Being Thankful In Our Weakness

You may be wondering why I'm writing about weakness when I'm the founder of a successful Internet business.

I receive so many emails from women battling chronic illness (like myself) while trying to succeed in the marketplace. Many subscribe to my Inner Circle or follow me on Facebook and enjoy my Ladybug Wreaths website while building their business.

As I shared in my Thanksgiving newsletter, I want to encourage all of you to be thankful in your weakness. As strange as that may sound, it's an integral part of success.

Most of you know my battle with fibromyalgia, brought on by undiagnosed celiac disease, and the damage it did to my body and my marriage. Subsequently, I suffered from depression, anxiety, and panic attacks. Did I mention low self-image, as I tried to live my life and build my business? I chronicle all of this in my book, "My Journey Through Fibromyalgia: Rumors, Ravages & The Rescue."

I knew Bible verses about being content in your circumstances like Philippians 4:12 or 1 Timothy 6:6-7, but I'd never thought about actually being thankful regardless of my circumstances. After all, I had been chronically sick for decades without a diagnosis. It was hard for me to rejoice in that.

During those years I was so ill that sometimes I was bedridden, I found many Bible verses of God's love and promises. I clung to them with every ounce of strength I had left in my body. And, of course, I prayed for healing. I fought my way out of the pit of despair through my faith and dependence on God.

After my diagnosis, I made adjustments to my lifestyle, especially my diet. I can now do things I haven't been able to do in forty years. My husband and I now share a closeness filled with love and joy, but I'm not completely well. I don't say those words often, because I have come such a long way.

So you might be wondering, "Nancy, where does the weakness come in?"

Well, unless you lived with me day in and day out, you wouldn't notice my weaknesses. I could live the rest of my life hiding my insecurities, as well as the health issues I still deal with. I've wrestled with how my weaknesses fit the model of success.

I felt that until I conquered all of my issues, I hadn't succeeded. I wouldn't have run the race successfully that God put me on this earth to run. Then one morning in church, listening to the pastor's message on weakness, I finally realized how wrong my thinking had been.

I learned it takes a strong person to expose their weakness. Our culture avoids weakness. We only want to share our success. But, and this is the exciting thing, in God's kingdom, weakness is a magnet. If we show our weakness to others, then God's work in our lives is glorified and magnified by His glory. In 2 Corinthians 12:9, God said to Paul:"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."

Paul continues in that passage: "Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

Do you see? I finally did! When I am weak, I am strong. God was pruning me so I could bear fruit. Jesus said, "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful" (John 15: 1-2).

All those years when I prayed that God would heal me…that He would remove this illness from me, it was not His will. Instead, God used my illness — my weakness — to shape me into a person He could use. I can honestly sympathize with those of you suffering with chronic illness. More than that, if I can encourage or inspire you, my weakness is worth it.

I am happy! I have a husband that I adore and who adores me. We enjoy a beautiful family of children and grandchildren. We still face problems, but I see them as mere hindrances I'll live with as long as the Lord deems necessary. I no longer feel I'm running a race to make up for forty years I felt were lost. Those were important years which led me to an important purpose.

Meditate on the fact that God wants to do great work in you. Pray for comfort and for healing, yes, but also ask God how your weakness can help others. Count the blessings you do have in life, no matter how big or small. Cling to God's promises for a better tomorrow.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Look! God's dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 'He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death' or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." Revelation 21:3-4

With Love, Nancy

Our Hope Is Within God

Most of you know me as the lady behind Ladybug Wreaths. You may have even read my book or followed my blog posts as I’ve shared my journey through fibromyalgia. I’ve spoken about my successes and some of my failures. But rarely do I speak about the really dark years, the ones where God allowed me to sink to the bottom of the "pit" with no hope of a better life.

Or at least, I thought there was no hope. God knew better.

My husband Steve and I no longer had a life together. We were strangers in the same house growing further and further apart with each passing year. Neither of us could understand my illness with all of its debilitating pain and strange peculiarities. How could Steve understand what I was going through when I couldn't even understand it myself to explain it to him? And then God reached out His hand to us.

Only by God’s power did our marriage survive the attacks from Satan. God is using this experience now in both of us, not only for the sake of our marriage, but to encourage others.

So many of you are battling chronic illnesses, and even for those who aren’t, you still might be facing tremendous hurt in your marriages. Allow God to speak to your heart this Christmas. Be open to His plan for your life and your marriage, whatever it may be.

My blog, my website, and our story reach people from all over the world; people in pain and have no hope. Our hope is within God, and we gladly share that with you. He has poured His miracles down upon us by giving my husband a new heart, and a new understanding, along with an undying – cherishing, forever-after kind of love! And me – well, I have a healthier body along with courage built on a determination and strength that I never knew I possessed.

Ours is a very painful and personal story…but one that we feel God wants us to share with those who are desperately searching for the answer in their painful lives. I share the details in my book, My Journey Through Fibromyalgia. But for today, I encourage you to pray with your spouse, if they’re willing, for God to restore your marriage. Pray alone, if you have to.

God is listening and He cares about your broken heart. Mine was so broken at one time that I thought it could never be mended. But by God's own strong and tender hands, He did so. I believe He will do this for anyone suffering from a broken heart who puts their faith in Him. God's strong, gentle hands can change lives, molding the pieces of your life back together even while you are experiencing deep hurt. He can miraculously make us whole (and sometimes better than we were before) by reaching into our soul, making our lives more beautiful, more fulfilling, and more meaningful than we could have ever possibly imagined.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21

My prayer for you this Christmas is one of joy, peace, and reconciliation. Life is short and peace is scarce in our world. May you rest in the supernatural peace found in the birth of our Savior.

God bless,

Nancy

 

Looking Back… Thank you God That I am Tired…

Looking Back…
This blog post was written almost 8 years ago.  It was the day when "My Secret Vendors" was first released. This first release contained 200 pages.  Now, after 7 rewrites, it contains OVER 750 pages of my "SECRETS" 

 

"Thank You God" By, Nancy Alexander


That I Am Tired

Where Do I Start? I'll start where every good thing in our lives comes from — God. 

Knowing that I can and do get up every single morning and put on the "full armor of God" fills me with such security and confidence.  It ensures that I can have a day filled with Happiness and Joy which come from God's grace.  Now, that doesn't mean that I don't have bad days, I DO!  That doesn't mean that I don't slip back into the past very often and have to battle with "the evil one", I DO!  That does not mean that I don't slide down that "slippery slope" quite often that Beth Moore describes in her Bible Studies, because I DO!

It does mean that I have a Father who loves me beyond words…He is always there in my life holding out a hand to pull me out and rescue me…He is always there to soothe my broken heart…He is always there pouring blessings and miracles upon me that I certainly do not now, nor ever will deserve.

He had to choose between his "two loves" when he sent his son onto this earth!  How could a Father choose between His two loves:  one – flesh of His own flesh, and the other – His children created by Him to love and worship Him, and that He could also love and cherish in return.

I am speechless…I am in awe…that He chose His son to feel our pain and give His life so that there could be an open pathway flowing between us and our Father every single second of every single day for the rest of our lives.

God has worked such miracles in my family that there are way too many to list, and way too many to go into.  But I will say that during these last two years, He has made His presence known to us in such a way that leaves me amazed!

My husband, Steve, and I have just completed an exciting project together which was totally inspired by God — there is no other explanation.  We found that we could work side by side at our computers, electronically sharing and writing on the same pages at once.  With my strengths multiplying his weaknesses, and Steve's strengths doing the same for mine…well, that is something so wonderful we were blessed to share!  We enjoyed these (literally hundreds) of hours together and finished with an e-Book, a project that we never would have guessed could come to fruition.  And, we ended up with ideas to write at least 10 more books!

You see, God's hand was with us in this from the very beginning!  He sent people into our lives at just the right time when they were needed:  Jim Cockrum from www.SilentJim.com (an Internet Entrepreneur), who is so well known because of his honest and knowledgeable style — and who also charges $700 an hour just for a phone consultation; Linda Joseph from www.WebTechEnterprises.com (our coach), a very smart entrepreneur in her own right, a patient God-loving woman, who has handled so much of the technical "stuff" we didn't know how to do, or have the time to learn; and John Ritskowitz from www.marketing-medic.com (an amazing copywriter whom we were so blessed to be able to work with).  And, no, we could not afford these wonderfully brilliant people God sent into our paths, but He figured out a way!

Today was the "launch" date for this new book: "Secret Vendor List", where I totally and completely reveal ALL of my secrets and suppliers I worked 25 years to obtain.  In the wholesale/retail world, this is just NOT done!  Each retailer researches, studies, walks the halls in the large National Markets looking for the best suppliers with the best prices.  You know…the ones you can really trust!  Those are so hard to find these days!  I have felt led by God for some time with a soft spot in my heart for my customers…there is an attachment with them which I cannot explain…some really need help and that help just may be me.  So many of them are at places in their lives right now where I was for many years, and that is not a very pleasant or happy place to be.

Through our work (together, side-by-side) on this 200 page book, plus two more smaller e-Books, Steve and I have been working into the wee hours of the morning, and then jumping out of bed with a start the next morning to complete this amazing task.  Last night was one of those late nights, and this morning…well, another early morning.  So much to be done; newsletters to write; web pages to be redone; older e-Books to be revised and rewritten, auto-responders to be set up, and so much more!

Now…the joys…and amazement come as I am watching the "stats" as people come to my website and my blog from all over the world – 20 different countries so far!  I am answering emails about sales and downloads…I just feel so humbled that God reached down into our broken lives two years ago and changed them in such amazing ways! He has a plan for us.  He has a path for us…and we will certainly, blindly follow Him on this path for the rest of our lives knowing more Joy and Happiness awaits us than we can begin to imagine!

 

This is why I can thank God that I am tired! 

 

NOTE:  "My Secret Vendors" is even more popular today than it was when it was written.  Here is the link if you wish more information:  http://www.MySecretVendors.com​

Are You Afraid of Success? Don’t Let Fear Hold You Back!

I’ve talked about my illness many times and how debilitating it could be. For years, fear held me back. I had a host of excuses lined up as to why I had every right to be afraid of failure. I didn’t think I “had what it took” – strength and determination. I didn’t want to be seen as a failure. I talk about my fears and weaknesses in my book, “My Journey Through Fibromyalgia: Rumors, Ravages & The Rescue.”

The fact is everyone has something that holds them back. It doesn’t have to be health issues or low self-esteem issues that dragged me down.

When my health improved, I finally realized that, yes, I really wanted to be successful. But the thought of being successful was fearful, too. You might be thinking, “Who would be afraid of succeeding?”

Success would bring a lot of changes. What if I succeeded and wasn’t prepared for all that went along with my “success?” It would bring attention to who I am – to what I do. What if I’m not the person others think I am?     

The questions rushed at me: “What if I do succeed?” “What would I do then?” “How would I handle it?”

The answers to those questions were slow coming to me. It took over seven years to step out of my comfort zone.

Well, actually, it really helps when someone pushes you out of your comfort zone! Knowing that I am in God’s will certainly doesn’t hurt, because I can trust that I have exactly what I need, exactly when I need it. Still, I let fear interfere with my decisions.

Several years ago, my friend Jim Cockrum, recognized as the most trusted Internet marketer and author of Silent Sales Machine, had this “grand” idea for me to start filming instructional videos. I was scared to death. There was no way I would have considered trying without that nudge.

My first video attempt didn’t turn out like I planned. Ten minutes into taping, my assistant made me throw away twenty poster boards with everything I thought I needed to say. Without the posters, and with flowers and a wreath in my hands, I talked for two hours non-stop. The videographer had to stop me so he could take a break.

That first video is still on YouTube and has now been viewed 147,120 times! And, yes there are many more videos. Last summer, views on my YouTube Channel flew past one million! I am still amazed!

The next time I was really pushed out of my comfort zone was when the Chamber of Commerce Business Women asked me to speak before their luncheon. I turned them down three times before relenting. Terrified, I carried pages of notes.

Guess what? I never even looked at the notes. I made eye contact instead and was a resounding success.

But the biggest challenge was when Jim Cockrum asked me to speak at his major conference in Orlando, Florida, two years ago. Was I scared? Oh yeah! But I did it. That video is also on YouTube.

You never know what you are capable of accomplishing until you try. Just turn your past loose and step out! Step Up!

I know you can do it!

Good Article on Having Surgery With Fibromyalgia

Surgery When Suffering From
Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue

by Adrienne Dellwo

I read this informative article by Adrienne Dwllwo about how to prepare to go through surgery when you suffer from Fibro & Chronic Fatique…

"Fibromyalgia (FMS) and chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) both can be exacerbated by physical trauma. It's common for people with these conditions to be especially concerned when facing surgery. They're generally worried that their condition(s) are likely to flare afterward, which may complicate recovery.

So far, we have very little research-based knowledge of the impact of surgery on FMS or ME/CFS or how our symptoms impact the recovery process. However, a couple of researchers have put together recommendations for us based on their knowledge of the conditions and what they've observed in their patients.

These experts are The Fibromyalgia Information Foundation, which was founded by researchers at Oregon Health & Science University, and Charles W. Lapp, MD, who founded the Hunter-Hopkins Center in Charlotte, NC, which specializes in FMS and ME/CFS.

The specific issues we could face after surgery are numerous. Here are those that are pointed out by the experts mentioned above as well as a couple of other considerations, as well as what you can do about each one."

CLICK HERE to read more