Chapter 10 from my book, “Not Without God: Hope In the Storm.”

Some Tips on How I Overcome

We sometimes go through hardship; I’d like to offer you some advice in this chapter if you areI can now use an elliptical at the gym, and I don’t even recall envisioning this. I mean, I never dreamt I would be able to run on an elliptical. I imagined I was walking on a walker at sixteen after my accident and suffering paralysis, but using an elliptical and going three to four miles on it is a huge success.

My point is, God will take you even further than what you’ve dreamt. He has the capability. It’s is a far stretch from where I was while in the hospital! I imagined myself walking even when I couldn’t sit up for more than a minute. And now, all these years later, running on an elliptical? God has given me abundance. I would picture myself getting better. Although I am not functional with one cane, I still believe I can get there. With God, nothing is impossible.

Having faith has so much to do with what we envision. We don’t always realize that; sometimes, we think that having faith comes only through what we hear or learn. But faith comes through what we envision; imagination is a powerful tool, and what we dream becomes manifest.

But not listening to doctors and science is detrimental. You see, what you hear is essential. What you hear has a way of affecting you either negatively or positively. Faith does cometh by heareth. We must have faith in science; I’ve talked about science in this book.

I’ve been able to accomplish walking because I envisioned it twenty-five years ago (I had faith). I expected it. Our imagination is from God. I’ve heard from a famous pastor that imagining him is the closest we will ever get to seeing him while we’re here, and seeing God can be real if we stop rejecting our imagination.

We reject it every day because society teaches us that if we use it, we are silly. Sometimes images just come to me while praying. I see specs of light often, even rays of light I have seen many times. Things sometimes move on their own. I always saw this as God’s way of telling me his angels are near and protecting me. I have heard God’s voice from deep within instructing me and even scream and tell me what to do in life-saving moments.

I have studied physics for a year and a half now, and all of the theories I’ve learned further prove God and his excellent existence! The fact is that the greatest physicists now say we are moving here through our imagination. We are made up of billions and billions of atoms that can never die. All of this is true.

The Theory of entanglement holds across the universe. These are Biblical principles taught to us through physics, but you would never know it without studying the universe. The Bible teaches us we are ‘entangled with Christ,’ so there is this entanglement. Every human being has already ‘died’ because when One died, all died,’ the Bible tells us.

‘That we no longer live for ourselves but live for the one who died and rose again for us.’ Modern physicists are now teaching that everything is happening at the same time. Actually, ‘time’ is the only thing stopping everything from happening all at once; however, the past, present, and future are equally real. In space-time, there is no distinction.

Everyone should search and find. Scientists are now suggesting that there may be multiverses because of the Theory of entanglement. ‘When one electron is in any given space, there is a complete duplicate that will even move and act the same way in a different place. The two particles can be on opposite sides of the universe, but they will behave the same way.

I can also accept all of it because I know how amazing God is. It doesn’t challenge my faith. It strengthens it! The Theory of relativity teaches us the importance of light. There is light in everything. God created it. The first thing he created was light. Light makes up the entire universe. Our bodies are composed of billions of atoms, again, that absorb and emit light.

According to Einstein’s Theory, light’s speed is the only thing in the universe that is constant. I listen to some great physicists such as Dr. Briane Greene, Leonard Susskind, and Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson. People who only listen to what their church teaches, who are afraid to ‘leave the pew,’ so to speak, and study science are missing out.

God has put all the puzzle pieces together for us. Because God is perfect, and so is his design. God cannot be anything but perfect, so all the answers have been revealed, and science is discovering more. Physicists are just adding to what they already know, and with every mind-blowing discovery, God’s magnificence is revealed!

***

I never stop giving thanks. When you have a grateful heart and thank God for everything, you receive blessings because a thankful heart will provide you with a graceful attitude. I know it can be challenging to feel that way all the time. But try to think of all that God has done for you! I’m sure you are unique, as we all are. By reflecting on the abundance, you will have a better disposition. Sometimes you look around and can’t see past all the blessings, which is a cheerful heart!

Never give up. You have to work at accomplishing goals continuously. If you give up, you will never know what could’ve been if you would’ve only kept ongoing. There will be people who tell you differently or that you cannot do something. If you believe them, you won’t! You have to work hard and realize that it can take years for your dreams to occur. You will never regret all the work you have put in.

I know I haven’t. It will be worth it! The worst that can happen, you can try but fail, and you will more than likely not fail. I have had to accept that I may never walk the way I did before the accident, meaning hands-free, but I have accepted it. It doesn’t mean I don’t strive to get better. I have learned NEVER to say NEVER.

Have you ever thought about being a writer, for example? Did you know that 80 percent of Americans believe they should write a book? Most of them will never do it. People get intimidated by the work. They don’t know how to find a publisher or even self-publish. They never try or give up. 

These days, writers can self-publish with tools online, and there are ways to get your book printed on-demand, or you can go the route of Indie publishing like I have.

I traveled a lot on business trips, I’ve been to New York twice, and even met celebrities like Ice-T, his wife, Coco, Martha Stewart, Jerry, from Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, and more!

But whether you publish independently, with a hybrid company, or with a traditional publisher–you are still responsible for marketing. Be aware. Authors are not only writers, but they are also marketers, “experts,” salespeople, speakers, and we wear many hats! 

I would not suggest for anyone to publish prematurely. Millions of people write books each year, but the majority of them are not any good. You don’t have to be born with the talent, but you do have to practice! 

You can’t just wave a magic wand and become an excellent writer. I have been working on my craft for years. Outstanding writers often ghostwrite. I hope to one day do that also. That is where you write books for others. Again, to do something like that, you have to be a fabulous writer. 

You can start by writing for fifteen minutes a day. You can then re-read what you wrote to reflect and recognize errors in your writing like punctuation, spelling, and grammar. You can add more or rewrite to help change any negative attitudes if you practice journaling. 

You can’t heal from what you don’t acknowledge, and writing can be therapeutic. I’ve practiced this technique since I was a teenager. Write somewhere where you can focus and edit. If you can’t find the time to write every day, write for a total of one to two hours per week if you can. 

Three hours or more of writing per week would be an ideal schedule, though, if you’d like to be a writer.

Find a Writer’s Community. What would you want to write? Who will be in your audience? Create a blog. You can start a free blog at WordPress.com. I use that platform. I recommend you search for video tutorials on how to use it, again, not something you will quickly pick up by ‘waving your magic wand.’ 

You can start a blog at WordPress.org, but you would have to purchase hosting. I’ve bought a domain at Godaddy.com (I am not an affiliate of any of these companies). But my domain is just at zinahermez.com and points to my blog (My blog acts as my complete website.). It is also listed under notwithoutgod.net

Connect with other writers: join a writers’ group, attend a writers’ conference (I have been to several out-of-state and had a great time!). Share your writing with your friends or family and ask for honest feedback, but ask them not to be too harsh. Compliments with constructive criticism are healthy. 

Find an accountability partner (That was a new piece of advice I heard at a conference!). I liked it—someone to keep you responsible. I don’t need that at this point. 

I have been writing for nearly ten years, actively meaning for the publishing world. I write for several hours per day. Reading others’ writing can help, and it is a great way to write better. The best writers are the best readers, and writing can help you be a better speaker–I have told many people. Read a lot of material, research, books, online magazines, and fact-checked and reliable resources! 

Relax, and enjoy it (if you have no interest in writing, disregard)! I’ve taken the fun out of writing by focusing on trying to make it “perfect.” Trying to type the right words word-for-word can be stressful. I used to do that a lot in the beginning. These high expectations can take the enjoyment out of it! Writing has to be fulfilling. 

I was listening to a live webinar in my Writers Guild (a membership group I used to be in), and I heard a man say he feels “parched” while he writes. He was asking our writing coach how to solve this problem. He shouldn’t feel parched; he should feel inspired. You cannot inspire someone else until you inspire yourself first. But this develops over time. 

Finding your “voice” can take a while, but writing can become easier and more comfortable once you find it. You won’t regret all the work you’ve put in!

***

You also cannot be weak. Keep your body moving! And get up and exercise so you can stay healthy. That is what I do daily. They say that for athletes, 10,000 steps per day is ideal. Since I am someone with a spinal cord injury, I know that is not required of me, so I try my best to fulfill a few thousand steps (or mile) per day.

There is a body and mind connection. You will ‘see’ the impossible happen while you’re exercising! Train your body. There are so many possibilities. But it is hard to see them when you’re sitting on the couch. Start now, lift weights, and start with bicep curls.

Don’t be stagnant.

My daily regimen consists of exercising and writing, for the most part. Writing can take some energy, too. As I mentioned before, I listen to the Bible through audio (I try to listen every night, but I tend to listen sporadically throughout the week or during different times of the day). I listen to the Psalms (usually the dramatized version through a Bible app).

My favorite Psalms now are 69, 71, 74, and 77. One of my favorite books is The Book of Acts. It’s powerful.

Below are some remedies for overcoming—the ones I mentioned at the beginning of this chapter. When I speak publicly, I often talk about these topics.

•Talk to God throughout the day. Make Him your closest friend. He is the most outstanding listener. He will never interrupt. I know I can always count on Him. He will never stop listening to you. God is omnipresent. He can be everywhere all at once. He will answer, but not necessarily on your timing, and things may not go your way–but he’ll answer you one way or the other. The answers often come to me immediately in my heart. 

But I have been practicing having a relationship with God for a long time, so our connection is substantial. Like I mentioned above, having a relationship with God is like exercising a muscle. The more you practice exercising it, the stronger it gets! If you are quiet, you will hear from him better.

The answers will come (typically through feelings in your heart or visions). You have to discern God’s voice, but it can be hard to hear his voice if you do not know him well and talk with him much at all, so start practicing. If you are having trouble understanding God and his ways, I recommend reading the Bible. Begin at the New Testament Gospels.

Try not to make hasty decisions. When the answer to your prayer comes from God–you will be sure of it. There will be no shadow of turning, as it says in the Bible. When something comes down from the Father of Lights, you will know it!

Please think about how you can implement some of the activities I mentioned. Can you go for a walk (before the kids wake up if you are a mother)? And can you share your thoughts with God (pray for yourself and others)? What would you ask him for? Can you be cordial with ‘everyone?’ Can you make time for extracurricular activities? What are your hobbies? Are you a member of any groups? 

Can you go to the gym before your eight-hour workday (if you have one)? How about setting up a regular weekly sports game like tennis or walking with friends to make exercise social (so long as your governor is allowing it)? How can you be creative? Reflect. Write your thoughts down. It will help you realize what you have been lacking and how you can make your life better! It will also help you to improve! 

About Zina

Zina Hermez authored “Not Without God: A Story of Survival.” Her stories have been featured in various guest articles, medical journals, magazines, newsletters, and over 200 of her blog posts. As an educator for more than twenty years, she’s had the privilege of working with thousands of students from different backgrounds and parts of the world. Her writing endeavors earned her an invitation to speak at the Harvard Faculty Club’s “Business Expert Forum.” Zina’s goal is to help others overcome adversity, and she strives to do what she longs to–help other people. Socializing with friends, taking business trips, listening to music, and meeting new people are among her hobbies. You can connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, Linked In, or Twitter.

Chapter 9 of my book, “Hope In the Storm!”☔⛈️🌈

My Story Comes Full Circle

I sought after God at a young age. It wasn’t until I had my accident that I truly experienced his peace. I saw Christ in everyone. I experienced God in the almost three and a half months I spent in the hospital. I had all these injuries and had become paralyzed, but I understood God on a different level. I was searching for something I could not find.

I had friends, lived in a good neighborhood, and went to the right school, but I would ask God what life meant. I knew God was real, but I was confused. I felt His presence daily, but I wanted to understand him better. I knew he was there. I felt his company and even his love and security while on my evening bike rides.

Perhaps I deliberately went out to spend time alone with him. I have always needed him since I was a young child. My time alone with God gives me peace, and it is crucial for me. I need to talk with him and pray. I am not independent of God and never will be. 

God never leaves us, no matter what. He will be the one listening when we need to cry on his shoulder and when something goes wrong! He will be with us forever and celebrate us also. His love is eternal. He’s always there. Hopefully, we will change for the better and learn to depend on him or first and foremost.

God is in control, anyway, and he shines his light on us. God’s love for us cannot change. God’s love does not discriminate. I urge you to look at what I went through and how he brought me through it. Choose God even in the hard times, and no matter what you’ve suffered. He has a plan for you.

Talking with God is one of my favorite things, even when I don’t understand what is going on in my life. But the older I get, the more I feel a direct connection. I’m able to discern his voice better. When I talk to God, ask, pray, make requests, and spend time with him, I feel safer.

I love to be in his presence. I mean, it’s like exercising a muscle. The more you strengthen your relationship with him, the easier it is to hear and understand. The stronger it gets. It is the same way with God. When you practice having that relationship, you will feel closer and more secure.

The bible says, ‘I am the Lord who continuously heals you.’ That means healing is not a one-time thing or event. I have already talked to him about this. God continuously heals us. God continues to heal me in various ways. He renews me every morning and gives me strength every day.

God loves me so much he’s given me the right doctors. You see, God created medicine. He speaks to us and helps us through our doctors and medical staff. I mean, it’s fair to get a second opinion when you don’t agree with one, but if you keep getting more views, you may be the overly skeptical one. 

I hope for everyone to have this knowledge. He is our hero. He truly is our friend. You never know how your life will turn out. I never expected to grow up with a physical challenge. I am blessed to have this knowledge of the Lord. Nothing can compare to the simple truth. You will have Christ no matter what. 

The more profound the sorrow, the greater the joy! I am not asking you to rejoice in suffering; I am asking you to rejoice in the one who stands before you. He will not leave you unless you ask him to, and even then, he will be standing in your corner, guarding, leading, and guiding you with all his angels.

I don’t have any secrets on how to overcome. I am not different from anyone. Jesus heals me every time. He is the ultimate example. When love is not true, it fades. God’s love never fades. He’s always there. It is you who leaves and turns away.

He cannot. Because God is love, and that is what he does. He comes in when everyone else has gone out. He comes in when your life is too much to bear, picks you up, and saves you. Love cannot fail and endures all things. It gives freely of itself. It will provide even when you are not winning. When God comes in to rescue you, it will be the greatest gift ever.

Trust God

Would your father scold you if you did something wrong, like take something that does not belong to you? Of course, he would because he would not want you to go to jail! God is not a punishing one; we suffer because of our own decisions and, at times, create our own bad experiences.

Lean on God, though. Your happiness will not be short-lived or temporal and fade. I’ve tried to control situations in my life because I think I know what is best. I have an image in my mind of how my life should’ve been. But God wants me to put my faith in Him.

I had the most fantastic experience one time. I woke up with the warmest feelings I’ve ever felt. It’s as if angels were hugging me, and it was during a hospital procedure. I was under anesthetics. I have had other divine experiences, but I will refrain from documenting them right now. I will say this, though; I woke up with this profound sense of love and reassurance. I realized, indeed, there is no need to worry.

Even when you are frustrated, try to embrace an attitude of acceptance. That way, your expectations will not be high, and you will not be disappointed. We are each fighting our own battle of some kind. Wait on God – your blessings will flow bountifully. Learn to trust in him by prayer. You will see that He will be there.

Glorify God through your Job

But you have to be patient with God, just like you have to be patient with your job. I already wrote about how you can compare patience to work in a previous chapter. You don’t complain at work. Then don’t complain to God. Imagine if you treated God the way you treat your supervisor or director. You won’t get promoted at work if all you do is complain.

God wants to promote you. I mean, I take that back; you can complain to God, of course. But always be respectful towards him. God is way higher than your CEO. He is the creator of all things.

Good thing he doesn’t keep a record of our complaints! I would’ve been fired, or have never moved up the ladder, so to speak, if I ever whined, cried out loud, or screamed at my director in my past job. Count your blessings! God has been good to you.

You see, God has given me a blueprint, a plan on how to get to where I need to. But that is because I am in constant contact with him. We have a direct connection. When I’ve been discharged from physical therapy too early, God has instructed me on how to exercise – some doors have shut. But there are always new beginnings. God loves us and does not give up on us. No one can motivate you like you can. You have to help yourself.

You are giving glory to God when you are doing your job. When you complain, bicker with others, and act as if you are not blessed–you are taking your blessings for granted. If I were overly sensitive or the kind of person who took my work home with me, so to speak, I would not be successful.

I never saw any bullying behavior or mistreatment as being my problem. I knew it was the problem of the person who tried to do it. As a teacher, I want to empower. I’ve been fortunate to have had lots of lovely students. But I have run into conflict with others.

Some people are threatened by how bold I am or don’t understand the extent of my independence. It used to bother me a little. But I could care less if others approve of me or not. I am not working for them; I am working for the Lord.

I have learned a lot just by working with so many different people. I have become more patient. I have learned that there are all kinds of souls, and if I succumb to a soul that wants to ruin my career, then that soul has won. I won’t have it, so instead, I prove them wrong. I stay the course and get promoted.

You can prove others wrong by your actions. Teaching takes faith and patience because you are constantly dealing with others. You have to be a manager and make quick decisions. I play fair. I have my rules and policies, but if a good student who shows effort and care slipped up, I would help them out.

My job has taught me so much, and it’s mostly been through the challenging parts. We need to look at obstacles as promoters. A challenge is an opportunity. If we view challenges that way, we have taken control. They won’t have power over us. 

Being a teacher is a gift—an immeasurable one. And I’ve tried not to wear the ‘teacher hat’ during all my years of teaching. I often left questions that were open for discussion. I didn’t just lecture or continually talk and be the ‘know it all.’ I have never worked as a lecturer, anyway. But of course, I’ve offered a lot of knowledge, always stuck to the topic, benchmarks, and protocol, and did my best to educate.

I give students articulate and challenging assignments and always push them for more. I am traditional in that way. It’s a lot of responsibilities to juggle. I liked to be a resource and give them information. I like to listen and answer questions. I have taught for over 20 years and some of the most wonderful experiences I’ve ever experienced were while teaching.

Think about how you can serve God by doing your job. Are you employed? What do you do for a living? Do you enjoy it? If you are not, would you like to be? What would be your “dream” career? Think about how you can keep God in the workplace (or at home if you’re a homemaker).

Do you think you are serving the Lord? You sure are by doing your job. You can make your manager happy, but you are serving God when you do your job. It is not about your director (even if you are upset with him or her). By doing your job—you are leading by example. Do it well, and you will get noticed. If you are not working, how can you serve your community or family better? 

About Zina


Zina Hermez authored “Not Without God: A Story of Survival.” Her stories have been featured in various guest articles, medical journals, magazines, newsletters, and over 200 of her blog posts. As an educator for more than twenty years, she’s had the privilege of working with thousands of students from different backgrounds and parts of the world. Her writing endeavors earned her an invitation to speak at the Harvard Faculty Club’s “Business Expert Forum.” Zina’s goal is to help others overcome adversity, and she strives to do what she longs to–help other people. Socializing with friends, taking business trips, listening to music, and meeting new people are among her hobbies. You can connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, Linked In, or Twitter.

I Try to Walk on a “Faith path”

I try my best to walk a faith path. A path of faith requires patience because when you walk by it, you cannot be impulsive. A faith path will not allow you to make rash decisions. You think things through. You pray about them. When you are on a faith path, you ask God to help you so you are able to discern.

When I react quickly or strictly out of emotions things seem to fall apart. But when God leads or guides you into a decision it is fruitful, and your blessings multiply! When you think things through, you are able to maintain your position until God has instructed you further.

It’s not easy. But if you stay on the path and keep asking God to lead – you’ll be much happier. Believe He has the power and let the “powers” that you think you have go because ultimately, He is the one in control.

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When GOD is involved…

Listen to the Holy Spirit. Pray and seek after God. The Holy Spirit will tell you WHAT TO DO in your heart. The Holy Spirit invites us in, but when we are off tune we cannot hear from Him. Ask to be led, and simply start by talking to Him.

When you are praying you are RECEIVING. Whether you realize it or not, God is giving. You open the gateway. The Holy Spirit gives you guidance. You may not hear directly from the Lord. But once you ask, there is an unfolding of events that take place.

You may not see your miracle or dream occurring, but something is happening behind the scenes—this is what the essence of faith is: The ability to see something good in your life with no evidence of it. You create the experience!

 

A Blessing a Day

“Often, the answer to our prayer does not come while we’re on our knees but while we’re on our feet serving the Lord and serving those around us.” –Dieter F. Uchtdorf

In almost fifteen years of teaching, my Reading, Writing, and Vocabulary class this term is one of the rowdiest I have ever taught. Last Monday, I arrived home in the early evening to have a usual late dinner and settle down watching some television while finishing up end of day tasks such as tracking attendance and entering homework. As I got ready for bed, I literally felt beat up. I was so tired. At times, I really agree with the belief that many of us teachers are just not paid enough!

That day I had to put on my teacher hat. The four or five chatty Kathy’s that disrupt the class by constantly talking were threatened with getting zero’s for the day. While teaching, I would stop mid-way while speaking once they started talking and I just waited for them to be quiet. Some of them shook a little. It was obvious I was upset. They became quiet, realizing, yet again they had interrupted the class.

A truly nice group; the interesting thing is they all come to every single class. It’s not the whole group, but several of them that cause a ruckus. These disruptions with a room full of twenty-two students can make the room very noisy. They are also some of the youngest students I have ever taught at this school. Nearly all of them are between the ages of eighteen and twenty, with only four girls in the class including me. I was dreading teaching this class again at 4pm on Wednesday.

To my surprise, my threats on Monday worked! My students were much better-behaved. They paid attention and were respectful. We shared some laughs. A small miracle. I felt much better about going forward with this class. I really am thankful to have a career that I enjoy.

I sit in the classroom sometimes and look at my room full of students one by one, thinking how did I get here? I feel accomplished. It’s interesting, but I always knew I would teach.

I flash back to my childhood best friend, Melissa, who lived across the street from me on Gramercy Court. Her mother, Mrs. Dean, was a writer. Daily she would click away at an old-fashioned typewriter, something you would probably find in an antique shop nowadays. She would sit in the living room for hours and just write. I had a strong feeling I would do that one day. I always knew I would write.

God professes things to us as children, even before we arrive. In Jeremiah 1:5, the word of the Lord came to the prophet saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you.” God knows what we are supposed to do with our lives.

The small miracle that happened to me this week is part of the larger miracle that has been given to me by the Lord: to love and to serve, and for that I am grateful.

How about you? In retrospect, what challenges have helped you feel grateful this week? What small miracles have happened to you? Feel free to share them with me.