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

Up The Down Escalator – Surviving When Life Gets You Down

As I see many folks still unemployed and getting laid off, I want to share my story. I was unemployed for 2 years between 2008 and 2010. I wrote my story, “Up the Down Escalator”, in May of 2009 with updates. I am reposting it here to be able to help others going through tough times…

 

Escalators at the Target store in The Shops at...

 

Have you ever tried to go up the down escalator?
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 2008 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 a month ago and unemployment insurance hadn’t kicked in yet. At that point, I didn’t even know if I qualified.
  3. I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis. (In case you don’t know, OA is an incurable disease and I have to live with the pain for the rest of my life. It’s in my hands, knees, ankles, feet and probably my shoulders. I can no longer play guitar, stand for any length of time and I cringe if I have to walk up or down stairs. The only medication is Naproxen or extra strength Tylenol.)
  4. I had been force-feeding a sick cat for over a week and he didn’t seem to be getting better. (I put him down the day after Thanksgiving. I sold my guitar to pay for the euthanasia.)
  5. My so-called boyfriend hadn’t called me in over a month – not even to check up on me after he found out 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 sleep through it and wake up with everything back to “normal” (employed, dating, managing to pay my bills). I also found out that the three medications that I took daily tend to cause depression. Wow. I had all the cards stacked against me. In “normal” times, my usually upbeat self was able to overcome the depression that the medications caused. But lump on top of that, the nine issues listed above and I felt like I was going up the down escalator. I lost my job, I ran out of money. Ok, I looked for a job daily and tried my best. I was going at the same speed as the escalator and not getting anywhere, then items 3-9 landed on my shoulders and I couldn’t keep up and the escalator took me down with it. My doctor put me on Prozac, but it made me sick.

 

In all my 53 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, Florida 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, Arizona 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 can’t even get temp assignments. There was just too much competition out there (unemployed folks) and not enough jobs.

 

Only ONE good thing happened during this time. A few days after I lost my job, I obtained a literary agent for my novel – something I had been working towards for seven years. That day, I said that I could see the rainbow starting to form. My agent then asked me to make the novel longer. I came up with an extension, but I found it difficult, with everything else that was going on, to focus — to find my creative juices — all I wanted to do was sleep.

 

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 absolute worse-comes-to-worse scenario was moving back with my mother in Puerto Rico. (She doesn’t have the means to help me financially, but I am part owner of the house she lives in.) That would mean selling everything, giving up my house in Phoenix and car and starting literally from scratch. Besides that, I really disliked living in Puerto Rico. That made me cry.

 

All I wanted to do is curl up and go to sleep and wake up somewhere over the rainbow. But this is not about how not to be a failure. I was not a failure. I knew I was depressed and I hated it. It’s not like I didn’t know what was causing it! Food and chocolate were the only things that made me feel good. Hence, I gained weight — the 10 pounds I had lost plus 10 more! I didn’t care — eating felt good. I gave up beer and wine because I couldn’t afford it. I qualified for food stamps ($176/month and you can’t buy liquor) and Medicaid so I had food and my meds and doctors visits were free! Here I was a talented, skilled, educated person — previously in a middle management position — who stood in line for food stamps and Medicaid. Anyone looking at my picture would call me a failure.

 

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, yes! 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. Over $1400 appeared in my account the day before Thanksgiving. Gee — I now had something to be actually thankful for! It was gone by that afternoon as I paid overdue bills and tried to keep my car.

 

The Friday after thanksgiving, when stores were hoping people would go spend the money they didn’t have, I was driving around with an extremely sick cat trying to find 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 was a basket case.

 

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.

 

There was no one else to turn to but God. I fell to my knees.

 

I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord. Psalm 40:1-3

 

That employer did hire me, but only for a 3-month contract – better than nothing. So as of this date, I am unemployed again and waiting for unemployment insurance to kick in again. But I’m in a better place. I trust that God will lead me in the right direction. I discovered an inexpensive class at a nearby Univ. to update my skills to give me a better chance to get job. In the meantime, I’m learning as much as I can on my own and the creative juices are flowing so I’m working on something productive. I’m finally making it to the top of that down escalator!

 

And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:30-34

 

If you don’t have a relationship with God and Jesus, pray this prayer wholeheartedly right now:

 

Dear Jesus, I am a sinner and need you in my life. Please forgive me of my sins. I believe that You died on the cross and rose from the grave. Please come into my heart and life. Thank you for helping me turn from my sins and follow you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

If you received Jesus into your heart, welcome to the family of God! The following will help you deepen your relationship with Christ:

 

  1. Pray. Just talk to God no matter where you are. He doesn’t care what the words are, just that they are sincere.
  2. Read the Bible everyday to learn about Jesus and how to live that pleases God. Start with 1 John, then the Gospel of John, the Philippians.
  3. An important part of helping your relationship with Christ grow is to tell others about Him. Demonstrate God’s love and be active in telling others about Jesus.
  4. Find a bible-based church and become active getting to know other Christians. Find one with a singles ministry or groups for people your age. Many have groups for different interests. Shop around, but commit yourself to finding one and joining a church family. (Read the Benefits of a Church Family).

 

12/4/2009 Update: I’m still unemployed. I lost my house and moved in with a friend from church. The majority of my stuff is in a storage unit. A glitch in the Unemployment system withheld over $2000 but I finally got that this week. I’m on the stimulus extensions for the unemployed. As long as they keep extending UI, my worst scenario won’t happen. But it’s still there. My faith is stronger, but it feels like the escalator is never ending.

 

10/30/2010 Update: I’m still unemployed, but God has provided! 2 web jobs fell into my lap without my going out and seeking them and they have become good references. I’ve gone back to school with the help of a grant from the City of Phoenix Workforce Connection and I will be a certified web designer and e-commerce specialist next week. Then I start working with PWC to get a job with their help. Family has helped with money and I moved into my own space. 10/10 was my 2-year anniversary of being let go from from my permanent job and only God knows when I’ll be employed again. But I keep praying, seeking, knocking, networking, searching, learning, asking, writing and persevering. I don’t worry anymore. I trust God.

 

11/24/2010 Update: God led me to the perfect job! I start Monday, 11/29 as Marketing Manager for Cambridge Wealth Management doing what I do best! I got the job through networking – it really works!  With patience from the Holy Spirit, support from my friends and trust in God.  Read here how I landed my job through networking.

 

8/2011 Update: I’ve been blessed beyond anything I could imagine! Besides still being employed, my novel which I started writing 9 years ago, won the Women of Faith Writing Contest and has been published. It’s available through Amazon & B&N. Soli Deo Gloria!

 

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  AMEN!

Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar
Award-Winning Christian Author

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God’s Making Sure I Get the Message

This entry is part 21 of 23 in the series Christianity

Today I got my last of the severance checks. I’m on my own now. I have reasons to worry.

The Good Shepherd - JesusYet, God wanted me to get the message – Dont’ Worry! Trust Me.

I read several devotionals each morning it’s my time with God trying to get a line on what and where He want’s me to do.

The first one is from David Jeremiah:

I call to you, LORD, every day; I spread out my hands to you.~Psalm 88:9b

and

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.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. ~Philippians 4:6-9

With the final paragraph reading:

The more we fill our heart and mind with godly prayer and meditation, the less room there will be for worry.


The I pick up 365 Days of WWJD and get:

“Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” ~Matthew 6:27

“For those of us of restless heart, we must put aside our quest for peace and simply do what Jesus would do. Avoid Turmoil. Cherish inner renewal. Give God time. Love much. Peace will be the result.” (Dec. 15)

Joyce Meyer’s Hearing from God each Morning reassured me that Jesus is my friend:

You are my friends if you do what I command.~JOHN 15:14

and

You have a personal relationship with God; He’s your friend.

Ending with today’s Our Daily Bread: A Supporting Role

Thank You Lord, I got the message.

If you enjoyed this, you’ll love Giselle’s award-winning Christian novel: Deo Volente! (God Willing): Love in the First Century a historical novel about the early church check it out! $1 from the sale of each book – no matter what format, benefits StreetLight Phoenix to help eradicate child sex slavery. www.giselleaguiar.com/novel1

Great Blessings!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar
Award-Winning Christian Author
Follow Giselle on Twitter
https://twitter.com/giselleaguiar

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
www.giselleaguiar.com
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Job hunting ain’t what it used to be

Job hunting isn’t even like what it was 3 years ago.

It’s a buyer’s market out there. That means that for each position advertised, recruiters, h.r. managers and potential employers get thousands of resumes. They have their pick and they’re going to take their time and find the person that best fits the position.

It takes time to sort through them and narrow down the search to 3-5 people whom they’d like to personally interview. Many use automated software to sort the resumes and pull the ones that have 80% of the keywords matching the job description. In other words, to get noticed, you must edit your resume to match the job description including your “objective” or title. The title should be the same or close the job title that is posted.

I’ve been at this for over a year. Makes me think back at all the job interviews and what I did wrong.

Last night I attended the Employment Network Group at North Phoenix Baptist Church and the speaker Zena Contreras, a former recruiter, gave an eye-opening presentation.

What struck me the most was when she said that in this economy it’s not the time to “reinvent yourself” – that is change careers or try something new. If you don’t have experience in a particular industry, like medical or architectural/engineering/construction (A/E/C), someone with that specific industry experience will be chose over you. Even if you have lots of “transferable skills”.

The speaker last week said, “If you’re sending resumes and not getting interviews, then there’s something wrong with your resume. If you’re getting interviews and not getting job offers, then there’s something wrong with your interviewing skills.

If you get a interview, you’re halfway to getting the job.

Recruiters scan each resume in 10 seconds. If the top 2 inches of your resume doesn’t catch their attention, forget it. You’re in the reject pile.

From the time you apply for a job till they get to review the resumes, you have 1 to 2 weeks. Zena said NOT to call the recruiter. Send a note instead – by postal mail. They are more likely to see your name and then purposefully look for your resume.

Besides knowing someone who works at that company, that’s the best tactic. Use LinkedIn.com to find the name of the recruiter or hiring manager. You need to become a detective. If you don’t have your profile set up on LinkedIn, do it now! LinkedIn also has groups to join to get leads and networking advice as well as job postings.

No matter where you are, there are agencies out there that offer free services from resume building, resume reviews, interview skills, networking, online job search hints. Goodwill is one of them.

I’ve gotten the most leads from SimplyHired.com and Craig’s List. Some from the county and state sites, a few from Indeed.com.

And if you’re not computer/tech/Internet savvy, take classes. The public libraries offer free computer classes. This is not time to be “behind the times”. There are a lot of younger, tech savvy people competing for the same jobs as we folks over 40.

Next week I’m taking a class on dealing with the “generation gap”. I once was interviewed by a gal who easily was only 20 years old. Gee, when she was in kindergarten, I was starting my own business.

Having a positive attitude is not easy, but essential. I know I blew an interview when I answered the classic, “where do you see yourself in 5 years” wrong. I said, “It’s hard for me to do that since 5 years ago, I wouldn’t have dreamed that I would be in AZ.” When I first lost my job, I was angry and that anger translated into aggressiveness during the job interview.

The answer should be something like, “I hope to be still with this company in a position of greater responsibility.” And it’s not supposed to sound “canned”. You’ve got to make it your own. You may not be asked that, but it’s good to have an answer prepared.

There’s so much more – I could write a book – No, Wait! Someone already did: “What Color is Your Parachute?” It’s full of great advice.

I wrote this last week with other resources including some great bible verses.

Listen to this song, by Sidewalk Prophets
and take the words of the chorus to heart:
Be strong in the Lord
And never give up hope.
You’re gonna do great things
I already know.
God’s got His hand on You
So don’t live life in fear.
Forgive and forget
But don’t forget why you’re here.
Take your time and pray
These are the words I would say

God Bless,
Giselle
Soli Deo Gloria
www.giselleaguiar.com

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