Tag: Writer

Even When It Hurts

Currently I am reading through Proverbs, I am seeking wisdom; wise counsel. I am trying to ensure that my life is pleasing to the Lord, and I want to ensure that I am grounded in His word. Verse after verse Proverbs tells us how we should live, how we should behave, how we should speak, and it is written very clear in its meaning; nothing is hidden in useless rhetoric. It says DO this DON’T do that.

As I am walking down this road of reflection and writing, there are instances from my past where I stood at crossroads and purposefully chose the wrong path. As Proverbs 12:15 states, “The way of a fool is right in his own in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.” One particular time of my life stands out very clear to me, I had reconnected with a friend from high school who did not know the Lord, and in the past had no interest in knowing Him. Also during this time I was in a romantic relationship which was not pleasing to the Lord. My friend from high school became my road dog , my ride or die, she would come to church with me on Sunday’s and party with me every other day. In my eyes, I thought I was being a great example to her because, “I’m getting her involved in church, introducing her to the gospel, as well as surrounding her with people who love the lord. I’m doing my Christian duty”. However, that is not what I was doing. I was showing her examples of how to be a hypocrite, how to behave on Sunday and still live in the world on Monday. This girl was desperately seeking the Lord and His perfect love, and I was running in the opposite direction. Almost 15 years later I can look back on that time in my life and think what were you doing? Why were you trying to please people and fit into a mold that wasn’t made for you; especially when the Bible explicitly tells us we are to be in the world but not OF the world. (Reference John 17:14-15). But 20 year old me wanted to belong. Praise the Lord this girl, my friend from high school, found solid friendships amongst my friends in the church and they actually showed her what the love of Christ looks like. They also showed her what life should look like when you are indeed living for the Lord.

During that time, a lifelong friend called me up and said, “ hey what are you doing?” Not in the sense of “How’s it going? Want to hang out?” but instead it was like “ You know better than this, what in the world are you doing with your life?” There was a desperation in that call, a pleading almost. She went on to tell me how we should be an example of Christ, especially to new Christians. I can only imagine how hard it was for her to make that phone call, but she was doing what we as Christians are called to do with our brothers and sisters in Christ. We are called to correct them. There were tears shed and I hung up hurt and angered by her corrections; I mean, who wants to be questioned about their actions. However, the weight of conviction was heavy on my heart. Now this story would be great if I could write to you all and say that her words stopped me in my tracks and turned me back to the cross, but that would be a lie. Instead, I ran a while longer and a lot faster from the path I was supposed to be on. Eventually I found my way back after a whole lot of heartaches and pain and through the Grace of God.

What I really want to touch on is the concept of gently correcting our brothers and sisters in Christ. Why is this so difficult for us to do? I believe today’s world has blinded us and made us timid when we are supposed to be focused and bold in our approach. We should not fear the reactions, but we should embrace them and in love correct them. We, and I include myself in the we, are so worried about offending others that we stay silent and don’t speak up when we should be the most vocal. Of course the immediate response is not going to be positive; what person is going to say, “thank you for pointing out my sins? “ No one! I most certainly didn’t say thank you that’s for sure. But ultimately it was for my own good I needed to be told what you’re doing is wrong. We are already facing a war from the world, and we need every soldier possible in this battle. I want my friends to be in battle with me, my battle buddies, not against me.

The important thing is how we do it. The Bible instructs us to be gentle in our approach as to be mindful in how we do it, and always correct in love. In order to achieve this boldness we must stay in prayer and ask for guidance. Galatians 6:1 “brothers, if someone is caught in sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently, but watch yourself are you also may be tempted.” How does the lord want us to approach the topic? What words does he want us to use? When should we approach our friends? When we follow the model we are given it will always work out for the good we just have to be patient and remain in prayer for our friends during the process.

Let’s Just Call This My 2017 Newsletter…Or something like that

It is officially a new year, and like many of you, I began to think about what changes I needed to make within myself and in my day-to-day life. In many ways, 2017 was the worst and the best year I’ve experienced in quite a while. I started off the year losing my job, a job that I had worked for almost 10 years; to say I was devastated and completely blindsided is and understatement. It was the first time since I started working at the age of 18 that I had been terminated. Immediately, I panicked because, well, I had bill to pay and no longer had a source of income. However, the panic was short-lived, and I did not dwell in this for several reasons. First, as I walked out of that building which had become my prison, that building which kept me away from my home more times than not, that building which made me compromise everything I believed to be right and wrong, that building which constantly made me feel less than; I felt an immediate release. I’ve never experienced that feeling of a weight being lifted, but I legitimately felt the stress from working in an environment which no longer brought joy to my life disappear. The tears quickly dried and I kept moving forward. Second, I have AMAZING friends and family that a strong believers and each and every one of them told me the exact same thing. They pointed out how unhappy I was in my position and reminded me that God had a greater plan for my life, something far greater than working in a job which made me miserable everyday. They covered me in prayer and gave me faith-based encouragement. I can not express how important it is to surround yourself with an army of believers; people who will pray for you and with you in not only your valleys, but also rejoice with you in your peaks.  Finally, during my time of unemployment (6 months), I actually took some overdue time to enjoy life.  I was able to go on vacation with my family for the first time in almost 5 years. it was great, although in the back of my mind I knew my time was running out and I needed to start seeking employment. I knew my money would eventually run out and the bills still have to be paid. To make this long story short, at the end of the summer I found a job and entered back into the work force. I currently have a job doing what comes naturally to me, but it is not my final job, this is only a stepping stone until I can make it to my next station in life.

Now that I got my little yearly recap out of the way, let’s talk about the here and now. A couple of weeks ago, I read a quote online that stood out to me. It said, “someone somewhere is depending on you to do what you were called to do.” When I read that I thought, dang, there could be someone out there waiting for me to stop messing around and actually start taking my writing seriously. Just for the record, I write quite often, but most of the time, it is fictional stories that I can never finish, because my vision of the story is never clear. I know that I have been given a gift, and it is well past time that I used that gift to uplift the kingdom of the Lord. I found this bible verse which sums that up neatly, 1 Peter 4:10-11 reads, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks they should do as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen”

This year, in 2018, I am not going to come up with some resolution to go on a diet or to start exercising, although I probably should, but I am actually giving myself a goal which is to embrace the gifts that I have been given from the Lord and use those gifts to bless others. In order to accomplish this task, it is going to take a lot of prayer and studying in the word as well as faith that I am on the correct path. Joshua 1:9 says “Have I not commanded? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” With that being said, I have plans to write and not just here on my blog, but actually a complete work and then take the necessary steps to get that work published. This biggest part will be to ensure that I keep my work God centered and seek Him 100% throughout the process of this. It shall be quite interesting as I have only written fiction and poetry.  Please pray for me during this time. I truly believe it is well past due that I embark on this journey. As always be blessed and stay tuned

REFUGE

Welcome Back Everyone!!!!!! It’s been a bit since I sat down in front of the screen and shared with you all. I’ve missed this! Hope everyone out there had a great holiday season and made it through the Inauguration in one piece and with some semblance of peace. (That is a conversation for another day, stay tuned).

Today, I want to talk about refuge with you all. Psalms 118:8 reads, “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.” So last night I was looking through my notebook and I read across this verse from a study I went through a couple of months ago, and this verse immediately jumped out at me. This verse has taken on a new meaning with me as my life has taken a huge turn over the past three days…”Take refuge in the Lord.” My first thought was, exactly what does the word refuge really mean, so of course I looked up the definition, and refuge is defined as, “a condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger, or trouble.” Then I went ahead and looked up trust, it is defined as firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.

Trust is a very fragile thing. When we place our trust in a person or an institute, we are giving away a part of ourselves. We make ourselves vulnerable to be hurt or blindsided by the decisions of another. As the definition states, it is a firm belief that you can rely undoubtably on this person. The above stated verse can now be read and understood to say, “It is better to seek shelter from trouble in the Lord instead of placing belief in the strength of man.” Here’s the thing about placing trust in another being that is not the Lord; just like you and me, this other person is human. This other person makes mistakes and also falls short of the glory daily. They are not capable of carrying the burden of complete trust, and the reason why is because everyone single person currently walking on this Earth is flawed. We live in an imperfect world, and everyone messes up.

I was dealt a terrible blow this week, I trusted in the institution which I worked to be fair in their dealings and decisions, but I quickly learned that was not the case. Based on their decision, I should feel completely broken, I should be quacking with fear, but instead I have an inner peace that can only be from the Lord. I am seeking refuge, shelter, in the Lord and I have complete trust that He will meet everyone of my needs. This is new for me. Not to feel stressed out and not to be falling apart with worry because for the first time in seven years I am without any type of employment and I have not one plan in place for my next job, but I am completely calm. If I’m honest, I have not been truly happy in almost four years. The level of discontentment was so loud at times that no matter what I did I could not quiet the noise. I was going through the motions everyday as a means to an end, and now I no longer have to do that. I can now seek what truly makes my heart happy, and truly seek out the plans that the Lord has for me. As Jeremiah 29:11 states, “For I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

I can now choose a new route to go down in life because I am no longer tethered to a place that is killing my spirit and made me question my value as a person. I know where my value lies, and it is not in the opinion of man, but with the safety of the Lord.

 

 

I’m Not Who I Used To Be

Praise the Lord I’m not who I used to be. I am no longer the girl who is seeking acceptance where ever it is given. I am not the girl who is seeking approval from the wrong type of people. I am now the woman who is secure in who she is as an individual. I am a woman who is stepping into her purpose. And I am a woman who is learning to listen in the quiet for direction from the Lord and discerning His voice from my own.

There was a period in my life that I was not living a life that I am particularly proud of. I was making decisions that I knew were wrong. Decisions that I knew my mother would disapprove of, and if my mother would disapprove of those decisions, then I definitely know they were not decisions the Lord would smile upon. During that period of my life, I did what I wanted and I did these things in order to “fit”in, but also to please a boy, who at that time, was not worthy of my affections. No matter what I did to hold onto him, it was never enough. You see it was not meant for me to be with him then or to even keep him.

Let me backtrack just a little bit, throughout high school and into college, I was extremely involved in church. I was in the youth group in high school and after I graduated I became a leader in the youth group and also started attending the College and Career group. I had a close group of friends who fiercely loved the Lord and I have to say life was really good; however, there was an inner curiosity inside of me about the “world” that tugged at me. The inner wild child, as my mother calls it, that was itching to break out, and when I started my first job after high school the doors to the outside world burst open and I went running through them. For the first time in my short life I was surrounded by people who were living in the world and did not have the constraints of the church holding them back from experiencing life. I don’t say this meaning that the church holds people back, but in my marginal experience, as a teenager, all I could see were rules. Rules telling me what I could and could not do, rules telling me what I should and shouldn’t say, rules inside my mother’s house that I felt were so strict that I was not allowed to live the life I thought I wanted. It did not take long for the lifestyle of my coworkers to start appealing to me, and along with that life came a boy who started whispering in my ear all the things that my young and naïve heart wanted to hear.

In the beginning, I tried to integrate him into my world, but it didn’t take long for him to pull me from my comfortable life into his chaotic and careless lifestyle. Like me, he was running from strict parents and a comfortable lifestyle and for whatever reason, we found each other and saw something in the other person that we thought we wanted. As Christians, we learn the importance of being equally yoked, and it probably took 10 years, my entire 20s, for me to actually learn and understand what that truly means. At the tender age of 20 I fell in love and we were not equally yoked. When I say I fell in love, I mean truly, madly, deeply in love. I fell with both eyes closed and a heart completely open. I walked blindly into a relationship that pulled me away from everything that I knew to be right and true. I stopped hanging with my friends and replaced them with his friends, I stopped spending time at the church and replaced it with late night kickbacks in empty parking lots. I gave away my innocence because it is what I believed I should do in order to prove my love to this other person. I did this against my better judgment because I knew it was wrong, I knew it was not what the Lord wanted for me, but I also believed it was what I needed to do in order to solidify and keep my relationship. Trust me when I say this, sex does not ensure you will hold onto someone, all it does is give your power away to another person. It ensures that this other person can hurt you more deeply than you can ever imagine.

That relationship did not give me what I thought I was seeking out of life and out of a partnership, it pulled me further and further away from the Lord. It pulled me from my family, from my friends, it compromised my morals, and it left me completely broken. More broken than I had ever been, up until that point, in my entire life. But praise the Lord, I’m not her anymore.

Have you ever prayed for the Lord to do something, left it at the Lord’s feet, and walked away trusting He will answer your prayers? Well, in my complete and total brokeness I prayed for the Lord to make me forget the love I had for this person. To take away the hurt that shattered my tender heart into a million pieces and then I left it. I’m not sure if I really 100% believed that something as big as this prayer could be answered. Everyday I got up, I went through the motions and I trudged through the days until one day the tears dried up and it didn’t hurt to breathe anymore. I no longer kept my phone next to me waiting for a message that would never come. I can’t give you an exact time line because honestly I don’t know how long it took, but one day I was talking to a friend who was there from the beginning to the end of the tumultuous relationship and she asked me if I remembered something I had said or done in the midst of this relationship and I tried to recall various stories she would tell me, and to this day I have no recollections of certain time spans within that relationship. That is when I realized just how BIG AND MERCIFUL my God is. That is when I saw how REAL my God is because HE answered my prayers. Praise the Lord He delivered me from the dangerous path that I was on, and I would love to say I learned my lesson right away, but that wouldn’t be the truth. I made a few more bad choices along the way, but that is part of my journey. Mistakes allow us to see God work in our favor, it allows us to rely on Him. That is the cool thing about the Lord, everyday we mess up and fall short of His glory and He loves us anyhow. He is standing by waiting for us to seek Him and seek His forgiveness. He loves us fiercely and unconditionally. I don’t have children of my own, but I see how my friends love their children, I know how my mother loves us, and it gives me a glimpse into how much our heavenly Father must love us, His children. He wants nothing more than for us to turn away from our sinful nature and seek Him. Matthew 6:33 states, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (NIV).

I will end the way I started, Praise the Lord I’m no who I used to be and thank you Lord for the promise of who I will be!

Remember Who’s Really In Charge

I keep going back and forth on if I should comment on this election or not. I should preface this by saying, that I am not the most political person. I don’t get caught up in the arguments on Facebook, and I rarely stand on a soapbox to give long drawn out speeches. However, in the past few days I have read such disturbing comments and post that it is getting increasingly hard for me to bite my tongue. When I say I’ve read disturbing post, it is coming from both sides of the spectrum. Somewhere along the way, we’ve thrown our morals and ethics out the window and it has become a free for all. People are getting diarrhea of the mouth, and they could care less who they offend with their words. When did we become so insensitive to the plight of others? Regardless of who is voted into the office, it does not give a pass to spew hate, and this did not just start 2 days ago, or even a year ago. (So please don’t twist my words around for your own agenda, this post is not to endorse one group over another)

As a country we are going through big changes, and regardless who won the office, today people would be feeling the same exact way. Why? Well because their candidate did not win, and they are upset about it. The problem is, people are in the streets and behind computer screens losing their minds, and how is this productive to our country? How is this making us better?

As Christians, we need to remember who is really in charge and who our true leader is. We do not serve man, but we serve an ever-loving God. Regardless of who is running the US, God is still on His thrown! We live in a country where we have been afforded so many freedoms that others do not. We are blessed beyond measure, and no we are all not going to agree on everything, but that does not mean that we begin to treat each other as less than because I voted differently than you. What we need to do is try and understand each other. My experiences in life are completely different that the next person. I see speaking on race relationships, and it breaks my heart. Some people can not see past their privilege to understand the strife of the next person.

Now I mention privilege, I am not going to say white privilege, I am opening up to American Privilege. This is the title of a song by an amazing singer songwriter Allen Stone, and it talks about this touchy topic. In America we have privileges that we shouldn’t take advantage of; however, we should also try to understand each other and understand that we are not all on the same journey, and we do not all have the same struggles. Our own privilege has blinded us to what is happening in the lives of our neighbors, and it has kept us from being compassionate Let’s be a little sensitive to one another and stop pointing fingers and name calling.

One verse I want to leave with you all before I sign off for the day is Deuteronomy 8:10 You shall bless the Lord your God for the good land He has given to you. As I stated before, regardless who is in charge of this country, we need to remember who governs our lives and that is the Lord.

Gaining the Unexpected

Today I had the thought, I’m not going to write anything today, but as I was going through my daily study, the message resonated in me to share with you all today. Today, I read about when waiting meets the unexpected. I’m not sure if I have mentioned what I am currently reading, but it is titled “Wait and See: Finding Peace in God’s Pauses and Plans” and the author is Wendy Pope. I HIGHLY recommend this book to you, it is blessing me in ways I never expected. So, in the insight portion, Pope asks the question, “Who has God unexpectedly brought into your life to help you as you wait?”

Well, at first, I thought, I just decided I was in a season of waiting a week ago, and no one has really come into my life to help me with this time as of yet. But, the more I thought about it, I realized, I have been in a season of waiting for longer than a week; I just cognitively  decided to be “actively” waiting within the past week. I began to think more about my life over the past year and a half, and I quickly realized that YES the Lord has indeed placed someone new in my life to help me as I wait.

I really hope she does not get upset with me for sharing her with the world, but the person the Lord placed into my life started as just my boss. I was her assistant, Leticia Morales. We have talked about this before, and I honestly think the Lord placed us in each others lives at the perfect time. She was going through her issues, and I was being placed into her store and I was struggling with finding my confidence again. I have known who Leticia was for many years, we’ve worked for the same company for almost 10 years and had mutual friends, however, I never actually knew her on a personal level. I hesitantly walked into her store and we sat down and talked. Over the days, weeks, and months, we grew a new friendship, and kind of became each others rocks through some difficult times in each of our lives.

I value this woman, and she has become my hero over the past year. Many of you know, and others don’t, but my birth father passed away in March. After he passed, I lost my joy for a little bit. I put on a brave face for everyone around me and went on with my life until I sat across the desk from Leticia and bawled my eyes out, and was more emotionally raw with her than I have been with another person in a long time, and she let me feel. She did not judge me, she did not give me any meaningless words to try to make me feel better, she just let me feel. That was the day that I realized, she is more than just my boss, this woman is my friend, and she has an amazing heart. We share our faith with each other, and that is such an awesome feeling to be working side by side with someone who shares the same beliefs with you and you are able to talk about it freely and listen to worship music while completing inventory counts.

Around 4 months ago, my dear friend was diagnosed with cancer and started going through treatment. Throughout this season of her life, her spirit has shown stronger than any other time in her life. I called her one day, just to check on her, and she said you know, I’m not going to complain because this is part of the process that I have to go through to get through this, and the Lord is taking care of me. Those words shook me deeply, because she could have complained and cried and told me all the things that she was actually feeling, but she responded positively. Right then and there, I saw the strength that was inside of this woman. Also, in the midst of all of this, I called her with my problems, and she gave me such an encouraging word that continues to resonate with me.

God placed Leticia in my life and I did not even know it was part of his plan. Before I even recognized I was in my season of waiting He was preparing me. She has been her true self and carried herself with such grace and dignity when facing the biggest giants of her adult life. I am so blessed to be able to know her and call her my friend!

Waiting…

So, I’ve been reading all over social media today this particular quote “Regardless who wins the election tonight, tomorrow God will still be on the throne.” This is very true, whoever becomes our president tomorrow, does not change who we as Christians serve. It does not change our salvation, and it does not determine our blessings. However, tonight as I am sittings watching the news tonight and waiting impatiently to see who our next leader will be I can’t help but think, this is the ultimate symbol of waiting.

We oftentimes wait to see God move in our lives and we wait impatiently. We want to know what is going to happen, when it’s going to happen, and how it will happen. Although, by the end of the night, we will have an answer to the leader of our country, we should be aware that this journey did not just start today. These people have been on the trail for days, months, and years to get to this ultimate destination. In our lives, waiting on the Lord, is the same concept. Yes we want immediate gratification, but the Lord tells us that we must be still and wait for His perfect timing. Philippians 4:6 tells us, “Be anxious for nothing, but in prayer for everything…let your request be known to God.”

I’ve never though about what it truly means to be still. Yes, life is hectic, we constantly have things going on that interrupt the stillness, but I’ve never actually took time to think about being still in the Lord. It actually means taking time out of the day and embracing the quiet. Seeking His word and listening for His voice. When life gets too loud and the nonsense starts to creep in and take over, we need to know where to seek refuge. Times like today, we need to seek refuge in the Lord and lean not on our own understanding.
Waiting on God is NOT wasting time; it’s training time. It is our time to not doubt and complain, but it is our time to build our foundation and build our trust in Him.

Lord, help me to hear Your voice clearly. Help me to quiet all the noise and distractions and really get to know You on a more personal level. Lord help me to continually seek refuge in You and not in the world. Help me to be pleasing in Your sight.