Every Morning We Are Born to a New Beginning

Each morning we are born again What we do today is what matters most Buddha

To many, especially those advanced in age, starting over is a scary proposition. To some, this forecasted mountain of challenges proves to be too crippling to attempt. And they wither under the weight of change. In this piece, I offer a story of my mom’s tumultuous journey and the many start-overs she endured to show that it’s not too late to begin anew.

My Family’s Story Is Proof: You’re Never Too Old to Start Over Again

Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.

– John F. Kennedy

I waved goodbye to the sleepy neighborhood. It was 4am and not a soul was stirring except for the five of us and the bus driver. It would be our last day in Vietnam.

I don’t know if I could describe what I was feeling at that point. Fear, excitement, and a slew of other emotions — but mostly, I was numb. As we rounded the corner, I shed a tear watching the house I grew up in fade out of view.

But whatever emotional rollercoaster I was on during those first few transitional days from Vietnam to America could never compare to what my parents must have been experiencing. I was young enough that the effects of this new beginning didn’t debilitate me. I could make new friends quicker, learn the language easier, and assimilate to life in America faster. Starting over wasn’t as significant a barrier to me as it was to them.

My parents were in their late forties; their road to societal integration wasn’t as smooth. They struggled. Yet, somehow they managed to rise above the rubble and became contributing members of society within months. Perhaps, they were forced to do so. Fight or flight, you know? And they fought. But, I think a major factor for this quick turnaround had to do with their positive mindset toward change. “It’s never too late to start over,” they would tell me.

And started over they did, for the umpteenth time.

To fully illustrate this point, I will give a brief summary of my mom’s many start-overs in her life and how she never shied away from them.

From the change you never choose

When she was very young, her family moved from the countryside of North Vietnam to the cosmopolitan South. Back in the sixties, North and South Vietnam were as different as night and day. She quickly assimilated to life in South Vietnam and soon became a top student in school.

Then, just as becoming a judge came within reach, the ravages of the Vietnam War caught up with her. South Vietnam fell. Leaving everything behind, she and her new husband fled the city to go into hiding — my father was a ranking officer for the Southern Army at the time, and his life was in imminent danger.

He was captured soon after and sent to “re-education” camps for six years. And just like that, my mom was reduced from a position of honor to one of a countryside daughter-in-law, farming the fields as a quasi-peasant. Even then, she thrived in that environment. Being one of a few educated people in the area, she became a teacher and a respected member of the community.

Through twists and turns

Some years later, on my second birthday, my grandfather from my mom’s side visited us, and appalled by what he saw, plucked us from the farms and brought us back to the city. By then my mom had fully embraced the rural life.

She started over again.

The former Soviet Union and Vietnam were relatively close allies back then. There were a lot of Russian military personnel in the South — and their wives. My mother soon became a somewhat famous seamstress for these Russian women. But just as soon as life stabilized, we got the call from the U.S. embassy: “You’re going to America.”

To a(nother) new beginning in America

In the US, she went back to school at the ripe young age of fifty, received an associate’s degree and soon became an admired team member for a Fortune 500 company. Yet just as soon as life stabilized and the joy of homeownership was upon her, the housing bubble popped. She lost the house she so proudly and deservedly earned.

She was shipped off to Oregon to start over with a different division in the company. By then I, the youngest of three kids, had graduated college and started to earn a good living. To her, her “job” was done, and she retired. And I suppose retirement could be considered “starting over” as well.

Triumphing through change

All said and done, my mom’s life is comprised of many abrupt changes, but through them all, she triumphed. She triumphed because she didn’t let the emotional weight and strain of starting over erect an impenetrable wall before her. She embraced each change, and in doing so, found ways to overcome these hurdles.

Now, when faced with the possibility of starting over, I channel my mom’s fighting spirit to move steadfast toward the future.

So what I’m trying to say is… it’s not too late. You’re not too old to embark on a new journey. The obstacles you see are indeed tangible, but they’re not insurmountable. You might not have that pep in your step anymore, but as long as one foot can go in front of the other, strive forward! My mom’s journey is a testament of that.

Today’s inspiring story was written by Hung Thai and was shared from the following website: https://www.goalcast.com/2017/08/07/my-familys-story-is-proof-youre-never-too-old-to-start-over-again/

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God’s Not Finished with You Yet!…

Do the thing you fear, and the death of fear is certain Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sometimes in life, we experience brokenness that impacts us so greatly, we feel as if we are finished. The life we once dreamed about is gone, and now our life is never going to come close to all we desired. It may be a result of a physical struggle, an emotional battle or a change in your life that you never saw coming, and now you find yourself discouraged and struggling to make sense of where you are right now.

I experienced a life-changing brokenness when I least expected it. I was happily married to a handsome man who was my first love, first hand hold and my beloved husband. We had three little baby boys together, and I felt like I was living out my dream of being a wife and a mother. Then one day, I kissed my husband goodbye and told him I loved him as he was leaving for work, only to receive a phone call several hours later that my healthy, 30-year-old husband suddenly died as his heart went out of rhythm. I remember so clearly sitting there in that hospital hallway, trying my best to grasp the magnitude of the devastating news that had been given to me. But in a way that was beyond my own strength, I found myself saying, “The Lord gives and takes away, He is so good.” I instantly became a widow at the age of 25, with three precious boys under the age of three, walking a road I could have never imagined. My dreams and my reality shifted in a moment, taking the breath out of me. I found myself asking God to give me the strength to make it minute by minute, even when I couldn’t see the road He had in front of me. As I waited, I held on with everything I had to the hope that God was greater than my grief.

In the months following my husband’s death, I often found myself in the middle of night trying to soothe my newborn baby, as I claimed the hope from God’s word over my family – but it wasn’t easy by any means. I still remember the way my tears of brokenness and grief would fall on his sweet little cheeks. Honestly, there were moments when I felt finished, that life as the happy full of life woman I used to be was gone forever. How could I dream again, when the person who was in those dreams was gone? I remember crying out to God one night saying, God what do you have for me? How can I still have life ahead of me after this? Jesus whispered in my heart, “Hold on, there is joy ahead. I am not finished with you yet.” As I began to press into the truth of God’s word and His mighty promises of Hope, He began to heal my broken heart through His precious presence, and showed me even though I didn’t understand it, He was using this pain for His purpose, if I would just hold on.

I watched as God started to do what He promised. He kept writing my story – not putting me to the side saying you are finished, but saying “You are part of a story that is bigger than yourself and I will bring it to pass, just keep obeying me.” He cared so much for me and precious little fatherless boys, and He kept writing our story with an overwhelming amount of grace. He heard our cries for Him and He truly became enough for us. It was not Jesus plus something, but just Jesus. He brought us through the places of being so worn out from grief to a place of life and hope. He began to do a good work in me.

I started a new chapter in my life, one filled with healing. I began to see in very real ways that God was not done with my family yet, and I continued to hold on to that truth. I decided that I could either stay treading in the waters of tragedy, or I could start swimming for the shore of triumph. And it was in that time that I stopped searching for the WHY and started looking for the WHAT that God had for me here. The “WHAT do you want me to do with this?” question became me plea to God to use this story that I never asked for to bring Him glory, because it was too painful to be wasted. It was during that shift in perspective that God began opening doors to encourage others who felt like God was done with them, and that their stories were over because of the pain they were drowning in.

As I was reaching out to one family in particular, another widower with two small children was encouraging the same family with the truth of God’s word. God started to show me His plan, and He began writing a new chapter in my life. Here was another person who could have been consumed by their circumstances, but was choosing life even when faced with the tragedy of death. God began to write a love story that was precious and filled with much joy – an answer to prayers I hadn’t even prayed, but a physical example of God being a great Author, and one who writes the best stories if only we surrender to Him. It may not be a story we imagined, but it will be one that shows He is always at work, even when we don’t see or feel it.

Two families marked by pain, 5 children, all with one parent in heaven and one on earth. Their stories didn’t stop at pain, but instead were joined together when sorrow and joy collided. As a result, the Brooker Bunch was formed. We still have chapters in our lives marked with sorrow and hardship, but we also have them penned in grace and mercy. God didn’t give up on us when we’re at our lowest. He had a purpose for our lives and we had to trust when we couldn’t see.

If you are reading this right now, you are living and breathing. That means that God has a purpose for YOU, and your story is still being written. God is not done with you. Your life is not over, and God sees and cares about all you are facing – even the hidden things. Your story is not complete, so don’t give up when it’s only half written. I remember so many times, my boys would ask me why they couldn’t go to heaven right then. I would look them in their bright blue eyes and tell them, “Jesus isn’t finished with you yet.” God’s word tells us to run this race with endurance and to keep our eyes and hope fixed on Jesus the whole way. The same is true of you and me. God is not through with YOU. He has a plan and it is good. Keep taking the next breath and believing in His truth that gives life to your weary heart. Keep holding onto hope even when it hurts. Keep trusting that He is at work behind the scenes in your life, even when you can’t see or feel it. His stories are always good – even when they are not always easy or comfortable. He is the good God, and the best story writer. You will see His goodness in the land of the living, because He is the life-giver. God’s not done with you yet.

Today’s inspiring story was written by Brittany Price Brooker and is shared from the following website: https://www.liveoriginal.com/blog/2017/gods-not-done-with-you-yet

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Overcoming Fear…

Your Largest Fear Carries Your Greatest Growth

I believe that fear is an issue that holds many people back from accomplishing – or even trying to accomplish their dreams and those visions they feel in their heart. I love the video below by Brendan Burchard. I hope you will take the time to watch it today. Be inspired! Be the amazing individual you are meant to be! Take the first step today to overcome any fear you have that is holding you back from being your highest self!

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