I am what I am. I love me!
And I don’t mean that egotistically –
I love that God has allowed me to take whatever it was that I had
and to make something out of it.
~ Stevie Wonder
Today, I am going to take a detour from our normal topics of discovering your personal best. I want to share a little bit about pivotal markers and my journey.
Each of us has pivotal markers in our lives. However, there are two I want to share in a very transparent way with you today, and how it has helped shape me into the person I am today.
You may know me as a business owner, a consultant, a personal coach; an author, a pastor… or maybe you know me on a more personal basis — as a mom, wife, friend or maybe even, a tennis opponent.
I am famous for my grand statements of Never’s:
Never going to get married —
I been married for 38 years
Never going to have children
I have a son and daughter, 3 step-sons, 5 grand children and 2 great-grand children.
Never live in Florida
Lived here for 24 years
Never going to move again
(After 14 moves in the first 20 years of marriage)
Currently fixing up the house so we can move near our kids
Never would own a business
Currently, owned a business and have owned 3 others
Never would be a Pastor of a church
Currently, pastoring a church called The Gathering
My new mantra — Never say Never!
Many of my never’s came to self – protection
My never’s came from fear of the unknown
My never’s came from exhaustion
I believe many of my never’s came from not knowing who I was.
And, not knowing what I was passionate about and what was possible for my life.
This is why I do what I do — helping others to discover their dream and live from your passion. I want everyone to find their dreams and not let their past hold them back.
I believe my sharing these things will help you connect to where you have been and to where you are going. Reviewing the pivotal markers in your life, those things that were key turning points, will help you recognize how they have directed your life.
Let’s get into it.
I tell everyone I am from Atlanta, but actually I was born in Chattanooga. I only lived there for a few months, when my dad landed a job with Lockheed and we moved to Marietta, a suburb of Atlanta.
I was the 4th in the line of 5 children. I have two older sisters and one older brother and one younger.
My parents were complete opposites in personality. My dad was a genius. He was the youngest in his area to receive the Eagle Scout award, and an incredibly successful businessman. He loved us kids dearly, but struggled with manic-depression disorder, which we didn’t understand until we were older. At that time any type of mental issues were a source of shame for a family.
My mom was savvy, creative and strikingly beautiful. She could literally do everything, paint, sew, cook – anything — except get dinner to the table on time — 5:45pm to be exact. I can still picture our kitchen clock. It had a thin red line of tape to remind her when dinner was to be served.
Even with that it was never on time. Needless to say, there was much screaming around dinnertime. We always had extra people at our dinner table and to accommodate everyone my dad made us a big dining room table by taking a door and attaching it to a picnic table.
My dad’s parents were devout Christians and would send us to camp in the summer.
Camp Joy wasn’t my favorite experience for several reasons, other than the fact — I am not a camper!
- I am fair-skinned and sunscreen was not invented yet — so I was burnt to a crisp the first day.
- I discovered I do not like riding horses — kind of jumped/fell off of mine – much to my camp counselors dismay.
- I didn’t know the norms of a Christian camp. Things like the songs we sang and trying to grasp the sin and salvation discussions.
My first pivotal marker came from an encounter at Camp Joy. I was nine years old and in spite of all of the challenges, something happened there that would send me on a secret journey of discovery.
It was the last day at camp, and we were having chapel. I began to cry as I was experiencing fear and excitement at the same time. The Jesus I had heard about was calling my name. I was so overwhelmed by His Presence; I just stood there trying to figure out what to do. At that moment, I knew Jesus was real and I wanted to know more about Him. I said, yes to Jesus, inviting him to be part of my life.
This encounter changed the course of my life, but not as you would think.
Little did I know while I was at camp my grandfather suddenly died. When we arrived back to the church, they announced to us one of the pillars of the church had gone to be with Jesus. I heard the name, Luke Jernigan, but I figured there were others with his name.
With the deep grief pouring through my family, I never shared my salvation encounter with them. I was afraid to tell anyone. I couldn’t tell my dad, because he had real animosity towards the church. And my mom was going through an enlightened period of who God really is which brought much uncertainty.
Though I did not understand who Jesus was in the big scheme of things — I did understand he was with me in some mysterious way. Whenever I said his name — I sensed his presence.
For the next 20 years I searched for the Jesus I met at camp. There came a point after my mom passed away, that I realized I needed help.
One day out of my desperate plea I prayed:
“Jesus, I need for you to show me you are real.”
And Jesus answered!
I began to really study the Bible, spending time alone with God and writing down what I had learned. Everything changed — my marriage, my kids, our finances and most importantly, my heart began to change. I discovered the Jesus I had been searching for — He is alive, he is personal and he loves me!
Since then, Jesus has called me to be ordained, continue my schooling and to start a church. In 2012, my husband and I started the gathering with Jesus in Tarpon Springs, FL. Our passion is to connect hearts with the heart of God.
From all of this, God has stirred an excitement in me to help others find God’s best for them. He has used me to bring healing, both physically and emotionally to many, help marriages be restored, and see others find His Dream for their life dream.
If you are looking for help I would like to encourage you to stop and ask Jesus. He will show up for you, just like he did for me!
As we close, think about your life, especially the younger years. What were those pivotal markers in your life that helped shape your direction and passions.
When you discover what has defined you in the past, it allows you to refine your future!
I would love to hear from you.
If you want individual help through this process fill out the Connection Form.
Remember, you are the best investment you can make.
My book, Believing God and Believing His Word, contains short stories that will grow you in your daily walk with Jesus. With each nugget of truth and understanding, there is a call to action you can apply to your life.
Go to my Books
Also, I have a couple of events coming up, which you can find on my website; cindy-stewart.com/events
Women on the Frontline
June 15-16, 2018 Tarpon Springs, FL
Featuring Patricia King, Brandi Belt and myself
Invading the Heavens Conference
August 16-18, 2018: Tampa, FL
Featuring Sid Roth, Robert Henderson, along with Dr. Kynan Bridges and myself.
Frontliners: Kingdom Advance Tampa, FL
October 19-20, 2018
with Dr. Clarice Fluitt, Brandi Belt and myself