So you’ve heard of post traumatic stress disorder, but we’re gonna find out what post traumatic growth is today. Agape Garcia is going to tell her powerful story of childhood survival, defying all odds, and protecting her child from her abusive husband. She describes how she has risen above her trauma, learned to deal with those triggers, and helps others to be their incredible selves!
Be Your Incredible Self (BYIS) best describes Ms. Garcia’s tenacious attitude towards empowering others. Garcia, over the past 35 years has navigated through domestic violence, privacy, safety, vulnerability, and the mindset to endure personal adverse events in life. Her survival of a double attempted homicide while 8 months pregnant (by the father) and the desperation to survive became the catalyst to the foundation of BYIS while achieving an undisputed outlook of independence. During her journey to overcome, Garcia learned that extreme independence is a trauma driven response and a natural one which can be defeated through focused, self awareness and intentional control.
Through her own walk, harsh lessons brought on by extreme independence resulted in areas of her life being sabotaged repeatedly. Her personal journey of post traumatic growth has led Garcia to dedicating her life in developing transformational programs, various forms of coaching, certification courses and establishing a nonprofit to help real time victims. Her commitment is to provide lifelong transformational habits that can restore your powerful internal sense of control. One of her personal statements, ‘You don’t live anywhere but in your head’ is why some of her laser focus teachings are on aligning your mental and emotional belief system.
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Agape Garcia[00:00:00] Brian Winkler: Welcome to The Wounds of the Faithful podcast brought to you by DSW Ministries. Your host is singer, songwriter, speaker, and domestic violence advocate Diana Winkler. She is passionate about helping survivors in the church, heal from domestic violence and abuse and trauma. This podcast is not a substitute for professional counseling or qualified medical help. [00:00:26] Now, here is Diana. [00:00:28] Diana Winkler: Hey, everybody! How are you guys doing? Are you keeping cool? We’re trying to around here, but we do have a great show for you. No matter what the weather is outside. Hot, cold, rainy, dry. We are still here for you. [00:00:53] My guest today is Agape Garcia. [00:01:00] And today we’re gonna be talking about post traumatic growth. So you’ve heard of post traumatic stress disorder. We’re gonna find out what post traumatic growth is today. That’s a lot of words to speak in succession here. [00:01:22] I wanted to read some of her bio so we can learn a little bit more about her. [00:01:32] So here’s what she says. Be your incredible self B Y I S best describes Ms. Garcia’s tenacious attitude towards empowering others. [00:01:51] Over the past 35 years, she has navigated through domestic violence, privacy, [00:02:00] safety, vulnerability, and the mindset to endure personal adverse events in her life. Her survival of a double attempted homicide while eight months pregnant by the father and a desperation to survive became the catalyst to the foundation of B Y I S while achieving an undisputed outlook of independence. [00:02:36] During her journey to overcome Agape Garcia learned that extreme independence is a trauma driven response, and a natural one, which can be defeated through focused self-awareness and intentional control. [00:02:55] Agape Garcia believes in the need to feel [00:03:00] loved, wanted, and cared for is a part of life in all of us, [00:03:08] Living through emotional tugs of war and learning to apply a controlled, healthy mindset to overcome voids, shortcomings, and to break unhealthy cycles. That’s who she is today, versus the opposite of where she came from. Today, she prides herself on the meeting, the daily challenges of being vulnerable and safe at the same time, while empowering others, to be your incredible self. [00:03:46] She loves teaching her D Y I S formula of how to combine situational awareness with emotional intelligence. [00:03:58] To control your [00:04:00] triggers. That’s a little bit about her. [00:04:04] And I was just telling Brian that there has been more than one person on the show who has been pregnant [00:04:15] and who had a husband that was trying to murder her and her unborn child. We’re seeing a pattern here. And so it is a tragic beginning, but Agape is going to show us happy ending today. So [00:04:43] I hope you’ll enjoy this conversation that I had with Agape Garcia, [00:04:51] Please welcome Agape Garcia to the show. Thanks for coming on today. [00:05:00] [00:05:01] Agape Garcia: Thank you for having me. It’s an honor to be here. [00:05:05] Diana Winkler: I’ll have to say up front. I really love your name. Is there a story behind your name? [00:05:10] Agape Garcia: There’s always a story, right? [00:05:14] Diana Winkler: I always Agape cuz that’s the name of love, unconditional love, God’s love. [00:05:22] And so that’s an excellent name. [00:05:23] Agape Garcia: Thank you. Yeah, that’s actually why I chose it. I actually have a tattoo of it and everything because I believe that he instilled so much in me just as I was brought into the world. And there’s light, that’s given to us upon birth. And when you tap into it as a child, whether it’s by nature or by force, I guess either way, it’s still by nature. [00:05:47] You, understand that, there is a God and you are his, and you are covered and you can believe, and you can be everything that’s promised, covered, comforted, chastised, everything. [00:06:01] Diana Winkler: [00:06:00] That’s right! Now, we like to start out the show with getting to know you on a personal level, Tell us something fun about yourself, maybe some of your hobbies that you like. [00:06:15] Agape Garcia: Oh, okay. Something fun about myself. I really like to dance salsa meringue. I cannot Zumba because I just start dancing. It’s really hard. I can’t do 1, 2, 3. I just have to dance. So I have gotten in trouble several times. I don’t think I’m in. I don’t think I can go to anymore dojos that offers Zumba [00:06:35] Diana Winkler: Oh, that sounds like fun. And I think I read that you learned Spanish too. [00:06:43] Agape Garcia: Yes. I actually learned Spanish from the street. You know what you, don’t, there’s a saying that what you don’t learn at home, you’ll learn from the street anyways. Respect is that main thing by the way. But yes where I lived in order to survive and communicate, I needed to learn [00:07:00] Spanish. [00:07:00] And there was so many different dialects that I learned because of the variety and diversity of Spanish speaking households, such as, Dominican or Colombian or Puerto Rican, or it’s just so many different dialects that, you know, for the Spanish people that are listening. It’s a little bit of everything. [00:07:22] Diana Winkler: Being in Arizona, obviously we’re right next to Mexico. And so we, we get Spanish classes in the seventh grade. So I did learn some Spanish and in school. And then I was engaged to a Peruvian fellow in college. We didn’t get married by the way, but yeah, most of my Spanish came from trying to communicate with my boyfriend who didn’t speak very good English. [00:07:47] So I was motivated to study, you know what, I’m [00:07:52] here in, in Arizona, cuz we have a huge population here, so well that’s fun and yeah, you’re [00:08:00] right. Mexican Spanish is different than Peruvian Spanish. I found out the hard way. Oh, yes . So we’re gonna transition into into your early life set the scene for us here. What was your life like growing up? [00:08:19] Agape Garcia: Ooh. Okay. What was my life like growing up? It was toxic right away. I believe I have a gestational trauma to start with. I was told numerous times that I was. Mistake cuz supposedly my mother was on birth control, so I was not supposed to be here. And she, my mother and my father were married and when I was about two, she ran off with another man and left me and my baby sister in the environment that she ran from. [00:08:53] And shortly after that, my baby sister was diagnosed with cancer and years and years, [00:09:00] decades ago, that was something that was still, under research and being discovered and trying to, figure out how to defeat that. And so she passed away shortly after. [00:09:10] Diana Winkler: Oh, that’s terrible. [00:09:12] Agape Garcia: Yeah. So as you can imagine, I was immediately a recipient of every void possible. That a child could have overnight. And of course, back then I had no idea I was innocent and I even didn’t know anything. Life was just whatever I had to make it. And what I mean by that is, my dad and his trauma driven response he checked out, that was his way of dealing with it. [00:09:37] So when I say checked out, like he worked third shift and slept all day. His life was when, I was awake and, or I’m sorry, his life was when I was asleep and my life was when he was asleep. So there was zero interaction. I don’t wanna say zero. There was minimal interaction. Definitely. [00:09:58] No connection. And so at [00:10:00] a very young age and back then, walking a mile to school in for kindergarten at the age of kindergarten, that was something that, was allowable where they had crossing guards at the streets and stuff like that. So that I was just another one of those children that was, walking to school. [00:10:16] I probably was one of the youngest though. But anyways, I realized that there was a way for me to, not go home. And what I mean by that is. After school activities, anything that they had to offer, I was signing up for. Also at the recreation park, there was other, opportunities in the city that allowed to, for free sign up for these classes. [00:10:37] And so I did that too. And ironically the cemetery where my sister was buried was actually closer to my school than where I lived. I spent a lot of time there on nice days and did homework right there on the plot. A couple times I, Was locked in, but it’s not like I drove, I just jumped a fence. [00:10:56] I figured out what to do to, I guess [00:11:00] fulfill or try to fill those voids. I found different things to, entertain myself or to survive, again, with my dad working third shift and sleeping all day, food was a serious scarcity. And I remember like fourth and fifth grade, I was already mowing lawns, washing cars, pulling weeds, cleaning houses, watching, a kid or a baby while, the parent was doing something in the house or running an errand or whatever. [00:11:24] And I would take that money and go to a grocery store, I didn’t know how to make much, bread and but, easy things was what I knew. So that’s, I was, just already fending for myself at a very young age. And there was some abuse in my upbringing, of course. Naturally again, it’s, an environment that my mother left and for reasons. [00:11:47] So I experienced a lot of those. DCFS was at my house almost every year. I did have a couple of aunts that, probably felt guilty and took care of some things for me, but they were also young and [00:12:00] eventually they moved on with their lives and, it was a in and out type of thing. [00:12:04] Supported at the most critical times, I would have to say. So fast forwarding a little bit to teenage years because violence is what I knew and what I’ve been a recipient of, for so long. That’s what was normal. I grew up in the neighborhood where it was like that I was a street fighter, myself fighting boys and girls. [00:12:25] I didn’t care. I was a tom boy. And I was by myself. So I had to figure things out. And by that time I was in high school. And in that violent relationship, I felt like an adult, there was nothing you could tell me. I already know how to, feed myself. I already know how to make money. [00:12:40] I already know the streets well enough to get around. So I dropped out as a sophomore. And two years later I was pregnant with my first child. It wasn’t until I had her that I knew that I was not going to give or allow the same environment [00:13:00] that I was brought up in. I knew that I was going to break the cycle of, a checked out dad and a, absent mother that was definitely not gonna happen. [00:13:09] And, I would have to say also a big chunk that I didn’t cover is, while I’m ripping and running the streets, all this, adolescent life, there were so many Puerto Rican families that took me in and, taught me how to cook and introduced me to their culture and had me a part of their family at their events, at their picnics, at their, every single thing. There’s something to do every weekend, every day, with the big Puerto Rican family so, I had several friends that had huge families and, to me that was the Lord restoring, me tenfold from the mother that left and abandoned. [00:13:44] I, was blessed with so many, that I still have to this day that I still call my mommy and we love each other. And it’s been, gosh, 35 plus years that we’ve been in each other’s lives. So I’m just so thankful that I had those strong [00:14:00] women in my life to teach me: How to watch my back, what type of behaviors to look for, [00:14:04] how not to carry yourself, how to understand what the respect is that you need to carry and give out there to not be a target. To not have, to watch your back, to make sure that, there’s a understanding right off the bat. And one of those things is, always look at somebody in their eyes. [00:14:19] Don’t ever look at the ground. Don’t always say hello and acknowledge. That’s the first deterrent. As long as you’re looking at something in their eyes, they know you have seen them. Yes. So anyways, when I had my My baby that everything changed. I had a zero tolerance. I was breaking all chains, cold Turkey didn’t matter to me. [00:14:36] It was about doing the right thing for my daughter. And I would have to say about three months later, I realized that her dad was also checked out. He was at that time deciding to turn to the streets at that time, deciding to be selfish and all about himself, he did not go to the first appointments. [00:14:54] There was a lot of things that, I saw right away and I packed my stuff and I [00:15:00] took her with me and we ended up going to, a basement that had only cement floor and brick walls, but I made a cute little studio , out of that with space heaters and, there was a bathroom. [00:15:12] And so we just made it happen. And I’m not saying that it was drama free. There were times where he would show up and be, aggressive. He tried to kidnap her. I chased the car and threw myself on the hood of the car to, try to stop him. And, just there, there was a lot of stuff that I dealt with and ironically, and I hate to say, but I will, thankfully he got himself into some trouble on the street and ended up leaving the state. [00:15:36] So I was then drama free from him and able to raise my daughter, pretty much the way that I needed to which allowed me to go back to school to get my G E D and start looking for a real job. And, the unfortunate part is that, because I didn’t have a mother, I really didn’t have the I don’t wanna say trust cuz that’s not it. [00:15:55] I trusted everybody that I knew loved me. But I didn’t have a place where I could [00:16:00] say, okay, this is where I’m gonna take my daughter. And I’m like 100% okay with that. The mother in-law actually ended up really manipulating me. And I think while I was just saying that’s a part of the manipulation that still resides within, because her whole mantra to me was because you didn’t have a mother, you don’t know how to be one only me that’s the grandmother will understand this baby and my granddaughter more than anybody in the world, I’ve already raised five kids. [00:16:27] And this is my first granddaughter and I just have so much experience and I know everything that there is to know. And I’m believing her. [00:16:34] Diana Winkler: And she’s right to a point, you’re still the mother. [00:16:37] Agape Garcia: Yeah. It was pretty severe. I’ll say that I had to call the police at times to get my daughter back. I will say that there was times I would show up and, as soon as I pulled up, all the sudden the lights were out and the shades were closed. And, my daughter shared with me that, she would hear my whistle, but the grandmother would tell her that’s the gang bangers outside. [00:16:59] [00:17:00] And she would be in a room with the TV really loud. And the door closed. Like my daughter has these vivid, recollections, like she knows. And we’ve talked about it, we’ve worked through it. So there, even though he wasn’t around, and she was so called helping me and my daughter. It was a bit Brainwashing, times. [00:17:18] And I ended up moving out of the hood and moving into a place that was right across the street from a school. At this time, I was already in college working towards my bachelor’s. The last day of G E D. I applied for my associates and then found a program that just allows you to take what you’ve already done and roll it into a direct bachelor’s program. [00:17:44] So that’s what I did. I was in my early twenties and you couldn’t tell me that I didn’t have my stuff together. I had already accepted, that my mother had left. That I was blessed with so many. That I had healthy relationships with the families that took me in. That we had events and kid time all the [00:18:00] time. [00:18:00] My job was around the corner. I had a perfect support system. It was like, I was on top of the world. You couldn’t tell me anything. And I ended up meeting this guy and thinking that because I had my stuff together, that they had their stuff together and back then 25 years ago, you’re not really the things that were available to do your background checks. [00:18:23] We’re not available back then. [00:18:24] Diana Winkler: You couldn’t just Google somebody then. [00:18:26] Agape Garcia: No, and I, and you weren’t even thinking about it either, it wasn’t even a thought. It was just, pay attention, make sure you meet the family, make sure you meet friends, make sure, you go places and just have situational awareness and see how people react, respond this. You learn from the streets, what you’re supposed to do to see who you’re dealing with. [00:18:42] And those things don’t ever leave. I did all that, and I met everybody. I was comfortable, so things progressed and I ended up pregnant. Everything that I was planning for kind of shifted and changed. So not far after we learned that we were pregnant, he was offered a [00:19:00] position across the other side of the country. [00:19:02] And so the offer to move was available. Getting out of the hood, one of the success stories is being able to leave and go somewhere and, change your life. That’s like a success story in itself. So it didn’t take a long time for me to answer, and so he went first and there was a few months that went by because, I had to voluntarily leave my job and make sure that my child, that I did it, at a time where it was like during a spring vacation. [00:19:29] So not a lot of time was if at all, if I could avoid any time, days being missed of school would just be easy transition. I had to also consider my, semester that I was in, in school. Just very logical thinking and preparing. So I ended up driving cross country when I was seven months pregnant. [00:19:44] And it was three weeks later when our personal belongings arrived. And I was so excited because this was finally like my nesting time. I was able to, get my stuff settled and figure out, what I need for the baby and get to [00:20:00] nesting and preparing. So while I’m putting stuff away and finding things space for all that stuff I came across the belongings of another woman. [00:20:09] Diana Winkler: Uh, Oh., [00:20:10] Agape Garcia: Yeah, so I started, my heart started pounding really fast. My mind was going fairly crazy and I didn’t want to snap. I knew that I didn’t wanna snap, I wanted to try to go back and remember if he said he had any family visiting or if he had guests over or maybe this was just, I didn’t want to think the worst, but of course it was just, very taunting all day long. [00:20:34] So I tried to, come up with a plan as to how, and when I was going to approach the subject and I could not wait, I had to, hurry up and get my daughter to bed, feed her cleaned house, fix everything up, get her to bed so I could have this conversation. And so I did exactly that. It was about 10 30, about 10, somewhere around there at night. [00:20:56] And I said, we need to have a conversation. I found remnants of another [00:21:00] woman. I wanna know, what is this about? Cause I left everything and I didn’t have to, I could stay home. . And so I was accused of going through his belongings and I repeated myself, I said, maybe you didn’t hear what I said, I said, I was putting my stuff away. [00:21:14] And I came across this, and before I could even finish the sentence, I was already on the floor. He was on top of my stomach, my eight month stomach at the time. And with his left hand, he had it around my throat and his right hand was closed and he was closed fist punching me with his right hand. [00:21:35] And, I’m scuffling on the ground to as much as I can recall what woke me up or what really resonated was when I heard my daughter’s voice at the top of the stairs, just in a scared tone that I don’t think I’ve ever heard in my life. Where she was, mom, and when that voice registered into my brain, I felt this [00:22:00] heat and this gush and this crazy force come over me. [00:22:04] And it was the feeling of adrenaline that was at the time, the only thing that was gonna save my life and save my daughter and save my unborn child. And I slammed my feet on the ground. I thrusted my hips to the ceiling while I used my neck as a kickstand. I don’t know how the heck I jumped up on my feet. [00:22:23] I grabbed my baby at the bottom of the stairs and I ran the heck out the house just like that. Wow. Yeah. And I ran to the neighbor’s house. They had their lights on. I rang the bell pounded on the door, asked if I could use their phone, called the police. I just, I remember just bawling and bawling. [00:22:41] I couldn’t believe this was my reality at this time. Like I have nothing, I have no family, no friends I’m foreign to the place. The only thing I knew is the school and the doctors and the things that I was able to do in three weeks to start settling in and having, some sort of smooth transition and understanding, my new surroundings and. [00:22:58] I just didn’t think that [00:23:00] I was gonna be able to have my baby and, what was I gonna do and how was I gonna make it and where was I gonna go? I have absolutely nothing. The money that I had saved got me to where I, got me there and I left the job voluntarily. So there’s no unemployment. [00:23:13] So I was like, oh my God, what am I gonna do? And, after the police showed up and took their pictures, and took him away, I knew that I had to go back home. I put my daughter to sleep. I barricaded the door with every piece of furniture I could possibly push on my own. [00:23:28] I had a fun, little escape route, for her, we talked about it that night. And I didn’t sleep at all. I did so much research on what are the state laws? What should I expect? What do I need to do? And I’m thinking like I have to go to the emergency room. [00:23:41] Who’s gonna take care of my baby when, if I don’t get out in time, how am I gonna work this out? Like an, a super efficient schedule. I have to drop her off at school. And then I could go check in and I shouldn’t be there more than four hours and I can pick her up from school. [00:23:52] And then if she could stay at the pool with, the neighbors, then I can, pack my stuff and put it in storage, whatever I could carry. And it was just [00:24:00] nonstop. I had 47 days until my due date. I begged the doctors to push it up. My child could get out of my stressful body and I was successful in bumping that 47 days out to 37 days out. [00:24:13] So now I had 37 days to figure out what the heck was I gonna do with my life and how am I gonna provide and protect? And, I would say that the first day I prayed and cried all day long. Why, how, what, it was just this whirl whim of such confusion and devastation, and it was just unbelievable. [00:24:31] And, the next day my prayers turned into, thankfulness, if I felt as if I was being touched as if I was being tested. I was being, given a percentage, a small percentage, a teeny tiny speck of, the pain that, that our Lord suffered that, that he had to endure, that he had to go through the beatings and the brutality and the, violence, and I just, it just shifted to thank you. [00:24:55] And. Please. Now give me the strength that I need. My kids are everything to [00:25:00] me and you’ve blessed me with them. And I’m this woman and this mother, because of, the life that you gave to me. Because I was able to do it for eight years with my daughter by myself. [00:25:08] And because I was able to take care of me, as a child, I slowly began to realize that, I can do this, I can do it. And if all I need to do is protect and provide, then that’s my laser focus. That’s all I’m going to focus on is to protect and provide. [00:25:24] And I’ll have to say that, real time resources for real time, victims is a real time problem. It’s not Real time as people think it is. There’s a line that you have to wait in. There’s a list that you’re gonna be put on. There’s referral numbers after referral numbers, that you’re gonna be given. [00:25:42] It took me, 1006 calls. It took me, 428 days, to to find real time resources . And so I just have to say that, the trauma that I endured as a child before I had my kids [00:26:00] was the strength that I needed in order to protect and provide for my kids. And even though it was a struggle, every single day, I stayed laser focused on protecting and providing and seeking out resources. [00:26:12] I stood in line. I was a high risk. I couldn’t go anywhere. I couldn’t leave. I couldn’t go back home. I was ashamed. I was embarrassed. I wasn’t gonna tell anybody anyways. I had to figure it out for myself, and I was in line for food stamps. I was in line for financial aid. I was in line for WIC. [00:26:26] I was in line for Medicare. I was in line Medicaid. I was in line for anything that I could. Get help from, shelter was not something available real time. Again, the other list that I provided that I was in line for that’s, takes time for those applications. It takes time for those interviews. [00:26:44] It takes time for all that. So while I have absolutely nothing coming in, I’m trying to be as resourceful as possible. I had my lights cut off. I had, my car conk out and no ability to pay for gas. I was walking at that point to places. You don’t see [00:27:00] anybody walking when it’s extremely hot in the middle of the summer. [00:27:03] But there’s my pregnant butt was walking around. So it was definitely a journey that, I stayed on until my kids were deemed adults. And I can tell you that it took until my daughter was in her twenties and ready to move out for her to tell me that as much as I was a provider and protector I neglected to be emotional. [00:27:27] I neglected to be emotionally available. And that was a really hard nugget to swallow. I was like, yeah, what are you kidding me? That’s what do you mean? What? I love you so much. This is all I did. She’s yeah, I know you were there for everything, but you weren’t there in that emotional sense. [00:27:44] I definitely. Had to take a look at that. And I really wanted to change that. And that was shared, couple, few years ago. And we went through some serious not counseling, but we went through some serious mentorships and classes and programs that actually [00:28:00] really transform your parts of your trauma and understand what emotional intelligence is, how to apply it and where to, what tools to use. [00:28:10] So you’re aware of yourself and I never stopped looking and searching and seeking out personal growth and people that can help teach me. Because when I was a kid, when I was a teenager, when I was going through all of that, when I was pregnant, that was all survival and desperation. I think it was brave. [00:28:31] I don’t know if it was courage. It was just, I had to do it. So I had to, brave is like jump off the highest diving board. And you’re like, okay! Courage is where it’s okay, I know that there are so many things that can happen and I need to just confront it and, be confident and just take action. [00:28:47] I did not have a choice. I was like, I had to be brave and just go. I didn’t even have time to go over my own emotions. I just wanted to keep my children [00:29:00] as far away from that trauma and drama and do what had to be done. So that was the focus. And since then I’m a certified high performance coach through the high performance coach Institute with Brenton Bachard. [00:29:13] I’ve taken many Tony Robbins classes. I’ve taken John Maxwell classes, I’ve taken emotional intelligence classes. I’ve gone through like abandonment workbooks and post-traumatic growth that I realized when I was reading and going through it that I’ve actually applied naturally when I was a kid. And I’m like, how do we become adults and lose what we had as kids? [00:29:43] How did I have so much strength and so much clarity on what to do as a kid? And now I’m like feeling so lost as an adult on where did that strength and where did that understanding and clarity go? And, sometimes it’s when [00:30:00] you’re so emotionally devastated, you just don’t know how to see beyond that or through that. [00:30:10] Diana Winkler: And you’re plain tired. [00:30:12] Agape Garcia: Oh yeah, definitely. [00:30:13] Diana Winkler: You’re so stinking tired and you’ve drained yourself just trying to survive eventually your body doesn’t wanna do it anymore. Yeah. Enough. [00:30:23] Agape Garcia: Exactly. And in saying all that Before my kids were, adults. I didn’t, I also didn’t have, the financial backing. When I say sole provider, that’s what, I’m dead serious, no child support, no nothing. [00:30:37] And and so everything just was, I had to figure it out for myself. I had to be my own advocate. I had to look at myself in the mirror. I had to have the pep talks with myself. I had to check how my inner critic was talking to myself because, when you look in the mirror and you say things, whether they’re positive or negative, those are the affirmations and the affirmations [00:31:00] become, the definition of affirmation is that it’s, basically it’s a fact, it. [00:31:05] Deemed to be the truth. And so if that’s how you’re talking to yourself and that’s becoming your belief system, your actions follow what you believe. So you’ll stay in this vicious cycle of negativity and, constantly holding yourself back and down. And, I, that’s where I come in and I apply, or I bring now I bring this wealth of, 35, 45 years of, trauma driven wisdom of, things that work, things that didn’t work as, a person as a woman, as a mother, with the children, with, being able to move on with, how to trust yourself before you even try to venture out anywhere else, and I just, I really talk about how to apply situational awareness with emotional intelligence. So you control your, so you can control your triggers. It’s better to respond than to react. Yes. And that’s where your power [00:32:00] lies. Your power lies right at that moment. As soon as you feel yourself being triggered, your power lies right at that moment, how you’re gonna respond, that’ll dictate your outcome. [00:32:10] Diana Winkler: Your story is so powerful. There’s so much to unpack with your story, but of course we can see a whole lot of stuff, 20/ 20 hindsight, as they say. And it just inspires me that you, even in the beginning, even when you were a kid that you were going out there mowing lawns and trying to earn money the honest way, whereas other people in your situation, would’ve maybe they would’ve chosen to steal or. [00:32:45] Sex working or those sorts of things. But you are just so tenacious in working towards that goal that you have. I am gonna survive. I am gonna get outta this neighborhood. I am gonna take care of my [00:33:00] kids and provide for them. It is so amazing. You are courageous and brave. [00:33:06] There’s no doubt about it. And I like what you said about, I can relate to what you said about your Puerto Rican friends, the family that you got adopted into. I did a mission strip in Puerto Rico, so I have some Puerto Rico friends and it is so true. They will just take you in, into their family. [00:33:30] They would just love you as their own and feed ya and yeah they’re awesome. I’ve definitely enjoyed those folks in my life too. And yeah, I was just telling my husband because he always asks me, who am I gonna have on the show? And I was mentioning to him because I’ve already knew about your story ahead of time. [00:33:55] You were like the third person on my show that had to deal with [00:34:00] the domestic violence trauma that you went through with being pregnant. And the father is trying to kill you. [00:34:07] Agape Garcia: Wow. [00:34:09] Diana Winkler: And it just floors me. Is this a common thing now, but yeah, I had Victoria Cuore on the show. She has a story the same way that she was pregnant with her child and the father was, in the military and he pretty much beat the living tar out of her. [00:34:30] And she’s had a hundred surgeries to repair the damage and all she was trying to do is survive to protect her child from his punches and his rage. And it’s just scary. And I’ve got, let’s see, Bridget Seavy was on the show and she had the same thing, her husband trying to kill her and her unborn child. [00:34:52] And then when the child was born. What’s wrong with people? But I tell people every day a bridge and roll can [00:35:00] save your life. And that’s exactly what you did. That’s what we call that when you lifted your hips up, and you did that roll over and used your head as a kickstand. [00:35:09] And I tell people to at least learn some basic self defense moves like that one, because that saved you and your children’s lives that day! It must have been really scary for you. Really scary to have to escape that. [00:35:25] Agape Garcia: Diana, I’ll tell you that absolutely. [00:35:29] And I’ll tell you that it caught up to me later on in life, I needed to have, neck surgery. I had three bulging, herniated discs, and I was not in a, in any sort of other traumatic incident in order for that surgery to, be needed. So it definitely caught up to me later in life. [00:35:47] And so did my hips. I only have two hips and I’ve already had three hip surgeries. Wow. And I know that it was from that night because I have not been in any other blunt full or like any sort of [00:36:00] blunt trauma at all. Other than that night. He was 180 pound, very muscular man. And I was pregnant. And so even though the Lord gave me the strength and that adrenaline that kicks in, you end up, this is that residual. [00:36:15] That residual trauma that comes after domestic violence and having to fight for yourself. Those body parts that were used are affected later. And I’m not sure about that woman that had to have the several surgeries, if it was from fighting or because of how much damage was done from him. [00:36:33] Diana Winkler: Definitely all him. [00:36:34] Agape Garcia: Oh, wow. [00:36:35] Diana Winkler: I’ll have to send you the link to her episode when I interviewed her. But obviously you’re a person of faith. You’ve talked about, praying and that He’s the one that protected you up to this point. Elaborate on your relationship with God through all this. [00:36:52] Were you ever angry with God at your lot in life? Or did you always have a good [00:37:00] relationship with God? What did that look like? [00:37:03] Agape Garcia: I think I will have to say, That’s a hard question to answer, because I know that I had my moments where I was questioning. And when I made decisions, based on me questioning, I paid a price. [00:37:19] And to me, that price was a lesson learned, which was, don’t doubt your faith. , you’re making decisions because you’re not being faithful. And those are hard lessons. And when you’re in that space and you’re being doubtful, Again, like I said, when your affirmations your actions take over what you’re believing in. [00:37:39] So there’s been several times I would have to say as a kid, my, my biggest beef was, why am I alone? I’m suffering. I go to sleep at night crying. I wake up to silence crying because there is nothing, not a bird, not a cat, not a dog, not a hamster, nothing. I wasn’t allowed to have anything. And I couldn’t have, [00:38:00] friends over .It wasn’t until I became rebellious at like sixth and seventh grade where I was like, you’re not even here, are you kidding? [00:38:06] I’m gonna start stealing the car and, whatever. But, there were so many nights that I cried and I don’t know if I was pleading in anger or pleading in such sorrow from just feeling so empty. And so at the time, I didn’t know abandoned, but that’s what I felt like, what animal leaves their [00:38:26] young? How could she leave? It was more about her, like my mother than I think it was, God. It was the anger was towards my mother. And then when I was at the cemetery so much, I felt so connected, so bonded, so loved. And even though she wasn’t there with me, it was like, I was still praying to the Lord, thank you for the cemetery being so close and that I have this place to go too. [00:38:49] And it was like, the Lord became both my parents. That’s where I, had all of that. And it was during my youngest years of life. And that just became my foundation, [00:39:00] and I visited every single church there was in the city. I’m telling you I went to every church. I was seeking him out to see what spoke to my spirit and, what did I feel? [00:39:09] I was dragged to the Lutheran church. I was dragged to the Catholic church. I was dragged to, and sometimes dragged sometimes, of course, willingly. And I checked out everywhere. And it wasn’t until my late twenties that I really found what spoke to me and what I really [00:39:25] believe that’s home. And regardless of trying to find where or who delivers, the word that you can really resonate with , it ends up totally being your one-on-one relationship. Exactly. And I’ve always, I’ve doubted I’ve been mad. Heck yeah. But I’ve always been so grateful and so thankful and wanting to give back and just continuously seeking and asking for the strength and the knowledge. [00:39:52] I know it. [00:39:54] Diana Winkler: You’re not alone with their sister. I think everybody listening has been through all that. Of [00:40:00] those days when you’re questioning everything and you’re mad at God, or, you’re blaming God or you’re not talking to God. And then there are days when you’re on the mountaintop. Thankful. [00:40:14] It’s a journey. It’s definitely a journey. [00:40:16] Agape Garcia: Oh yeah. And I say scream sometimes when you need to scream. Just tell me why! Yes, I know it’s for a reason. Just tell me, why! Send somebody to tell me why. I think after so much you start knowing what to ask for. like more be direct. [00:40:35] Diana Winkler: Yeah. Our church is going through the Bible as a church, reading through it together, and we’re in the major prophets. And if you’ve ever read their major prophets, they all had horrible lives of suffering and, God gave them a job to warn Israel of their sin and their doom and stuff. [00:40:53] And One thing I noticed about the prophets is they were not afraid to do what you just said, yelling at God [00:41:00] and questioning and asking, why did you give me this job? This isn’t fair. And there, there was the depression and the loneliness and they didn’t have Prozac back then. Yeah. They didn’t have a pill that could pop just to get through their day. It just didn’t exist. But yeah, we’ve all gone through that. Job, everybody knows who Job is. And God can handle our questions. God can handle it. He understands that we’re just flesh and bone. We’re not understanding what’s going on behind the scenes. [00:41:32] So I appreciate you sharing that part of your story. Cuz that’s one thing that I see a lot with abuse survivors is that they decide to leave their faith all together. And I think that’s a tragedy. It is a tragedy. [00:41:51] Agape Garcia: Yeah, definitely. [00:41:52] I’m like RA I’m like it’s time to come together because it’s been so many years that you know, that we’ve come together and made some real strong [00:42:00] movements. The last, most recent one is #Me Too. And it fizzed out and it’s like why? Why? Since COVID 19, resources have gone down, domestic violence has gone up, all the resources are going towards COVID 19. [00:42:13] And it’s and this crap is still happening. As if it’s still condoned and okayed and it’s not. And if more women that went through it are coming forward and wanna do something to protect our next generation and to leave a legacy behind like our aunts and our parents and our grandparents have done back in the fifties, sixties, seventies. Like now it’s the time we’re coming together. [00:42:34] We’re finding each other. It’s time, growth and resilience from your hardest, devastating times in life, a crisis, a traumatic event. You can be a blessing to so many. You can make such a difference. So true. It doesn’t have to be suppressed. Those days are over. The statistics, tell you one out of three women have been exposed or have gone through it at some point in our life. [00:42:57] You’re not alone. It’s just finding the [00:43:00] community to help you understand better coping skills to help you, get through it and make you realize that, Hey we’re just gonna, stick together and be that healthy, uplifting community. [00:43:10] Diana Winkler: That’s the whole reason why I started this podcast was the ladies in my small group that I lead called Mending the Soul. They needed more resources cuz they were in lockdown with their abusers! And okay, I’m in lockdown. What can I do? I can’t go out. I can’t do all these things. And. [00:43:29] Yeah, I know how to use zoom. I have a studio, I got a microphone. I like to talk. So this is my way of helping people is the podcast. Thanks for mentioning that. [00:43:42] Agape Garcia: Absolutely. One of the things that I can share with you is if it’s okay. I wanna, talk about a nonprofit? [00:43:49] Diana Winkler: Sure. [00:43:51] Agape Garcia: Okay. So I am just waiting for the 5 0 1 status. But the nonprofit that I’m putting together is to [00:44:00] help fill some of these gaps that I’m talking about as it relates to real time resources. I have a program ready to go in Nevada right now that if there is somebody that you know, is a parent and needs to relocate for safety, then you know, I have a donor that is willing to help them relocate. [00:44:18] Diana Winkler: Wow. [00:44:18] Agape Garcia: That’s our mission. And that’s without a dollar being donated by the way that I have a program ready to go. And so that’s the mission. And our vision is, right now, before I like say the vision, I just wanna share why or how I came up with it. Right now, [00:44:35] OSHA mandates a workplace violence policy to be in place. If you do your research, you’ll see that a lot of the 70% of workplace violence is actually domestic violence spill over. Yes. So why in the world does OSHA mandate a policy? When a policy is just like a piece of paper that you reference when a program would actually [00:45:00] provide mitigation practices and also provide response, like a real response team. And [00:45:07] it just seems so insane slightly that, you have EAP programs that offer, assistance for gambling addicts and porn addicts and, things like that. But when it comes to real time need for victims, and again, the statistics are one out of three. Why don’t we have a program in place to help the people? [00:45:29] So to provoke thought, when you’re on the clock, you are under the company’s liabilities. So if you’re in a hostile environment, a violent environment, what does the company have to offer? And so for me, and then as a manager or as a senior leadership or as somebody that is responsible for my employees, what can I do to offer something to them? [00:45:58] Knowing that [00:46:00] domestic violence is on the rise and is continuously, shooting up, how do I communicate that? Hey, if you’re dealing with, a hostile environment or domestic violence, here is some information, or here are some programs or, just something! Everything else is included, where that’s not! [00:46:15] And so our vision is to bring this to the attention of legislation to mandate that policy actually be converted into a program. [00:46:26] Diana Winkler: Yes, I would totally support that. [00:46:30] Agape Garcia: Yeah. So our mission is real time victims and relocating them for safety without having to leave all their stuff behind. [00:46:36] And the vision is to change that policy into a program. So again, providing real time resources. And the name of the nonprofit, you’re gonna laugh. I can’t believe it was available, is called confronting domestic violence. [00:46:52] Diana Winkler: oh, really? [00:46:54] Agape Garcia: Yes. [00:46:54] Diana Winkler: You got a domain name for that? I thought that would be taken. [00:46:57] Agape Garcia: Yeah, no, I have the domain name already and [00:47:00] everything. It’s going to be [00:47:00] Confronting-domestic-violence.org. But I’m in the pre-launch stage at the moment. Hopefully within the next 45 days, I will be able to launch. But yes, everything’s already secured. I’m just waiting for the 5 0 1 C three and that is it. [00:47:15] Diana Winkler: Oh, definitely. Let me know when that goes live so I can have that in my arsenal of resources. [00:47:22] So tell the folks about your B Y I S formula and how people can connect with you for help. [00:47:32] Agape Garcia: Thank you. B Y I S stands for be your incredible self. I think all of us would love to be the best version of ourselves and be your incredible self actually comes from, don’t laugh at me. [00:47:44] The Incredible She Hulk. The hulks are the only super heroes that I know of that don’t have super hero powers. They have super human powers. They’re triggered by their emotions. They become [00:48:00] strong and destructive or they retreat to prevent that monster from coming out. And the She Hulk is stronger and smarter than the Incredible Hulk. [00:48:11] And she’s been around since the eighties. Nobody’s heard of her since recently when they wanna come out with this new movie. [00:48:17] Diana Winkler: I think I’ve heard of her in general, but I didn’t know anything about her. Even a big Marvel fan. I have watched all the Marvel shows. [00:48:26] Agape Garcia: That’s crazy because I’m not a Marvel fan and I don’t have time for cartoons or to watch those things I never had. Until literally a year and a half ago or two years ago when I started, it just came to me overnight. Again, I was praying for something. I knew that I wanted to do something as it relates to this realm of talking. [00:48:44] And I just, tried to really come up with a great, branding that people would resonate with that was related to domestic violence and Be Your Incredible Self just came to me because I really felt like that adrenaline that went through me that night was some She Hulk type [00:49:00] strength. [00:49:00] And so I just think that we can all do that. And so that’s how I also came up with the, be your incredible self formula, which is what I had shared earlier. I seated it earlier when I said, having applying situational awareness and combining that with your emotional intelligence, because when you know where your power lies, [00:49:21] you can respond accordingly to meet your intended outcome. And so that’s what I go through with training that formula. I teach you how to have situational awareness, self-awareness, social awareness. I teach you how to have emotional intelligence or emotional awareness, so you can utilize your intelligence when your emotions are involved. [00:49:44] And so to give you like a little sneak peek on that there are positive triggers and negative triggers. A positive trigger is put on your favorite song and look at what happens. Okay, and a negative trigger is obviously something that you are, feeling from a previous [00:50:00] time in your life. [00:50:00] That was devastating. And so when that happens like the favorite song, you have a physiological change. You start moving, you start feeling certain things, your body responds. It’s your neurological system that your body’s just naturally responding to. . So when you’re having that negative trigger, if it’s your eyebrows, if it’s your stomach, if it’s your throat, if it’s your shoulders, wherever you’re feeling that physiological change, that’s when you realize it’s your emotions, responding, your emotions live inside of your body. [00:50:30] So the moment you feel that change, that’s the second that it registers is your emotions. Now you’re power lies within to take a moment and really think about what you’re going to do, react or respond. So I go through a whole series on that alone. And because it’s really important that you understand what your tools are within. [00:50:51] It’s your inner strength. It’s your ability to use your mind. And at the end of the day, it’s the price you pay when you neglect your mindset.[00:51:00] [00:51:00] Diana Winkler: That’s true. So where is your your contact info so they can connect with you. [00:51:07] Agape Garcia: Ah. Okay. So be your incredible self I’m actually I have a terrible website at the moment I’m working on that. [00:51:14] I had to go through some trial and errors, so that’s be your incredible self.com and that’s spelled correctly, all one word and same thing for Instagram and Facebook. I haven’t really done a lot on Twitter yet. I’ve been off the grid for 25 years just to maintain that protection over, my kids so I’m brand new to social media. [00:51:35] I’m just learning this whole brand new job and world. So doing podcasts right now to just get my message out, I think is faster than trying to figure out how to get followers that aren’t looking for me. . I know who’s openly talking about domestic violence and wanting to get over their residual trauma. [00:51:53] It nobody’s coming out of the wood works to look for that. It’s not until somebody brings it up. I’ve literally met people in [00:52:00] line at Goodwill during COVID 19 times where we’re six feet, distancing and met women in line literally. And we just I’ve helped them. I’ve helped them with their kids. [00:52:11] We’ve stayed in touch. Like all you need to do is bring it up. You’ll be surprised who will just be like, oh yes. And One out of three. [00:52:19] And just having advocates in my circle, I would be able to serve those real time victims in, what my nonprofit does. I’m looking to expand, of course. I wanna be in more than one state, but still building that team, building that community. That’s to help people transform and transition 100%. [00:52:38] Give them a second chance in life. [00:52:41] Diana Winkler: Yeah. That’s what we’re all about here in my ministry as well. I’ve got a whole list of people that I trust that I know have worked with, that I can introduce you to. And I know they’ll be excited about what you’re doing. I’m excited! And I have [00:53:00] somebody to send people that need help. [00:53:02] I definitely have mentoring services to help people, but I don’t have experience in everything. My domestic violence story is quite different than yours. Still valid, but I like to have a list of people that I can trust to refer people that need help. And, sometimes it’s just a personality thing or, Hey, I can really relate to your story. [00:53:27] So yeah, I will definitely keep in touch with you. This has been great. [00:53:33] Agape Garcia: Diana and I don’t want you to downplay what you went through, just because you heard my story. Domestic violence comes in so many forms and we are all recipients of trauma that we respond to differently. There’s no one person that has the same reaction or the same, way of receiving it. [00:53:51] The one thing that we all do have in common is that we look to have better coping skills every single day , exactly. And that’s what it’s about. Be your [00:54:00] incredible self, put those coping skills to work. And just every day, it’s being aware, being conscious and there’s no way to measure, one from the other. [00:54:10] I’m celebrating you. Thank you for even saying that you went through something. [00:54:14] Diana Winkler: Yes, definitely have gone through a couple different traumas and my listeners are familiar with my story. It’s been great, having you on the show and hearing your story and what you’re doing. I’m glad to know you. [00:54:29] And so thankful that we have met, I think God put you in my path for a reason. And so we’ll definitely keep in touch and I’ll have all of your information in the show notes for you listeners. So you can connect with Agape today, and God bless you. [00:54:52] God bless you too. And everybody listening. Thank you so much. [00:54:55] It’s a blessing to be a blessing and we just pay forward. [00:54:58] Thank you for [00:55:00] listening to the wounds of the faithful podcast. If this episode has been helpful to you, please hit the subscribe button and tell a friend. You could connect with us at DSW Ministries dot org, where you’ll find our blog along with our Facebook, Twitter, and our YouTube channel links. Hope to see you next week.