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What Happens When the Door Closes and you are in the Storm?

This is the post excerpt.

The brainchild of two Registered Nurses, ages 50 plus, who asked the question, “What happens when the door closes and you are in the storm?” After a lengthy discussion, we identified that maturing through the lifespan can be a difficult process for many women. Historically, we have overcome many obstacles; however, for reasons which are not easily identified, we are feeling quite overwhelmed with the present-unexpected life event.

When we perceive that we are overwhelmed; fear, worry, and anxiety escalate at disproportionate levels. As a result, we become spiritually disoriented, and gradually we become fixated on the closed-door. When we begin to communicate with God through prayer, we will realize that God has allowed the door or chapter in our lives to close. He is protecting us as only a Heavenly Father can do. As we draw closer to God, He will allow us to see his wonderful plan for our lives-many open doors.

Free Gifts

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. James 1:5 NLT

Wisdom-the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment; the quality of being wise. Google search

Wisdom-the ability to make good judgments based on what you have learned from your experience; Cambridge Dictionary

While I was in the process of transitioning from a LPN to an RN, one of my nursing instructors scheduled an appointment to meet with me to discuss a concern. I was the one who had the concerns, after all my grades were excellent, so what was the problem? In anticipation, my thoughts increasingly became very defensive; nursing school was intense, and I felt that I was doing my best, so prior to the meeting, I was filled with anger.

At the onset of the meeting, my instructor extended congratulations for my perserverance and great study habits. I was then asked to give a history of my career prior to entering the nursing program. She began to smile as she expressed feeling relief, because the issue I was facing could be resolved. Based on my exam results, I had mastered the theoretical aspect of the Nursing process; however, I lacked the necessary judgment to apply my knowledge correctly to the clinical situation which equated to the inability to provide safe patient care.

I realized the seriousness of the situation, nurses must possess critical thinking skills and astute judgment during the assessment of a patient, there is no room for error when dealing with human life. The easy part of the solution was for me to purchase a NCLEX Review book which contained nursing questions with rationales for the correct answers. This book would assist with teaching the appropriate nursing actions based on the new knowledge that I was learning in my current nursing program.

The next recommendation given was based on the fact that I was applying prior knowledge as an LPN to my present studies as an RN. I was insructed to forget all of my former knowledge as an LPN. In addition, I was to apply the Nursing process which included Critical thinking skills and action based on my assessment in a prudent standardized manner expected of a Registered Professional Nurse.

During the meeting, I experienced a transition of feelings from anger to fear. How does one forget all of their prior knowledge and experience? I had practiced nursing as an LPN for 20 years, was this the impossible task that would prevent me from reaching my goal?

As a student nurse, I evaluated my performance based on good grades. Even so, my failure to apply the knowledge accurately to the given situation compromised my status to remain in the nursing program.

How many of us (as Believers) dutifully study the Word of God, but fail to apply its instructions to our daily lives? If we are to experience a transformation and live according to godly standards, we must forget the ideas, behaviors, and thought processes from our past lives.

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; Ephesians 4:22 NIV

Our thoughts predict our actions!

Satan has many individuals believing that living according to God’s standards is a complicated and impossible task. The Bible was given to us to function as a roadmap which addresses every aspect of life. There are no gray areas in truth and error, or right and wrong.

We are not at liberty to interpret the Word of God based on our understanding which may involve a performance scale. Good deeds are a result of loving God and striving to do what is right; however, we are unable to work our way into the Kingdom of God.

In order for us to put off our old ways, we must pray and ask for wisdom. Wisdom given from God allows us to understand His Word and successfully apply it to our lives. As we continue to strive for spiritual perfection, our former behaviors are replaced, and our thoughts and actions begin to align with God’s Word.

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 2 Peter 3:9 ESV

God loves us, He would not have given his Son-Jesus Christ to die for us, if living righteously was impossible. We are recipients of priceless gifts: Salvation, love, grace, mercy, wisdom…godly knowledge and the abilty to communicate with God, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

It is possible to forget your former way of living-we must do what is necessary in order not to compromise our gift of Eternal life.

Challenge for today: Pray for wisdom.

Verse for today: Galatians 5:22-23

Prayer for today: Dear God, I realize that I have not asked for the free gift of wisdom. I have attempted to live according to my own interpretation of what is required for salvation. I ask forgiveness for holding on to my old ways of thinking and living. I am willing to learn new knowledge. It is my desire to be in alignment with your standards for righteousness. I ask for your help as I strive for change. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen!

Sonya Johnson Ruiz

God is GREAT!

Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. Lamentations 3:23 NLT

Have you prayed and received the blessing of a miracle that you never thought was possible?

King David expressed the way we should live on a daily basis: I will Bless The Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. Psalm 34:1

Even when you are riding through the painstaking storm, Praise God anyway; Deliverance will come when you least expect it.

Challenge for today: Fill your life with Prayer and Praise!

Verse for today: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; Proverbs 3:5

Prayer for today: Dear God, I want to thank you for your love, your blessings, and even the stormy trials that I must endure. You are a waymaker and you are great. Thank you for always being here for me. Help me to trust you in all situations. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Sonya Johnson Ruiz

Redirection

But he said to me, my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s Power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV

My nursing career began in the 1970s at a time when we bodily lifted, transferred, and repositioned patients as a one person assist. Fast forward through the decades and Durable Medical Equipment along with the two-person or team assist have been developed as measures to prevent bodily harm to caregivers and patients.

Imagine having the task of bodily lifting an individual and you refuse all assistance because you have assessed the situation incorrectly by telling yourself that you can and will complete the task alone.

When God made the decision to create humans, He did not have the mindset to leave us alone to fend for ourselves. In fact, along with the Trinity–God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit–there are legions of Angels who are assigned to keep us safe by watching over us.

Prayer links us to the power that we require to be victorious while facing the storms in life.

Faith compares to a seed planted in the ground. Faith requires the tumultuous storms and traveling the rocky roads paved with trials and tribulations in order for growth to occur. Faith is believing that God possesses the equipment and the team to assist us with every aspect of our lives.

God has never placed us in the position to assess our problems and attempt a solitary “spiritual lift” to resolve them. We are never alone and on our own. All He wants is our complete trust in His power to provide resolutions according to His will.

It is by God’s loving-kindness, grace, and mercy that He extends His power that gives us strength. God is always Faithful! He is waiting for us to ask through prayer for help from His team.

We must dismiss the past behaviors of lifting our problems alone. When we utilize God’s team, we are prevented from harmful decision-making that would bring injury to our lives.

It is a personal choice to invite God into your life. He has a team that is waiting to provide total assistance to always keep you safe. Just redirect your focus from yourself to God; your safety is God’s priority!

Challenge for today: Stop lifting by yourself.

Verse for today: My help comes from the Lord, who made Heaven and Earth. Psalm 121:2

Prayer for today: Dear God, I have been approaching life from the wrong perspective. I have attempted to lift and resolve my problems without you. I ask you to forgive me for the over-confidence that I have in my own abilities. I come to you asking for your Divine Intervention in my life. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayers. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Financial Peace from Financial Management, part 2

“For I know the plans that I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 NLT

I pursued two degrees on a part-time basis, over a 15 year period, which resulted in owing a massive student loan. The monthly repayment of the two loans exceeded that of an expensive house mortgage. When I heard the expression, “six figures,” it certainly was not my salary that I thought about.

Meeting the qualifications for discharge of Student loan debt is extremely limited due to the stringent criteria. After all, it is a contractual agreement that the federal monies are to be repaid, and the borrower has a complete understanding and has agreed to begin repayment six months after graduating or terminating status as a full-time student.

In 2015, while on vacation, I experienced an injury to my knee from hyperextension. The inability to bear weight or walk did not match the minor injury that I sustained. I applied icepacks and elevated my leg without relief.

The Emergency Room physician instructed me to see an Orthopedic surgeon immediately upon returning home. As I left the hospital with a knee brace, crutches, and orders to remain non-weight bearing, I reflected on the physician’s emphasis to follow-up immediately with a specialist. I also recalled his vague explanation of the findings of the xrays.

At my initial appointment with the Orthopedist, he began to interview me for data regarding my medical history. “What do you do for a living?” I responded, “I have been a nurse for 37 years.” “Well your career as a nurse is over, I can schedule you for a knee replacement next week.”

As I viewed the xrays of both of my knees, I can remember the shock from looking at a “bone on bone” condition. As a nurse, I knew the cushiony cartilage, was missing from both of my knees. My comprehension of the diagnosis–“End Stage Osteoarthritis in Bilateral Knees”, which required surgical intervention left me feeling weak. My mouth felt as if it was full of cotton as I struggled to shake off the lethargy from the bitter diagnosis.

It has been four years since I was told that without the surgical intervention of total knee replacement, I would be wheelchair bound in two years. I currently use knee braces, and assistive devices on an as needed basis. My bathroom includes adaptive medical equipment to ensure safety. Even so, I still have the knees that I was born with and my student loan has been discharged.

Yes I have a permanent disability that prevented me from fulfilling my promising nursing career. However, I knew that God was fully aware of the circumstances that I would face with my disability. I prayed for guidance and the ability to have complete faith and trust in Him.

God’s promises are based on condition: IF we obey, THEN He will intervene and give us resolution to all of our problems.

My commitment to God involved adopting a healthy lifestyle, witnessing about the power and love of God to others through my Weblog, and learning financial management strategies to stop the vicious cycle of mismanaging money and the abuse of credit.

I know the distress of having an accumulation of debt that kept me awake and worried day and night.

I just wanted to be FREE!

Free from the devastation of impulsive spending habits.

Free from Debt where you have limited to no cash flow.

In the times of overwhelming circumstances, when our human minds are unable to see any solutions, Satan magnifies our problems to appear as utterly impossible. He wants us to view our situation from making prior mistakes as hopeless.

Just remember, in the Book of Revelation, God also lets us know: “I am the Alpha and the Omega–the beginning and the end,” says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come–the Almighty one.” Revelation 1:8 NLT

When we complete the “If you obey,” I can testify that God will provide.

Do not place limitations on God! He consistently fulfills All His promises.

God has given each of us a measure of Faith that we are to develop.

There is a journey for financial peace: Praying, Believing, Changing our Self-Destructive Behaviors, and Waiting patiently for God’s guidance and Divine Intervention. Be prepared for struggle; but with God all things are possible.

Challenge for today: Take an Online Financial/Debt Management Course.

Verses for today: Revelation 1:8 and Phillipians 4:13

Prayer for today: Dear God: I ask you to forgive me for mismanagement of money and credit. You are aware of the predicament that I have caused by sinning against you. I am ready for change. I am ready to rid myself of the excess material things that I have accumulated. I am asking you to have mercy on me and show me how to pay off my debt. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Sonya Johnson Ruiz

Financial Peace from Financial Management, Part 1

Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? Luke 14:28 NIV

As Believers, we strive to enrich our spiritual relationship with God. We share many common goals with the most important goal of desiring Eternal Life. Even so, many hear the Word of God through sermons, and study the scriptures; however, there is a breakdown in the practical application of the Word to our daily lives.

Since retirement, I have had a lot of time on my hands for reflection of my life; successful ventures, failures mainly due to lack of knowledge, accomplishments, storms (trials), disappointments, and deliverance. In addition, to everything that I have personally experienced, my nursing career allowed me to interact with patients/clients at the weakest and most troubled times in their lives. My career afforded me the opportunity to be exposed to the worst of humanity’s struggles.

In 2017, I prayed for God to reveal my purpose in life, and I have been studying, researching, and blogging from the perspective on how we can apply spiritual knowledge to the practical aspect of our daily lives.

A major focus of our times is the self-inflicted and overwhelming stress from the accumulation of Consumer debt.

According to Fidelity, there are two types of debt based on the form of debt repayment: Installment debt, like a home mortgage, car loan, or a student loan, which you pay back over a set period of time, and Revolving debt, like credit cards, which you potentially can carry for the rest of your life. May 10, 2018

It is the revolving debt, mostly from impulsive expenditures, that is out of control in America. “Revolving debt, the bulk of which is credit card balances, hit $1.027 trillion in March of 2018.” Federal Reserve

I read a blog this morning on Debt Management that was heart wrenching. All of the recommendations involved using companies that would charge monthly fees for services that appear to get you on the right track for debt relief. However, it was another monthly debt…would it be the straw that broke the camel’s back?

I am sharing my response to the article:

If you never learned financial management skills because they were not incorporated as family values then most likely you have unnecessary debt.

There are credible Online Financial Management courses available for $25. I have nothing against entrepreneurship; however, the point of financial management is to learn from a credible source, not to spend your remaining cash to pay for a course by a popular individual or company.

Tracking all expenses is a priority. It takes the development of achievable goals, planning, interventions, and ongoing evaluation of progress.

1. Always look at your expenses from a yearly perspective. Your daily $5 latte is costing $1825.

2. If you must have a credit card, then Close all of your Credit Cards with the exception of one for emergencies, especially if you do not have a fund set aside for unexpected expenses.

3. Discipline and Self-Control are character traits that can be acquired at any point in life.

You are the key to your financial success or failure.

I am not an expert on financial management. I know the facts by seeking forgiveness—wasting resources that were given to me by God. I track every penny that leaves my hands–hasty decisions always lead to regret. I practice temperance: The self-control that I am practicing, by limiting my purchases, have trickled down into every aspect of my life.

1. The first step is to pray for guidance.

2. Phase 1: Declutter your home; how many clothes, shoes, and collections are in bags, or hidden from plain sight?

3. Phase 2: Declutter again…it is only the basics that you need in your life.

4. Divide the excess: Sell cheap (if you must) and donate to local churches or nonprofits.

Are you beginning to ask yourself how decluttering and donating is related to financial management?

The traits of selfishness and greed lead to the tendencies to accumulate and possess above and beyond what we need.

It is a humbling act to take your possessions and to donate to those in need.

I can promise you that personal and spiritual growth will occur; in fact, you will experience a major change in your perspective of life.

Do your part and God will begin to resolve your financial problems. It is us who must see life through spiritual eyes, and that will only occur with complete transformation.

Challenge for today: Give, and keep giving until you have just enough!

Verse for today: No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. Matthew 6:24

Prayer for today: Dear God: My life is out of control, especially my desire to spend and waste your resources. I need a complete transformation in order to possess a clean heart and a renewed spirit. I am asking for your strength as I make a most needed change in my life. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen!

Sonya Johnson Ruiz

Part 2 of this series will publish on 2/18/2019.