While in Mexico a few years ago (2013), I remember seeing these two little girls. You can see one holding the other. For the purpose of the story I’ll call them Maria and Veronica. I remember for hours Maria set holding Veronica while she slept. Even during all the fun games, upbeat songs and dancing Maria patiently sat holding Veronica. I took a picture because the love of Jesus was reflected so greatly and I didn’t want to forget. I am reminded of how much God loves each of us. He loves us so much He will never let us go. He will never leave us. Hebrews 13:5 is the verse that comes to mind when I see this picture.

“I will never leave you or forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

Jesus loves us so much and like Maria holding a tired child, Jesus will hold you through every trial, every victory and every moment of life. Not only will He hold you but He will never let you go.

Hold Him Up!

2010 was a tough year for me. I lost my first real job, my stepdad passed away and I was already in the mist of dealing with a lot of past childhood trauma. My stepdad passing away shook me. Suddenly my anxiety hit an all time high and to be quite honest I was no fun to be around. I cried all the time. When I wasn’t crying I was angry and mean. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t eat. I was not the best version of myself in anyway. Jessie and I were dating at the time and I’ll never forget how strongly he stood by me. I know it was not easy for him to walk beside me in my pain and heartache. He took a huge part of my pain and frustration on his shoulders when he had every right to walk away. He prayed with me and for me. He held my hand at the funeral. He stood beside me as I cried over my stepdads casket. He carried his casket as well. He was always waiting with the biggest hugs. When I first heard the passing of my stepdad he held me as I sobbed in a way I never knew anyone could sob. Guys, he stood beside me for the next two years as I grieved in a way I never thought anyone could. One specific thing I remember is him knocking on my door on many occasions telling me that he was taking me to dinner or breakfast. When I gave up on myself and wanted to isolate from friends, family and food he showed up and loved me. I’m so thankful God placed him in my life.

There is the story of Moses. The story tells us that Moses’ hands grew tired. As long as Moses was able to hold his hands up, Joshua prevailed, but as soon as his hands grew weary and dropped, Amalek prevailed. When Moses’ strength began to fail, Aaron and Hur put a rock under him to sit and held up his arms. (Story found in Exodus 17)

This story reminds me of Jessie when like Aaron and Hur, he held me up when I felt I would surely fall.

“Moses’ arms soon became so tired he could no longer hold them up. So Aaron and Hur found a stone for him to sit on. Then they stood on each side of Moses, holding up his hands. So his hands held steady until sunset.” Exodus 17:12 NLT

Before Jessie ever said “for better or worse” he was choosing to love me at my worst. That is a different kind of love in my book.

Over the last year I have seen Jessie navigate through his season of emotional pain. The sleepless nights and feelings of hopelessness. Anxiety attacks and feeling burned out. Seeing him in a season where he doesn’t feel like himself and limping through life but trying to keep on going. Experiencing a loved one go through these things can make us want to push them away but I want to love Jessie like he loved me when my arms were too tired for me to keep holding them up. ❤️

I love you Jessie Rayos ❤️

Diet Coke and Faith

Each week in VBS we did an object lesson to point to the Bible character that we were talking about. This week we did several object lessons that all related to The miracles that Jesus performed. The kids loved it!! After each object lesson the kids would tell us which Miracle it illustrated. One of those miracles was Jesus walking on water. To illustrate we used a can of Diet Coke and a can of Coke. The Diet Coke would float (walk on water) but the can of Coke would sink to the bottom. We want our faith to be so strong in Jesus that we stay above the water (problems in life) and not sink. Jesus is our helper. He wants to help us stay above the water. Our faith in Jesus helps us stay afloat. ❤️

But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!” Matthew 14:27 NLT

When you are facing tough circumstances that leave you with fear, know that Jesus is walking beside you.

Standing in a storm

I’m standing in a storm
with sheets of rain pouring down on me. I’m terrified and
I can’t see through the darkness
but I know I can trust in you.

When the rain pours down on me and I can’t escape the lighting. I’ll raise my hands
and lift my voice.
I’ll praise you in the storm.

Let the rain fall down
and the lighting chase me.
Let this heartache make me strong. Let the rain pour down.

I pray the walls of my heart stand firm if the lighting catches up to me.
I believe the heart beat
that beats in you
Is beating inside me.

When the rain pours down on me and I can’t escape the lighting. I’ll raise my hands
and lift my voice.
I’ll praise you in the storm.

Let the rain fall down on me.
Let the thunder rage war.
Let the lighting come.
Let the floods pour in.
I’ll keep looking for a glimpse of the sun.

I’m standing in a storm
with my arms stretched out to you.
My heart is bruised from the lightning.
My clothes soaked from the rain.
I’ll still praise you as I wait.

Commotion Motion!

Commotion Motion!

Jay loves the Peoria Playhouse. His favorite area is the Commotion Motion Center. There are different areas in the center where you put a ball in a tube and watch it be moved up with the power of the force of air. Jay stood in awe as he watched his ball balance simply because of the air blowing out of the tubes. Watching Jay stand in awe while watching the different activities throughout the Peoria Playhouse made me think of how in awe we should stand because of God and His blessings on our life.

There are many moments in life that are tough and it can feel like there is too much negative commotion around. In these moments we have the opportunity to sit down and give up or we have the opportunity to remember all the moments when life was a challenge but God showed up. When has God come through for you? When has He made you stand in awe of Him. If He came through for you in the past you can rest assure that He will come through for you again. Remain faithful. Remain hopeful. Remain encouraged because we serve a God who deserves for us to stand in all of Him. It’s not a matter of “if” He will come through for us it’s only a matter of when He will show up! Keep your focus on God and all He has done for you. He is working behind the scenes in a way we cannot fathom. He is preparing an open door when it feels like there is no future. He is alive and at work in your life. Trust Him. Seek Him. Stand in awe of Him.

“I have heard all about you, Lord.  I am filled with awe by your amazing works.
In this time of our deep need, help us again as you did in years gone by.
And in your anger, remember your mercy.” Habakkuk 3:2 NLT

I’ve had several of my readers ask how they can help me in my writing journey. My writing has always been a way to minister. My writing is a reflection of my relationship with Jesus and the mark He has made on my life. I desire to publish more Christian based books for children as well as adults. Here are three ways you can help me achieve my goals if that is what you desire…

1. Pray – I need prayer that God continues to use my writing to bless others and that He continues to speak to my heart and tell me what to write.

2. Share – If you read one of my post and it blesses you, could you share it so that it can also be a blessing to others?

3. Give – Publishing books takes a lot financially. I have only broken even on the first two books I have published. If you desire to financially bless what I consider to be my ministry, I would greatly appreciate it.

Venmo: @Jessie-Rayos

Thank you for all the love and support you have given me as my readers.

The Bear Crawl

Ellie made it half way across the obstacle course and started yelling that her legs were burning. I encouraged her to keep pushing through the pain and she would soon reach the other side.

In life there are moments when we have to endure a painful situation and refuse to give up no matter how badly it hurts. We keep bear crawling across that obstacle knowing that God is cheering us on just on the other side.

“I cried out, “I am slipping!” but your unfailing love, O LORD, supported me. When doubts filled my mind.” Psalms 94:18 NLT

“Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.” Hebrews 10:36 NLT

Doubt the Enemy

Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.” Matthew 16:23

The devil is a liar. He will feed your mind with lies and doubt. Don’t let him. Tell him to get behind you where he belongs.

God is a God of miracles, restoration, forgiveness, freedom, healing, blessings and so much more.

My victory and honor come from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me.
O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him,
for God is our refuge.” Psalms 62:7-8

If you are going to doubt anyone, doubt the enemy. He is the liar. ❤️

Scribble level!

Scribble Level!

Jay enjoys coloring on paper. He will say letters as he writes. A, E and I are his go to letters at the moment. When you look at his drawings you wouldn’t think much of them. Most would say “Jay I like your scribbles!” However, as his mom I see a start to something amazing. Maybe he will be an artist, writer or architect one day. Who really knows! He holds his drawing up when completed and pretends to read it like a book. That’s why I lean more toward Jay being an author and illustrator in the future.
I wonder how often we look at our “scribbles” in life in disappointment as God looks with joy? This is because God can see the bigger picture to the journey we are just starting out on. Everyone starts at the scribble level. Some have passed the scribble level but in one way or another had to take a step back and go back to the scribble level. That’s ok too! You might be at the scribble level in your career, finances, healing, mental health, relationships and so on but don’t let that stop you. The scribble level is a start. You did something amazing just by choosing to pick up that “pencil” in life and start with a line or two. The scribble level will prepare you for the next. Best of all, God is working even when you are as some would say “only scribbling!”

“And though you started with little,� you will end with much.” Job 8:7 NLT

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?