I have to admit that on a daily basis I always wonder what struggles or challenges I will be facing next. With fight and survival skills learned from a very young age, I have not had an easy life. I am the oldest child, oldest of my cousins, and a single parent. I have always found myself protecting, caring and putting everyone else and their needs first.
"My sheep wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. They were scattered over the whole earth, and no one searched or looked for them.” Ezekiel 34:6
There are so many hills and valleys that I have had to overcome, but the latest knocked me to a place I thought I would never survive. About six years ago, I started losing everything that meant anything to me. It started with a fight with family I have not spoken to since, a second divorce that led me to leaving behind my home and community I grew to love for ten years, and dropping my only child off at college for the first time. As a tough, strong and independent woman, I kept telling myself ‘I got this, just another hurdle and fight I will have to overcome!’ Little did I know that I was also turning my back on the God that I knew who had always protected me.
Four years later, I lost my job that I absolutely loved and thrived on. This is when it all came crashing down. I had already felt alone and as though I had no purpose in life as I used to. I was no longer a mother, wife or daughter on a daily basis, and now I had no job to support my child and myself! Getting out of bed every day became difficult. As a strong woman who already has issues with anxiety and depression, I was ready to give up, as I had no fight left in me. I did not feel wanted or needed by anyone. I searched and searched for a job, love, purpose and joy, only to find anger, emptiness, and loneliness at the end of each day. This was something I had never felt before!
"What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them gets lost, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountain and go in search of the one that is lost? And if it turns out that he finds it, I assure you and most solemnly say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that did not get lost. So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones be lost." Matthew 18:12-14
This is when God started knocking on the door…
“Are you going to come back to me, Candy”
“Are you going to stay with me, Candy?”
“Do you see and hear me, Candy?
“Where is your faith and love in me, Candy?”
I was later introduced to a Christian counselor and invited to a Her Life Speaks retreat simultaneously. The day of the retreat I did not know what I was walking into or why God had me there. From the moment I walked through the doors the women at the retreat were so loving, welcoming and nurturing to ME, a stranger. The message that day was to connect your heart and mind to feel His love, presence and to know Him.
It was as though God was speaking directly to me. A few weeks earlier I had said to my best friend, ‘It does not seem like my mind and heart are on the same page or that I matter to anyone”. She watched me as the tears ran down my face.
I realized later that by attending this retreat, God showed me everything HE wanted me to see and hear in HIS perfect timing. After the retreat I joined one of the small groups that Her Life Speaks was having. I cried the moment women welcomed me with a hello and a hug and any time a testimony was shared.
I kept telling myself, I want to be like them. I want God to finally get me through tough times and never look back. Why do I keep getting junk thrown at me? Am I not worthy of being loved? I surrender! These ladies prayed for me, they loved on me, they made me feel like a daughter and sister. They helped me connect both my heart and mind back to God and to see how he was with me and guiding me all along. I just wasn’t paying attention.
Today, I still wake up and most times feel alone or unwanted but then I turn to The Lord. I am learning who I am in God’s love! ** Who are you? Loved? Worthy? Daughter? **
God is within her, she will not fall
11/12/2018 04:26:26 pm
11/19/2018 09:00:11 pm
Thank you MaryBeth! Let’s grow together sister!
11/15/2018 10:40:35 am
Candy, Dear, what a beautiful story of God's faithfulness. Yes, He does go after the one sheep and he loves her and cares for her. Thank you for sharing your story of God's love and showing us what that looks like.
11/19/2018 09:11:36 pm
April - thank you for helping me see that God loves me - that I am His Princess - that I am worth being loved! THANK YOU!!
11/15/2018 11:18:16 pm
Beautiful Candy, God is in control. His plans are for our good, to help us and not to harm us. Thank you for sharing your story. It takes courage to share. You chose to surrender to our Lord. You chose to say yes to God. We are so happy you came to the Retreat, and felt God’s love. We are so happy that you are now part of this ministry, and our sister. And who are we dear Candy- we are daughters of our Lord. We are Family. We are blessed. Praise God. Love you sweetheart, my sister and my friend. ❤️❤️
11/20/2018 08:55:16 am
Thank you Mari - for helping me see God's love and helping me feel like family.
11/16/2018 03:11:25 pm
Candy, so proud of the godly woman you are becoming. My first onversation with you was by phone. I listened to you hearing your weakness and brokenness. Never imagining the strong, women you were becoming. You are a miracle, a work of love in progress by the Holy Spirit which lives in you and guiding your way. I see me in your face so many years ago when my children were babies. I was lost and broken just like you. The Father blessed me the day I said yes, Jesus I want you as my Lord and Savior. I have come so far and forever will be a work in progress. I am so excited to share that journey with you. You are more than my sister in Jesus. I feel it each time we talk and encourage each other. God bless you, Candy💕🙏❤️
11/20/2018 08:56:44 am
Thank you Mary - I remember that phone call like it was yesterday too. It's amazing how God brought such loving women to my life. AMAZING!
Maria Teresa Guanabara
11/29/2018 11:10:14 am
Wow Candy!!! Truly MIRACULOUS what God has done and continues to do in your life!!! I am so so proud of you!! Look how far you have come on this journey of faith since I first met you during Shine! Look how the Lord is using you for His glory these days!! Thank you Jesus!!!
11/30/2018 05:29:25 pm
MT - thank you so much for helping with my first steps. God has blessed you as well to save women like me and help us feel safe! Thank You Jesus if right!!
1/10/2019 11:22:56 pm
Beautiful story Candy. I am still growing to . Sister love , our sister in faith are amazing. Let's keep growing in our faith together. Love you.
1/16/2019 03:19:28 pm
Hi Lisa - yes sisters hand in hand with our Amazing Lord!!
1/25/2019 01:26:52 am
There are people who really give advice best while they cannot handle their own relationship. Relationship for me is a continuous learning for both yourself and as a couple. Money is the hardest topic that so far I have experienced. It makes me feel bad when I see my partner sad, but at the same time, I cannot tolerate his laziness just for him to become happy. I hope that every couple who were in love will continue to grow together and as an individual.
2/11/2019 01:55:17 pm
Thank you Candy for your testimony of God’s love. I am so grateful to have read this today it reminds me too of having been lost, and found in Jesus’ love, and our loving Father’s love and mercy.
3/4/2020 05:38:45 am
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Her Life Speaks is all about Her testimony, Her life, and who God is in Her story. Here we write our stories in hopes of helping other women find their relationship with Jesus Christ.