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!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

My home is my sanctuary

Tonight I am grateful for my home. As I sit in my bungalow, I can sense peace all around me. I see lights dimly lit. I smell a warm floral scent from my romantic candles. I feel the soft cotton from my orange, fuzzy throw. There is light chatter echoing out from the television as my husband and dog are peacefully sleeping in the other room. It's my little corner of the world. I appreciate it. I am happy here!

I am thankful for my physical dwelling. There are so many tonight that have no warmth, no food and no home. But GOD saw fit for me to have all this and more. It is my duty to honor God here. I earnestly try to make it a daily practice to keep Him right in the center of our dwelling, making sure He is comfortable here because I want Him to stay. He is welcome, and I appreciate His presence.

"He that dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust." Psalm 91:1-2

The longer I live, the more I realize how little it takes to truly be happy. My life is simple. There isn't much noise in my world, and I have few connections with the "unnecessaries". My lifelines link to my family and very few friends. I can sit back and thank God for all that I have because I know it comes from Him. I didn't have to fight, push, tug, or cheat my way through life. I realize that when I surrender, He opens Himself to me.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Where have I been? Let me expain...

Good evening my dear readers! As I'm sure you've noticed I have been completely MIA for the past 6 months! Well, if you would like to know where I've been, I have recently transitioned my career into the classroom. I am currently a 7th grade English/Language Arts teacher for the local public school district here in Indianapolis. Unless you're a teacher, or you are close to a teacher, you probably will not completely understand how time consuming and demanding this career can be- especially for first year teachers. Let me explain my story.

For the past 5 years I have sincerely considered going into teaching. It wasn't my initial career path and it definately wasn't something that I've always wanted to do. There are two people in my life who greatly influenced me on this decision. Those people are my grandmother and my sister- both middle school teachers (social studies and spanish). Although my grandmother is passed away and my sister is no longer teaching, watching them in their craft has been so delightful and inspirational. I would say their teaching styles- the way they gave their all to their students and their passion for educating youth- was contagious and I caught the bug. Like them, I wanted to give more- give back.

"But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold." Job 23:10 NIV

It had been a long journey getting in where I fit in. I found my avenue through The New Teacher Project (TNTP). If any of you have seen the news or paid even a little bit of attention to it, you know that there is a high demand for qualified teachers in the areas of English, Math, Social Studies and Special Education. When I heard about the opportunities to come into a teaching career through TNTP, I applied. After a long and tedious weeding out process, I made it through and was invited into the cohort as a Special Education/English teacher. An awesome incentive to the program is a paid for master's degree in teaching. (What a blessing!!!)

The next step was Summer Institute- a summer long "teaching bootcamp" (as my cohort members like to call it) that literally took up my entire summer, nearly minute for minute. I completed all of my student teaching in 4 weeks. They stretch your thinking, push you to the limit and take you to a level of calibur that is unbelievable. I taught math, so I was stretched in a subject area that I didn't like or know much about. But after that experience, I believe that it only extended my abilities and pushed me to become a more well rounded teacher. It was hard and long, but it was worth it. The information we gleaned from the intense training made us ever ready for the high demands of the classroom.

I am currently placed in the greatest middle school in the city (I'm totally biased!!!) I LOVE my students, appreciate my administration and love what I do! The hours are LOOOOOONG. And there are many days that I am completely wiped out, only to have to go to class at night. But it's so worth it! I love the feeling of being an inspiration to my students. And it's recipricated because my students inspire me too! We're learning together. My life is so full and I appreciate all of the endless support from my husband, family, friends and loved ones. I truly feel blessed to be in the classroom- educating the next generation. It's a privilage that I don't take for granted, and an honor to inspire the leaders of tommorrow.

With all that being said, as life slows down and I get more of a rythm I'll be posting more. In the mean time, keep me in your prayers and I'll do the same. Until next time...

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Choose better

I have been plagued with a situation for a while now. Finding myself consumed with the idea of it has caused me to be very unsettled and playing lots of mental chess. I find myself grumbling throughout the day about it and I just haven't been able to shake the thoughts that come over me.

Today in my reading I came across the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10 when Jesus came with his disciples to visit. Martha was in a bustle toiling over preparations and tasks while Mary sat at Jesus' feet. I can just picture it in my mind: Martha is washing dishes, straightening up the house, looking for finger foods to satisfy her company until dinner is being prepared. And I can also invision Mary who is quite content gleaning from every Word that Jesus spoke. Although Martha is a good woman, full of ambition and excellence, I do see her as a worrier. She concerns herself with matters that are unimportant and trivial. Like her, I sometimes do the same.

When Martha complains to Jesus about Mary's unconcerned attitude, Jesus replies:

"Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her." Luke 10:41-42

Wow! Just when Martha was hoping that Jesus would chastize Mary, He defends her! Mary had a revelation that Martha didn't. She understood that she was in the presence of the Saviour. She knew that her time spent with Him was much more important than tussling away at frivolous tasks. Mary chose better.

Today I want to encourage someone who is like me. To all the Martha's in the world, if you have been preoccupying yourself with unimportant situations and circumstances, readjust your priorities and put Jesus first on the list. Give your concerns and cares to Him- He's the only one who cares and has the power to fix it. Get lost at the feet of Jesus because only in Him will you find peace for all your chaotic circumstances.
Today, choose better. Choose Christ!