Your Strength Lies In Your Struggle

This is part of a sponsored campaign with DiMe Media and Buena Vista Home Entertainment. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

As I sip on my ginger tea and look around, I feel a deep sense of gratitude, joy, and fulfillment. I feel blessed to be where I am: alive, surrounded by people I love, embarked on a journey to live in alignment with what I know to be my purpose.  I love my life because I have built it on my own terms and I am successful by my own definition.

Looking back, I know that every brick was built on the foundation of mi fe (my faith). The certainty that all works together for good and the belief that I am a daughter of God, guided me through each step, giving me the inspiration I needed to move forward.

Mi fe es mi inspiración! Every moment of every day.

Mi historia (my personal story) includes the afflictions of extreme poverty, the excruciating pain of abuse, the sorrow that comes from a broken family, the trauma of a humiliating abduction, the uncertainty of being in a coma for 8 days, and the challenges and heartbreak of becoming a young single mother with no resources, and no support, to raise two little girls in a foreign country.  

Have you ever experienced physical challenges, financial setbacks, difficulties with personal relationships, emotional trials, or struggles with self-worth?  

I recently had the opportunity to watch the Disney film McFarland USA with mi familia (my family) and I’ve been reflecting – and crying – a lot since. It is one of those movies that reminds you where you come from and inspire you to keep going where you want to go. It is a true account of events that, like my life, tells of how through struggle we can develop great strength.  

McFarland USA Disney Movie - Yes We Can - We can achieve anything together Based on the true story of a 1987 cross country team from predominantly Mexican-American McFarland High School, in McFarland, California, the film stars Kevin Costner as coach Jim White, who leads the team to win a state championship through mentoring and motivating these unlikely athletes to become winners beyond sportsmanship.  

This película (or film), as all of the Disney’s movies we’ve watched, is a great teaching tool for my daughters. Almost in awe, they’ve heard of my casita (or little home) and how the tin roof would detach and blow away during hurricanes. It fascinates them that I had to walk several kilometers to fetch water or to get a book to read, and that most of mami’s juguetes (toys) came from the trash.  

My little girls have also read of Joseph, Job, Daniel and many Bible stories that demonstrate immovable faith and absolute assurance that there is purpose in one’s pain.  

#McFarlandUSA tells a beautiful story of dedication, perseverance, and self-discipline, of times, people, and places my husband and daughters can relate to. Isn’t it marvelous that though we can be strengthened through struggle, we can also be strengthened through stories?  


Mi abuelo (my grandpa), who was quite the masterful storyteller, taught me that personal growth is the intended outcome of what we feel to be tragedies in the moment, and that in time, God would reveal the answer to our “Why’s” amidst our suffering. He encouraged us to embody our last name, Guerrero, which means warrior.  

In my cultura (culture) we are also taught that each morning we wake up to new obstacles in our path and we must meet them with a gracious attitude.

Mi papi (my daddy) always says:  

“Al mal tiempo, buena cara!” (or… when times are bad, put on a good face) and

“La esperanza es lo ultimo que se pierde!” (as if to say, if you’ve got hope, you’ve got everything…keep the hope).  

And many times, I’ve felt hopeless, and what is worst, I’ve felt worthless. Yet each time, with more intensity, my faith helped me see la luz (the light) and remember mi identidad (my identity).  

McFarland USA illustrates this principle extremely accurately. It is a heartwarming movie that proves that champions can come from anywhere and what it takes to achieve your goals, in spite of your humble beginnings. Si se puede! (Yes, we can!)  

no pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted

As Orson F. Whitney eloquently said: “No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted.” As you learn to endure (and embrace) the problems, the pressures, and the pain of life as opportunities, you can become stronger and wiser and gain greater peace.  

Three of the most important lessons I’ve learned through the defining moments along my journey are clearly depicted in Disney’s McFarland USA:

  • Accept responsibility for your choices ~ I always say that “choices create circumstances” and we can create a different reality as we master our thoughts, our feelings, our emotions, and our actions.
  • Have faith in yourself ~ You have EVERYTHING within you to be, do, and have what you most desire. And when in doubt, make sure you’re surrounded by people who can remind you of your potential.
  • Stay committed! ~ They say of a goal that “if you’re persistent, you’ll get it, and if you’re consistent, you’ll keep it.” Struggle does not mean failure, the only failure is giving up.


what's hard is losing when you haven't done enough - coach Jim White, McFarland USA High School Just like the boys of McFarland High, each of us as moms must face the obstacle filled race with indomitable will. Mi fe is what gives me the stamina to push forward and conquer the high hills that exhaust me. My faith has allowed me to turn my once upon a time into my happily ever after…  


On my deathbed, I would like to make mi abuelo y mi papi proud and be able to quote Paul in the New Testament:  

“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 2 Timothy 4:7 (KJV)

  And I want to become the abuela (grandmother) that inspires the generations of my posterity that are yet to come. That’s #MiInspiracion ~ the power of LEGACY. 

my faith has allowed me to turn my once upon a time into my happily ever afterYour strength lies in your struggle; you are who we are because you made it through the failure, the fear, the rejection, the judgment, the anger, the loss, the sadness, the mistakes, and the stresses of yesterday.   Torturous adversity often precedes gratifying achievement…. just think about your precious babies: before you could see their glorious face, you had to endure the pain of the miraculous birthing process.  

#McFarlandUSA is available now on Blu-ray, Digital HD & Disney Movies Anywhere. When you watch it as a family, you will laugh, learn, and love it together… you will be inspired!   What inspires you to be your best?  Share your motivación (what motivates you) with us in the comments- and sign up to win your own personal copy of #McFarlandUSA.

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Disclosure:  No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited.  Giveaway ends June 8th.  Sole Sponsor: ThePositiveMOM.comThe prize was provided to me by Buena Vista Home Entertainment and I have been paid to blog and promote the film.  Buena Vista Home Entertainment is not a sponsor, administrator, or involved in any other way with this giveaway. All opinions expressed in the post are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 ‘Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.’

Elayna Fernandez - Author - 
Speaker - Success Guide to Moms and Mompreneurs
© Elayna Fernández ~ The Positive MOM

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122 thoughts on “Your Strength Lies In Your Struggle

  1. I love McFarland, USA! It is such an incredible story of overcoming circumstances and stereotypes. And it gives me a whole new appreciation for cabbage and almonds. Thank you for sharing your inspiración with us. You are so blessed to have such an amazing papi and abuelo.

  2. I totally missed this when it was in the theaters. I can not wait to watch this movie with my kids.

  3. Believing in yourself is always such an important lesson. It’s hard but it’s important if you ever want to get anything done!

  4. I still need to see this movie. It is one I really do want to see and sooner than later. I worked with high school athletes in the Los Angeles School District for years so I have a special interest in this movie. Staying committed is so important. Great post!

  5. My children inspire me to be the best I can be, not just at what I do, but in life. I see my reflection in their eyes.

  6. I remember seeing the trailers for this movie awhile back and thinking it was something I wanted to see. Thank you for the great review. My family will definitely be adding this to our list. It looks like a tear jerker.

  7. You certainly have taken your personal struggle and used it to catapult you forward. It’s so important to learn from every experience, whether it be a positive or a negative one.

  8. What a great movie, we my family loves watching a great movie especially the fathers day is coming, We will watch thia movie.

  9. I haven’t seen this film, but it sounds like something I would enjoy to watch. I will add this to my must watch list.

  10. Before he died my Dad always told me-you can be anything you want to be-that you put your mind to. This movie sounds inspiring and I really would like to see it.

    • Wow, Michele, that is the most powerful gift ever. I think it’s so amazing that the ones we love really live on through the legacy of their teachings. My grandpa has been physically gone several years now but he really is with me at all times, especially in those moments when life gets hard. Big hug!

  11. Oh wow, I had no idea that you’ve experienced such obstacles and scary situations in your life. You’ve persevered through a great deal. I would like to rent McFarland USA – we like movies like this.

  12. I love your post. We’re going through a very big struggle over here right now. One I never dreamed I’d face in a million years. My faith is getting me through.

    • I’m sorry to hear that, Rosey. I am glad you are keeping the faith and the hope alive and… in God’s timing, your joy will return, too. I think it’s even more painful when we are almost convinced that we won’t go through a certain trial and it happens to us. I experienced something like that recently and it crushed me. It was hard for me to see how it would work for good… and after lots of tears and prayers, I have more peace. I’ll be praying for your situation. Let me know if I can possibly do anything else. Big virtual hug.

  13. I’m inspired by friends and family I see striving to reach their goals – no matter what! Plus, I have so many people who encourage me, that they all motivate me to be my best!

  14. I think we’ve all struggled with physical challenges, financial setbacks, emotional trials, and doubts about our self-worth at one time or another. My kids are what keep me going – they’re my inspiration!

  15. This is such an amazing and courageous post. Thank you for sharing your struggles, I know that each time you share, no matter how many times you’ve shared, that it can still be difficult. You are so right — our strength really does come from the struggles we have been through in our lives. We never know how strong we are until being strong is the only choice we have.

    • Thank you, Holly. It is tough to be vulnerable… and I’m grateful that you honor that. We all hear the inner bully say negative opinions about sharing our stories, but my mission to encourage others is louder! You’re so amazing – I know I’m preaching to the choir!

  16. We definitely all go through our own struggles in life. McFarland, USA was a wonderful movie that my family and I enjoyed in theaters. We’ll definitely be buying the DVD!

  17. We missed it in theaters but are hoping to see it soon on Netflix, if not then the DVD from our local library. I’ve heard wonderful things about it and really want to see it!

  18. I just recently heard about this movie and plan to see it soon. As for what motivates me? Well, my past is similar, abuse, rape, beaten, single mom…blah blah blah. And now knowing, or at least believing, that I’m doing God’s will, is what keeps me motivated to do right, or try to do right

  19. This is an awesome post and I can’t wait to see this movie. The one thing that motivates me is my children. Knowing my job was a success by them achieving their goals. I love the 3 lessons you have learned. I think the most important is excepting responsibility for your life choices. Thanks so much for sharing.

  20. Pingback: The 12 Universal Laws That Govern Your Results In Life ★ Elayna Fernandez ~ The Positive MOM ♥

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