Mission Trip: VBS

My most favorite aspect of this mission trip was being able to interact with the children of Tizimin during Vacation Bible School.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0283.JPGThis wonderful lady, who has literally been sent by God, for these children heads up the school/church responsible for their formation. Her name is Magdalena Saldana. She has the spirit of a lion. The will of an eagle. The grace of a peacock. The love of a mother. During her time with DCI, she has lead more than 100 children into her facility to present the gospel of the Lord. The children who attended VBS instantly gave her the respect and love that she deserved. She touched my heart. As an educator, I praise people who devote their lives to the children. For her, what better way than through the teachings of Jesus Christ.

DSC_0394DSC_0451For four days we interacted with more than 90 children from all walks of life. Micah and I were in charge of registering these kids before they entered camp. We were the first people they saw. Some of them were confident, shook our hands, told us their names, and walked on in ready for the day to begin. Others seemed lost, confused, and scared. Some children where homeless. Some children didn’t have parents.

It was a tug at my heart, when Magdalena ask a little boy why he had been absent for so long. He responded, “our house has been ceased and right now we are kind of living where ever we can.” (Deep sigh) It was difficult to hear these types of things. It was difficult to see some of them walking barefoot. To see some skinny. To see runny noses.

But then my heart would rejoice when I would hear a giggle. When I would see a smile.

“He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.” Matthew 18:2-6
Many times I have heard it said that one must be childlike to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. I didn’t quite understood what that meant, but seeing the children of Tizimin worshiping Jesus, singing, dancing, being carefree in His name made me think that it really didn’t matter what I wore, where I lived, what my life circumstances were. If I worshiped Jesus without a care in the world, like these children, I literally had nothing to fear. And that’s what these kids where, fearless. Interested. Eager. Willing. They wanted to learn. They wanted to know more about the man who died to save them.
After registration, the kids danced and singed. Then came studying. Our group taught lessons on Esther, the king’s armor, love, and understanding. Micah and I would sit in the back and observe them. It’s like they were hungry for love.
1On the second to last day, one of the group leaders ask Micah and I to lead the last lesson. I instantly agreed without even consulting Micah. Fear suddenly paralyzed me. And my good friend insecurity had a lot to say. But Micah, my love, instantly reminded me of how capable I was and with his help we presented the 10 Commandments to the children. Micah presented the ice breaker with a game of “Micah dice” (Simon says, or Micah says). Then I transitioned with “how do we know what God says?” “How do we know what to do?”
There I felt the Holy Spirit guiding me, helping me, giving me the confidence and the will that I needed to the point where 100% of the children were engaged. High five Ms. Rojas and thanks for the help Mr. Womacks.
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The rest of the time with the kids was spent on various activities, like arts and crafts, painting, coloring, praying, playing with sports equipment. Micah’s interaction with the children touched my heart as well. Many of the boys loved him. He was so good with the children. Maybe they saw what I see everyday in him–his good and noble heart. This boy, Brian, was our favorite. He often times wouldn’t leave without saying goodbye, hugging me and high- fiving Micah.
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The boys would literally gravitate towards Micah, I felt so proud of him.
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I felt a deep connection to this little girl, because Micah pointed out she looked like me. I agree. Ever since then, we gravitated towards each other.
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Micah and this little guy kept secrets and it was adorable.
VBS was inspiring to say the least. I felt like I went in thinking I was going to set an example, be uplifting, to teach, and to give, but in reality these children taught me to strive to be better. To self grow. To self love. To love without measure beyond the circumstances. Now my goal in life is to have a heart like these little ones.
Tomorrow, I’m going to share with you all about the eye exams we participated in.
Until then and as always.
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Mission Trip: the beginning of greatness

Hey everyone! Long time no talk.

I truly apologize for being away for so long.

However, I’m excited to share why I’ve been gone from the blogger world for more than three weeks. I was on a mission trip with Micah. We traveled to Tizimin, which is in the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. To say the least, it was extraordinary.

For the next week or so, I’m going to dedicate my posts to sharing how God impacted my life, my relationship with Micah, and my desire to be a better Christian.

For you see, behind all the clothes I always put on Jesus’ Armour.

It was a summer filled with love and I only have God to thank for his continuing blessings. I want to begin by sharing the number one reason for this trip. I gifted this mission to Micah this past Christmas. It was an attempt to further center our relationship towards the Lord. Both Micah and I want Jesus to take the wheel and guide us on our journey as a couple. And Jesus never fails because through this mission, Micah and I grew spiritually. It was truly amazing to see the Holy Spirit in the mist of our relationship as we served the people of Tizimin.

Secondly, this blog is almost always going to be geared towards clothes and fashion. It’s  going to be about the things that make me feel good on the outside, but sometimes, I want to be able to share what’s inside of me.

For as far as I can remember, I have had this passion for serving the Lord. When I was younger I didn’t realize that serving was going to take me on mission trips. It started with an inner desire to explore and see the world, but to also give God something bigger than me. My attention.

It all started in Peru, from there, God was all I saw and I wanted to cling to that feeling. Peru will always be dear in heart. Yet when I try to understand what God wants for my life, I think of Tizimin.

I went looking for God in Peru and I found Him, but He took me to Tizimin where He answered what was in my heart.

“Cast all of your worries on HIM because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

When I traveled to Tizimin, I was worried, but not because I was going to be called out of my comfort zone. I was worried about not properly surrendering myself to God’s will. For quite sometime now, I’m utterly worried I missed God’s major plan for me. I ask day in and day out if I’m living according to His will. Am I truly being who God wants me to be? Are Micah and I, as a couple right for each other? Are we ready for marriage?

Yet while in Tizimin, I felt God. He answered my prayers.

“For we are HIS handiwork, created in Jesus Christ for the good works that GOD has prepared in advance, that we should live in them.” Ephesians 2:10

Needless to say, I feel beyond blessed and thankful to be His.

Today, I want to briefly explain the area we were in and touch based on what exactly Micah and I did while on the mission.

We arrived on July 8 in Cancun and drove about two hours west into the jungle towards Tizimin, a city of about 50,000 people. These people are caught between traditional Mayan upbringing and Christianity. For a week, Micah and I participated in Vacation Bible School, where close to 90 children, from all walks of life attended. During the evening, we walked the streets of the city to share the gospel and invite people to a free eye exam that would be held towards the end of the week. Lastly, we conducted a small worship service and shared prayer with those who needed healing. At the end of the day we handed out glasses to those who had needed them during the exam portion.

I can remember my heart twisting each time I saw someone in need and all I could offer was hug. I can remember Micah holding my hand when he saw my emotional face during trials. I can remember my heart pattering after seeing the smiles of children. It’s a unique experience that is so undesirable yet so endearing it has to be told.  I hope I can explain myself as much as possible.

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This mission trip was made possible through DCI Missions, Dream Center International. It was an organization I found online through endless hours of research. Missionaries Bill and Kathy Craver have been conducting missions work for more than sixteen years. They oversee two missionary training campuses, one in the Yucatan of Mexico and one located in Belize C.A. Throughout the year they lead teams to impact the lives of indigenous people.

It was amazing to see how God has worked in these people lives not only to move them, but also to show how great our Lord is. It was inspiring.

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This was the main entrance to the camp where we stayed. There were a total of 24 people on the trip. There was a large group from Florida, a family of four from Georgia, a group of wonderful ladies from Texas, Micah’s solo roommate from Tennessee, and Micah and I from Kansas. It was also uplifting to see how everyone came together for the same purpose.

45Maybe I’m being bias because I’m a teacher, but some of my favorite moments where spent with the children. Yes I liked playing with them, coloring, laughing, and doing arts in crafts, but I especially enjoyed watching them worship Jesus. I was filled with tears when I saw them praying to the Lord. If anything, they truly left a mark on me. I will forever remember them.

IMG_5137IMG_5149Working alongside Micah was one of the greatest experiences during this trip. I was so proud of him and fell in love with him even more. More than that I was touched by the people of the area. It was completely humbling to be able to give these people the gift of sight through God’s handiwork.

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And at the end of the day, God always graced us. There’s so much I want to put into words, but I simply can’t. It’s not because I’m unwilling; I just can’t find the words to truly explain what I was feeling during this week. This is something, I now look back on, and think wow I was there. I lived that. God was with me. I’ve grown. Micah and I have grown.

Tomorrow I’m going to talk about the children and VBS. Until then and as always.

For we are dust

It’s Ash Wednesday.

Lately, I’ve been having a hard time explaining who I am, as if feeling who I am is so wrong. Mostly it’s because, if I am, who I am; then it might not make others happy. Then there’s resentment. No on wants that. No one wants to cause it. So I’ve been avoiding reality–like the plague.

But I feel it coming. And there’s nothing I can do about it, because this is who I am. I am a woman of God. He’s taken me under his wings and has sheltered me with everlasting love and mercy. My God is forgiving. I am also Catholic.

When I was younger I thought my faith was exhausting. When I was a teen I realized it was a disciplined practice. Now, I view Catholicism as water in a very hot and desperate desert. I need it in all it’s abundant flow.

What better way for me to be myself than through sacrifice, penitence, and prayer. For me, Ash Wednesday represents why I need Jesus so much. As I begin the Lenten season, I’m reminded of Jesus’ great love for me. That helps me cope with my preconceived ideas.

I think of the word sacrifice and wonder why Jesus sacrificed so much for me, for who I am? He gave up his breath, his mother, and his life so that I could live. In that sense I ought to live for who I am.

Yes I’m a Catholic woman trying to live life rightfully, honestly, and faithfully. I must also accept that I’m a sinner, that I make mistakes, and that sometimes I can’t handle the consequences. I must also accept that I’m fun, loving, caring, and helpful. On the other hand, I’m mean, insecure, thoughtless, and crazy.

I like my cake and I like to eat it too.

But, Jesus calls me to love the cake, to savior it, to admire it. He wants me to pray that baking that cake goes well. But at the end of the day, he wants me to sacrifice the cake. In doing so, my exhausting and discipline practice will go towards a greater good.

I want to be like that. I’m trying to be like that.

The ash reminds me of who I am, but the cross also reminds me that I am His.

That’s who I am, apologetically.

This Love

When it comes to falling in and out of love, I’ve done things I’m not proud of. I’ve been hurt, terribly, but I’ve also hurt others out of spite.

However, there is one thing I actually did well, and that was falling in love with Micah!

My love life hasn’t always been easy, but with Micah, even fighting is worth every moment. He and I are completely different. Some of those differences are evident. We come from different worlds and we were raised under different circumstances, but all the while these things make us appreciate one another. He’s sentitive, gentle, and kind, while I’m harsh, intimating, and almost at a glance mean. It’s true, couples balance each other out, and we are no exception.

I was a fool to think that I knew what love was before I meet Micah, oh I was deeply mistaken. I’d gladly go through every ounce of heartbreak again if I knew God had this wonderful person waiting for me at the end of the storm.

Yesterday, Micah and I celebrated 10 months of dating. Yes we’ve only been dating for 10 months. It doesn’t seem like much, but in reality it seems like such a lifetime. Every day, I fall more and more in love with him for so many reasons, I decided to make a list. The list will lead up to No. 1 and the most important aspect of my love for Micah.

10. His personality: Micah loves to laugh at his own jokes and while at times they are beyond ridiculous, I’m quiet fond at them now.

09. His smile: Sometimes when I’m not looking, I’ll turn and just catch him smiling at me, that smile is the best one. It literally weakens me. It makes me feel giddy. Oh man and if there’s a wink to follow (and there usually is) I’m a goner.

08. The way he listens: I’m a talker. I gossip, I complain, and I vent. Bless Micah for always listening even when I have to talk about the most unthinkable girl situations.

07. How much he cares: And not just about me, but how much he cares about his job and students, his family, his friends, his athletes, and his person as a whole.

06. His good looks: Micah is easy on the eyes. His eyes sparkle. I could stare into them for hours on end. His lips are to die for. I could watch them for hours, especially when he’s talking about some sporting thing. His looks makes me feel insecure and at times vulnerable, but he unwillingly makes me feel confident too.

05. His drive: Whether he knows it or not, his will to grow into a better person motivates me to do the same. He’s so driven and passionate about his future. He’s a man with goals and in turn his attitude about life helps me challenge myself.

04. He’s learning Spanish: English is my second language hence my parents don’t speak English fluently. It’s tough on Micah. It’s on my parents. But together the three of them are inter-connecting by the grace of God. It’s so endearing to see him interacting with my parents in this way. We practice Spanish verses and words from-t0-time because he wants to learn. For that reason, I’m so grateful for him. His effort to make my parents feel special by doing this makes me love him even more.

03. He’s attentive: But, not overbearing. It’s just right and as if by magic he knows when I need him and when he just needs to stand back. He gives me space, but he also shows me he cares even when he’s 110% busy. There isn’t a part of each day where I’m unsure if he’s thinking about me.

02. He’s proper: Micah’s got good manners. He’s respectful and also very polite. He knows his rights from his wrongs and isn’t afraid to point out when I’m failing. He’s got a good head on his shoulders.

01. He’s a man of God: If there’s one advice I can give a girl looking for their Prince Charming it would be to look for a man who loves Jesus. Through Micah’s devotion to the Lord, I can see how genuine, truthful, faithful, and loving he really is. He loves Jesus and the word and strives everyday to be a disciple. In turn, he leads me and my faith to the cross. Any preconceived ideas my mind may make up are quickly diminished because of Micah’s faithfulness in Jesus. This is the main reason, I fell so much in love with Micah. It’s true what they say a man who loves Jesus and isn’t afraid to say so, is attractive. So ladies find a man that puts Jesus in his heart. That’s a man worthy of your love.

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I celebrated Valentine’s Day in red. I bought this dress about two years ago at Dillard’s. I love the detail in the front and on the neckline. It radiates romance and passion. Both things that I feel for Micah. I paired the dress with neutral heels and copper earrings.

Powerful

I’ve been absent for more than a week and I’m not complaining.

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Believe me, what I went through wasn’t anything too alarming, on the contrary, this situation helped me build up my survival skills. It didn’t work much, but at least now I know that those skills are nonexistent.

None-the-less,  southwest Kansas experienced a trace of the Jupiter Storm winter front that I’m guessing a lot of states across the nation underwent. Nothing to crazy happened in my area of Kansas other than more than 5,000 homes were powerless for approximately four days. (I’m being sarcastic, it was pretty bad) Our linemen worked day in and day out to get everyone’s light restored and it all worked nice and dandy during the day, but then the harsh night would set everything back.

We lost power about Sunday around 11 a.m., school was cancelled Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, so I didn’t have to necessarily wash my hair or be presentable because trust me, I didn’t leave my house much. Finally around 9 p.m. on Wednesday, we had power. I slept with a night light just because I could.

But before the power came back on, I did nothing. Yippee for me.

At one point in time, all the laziness I was feeling got to me people! The pleasure of doing nothing wasn’t fun anymore. Man, I was worn out from being worn out. I started out reading. When that bore me, I colored. When that put me to sleep, I slept. When that began to make feel restless, I stared into space. And when that happened, my mind went where it didn’t need to go, but I took it there, probably on purpose because there wasn’t anything left to do.

Thankfully, the church I attend had a “Parish Mission” where Deacon Ralph Poyo shared his devotion for the Lord and his knowledge of sin, love, and mercy. It was truly insightful. Then he hit me with the truth. He talked about these walls we put around our heart. The ones we use to shield our true emotions. The emotions I often hide so that my family, friends, co-workers, and even Micah won’t see. Yes, I admit, I put up that wall thinking I’m okay.

But according to Jesus Christ, it’s not okay. Deacon Poyo went on to explain that God wants to help heal us of insecurities in our lives because the only way that we can fight against sin is with the truth. Wow, powerful. So now he’s got me thinking. God already knows my struggle. He knows what my insecurities are. So what? Who else will care?  However, if I don’t communicate, if I don’t seek to reveal the truth I’ll never make my family happy, or worse, Micah and I won’t be happy. Fair enough. I don’t want that to happen.

So, while I’m sitting there again in the dark with all of my evil thoughts and emotions, my good ole pal insecurity comes back to lay with me. He’s pretty strict. He loves to tell me that I’m no good. I’m not smart enough. I’m not talented enough. I’m not pretty enough. For the most part I take punches, I put a smile on my face, and I tell the world that I’m okay. I’m living a lie because deep down inside I’m broken. Shattered. Alone.

Except, I’m not alone. At that moment, the words Deacon Poyo said came back to uplift me. We always ask where is God in the mist of our self-destruction? I always thought, because I’ve heard it said that He’s with us, ever present and that is still true. But the good Deacon said, no He’s on the cross. Shivers.

Then I imagined Jesus on that cross, my sins nailing Him there. If I just give Him my struggles, if I just reveal the truth, if I just invite Him into my heart, and believe that He’s there for me; then I can push those insecurities away.

How hopeful and powerful. While it might be difficult to understand how to withhold from sinning or from putting up those walls of darkness up; it’s time we begin to understand just how much Jesus loves us. I mean just look at the cross.

Sure the tunnel is dark, but there is a way out, there is light and at the end He stands there holding the light of eternal light.

How did you weather the storm? And if you were in some sunny beach tell me all about it, I’d like to be all kinds of jealous.

The storm pictures featured were taken by friend and colleague Trista Fergerson.

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Theology Thursday: I am a woman who loves the Lord

Brr, we got some snow today. The entire day was filled with the falling cold, which made school just a little be deary, but just like the students I powered through. Being back in school today was so uplifting. It’s so surprising that motivation comes from being up and about– moving. All the same God dwells in all things good and for that I’m every grateful.

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This morning, my devotion asked me to reflect, “what, in deep things of God, do you still have to discover and see?” For the longest time, the answer to such a question lied in myself and really it’s silly because it’s a question in itself.

The answer: I want to see where I, woman, Alejandra, person, self fit into the realm of God, Jesus and Holy Spirit. What’s my role? I’m discovering that aspect more and more as I grow in faith. It’s interesting. For now God has called me to love without question and fault. Secondly, God has called me to be a servant. This one I’m actively discovering. From the looks of it, it’s so fulfilling and rewarding.

Figuratively speaking one aspect I’d really like to further study is the way women not only served the Lord, but what their role was in the Bible is. It’s difficult for me because Catholicism brings forth the male priest. So on the outside, I don’t see women as the head of church, and that’s okay. However, where do we stand?

During confession, I explained to my priest that my faith was being rocked. It’s natural for society and some relationships to sometimes test our faith. I’ve been there, I’m guilty, and I take blame. The priest told me to read the book of Esther. “It’s short and to the point and once you’re done, you’ll know what God wants from you,” he said. Fair enough.

“Be mindful of us, Lord. Make yourself known in the time of our distress and give me courage, King of gods and Ruler of every power.”

Esther 4: Chapter C: 23

Goodness, was Esther full of courage and hope, but all that strength didn’t come from her own. No way, it came when she trusted the Lord, when she prayed. I’m always a sucker for a woman of prayer. She put all her hope and faith in the Lord and she stood up for what she believed in and guess what? God answered. He’s so amazing and He will always keep us in mind. Again, how beautiful.

As I read further into the book of Esther, I was filled with wonder. She truly did extraordinary things, but she was so successful because of her devotion to God. Her faith was never rocked, her faith was firm and never ending, and even more so she encouraged me to speak about what I believed in.

“Put in my mouth persuasive words in the presence of the lion, and turn his to hatred for our enemy, so that he and his counter-parts by perish. Save us by your power, and help me, who am alone and have no one but you, Lord.

Esther 4: Chapter C: 24-25

In the past, the hardest thing for me was to talk about my faith, not because I was ashamed or embarrassed. Simply, I felt it was an inappropriate subject, come to realize that I was foolish and down right naive. Ha! How can the Lord be poor timing? And that my friends is where discovering the word for me came about. It’s hard to tell people about your faith, but seeking God in these situations allows us to speak with confidence. Plus, God puts the words in our mouths.

I strive to be like Esther, courage and faithful. And if you’re wondering there are more woman like her in the Bible. Women like Mary Magdalene, who was not only the first person to discover Jesus’ tomb, but she was also chosen to go deliver the good news.

Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

John 20:17

Can we just take a moment to realize that Jesus choose a woman to declare that He was risen. This alone gives me shivers. Indeed, we “women” don’t fall behind. That in itself should challenge us to advance at work, to take control of personal struggles and life, to strive, to accomplish beyond measure, to seek the greater good, and to not give up.

Then there’s Ruth, Joann, Susanna, Martha, and of course our Blessed Mother Mary. The list goes on. So good women, I challenge you to discover not only your place in the spiritual world, but also to establish your ground in faith. And keep me updated, cause I’m here for you, cheering you on.

Theology Thursday: Why evil exists

I’ve pondered on this thought multiple times and it’s been the topic of conversation in various bible study sessions: Why does God allow evil in this world?

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That’s a good question. It’s natural to think that if God is filled with good and He loves us so much then why does he allow us to suffer? Trust me when I say that I’ve been there before; I’ve suffered enough times to blame God for my misfortune.

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

James 1:13-15

One thing I’ve learned about this “evil-existing-in-our-world” business is that when we are suffering and we are crying, God is present. Remember God loves us so much, so when we suffer, so does He and when we cry, He cries too. Just like James proclaims in the verse above, God didn’t create evil; he doesn’t lead us to sin; he doesn’t tempt us, God gives us free will. He wants us to choose Him and good. But sometimes (and because we are human) we are fueled by our desires. We don’t want to necessarily want to wait for God’s will, but instead we want to do things our way and in our time, hence misfortune taking place.

 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28

And it’s hard, it’s very hard, because we think sure it’s easy to love God when He’s good. But, when things aren’t, we turn against him, when in reality all He really wants is for us to trust him and to seek Him. Also, what we fail to understand is that God puts us through situations so that we can endure and be faithful.

Right now there are a million and one tragedies happening all around the world. It seems like everyday there are mass shootings, natural disasters, corruption, despair, and famine, which are tormenting, alienating, and killing mankind.

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

Romans 12:12

But there is hope in prayer because God has hope in us.

We are his creation. We are like a 16-year-old rebel adolescent who doesn’t understand his parents. He implore to be understood, he talks back and mistreats the good parents, who only want what’s best. He fails to see the lesson, so he leaves home in search of his own purpose, meanwhile the parents weep and antagonize themselves. Day after day, the parents cry and pray for their child’s safe arrival. They wait patiently. Then, that adolescent returns, and the parents rejoice.

I imagine that to be our relationship with God. He wants us to learn from our mistakes. In doing so, we will stumble, and many of us will fall gravely; we will see much despair and faithless actions, but God will always be there with open arms. He will welcome us into his glory. All we have to do is pray and be merciful.

Theology Thursday: His Will

First of all Happy Immaculate Conception.

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When Gabriel the angel appeared and informed Mary of God’s will for her, one can imagine the utter shock she went through. She was conflicted and thoughtful. However in order to understand God’s will, she prayed. Today more than anything we celebrate Mary and the way she so diligently carried God’s will for her life and ours.

“You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

John 13:7

Many times I have found myself like Simon Peter (Mary was probably caught in this thought herself), unable to understand the purpose, the journey… His will. My life has become a mixture of deep contemplation and deep sighs. I often look beyond my surroundings and ask out loud, “Lord what is your will for me?”

It’s hard to listen to the Lord when it comes to full filling His plan for us. My main problem is standing still and having patience.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

Galatians 6:9

And that’s the key, not giving up in our search for God’s will, because it’s there. Right  now, I’m going through a weird moment in my life. I don’t consider myself too old or too young; so it’s weird for me. I’m not married and I don’t have children so finding individuals, my age, to relate too is hard. And again, weird. I’m finished with grad school and I have a wonderful job (God’s blessed me with it) and I get to learn each and everyday what the meaning of living is. I live a grand life. There’s nothing difficult about being me.

Yet I find myself stuck for some reason. For me, the feeling of being comfortably still, frightens me. This makes me feel like I’m either being complacent and that I’m not challenging myself enough. It’s not that my life is boring in way; this just leaves me questioning myself. Surely God’s not done with me at age 28. Surely, there’s more out there for me, just having the patience to get there (to whatever it is) is killing me.

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” 

Matthew 6:34

But, I worry people, I do. I can’t help it. I suppose more than anything I need to pray; it’s just so easy to be discouraged when nothing is happening. It’s easy to give up the good fight because it seems like there’s no progression.

To uplift myself, I think about all the wonderful things God has gifted me with and I think, “He put me through it and he will help me through it.” Then those big-deep sighs come back. Right now, I can only hope that I’m living God’s will. Right now, all I can do is pray and fill myself with His word. And if God’s will for me is to be hush up, to study His word, and to watch for a sign, then I’ll happily wait as long as it takes.

Theology Thursday: Giving Thanks

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Every time I think of the wonderful things God gives me, I’m naturally grateful.

Just simply thinking that God has granted me life for more than 28 years is enough to sing praises to my Lord. I’ve been given so much. I have two wonderful parents that have given their lives for me. I have two wonderful brothers who have both have pestered me, but have always uplifted me too. I have a wonderful career and education. I have a wonderful boyfriend, who has taught me to believe in love all over again.

One can say I have it all.

In my heart I know who has given me all of these, again, “wonderful” deeds. It’s my Lord and Savior and I want shout it over the roof tops.

However, I’ve been in situations where things weren’t all that grand. I’ve suffered, I’ve cried, I’ve known heartache. So does God put me through pain too?

St. Mother Teresa once said that God wouldn’t put her through something she couldn’t handle. I agree. Even in the most deepest and darkest moments of my life I greatly believe that God is trying to tell me something. He’s trying to prepare me for something greater and beyond anything I can even withstand.

6 Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. 7 Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

St. Paul wrote to the Philippians asking them to seek the Lord in their time of anguish. But, he also wanted them to give thanks in doing so. God wants us to have peace. But, he wants to help us find that peace because we can’t do it alone, and why would we when we have a Father so willing and able to be our shield. Just thinking about how “wonderful” God is, makes me even more thankful.

8 Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 Keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me. Then the God of peace will be with you.

Philippians 4:8-9

While it’s important for me to give thanks for all the good God gives me I also need to hold myself accountable for everything that might not always go as smoothly as planned. Even in the bad, it can always be worthy of praise. Because if God puts me through it; he will help me through it. This verse tell us that we need to learn from our suffering because it’s in that moment that God wants us to grow. It’s in that moment that God is holding our hand. It’s in that moment that God is lighting our path.

On this Thanksgiving day, I praise the Lord for the lessons I have yet to learn. For the good, for the bad, and for being at peace.

Theology Thursday: Holy Habits

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I’ve decided to begin a spiritual series that will be available every Thursday. I’m doing this because I have a great need and passion for my God. He’s been in my life, ever present, since as long as I can remember. My faith comes from my family, my church, my struggles, and my accomplishments.

At an early age, I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. While I didn’t know what that meant entirely; I knew I had to be obedient and I had to pray. In my youth, I understood the cross Jesus had to bear. I knew and understood the passion of Christ and I comprehended that Jesus died for the world and for my sins. Now that I’ve reached young adulthood, my thirst for Jesus, has matured in a sense.

Rightfully so, Jesus now demands more of me. And my faith has called me to act. I don’t want to just know about the word. I want to live the word. I don’t just want to know about Jesus, I want to be on of his disciples. I don’t just want to attend church. I want to serve.

In seeking to do so, I’ve surrounded myself more and more with the word, I formed part of an adult youth group at my church, and I do Bible study session with my boyfriend. Everyday, I’m learning more and more about God and his will for me.

This week, my study with Micah (my boyfriend), took me to examine my “holy habits.”

I have a lot of habits: I wash my face every morning, I clean my room every other day, and  I read the news, ect. but am I truly living a life of spirituality? Is my faith really built on action?

14 My brothers and sisters, if people say they  have faith, but do nothing, their faith is worth nothing. Can faith like that save them?” 15 A brother or sister in Christ might need clothes or food. 16 If you say to that person, “God be with you! I hope you stay warm and get plenty to eat,” but you do not give what that person needs, your words are worth nothing. 17 In the same way, faith that is alone– that does nothing– is dead.

In James 2:14-17, our faith has to have meaning, Jesus expects us (me) to act. But, how can I do this? For one, I have to hold myself accountable. I have to create “holy habits,” in order to hold myself responsible for my active faith. By doing this, our “self” changes attitude for the positive. Yes it draws us closer to God because that’s what we want, but it overall makes us, literally people of good faith. Practicing our faith, humbles us and prepares us for the future. Creating holy habits is just that, preparing us for Jesus’ return.

18 Someone might say, “you have faith, but I have deeds.” Show me your faith without doing anything, and I will show you my faith by what I do. 19 You believe there is one God. Good! But the demons believe that, too, and they tremble with fear.

James continues to prompt us to act more. Through this reading, I understand that Jesus is pleased with our faith, but he challenges us to apply our faith into action. Why then is having faith and believing not enough? I believe that because we are called to follow. The road to following Jesus isn’t easy, but God’s repayment is worth anything valuable on this Earth.

Here is a list of Holy Habits I plan to implement in my life. Create your own list and let the Holy Spirit move in you.

  1. Pray daily (often)
  2. Listen to Christian music
  3. Get further involved at church
  4. Help the poor, the homeless, the needy (especially during the holidays)
  5. Do more Bible Study sessions (fill myself with the word)