Today I’d like to introduce the first featured Overcomer, Carla R. Milan. Carla just happens to be my sister and time and time again I have watched her overcome the most difficult of challenges. She is a single mother and has worked in the customer service industry for over thirty years. The pandemic has allowed her to refocus and pursue her heart’s desire of becoming a Life Coach and creating affordable homes for single mothers. She is a great problem solver and has great insight into fostering personal growth in individuals. Sit back, enjoy the ride as I take you into a place of victory in Carla’s life.
She had just come out of one of the most challenging seasons of her life. Since the birth of her only son and the unexpected loss of her mother, poverty snuck in and held her captive. It had become the norm and unfortunately the expected outcome. She wasn’t born into poverty but somehow, at the uninvited series of events, it had become her lifestyle. Her son, now a young adult, was finally at an age where he could take care of himself. Now, she could shift her focus on finding her way back to the light. The only question was how?
By this time all was lost and God had directed her to a new land. It wasn’t quite what she expected or hoped for but at least she was back on her feet and at the beginning of a fresh season. Finally the pressure for survival, at the cost of ensuring her son was first while hiding her struggle, was over. She felt as if she could breathe again but time quickly expressed otherwise.
Once again without the pressures of the past, she still felt the crunch of poverty squeezing her from paycheck to paycheck. She wondered what she could be doing wrong. Less responsibility should equal less strain but she was still feeling the old too familiar, silent stalker, at her door. It was at this point she began to question God. She thought, “Did you bring me here to suffer again?”
So began the cycle of frustration, questioning and outright anger towards God. It was like riding an emotional rollercoaster. The tighter poverty squeezed the more unstable she became. She just could not understand how, why would God release her from years of stress and pressure only to thrust her into the same cycle? It just did not make sense, so she continued to war. The problem was, she wasn’t quite sure who she was fighting.
In a moment of frustration she calmed herself and began to cry out to God, and in that moment He answered. The light began to shine on her heart as He gently placed his finger on a spot and revelation rushed in. Suddenly, she began to realize it wasn’t God that was causing the suffering but the lack of character she possessed. She began to realize she was the problem, not God.
This revelation began a three year journey of character building lessons she had to go through. Each time she’d release a portion of her flaws and he’d pour out a portion of himself in its place. It was a beautiful yet painful song and dance. Each step on the dance floor was frightening yet productive. She’d get a breakthrough and walk in victory until she’d hit another place in her heart He longed to touch. She quickly learned no matter how painful the lessons, each one must be completed.
As the song and dance came to an end, she began to sense change coming to her situation. The dance sessions began to yield a new more balanced expectation. She began to become very aware that her sessions had produced a new found faith that was necessary for the journey ahead. Although she had surrendered much to the Lord she was still bound by a poverty stricken lifestyle. She wondered, how in the world is God going to fix this?
Months passed in which she applied for many new positions to no avail. She either received a Dear John letter or simply could not pass the test required to access the next level. Disappointment moved in like the wind but this time there was something different, it could not hold her because the dance sessions had birthed new courage to press beyond the screams that shouted, “You will fail!” So regardless of the rejection and hopelessness she continued.
Now that revelation and strength had come, things seemed to get worse at the job. Her current supervisor flagged her for an unwarranted disciplinary action, which would prevent her from applying for new jobs for a year. At first, anger and frustration swept in but by this time she had been continuously strengthened by the Lord and regardless of what she saw, continued to press forward. As she believed, God continued to unravel His plans.
Months passed and she was the only employee on her team assigned a new manager. Her co-workers feared for her since the rumor was the manager was tough and uneasy to get along with but Carla found favor. During a casual conversation with her new supervisor she shared her desires to advance in the company and the obstacles that stood in the way. Her manager instantly moved into action and made it her personal mission to assist her.
So in her faith and newfound boldness, she applied yet again for another position but there was something about this one. There was that rush of excitement that flowed through her stomach. That silent knowing but the only question was how? Rejection and failure had attempted to set up residence so what would make this one different?
With nothing to lose she sat at her desk and desperately asked God how in the world am I going to pass this test? The position she’d applied for required way more technical skills than she possessed so how could she pass a test for a job she wasn’t even sure she could perform. While her thoughts attempted to hinder forward progression, her gut shouted, “Full steam ahead!” It was at that moment she heard an audible voice say, “Get your notes from your training.” She began to fumble through the paperwork at her desk and at the bottom of the pile was a notebook full of notes from her initial training three years ago. While she set her eyes like a flint to study, the disciplinary action was removed. God had succeeded through the hands of her manager?
So as the path before her cleared she continued to press on. She took the test and passed it and awaited to find out if she was one of the few employees awarded the coveted position in a neighboring state.. Days followed and she opened her email to discover she had been awarded the position. She was so busy keeping faith and fighting for her promise that she never looked at the pay increase for the position until it was official. As she celebrated her victory she realized she not only got the job but would be making three times her current pay.
She had two week to pull together the details. As she rejoiced she realized there was still one hurdle to conquer. She was driving a vehicle that couldn’t make the trip. Poverty had her credit in a less than optimal position and she had no clue how she would get a new vehicle. Faith kicked in and she began visiting car lots looking for a miracle. With only three days left to make the move, she decided to visit a car lot in a neighboring city. She test drove a used car and prayed for grace. The salesman came back and said I have bad news. I can’t get you approved with the used car but I can get you approved for a new car. She rejoiced, signed the papers and left the car lot praising God. She had forty dollars to her name, packed what she could fit in the car and headed to her new destination.
Final thoughts from Carla:
Carla is truly an overcomer. She said during this process no matter how bad circumstances appeared or who she blamed there was a knowing inside of her that forced her to not accept her circumstances. As a child she always saw herself as prosperous and this internal picture silently lurked in the background not letting her quit. Repentance and self-evaluation played a great part in her forward progression.
This fight taught her to always stay focused on God, stay close to him and seek Him for continual revelation. She realized God is always doing a work in and for you regardless of how out of control situations may seem.
Carla’s advice to her younger self: Be still, knowing God is always working. Stop jumping around and thinking you deserve something before its time. When you jump too soon, God will allow something to shut you down and shift your thinking.
Author: Petrina Milan
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