my circumstances “realistically” as many did, I would not have even aimed for goals that I did. If I had agreed with people, who had their own beliefs about destiny and told me that I should just accept what had happened and let it be the way it was because such was my fate – probably I would still be spending my days being stuck at home having no access to a full life. If I believed that we can have only that, which circumstances allow, I still would be imprisoned by the walls of my home, watching how my youth pass by me and all I have is a dull existence.

My belief shaped the perspective that gave me hope and empowered me to take action to change my circumstances and create the life that I envisioned.  My perspective about this event and my future gave a birth to the attitude that I can’t and won’t give up on my life, but will take action to improve everything. My beliefs strengthened and encouraged me that I would succeed. I did not allow my loss to ruin my desire to live a full joyous life. Opposite, my loss gave a birth within to a burning desire to live and aspiration to achieve my dreams. I did not allow my desperate situation to destroy my faith. Opposite, my faith became stronger than it ever was. My adversity revealed to me the values that I never saw before. My belief and attitude made me strong, persistent and unstoppable.

 

As all of my above examples show, the same situation can have totally different outcomes, depending on which perspective we choose. Some beliefs are unconscious, and they come from people’s backgrounds, religious beliefs, experience, philosophy or other people’s opinions and their experience. We might be surprised how our beliefs are affected by other people’s beliefs or philosophy. Furthermore, based on that we make decisions that shape our lives. But the good thing is that we can change it at any time. If we are aware of our beliefs and our perspective, we can manage it and choose the response that will empower us.

If you believe that God does not give you more than you can cope with and there is a reason for everything, it will give you the confidence that you can manage it, and the solution is ahead of you. It will give you tenacity and encourage you to handle the adversity in the best possible way. After some time you might even see that particularly this difficult situation was for your good because it directed your life path toward your dream, it tested you, developed necessary character traits and gave you more wisdom. To be honest, I was shocked when I realized this in my own life. That’s why I am grateful today for all those hardships.

The quality of your life and your destiny is determined not by the events that take place in your life, but what you do afterward. While you do not have control over other people and a lot of times you do not have control over what happens in your life, you do have a choice of how you look at it all and what you are going to do about it. Depending on your perspective and decision what you are going to do next, you will have subsequent events and this way you shape your destiny.

Therefore, pay close attention to your beliefs and your mindset. What do you believe about the event that is going on right now in your life? What does this mean to you?

Choose wisely. And, Be Strong. Be Determined and Relentless. Be Unstoppable.

Blessings to you, until the next time.

Inga

 

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How to Be Resilient, How to Recover From the Destruction? Step 1. Know There is a Purpose Behind it All.

When the adversity hits us, the hopelessness brings enormous pain and feeling of devastation. But what if it’s not the end? What if there is hope? What if you know that there is a particular purpose behind this hardship and that it’s not more than you can handle? You are strong enough to take it. Take it and emerge with triumph.

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Lately, I’ve been surrounded by a lot of adversity in the lives of people who are dear to me. During the week of the firestorm in Sonoma and Napa Counties, California, many of us have been affected by it one or another way. Watching the devastation that the fires have brought into people’s lives was heart-wrenching. I was shocked and bewildered. My heart goes to each person and families, who lost your loved ones, lost your home and everything you held dear. How I wished I had my legs and my both arms functioning so I could be helpful to those, who were in need! Then, I began hearing that some of my friends have lost their homes and everything they had, someone got seriously ill, someone got their house foreclosed and were forced to leave their home while preparing for a heart surgery, someone got into the crash and got paralyzed… My heart was torn watching their pain. Their lives took a sudden turn that they could not anticipate nor could they possibly be ready for such adversities. I wish to be able to help, but there’s nothing much I could do. But, maybe there is a way I could reach my hand to those, whose lives were changed due to adversity, who goes through a hard time?

I haven’t lost anything at this time, but I know the taste of losing everything and anguish of grief. In my personal life journey, I have had to rebuild my life few times from devastating destruction, both tangible and emotional. The first time I came face to face with devastation was when I woke up in the ICU without my both legs, my left arm fully paralyzed and multiple severe injuries throughout my body. Losing nearly half of my body at the age of 22 and no longer able to function independently was devastating. My destiny seemed destroyed.

At that point, I faced the crossroads of my destiny – am I going to give in or am I going to fight for my life? Which way do I continue – left or right? Give up? Or fight? I had a choice.  I decided to reclaim my life no matter how much effort it would take.  Since then, my life turned into an incredible journey.  But then, after breaking through the insurmountable obstacles, and being only a step away from achieving the life that I relentlessly worked to attain, I faced the second crash, which brought more pain than losing my legs. Overnight everything was destroyed. Fruits of the hard work and continuous efforts to rebuild my life were ruined. The treachery, loss, and destruction of my new life broke me inside and nearly made me give up. I just did not have any more strength.

Realizing that it’s not events or other people’s choices that can break my destiny, but my choice to give up, with the Lord’s intervention, I picked myself up and resolved to attain my vision in spite of it all.

It’s been for over a decade that I live the life I desired to live, despite the devastation, the loss, the physical limitation and ongoing challenges. But I don’t want to enjoy my life for my selfish reasons. During the process of my recovery from adversity and other hardships, I have learned a lot and acquired experience and knowledge which I want to share with others. My passion has been to help others overcome difficulties, change/improve their lives, and share my testimony of God’s power to restore the broken and turn the impossible into possible.

My upcoming book “Unstoppable” contains my story and everything that empowered me to overcome the adversity and reclaim my life, but I don’t want to wait until it’s published. This fire disaster and hardships that so many people face, inspires me to begin sharing with you lessons I have learned, my source of endurance and everything that helped me to restore my life, so anyone could take it and use it in their lives. I am eager to share what will coach, ignite faith, inspire and equip you with knowledge of how to recover from adversity, break through hardships, overcome obstacles and achieve any goals, ultimately creating the life you desire.

 Since my faith in Jesus Christ has been the source of my strength and is the rock-solid foundation which I stand on, I will talk a lot about faith. I am not going to preach, but I will share how trusting in the Lord strengthened me, gave me the right perspective on events and hardships, gave me the courage, tenacity, and fortitude. I will also share what I call ‘self-management tools’ because, in addition to prayer and faith, our results will greatly depend on our mindset, attitude, personal character traits, discipline, personal standards, and actions. Just as my book contains both aspects, my posts will reflect the Unstoppable.

When the adversity hits us, the first stage is the shock. Have you felt that while you are in the state of a shock, you don’t feel anything? You are in a survival mode and there is not much pain or grief. I remember myself, I was feeling pretty well even though my both legs were severed. I felt fully determined to recover physically and rebuild my life.

But then, after the shock goes away, we come face to face with consequences of the destruction. That’s when the reality hits. The grief and anguish is enormous. And then there is a question – and now what? How am I supposed to live further?

At that point, you are at crossroads. This is a crucial moment, which can determine what’s next.  It’s important to understand that it is critical to not get panic or anxious, but be strong during hardships because your future circumstances will greatly depend on how you are going to handle the adversity.

One way of the crossroads – give in and indulge in self-pity; begin to think and act as a victim, blaming the disaster or other people for your brokenness.  Another way – resolve to reclaim that which was lost.

  1. Accept the new reality;
  2. Focus on the solution, what must be done to emerge from destruction;
  3. Do everything you can, do whatever it takes to improve your circumstances.

You are standing at the crossroads of a Choice. Remember, you have a choice. It’s going to be up to you which way you will continue. You have a choice to have unshakable faith or dive in into hopelessness. You have a choice to surrender to the hardship and go with the flow, and at the same time you have a choice to resist the destruction, be resilient and relentlessly aim toward your goal.

How to be resilient, how to recover after the destruction?

The first step – check your beliefs. Your belief system will lay a foundation for your mindset. The reason I begin with the mindset is because it will determine further decisions and actions, which ultimately will determine how you will handle the situation you are in. Since my beliefs are based on Christian faith, I will talk from a perspective of Biblical values and teachings.

My first advice for this time will be – trust that God doesn’t make mistakes; If He allowed that to happen in your life, then there is a purpose in it. According to the book of Job in the Bible, without God’s permission the enemy cannot do any harm to those who love the Lord and live according to His commandments. The enemy can do only as much as Creator allows him to. Moreover, in the story of Job, we see that God allowed Satan to bring calamities into Job’s life for a certain purpose.

 So, by faith, relying on the Bible, we know that what had happens in our life is not more than how much the Lord allows. So, knowing that, it brings a question- what for God has allowed this in your life? What purpose the Lord has through this trouble in your life?  Maybe you need to start looking sincerely for the Lord? Perhaps God stopped you, and you need to re-evaluate your values and who / what is the center of your life? Or, maybe there is something that you need to see and learn? Maybe you need to grow in faith? Can the Lord test you as He tested Job? Whatever that is, trust that the loving Creator is not going to allow his child to go through destruction with no reason. And, if this was allowed in your life, with the Lord’s help you will overcome.

 What helped me tremendously to recover after the shock of losing my independence and everything that I held dear was my faith that if my Heavenly Father allowed this car accident to happen in such a cruel way, that means there had to be a serious reason for it. Here is the excerpt from “Unstoppable” about the moment when I realized something that made me feel strong to accept the tragedy and conquer it:

“One day, as my friend Martynas was visiting, our light conversation turned into a discussion about my major questions – why it had to be so cruel. I knew I could be open with him and I shared with him my thoughts and how I felt.

After listening, he looked at me and said, “Inga, I don’t know why it happened the way it did. But what I do know is that God did not leave you then, and He is not going to leave you alone now. He would not have allowed you to appear in this position if you would not have been able to take it. With God you will handle it.”

              It felt like someone enlightened my mind and suddenly I got a very clear awareness: God is love. His purpose was not to torture me. He knows what I can and cannot endure. He never abandoned me and He showed me that He was with me the entire time. If He saved my life, even though I was not supposed to survive, and used His power to heal me so rapidly, there must be the purpose behind everything.

              Martynas reinforced my belief that there was a divine purpose in everything that had happened, that the Lord was with me. I was strong enough to take it. In fact, I wasn’t only going to live through it, but with the Lord’s help, I was going to have a victory.

              It felt like someone gave me a drink from the spring of life and suddenly, I felt alive. This was the first time I felt strong enough to accept the consequences of the crash. But I felt strong not just to cope with it, but to emerge from the tragedy and triumph over it. Since then, my life became an amazing journey.”

Since then, my life took an extraordinary path. It’s incredible what the Lord has done over the years. After some time, I did see why the Lord allowed this car accident and why this ended so cruel. Seeing what purpose my Creator had behind this tragedy, I sincerely thanked Him for it. Today, even if I could go back to change it all, I wouldn’t.    

It is natural that we react negatively to problems and adversities. But if we focus on what had happened and constantly think how bad things are, we make it only worse for ourselves. What we focus on expands. We need to have discipline over our mind, and not allow ourselves to drown in the negativity and fear, and direct our thinking into a different direction. In my life, a lot has changed, when instead of the question “Why did this happen to me? ” I began wondering “What is this for? What’s the purpose behind it?” Instead of feeling hopelessness or a victim of other people’s choices, I began feeling strong and confident. I began seeing troubles from a whole different perspective, which empowered me to change those destructive circumstances and, see the benefit in it all.  

Knowing that this is allowed for some purpose and this is not more than you can take, how do you feel? What thoughts come to you?

You are strong enough to accept what happens in your life. With God’s help, you will go through this. What does not break us makes us stronger, right? 🙂

Moreover, we believe that everything works together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose. So, even problems somehow work out for the good. (Romans 8:28) This is a great mystery to me how it works out that way, but I noticed it in my life time and time again. I will share about this some other time.

In the meantime, – What is the purpose of this adversity in your life? What is behind this?

 

On this note, I will end my message to you.

You are strong enough to take this. With God’s help you will recover.

Inga

 

 

 

 

 

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Thanksgiving. The Lord Made This Year Extraordinary.

Thanksgiving. The Lord Made This Year Extraordinary.

Amazing Things that the Lord has done in the past 8 months, made this year extraordinary. May these testimonies of how the Lord answers prayers and how He turns the impossible into possible, encourage you and strengthen your faith.

Thanksgiving is my favorite American Holiday because it’s the time when we can stop our busyness and think of what we are grateful for. As I reflect on the year that is about to end, I feel pure gratitude. It was an extraordinary year. Finally, I see my dream and my goals coming to a fruition. The vision that I had several years ago is turning into reality. The entire year is full of ongoing testimonies how God has a perfect timing, how he can change circumstances around like in a chess game and how He can perfectly arrange every detail in our lives.

The new year of 2017 began with focus and disciplined ongoing work continuing editing my book “Unstoppable”. On my days off from my primary work, I worked with the content up to 10 and at times 15 hours straight. It wasn’t easy. Interesting coincidence – I finished editing process a night before my move with a friend to a new apartment! With that, I opened a new chapter. 🙂

I am grateful for the new apartment that Anzhelika and I got. It’s quite a story how we got it, a testimony how the Lord can change circumstances. When I went to my Apartments manager to ask if I could move to a 2-bedroom apartment on the first floor, she said there were no apartments available, and there would be no openings in the near future. But I knew the Lord could re-arrange the availability and suggested to my friend to pray about it.  If there was Father’s will that we would move in together, He will make it happen. So we began praying for God to make apartment available for us if there was truly His will for us to live together. In my prayer, I also asked the Lord to arrange apartment that would have at least one room’s windows facing the West because I wanted to see sunsets in my home. It brought us happy smiles and astonishment  when despite manager’s assurance that there wouldn’t be any availability in many months and maybe even in a year or two, in 2 weeks one apartment became available for new renters – 2-bedroom apartment on the first floor and, it had all windows facing the West.:-) People are surprised why I don’t stop when someone says “No, it’s impossible”:) That’s exactly why – God whom I believe and worship has the last say in any situation. He can change any circumstances. We love our new home!

Anzhelika stepped out in faith and moved to Santa Rosa, leaving her secure job. Seeing how the Lord was leading us, blessing our work together based on the “Unstoppable”, and how He gave us the apartment, we decided to trust that the Lord would provide a job for Anzhelika in this area. Anzhelika, contrary to her personality of making sure she has everything securely lined up and in order, to her surprise she felt totally at peace, even though she had no idea where and how she would get a new job. And, the first miracle was instant – it turned out that her company had a branch office right here in Santa Rosa, and her employer did what they never did before – they allowed her to work from the branch office and work there as long as she finds a new job. Then, after weeks of searching for a new job, Anzhelika received an offer to join one company that she liked. When we prayed to the Lord about this new offered job, we told Him that we wanted to be sure it is from Him. ln order for Anzhelika to know this, we asked for three signs: the same or higher pay, the flexibility in her schedule in case she needs to travel with me for the “Unstoppable” and the last, that they would wait for her to return from vacation (the vacation could not be canceled). And, after the interview, Anzhelika told me the news – they offered a higher pay and much better benefits than she had before, she would have flexibility in her schedule and yes, they were willing to wait for her until she returns from vacation, even though there was another candidate for her position, who was more experienced in the field and could begin work as soon as the next day! So, that determined the decision.:-)

There was a valuable lesson in this. It’s easy to say “I trust God can provide” while you are in Church and have everything you need. But, it is not that easy to say it when you have nothing and to remain at peace, having unshakable faith that no matter how desperate it seems – the Lord will provide. I have experienced this time and time again, and now I got to witness it again – the miracle of how the Lord provides happens when you receive Lord’s revelation and direction to do something, you don’t wait for perfect circumstances to do it, but instead you step out in faith into the unknown trusting that God will provide, and do what you have to do. The Lord is never late, and He provides. Those who wait on the Lord and trust in Him will not be ashamed.

Then, On June 2nd I received the disABILITY Champion Award from California Human Development for being a role model to people with disabilities and all who seek to overcome obstacles to lead self-sufficient lives, and for vital support of CHD’s disABILITY Services programs through my work at Disability Services & Legal Center.  It was quite a surprise to receive a letter that I was nominated and chosen to receive the award. I never aimed for any awards or special acknowledgments. I just love life. And, I make a continuous effort to make the best out of what I have and improve my life, to fulfill my purpose. But it was thrilling to stand on a stage with the Senator Mike McGuire and receive the award. Thank you, CHD!

Then, my Mom visited me in California again. I was so happy to spend a quality time with Mom; living a half-way world away from my family is a very high price to pay for the life I’ve chosen to live. It was heartbreaking to leave my family and I long for them daily.  But, now we had fun! Thanks to Anzhelika’s family, we got to visit Yosemite. The majesty of Yosemite mountains and waterfalls are breathtaking! And then, for my Birthday, Anzhelika, Mom and I went on the adventure – luxury 10-day vacation in Jamaica! Exotic island, bright sun, turquoise water, palm trees, swimming with dolphins… That was quite a vacation, which will definitely stay in our memories forever.

When 17 years ago I woke up in ICU without my legs and with severe injuries throughout my body, I would have called that person crazy, if someone had told me that I was going to visit exotic Jamaica island and swim with dolphins.:-) I could not even dream about swimming with dolphins; it seemed beyond the possibility for numerous reasons. And now, when I was in a water giving a kiss to a dolphin Susie, it brought me to tears.

It inspires me to say – if your life had an adversity or even a tragic turn, don’t rush to make the conclusion that you are broken, that you will never experience delightful moments, or that your destiny is destroyed. Never give up on your life. You don’t know what the future holds for you and a lot depends on you. It’s not the events and it’s not other people that can ruin your life, but it’s your choice to give up. Choose life. Choose to fight for your life no matter how hard it will be. It’s not going to be easy. It will require relentless effort and a lot of times pain and exhaustion. But it’s going to be worth it.

Then, after delightful vacation and seeing off my Mom back to Lithuania, I went back to focus and disciplined daily work with the book, doing the second round of editing with another editor, and this time focus was on grammar and polishing it. I had to go through entire over 200 pages manuscript, checking every sentence, every word. After countless hours of work, on October 30th I submitted the manuscript to the publisher. Finally.. It’s hard to realize that it’s being in the process of becoming an actual book. It all came from an inspiration, from an idea. I never considered myself to be an author. Never. I had no idea how to write a book! But I followed the inspiration and did what I was inspired to do.

This project was quite a test of faith and my faithfulness to the work I had to do. It was 7 years of hard relentless work not knowing how in the world I was going to publish it. I had no editor nor did I have the money to publish it. But, I thought if the Lord directed me to do this, then He would provide and the editor and the money when He sees it’s time to publish it.

And here you are. When the time was right, the editor, who edited former President’s book and is an awarded writer,  showed up in my life through my work and he agreed to edit “Unstoppable”. I began praying to the Lord, thanking Him for bringing the editor, but now the question was – where the money was going to come from? I had no idea. But I knew the Lord could do the impossible, and I asked Him to provide the money to pay the editor and to publish it.

In several weeks, I met with a person with whom we haven’t seen each other for a while. After hearing the last updates on the book, he said he would like to sponsor the book publishing. I told him not to rush to this step because this was a lot of money. I suggested going pray about it first. A week later, he invited me to meet with him again. As we were having lunch, he handed me a check for $10,000, saying “I prayed about it and I know this money belongs to the “Unstoppable”. Go ahead, edit and publish it.” With my eyes full of tears, I accepted the check. And, got to work. Now the  “Unstoppable” is in a publishers hands. It will come out Ja-Feb of a New Year, 2018.

I am also so grateful that the Sonoma County fires did not reach our new home. At some point, we were surrounded by fires, and whichever direction wind would blow – the fires were going to get closer to us. I am blessed to have Anzhelika and her family, who were our shelter during the week of fires. We all prayed for the Lord to protect our home, and our home was not touched. Praise be to God… My heart goes to all families who lost their homes and everything you had. It’s heartbreaking. I would like to be helpful at least in some way so I will begin a Blog How to Recover After Adversity, where I will share steps that helped me to recover after the crash and other hardships I had encountered. I hope it will be a blessing to those who will read it.

 

And now, as we are about to enter into a new year, my friend and I are wondering, what 2018 is going to look like?  What’s next?

 

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Find a Gem in This Tale

Dear Friend,

 

Today, as I was working on my book doing last reviews, I was reminded of one story. It brought tears to my eyes when I first heard it. It associated with my personal experience and reminded me the secret of winning the game. The beauty of not giving up. It is a quite known tale about two frogs; I will re-tell it to you.

One sunny day, by accident two frogs got into a bucket of milk. They tried to jump out of it, but they couldn’t. They had no solid ground and sides of the pail were too high. One frog said, “Oh no! This is it. We won’t be able to get out of here.” The other one exclaimed “Let’s keep swimming! Maybe someone will see us and will help us. Somehow we will get out of here.”

They began paddling and tried to jump out. With no avail. After some time, the first frog said, “Swimming is of no use. We won’t get out of here no matter how much we try!”

“Don’t give up,” the other one responded. “Just hold on. Let’s continue making every effort. There must be a way!”

But it seemed like nothing they did seem to help. After several hours of paddling, the first frog said, “This is nonsense. There’s no point of doing this, we’re going to drown anyway. I can’t go on any longer.” And then he stopped paddling and drowned in the milk.

But the other frog kept on paddling. He kicked and swam in circles. He got so tired. All he wanted was to rest, at least a little bit. But when the frog stopped paddling to relax for a few seconds, he sank to the bottom of the bucket. His nostrils got filled with milk, he could not breathe. The frog was so scared and exhausted. It seemed that there was no hope. But then, he pulled all his strength that he had left, used his legs to push off the bottom and kicked with all his might to come to the surface. And then he kicked and kicked and kicked. The little frog was so tired. He had no strength and saw no chance to be rescued. No matter how much he tried to get himself out, nothing was working. Yet, he knew he could not stop and continued kicking, and paddling and swimming in circles, believing that somehow he will get out of that bucket.

And then, something happened. The frog started feeling something solid under his feet. Instead of sinking, he could stand.

Through all kicking and paddling and turning of the frog, the milk had been turned into butter. The little frog jumped out of the bucket.

 

Your journey might come to a point when you feel hopelessness.

You might feel that your efforts make no difference.

You might have sleepless nights, thinking that what you want is nearly impossible.

You may feel tired.

You may face obstacles that prevent you from achieving your goal.

But overcome those obstacles and just keep going. No one can break you down and stop you unless you allow it. Look for the solution until you find it. You will not find it only if you believe that there is no solution and will give up on it. Believe, there is always a way. You only need to find it.

When you face difficult times, remember that you have a source of strength. Seek for the strength in the Lord, for only He is an inexhaustible source of strength.

Always know that the pen is in your hands and what kind of story will be written in your life book depends on you, not on other people or some circumstances.

Do not give up. Never give up.

Inga

 

 

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Amazing Testimony. The Lord Knows Your Every Need.

Dear Friend,

It’s been a while since I wrote something on this blog. Life has been very busy with work and my project of preparing my book to be published, and other things.

But I never forgot about you. And now, when I wrote one of my latest testimonies to share it with others, I rush to share it with you as well. It is an amazing testimony about how the Lord takes care of our needs. I hope this will strengthen your faith and the Lord will speak to you.

Just recently, my friend made a birthday gift to me,  a vacation to Jamaica. 🙂  So, my mom, Anzhelika, I went on our vacation. On the way to our destination, my manual wheelchair broke. Just as I began saying in my mind “Lord, why…? How am I going to move around in that gigantic resort in my broken wheelchair?” A thought came to me, “Go online and search for wheelchair rentals in Jamaica.” While we were traveling, I found a company in Jamaica that rents electric wheelchairs and began communication regarding the rental.

There was exactly the type of wheelchair that fits my needs, and in addition to the electric wheelchair for my daily use, the representative emailed me the picture of a beach wheelchair as well. I was so happy to learn they had it! When we were making reservations at the resort, we asked the manager if they had a beach wheelchair, and we were told that there was wheelchair access to the beach, but the hotel did not have a beach wheelchair. So, seeing that there was a way for me to obtain the chair to get on a beach sand was thrilling. But as I looked more carefully at the picture, I saw that due to my physical limitations it would be extremely challenging for me to get into it. Plus, the cost for both wheelchairs for a week would have been over $800.

To be honest, it was hurtful to know that I would not be able to get to the beach. For many years now I no longer say in my mind “God, I wish I had my legs…” but this time it was painful that I would not be able to go on that white sand beach and see the Caribbean turquoise sea. But then, I ‘swallowed’ the pain and decided that I would focus on all other things I would be able to enjoy. The resort was fantastic, and there were other fun things to do. I did not say anything to anybody nor did I pray. I just knew the Lord knew it all.

And, what do you think?:)

Upon our arrival, on the next day, we went down to the pool area and spent few hours enjoying our time. On our way back, I looked where Lifeguard station was and I could not believe my own eyes – there it was – a beach wheelchair! Anzhelika and I came to the lifeguard and I asked if that beach wheelchair was available to use. The lifeguard enthusiastically responded, “Yes, it is! We don’t know much about it as it’s new, we’ve never seen this kind of a wheelchair. Hotel bought it and it just got here yesterday. Just let us know when you want to use it and we’ll bring you to the beach!”

The hotel, which never had a beach wheelchair, purchased it and delivered it on the day I arrived.

As I am writing this story to share with you, my eyes are full of tears of joy. The Lord knows everything. He knows your every need. He knows the deepest pain of your heart. He knows your every thought. And, He comes right on time and is never late.

Be well, and until the next time.

Inga

 

 

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Two Golden Rules that Changed My Life Experience After the Crash and in Many Circumstances…

Today I had a situation that reminded me something that I want to share with you. This changed my life experience after the crash, and it changes my experience in many circumstances.

Today there was one of those days when I was annoyed that I had to interrupt my work with my book and go to the kitchen cook a meal. The first thing I said to my friend – when the time comes, one of the first things I will do for myself – get a private chef so I would NOT have to use the precious time for cooking! (Those who know me well, know that I was never interested in cooking and don’t like to spend time in the kitchen.)

Then, my mind automatically reminded me one rule – golden rule – change the perspective. In this case, since I can’t hire a private chef ( yet :)) , I asked myself – what can I appreciate about this situation?

That same second, I realized how grateful I am that I actually CAN cook! It seems it was just recently when I was told that my left arm had a full irrecoverable paralysis due to the nerve injury in the car accident and I questioned how I would be able to live with only one hand in addition to having lost my legs, how I would be able to cook and handle the household duties with only one hand… And now I get to do it without even thinking about it!
Feeling of frustration began fading away. Instead, my heart was filled with gratitude that I get to do this meal.

Then, another golden rule came to my mind – never forget where you began your journey, what it was before you improved your life…so you don’t take for granted what you can do now.
That moment, I vividly remembered those times when due to traumatic injuries I was not able to do anything, then how I was learning to do things with one hand…how challenging it was to figure out how to cook meals, which require two hands. And today, I do those things with ease…I get to do practically whatever meal I decide to make. Now I was even more thankful that I get to make a meal!

And, then I asked what it would be like if you lost that which you have/have to do…that, which you are annoyed about?

That moment, my perspective about what I had to do suddenly changed, and I actually felt immense gratitude that I can cook! And, instead of being annoyed that ‘I have to do it’, I was glad I get to do it.
So, feeling sincere appreciation for what I was about to do, I made spaghetti with meatballs and mushroom sauce, while listening to some inspiring valuable audio, and my dinner was actually better than in the last two restaurants I had this meal. 🙂

I smiled to myself…

It’s all about the perspective, the way we view the world and things that we have to do. Perspective shapes our attitude and how we experience situations that we get to live.

When you can’t change your circumstances, change your perspective about it. Ask yourself a question that will make you look at that same situation differently, that would make you see it as a benefit for you, what you could appreciate about that situation.

It’s not the circumstances that make you feel in any particular way. It is you – your perspective and your thought focus – that shape your experience in given circumstances.

And yes.. never forget where you came from…where you were before you improved your life. So often we get used to the blessing and stop appreciating it, taking it for granted. We forget how fragile we are and it’s so easy to lose it all.

Life feeling grateful for what you have and what you can do completely transforms your life experience!

Blessings, Inga

 

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