#EclipseOfTheHeart

Today is eclipse day. Everyone was losing their minds over the total solar eclipse that swept the nation. The schools gave out eclipse glasses Friday and closed today. Don’t worry, they gave out the real ones and not the counterfeits sold by certain online distributors. Some areas had people flocking from all over and paying for $1000.00 a night rooms for this rare event. My family, we stayed home as the eclipse was passing over our area. Just as time approached to witness this amazing event that has been built up for weeks…. it rained. I don’t mean it sprinkled… the sky fell out, clouds blocked every inch of the sky, thunder boomed, lightning flashed and we had a torrential downpour.

My daughter cried. she was so disappointed to miss it. Try as I might, nothing would console her. The sky went dark… as dark as if it were the middle of the night. She sobbed louder because she “missed it” and didn’t bask in the amazing event happening around her. So, you’re probably wondering “what does this have to do with a blog on being a single Christian?” Well, here we go:

As I said in a previous post, I have Bipolar Disorder type I. Just when I think I have it under control, I don’t. Stress piles up and then its like the medication just isn’t enough for the extra tough time. Now, this is something I will discuss with my doctor/therapist, but I want to discuss the very real threat of spiritual warfare.

I am a single mother, a pastor, a full time employee and a full time college student as of this week. Sometimes there isnt enough of me to go around for all of the roles I fill. The areas I want more time for, I don’t have it because its allocated for the areas I would rather neglect. I would rather do ministry all day and say to heck with my job, but the Lord has placed me in these positions for a reason.

This past week was extremely hard for me.  I began to feel like I spent all my time filling these roles that I had no time to just be me. I was afraid of losing myself to my roles. I was afraid of being eclipsed and not being a individual person anymore.

I struggle with bounaries. I struggle with putting my foot down and declaring time for myself out of a fear of being selfish. I struggle with frustration when others put their lives or wants above their roles and don’t consider how it affects me… a person. I can’t be upset with people. We view our surroundings and our lives; sometimes we dont even see others. I ended up yelling at God “why Lord? Why do you call me to such difficult things? Why do I have to do so much when others can deny serving you and they have a husband, a house, a life, and time to enjoy it all? Its not fair Lord, to work so hard and to see how important this all is when others don’t see”. Frustration was starting to eclipse my heart. Jealousy was starting to eclipse my heart. Stress and fatigue was eclipsing my heart. Then doubt started to creep in. “I can’t do this, I can’t Pastor, I will fail everyone.” And I started to feel as dark as the sky when the Sun is blocked out.

The past few days I started to sort things out. God showed me the importance of sabbath. The importance of having time to rest, to enjoy being a mother, and to enjoy God and his blessings. I’ve blocked out a day for no work, no school, no ministry. I keep thinking even now, “I can’t do that, theres too much work to do, its selfish, … ” etc. But God says ‘No, you must rest’. Just as the angel told Elisha “eat, fill yourslef or the journey will be too great” . God is saying ‘Rest, renew yourself in me, or the journey will be too great”.

Don’t let the things of the world eclipse your heart.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed; for the LORD your GOD is with thee withersoever thou goest.”

Joshua 1:9

Amen.

Corazón DeSueños

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See You At The Mountain Top

This weekend we attended our district conference for our denomination. Instead of the usual hotel stay, we took a differnt route and stayed in the cabins at Table Rock Wesleyan Campgrounds. Our pastor planned a climb up the mountain to a waterfall. Now, being someone who despises the heat… in July..  I’ll be honest i wasn’t too stoked about this. Especially when I  heard it would be about an hour ONE WAY. I almost “nope”d right out of there. Nevertheless, I laced up my sneakers, bathed in a cloud of insect repellant, and joined. 

The hike was long and the further we went, the harder it got. We stopped to pray and share devotional at a few points along the journey. I feel like these stopping points marked the “Beginner”, “Medium”, and “Advanced” difficulty levels ( had this been a video game. 
Near the top I was breathing hard, face hot, and realizing just how horribly out of shape I am. But then… the top. Most of our group stopped at a point just under the waterfall where some of the water pools about knee deep. My body was on fire and I said “finally”. But as I looked up and saw the waterfall where a few continued up to, I thought “no… I’ve come too far to not feel the waterfall on my face”. 
I climbed higher where a few others had gone ahead and sat beneath the water fall. With the water rushing around my ears and face, drowning out any sounds of the world, I closed my eyes and prayed. I shut out the world and there in nature took a moment to be still and feel God. The beautiful moment will stay etched in my memory.  The rushing water cold on my face and sweet to the taste. The warm embrace of the Father as I focused on only him. Even if just for a moment, it was everything.  

On the way back down we all began to realize just how steep the trail  was at some points. Going back down was a whole differnt story than our ascent. I found myself staring down at my feet to ensure my safety. Then, I stopped and realized… look up. If I stay looking at my feet and worring about my safety so much I would miss the beauty of the mountain all around me. And also, if I stay only looking up, I could fall and risk injury.  
Balance. This journey taught me that balance is everything. This is something I  logically know and have been struggling yet working on in all areas. As someone with bipolar disorder… balance is foreign to me. And yet, in accomplishing this small journey, balance transcended my logical understanding and was something that I FELT. 
I praise God for this experience.  I praise him for the blessing of even the smallest moments. Seek first the kingdom of God, brothers and sisters. Seek God above all else. Climb your mountain to steal away a few small moments with Him. Taste the sweet water and marvel at his amazing creations all around you. Look up. Be safe. Find your balance. 

Seek the Lord above all else and everything will fall into place. He restores balance. 
Lord, thank your for our moments with you, big and small. Thank you for the mountains -literal and metephorical- in our lives and for strengthening us enough to conquer them. Spark in our hearts a desire to seek you above any and every thing in our lives. Let us seek you above money, materials, spouses, etc. We love and thank you. In Jesus name, amen. 
Corazón DeSueños 

Patience Is A Virtue

Patience… this may be one of my weakest areas. Seriously. Even when I buy people gifts I end up having to buy replacement gifts because I simply can’t wait for them to open it and I give it early. We live in such an instantaneous world. A microwave generation, I’ve heard it called. We want everything now, now, now. Think about it, a world of knowledge is right at my fingertips. With my phone I can search for almost any answer. With that same phone I can also order dinner, video chat, file a claim on my insurance… heck, you can even do your taxes via app now! 

How were the people of the bible so patient? How were they able to wait YEARS or even DECADES for God’s answers? Well, for one, they didn’t have cellphones. If they needed groceries they didn’t just hop down the block for a gallon of milk. They had to work and wait for EVERYTHING. Need something from the market? Better be ready for a two or three day walk, one way. Want milk for the house? Better get a bucket and go milk the cow. We are far more spoiled and have forgotten what it means to simply be still.  

I am impatient in almost every area, you can imagine when I went back on meds (catchup story below) and I got the “it can take up to a month” warning I freaked out a bit. I would love for God to send my future husband right this second. I would love for a lot of things to happen right this second. But timing is everything. The right time and right place are essential in His plan. God has said “not now” and “not yet” so often lately because he ‘s working on strengthening my weakest area. After all,  what kind of wife would I make if I don’t have any patience?   Whether your wait is for progress, medication effectiveness, your future spouse, or answers from God, let’s remember how to sit our behinds down and be patient. 

https://youtu.be/Eoi1fR3py9U #EndTheStigma video sermon on mental health as a Christ Follower. 
https://youtu.be/pwn7Y8L5usY #ChristianSingle video sermon about being a single Christ Follower. 

Lord, thank you for strengthening ourweakness. Empower us to be better. Give our hearts the desire to be the best we can be for you, for ourselves, and for our future spouse. Lord strengthen our motivation to do the work when it is hard. Deepen our patience and help us to be still when we need to. We thank you and we love you. Amen. 

Corazón DeSueños 

Know Your Truth

My “normal” is being redefined constantly. It has been about a month since I have started getting treatment for my Bipolar disorder which is about how long it takes for the medication to be in full effect. One thing I am getting used to is remembering to take my medication the same times everyday to avoid the splitting headache that accompanies missing a dose. Remembering the hopeless despair that I have felt at my low’s helps keep the importance of maintenance in perspective. I mean, you don’t only open the hood of your car when something is wrong, right? No, you change the oil preventatively; check the fluids preventatively.

This attitude is important to remember with our spirituality as well. When the proverbial “stuff” hits the fan, we pray harder than ever. We dive into our word. We call upon God. Why? Because He saves. He is our savior. He brings us hope when we can’t seem to find any. So, how about when things are going well? We should be praying JUST as hard when things are going great and spending just as much time in our relationship with our savior. Being someone who struggles with anything other than extremes, I admit this can be difficult for me.

In addition to extreme moods: my interest, my motivation, my diligence… it all fluctuates from one end of the spectrum to the other. This means that one day I will throw myself into my work and accomplish a weeks worth of work. However, another day, I will struggle to find the motivation to tackle even one task. My spiritual life, if I am not careful, can go from reading several books of the bible, writing a sermon, and spending hours in devotional to … a desert.

Maintenance is key. Whether it is spiritual, mental, physical, etc. Maintenance is key. Know your warning signs. How can you recognize that you are falling off of course? For me, I don’t typically see it until I am out of control in one or all areas. Until I get better at this I need to trust in those around me. Accountability partners are so important.

KNOW YOUR TRUTH.

Whatever that may be. My truth is that I need others to help me. My truth is that I am bipolar. My truth is that I am a single mother. My truth is that I am lonely. My truth is that I am a new pastor, insecure about my age in a leadership role. My truth is that I am still finding my way and still growing; there is still SO much that I haven’t learned yet. But knowing these truths does not limit me. On the contrary, acknowledging them helps me to grow and to be a better mother, friend, christian, pastor, family member, employee, etc. Humbleness will allow me to learn from others around me. I have had to ask those close to me to catch me when I fall out of balance and to call me on it when I don’t do what I need to. Relying on them and on God will bring me closer to being the woman of God that I am striving to be.

So… What is your truth and how are you going to grow from it?

Corazón DeSueños

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https://youtu.be/Eoi1fR3py9U #EndTheStigma video sermon on mental health as a Christ Follower. 
https://youtu.be/pwn7Y8L5usY #ChristianSingle video sermon about being a single Christ Follower.