Seek The Truth

by Giselle Aguiar, Award-Winning, Christian Author

Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me," and "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." (John 14:2; 3:16-17)

Seek The Truth - by Giselle Aguiar, Award-Winning, Christian Author

Giving in to the Will of God

This entry is part 1 of 16 in the series Trusting God

I haven’t posted anything in a while because I’ve been moving. I’m losing my house where I’ve lived for the past 3.5 years. I got it for $79,000 and it’s now up for short sale at $18,500.

I had to choose between paying for my own health insurance (since I no longer qualified for Medicaid because of the extra $25/week of Unemployment I get from Obama’s stimulus plan). That $200/month had to come from somewhere and that was my forbearance payment on my mortgage.

So I had to fall back to my first “worse-comes-to-worse scenario” from last year when I first lost my job (read Up the Down Escalator)– moving in to my friend’s spare bedroom in her small condo in North Phoenix. It’s tight. Most of my stuff is in storage. But it’s in a better neighborhood with a nice pool and close to the major highways.

On the brighter side, I did land a freelance writing gig at which is a site for local major cities with different topics. I’m in the Religion and Spirituality section writing for singles. For singles in the Greater Phoenix Valley, there are lists of links to local singles groups, things to do, places looking for volunteers and other websites offering advice. Please check it out even if you’re not in Phoenix. The articles apply to singles anywhere. Please pick me as your “favorite Examiner” or “subscribe” and that’ll help get me to the top of the list. Right now, the top “Examiner” in Phoenix is the UFO one. There’s something wrong with that.

I’m still in need of a permanent job as are many others out there. But with God’s help and the support of my Church Family (read Benefits of a Church Family), I can overcome anything that life throws at me.

I put my life in God’s hands and trust that He knows what’s best for me. I let him guide and lead me.

“I still have a rock to hold to if the bottom drops. Out here on my own, I won’t be alone. I’ll be believing.”  (From “I’ll Be Believing” by Point of Grace – “24” CD ).

Consider it pure joy, my [friends], whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 
~ James 1:2-4

God Bless,

Phoenix Singles Examiner

It’s the Lord’s purpose that prevails

This entry is part 2 of 16 in the series Trusting God

It’s been over a year since I’ve been unemployed (except for the 3 months contract at the start of this year). I’ve lost my house. I’m living in a friend’s spare bedroom and the majority of my stuff is in a storage unit.

Last year I was a mess. I wrote Up the Down Escalator in my Joy of Single living Blog and technically, I’m not as depressed as I was at that time.

I am grateful that my friend could take me in. I know that she’s going through financial troubles and can use the “rent” I’m paying and help with the electric bill. But I also know that it’s a challenge for both of us having to compromise. The space is tight. We’re close to Deer Valley Airport so there’s plane and helicopters flying overhead constantly. We’re near the 101 so sleeping with the windows open is rather noisy.

I know it’s a matter of getting used to it. But how long do I have to live like this? I know it’s better than living on the streets or moving back to Puerto Rico, but it’s still depressing. I’m sick of dealing with “the system” whether it’s DES or the health insurance company. It’s awful that we are at their mercy.

I know I need to trust God and not worry. I do trust God, and I really don’t worry. I just hate my situation. As soon as I have a job, I can find a nice, small house to rent and get into my own space.

I know God has a plan for me. For some reason, He’s having me go through this. I feel for the people out there who fall victim of the demons of desperation. I feel that desperation. The only difference is that with the Holy Spirit, I can control my actions and I keep still, quiet and patient. But sometimes I want to scream!

That’s when I go hiking.

Later folks,

Phoenix Singles Examiner

Two years ago this week….

This entry is part 3 of 16 in the series Trusting God

Up the Down Escalator

Have you ever tried to go up the down escalator? Think about it.
If you’re going at the same pace, you don’t get anywhere.
If you slow down or stop, it takes you down with it.
If you’re faster, stronger, persistent, focused on going up, you persevere and then you’ll get to the top.

First scenario – You’re in a rut. You try, but you don’t get anywhere. You take 3 steps forward and fall 4 steps back.
Second scenario – You’re tired, worn-out, burned-out, the weight of the world is on your shoulders, one thing after another knocks you down, you give up and you go down.
Third scenario – You focus on the goal, find strength and energy to make it to the top.

My first thought when I woke up the Monday before Thanksgiving 2 years ago was, “I wish I could sleep through this whole week.” Why?
1. I had been unemployed for over two months.
2. I ran out of money the month before and unemployment insurance hadn’t kicked in yet.
3. I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my hands and they ached.
4. I had been force-feeding a sick cat for over a week and he didn’t seem to be getting better
5. My so-called boyfriend hadn’t called me in over a month – not even to check up on me after I lost my job.
6. I didn’t have a confirmed invitation for Thanksgiving.
7. I hadn’t heard from any of the hundreds of potential employers to whom I had applied.
8. If I didn’t get a job in three months, I would lose my house.
9. The creditors were calling daily.

Depressed? I didn’t want to end my life, I just wanted to go to sleep and wake up with everything back to “normal”.

In all my 50+ years of living as a single person, I have never been through a trial as bad as this one. I graduated from college in the middle of a recession, but I lived with my parents – no worries. I was in Miami for Hurricane Andrew and spent two weeks with out electricity, it was miserable, but I had a job to go back to. I relocated to Phoenix without having a job, but with my computer skills, I was able to get temporary jobs until I got a permanent position. I could always count on temp jobs to get me through those “between jobs” weeks. Not this time. I haven’t been even able to get temp assignments. There’s just too much competition out there and not enough jobs.

I cried at the littlest thing. I’d be driving and an overwhelming wave of fear would sweep over me and I would start crying. If someone hugged me, I would cry. When I heard that yet another company was laying off thousands of people, I would cry.

My worse-comes-to-worse scenario was moving back with my mother in Puerto Rico. That would mean selling everything, including my car (you can’t drive there) and start from scratch. Besides that, I really disliked living in Puerto Rico. That made me cry.

All I wanted to do was curl up and go to sleep and wake up somewhere over the rainbow.

Well, I did manage to get myself out of bed that Monday morning. I got online and sent out more resumes. Then I got an email confirming the Thanksgiving invitation — cool. That afternoon, a potential employer, with whom I had a phone interview about four weeks before called me to ask if I was still interested in the position. Heck, yeah! He said he had to talk to his partner and he’d get back to me in two days. Three days went by and I still hadn’t heard from him, but my unemployment insurance finally kicked in. All this money just appeared in my account the day before Thanksgiving. Gee — I now had something to be actually thankful for! It was gone by that afternoon.

The Friday after thanksgiving, when other people were shopping, I was driving around with an extremely sick cat looking for a vet who’d put him down and not charge me too much. I ended up selling my guitar to be able to pay the vet. I couldn’t play it anyway with the arthritis.

As a single person — all my life — I’ve been pretty self-sufficient. I didn’t want to burden anyone with my problems. I had no shoulder to cry on. I was wrong. The shoulder was there all the time, but I was too scared, too prideful, too distrusting.

I’m still on that down escalator, but instead of focusing on my problems and my lousy situation, I’m focusing on the goal, looking up instead of down. I’ve learned to trust God and incredibly, He has provided. I won’t go into detail, but believe me, He has.

The Apostle Paul writes in Philippians 4:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

With thanksgiving. We shouldn’t wait till the 3rd Thursday in November to give thanks, we should live in an attitude of gratitude daily and be thankful for even the little things like a roof over our heads and running water. Ask and you shall receive, but give thanks for everything you’ve got, before you ask for what you need and God will provide!

Happy Thanksgiving and may God’s Grace be with you!

God Bless,
Giselle Aguiar
Soli Deo Gloria
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The Potter’s Hand

This entry is part 4 of 16 in the series Trusting God

Have you ever watched a potter at work? He’ll take a shapeless lump of clay and slowly, carefully, creatively turn it into a work of art, a thing of beauty.

Think about it. What’s clay, but a type of dirt or mud (read Stuck In the Mud) with no real purpose but to just lie there ugly.

But put it in the hands of a potter and magic happens. He throws it on the wheel, then he shapes it into a pot or jar.

God is called the Potter because He, and only He, has the power and the ability to change people.

I’ve been watching many western movies lately. I especially like the classic western TV shows like Wagon Train. They were weekly stories of the brave people who left their lives in the Eastern U.S. to become pioneers of The West of the 1800s. It was a huge risk. They packed all their worldly goods in to wagons and off they went into the unknown, the wild, the dangerous. But wagon after wagon they rode over plains, mountains and deserts facing breakdowns (no AAA, no cell phones), droughts (no Circle K’s or truck stops), Indians, bandits, (no 911) rattlesnakes, disease (no Urgent Care Clinics) all for the hope that the West held for them.

Six years ago next month I basically did the same thing. I left my familiar life in Florida to move to Arizona. I packed my worldly goods and 2 cats into my hatchback and Westward ho! I went.

I had no idea what was waiting for me there. I put my life in the hands of the Potter. This was my theme song:

God led me to First Christian Church of Phoenix and I’ve grown stronger in my faith, I’ve learned that what God wants most from us is to OBEY Him especially His command to Love One Another (John 13:34-35) no matter what. I also learned that He expects us to WHOLLY SURRENDER our lives to Him (1 Peter 5:6). That means it’s not about “me” anymore, but about “Him”.

He took this shapeless lump of clay and molded me into a faithful Christian woman solidly planted on His Rock.

Today in church, there was an announcement requesting volunteers to be trained as counselors for Luis Palau’s City Fest coming up in March. These counselors will pray with people who want to commit their lives to Christ.

Back in FL, I never considered myself an evangelist. Since becoming a writer, I’ve seen myself as a “sower” of God’s Word (Matthew 13:1-23) – planting the seeds hoping and praying that they would fall on fertile soil and someone will “get it” (writing blogs hoping people would read them and believe). I’ve never had the opportunity to pray with someone when they were ready to accept Jesus into their hearts.

I feel this is a calling and I pray that it will be a great experience for me.

The Potter isn’t finished with me yet.

God Bless,
Soli Deo Gloria
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Trust God – It Works

This entry is part 5 of 16 in the series Trusting God
Trust God – It Works
Unemployed for 2 years. A lot of people these days can relate to that. It started in September of 2008. By November I ran out of money and with other issues piling up, I was depressed. You can read all about it in Up the Down Escalator
Now, I’m gainfully employed and a novel I wrote won 2nd prize in the Women of Faith Writing Contest. How did I get from depression to being so blessed? By trusting God. 
It wasn’t easy. Patience is not one of my strong suits, but it is a fruit of the Spirit and you’ll get it if you ask for it. (Galatians 5:16-25) 
I put my job search, my money woes and all the other problems in God’s hands. 
The hardest part was with each rejection letter – “Thank you for applying, but we’ve decided to hire someone else…” Now, I know full well that I’m qualified, talented, creative and one of God’s creations, but you can’t help but think, “Did I say something wrong? Did I do something wrong? What could I have said differently?” You start second guessing yourself and you end up in a funk. 
It usually took me a couple of hours after a rejection to get out of the funk. Not like I wasn’t used to rejections. As an author, you send out query letters to agents and publishers and you get rejection after rejection. But it’s different when it’s something you’ve created vs. yourself. 
What go me through was saying, “Ok, God, You know my situation, You know my needs. I put everything at Your feet.” 
I kept reading passages like, Romans 5:3-6, 1 Peter 5:6, James 1:12, and Philippians 4:4-7. And I knew that everything would be alright in God’s time frame, not mine. I thanked God for everything I had – from the roach-infested apartment (it was a roof over my head with electricity and running water – more than other people had) to food and for my church family. 
In October, a friend invited me to the Women of Faith Conference and in the program, there was an ad for the Writing Contest. It was free to enter, so I did. And I forgot about it. 
I got a job, finally, working for a nice Christian doing what I do best – marketing. (See God knew the right position for me.)
In Feb. I found out that my novel was in top 30 finalists. Wow. March 1, the winners would be announced. 
I was blown away when I saw that I won 2nd prize – a full publishing package with Westbow publishers (a division of Thomas Nelson – yeah, the big Christian publishing house.)
It’s all God’s doing. He gave me the talent and the inspiration to write the story. He led me to a great church family (First Christian Church of Phoenix) and through His Word (a light unto my path…), I’m blessed beyond belief! 
So, to anyone who’s facing some tough times, trust God – it Works!
Soli Deo Gloria
Giselle Aguiar
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