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jackie aviles

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Adjusting the Sails

I'm Jackie!

Through the years, It has been my joy to write words that have captured the essence of hope in suffering. That have encouraged countless people to boldly face their seasons of struggle.


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“If you have ever been at sea in a storm, and noticed how unconcerned about it the weather-beaten sailors have been, you must have realized that it was because they had been hardened in many a tempest that they could so calmly go on with their duties while you and other landsmen were in dread of sinking, or longing for the end of the voyage. Storms help to make the sailors sturdy, and trials help to make Christians strong in faith and in every other grace. . . . The more the wind blows, the firmer the oak’s roots grip the soil”


It had been such an emotional week for my family and I. We had reached a new level of sorrow and helplessness. I remember, at one point, sitting on the edge of my sister’s bed. We looked up to God and cried many tears and prayed for mercy, for healing, yet also for the strength to understand a possible no.

I cried myself to sleep that night and the tears just wouldn’t stop, leading into the next morning of Aug 29, 2016.

Again, the entire morning I couldn’t hold back tears as much as I tried.

I felt as if my boat was sinking, being overtaken by the winds of the storm in my life. The load was heavy… and no lighthouse was to be found.

 Little did I know, I just needed to adjust the sails.

It’s 12:45 and I’m laying in the hospital bed.

I can hear the soft nervous giggles from my mother-in -law, trying to keep her voice down in the doctor’s office as she calls her friends to let them know she is with me and about to receive the news, and needed prayer.

Next to me, with frowned eyebrows and a serious look on his face sits my husband. Very serious.

I can tell he just wants to know the news. Good or bad, the unknown is killing him. He continues to be strong and try not to get impatient as he tries to control his foot and keep it from tapping on the floor.

Then, theres me. I’m nervous. My heart is pounding. My palms are sweating from being anxious, yet my body is shivering from the room being cold. The morning was tough and I was clinging onto hope.

The door was cracked which was complete torture for me simply because of the fact that every time I would see the shadows of shoes walking pass I would instantly think that someone would come in. It was a huge teaser.

We don’t know what to think at this point. The room is filled with tension.

After an hour, the wait is over.

“ Excellent news” are the first words we hear the PA say as she enters the room.

All of us kind of look at eachother and our guards are instantly brought down, as a little amount of relief comes over us.

“I’m guessing the cancer stopped spreading right?” asks Emilio, “The rib is clear of cancer?”

Looking down at the report she replies, “Oh yes.”

It’s clear.. The cancer stopped spreading.

Then, we hear the PA whisper in disbelief, “This is amazing.”

Placing her glasses on her face,she continues to read the report.

She begins, “You have no cancer at all in your hip anymore,as well.”

Everyone at this point is smiling, yet still very quiet. I remember thinking, Wow! A double portion of blessing. Thank you God!

“All of your internal organs are remarkable.” she continues, “Not to mention the fact that your heart is better than when you first started chemotherapy.”

Looking at each other in awe and speechless, Emilio grabs both his mom’s hands and mine and squeezes tightly!

Turning the page of the report, she continues, kind of mumbling very quickly, but still understandable.

“No cancer in lymph nodes… “None in your breast” she continues by running through the pages of the doctors report.

Our hearts filled with joy; you can tell, as the wrinkling of our faces begins . Tears are flowing at this point.

“What does this mean?” asks Emilio again. “Like her tumors are gone? Can you explain?

“I mean you had breast cancer tumors, and your lymph nodes were covered in calcifications and that is all gone.The cancer cells that metastasized (spread) to your hip and unfortunately were not receptive to your current chemo somehow are all gone as well.

And the mass located on your hip which was the entire reason we sent you to a pet scan, somehow dissipated before you even took the pet scan because we have no trace of it at all on this report. It’s as if it was never there.

Her eyes filled with tears, as she too was a cancer survivor and she smiled and said, “Jackie there is no cancer in your body at this time. Not one cell indicating you have cancer.” 

This moment was unbelievable. We couldn’t believe it and were a little shocked.. We went in thinking we were going to hear news about my rib, yet received the news we had been separately praying and waiting for! Everything happened so fast!!

“I’m cancer free!?”

The emotions didn’t take long to sweep over everyone in that room. I was healed and we knew the Great I AM did it!

Suddenly, the ARMS of my husband tackled me in a joyful hug! Not letting go of each other, we both cried tears of relief and victory, as my mother in law began to contact family! This deep sorrow was gone almost instantaneously!

A weight had been lifted off! “My boat wasn’t so heavy anymore and began to float again.”

Just two weeks ago, we had a pet scan indicating the cancer spread again. I surrendered my will for God’s will and prepared for whatever He had coming just the day before.

And then, just the next day, here we are, receiving the news that I’m cancer free! WHAT THE WHAT?!

It was as if God was saying, “My daughter all I wanted was for you to be ok and obedient to my will. To trust me. Even if it meant a no… and you did. And now I have given you the yes you have been praying for!”

Minutes of celebration went by, nurses bombarded the room, and in came the doctor right behind them.

She repeated those famous words.

“Torture works! Congratulations! Now, go tell everyone you know!”

And that’s exactly what we did!



The drive seemed like forever as we drove to my mom’s house.

I was about to tell her that her prayer for her “ baby girl” had been answered!

Finally arriving, I leap out of the car, and begin knocking on the door with eagerness as I shout “Open the door!”

It was as if time could not pass fast enough.

The combination of so many emotions at that moment led me to yank the door, not noticing it was unlocked the entire time! (definitely a Jackie moment lol)

As I entered her house, my mom ran to me with a huge smile on her face awaiting the news. We embraced and I whispered in her ear, “It’s gone. My cancer is gone, Ma.”

At that very moment, we reversed roles.

Her strength for me turned to weakness as she leaned against me putting all of her weight on me, and my weakness turned to strength as I held her up.

The moment was overwhelming. Several minutes passed as we both sobbed.

As I held her, I tried my hardest to make out what her lips were trying to tell me through her tears, yet I very quickly realized her conversation was not with me but with God. through the release of her tears I heard the constant broken words, “Thank you, Jesus!…glory, honor and praise to You!”

It was as if she released the pain in her heart right up to God!

Joy took the forefront!

Wiping my tears, I remembered my sister didn’t know yet! “She must still be teaching?” I asked, as I constantly tried calling her phone and texting her not to mention stalking the school she works at to get a hold of her!

And a sweet memory came to my mind.

In the beginning of my diagnosis, a sweet girl named Anna was sitting in her classroom preparing for a test. And my sister, Mrs Pecina, let everyone know it was time to clear the desks and get ready. Anna kind of sighed, which I don’t blame her for. (“I mean who likes taking tests anyways right? )

As she sighed, she wiped her forehead with the back of her hand. Instantly my sister noticed, something strange written on her wrist.

“Anna what is that.?”

Anna replied, “You know it’s just the Jackie strong logo.”

“Did you write that on your wrist?”

“Yes ,I did Mrs Pecina. I wanted to remind myself that everytime I saw it to pray for her.”I want you to know Mrs Pecina your sister Jackie has an army praying for her.”

Mrs Pecina replied, “Yes, Sweetheart. She does.”

Anna replied, “No, I don’t think you understand. She’s got an army right here right now.”

At that very moment, every student in the classroom lifted their hands up to the sky to reveal #jackiestrong on their wrists.

Remembering that, I called once again.

Ring ring ring… (Oh sister pick up. )

Ring ring….

“HELLO.”

Finally, she had answered the phone

I couldn’t contain myself and shouted,”From stage IV to gone! No cancer cells are found in my body!!”

At that very moment, she was speechless, yet all that filled my ears were the very same students but now in the background lifted their hands once more but this time gave shouts of praises!!!

Very emotional, she managed to get the words out, “I love you so much.”

“I love you too, Sis. I’ll see you soon!”

Arriving at my sister’s house that afternoon was amazing. We celebrated over chicken soup, homemade biscuits and songs of praise as my brother-in-law led us in worship right in the their living room!

Smiles and joyful tears filled the atmosphere, but most importantly the praises and thankfulness of our hearts would not stop exalting our God!

Later that night, there was an indescribable peace and stillness in our home. Tired from such a long day and having been drained emotionally from the news, our boys were the last ones that needed to know.

“Leo, Eli, time to pray.” I reminded them.

“Mommy has something to tell you. Do you know how mommy has been sick, and how I have to take a lot of medicines?

“Yes,” Leo responded. That’s why your hair fell off?”

“Yes and you see Momma’s boo boo here?” I said, showing him and Eli the scar I have from my my port.

“Yes, does it still hurt, Mommy?”

“A little, sometimes,” I replied.

“We always pray for it to get better,” said Leo.

“Well, yes and today our prayer is just slightly different. Leo, Jesus healed mommy. Mommy is all better. Mommy is not sick anymore!”

Trying to compute, he answered, “You’re better?”

“Yes. Jesus answered your prayer, Baby.”

Little cheers from Leo filled the room as he jumped on his bed with excitement. Instantly, tight hugs as his little arms wrapped around my neck!

As for Eli, he kind of just followed his brothers lead. .. He had no clue what was going on, but he for sure didn’t miss out on the excitement!! LOL

Such a sweet moment.

That moment, we prayed and praised and thanked God for his healing power and perfect plan!

Emilio and I slept better than we had slept in so many months!

The sleep of a believer will be sweet and peaceful because he knows the Lord is with him.(Proverbs 3:24)

Jesus Calms a Storm

22One day he got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” So they set out, 23and as they sailed he fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water and were in danger. 24And they went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves, and they ceased, and there was a calm. 25He said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were afraid, and they marveled, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?”

Jesus’s words were simply “Let us go to the other side.”

Yet, the windstorms came and instantly the disciples began to BELIEVE they were perishing. The boat was being flooded by water and began to sink. Fear instantly hit the hearts of the disciples to the point that they screamed for Jesus’ help. They woke Him up from a deep sleep.

So many times, in the windstorms of life, we focus on the boat as our basis to survival. Yet when the storm becomes unbearable to the human perspective, we search and search for a lighthouse, yet it is never found, causing us to add things to the weight of our boat.

We allow it to be flooded by fear and worry, sorrow, doubt and anxiety, to name a few.

Not noticing that our boat will begin to sink.

I tell you today, lighten your load.

Don’t remember Jesus when it’s too late. How different would our journey in life be if we stopped entertaining the windstorms and simply placed our eyes on Jesus who is sitting right there in the boat with us?

Faith in Christ is never misplaced. Where is our faith? As Jesus asked the disciples.

I challenge you to read this passage again. Let it remind you that His Word is our compass in this journey.

This is our God! The God I serve! He never said a storm wouldn’t come in my life. But he did promise to get me to the other side! And that is where my lighthouse is found. It is the simple picture of hope.

He came through for the disciples as he always does for us, as well. Standing up in his infinite power and authority over the oceans he calmed the storms with one word.

He can calm the storms of your life, as well.

There is still so much to this journey. But my storm was calmed. I’m still in the boat today, but encouraged that I’m now starting to see a bit of land.

It’s time to adjust my sails and go with the wind.

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