I went through the most challenging, painful and biggest life lesson in December 2014.  It was almost Christmas! One of the most beautiful times of the year and yet, I wasn’t feeling beautiful or happy at all.  All I felt was very anxious, paranoid, depressed and exhausted.  I did not want to share these feelings with my loved ones or my family, because in my head, I felt I “should” be able to control them, and I did not want to burden them with my troubles.  I thought my thoughts and fears would go away when I would fall asleep and would disappear when I would wake up.  These thoughts were all in my head, I didn’t need to bother anyone else with my thoughts.  I “should” be able to handle them and control them.  As it turns out, I learned in that bitter winter, that it does take a village to bring someone out of the darkness and into the light.  In my support group at the time, I shared my story with everyone.  I will never forget what one of my fellow participants said to me; he said “You are a WARRIOR!”  

On the very, very painful days and even on the great days in 2015, I repeated this mantra to myself.  “I am a WARRIOR!” Because eventually, I started to believe it.  So my word is “WARRIOR.” And even now, when I forget how strong I am and look back on how far I have come, I stop and remind myself, “Yes! I truly am a WARRIOR!” I couldn’t have gotten through that living hell of a time without God, my family, my beautiful friends and my warrior-like spirit.  Don’t EVER give up! Because a warrior lives withIN everyone one of us!

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