Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Magnolia Trees

Last April my family and I went for a walk around the neighborhood, something we frequently do to get a little exercise and fresh air. Often as we walk we gather ideas for home improvement and gardening, and just to see what the neighborhood trends are. As we walked I could smell the satisfying smell of the short lived magnolia blooms- the warm musk embracing each home. As we continued to walk I noticed several trees in bloom and longed for a tree of my own. They remind me of my grandparents. Daily visits to their home in the spring made for cherished, aroma filled memories collected in my heart of hearts that poured out even deeper appreciation for days gone by.

Upon finishing our walk, with lowered eyes and a bit of murmur, I made plans of buying a tree of my own. Just then the smell reached me once more and I looked up to see a magnolia tree in full bloom in my front yard! I could not believe it was there all this time. Instantly I felt some shame as to not recognize the blessing in bloom right before my eyes.

I believe God spoke to me that day. The Holy Spirit reminded me to look up and see the blessings before me. When we look down we encourage fail our hearts into missing the panoramic view of what God has in store for us. The enemy can use lowered eyes and ungrateful hearts to keep us from our God-sents. I was reminded of this again on this very week. I had come home Monday evening from a long day at work after a very long and tedious travel home from Puerto Rico. My grandfather passed. He will be missed greatly- Puerto Rico will never be the same. But maybe it doesn’t have to. Maybe God wants me to continue appreciating the days gone by, and to work on building more memories for my own family. When I reached my driveway I looked up once again to see my beautiful magnolia tree with pink and white leaves broken from the bud. They have been waiting for my arrival. But this time, I let a single day go by without gazing upon the beauty of the blessing before me.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Cold Coffee

It is 8:00 pm and I finally have time to sip on the same cup of coffee I poured this morning.

I can't complain. Life is great. I have a new baby, a loving husband and a cozy home. Juggling life can be hectic, but somewhere in the chaos I find peace.

But I haven't always.

I can remember in my early 20's having a never ceasing knot in my stomach. I was a worrier and I panicked- a lot! I never understood people who weren't moved by stress. I thought them to be lazy or unaware of the importance of having everything in place all of the time. Looking back, all of the things that I used to stress about just seem to always work out by the grace of God.

I'm learning the peace that comes from letting things flow and be. If I stay in communion with God, make known to him my praise and prayers everything has no choice but to be ok!

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. -Philippians 4:6

So sip the cold coffee. Don't worry about how cold it is, how warm you wish it was. Shoot, throw some ice cubes in it! Enjoy the moment. You'll find that it's just as good now as it was earlier!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The King is coming!

The same star that led the wise men to the baby King Jesus 2,000 years ago apparently has returned and will only be here for a few days. (See original article here)

What does this mean for the us? Well, I can't help but think about the star's original purpose which was to announce the birth of Jesus and lead worshipers to Him.

“Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”  -Matthew 2:2

But why now?

Bright as ever in all of its splendor, I believe the star is revealing the same message. Simply put, "OUR KING IS COMING!" We don't have much longer. This world is not our home. Make a way for His presence in your heart, turn inward and prepare your soul. This is truly exciting! He's coming back again!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Let Me Shine- Salvador

The "Yes" Series- Post #1 "The First Lesson"

I'm giving God "yes."

Not a yes. Not a "yeah", or even an "o.k."

But a plain and simple "yes."

See, I'm gaining this new revelation on what it requires when I tell God yes. It's really hard for me to explain the thoughts going on inside of my head and spirit because I'm still figuring this thing out. I believe God is taking me through a serious of lessons in order for me to fully understand what it means to surrender and give Him all. Therefore I must write.

If you're like me, your entire "church" life you've heard pastors, teachers, leaders talk about giving over your will to God and pursuing His desire for your life. We even sing songs in church proclaiming a "Yes, Lord" but often times miss the true extent of which this declaration really means. We do it because it feels good and it sounds good, and God forbid we don't look the part and fit in with all the other half sincere yes's. (By the way, we've got to really get past that! I mean, really. Have you ever seen the reaction of saints when pastor requests us to do something that isn't comfortable? Even the little things. Like when we asked to stand or change the order of service. People get completely bent out of shape. We have conditioned our hearts to disrespect leadership and the flow of the Spirit when we get a huffy puffy spirit. I'm guilty of this as well. Just saying...)

I'm in a season of my life in which I need to be useful for God's complete purpose. I'm getting past doing what I've always done in the church because it's a new season and level I'm entering into. There has to be room made for others to fill positions and ministries. I truly believe in a "right people, right places" philosophy even if I have to get out of the way.

So I'm moving, so that God can move in me. I don't want Him to have to shove me out of the way because I'm serving in disobedience. (That's kind of an oxymoron, huh? Serving in disobedience isn't true servanthood.)

LESSON #1- Proclaim the Yes

But this time, sincerely mean it. That means, being open and willing to completely change your agenda, your plans, your level of comfort, your friends, your family, your time, your feelings to submission to the willed Yes's calling, strategy and agenda. This came to my spirit so strong. It seems hard, but really it's just a simple decision to fulfill the calling no matter what. I'm learning there can be failure in this, and it may take a few times to get it right. But if your heart is fixed toward God, He can work out the kinks.

I have a LOT of kinks. And right now, I am battling the struggle in my heart that remembers all of my flaws. This makes me want to feel unworthy of the call. But, I am comforted in Paul's words that says,

"It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. 17 For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden." -Romans 9:16-18

I'm thankful that I am not one of the ones He has chosen to harden, but that His mercy drenches me daily. His mercy is what keeps me, sustains me and blesses me to continue on this journey of giving Him a complete Yes.

Thank You, Father, for this journey.

Friday, January 10, 2014

2014- Let's do this!

Each new year brings new, refreshed hope. Looking back there is absolutely NOTHING to complain about from 2013. God is, as always and forever, AMAZING. I appreciate His goodness towards me. But with every transition there is a time to sit back and reflect on the things of old as we await the new. With this in mind, I want to reminisce on some of the awesome things that came from 2013.
  1. Morning Prayer- God had been dealing with me greatly on "commanding my morning." I've been pushed to immediately, almost ritually, go directly into prayer as soon as I hit the alarm clock. This has had its challenges (I'm not a morning person- but I'm coming out of that... kinda?) yet over time it almost became a part of me... just something I do! Kinda like when you brush your teeth or fix a cup of coffee. It was jus something I do without much thought or consideration because I know how much I need Jesus in my everyday life. Living without Christ is pointless and meaningless. There's no direction and goal. There's no focus. These are all things that I need daily and I know that taking just a few minutes to set my day in motion can do so much more in my favor than trying it on my own. Morning prayer folks- It works!
  2. $ Moohlah Saved!- I can say that I not only reached my financial goal for the year- I superceded it by nearly double than I had planned and expected. It wasn't easy and it took a lot of hard work and will power. One thing I learned is that it is definately ok to tell yourself "no"...sometimes!
  3. Weight Lost- I finally reached my ideal weight range! I am so excited about that. It wasn't much, but it was what I needed to push me to the next athletic, health and fitness level. It took LOTS of cardio, LOTS of weights, LOTS of sweets restraint, but I made it! I even found some new things that I took a liking to that replaced some of my old cravings. In 2013 I lost a total of 13lbs. Since I've been married I've lost 18lbs. That is so cool! Oh, by the way, I beat my 5k running time by 5 minutes... WHAT?!?!?
  4. Mustle Gained-February of this year is one year exactly since I've revamped my entire weight lifting routine and experience. It's more extreme. More focused. Definately intentional. I've learned about the mustle groups in a new way. My body feels more aligned and I can feel my body crave a good weight lifting session. Overall, I feel so much more in "tune" with my body and it's needs. Gradually, God is allowing me to understand the importance of taking care of this fragile temple in His honor. I am thankful for this progressive revelation of the body.
  5. I finished my first year of teaching! Nuff said!

So there are a lot of things to look forward to in 2014. I plan on doing way more yoga and cross training besides running. I'll also be graduating with my Masters Degree in May (Whoo-hoo! Glory to God!). But there is so much more! I'm not ready to share it just yet. Trust, when the blessings come you'll know it! Just look out for me because 2014... I'm coming for you!

And by the way, in case you're discouraged about anything... just know that God has you in HIS hands and that He loves you more than you know. Be blessed!