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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.

 Step1 postEN

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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