#ImGonnaPopSomeTags

Browsing in the thrift store is a fun past time for my daughter and I. We like to search for fun odeities or vintage decor amongst the cluttered shelves of unwanred keepsakes. Sometimes, we encounter friendly and eccentric individuals to make our trips all the more interesting. Last time, I met a wonderful woman whom I ended up talking to for about an hour, sharing my testimony, hearing hers, and praying for each other in the parking lot with our bags in hand. 

This time, however,  went slightly different. I found a piece of furnature I needed for a steal. So I took the tag up to the cashier to go ahead and buy the item before someone else scooped it up and then I would continue browsing. Well, as I stood next to my eight year old at the register two men standing behind me commented on my daughter. “Wow, she’s so cute” one said. “Thank you. She knows it though, I think they get in more trouble when they know they’re cute”, I joked and turned back around. Then he said “you must get in a lot of trouble then” in that tone where you know you’re being looked up and down without even needing visual confirmation. Now, let me take a moment to note that I did not have any make up on, I was sweaty from the heat, my hair thrown in a haphazard pony tail with my baby hairs sticking in all sorts of ways, and I was in a loose t-shirt and jeans. Literally nothing special. 

So, maybe he needed glasses himself. Nevertheless I attempted to difuse the situation by turning around once more and replying “actually, I’m a pastor. So I do my best to avoid ANY trouble”. One looks to the other and said, I kid you not, “S#!/… makes ME wanna go to church” and the other replies looking at me “huh… me too”. So, naturally I sweetly said “well if you’re wanting to go to church, it’s called Providence Wesleyan Church, about two miles past Cane Bay High right up that way. You’re welcome any Sunday”… And that is how you invite someone to church while they’re hitting on you. Seize every moment, ladies and gentlemen. Every single one. And, as always, guard your heart… wait for the one GOD sends for you, not the first one to compliment you. 

“Now go out to the street corners and invite everyone you see.” Matthew 22:9

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Proverbs 4:23

Corazón DeSueños 

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 

Get out the GUNK

Preparing for your future spouse starts with seeking God and spiritual cleansing.

Who here loves spring cleaning? … Yeah, me neither. I tend to procrastinate until the task becomes something I can’t ignore anymore. I keep saying “I’ll get to that later” until that embarrassing moment when you open the car door any your empty water bottles start falling out. Even if you don’t have this problem with physical tasks, you may be experiencing this problem with another type of ‘spring cleaning’… Spiritual cleansing. 

Believe it or not, spiritual healing and growth is some seriously hard work. It takes dedication and determination but even more so, it takes a deep desire. If you’re praying “God, bring me my future spouse” you should also be asking “God, what do you want to change in me for my future spouse? How can I be the best person I can be for you and for them?”. Just like you don’t want God to bring you someone who isn’t ready for you, He is not going to bring you to them if YOU are not ready either. 

I had an experience recently, a weird one. I recently had a period of time where I was unmedicated for my bipolar disorder, long story but if you’d like to check it out, the video is here: https://youtu.be/Eoi1fR3py9U . Anyway, since I’ve gotten back on track, I’ve still struggled personally. Its like God is trying to speak to me but I am underwater and can’t hear him clearly. I was still desiring things that God had clearly said were not for me and I couldn’t understand why God wasn’t taking the desires away when I prayed so many times for Him to. 

In the most random of moments I began praying in the shower for spiritual cleansing. I dropped to my knees, crying like some mad woman, and just begged God to renew me. Revive me. Bring me back from the dead. In that moment it felt like the Spirit reached inside of me and grabbed all of the filth, all of the sticky tar of unholiness that was still clinging to the corners, and yanked it out of me. I physically vomitted. Now, stick with me because I know that sounds super gross, but I felt clean after. I felt like the grime that was built up inside had been scraped out. God was doing some spring cleaning on my soul and was just waiting for that deep longing desire from me. I’m not saying everyone will have some weird, supernatural, vomiting experience, but He is waiting for that deep desire in you as well. Start seeking Him. Seek Him in His word, seek Him in prayer, seek Him in quiet time. Never stop. Let the spring cleaning begin. 

Tonight, I heard the word from several fellow pastors, members of my Christ family, and as always I am amazed by how much the Lord is moving. A few preached in the importance of witnessing, talking about the story in Mark 5 when Jesus drives a legion of demons out of a man and tells him to go share his story. Really that is why I’ve decided to share my story. Even wierd ones like this which I was going to keep to myself. Tonight’s messages reminded me that God needs us to share our experiences, even when it makes us uncomfortable; especially when it makes us uncomfortable. 
I’d like to leave you with this piece of scripture where Jesus works in the life of Saul, a man who has not only sinned and murdered but his job was specifically to murder Jesus’ followers. Specifically to persecute Christians. Man, if God can cleanse him and make him new… He can work for us too. Nothing is too big for God. But remember… Its a journey, not a moment. Even if you’ve been saved. There are times where you will need to be cleansed again, to confess again, to fall to your knees again. And that is okay. Never stop. 

 ““ ‘Who are you, Lord?’ I asked. “ ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting,’ he replied. My companions saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of him who was speaking to me.  “ ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ I asked. “ ‘Get up,’ the Lord said, ‘and go into Damascus. There you will be told all that you have been assigned to do.’  My companions led me by the hand into Damascus, because the brilliance of the light had blinded me.  “A man named Ananias came to see me. He was a devout observer of the law and highly respected by all the Jews living there. He stood beside me and said, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ And at that very moment I was able to see him.  “Then he said: ‘The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth. You will be his witness to all people of what you have seen and heard. And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.’ ” – Acts 22:8‭-‬16 NIV

Lord, thank you for the amazing ways you are moving. Thank you for your unending grace ans mercy. Oh father, prepare us and change us. Lord, lead us to desire your desires. Lead us to want your path and plans. God, scrape out the gunk that is stuck inside of us. Break down the sinful desires we still struggle with. Break our chains, Lord. Create in us a deep desire for you and for righteousness. Lord, we love you and we thank you. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen. 

Corazón DeSueños