#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.

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#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

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Loneliness Is Not Weakness

Loneliness. Let’s be real here, we all experience it. If you haven’t you’re lying. Plain and simple. Why do we act like admitting to loneliness is some kind of weakness. Our society is slowly deeming any piece of humanity as weakness; calling people “thirsty” for showing even the slightest sign of interest. We are losing our softness and becoming hard. Why is that the goal? The answer: its not. That is a trick from the world to help you lose yourself and give in to sin. Ezekiel 36:26 says “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh”.

Don’t let the world turn your heart to stone. It is okay to feel. You will get lonely. Period. How will you deal with it? Will you hide it, proclaiming to be a strong woman “who doesn’t need a man” or pretending to be a man who doesn’t need solid woman in his life? will you pretend that you don’t long for real love and companionship? If we succumb to this practice of the world then will we next succumb to the common practice of premarital sex and hollow relations? Resist and go against the grain. Be strong and listen to God’s word; to truth. “Desire without knowledge is not good – how much more will hasty feet miss the way!” – Proverbs 19:2

Here’s the truth: it is okay to be lonely! Men and women of God, hear me, you are Children of the all powerful! You are sons and daughters of the king most high! You are princesses intended to be queens and princes intended to be kings. It is up to you to RISE. “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans.” – Proverbs 16:3

Now, let’s address guilt. The next very real issue we can face as single Christians is guilt because “God should be enough and you shouldn’t need anyone else”. Well, I was feeling this guilt and a wise mentor of mine put it in the best terms. He told me God designed us to need a mate. God designed us to need companionship and a partner. We are not meant to do life alone. That loneliness is something he put within us to seek out our partner. He could have made us without that need but he didn’t. That is why he created Adam and gave him Eve. God was not enough for Adam, he needed a helper. He made it that way on purpose. When he told me this, the lightbulb went on. I’ve prayed for that loneliness to go away and and honestly, the pain of it has, but the need to find my other half persists because God wants us to find our person.

There is no shame in this!

When you are lonely, pray. Read the word. Talk to your small group members or your spiritual family. You can even write letters to your future spouse or keep a prayer journal for them. I recommend praying for your future spouse often, not just that God will bring them to you, but praying for them as a person. Pray for their protection. Pray for their preparation. Pray that God prepares you. Pray for their spirit and journey. Pray for their heart. As you seek them out, pray that God will keep away the wrong people and shut all the doors to you except the one He has intended for you. Pray for His guidance. I have read 31 Days of Prayer for Your Future Husband which is a great daily devotional to pray for your future spouse. If you are a single parent, I highly recommend reading 21 Principles for a Healthy and Happy Single Mom (It can apply to men too!).  Remember to focus on preparing yourself and to be patient!!! Wait for your Boaz or Ruth. Wait for what is right (If you haven’t read Ruth, please do).

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” – Proverbs 4:23

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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. 

Milestones

Milestones for a parent and for a pastor’s kid

Yesterday I dropped my daughter off at her first summer camp. I was way more nervous than she was, which is easy to say because she wasn’t nervous at all. Packing the bags of my one and only child to go four hours away for 5 days was one of the hardest acts of trust and faith that I’ve ever had to tackle, believe it or not. Since my daughter was born eight years ago there have only been a few times that we have been separated. She is an only child and I am a single parent. Its been us against the world until we came to Christ. Entrusting her with the (more than capable) camp counselors was hard for me. But, it IS bible camp, after all. I was reassured by my church family of all the memories she will make and the life-changing experiences they had all encountered there. 

As the children’s pastor for our church I was faced with the next challenge… My daughter is a PK – Pastor’s Kid. What does this mean? She goes to church with me, she goes to work with me when I do ministry, she even goes to work with me for my other job. When I asked her about her interests in camp, her first question was “will you be there?” Now, this wasn’t a nervous ‘please come with me’ question, on the contrary, it was more ‘mom, please say no’. I take no offense to that at all. Being a PK can be hard from what I’ve learned and seen. So, I decided she needed some independence. We both do. I decided to sit this one out. 

Fortunately, I was blessed to have a friend who’s child, my daughters friend, was attending as well and we could make this hike together. That was a little bit of comfort along the way, praise God. And in dropping my daughter off it was nice to see a few other familiar faces including a pastor I know. He asked me ” you aren’t helping with kids camp?” As my daughter shot me a “please, no” look. So, I explained the PK situation which, as a dad, he totally related. 

A few things that God is showing me through this experience is an appreciation for friends and fellowship, an appreciation for other parents that can let me know they experience than same things, to understand the struggles of my PK without offense, and a little reminder of just how hard it is to do this alone while showing me the blessings that it has also brought. 

“Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Will it thrive? Will it not be uprooted and stripped of its fruit so that it withers? All its new growth will wither. It will not take a strong arm or many people to pull it up by the roots. It has been planted, but will it thrive? Will it not wither completely when the east wind strikes it—wither away in the plot where it grew?’ ” – Ezekiel 17:9‭-‬10 NIV

I have to give my daughter room to grow as her own person, into a woman of God. I have to help her along the way without smothering her. And I, also, have to be a little unformfortable in ordee to grow as well. We each need to grow our own strong roots. 

Father, thank you for the blessing of my daughter. Thank you for our friends and family. Thank you for opportinities of growth and for your protection. I ask that you protect our children this week and help them to experience you. Work in their hearts and speak into their lives, Lord. We love you God. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

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