Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Stuck in Neutral

Have you ever felt that just when you thought your journey had finally arrived at an easy smooth path, you suddenly are hit with something that interrupts that comfy feeling?  Maybe what really happened is that you were on that smooth and easy path for so long you actually were stuck in neutral, or worse have fallen asleep at the wheel!

I think this happens in my life.  I think sometimes I get stuck in neutral and possibly fall asleep at the wheel. When this happens, the only way I snap out of my stagnate mood is when I'm challenged and tested through circumstances. The result?  It forces me to take action because the pain, doubt, frustration and hopelessness that begins to surround me suffocate the life out of me. When I feel this way the only one person who can truly save me is ~ Christ ♥  While I was cruising in life, falling asleep at the wheel, He never left me.  I'm the one who always wanders into La-La land, falls asleep and gets stuck in neutral when I begin to think I can do life on my own.

We live in a world that is so self absorbed it can become toxic and addictive.  When this occurs, it become all about Me - Me - Me. I can do it! I want it my way! What about me?  Understandably, as we face hardships, there are times worthy of the need to have focus upon ourselves but, if we are not careful we can remain stuck there. Stuck in neutral, sleeping at the wheel, or even worse, try to put our gear in reverse! 

My past is a place where we I can get stuck and also a place where I can easily keep looking back.  Old unhealthy habits, patterns and behaviors are familiar and comfortable.  When this happens, we lie to ourselves by focusing only on the temporary good and pleasures of our old nature.  We fail to remember what pain, anger, sadness the old ways brought into our lives.

Reminding myself that God will not give me more than I can handle gives me hope that regardless of what I'm experiencing in my life today and the circumstances that are placed around me, it will never be too much that God won't make good on his promise to get me through it. 

My mind and my body may grow weak,
    but God is my strength;
 he is all I ever need. ~ Psalm 73:26

My week has been filled with words of discouragement, a testing of my heart and my faith in Christ as I surrender myself to Him.  

The words we speak to others can have long term and damaging effects.  Learning what it really means to genuinely love includes protecting others. Protecting others sometimes means we have to think about the effects of how and what we say may impact those around us.  It means sharing the truth in love. If this involves our need to share our own personal hurts, we need to really think about how sharing may impact both parties.  Greg Laurie has a great tool for evaluating if what we say.  He calls it the THINK method. 

T - Is it true? (Is it accurate information?)
H - Is it helpful? (Will sharing this information be helpful to the other person?)
I - Is it Inspiring?
N - Is it necessary? (Do we really need to share this information?)
K - Is it Kind?

Often, we speak without thinking about the effect it may have on the other party.  Perhaps we feel the need to share to make ourselves feel better and it may, but it should not be at the cost of hurting another.  Perhaps there is a deeper issue at hand which needs to be addressed, especially if it continues to arise. 

In my opinion, I do not believe all things shared can be helpful.  In working my 12 Step and making amends, there were some issues that would have caused greater harm to the other party than benefiting them if I had made my amends in person.  As much as it would have felt good for me to confront them, I also had to think about the effects it would have had on them.  It then became a heart issue for me.  I had to look at my true motive.  And when I was genuinely able to answer that question, I knew that the proper way to resolve this issue was directly with God, not the other person.

In Luke 6:21 is says, "Where your treasure is, there your heart will also be."  

This scripture is a good verse in gauging what you value in life.  Is it yourself?  Money? Health and Fitness? Relationships? Status? Education? Work? Material things? Social Media?

Over the weekend, my home was burglarized.  The thieves mostly took jewelry.  In addition to the jewelry being taken, the last few items that remained of my late father were also stolen.  The turn of events allowed me to look at why I held onto these last possessions with such a tight grip. I didn't even realize how much I did until I had time to reflect on it.  Although I have released from my heart the awful behavior and actions of my father, and have forgiven him, it become clearly apparent that I need to be honest and forgive the person who has made me aware of his actions in the first place.  Additionally, there has to be boundaries set of what we will and will not discuss about my father. My need to release this pain and set up boundaries were made perfectly clear by God this weekend. God was speaking to me, telling me to let go of all those treasures, truly forgive my offender in my heart and place my eyes upon the one who can heal and restore - STOP pretending I've healed and really allow myself to let it go.  I need to take my car out of neutral and put it in drive so God can take me on a journey filled with love, forgiveness, healing, hope, faith and joy!

As I surrender to Him completely (AGAIN) and give Him control of my entire being, only then will I find joy in everything, just as Paul found joy in many of the circumstances he encountered, good and bad.  

 Letting go doesn't mean we forget, it means we give it to God.  We no longer have to carry the burden of our hurt and pain.  We leave it at the cross at the feet of Jesus.  We no longer CHOOSE to remain stuck in neutral.  We get out of the drivers seat and allow God to drive us to our next destination.  

I came across a very intersting article about making peace with your past.  God has been slowly revealing where I need to heal in many parts of my life, in His timing, not giving me more than I can handle.  A quote in that article that stuck in my head and made a lot of sense:

 Just like the rear view mirror in your car, looking at the past gives us perspective, but if you’re staring at it all the time, you’re going to cause a wreck.

I'm tired of wrecking my car.  It's more exhausting trying to fix it than it is to just sit back and let God take control and map my ride. So I'm letting go.  I have a long way to go.  I have a lot of healing to do and it starts with getting honest with God.  

This morning as I listened to Living on the Edge, Pastor Chip Ingram said something along the lines of, "As God gets bigger, your problems get smaller."  It reminded me that no burden I carry is too big for my God. As I continue to have FAITH in Him and surrender, He will take upon my burdens. He will provide me comfort and peace. He will protect and love me because He is God who keeps His promises. In Him, I will find my joy, in each and every circumstance, even the ones that are unfavorable because as I give Him control of my health, my family, my relationships, my job, my finances, My LIFE.....He grows BIGGER.  

“Come to me, all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke and put it on you, and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit; and you will find rest. For the yoke I will give you is easy, and the load I will put on you is light.” - Matthew 11:28-30

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Let go and Let in Life ♥

Life stinks sometimes, right?

Our natural being desires to belong, fit in, to be loved, accepted and wanting to be number one in someone's life.  And to make things comfortable in our environment according to how we think they should be, we try to control.

Haven't we once in our lifetime wanted to be enough to make a person change their habits or addictions? Haven't we wanted to be liked because of what we've accomplished, what we possessed or what we look like? I have.  When we try to manipulate life or people, we try to take control of it and them. 

When I reflect on my addiction of co-dependency, I sometimes still cry inside about it.  Looking at how deep my addiction was I see the self deception I created in my life. Self deception is a lonely and dark place.  I am saddened to think that I had to force people to like me, allow myself to be victimized to get attention and manipulate my circumstances to fit into my world view of what life should be like for me.  It was selfish way to do life.

When I finally realized how out of control my life was and my illusion of control was just that, "an illusion", was when I finally succumbed to my circumstances and the paralyzed state of denial slowly began to break down.   

When we let go of trying to force things, and just become who we we are meant to be and fulfill our purpose in why were put on this earth, only then will we stop wasting precious time, our happiness, and a life that is full of amazing people and experiences.

Don't get me wrong, I believe that we will face hardships and difficulties, but if we choose to just let it be, stop struggling and trying to control what is not in our control to begin with, only then will we have victory.  Awful stuff will happen and the only thing we have control of in those times, is our attitude about it.  Acceptance to circumstances does not mean you are giving up, condoning it or even agreeing, but in acceptance, it gives us the ability to make the most of what you have at that present moment.

Choose to change the way you think.  Choose to have an attitude that expresses thankfulness and gratitude in life. Stop robbing yourself of joy and happiness.  There will always be someone out there, who's circumstances are far worse than our own and yet I bet in we could find smiles upon those people's faces.

Yesterday, I attended a funeral of a friend's brother and although her and her family were deeply saddened by their loss of this amazing young man, I think of what each person said when they shared their thoughts about him. Time after time I heard how he was always "Happy" and always had a smile on his face. We could learn a lot from this young man.  He had the right idea about life, especially in his circumstances which confined him to a wheelchair.  When I think of him there are three words that come to mind ~ Smile - Happy - Happy ~

Try it ...... just for today ~

Let go of control.  Let go of anger.  Let go of resentments.  Let in Forgiveness. Let in Love. Let in Joy.  Let in Life!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Love is......♥

As part of a class assignment I was asked to write a paper on "A Love Worth Giving" by Max Lucado and how it's impacted me personally. Below is the paper I will turn in. I plan on writing another Blog that will go into deeper detail as to how it has changed my view on what love really looks like to me, but for class I was supposed to limit the paper to 300 words ~ That was impossible to do and I have so much more to share. 

When I began reading this book I had no idea what to expect. Even reading the first few pages of chapter one I didn’t know how it would or how I could apply it to my life. I thought I knew what “love” was and I guess to a certain degree I did, at least from the viewpoint of society, from what I was taught from my parents and all my other relationships. I could even possibly make excuses when we I was ridiculed, degraded, made feel less than by saying, “Well, that is the way they show they care for me. That is how they show their love.”

After reading this book, I’ve come to the conclusion that the only excuse we can offer is that, they themselves can’t give what they have never received. In order to love, we have to first have love deposited into our lives. Receive first, love second. As I went through each chapter and read what each part of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 truly means, I reflected on my life, and how each act of love was missing from my life, and what I could do to correct it going forward.

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails."

This book has given me the tools of what it means to love, how to love and examples of what it looks like. I’ve learned I need patience with others by not making a judgments on a behavior or circumstance until I’ve taken it all in and listened and have a heart of understanding. In patience, I become kind. Giving allowances for my and others shortfalls I show kindness. It’s taught me how to let go of envy and comparison. I must allow God to fill me with his love and remove my desire to rely on fulfillment by others. Filled with Gods love, I’m reminded what God has given me, and it’s only because of His will, not mine. As I accept this in total humility, I see past myself and see others for the beauty they possess. I learn how to respect who they are and treat them in a respectful manner, without rudeness. As I remove envy and rudeness I learn to love in a non self-seeking manner. I look toward them and keep eyes off me and my desire turns to do what benefits others.

Jesus who was perfect in loving others was repeatedly rejected and ridiculed but we didn’t often see him angered. And when he was angered, he did not sin. I will seek Christ in my times of rejection. I will seek his acceptance to diffuse my flame of anger. His love, grace and forgiveness teaches me to keep no records of wrong. He does not track my shortcomings, instead covers them with His grace. I choose to do the same toward those who have hurt me in my past and who will in my future.

More than anything I want to point people to Christ because of what I have experienced in his presence. In my past I’ve done things to drag others down. If I’m not uplifting, encouraging with truth and love, I’m not loving others. I think at times when I brought others down I was trying to play God and conform them because I didn’t like certain parts of them, a habit, personality trait, the way they dressed or spoke. Love accepts the whole package - flaws included, just as God accepts me wholly. When we have difficulties accepting the whole package, it’s easy to point it out to others by gossiping or in other harmful ways. Today I try to protect others from being torn down, and often find that the best way to do this is through silence and not engaging in the gossip. If I don’t have anything encouraging or uplifting to say I keep my mouth shut. God uplifts us when we need it, he gives hope and encouragement and I choose that path.

In protecting others, we say we believe in them. We may not like their habits, they may not be the most moral person, but believing in change within them can be powerful. Giving hope to others can break down walls that once seemed unbreakable. Our endurance to love others, not giving up on them, even when we are exhausted or in our own hopelessness can be encouraging and affirms we loved them enough to never give up on them.

Those we love will fall short but, one thing we can can have certainty in is that - Love Will Never Fail in Christ. If we cling to his love, fill ourselves with Jesus, when those moments of hurt, disappointment and pain enter our lives, in Christ we will rise because LOVE NEVER FAILS.


Monday, June 10, 2013

~ Pulling Weeds and Cleaning your Yard ~

It happens to us all, at one time or another in our life.  We become depressed or allow pride to consume us. The tragic event that occurred in our life becomes more than we can handle. We feel lonely or angry because of a recent break-up or maybe we just become tired of life.  Regardless of what we encounter, if we allow it to manifest inside of us for too long, it will grow into something bigger and bigger, like weeds in a yard.

The weeds in our life do not grow overnight, but usually over a season. It typically begins with allowing a small thing to be planted within us.  It could be making an acception of a behavior we typically don't allow.  It could be turning a blind eye to something we know we should speak up about.  It could be getting stuck in a funk of some sort that we choose not to come out of.  As we continue to nourish it little by little it continues to grow and it's root begins to dwell within us. As we continue to water it, it grows larger and out of control. Before we realize it's there; the bad relationship, drug or alcohol addiction, our love of money or status, the new job that takes us away from our family, co-dependency, eating disorders, habitual lying, anger, sex addictions, whatever it may be, it's roots have taken residency in our life. 

It's growth can be so subtle that we aren't even aware of how big and out of control it has become until it's reveals itself as interference someway in our life, or when someone close to us has brings it to our attention.

This past weekend I spend three hours pulling weeds in my backyard.  This is something I hate doing.  Not because it's laboring, but because of the little critters that surround the weeds - BUGS.  These tiny bugs (some big) prevent me from getting my hands dirty and doing the work necessary to rid the problem.  I allow the bugs to become powerful guards of the weeds.

Isn't that what happens with addictions and bad habits?  In order to get rid of them, we have to get our hand dirty? We have to put effort into it?  We have to go to the root of the problem, which usually causes us to dig through the bugs of our life. Believe it or not, we all have bugs that stand in the way of us getting to the root. 

For many of us, we don't like the discomfort that comes along with that so we usually pretend there isn't a problem.  We pretend to be happy, that life is okay until life becomes unmanageable. How many times have we told ourselves, I can handle it.  I'll never let it get out of control, yet it does?  We tell ourselves, It's not that big of a deal and I'll deal with it next week, and then something occurs and it gets pushed back to next month, next year and before we know it, it's gotten so large it seems impossible to clean up?

I'll tell you something - It's never too late to clean up our yard and those bugs are never too big to overcome. 

As I looked at my yard, I had to come up with a plan of attack.  I began with protecting my mind (through prayer) and asked for support (from God).  Next, I laid out a blueprint of how I would take on this massive chore.  I looked at all the weeds and sectioned the yard into pieces so I would not become overwhelmed.  As I progressed in removing them, because the way I sectioned off the area instead of just randomly pulling here and there with no set goal, I was able to visually see my progress.  I also started in an area where the weeds were smaller rather than attacking the large, scary looking ones first. 

Sometimes this is the approach we must take, start small.  Usually with any new challenge fear comes along with it. Starting small and building up to attack the bigger, scarier obstacles is a good way to go about something that may seem impossible to overcome.  In the process you mentally and physically develop the strength to attack the bigger obstacle and you are also more willing to accept help from others as you get to those bigger weeds.

This was the case for me.  As I reached the last section, I knew I was almost done and I rallied support in my daughter.  She had seen what I had achieved and she graciously offered her support by helping me with the strongest and scariest looking weeds.  I was fatigued, my back was aching, my hands were shaking, and my legs were tired from squatting, so her support in my weakness was exactly what I needed.  In the obstacles of life, the support of friends and family are very important in our times of weakness.

 ~ Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered,two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. ~ 
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 

Looking back on my weekend task I reflected on how how I allowed certain things in my life to grow out of control like weeds.  It began with giving in to a something small and planting the seed.  As I continued the behaviors and habits, made exceptions to things I knew were not of good character or moral standing and continued to water them, I gave them life to grow.  When it finally took root in my life, it felt near impossible to remove because I didn't think I had the tools to get to the root of the issues.  With focus, support and a plan of attack, I've been on a  journey to digging out the roots that have had a hold on my life for so long.

When it comes to weeds, one thing is for sure, the more weeds, the stronger they are. I had to search thoroughly to find where they were growing from. As I pulled and tugged, many were intertwined with one another, and seemed like they had became one.  As I pulled, there were some that I could not get by the root as they snapped at the top of the soil because the root was too strong and deep. 

This is similar to some of the characteristics and behaviors we possess.  I don' think we truly rid ourselves of selfishness, rudeness, pride, envy, lust, etc, because they are part of our sinful nature, but there are some behaviors and addictions we can destroy and remove before they have the opportunity to take root in our heart and life.  For those that are part of our nature, if we continue to work on removing them we won't give them the prospect to grow out of control and take root in our life.  Although, they exist they remain dormant.

My three hour task turned into three hours of mediation with God filled with joy and peace. Only through the presence and company of Him could I have accomplished this task and overcome my fear of the big bad bugs! I spent this time worshiping, praising and thanking Him for where I've been, what I've overcome and where I'm headed. This time inspired me to write this blog and reflect on the importance of taking care of my yard.  I must begin with removing the things that hinder it's growth and encompass my heart, mind and soul with healthy nutrients of fertilizer, which is my life in community with others, water which is accepting the love and grace of God and spiritual food which is the Word of God through daily reading of my bible.  All of these applications, along with a strong prayer life, will help me spiritually grow and produce the fruit of the spirit. 

~When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.~ 
Galatians 5:19- 25

Today my body is sore from my finger tips to my feet.  It serves as a reminder of how hard I had to work to clean up my yard because I had let it get out of control for so long - an entire season.  It reminds me that I must continuously maintain my yard, removing the weeds before they take root.  I will still have to work hard to keep it healthy, but it won't be as painful and strenuous. 

Today, I choose to plant the seeds that will grow a root of God in my heart

~ I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. ~ 
Ephesians 3:16-19



Thursday, May 23, 2013

God can restore what we destroy ~

As we try to control our environment, circumstances, relationships, and ourselves we interfere with the God's will for us.  God's sets our path.  It's our job to listen to what he has to say, and display obedience through following what he lays out for us regardless of how it makes us feel, which at times can be discomfort. When we choose to do things according to our will and become our own God, the results can be unpleasant. God can restore what we destroy.

How often do we think we have control over our lives? How many times have you said, "But if I do this, maybe it will result in that?"  "If I just hold onto my will a little longer, if it doesn't work, then I will listen to God?"  I hate to tell you, it doesn't work that way.  You can't bargain with God.  We can't pick and choose when and what parts we want to obey. As a good friend wrote in a school paper recently, we can't use him like a vending machine. 

Being obedient has been a long hard lesson to learn, and today I still struggle with it, honestly, I always will. Trying to control my own life has resulted in heartache and loss. First of all, I can't control anything or anyone. I can't change anyone and to think I have the power to do so, results in prideful thinking and behavior. I can only control my choices to do or not to do, I control my will.  

Often God calls, speaks, opens and closes doors and it's by my choice, my free will that I either submit to him or choose my way.  When I choose God,  I find peace and contentment in my circumstances, good or bad.  When I choose mine, I may receive temporary gratification, but typically it doesn't last for long. 

Are there times I choose God's will kicking and screaming?  Absolutely.

In the last two months, I endured heartache of a loss of a loved one.  My loss was not a physical loss, meaning a death, but the loss of an old nature and as well as the loss of giving up control of my circumstances.  As the old ways died (thoughts and behaviors) I grieved. Once we accept the illusion that we never had control in the first place, it becomes more bearable to accept. Once I gave up and surrendered to God again, I found peace.  And even though this person and I grew apart we actually were being drawn together without even knowing it.   

For about a month, there wasn't any face to face contact, but only a couple short e-mail exchanges.  During this time of healing, I was able to release the past hurts, and forgive myself and them. I was able to give it all over to God and as difficult the time apart was, God filled me up with His love which is the only love that will truly sustain me.  Being filled with God's love is the only real way I can offer myself to others, and give them what God has freely given me.

I thank God for loving me, healing me, offering me grace and mercy each day of my life.  Obedience to Him is what has gotten me to where I am today.  I choose to worship Him with my whole heart. My purpose is to live for God and bring him glory.  Sharing my experiences I feel I can share God's awesome love and power. A life without God is no life at all.

Today is Matthew's and my three year anniversary.  Below is what I wrote to him this morning. Our relationship has flourished.  In our obedience, patience, trust, faith and hope in God's will for our lives, we are joined together, ready to commit to Him and serve His purpose for His glory.

May 23, 2013 - Happy Anniversary Matthew
Trials force us to put our faith in something bigger than ourselves or another person. 
Our FAITH is in God.

Obstacles motivate us to dig deep for strength in something stronger than ourselves or another person.
Our STRENGTH is in God.

Losses invoke us to reach and cry out toward something more comforting than ourselves or another person.

Storms inspire hope as we clutch onto something greater than ourselves or another person.
Our HOPE is in God.

The only way to do life together is with God as our Rock; God first and above all else.

As we build a relationship on a foundation made of rock (God), it will withstand the trials, obstacles, losses and storms of life. We will find peace in His presence.

As we get knocked around, beat up, tossed about and flooded with adversities, although we feel depleted and exhausted, we remain standing, clinging to the one who will deliver us with his faithful promise to never abandon us but pull us into his loving arms - Our RESCUER is God. 

Our walk together is only possible through God’s will.  As we surrender to His will and build our relationship upon Him we frame a foundation that's strong and stable in Him.  Our faith, hope and love remains in Christ's promises and presence. Through our obedience we will be abundantly supplied with endurance to face what is placed before us. A life and relationship built on the Word of God withstands the storms and challenges of life. 

For Jesus teaches that we must be wise and build our lives on a solid foundation.
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” Matthew 7:24-27
Our life together began three years ago……

We've had amazing times filled with laughter and new experiences. But far too often, we turned a blind eye to the trials and storms we encountered, masking them with empty promises and an illusion of happiness. We deceived ourselves thinking we were growing closer to one other but in reality we were growing further apart, resulting in a painful separation from each another. We tried to control what was out of our control but once we handed ourselves over to Him; His will and His way, we were able to see things with a new set of eyes; with clarity. 

It’s only by the Hand of God, that He has reconciled us, and today we point each other upwardly toward Christ; handing one another over into His care and trusting Him to do His will in our lives. 

Hand in hand, side by side, we walk the same path; God leading, you and me following.

Today we celebrate three years together.  Three years of change. The most rewarding part of these years is that it lead us back to Christ. I find peace and joy in my heart, anticipating the blessings that lie before us; the adversity that will strengthen us; and the grace, love and mercy we will receive through Jesus Christ.  I am overjoyed for this new beginning as we continue to seek God's truth, point each other toward Christ and build a relationship with Him as the foundation in our lives – OUR ROCK♥ 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Mom, Mama, Ma, Mommie, Mamasita ~

One of the most priceless gifts I've had the pleasure to experience was having a little human grow inside my body, not once, but three times. 

VINCENT came into my life when I was still a baby myself; barely 18 and a Senior in high school.  He taught me quickly how to be responsible, to grow up into a mature woman and what it meant to love unconditionally.  Our relationship today isn't as close as I hoped, but I have faith that God will restore it to be exactly as it should, in His time.

RYAN came a few years later.  He showed me patience, how to have fun, laugh at myself and stand up for what you believe in. He was the most difficult to bring into this world and it brings joy to my heart to see the grown responsible young man he has become and who does "little things" for his mom to show his love and affection.


TAYLOR was the last of my three.  She taught me perseverance through difficulties, forgiveness and how to restore relationships when pain and broken trust were involved.
The transformation in her life in the last two years shows pure inspiration that regardless of circumstances, with the grace of God's hand, change is possible.  She has become confident, kind and thoughtful, often putting others first.

As Mother's Day has passed I am filled with love in my heart as I think of my three children; what they taught me, who they helped me become and what a blessing each one is in their uniqueness. They are all have a piece of me, yet they are all very different.  Every day is Mother's Day for me. Everyday I am thankful be called, "Mom, Mama, Ma, Mommie, Mamasita" or whatever other nickname my kids give me at that moment.

I keep close to my heart the joy each child brings to me. I remind myself often what a perfect creation from God they are.  Thank you my Heavenly Father for the three gifts of life you've loaned to me.

Teach your children to choose the right path, and when they are older, they will remain upon it. ~ Proverbs 22:6 ~

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Little People have Loud Voices!

Who would ever want to admit that they lacked character, integrity, morals or values.

As a parent, would you ever want to admit this? And what if the person  who revealed this to you were your children?

I know I didn't want to admit my lack of parenting skills.  Yet for so many years, this was me and in the end my greatest teachers were little people in my life.

They taught me how damaging taking that extra drink of alcohol was as one of them would pick up the bottle at an early age.  They showed me how my  unhealthy relationships effected their relationships with others.  They opened my eyes to how lacking respect and love for myself, resulted in a lack of respect and love for themselves. They showed me how I spoke and responded toward them, when I saw how they responded and spoke to me or others.  They pleaded for me to love them and when I didn't they learned how to isolate. All along, I thought was loving them, but in reality I had hurt them.  

Sometimes the greatest teachers in our lives can be "our children."

As I began my journey and turning away from a life of unhealthiness, the results of my choices from my past came with some very big price tags.  My selfish ways of life, living for me and what benefited me, left long-term damaging issues that may never be resolved or may take a lifetime to repair.  My children endured unnecessary suffering at that time, but today I do have hope that it will be used for good.  It hurts my heart, I feel a lump in my throat and my eyes well with tears as I write this because I can feel the pain they must have gone through.

This morning I read something from Rick Warren: 

~ Hope isn’t the same as optimism. It isn’t the belief that something bad will turn out well. It’s the absolute confidence that every part of your life ultimately makes sense regardless of how it turns out this side of eternity ~

I have hope that through my selfishness, through the hurt and pain I've created toward others, that God had a miraculous plan for it. I have faith and hope that He has a plan for restoration not only in my life, but my children; and now is my time to work to restore those relationships.

What we do as parents impacts our children's lives do deeply.  Love them. Speak to them gently. Hug them. Praise them. Pick them up when they fall short. Do not condemn them. Teach them Integrity, Love, Values, Morals and Honesty.  

Of my three children, God has blessed me with a mini me. A miniature Tyza who has been unfortunate to experience a lot of my personal life hardships in her short 15 years.  She by far has been the most visually and vocally of the three to open my eyes to the pain I created because of my choices; and that is a sobering feeling.  Today I'm amending my past by the choices I make today.  I can't change what has transpired in the past, but I can be a woman of integrity today and for the rest of my life by choosing to live my life differently.  Thank you Boo Boo for the Love you give me each day, even during a time when I was difficult to love.  God blessed me with you on PURPOSE!

“We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” ~ Romans 8:28

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

I am the D-A-S-H

Growth is painful.  Letting go of the familiar is uncomfortable.  Being vulnerable is risky.  Love Sustains.  Forgiveness Heals. Faith Creates Hope.

And all of these are what creates the "D-A-S-H" in my life. 

My birth was not determined by my parents.  I was not an accident.  Have you ever wondered why we were born on the day we were?  Why weren't we a day earlier, a week later?  And what is more amazing is that regardless of my choices (my dash), I have no control over the date of my death. I sometimes may think I am this all mighty powerful being that controls my environment, circumstances, and future but realistically, it's not up to me. Even the time I chose to make an attempt on my life, God intervened and said, "Not Yet, I'm not finished with you."

If I think I have control, I am fooling myself.  Sure, my choices may result in the way some things turn out, but they don't turn out that way because of me. They are purposed in my life to create character.  When I think of that, sometimes I get angry and frustrated telling myself, "Then what's the point?  Why even try to be a good, kind, and loving person if regardless of what I do, I still may end up miserable? What's the point of being a person full of integrity if it makes no difference to others? What is the point of moving out of my comfort zone? Why allow myself to open up to others? Why have faith or hope in anything if I'm only going to be disappointed?"

WOW - As I just typed all that down, I could hear one thing.  Can you?  It screamed -  ME! ME! ME!

So, WHY? Because all those things do matter.  They matter to the only one whose opinion really counts. Not mine. Not those who we love most. Not those who we want to impress. No!

They matter to the one who was so loving, so selfless, so humble, so patient, so faithful, so gentle, so kind that he gave up His life, so that we could live.  Do you know anyone who would do that?  I'm sure there are people who have said, "I would do anything for you," but if that were the case wouldn't we be living in a perfect world without deceit, lies, anger, jealousy, insecurities, pride, and self destructive behavior? News Flash - We clearly do not.

So then what's the point?  The point is I want to be that person. I want my "D-A-S-H" in this life to be full of love, full of selflessness, full of humility, patience and kindness, and so full of joy that when I look in the mirror the reflection I see is Jesus. I will never do it perfect, but because of His grace He is the only one who will ever accept me unconditionally.  He will never condemn me, He will never belittle me, He will never tell me I'm worthless, He will never leave me.  He will only love me ♥.  Today until the day I die is my dash, and I'm responsible for that.

I'll leave you with this, something I heard in a sermon from Greg Laurie and the inspiration for this blog, "God is responsible for the beginning and end of my life. I'm responsible for the dash."

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Living for The Day ~ Even through My Brokenness ♥

In my brokenness, I am blessed to have My God close to my heart.  For the bible says in Psalm 34:18, "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." 

I choose to seek His path and at times there is pain and difficulties that goes along with being obedient to Him. I'm beginning to view it as growing pains, like when we heal from a broken bone or another type of bodily injury.  For that part of our body to become strong again, we have to experience the pain of growth and healing. I believe in time my pain will serve a purpose.  Not a purpose designed for me but for Christ.

Last weekend my church concluded a two part monologue series about judgement day called, "The Bema" which is a fictional dramatic production inspired by the biblical principle in II Corinthians 5:10; "That we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due to him for the things done while in the body."  You can read more about The Bema at Bible. org - The Doctrine of Rewards: The Judgment Seat (Bema) of Christ.  This monologue shed light on the choice's I've been made in my lifetime.  But more so, the choice's that I'm making now.  The monologue concluded with these words in prayer, "Lord, this day forward, I vow to stop living for today, but to live for the day!"

My choices do matter, especially the way I choose to live my life which has been gifted to me.  The poor choices, those that go against God's commands will have consequences.  I can not blame anyone for my choices for I alone am responsible for each one of them, as I've made them on my own free will.

When I choose to make the right choices, the hard choices, the ones that go against what society views as acceptable, it may be very difficult, it may cause hurt and my heart may break in the process, but the end reward, the eternal reward far outweighs my temporary happiness, satisfaction or appeasement to others.

What I've come to understand is that so often we choose a temporary fix over our eternal blessings.  These temporary things and fixes will not have any substance in eternity; and those temporary things and fixes are just that, "temporary."  The satisfaction we attain only lasts for the moment, for a short time, and as time passes that feeling of satisfaction will fade like everything else that lacks substance.  This temporary way of life becomes and endless cycle of insanity.

My journey will continue until I am called home to my Creator, my Father, my God.  He is a loving one, even during times of hardship.  I've had to deal with tragic events in my life, several losses, a ton of hurt and many heartaches.  Today I see how each of those experiences are serving a purpose in my life. Things and quick fixes are temporary, many that have caused much of my pain. I must keep my focus on the eternal; and that is Christ.  My eyes are fixed on the long term, not what can make me feel satisfied for the moment.

I no longer choose a temporary life, but choose a life that an eternal one.  I no longer choose to live for today, I choose to live for "THE DAY." 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Let God's Standards be Your Standards

Seeking God is to seek his presence in our life.

It's engaging in Christlike relationships, and modeling his behavior.  It's a life filled with integrity. Lives in which the standards we live by are equal to the standards God commands us to live by.  Our ultimate display of love to him is to be obedient and follow his commands.  As we may not do it perfectly,through his grace and forgiveness we will be restored through repentance,asking for forgiveness and transforming; do not keep the old behaviors.

Learning to accept his love we tell ourselves we are worthy of authentic love.  The type of love that is written in 1 Corinthians 13 verse 4-7:
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts,always hopes, always perseveres."

This last week has been a challenge for me personally as I had to choose the standard of life I wanted to follow. I also had to open my eyes to the clear signs that I've been seeking from God.  As difficult as it is to sometimes to follow His plan, in my obedience, He has given me peace.  I also know that He can now do his GREAT work in and through me.  He will use this experience  to bring my heart closer to His and to show me what He desires me to set my eyes upon.

The other night I was sitting at dinner with friends, and I made the following comment, "I just want a husband whose heart is as passionate for Christ as mine. They don't have to want to be as involved as me or anything. I'd be okay with that."  My friends mother's response was, "Well, why shouldn't he be?"

Later, leaving that conversation it became clear that I should not settle for less than what is commanded of me?  God should be first. Above anyone or anything that brings us pleasure, our eyes should be fixed on his master plan for us. He should be the purpose of our entire life.  Her comment made me realize that when I begin to lower my standards for myself, I also begin to lower my standards for what God wants for me.  What happens is we begin to seek our own desires.  We want things to happen on our time, in our comfort zone, and in our control.  

The other day I came across the following article.  It truly describes what a man of God looks like. It is a standard that I will not deter from.  God wants the best for me, and in return so should I.  Our hearts desire should be the same as His. I am worthy of this type of man because this type of man is created by God. ♥

Seven marks of a godly man - Chris Reynolds 
Men, it is never too late to stand up and be counted as one of the faithful in the Kingdom of God.

It should always be our goal to be a loving father and a faithful husband. In the Old Testament book of Job, Job, the author and the subject of the book,gives us seven characteristics of a godly man in chapter 31.

James Dobson said, "The western world stands at a crossroads in its history. It is my opinion that our very survival as a people will depend upon the presence, or absence, of masculine leadership in millions of homes. I believe, with everything within me, that fathers/husbands hold the keys to the preservation of the family."

Job is a man, who blessed the name of God in the mountains and the valleys of his life. He blessed God when he had plenty and he blessed God when he had nothing. Job did not waiver in his commitment to God.

From the life of Job, we learn that a godly man guards his morality(vs.1-4/9-12). A godly man keeps his behavior in check. He allows himself to be accountable for his actions. He reserves his sexuality for his marriage relationship. He does not give himself over to a lustful mind or visual satisfaction. A godly man models for his children the pattern of a man who is strong but pure.

From the life of Job, we learn a godly man protects his integrity (vs. 6-8). A godly man knows the value of his integrity before God, his wife, his family and his church. A man of integrity can be trusted in his words and actions.

From the life of Job, we learn that a godly man is involved in his community(vs.13-23/31-32). A godly man models the tender heart of Christ. A godly man understands that he has a responsibility to model Christ to his neighbors. One man said, "He hears the cries of the sick and visits them, feels the hunger of the starving and feeds them, sees the nakedness of the poor and clothes them. A godly man sees those who are imprisoned by addiction and seeks to free them."

From the life of Job, we learn that a godly man concerns himself with spiritual things (vs. 24 -28). I love the phrase, "A godly man never forgets who he is, whose he is, or where the meaning and power for life come from."

In the life of a godly man, his foundation is God.

Dr. Stew Webber, in his book, "Tender Warriors," writes:"Fathers and husbands need to learn faithfulness. Stand by your promises.Never, never let go no matter what. When marriage isn't fun, stay with it. When parenting is over your head, stay with it. When work is crushing your spirit,don't let it beat you. When the local church is overcome with pettiness, stay faithful, stay by it. When your children let you down, pick them up. When your wife goes through a six-month mood swing, live with it and be faithful to her... Be a man. Be faithful."

From the life of Job, we learn that a godly man controls his emotions (vs.29-30). A short emotional tirade can do a lifetime of damage. A godly man learns his triggers and learns to discipline his responses to situations.Emotions left unchecked will destroy a man's life and home.

From the life of Job, we learn that a godly man is not afraid of accountability(vs. 33-34). My friend, Eric Thomas, recently wrote, "Cracks in our character unattended create catastrophe in our conduct. So, I'm headed to my men's small group!" A godly man never denies that he is a sinner and in need of a Savior. He owns up to his brokenness. Proverbs 28:13 says: "He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy."

From the life of Job, we learn that a godly man is a faithful steward (vs.38-40). A godly man sees that everything in his life belongs to God, and he is only the manager. He realizes that the day will come when he will give an account of his management.

Job faced adversity and remained faithful to God. God blessed his faithfulness and He will bless yours. Take your family to church this Sunday!

My path to healing is keeping my eyes fixed upon God's love. It's knowing he will never fail me.  It's believing that God will reward me for my faithfulness and obedience. It's the hope that in His perfect timing and if it's His will for me, He will bring me my Godly man, one with the character of "Job". 

I will continue this race with my eyes fixed on the ultimate reward, not the rewards of this world but that of eternity.  I will continue running regardless of how smooth or bumpy the path may get.  Each experience is growth, and in my growth I get closer and closer to Christ

Dear God,

No matter what happens,

Give me the heart that is willing to obey You

 whatever  the cost may be.

Love, Me ♥