Why blog?

It's therapeutic... specially for dorks like me who communicate better when they have the chance to process their thoughts, select their words, and write precisely what they want to say. As much as I'm a "talker", I stumble, stutter, and don't always say things right. English as a second language might have something to do with that (unfortunately, I don't think I could blog in Spanish... I lost my grammar in that language). I like to pour out my thoughts and leave it out there in the cosmos (or the world wide web) for other people to mull over...

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Spring is almost here!

And with it, a whole new season of change! I'm so stoked!

What God has been doing spiritually and materially in my life is beyond description. And I wasn't expecting it at all! Not this way.

In one way, I was praying and seeking God for a new dream. I went to an amazing, refreshing conference where I just had the Spirit poured into me in a new way - much needed, actually. I was tired of the same ol', same ol'. I received the affirmation that I am where I am, doing what I'm doing, with the people I am with, all exactly in the will of God and for His purposes. My children are mine because I am the mother fit for them. My husband is mine because I am the perfect wife for him. I'm at the job I need to be in because my personality and my abilities are needed in my work place. I was released from the striving; from feeling like I was falling short of who I was supposed to be, or wasn't good enough, or didn't quite fit. Since this conference I have finally begun to feel like I fit just fine; mistakes, quarks, and all.

I opened myself up to receive a new dream from God - whatever it may be. Something to pursue. I had no idea what it would be, I just told God that whatever He wanted to bless me with I would follow. I entertained a few things of my own but didn't resolve to desire anything and leave my heart a blank state. And for a few months - ok maybe about one, I just walked in contentment.

I slowly began to realize that a big dream of mine is the fulfillment of my children's dreams. I started listening to my kids and seeing that for the longest, Anakin wants to do Karate and Brielle wants to do ballet. I came across by what appears to be coincidence a sample package for Karate - $20 for 2 classes and a white belt. Anakin loved it! More than that, he looked GOOD at it. We signed him up beginning in April as a start. 3 days a week, 1 hour per class, for the next 30 months. And he is RESOLVED. He told me as we were driving home that he wanted to learn Korean instead of Spanish. I'm hispanic, so it's not an option (LOL) but I asked him why. He said, "Because I want to master Tae Kwon Do, and then speak really good Korean, and go to Korea and teach Karate over there, and be able to tell people about God." If that is what his God given dream is (and I know it's subject to change as he ages), I'm all for it! I am not going to do anything to discourage him or deter him from dreaming.

Next step: Brielle. Still working on that.

But as we were all praying about the pursuit of new interests and the finances to back it up, I was invited to my friend's house to get a free facial with Mary Kay products. I totally needed a new face. I LOOKED older and more tired than I felt. With 3 kiddos in tow, I enjoyed a few hours and felt (and looked!) so much better! It's like my face came alive but also my faith! Sharing what God has been doing with each other, loving on each other, just revived me.

I understand that men totally don't need this, but we women do: We need affirmations to survive. From each other. That's why we compliment each other, even more so sincerely. And while we may not ASK for them, we need to receive them back. We need to hear (and know) that we are good friends, good people, and that our unique beauty contributes SOMETHING to our surroundings. If you don't believe me, just leave a woman to be overlooked and see what happens; whether in her home or in her job, she will start to whither like an UN-nurtured flower. Bitterness grows, negativity grows, and soon she becomes the person people DON'T want to be around. See how a kind word can turn a person around too. I'm not making this up - it's biblical!

And for reasons probably too big to understand, instead of referring my friends to Penelope I signed up to be a Mary Kay Consultant myself. This has not been without it's battle, of course. The enemy is full-force, but at least I know I'm doing something that bugs him! On top of a whole bunch of little issues, is my own voice of self-doubt and fear - rising it's ugly head, as strong as ever: I've failed at a business before. I'm shy. I don't wear a lot of make up on a regular basis anyways. Money is tight. And I have an excruciatingly difficult time initiating a conversation with someone I don't know.


This is all the more reason why it's something God is doing and not entirely my own. Because it will take God to help me, I can't do it by myself. I'll have to partner with Him to overcome myself. And I already see Him helping me in baby steps - little by little, not more than I can handle. For every lie of the devil there is a Bible verse to encourage me. This is a lesson I should've learned in Oklahoma but I was too immature then. All in God's timing though. "The pain it took for the rose to blossom was greater than the pain of staying budded forever." I have to grow through this because there are other dreams counting on this. Not very big dreams, but important none-the-less.

And I'm seeing Him do something every day to bring confirmation to this direction. Every day. It is edifying my faith.

I had a dream that we were in some sort of war. It was a battle that was actually taking place in the sky; we were on fighter jets and such. Men were flying, women were the guns. We were fighting side by side and for a moment it felt like I was in Paul's dream and not mine! Then our planes exploded and we fell - kind of floated - and landed in the ocean. Unharmed, I swam upward past all the beautiful sea life and surfaced. I saw many of us surfacing and it was a mob of us in open water. Then a huge wave surged, one I knew I had no way of going under or over (and I'm pretty familiar with ocean waves, I've been swimming off the coast of south Florida since I was 6!), and it kind of rolled us all. But it didn't drown us; it was as if we could breathe through the wave. It was fear-inspiring and yet I wasn't afraid for my life, as more and more waves pushed us and then in the horizon I could see land. And then as I'm in this vivid picture of the waves pushing us forward I realized I was dreaming and I asked God, "What is this?" I heard Him audibly respond in my dream, "It's the wave of My Holy Spirit; My mercy." And in the dream, even as I woke up, I was just praising God and saying, "Yes! Lord, bring it on!"

Over the past couple of days, I've been praying and reflecting on this dream, noticing more and more things:
#1 - I couldn't identify the enemy as a specific group of people. Just like you wouldn't tell which side I was on. It was a mob of teenagers and young adults in casual clothes and every day styles fighting against people suited in black and with face masks on. This wasn't a war against another country or even just fought in the US. I saw people on my side of so many different colors and ethnic backgrounds - I can remember their faces even today... oriental, black, indian... And I believe that God was showing me this is our spiritual war-fare, not against people but against the prince of the air. Every believer united, married couples fighting together, all of us doing our role! More so, there was no "star", no "super-hero", no one person more important or more qualified than the other. Praise God! Let His church cross denomination, race, and culture and rise up to fight!
#2 - The wave of God's mercy moved us all to safety, to land. God's Holy Spirit was directing us when we would not have any idea which direction to swim in. And it moved us in such a way that we could not out-swim it and do our own way. And there was such peace and joy in surrendering to the waves! And we ALL went. It looked to me like revival! I kept singing the phrase from "How He Loves Us",
And He is our portion and we are His prize
drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes
if His grace is an ocean, we're all sinking.
And heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss
and my heart turns violently inside of my chest
I don't have the time to maintain these regrets
when I think about the way...
That He loves us, oh how He loves us...

I wish I had a time-frame for this dream. I've never considered myself a prophet. But God has spoken to me in dreams, more so when I was a lot younger. It had been years before I had any fresh revelation from Him or any ... indication that He was in a relationship with me! I just praise Him. I seek His Word, I pray, and I find myself listening closely for cues or ... points that He wants to make in every part of my life right now.

I do not have a direct revelation as to how starting a Mary Kay business could be directly related with a personal revival in my walk with God. It somehow is a ministry. It definitely is something I have to hold God's hand through. But I am loving this! And my kids are loving the joy and the hope in me too.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

3/4/12 Sermon

Not original AT ALL. Pastor Gary was bringing a WORD, and so was Amanda with her song, and Dave with his testimony, and Mary and Derrick with their song... so it was just... Something I want all of my friends to know, whether they were at service or not!

The Dreamer - Genesis 37

2 This is the story of Jacob. The story continues with Joseph, seventeen years old at the time, helping out his brothers in herding the flocks... And Joseph brought his father bad reports on them.

3-4 Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons because he was the child of his old age. And he made him an elaborately embroidered coat. When his brothers realized that their father loved him more than them, they grew to hate him—they wouldn't even speak to him.

5-7 Joseph had a dream. When he told it to his brothers, they hated him even more. He said, "Listen to this dream I had. We were all out in the field gathering bundles of wheat. All of a sudden my bundle stood straight up and your bundles circled around it and bowed down to mine."

8 His brothers said, "So! You're going to rule us? You're going to boss us around?" And they hated him more than ever because of his dreams and the way he talked.

9 He had another dream and told this one also to his brothers: "I dreamed another dream—the sun and moon and eleven stars bowed down to me!"

10-11 When he told it to his father and brothers, his father reprimanded him: "What's with all this dreaming? Am I and your mother and your brothers all supposed to bow down to you?" Now his brothers were really jealous; but his father brooded over the whole business.

Let Your Spirit awaken the dreams of Your people.

Don't try to have your own dream, because you will only be trying to fill the whole in your heart. Instead, ask for God's vision. His dream will not only fill the void in your heart, but also that of the world!

Every person in your family has a specific God-given, unique purpose here on Earth. When we welcome the favor of our Heavenly Father, we begin to dream, because we realize we are chosen.

God chooses people in spite of their dysfunctional families or their flaws. We just need to put on the coat of His favor and His righteousness.

- the favor and support of their parents releases the destiny of the child.

- its what God the Father did when Jesus was baptized and the dove came on Him.

- Pray God's will for each child.

You won't believe God's dreams or you until you believe God's love for you.

God's love is offensive (John 3:16, "This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life." ) ...

and defensive... (Romans 8:35-39 "The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ's love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture... None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I'm absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God's love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.)

He pursues us, loves us, and protects us.

His thoughts towards us are precious.

I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Ephesians. 4:24 "And then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you."- our "coat". We need the fullness of the Holy Spirit to cover us. The coat gives us the right to dream out loud.

A private dream is a dead dream. Submit to God, to His process. Share it with a friend, ask for prayer help. Journal through it - write it down.

Warrior Bride Awaken

I had so much poured into me during the Warrior Bride Awaken Conference this weekend at our church that I don't know what to do with it other than to share it. I have to be honest, I enjoyed a lot of the time around the conference too - in the kitchen, or on the pew, with my friends.

So as praise and worship was going there was this release of dreams and ideas and I just pulled out my Blackberry and started writing as furiously as I could - not quite sure how or what to do with all of it, but excited because I haven't had a dream in a long time. Not much of anything sparked my interest or elicited my pursuit... the last time I felt a dream was when I wanted to be a vet tech and that fizzled out behind the reception desk. For the longest I wondered if the dream fizzled out due to opposition, but this weekend I was sparked alive by tons of other things I wanted to do with my life and working at a vet clinic didn't even cross my mind.

And it's ok, everything is in seasons. There's a season to focus on career and there's a season to focus on parenting... there's a season for everything and right now I feel I'm entering into a season to focus other passions and desires that I had buried or neglected due to being a non-stop industrial machine of housekeeping and working.

So some of the things I jotted down were:
Daughter-Mother dance?

Drama/dance ministry with kids after school, like in some sort of afterschool program?

If Aspen were a therapy dog, what would we do together?

A degree from Bible college/university? In Counseling? Bible? Performing Arts?

Lord, give me my dream for now, for 3 years from now, for 5 years from now. Give me dream and passion to pursue You and further Your kingdom work.

Hebrews 12:1-3

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses

We are surrounded by the men and women of faith in Hebrews 11, who are spurring us on because what they saw in pieces they testify we can now experience fully!

let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.

We have the power to just repent and throw off everything that has us tangled in the things not from God. Why? So we can just run!

And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,

Run with perseverance. Don't strive, wrestle after it, or struggle with it. Just keep running! Running doesn't give you the chance to second guess, look back, or pick up the things you've tossed off.

fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.

Fix your eyes on Jesus! He overcomes the obstacles that could slow you down with his gaze of love.

Lord forgive me for not fighting through my illness to do Walk for Life, or coming to pray with 40 Days For Life. I understand my faithlessness now.

For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God

I am the JOY that helped Jesus endure the cross. He scorned shame - He defeated it, doesn't want me to feel it or act like I have anything to be ashamed of. He only looks at me with JOY.

I'm not an orphan anymore. I have lived all my life as if I had to raise myself. I have a Daddy to nurture me and build me up. He will be with me and support me on my dream and help me grow. I can build my dream in His lap, hash out what it would look like. I need to go through my schedule and see where I can spend time with Him... Probably in the morning.