The Power of Faith

The Power of Faith

Faith has brought me through so many difficult times in my life and it’s also given me many, many breakthroughs. It’s also helped me hone my skills as a women’s empowerment speaker and mindset coach. 

Growing up, I was Lutheran. One of those things that was non- negotiable as a child. We were going to church on Sunday morning! Even if we got back from the lake late on a Saturday night, or if we had a late basketball tournament the night before, we were going to be sitting in that pew singing the hymns, doing church together as a family every Sunday morning. 

From the get-go, my parents really helped instill that strong faith into my heart and into my veins. And that’s what I live by. As a teenager, I didn’t always know what the pastor was talking about and I might not always have been paying attention, but I was there and my subconscious heard the words and took in those sermons. During college I went to church most of the time by myself. 

Religion has been a significant part of my life. Church has always been a place where I feel revived and whole again. It fills my soul and makes me want to go out and just do amazing things during the week ahead. 

The Secret
After college, I moved to St. Louis, Missouri. It was there that one of my pageant coaches (who is a very strong Christian) directed me to a book called The Secret by Rhonda Byrne, which goes in depth about the laws of attraction. 
While the book is not specifically for Christians, it really resonated with me and I directed its teachings towards God and my faith. Regardless of your beliefs, it’s worth reading. 
That book was a total game-changer for me, especially for my mindset. What you put out into the universe is exactly what you get back. 
The Secret also introduced me to the concept of writing gratitudes – thanking God for the blessings in life, even the things that haven’t happened yet. 
Scriptures and Devotionals
Every single day, I write down my “I am” goal statements. These are goals that I haven’t achieved yet, but I have faith and believe that if I stay true to the daily tasks, then He will make it happen in His timing. 
I practice gratitude and thankfulness daily. The moment I wake up each morning, I put my feet on the ground and say, “Thank you, Jesus,” many, many times. 
Saying thank you is something that strengthens my faith because it reminds me that every single day is a gift.
I’ve also been reading devotionals and scriptures each day for a few years and letting the words guide my life. Two scripture readings that speak to me in particular are Jesus Always and Jesus Calling. I’ve been reading these for about three years now, over and over again. 
After years of reading them, there are a lot of highlighted sections. When I come across a passage that I read a year ago, I like to look at what I highlighted. Every month of every year, we can be in a different season of our life, and as a result we can interpret a devotional so much differently from one year to the next.
Another book that I love is 365 Devotions for Living Joyfully by Victoria York. It’s very helpful for everyday living. It has great examples that relate to everyday life and so I highly recommend getting this one too. 
Leaning in to Faith
While I was living in St Louis, I competed for Miss Missouri USA. When I decided to get serious about this pageant journey, I knew I needed something larger than myself to guide me spiritually. For me, that was my faith. 
When I leaned in, it really helped me understand that everything happens in the right timing. It doesn’t mean that it’s going to always happen when we want it to, but it will on His timing.
There were many years I felt devastated when I wasn’t winning, when my confidence would get knocked out, or when I would start to doubt myself and ask, ‘Is this actually for me? Should I keep going after this dream?’ 
Here is what I know: If you have a dream on your heart right now and you’re wondering how in the world you can achieve it, lean in to your faith and believe. 
All things are possible if you believe. – Mark 9:23
A lot of times God puts you in certain positions because He knows that you’re capable of doing it. It may be really uncomfortable, but that is how you have your breakthrough. That is how you learn, how you grow, and how you get through tough times.
I started leaning on my faith more than ever because I heard this voice say, “You can do it. You’ve wanted to do sports reporting and learn about this industry for many years. Now let’s do it. I got you.” So every single morning I would highlight my scriptures, read my devotionals, and get to work. A lot of these scriptures would remind me to rest because God is in control.
I know He has the ultimate say, but you’ve still got to put in the work. When you do the work, God will bless your work. He gives you gifts for a reason and He wants to see you use them and to see you prosper. 
A Turning Point
When I moved to LA, it wasn’t only a very challenging time for my career, but also a courageous time for me. I stepped outside of my comfort zone. I also had a breakthrough moment with my faith.
I was introduced to a nondenominational church called Mosaic. My friend had heard about it and wanted to go see it live, so I said, “Let’s go.”
This place was like no church I’d ever been to. I kept thinking, ‘This is fun! Are you sure this is church?’ 
I was so energized. It was like I reconnected with God. In that moment, my faith instantly strengthened because for the first time ever in my life, I really understood the sermon. 
The pastor, Erwin McManus, is amazing. He truly engages the audience. He’s a phenomenal speaker and so he’s really intriguing to watch. Plus, his content is so relatable. It had me bawling by the end of the church service. I felt this moment of awakening where the words just dug into my soul.
I’ve been hooked ever since on the very contemporary, modern services.
Putting in the Work
No matter your religion, find something to believe in.
Find those spiritual leaders who will motivate and inspire you and help you get to that next level with your faith. That’s really what gets you through the week and puts you on the path to becoming your best self.
When I went back to Missouri from LA to compete one last time, I was so excited to compete. But it was also very uncomfortable. 
Still, I knew at that point I had done everything in my power that I could possibly do to win. And if it was meant to be, it was going to happen. 
And it did. 
Paying It Forward

When I got crowned Miss Missouri USA, I looked up and I said, ‘Thank you Jesus.’ At that moment, I knew what had taken place. It wasn’t my doing. He was blessing me with this title. Not for me, but for others so I can help them. 

I’ve been so fortunate to find my passion. I believe that happened because God guided me that way. By staying faithful and believing in Him, I trusted in his process. If I had given up, I probably would not have started my company Highlights ‘n Heels

Looking back, I know that is why He made me go through all those years of competing. Now I have the experience necessary to help women get through difficult times when they’re being told “No” over and over again. 

Remember, I got you. 

Be Unstoppable!

– Tori