Share Your Story – Ginger Smith

Ginger_SmithThe first “Share Your Story” of 2014 is a testimony to courage, resilience and faith. It is the story of Ginger, who took a risk and discovered a personal path to peace and possibilities.

Ginger was going through a difficult time maintaining her highly visible and very demanding front-office position while also dealing with her teenage son’s behavior problems and mental health issues. Her days were filled with episodes that involved the Department of Human Services, multiple placements, missing person reports, and witnessing her son’s struggle with drugs and depression – ramifications of the murder of his beloved father figure, Ginger’s significant other.

Ginger tried to hold it all together but was in constant stress. She found it almost impossible to smile and maintain the required engaging persona on her job. She also missed time from work while attending to her son’s affairs. Unfortunately, her supervisor was neither supportive nor sympathetic. The stress accelerated, and soon she was making weekly trips to the emergency room for debilitating migraines, blurred vision and a troublesome lump at the base of her neck. A series of tests, blood work, scans and MRIs yielded no results.

The turning point in her life came from attending an adult enrichment course offered by her church. It was called “FAITHWORKS.” The course encouraged its participants to find a spiritual space that would help them identify their innate gifts and then begin using them. Participants discussed their gifts with each other and brainstormed about ways to incorporate them in their lives.

Ginger had always been creative since childhood – it was a gift that manifested into drawing, writing, jewelry making, doll making and graphic design – she dabbled in all of them as an adult. God spoke to Ginger during this time, and she was able to envision a pin-back button company (InSPIRIT Button Designs). The buttons were adorned with positive and uplifting messages of encouragement – messages that she desperately needed in her own life. She purchased supplies on line and sat up all night figuring how to design a template and assemble a finished product.

Ginger showed the buttons to colleagues at work, who were enthusiastic about her product. At that point, she took a tremendous leap of faith and resigned her job so that she could concentrate on her creative outlet and her new business.

The one fear that threatened to derail her path was her fear. As a single mother, she was petrified of leaving her job and not having a reliable income to support herself and her children. Friends and colleagues thought she was crazy for leaving her job, but for years she had felt crippled by the 9-5 rat race and had always longed to launch her own business. The feeling of job security had completely suppressed the very dreams and creativity that made her motivated and happy, and now her health was threatened. This fear had completely controlled her until she took the “FAITHWORKS” course.

When asked what she did to move past this fear and overcome her challenges, Ginger replied that she prayed and worked on increasing her faith. Burdened with her son’s problems and her demanding job, she gratefully heard God’s message to channel her creative talents into her button company, a way for her to “break away” and also help others in the process. She found incredible support among the friends she made taking the course, friends who were also experiencing personal epiphanies.

She taught herself how to use Photoshop to enhance the quality of her designs by adding graphics to the text and soon expanded her product line to include various size choices, magnets, key chains, button mirrors etc. She also created an online presence and developed a marketing plan.

Ginger continued to grow creatively and began to accept custom order requests for non-profits, weddings, funerals, birthday parties, showers and small businesses within her community. With every sale and with every referral and compliment, she grew less fearful and more assured that she had made the right choice. It didn’t take long for Ginger to begin conducting workshops with youth and women in recovery. These experiences led to other workshops to meet other identified needs and areas of interest.

When she looks back on this personal journey, Ginger realizes that the main lesson she had learned was simply that faith does indeed work. It has been three years since she made the decision to leave her job and it has not been without a struggle. Ginger learned how to live within her means and how to accept help from individuals who God had placed in her life – like her mother, who invited her to live with her during the transition. Ginger no longer had the most stylish wardrobe, or dined at restaurants or treated herself to manicures or salon visits – but she was ok with this simple, slow-paced life. She learned that her journey was much bigger than herself, and that God had faith in her just as she had faith in God.

Ginger’s life has continued to change dramatically. This past year she delivered a baby after years of struggling with infertility – ovarian tumors, uterine polyps and endometriosis. Never in her wildest dreams did she think she would have a biological child again on the cusp of turning 40! Five years ago had adopted a newborn baby from the foster care system and was content with giving her daughter love, nurturing and permanence. Now she has three children as well as a grandchild!

This reality led her to the decision to return to work in order to provide for her family – but this time, Ginger interviewed for and was offered a position that satisfied her personal values – recruiting foster/host families for children in foster care who have been identified to eventually reunite with their birth families. She is excited and a little anxious to be rejoining the workforce, but the nature of her job gives her tremendous satisfaction.

Ginger is grateful to have had a period of time to take a break from the traditional workforce and explore her creative spirit. Had she not taken that leap of faith, she is convinced that she would have not eventually found the courage to find re-enter the workforce on her terms. She has no regrets. She is now living in the moment and enjoying her journey.

When asked what “peace” means to her, Ginger replied that you have peace when you embrace your journey even if you don’t know the outcome; that you have peace when you trust the divine path that you are on and find contentment even if life isn’t perfect.

Although Ginger admits she doesn’t take time to rejuvenate herself often enough, she does enjoy taking warm baths next to candlelight, sitting still in a quiet place, listening to music, going for a walk or ride, or creating something with her hands. She is also rejuvenated by attending church services and receiving encouraging words.

Her favorite escape is going to a spa, having a nice quiet dinner alone, curling up to read a good book and definitely relaxing on the beach. She loves to hear the crashing waves, lie beneath warm sunshine and appreciate the big, open sky.

Ginger’s story is an inspiration. It is a message to all of us to take stock of our lives, to recognize what is draining us from our joy of life, and if necessary, to take a leap of faith in order to find our personal path.

About Tina Hines

Tina C. Hines is the President and Life Transformation Specialist of For My Sister FriendsTM, a movement for women seeking support as they journey towards inner peace, wholeness and balance in their lives.

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