As much as we try to control our days, our weeks, and our hours, I’ve learned some events we simply cannot control. This truth became startling clear when I learned my heart was operating at only 10%. One can never prepare for such bad news, and the say I was shocked would be an understatement. After a few test to rule out the perceived culprits of my discomfort, I had the wind knocked out of me when the physician informed me that my heart was only operating at 10% and that although young, healthy and fit, I was diagnosed with heart failure and would need a heart transplant. KCTV 5 did on a story on me where they installed a pump to keep me alive:  Saved by Grace.

Certainly, the physician had confused my chart with another. I’m a successful business owner with employees who depend on the success of our company. Shucks—I have three beautiful children that depend on me!! Who will take them on vacations, fishing, and play their favorite games? Are you sure doc? I was healthy and very active. I maintained good eating habits and I worked out regularly. I had none of the typical heart-related symptoms. Had I done something to deserve such a rotten hand? No! The racing thoughts that consumed my mind were mingled with fear, anger, self-pity and confusion. This was not supposed to happen to me—to US! At the age of 40, many men and women are just finding their stride and living their best lives—we were.

In the Blink of an Eye
Now, my life is a life style change. I am worn out—not as strong as I used to be.  And admittedly, I still wonder why this happened to me. I believe, it is all part of God’s journey for each of us. I try not to focus on what has happened, but when you have a near-death experience like this and are going through heart failure, your mortality slaps you in the face—I was 40 years young and hadn’t even jotted down my bucket list let alone start scratching things off the list.

So, waiting on the heart is like well, I can be depressed about it or I can set goals and refocus my goals and what I want my legacy to be.  Do I want to go sit on the beach and rot, or do I want to set up charitable organizations that give back to society and keep working my network I can to do a betterment for all. With much of the sudden and available time I had to simply sit still and reflect, I recalled the character and example of my dad who was as humble as they come. He served his country for 25 years and through his life example reminded me of what life is really about—serving and helping others! He was a source of inspiration for me to not fall into self-pity. I knew I couldn’t just sit on the beach and rot. I had to stay busy and so I set up Roofs 4 Heroes. We donate a roof to a veteran or first responder once a quarter. Here is a clip of one of our donations. Roofs for Heroes

While waiting on a transplant I have learned the value of patience, trust and a belief that everything will happen in its own time for a greater purpose. I know the failures or better yet, the setbacks that I have experienced in different segments of life, are not only failures when I stop trying.  In Business, when I first became an executive director, I tried to take on everything myself, from the day-to-day operations of the branch to making all of the big sales calls. I quickly learned that the best managers know how to delegate effectively, so that work is done efficiently. Since then, I have won numerous accounts for my leadership skills, and I believe a lot of this has to do with my ability to delegate effectively.

My Gift to You
When life hits you, roll with the punches, don’t give in to the negative thoughts in your head. Stay positive, keep positive people around you. How you think is everything.  There is a spiritual warfare going on that is real out there and it is bigger than all of us and molecular at the same time. Where the Negative and positive energy is battling in life, in each of us. We are all so distracted with social media, and life that we don’t step back to hear the quietness and see and feel it.  Unless its 3 am in the morning and you wake up with that chill, from a dream or something, and you feel a true presence of God or wake up from some anxiety that is something other than God spooking you…
So for those that life has beat up and want to throw in the towel or others who may be sick with cancer, or battling for their life, I want to encourage you to take time to sit back and breath life in and relax and to not get so caught up in the little things that you’re not able to step back and see the bigger picture, we all live as one on one planet and we need to spread the love and positive energy.

I am so grateful for my family support and support from friends and prayers from others which has really lifted me up. I have heard from people I barely know and they tell me I am on their pray list and I thank them so much. It gives me goose bumps from being so thankful for outpouring of support.

Although I wait eagerly yet confidently for a heart, I am convinced that my life has not been in vain. I know the good that I have shared with others, will reap a harvest that I and my children will enjoy. My faith assures me of this.

Garen Armstrong
—Heart Strong