God Will Guide Us

He will guide us. It’s true, especially if we ask him to. Recently someone approached me and said how hard it must be for those who don’t live with God. But here’s the thing, we can’t live ‘without’ God even if we try. Even when we turn our back. God is there. Even when we don’t realize it he is in the room. I don’t necessarily think people have a harder life when they don’t acknowledge God. As the Bible states, rain will fall on all of us. God’s love does not discriminate. He’s there and working in your favor. He also has a plan for when you mess up or fail. His love is unconditional. Just take a look at the beauty of nature and all he gave us. He came down to save us in the person of Jesus Christ. Grace is a gift that’s freely given. What makes a walk with God special is that you feel his loving hand guiding you.🏞️💖

About Zina

Zina Hermez authored the best-selling book, “Not Without God: A Story of Survival.” Her stories have been featured in various guest articles, medical journals, magazines, newsletters, and over 250 of her own blog articles. 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 upcoming book, “Not Without God: Hope In the Storm” will be out later this year. 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. She’s appeared in Christianity Today, the Southern Writers magazine, and Suite T blog among other places. 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.

Your ways are better than my own!

Dear Lord, your ways are better than mine. Your plans are better than mine too. Your love is endless and your mercy unconditional. You know me better than anyone. Teach me thy ways, oh Lord, so I don’t have to rely on myself!

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. She’s appeared in Christianity Today and the Southern Writers magazine more than once. 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 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.

Out of the Storm!

15FDA52C-7FDE-4923-97CE-B92760292861.jpegI’m able to maintain a sense of inner peace even when there are storms all around me. I questioned myself the other day. Someone else in my situation may not feel this way. How could I be? Then I was reminded that happiness lies within us. The waters may be rising in anticipation of a flood, but you may be content. The flood waters will not “swallow you up.” I remembered, again, that happiness comes from deep within. It doesn’t lie in material things, nor does it lie in your status. It’s not in any labels you add. It comes from within. It’s a permanent happiness you can possess. It’s the one that is reborn every time the temporal happiness ceases to exist.

Whenever you start to feel unhappy, remember that eventually you will return to that place. Let go of worries, fears, selfish desires, pressure, disappointments, or the desire to win! Permanent happiness can only come from within. We are meant to be happy creatures, but culture often teaches us there is a void. We may feel we ‘need to have’ this or that, in order to be fulfilled. Just take a look at the world around us. It’s wonderful to be thankful, and no one would be happy about living in poverty, for example, but really count your blessings, and realize how much you have, you will think about what you are missing much less!

My Speaking event last Sunday!

This is a small piece on prayer from the talk I shared at church.

As I began to recover after my accident, I knew I had a long road ahead. I contemplated my future with God. I would ask, “What are we going to do, Lord?” and “How will my life be?” I didn’t know for sure but I knew one thing, I had Him – and I knew He would never leave. I didn’t like what happened to me, but I liked being in the silence and experiencing the peace.

Talking with God, asking for his help, his guidance, and presenting my problems before him has always helped me! And in the hospital, He spoke to me each day – through the love of others, the nurses, my mom, and the doctors. He explained every step of the way, what we would do, and how we would get through. I knew everything would be okay — in my feelings and in my heart.

Spending time with God has saved me all my life. Prayer is one way I do this, and I like to speak to Him when it is quiet because that is when I can hear from Him most — in feelings and in thoughts. When I am away from the noise. I listen to Bible verses throughout the day or before I go to bed, usually.

I’ve been doing this almost every day for the last few months. If I can commit to at least fifteen minutes a day, it helps me! I feel more peace since I have started. Things that would bother me before seem petty. I have noticed improvements in different areas. So I would recommend for anyone going through a challenge, or hardship to start doing it.

I have downloaded the Bible Gateway app on my cell phone, and I sometimes listen on a laptop. I click on the audio selection, and listening is convenient. I have listened while cleaning, or even writing. Technology is great! You can study while completing tasks. We don’t have to only read anymore! Two Psalms that really speak to my heart now are Psalm 69 and Psalm 71.

 

About Zina

Zina Hermez authored the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival and created the Spinal Injury Solutions! online website. Zina works as an English Language Instructor, and has been an educator for fifteen years. Her thousands of students have been from many parts of the world, and she’s worked with all ages. Zina writes articles on faith and overcoming challenges, and her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, the Breathe Writers Conference blog, newsletters, guest posts, and medical journals. To learn more about Zina visit http://zinahermez.com.

Psalm 18

Psalm 18
Photo courtesy: http://www.instapray.com

Psalm 18 is one of my favorite psalms. It is very encouraging, and I really need to read it again and again tonight. To read all of Psalm 18, click here: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=psalm+18&version=NIV.

About Zina

Zina Hermez authored the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival and created the Spinal Cord Injury Solutions! online website. Zina works as an English Language Instructor, and has been an educator for nearly fifteen years. Her thousands of students have been from many parts of the world, and she’s worked with all ages.

Zina writes articles on faith and overcoming disability, and her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, Spinal Cord Injury Zone, SCI Access, newsletters, and medical journals among many other various publications. To learn more about Zina visit http://zinahermez.com.

 

Suffering and Joy are interchangeable!

Life is hard enough. Imagine you could not walk? Imagine you could not move? Better yet, don’t imagine. It’s one of the worst things that could happen to you. Don’t imagine. It happened to me. I was hit by a car while crossing the street on my way to school, at only sixteen.

Paralysis is eye opening. Paralysis is real. Paralysis is undesirable, a nightmare to say in the least. I’ve woken up before and thought this was all a dream, more than once. Then I see my crutches on the wall, my wheelchair in the corner–tucked in my closet, as far away as possible. Out of sight, out of mind, right? Well, not really.

There is loss in life. Loss of friendships, relationships, divorce, accidents! Accidents, a Spinal Cord Injury— it can take everything but your life.

I was pretty. I was popular. I returned to school in a wheelchair my senior year. When everyone was excited for prom and spring break, I was learning to be disabled. There are things we live through only by God’s grace. And only God has kept me.

At sixteen I was healing, but how would life be in a wheelchair? Our home was not handicapped accessible.  I knew when the dust settled the visits would lesson. The calls would start to fade. During my stay in the hospital, I would pick up my pencil with a flashlight in the dark at night and write letters addressed to God. I know he heard me.

I finished high school on time, even though I missed most of my junior year. I still made it to prom. My real friends stayed and I made new ones. I learned to drive, went to college, worked, and even walked! I’m walking everywhere with two forearm crutches, and learning how to walk with one cane. I’m still not walking as good as I’d like, but it’s better than using a wheelchair. I still have faith.

Thank God he replaces suffering with joy!

“Most assuredly, I say to you that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy.” John 16:20

“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5