Monday, February 22, 2016

Make a Difference Mondays, by, Gina Meyers


Make a difference Mondays

Meet Avi Gardner

By, Gina Meyers
In our new format, Serendipity Press will be introducing you to people and concepts that “Make a Difference”, each Monday. In Avi Gardner’s first book, From Darkness To Light: A Fight for my Life and Light, ( Copyright © 2016 by, Avi Gardner, Serendipity Media, 978-0692450390) Avi tackles many difficult subjects. She poses many important questions in her book,  one of which, “how do we have the courage to forgive ourselves when unforgivable things have happened to our spirits?” She answers this and many other questions with a positive and upbeat attitude, taking into account you must acknowledge and not ignore what has transpired and you must give yourself time to “heal and to feel”. She has done an exceptional job at providing resources and thoughts on what has helped her through what many term, “ritual abuse”. She has become a singer and a song writer and has written not only a comprehensive guide on putting God first, but her message also is shown in poetry and prose. Read in her own words, Chapter 29, Courage.


Chapter 29 - Courage

William Shakespeare wrote, “Our fears are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.”


Fear is the opposite of faith. Just as we are commanded to love, we are commanded to “Fear not.” Courage is a choice. It is faith in action.


As Peter Hill founder of World Tai Chi, G.E.T.I.T., and author of G.E.T.I.T. Together teaches, courage is not the absence of fear. It is the ability to move forward even when we feel it. We do not need to wait for fear to go away before taking action. In fact, we do just the opposite. By moving forward through our fear, we gain more courage to take the next action. When we, as Peter Hill says, “…have a clear goal with pure intent,” we can move past any fear. As Anthony Robbins said, a clear enough why overcomes any how. Susan Jeffers, author of, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, says that fear does not go away. The more we exercise our muscles, our ability to move through fear strengthens.


Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is the ability to keep moving forward even when we feel afraid, unless of course, a bus is coming our way.


It takes courage to keep looking and moving forward when we don’t see where we are going. We can pray for this courage and keep looking toward our dreams knowing that they will come to pass, taking one step at a time.


When I have something big enough to believe in, faith replaces fear. Whenever I feel afraid, I choose to replace this fear by believing in the atonement of Jesus Christ, by loving God with all of my heart, all of my might, all of my mind, and all of my soul. When I believe that He is taking care of things for me, while I work super hard, I am filled with His Light, and His perfect Love casts out all fear.



Before publishing this book, I knew I would be facing a lot of fears, so I bought a surfboard. I figured having enough faith to feel safe in the ocean would help me to have enough faith to publish the book.


When I was a kid, I used to surround myself with stuffed animals at night. I imagined myself submerged deep in the ocean, with sharks swimming around me. It was always light, and I could see. I knew my numerous stuffed animals would keep me safe. They would stop the sharks from hurting me.


The same faith that I used as a child is true for me today. This time, instead of stuffed animals around me, my Heavenly Father has my back. He won’t let anything hurt me. I am safe. Perfect love casts out all fear.


We may still fear at times.  God does not expect us to be perfect. We can pray to be filled with perfect love every day! Eventually, faith replaces this fear. 


When I went to the Mormon temple again after a seventeen-year absence, I felt at home. As my friends and I drove over the bridge, light from the sunrise illuminated the bay. I knew I was coming home. It had been a long journey.


Inside the temple, many things were on my mind. As I mentioned earlier, I had this big test to pass in order to keep my credentials in California. In order to keep my current position until the end of the year, I had one shot. I also knew I needed to write my book, and at the same time, still felt really scared about doing it.


While I sat with my friends inside the temple, two very clear thoughts came to my head. I had thoughts like this before during very important times in my life, and they were always right. To me, these thoughts were direct inspiration, things I needed to know. The first thought was very clear. “You will pass the test.” The second thought came just as clearly. “Publish the book. You will be safe. Build my kingdom, and you will be safe.”


The inspiration gave me motivation to keep studying. I spent hours and days and received several priesthood blessings. Knowing I would pass brought so much peace that I had the power to study even harder.  Sure enough, I passed the test.


When fears regarding my own safety came up about publishing the book, I kept remembering what God said, “Publish the book, and you will be safe. Build my kingdom, and you will be safe.”



It has been said that courage is the testing point of all virtues. When we are at a place where every virtue is tested, and we still choose the right thing, that is courage.


According to Joseph Fielding Smith, there is a difference between those who are, “brave at heart,” and those who have “the courage of faith.” The brave at heart fight for a cause and often give up when they see the battle as hopeless, or when they feel despair. Courage of faith comes when we believe in something much bigger than ourselves to make things happen. Those with courage of faith never give up.


Fielding goes on, “He (Paul) labored fearlessly, he had delivered a divine message, he had resisted the enemy, and they apparently triumphed over him. He was taken prisoner and subjected to humiliating treatment by the administrators of the law. He was in bonds, and death awaited him, but he was still courageous. His was the courage of faith. While he was in prison and awaiting death, when most people would have thought “Their cause lost,” Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Imagine how much courage that takes!

He was awaiting death, and still he said to protect himself with the armor of God.


Fielding continues, “ After we have done all we could do for the cause of truth, and withstood the evil that men have brought upon us, and we have been overwhelmed by their wrongs, it is still our duty to stand. We cannot give up; we must not lie down. Great causes are not won in a single generation. To stand firm in the face of overwhelming opposition, when you have done all you can, is the courage of faith. The courage of faith is the courage of progress. Men who possess that divine quality go on; they are not permitted to stand still if they would. They are not simply creatures of their own power and wisdom; they are instrumentalities of a higher law and a divine purpose.


Others would quit; they would avoid trouble.  Such men read history, if at all, only as they make it; they cannot see the hand of God in the affairs of men, because they see only with the eye of man and not with the eye of faith. All resistance is gone out of them – they have left God out of the question. They have not put on his whole armor. Without it, they are loaded down with fear and apprehension, and they sink. To such men everything that brings trouble seems necessary. As Saints of God, it is our duty “to stand,” even when we are overwhelmed by evil.


He states, “One of the highest qualities of all true leadership is a high standard of courage.”


As we move forward, we can have something else to look forward to. 

As much as I say it is not what we experience but the meaning we give to it that matters, I wonder how much of my identity comes from what I went through. I wonder if some of my perceived self-worth comes from surviving something big.


What will I do next?


It takes courage as we move forward living a life based on new beliefs. With courage, we create new situations where we know these new beliefs are possible. Really, there is no reason to fear because God is in charge. We are always safe.




God is in Charge

God is in charge,

There is nothing to fear

God is in charge

There is no need to fear


His perfect Love

Casts out all fear

‘Cause God is in charge,

There’s no need to fear


For He knows

What we want

Before we even ask.

He gives us what we need.

There’s no need to look back.


God is in Charge

God is in charge,

There is nothing to fear

God is in charge

There is no need to fear


His perfect Love

Casts out all fear

‘Cause God is in charge,

There’s no need to fear
                   -Avi Gardner

Author, Guest Speaker, Singer, Avi Gardner

Buy the book

Author, Publisher, Gina Meyers

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