The best is yet to come

Are you in a season of waiting? Are you waiting for God to show up? Are you waiting for God to work in a way you can’t? Maybe it’s healing that is needed! Maybe a relationship needs to be restored! It could be forgiveness you need help with! Finances, missed opportunities, broken hearts and sick bodies. Whatever it is that you are waiting on God for continue waiting with an expectation that He will show up in His perfect timing.

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard,

and no mind has imagined

what God has prepared

for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9 NLT

Before he died, my stepdad use to drink… a lot. Alcohol seemed to consume him and it was hard to watch. I prayed all through high school for God to take his desire for alcohol away. I didn’t always feel like God was listening. However, He was. A year after I graduated high school my stepdad walked away from alcohol. I prayed for several years and thought my cry was unheard but it wasn’t. God was working in a way I could not see or even imagine. I didn’t think God would come through but He did.

This story encourages me anytime I am in a season of waiting. When I’m waiting for God to show up and I feel every prayer is unheard, I remember all those prayers for my stepdad that were finally answered.

It’s so hard to wait. The fear in the waiting can consume you if you let it. The “what if” scenarios will drive you crazy if you let them. However, as children of the most High, we can wait patiently as God works in a way we cannot see. When we trust completely in God, we know that The Best Is Yet To Come!

Climbing Trees

We lived in an apartment complex that had a huge tree in the court house. When my parents would be fighting, which was more than not, I would go out to the courtyard, climb the tree and that is where I would find peace. It wasn’t your average disagreement. It usually ended in the cops showing up. At one point the cops had been to our apartment on so many occasions that management of the complex threatened to have us evicted if our parents continued to be a disturbance. One day, I wrote the following poem while sitting in that tree. I was about 11 years old and it was my first piece of poetry I had written. 

I sit up in a beautiful tree

thinking of all the beautiful things I can see.

I’m  far away in a tree

filled with so much peace.

It’s a beautiful place to be.

While in the tree I would often look for things that were beautiful and I would focus on that object. The trees, the sunshine, the sky.  I would close my eyes and imagine a perfect day. I would ignore the fight my parents were having and I would take my mind to where I would find quiet and peace. I would do a lot of writing while sitting in that tree. Life is not always beautiful but God is. His plan is beautiful. When we are going through tough moments in life, we can always find a tree (figuratively speaking) , climb it, close our eyes and think of every bit of God’s beauty in our life. 

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8

What is something beautiful in a circumstance that was difficult for you?

Emotional Growth!

One area I have grown tremendously in is the area involving my emotions. My emotions use to rule my life. If a circumstance of life emotionally wounded me, I would allow it to ruin my day, week, month, year and so on. Not anymore!!! A long time ago I got my first ticket. This caused so many emotions. You know what I did? I literally canceled my entire week. I couldn’t move past the emotions of receiving a ticket that I felt I had to cancel everything on my schedule that week just to cope. Seems really silly now! I get that there are worse things in life then a ticket. Trust me I get it!!! I’m just saying I no longer cancel life when they rain starts to pour. If it’s sprinkling I keep going. If it’s pouring I keep going. I’m not in anyway saying it’s wrong to shut down and cancel everything. There are times when this is healthy. A few years ago I made the decision to continue seeking joy while walking through a storm. Jesus is my joy. Serving Him brings me joy. His love for me brings me joy. Knowing He has a plan that is good for me always brings me joy. No one and no storm can ever take that joy found in Jesus away. I stopped living miserably along time ago. I get to be free from emotional bondage because Jesus is my victory.
I still cry. I still get hurt. I still feel wounded at times but the difference is those feelings don’t dictate my life.
I don’t have time to let my emotions rule me. Jesus has done too much good for me to be ruled by a storm. I have too many victories to share with the world to be weighed down by an in coming storm. In any storm I face, I will keep trucking along until the sun shines again.
I don’t raise my hands in worship to Jesus because my life is rainbows and unicorns and sunshine. I raise them because regardless of the circumstances around me I serve a big God and He is and will always be good.

The Race

Our first night of VBS was nothing short of AMAZING! My favorite part was hearing all the cheering for one another during the sack race. We all need someone to cheer us on. Last night several kids continued to fall during the race and the kids waiting at the finish line cheered “c’mon get back up! You can do it!”
“We love because He loves us first.” 1 John 4:19
Maybe you feel alone in whatever race you are running? You might feel like there is no one on earth cheering for you. Be encouraged that Jesus is waiting at the finish line cheering you on. When you fall He is shouting for you to get back up and keep going. He knows you can overcome any trial you face with Him. Jesus loves you and He is on your team. He wants to cheer for you as you finish your race.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. “ Hebrews 12:1-2 NLT

A Spiritual Operation!

A Spiritual Operation! 

On Easter Sunday I was talking to the class about the nails that were nailed into the hands of Jesus as they placed Him on the cross. Ellie jumped up and shouted “yeah mom like the 12 nails in your back!!!” 😂  Not exactly but I see the connection she was making. I have 2 rods and 12 screws in my back. Nothing compared to the huge nails hammered into the palms of Jesus. 

June is scoliosis awareness month. In Highschool I went to the doctor with trouble breathing. After several tests, X Rays, a heart monitor and blood work it was finally determined that I had a severe case of scoliosis. My spine was significantly curved in three spots. I was immediately scheduled for surgery because my spine was pushing on my lungs and heart.  Hints the reason for the trouble breathing. I had two rods and 12 screws surgically placed on both sides of my spine holding my spine in place after the surgeon pulled my spine as straight as possible without snapping it. I had an amazing team of doctors and surgeons at Texas Children’s Medical Center in Houston Texas.  It was a year-long recovery process but I’ve had no real issues after surgery.  The Surgeons did an amazing job straightening out my spine. I know this is not the case for every patient so I don’t take my positive experience for granted. 

If you were to have an x-ray on your life would it be in line with God or would it be curved in the wrong spots like my spine pre surgery? When we take our life to the cross and leave it in the hands of Jesus He is able to straighten out the curves, and ultimately fix what maybe we messed up. However, we have to allow Him to work on us.  

The valleys will be filled, and the mountains and hills made level. The curves will be straightened, and the rough places made smooth. And then all people will see the salvation sent from God.’” Luke 3:5-6 NLT

We have to be willing to let God work even when the recovery might be tough and painful. I could have avoided the spinal surgery. I had the opportunity to say “no!” I was not forced. However, not having the surgery would have never given me the quality of life that I wanted. You can avoid the work of God in your life. He is not forcing you into a relationship with Him. However,  you won’t regret taking His hand and letting Him straighten your life out. There is a moment in everyone’s life when they need a spiritual operation. 

We have an amazing surgeon. His name is Jesus. He can work miracles in our life. He can bring something beautiful from something so tragic. He makes all things new again. If you need a spiritual operation Jesus is the surgeon. He is amazing at what He does. He will transform your life. He will put your life back into alignment if only you place your life in His hands. 

Happy scoliosis awareness month!!! 

#scoliosis #scoliosisawarenessmonth #scoliosisawareness #jesus #straightenedout #healing #metalrods #spine #myspine #spinalhealth #spinalsurgery #chiropractor #spinalsurgeryrecovery

I believe in you!

I wrote the following poem 14 years ago. I’m no poet but I guess I thought I was. Today is our 8 year anniversary and I dug this poem up out of hiding. 😂 It’s only appropriate to share so that we can laugh at my once upon a time corniness and pray the Lord has delivered me from that flaw.
I Believe In You!
I believe in you because you believe in me. When God created you He had the perfect plan. Looking at your heart I see His desires glow. The flames that seem to have no end your passion really shows. Your love for people rises over mountain tops so high. The burden for the loss you carry covers every ocean tide. If only you could see all I see in you. Then, you would see the plan God had when he chose to give His son for you. I believe in you because you were created by Him. And when Jesus died for you He knew you would help fulfill His plan.
This poem was written 14 years ago and it still rings true. Jessie has a huge heart to reach the loss. It is an honor to be his wife and to get to stand beside him and cheer him on. He has cheered me on in some of my lowest and highest moments in life. (Stories for another time) Long story short, All these years later I still believe in you @jessierayos . I love you!!!
Happy 8 Years!!! ❤️

Darkness

There was complete darkness. I couldn’t see anything. I was sitting on the hard cold ground. I couldn’t see anything but a small light up ahead. I was entangled in some sort of rope that I could feel wrapped tightly around my wrist and ankles. My heart was pounding. I was terrified. I couldn’t get in reach of anything to free me. I had to pull my wrist as hard as possible to break free. I was pulling with all my might feeling blood drip from my wrist. All the while I’m screaming out for Jesus to help free me. Suddenly my arms covered in blood are free and able to untie my feet and without a thought I ran toward that small light. I was running. Fast! I felt I couldn’t run any faster but I was trying. Behind me was complete darkness and it was terrifying. The darkness felt inches from my heels. In front of me I could see a light. I knew I had to keep running. Eventually I reached a tunnel. It wasn’t so dark anymore. It wasn’t so terrifying but it was getting more difficult to continue running. The light looked bigger, brighter so much closer. I felt so tired. I felt like sitting down just long enough to catch my breath but something in me knew that if I stopped, the darkness would swallow me up again. So I continued to run. Toward the middle of the tunnel was a crowd of people cheering me on. I couldn’t see their faces.
You can do it. Don’t give up. Keep pressing on. Fight it. You got this.
Tears streaming down my face while I fought to continue running feeling so encouraged and full of hope.
I can do this! I got this.
I continued running while I thought about how I have fought so hard to be free from the darkness behind me. I can’t give up now. I ran and ran my feet barely touching the pavement. At last, I collapsed to the ground, but scared, I quickly used my hands to scoot myself away from the darkness behind me in fear of it swallowing me up. However, there was no darkness. I couldn’t see the darkness anymore. I woke up as a smile moved across my face. A sense of relief filled my chest. I was free. I wasn’t scared. There was a breath of fresh air and peace. I could breathe. I was free.

In the middle of the night, years ago I opened my Bible and flipped to Hebrews 12:1-3….

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. 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. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

My dream suddenly made so much sense.

My childhood is filled with darkness. I’m not quite sure I’ll ever be ready to share it with the world. I fought hard to escape that darkness and be who God has called me to be. I learned to forgive so that Jesus could restore all the brokenness in me. I didn’t ignore it. I didn’t pretend it was never there. However, I fought hard to not allow it to determine my future. It took a lot of time to allow Jesus to stop that part of my life from defining me. There are moments in my life when I feel like the darkness is still snipping at my heels but I’m always running toward the light…His light. I won’t lose heart now.

I had a counselor once tell me,
“You are no longer that scared little girl who had no way out!”

At first I was angered by her statement.
She was right though. That day I left feeling empowered and thinking to myself, “I am safe! I am free! I have choices!” It was after that counselling session that I was able to let go and with God begin to heal from the events of my childhood.

So many of us are trapped in yesterday’s darkness when we don’t have to be. I don’t choose to ignore the past or say it never happened. I choose to not allow my past to define me. I choose to move past yesterday and enjoy the now. I pray this encourages you who are haunted by yesterday. I hope it encourages you who still have nightmares because of yesterday. I hope it encourages you who still feels they are fighting the darkness. Mostly I hope it encourages you to know that you can walk away from yesterday and not allow it to define you. Your past might be dark but your future can be bright.

A Mothers Purse

A Mothers Purse

A Tribute to ALL Mothers

Isaiah 66:13: “As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you.”

Once upon a time when Ellie was two she was put on medication to help  ease her constipation. Now, if you have ever seen my purse then you know it is always full of everything my kids could possibly need throughout the day. However, of all days that day I forgot the wipes  and extra clothes. While at a friend’s birthday party her medication worked… FAST. I smelt something! She looked at me and I looked at her and down her legs I saw what every mother fears most. Poop! Runny Poop! Smelly Runny Poop!!!! It was horrible. I quickly picked her up and raced her to the bathroom where I discovered that while I had diapers I did not have wipes or clothes. I pulled her soiled clothes off just in time for more poop to continue pouring from her body and onto the floor. I had to literally wet toilet paper to clean her up because I had too much pride to ask the mother of the party for help. I used a towel in the bathroom to clean up the poop on the floor and stuffed it in my bag because there was no way I was leaving it there. I cleaned her up and put her in a new diaper and did the walk of shame out of the house and to our car. This, my friends, is why we had to Move to Washington, Illinois. The embarrassment was too much!  

I don’t know about you, but as a mother I often feel like I am dropping the ball. There are moments in life when motherhood feels too much. I lose my temper. My kid has to ride home in just a diaper. I send my child to school with an empty lunchbox that I thought I filled. We go weeks without reading.  Truthfully, there are times when I don’t feel like I am enough for my children. I feel like I am letting them down. It often feels like my mama purse is completely empty. 

When I was in Elementary school my sisters and I would walk to school everyday. It wasn’t far but it felt like a walk across the country when facing that Texas heat. On really hot days my mom would show up with a washcloth that was frozen. We would put it around our necks to help us stay cool on the walk home. It was just what we needed.  

As mothers we always seem to know what our children will need throughout the day. That’s why, I believe that we carry large purses. There is no telling what you will find in a mothers purse. From applesauce packs to diapers we can agree that it is normally crammed with it all. 

In Luke 10:38-42 we read the story of Mary and Martha. Jesus comes to visit and Martha is anxiously running around preparing dinner for her guest. Meanwhile Mary is sitting at the feet of Jesus listening intently to His every word. Martha becomes angry and scolds Jesus because He was not the least bit concerned that she was making dinner alone while Mary was sitting at His feet. It seems as though Martha was hoping Jesus would set Mary straight by telling her to go help her sister but instead…

Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42, NIV)

There is nothing and no one more important than Jesus and the time we spend with Him.  Mary understood this. Do we? As moms we sometimes show up without the wipes, missing snacks, unpacked lunchboxes and so on. However, even when we show up with it all and extra for the struggling mom it’s still not enough. What?!?! Not enough?!?! Will I ever be enough?!?! Way to boost my mom ego Helena!! 

Grab you a Diet Coke and calm down!!! Listen!!! 

It’s not enough without Jesus. We are not enough without Jesus. Nothing we do is enough without Jesus. Our physical purse might be packed with it all but does our spiritual mama purse have all she needs? Are we ultimately depending on Jesus to guide us, shape up and prepare us to be the mother He has called us to be? Are we allowing Jesus to walk with us as moms daily? 

I sometimes feel like The Snack Mom. I like it too. Personally I think I deserve a shirt! Just to make it official. It is not unusual for me to find a child  (Not my own) digging in my purse looking for a snack or juice box. I find it to be an honor. I almost always show up with a snack or two. I spend a lot of time packing my purse each day. I check, double check and triple check to make sure I have everything that might come up needed throughout the day. Reflecting on this has me asking the question… Do I spend the same amount of energy on having the things of Jesus with me throughout my day? Our mama purse might be filled to the brim with all the physical things we think our babies will need each day but our spiritual mom bags really are empty without Christ. What we carry in our spiritual purse is far more important than anything we ever pack in our physical bags. 

I compiled a list of 4 items we all have in our purse and what they remind us of in our spiritual lives…

  1. Our Phone: Reminds us that we need constant communication with Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)
  2. Keys: Reminds us that we have access to His word. (Psalms 119:105)
  3. Planner: Reminds us that God has a plan for our future. (Jeremiah 29:11)
  4. Snacks: Reminds us that we are created for fellowship with other believers. (Hebrews 10:25)

If we want to be the mothers God has called us to be. If we want our spiritual mama purses to be overflowing with all we need from Him then we have to be a Mary. We need to daily and many days moment to moment be sitting at the feet of Jesus soaking in all His words, all His love, all his compassion, His forgiveness . We need to continually soak in all that He has for us. Our spiritual mama purse is so empty without Him. We are incapable of being a Mother without His strength and love. We can have all the snacks, juice boxes, diapers and spare clothes for our kids and still we will show up as mothers empty If we are not connected to Jesus at all times. 

 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” John 15:5-8 

Above all else, stay connected to Jesus. Without Him we can do nothing but with Him we will move mountains. 

Isaiah 66:13: “As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you.”

If you  are anything like myself, you spend all day chasing your kids, wiping bottoms, filling sippy cups, changing diapers, helping with homework, showing up to class parties, praying over ouchies, and so on. Moms have alot of jobs. (This is not me taking away from a fathers role! Your day is coming!) Teacher, nurse, activity planner, you fill in the blank.  By the time we reach the end of the day our energy is depleted. We just want to hide under the covers scrolling pinterest drinking diet coke with the only sound being the sound of silence. We love our kids. We find joy in them each day. However, even with all the love we have in our hearts for our children, it’s not enough without Jesus. It’s ok to acknowledge that mommyhood is tough. Many moments as a mom are so good. You know when your kid says Thankyou out of nowhere for something you do for them often. Or when they really show off with their behavior in public.  I think when moments are good as mothers we forget that we still need Jesus. In the good and bad moments we need Jesus. The moments of joy and the moments that test our patience and leave us exhausted are the moments we need to hide under the covers talking to Jesus allowing Him to refill us with all we need to continue rocking Mommyhood. That’s what Mary shows us how to do in Luke 10. She knew if she was going to have any amount of energy for all of life then she needed to be with Jesus first. We might forget the wipes, juice boxes, extra clothes and lunch boxes but if we remember Jesus then we have all we need.  Jesus is all we need and our kids need us to solely depend and trust in Him. OUR KIDS NEED US TO SOLELY DEPEND AND TRUST IN HIM!!! Let that sink in on this Mother’s Day! 

Happy Mother’s Day!

Rest in Him

Kids have this amazing ability to fall asleep pretty much anywhere. They are great at resting. As adults, it seems, with the pressures of life, falling asleep in our own bed is a struggle.

“In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

When we trust in God, while life still brings its struggles, we find ourselves able to rest in God. Like a child we can rest in any circumstance if our focus and trust is truly in Jesus. He has already overcome! 

I pray that today, no matter your current circumstances you will find peace, comfort and rest in Him. 

“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 NLT

Jesus is calling each of us to find rest in Him

Kindness Matters!

Yesterday I had the honor of speaking about Kindness and the impact it has had on me to a group of 60 Student Council Highschool students. It was so much fun. Thanks to Laura Willman Moore
for the opportunity. Laura is amazing at what she does for these kids and I’m thankful to know her and be her friend. Thanks to New Life Washington for opening your doors to this amazing group of kids who are making a huge impact in our community.
Below is what I spoke about…
Kindness Matters!
Ellie started kindergarten this year and let me tell you it is the epitome of drama. She recently got in the car at pick up and immediately started in.
She said that a kid at school said “I don’t care” when she shared with him that she was going to see a movie after school. Before I could respond she continued that the same friend left his blue play dough at the play dough center and when he came back it had yellow mixed in and he accused her but she was adamant that she did not squish two colors of play dough together. Still, he told the entire class that she is a “play dough squisher!” To end she told me that this same boy does not act excited about the same things she gets excited about. Oh yes and we can’t forget that the glitter girls club that she is in broke up because all the girls want to be bossy. I said “sorry about the glitter girls and to be honest that boy sounds like a little he is having a bad day!”
To which she responded “Yeah but I’ll just kill him with kindness!”
I guess it’s pretty clear to all of us that there will always be individuals in our life who we have to kill with kindness. Am I right?
One morning I showed up to math class in junior high and my teacher Mrs, Chaung had invited a past student to come speak to us.
He had come to encourage us to stay in school and follow our dreams. He took time to ask each of us what we wanted to do when we grew up. One of the things I mentioned was that I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. I had a dream of being a published author. Shane was so kind to write each of us a note telling us that he believes we can do whatever we set our mind to. This encouraging note came the morning after I was sexually abused. It was one of the kindest things anyone had ever done for me and it changed my entire life.
This kindness Shane demonstrated is part of the reason that today, 20 years later I am a published Children’s book author. I believe Shane’s kindness at the worst time in my life played a huge role in who I am today.
Each day we have the opportunity to show kindness. We have to have the opportunity to be a Shane in someone’s life.
Kindness doesn’t mean you like the person who receives your kindness. It doesn’t mean you even know them. Kindness simply means you are choosing to leave a positive impact on every life you encounter and not a negative.
Shane made such a small gesture. He had no idea what I had gone through the night before. He chose to show kindness to someone who he didn’t know before class and had no intention of seeing again. But his small gesture changed my entire life. His small gesture gave me hope that not all guys are bad. His small gesture told me I was still worthy to have dreams and ambitions.
We have the opportunity to be a small gesture of kindness everyday. It’s a choice. Some days it is easy to be kind. Other days it is not. But kindness is always a choice.
Never take your kindness shirt off. Allow kindness to follow you everywhere you go and every person you encounter. You never know whose life you will change or whose dream you will help grow.
How has kindness changed your life?