For 27 years, Gail and her business partner (co-founders) owned and operated a Houston based paralegal education and training school. As a business woman and entrepreneur, she was challenged and proud of the role that her company (and graduates) played within the work force and legal community. But as many of us can relate, even with financial stability, reputation and good standing, finding and living one’s true destiny is often the most difficult of life’s challenges.
Change is scary, and sacrifices are routinely made for family, stability, security—all of this is natural to us, and often necessary. Gail comments, “but it’s the excessiveness and fears of every day life—not doing, having or being enough, the fear of failure and success plus all the busyness we let ourselves fall into that blocks us from believing and living out God’s dream and purpose for our lives.”
Gail’s own awakening came twelve years ago while browsing in a Christian book store. She caught sight of “Pathway to Purpose for Women: Connecting Your To-Do list, Your Passions, and God’s Purpose for Your Life.” It not only spoke to her, she said with conviction in her eyes, “it almost jumped off the shelf at me”, shouting its message of purpose loud and clear. Author Katie Brazelton, Ph.D. and Master of Divinity, a licensed minister, bestselling writer, coach and founder of Life Purpose Coaching Centers International®. Gail read the book, connected completely and had her own “Ah-ha” moment of clarity, vision and inspiration.
The spark was ignited, feeding off the years of “something missing” as an individual, in spite of the joy she had experienced with Walter, her children and her relationship with God. She contacted Katie, took her coach training and obtained her certification as a Professional Certified Life Coach in 2006 and more recently as a Life Coach Instructor. Finally in August 2014, having waited on God’s direction to move on, she sold her partnership interest in Center for Advanced Legal Studies and went forward with renewed passion and purpose. In time, she started her own coaching practice and ministry and called it HeartSong Life Coach. With this bold but exhilarating leap, firmly rooted within her faith, Gail began fulfilling a destiny that had been dormant and waiting to be resurrected.
As Gail began to chronicle her remarkable but challenging journey of faith for me, I scribbled notes feverishly striving for accuracy. I remember telling her, “This is great stuff!” But then I put down my pen. The more she talked, and the less I did (always a good rule for the interviewer) her heart revealed the ardent passion for her calling. Her words flowed naturally and honestly, and her eyes never looked away. I could sense the utter joy and unwavering commitment to her cause. I could only imagine the new found strength and life-changing influence she implants daily within her clients.
The background story for anyone is always a sum of its parts, those character building walking stones that guide our steps over troubled waters to the present. Gail sent me an email the day after we met and filled in some blanks, with highly personal yet determinative and foundational disclosures to which she credits the progression to her present calling. Her follow up also more clearly highlighted the three key elements or “pillars” of her coaching platform.
She wrote, “I was thinking about what I might have overlooked in our discussion and what popped into my head is from the time I was in my mid-teens I began to wonder about my purpose in life—asking God, why am I here? What do you want me to do? What difference do I make? He knew all along these questions wouldn't leave me for some time—and when it was the right time, he showed me how I could help others discover their perfect answer as well.
Although I was active, a good student and well-liked in school, I had some difficult experiences with ‘mean girls’ whom I thought were my friends. Add to the mix some disharmony at home and a sensitive spirit and well … I took it all in and began believing and living the lie I’m not good enough. Ultimately, the lie cut so deep I succumbed to an eating disorder for several years to find my comfort. God did his work and healed me of this as I chose to break away from the old life and slowly begin living into the new one I'd received by his grace. Hence the first of HeartSong's foundational pillars. “You are good enough.”
Gail had firmly driven home the importance of this initial pillar in our meeting. Often the deepest, most troubling aspects of life, for the young and old, is a lack of self-assurance and self-respect, or the ever-deflating question of “am I good enough?” It leaves a person totally powerless and “stuck.” Equally bewildering is the “Who am I?” self-challenge of individuality and worth. Discovering and accepting one’s true identity paves the way to that “purposeful life” which we all strive to achieve.
Gail’s Christian training and proven methods not only guide her clients to finding identity, but by using scripture and prayer to enlighten them for guidance and inspiration, she reinforces God’s role and word into the equation. Armed with the power of “What does God say?” and aligning those truths with the client’s own perception of their identity can be hugely enlightening. Gail says that her clients are often “shocked by the gap” between their own testimony of purpose and identity and what God says to us all via scripture.
Gail continued with her testimony of faith and examination regarding her own self-discovery. “My thought-life, too, was like so many others ... negative, self-defeating but at least consistent! Many of my growing-up life experiences perpetuated those thoughts including my divorce. Again, at some point, I made the decision I was not going to think that way. But I knew if I did it the self-help way—on my own strength (by the way, I'd read every self-help book ever written) it wouldn't stick. It wasn't until I spent time in scripture and prayer that I realized the only way to kick the wrong-thinking habit was to learn the truth (God’s Word) and be intentional to rely on the Holy Spirit’s leading to live it out in my days. So guiding others to overcome wrong thinking and reset their minds is a big part of what I do. This helps them refute the shame and condemnation they feel (and often get trapped by) and replaces it with the knowledge that we are loved—no matter what.” This is the second pillar.
By “breaking though”, “getting unstuck” and “tearing down the barriers”, her clients experience a “freeing” that allows them to accept the identity that God in turn helps them discover. It is a powerful union … “the awareness of God’s love” and discovering the “truth of one’s identity.” Gail fuels this life-changing revelation for her clients “not as a dream” but as a “training ground, with choices made, lessons learned and applied—all in God’s timing.” She champions celebration of freedom, focusing on uniqueness and individuality, and helping her clients formulate their personal road map for the journey forward. I loved the way she described their enlightening transformation: “casting their dream, claiming their purpose.”
Gail then shed more light on her personal discovery with a focus on the third pillar. “God has a purpose and plan for our lives. Knowing and believing this has been the longing of my heart forever and several years ago the Lord revealed the truth of it for my life. But before I could share this message with others, he had to build my character to better reflect Christ in so many ways.”
One clear distinction that Gail made, as I was gravitating to a mistaken conclusion that her role was also to serve as a therapist, lifting up and rescuing fragile and damaged women in need. “I am not a counselor,” she clarified. Paramount to her success is a declaration from the client that “they must want change.” While her clients may have had to heal from life-damaging experiences of all sorts, HeartSong is about moving them forward to “live their most fulfilling life as a child of God.” She does that by “recognizing past trials and circumstances and then bringing everything home to the practical with biblical truth” that resonates to our everyday lives.
Gail wrote further in her email, “Now, God has taken my experiences and has created something new in me and for me. And it's my charge—my purpose—my HeartSong to help others do the same.”
As much as Gail coaches and teaches—with heavy doses of proper life choices, purpose, hope, priorities—“all in God’s light and love”, perhaps the most inspiring statement she made at our meeting actually kept me awake too late that night— but in a good way. It was an insomnia activated by respect, inspiration and even a bit of self-reflection, remembering how vividly she expressed her personal HeartSong to me, and thus I more fully understood the meaning and spirt of her calling. We all know that she sings beautifully, and her music ministry and talents are meant to “influence and encourage” us closer to Christ. It’s one way she lives out her HeartSong, which she defines as “God’s inspired dream and uniquely designed just-for-us purpose to be lived and shared.”
She then smiled with an effectual pause, and I felt the power of her life-long journey of discovery and trial, having found sanctuary in her present state of peace and purpose. She said, “The only source is God. The only pathway is Christ. God wrote a dream on each of our hearts and gave us a unique purpose. We are meant to live them for our good, for the benefit of others, and for his glory.”
Gail is publishing a book entitled, “Your HeartSong Journey.” It’s a workbook and guide designed to help believers live their most fulfilling and influential lives. Step-by-step she walks you through the topics of identity and sacred worth, breaking free and building character, casting your dream and claiming your purpose, and creating a simple action plan to move you forward. It’s her hope the book will be released before the end of the year.
To contact Gail for more information about her coaching or speaking ministry email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 713-857-9167.
Yours truly in Faith,