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"The Bench" by Joel Elston

"Today I am blessed with abundance. The events of my pasts, even the ones that seemed so devastating 'The Bench' by Joel Elstonat the time, are bricks in my foundation. I am stronger physically, mentally and spiritually than I ever could have imagined. I have been blessed with so much, including the privilege of knowing some of the most incredible people to walk the planet. I would not trade my life with anyone, which is an incredible contrast to 1995, when I would have traded with ANYONE!

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"Several years ago life seemed to be over, I lost everything. I seriously considered putting a permanent end to the pain. I was sitting on “the bench” on Anna Maria Island and made a decision that I would stop being a victim of life and turn things around. It took a lot of energy and a lot of faith, and when it seemed too hard to continue, I prayed for the strength to keep going. God answered my prayers and allowed me enough energy to get through the difficult days. Eventually, I became stronger, and even more grateful.

"The spiritual journey has been amazing. The discovery of what I feel are the secrets of life have been worth the journey. In fact, I am so glad it ALL happened. I am writing this in hopes that someone who may be on the edge and doesn’t think there is any hope will read this. If I would have put an end to the pain many years ago, I never would have experienced the most incredible, exciting and fulfilling life one could imagine. I am not even close to done, I dare you to doubt me! Never give up and never forget that God does not call the qualified, he simply qualifies the called! I am so thankful I stuck around to complete the qualifying process!"

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