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The 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 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 didn’t choose to ignore the past or say it never happened. I chose to not allow my childhood to define me. I chose 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.

We can do this!

It can be easy to let covid get us down but honestly I’ve enjoyed the challenge of having to find ways to be creative when it comes to my book signing. I love this picture and to be real honest I laugh when I look at it because I can’t believe we are living in a time when we have to talk to each other through a window. It will always remind me to never allow anything to stand in your way. I handed Pat Cross my book through her window and Jessie snapped a picture. It’s different then your average book signing but it works. She loved the book so much she purchased another copy. Above all else, I’ve been continually reminded that God is still good in the mist of covid.

For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

Little boy Jay

This sonogram from 12 weeks was a God kiss for me. As soon as I saw our little boy relaxing in the center of my heart shape uterus I felt complete peace. Our little boy is so loved by God and so are all of us! What a reminder this picture will always be. In the mist of everything going on in our world and all our daily worries and struggles, God always finds a way to reach out and give us a kiss.

With that said, we would love to share with you that we are naming our boy, Jacob Allan Rayos. We are calling him Jay. We are so ready for the plan God has for Jays life. Please celebrate with us by praying for Jay and the beautiful call God has on his life. He’s our rainbow after the storm and we are so thankful for our beautiful blessing.

At a baby shower for Ellie, a friend had us write down on ten pieces of paper specific prayers we had for Ellie. EVERY single prayer was answered. We want to do the same thing for Jay. Would you be willing to leave a comment on a specific prayer you have for our baby boy? We will write down y’all’s prayers on slips of papers to read to him as he grows. We believe in the power of prayer and so we ask that you pray with us for a healthy baby.

Psalms 139:13-16 NLT

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body

and knit me together in my mother’s womb.

14 

Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!

Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.

15 

You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,

as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.

16 

You saw me before I was born.

Every day of my life was recorded in your book.

Every moment was laid out

before a single day had passed.

The Quarantined Mom On A Mission!

The Quarantined Mom On A Mission!

Psalm 46:1-3 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth gives way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

Raise a virtual hand if you are frustrated in any way? I think we all have our hands up. As moms we are frustrated, concerned and uneasy about all the things going on in our world. The struggle is real and it’s different for each mom. Right now, we have stay at home moms who are not use to being stuck at home unable to do their normal out of the house activities with their kids. We have working moms trying to work while now also teaching their kids at home. We have pregnant moms who just need a nap or two or three. We have single moms who are struggling to

find childcare for their kids because staying at home for them is not an option. We have moms who worry that when they leave their essential jobs, they will bring corona home with them to their families. We have moms whose kids are grown and they struggle that they can’t visit their grandkids right now. Moms are struggling in many different ways. Moms are struggling and even if your struggle is not the same as their struggle or maybe you are not struggling at all as a mom these struggles are real. One thing God has been speaking to my heart lately is this “it’s not just you Helena!” I’m not the only mom In over her head. I’m not the only mom who is missing out on something because of this virus. All of us are struggling and God can see our frustrations and He can see our effort. We are all moms who are trying our best and we are all rocking it the best way we know how. We are quarantined moms on a mission.

But! Are we on the right mission?

I see on social media a lot, parents consumed with the idea that their child will go back to school behind because they are now being taught at home. Trust me. I get it. I understand. Honestly! Ellie doesn’t recognize one letter outside her name. To be truthful she can’t even tell a number from a letter at the moment. BUT when she falls asleep at night she’s smiling. She’s not worried. She’s not overly frustrated from days on end being stuck inside. She is content and she knows she is loved by Him. She knows she is taken care of and she is safe because she knows Jesus is in control. This is our mission as Christian mothers. Our mission is to point our kids to Jesus even when NOTHING makes sense. Our mission is to teach our kids that our joy is found in Him and not swimming pools, parks, restaurants or play dates. As mothers it is our mission to train our kids to look to Him when everything around them is falling apart. I can promise you one thing, if we fulfill this mission; spelling test, math problems and so on will work themselves out. Here’s the thing. You might miss your child’s zoom meeting. You might struggle to understand the math you need them to learn. Your kid might put up a fight when it’s time to sit down and work. They might not be able to spell one word on that spelling list, but they will be fine if they know they can always look to Jesus. They will catch up. If they struggle to catch up there will be options to help them move ahead. I’m not saying skip the school work. I’m just saying don’t let the school work become bigger than what God wants to do in your kids during this time. He wants us to point our kids to Him.

In the same way, don’t allow your current struggle to become bigger then what God wants to do in your life right now!

We are all quarantined but God is not in quarantine. He is still working. If we would just turn our eyes to Him,

we would see that He is working in each and everyone of our lives. We have one mission right now! It’s not to worry. It’s not to try and figure it all out! It’s not to be perfect in all areas. As mothers, it’s simply to look to Jesus and point our kids to Him too. The truth is, we can’t do motherhood in any situation without Jesus. It is only in Him that we find the strength we need to be the mother He has called us to be. And it is only in Him that our kids will discover who they are called to be. It is in Him that our kids will find joy and peace in the midst of uncertainty. Be that mom! That mom on a mission.

Graduation Disappointments But Still we serve a big God!

It’s graduation day for this stud. He has spent a lot of time working toward his Bachelors degree. Many nights he spent up late finishing papers all while still loving our family and our church. Today we were suppose to cheer as he walked across the stage to receive his diploma in Georgia. While we don’t get to cheer him across the stage today we will continue cheering him on through life. Jessie is a reminder to all of us that hard work pays off. It doesn’t matter how much time it takes you to finish. Finish strong. There’s no limit to what he can achieve because Jesus has great plans still to come for him. Today we will celebrate at home. We will celebrate because that’s what you continue to do when life throws you curve balls. Even though we are disappointed that the experience of walking the stage is not happening we still get to celebrate because Jessie still did it. He graduated and that’s huge. Many people are missing out on many things right now. It’s true and it is sad! I’m so thankful that we serve a God who ALWAYS works all things out for the good of those who love Him. (Romans 8:28) Right now, in this moment God is working. We might not see it now but we will. It might not be in our time but it’s in the right time! Trust Him!

Happy graduation day Jessie. I know it didn’t turn out like we planned BUT you did it! You worked hard! You graduated and we are so proud of you!

Sub in on a kids dream!

In third grade we had a substitute teacher. He was the coolest, though I can’t remember his name. I do remember he wore a brown jacket and smiled a lot. He was cool mostly because he gave my teacher a good report only on me because as he said I was the only one to show respect in class that day. 😂😂😂 However, I remember him most because he read us several books throughout the day. As he read, he talked to us about how the author took a lot of time to write these stories for our enjoyment and the illustrator spent much time creating the visual aspect of the story. I really think he wanted us to learn to appreciate the book and the individuals behind the book. However, listening to him read and describe the job of the author I felt empowered. In Third grade I thought to myself “Author! That’s what I want to be!”

Now I’m receiving pictures of my friends who have kids holding my first book with huge smiles. God is so good!

This makes my heart so happy to know a dream that started so early is impacting little boys and little girls. I want every kid to know their full potential. I want them to know that Jesus has great plans for them and they can achieve every dream he places in their heart. Never underestimate the power you give when choosing to sub in on a kids dream.

Back to that moment in 3rd grade, it reminds me to give Ellie the opportunities needed to flourish in her dreams. Your kids have goals, dreams and specific things they want to be when they grow up. Encourage them to reach that dream. Give them opportunity to achieve their dreams. Show them that you believe in them. One day, your 3rd grader or younger child like me will grow up and possibly achieve a dream that started as early as 3rd grade. Will you be part of their dream coming to life? A substitute teacher and many others are part of mine.

Also, if you haven’t already, please go purchase a book on amazon. Once you receive your book, please leave a review on amazon as well.

https://www.amazon.com/Chicks-Save-Easter-Helena-Rayos/dp/B086Y6K19M

Thank you for all your love and support.

Perspective!

We pulled out Ellie’s claw machine and filled it with candy and Easter eggs. I thought it would be a fun Easter activity. Unfortunately, it malfunctioned and we can’t get it to turn on. However, Ellie said “just turn it around mom. I’ll grab the eggs from the back!” I’m glad she can still make a broken toy fun. I think this is a lesson for all of us right now. There will be times when life doesn’t go the way we want but we still have the opportunity to find the silver lining.

Ellie’s flower!

Noah dropped a flower off for Ellie a few weeks ago! It was so sweet! It sits on Ellie’s work table. It’s a reminder of how Jesus is always growing something beautiful within each of us, even during the most difficult seasons in life. “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” Philippians 2:13 NLT

Choose joy! Choose laughter! Choose Jesus!

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22 NIV.

We can’t deny that we are in tough times. Life is scary right now. Don’t allow your current situation to take away the joy the Lord has given each of us. I can remember as a child, when life was really beating us down. I can remember my dad getting that diagnosis, my mom working three jobs just to not have enough and my teacher asking me how long it had been since I showered last. Life was hard, embarrassing and lonely. I can remember thinking that my only option was to sit down and be sad. I didn’t know I could choose joy still. I didn’t know I could trust in Jesus. I didn’t know I could talk to him. I didn’t know he loved me and was taking care of everything behind the scenes. I didn’t know that no matter what was going on around me that God was still in control. That’s what I want to share with you today. God is in control. He is strong and He is mighty. He is taking care of everything even when we can not see. I refuse to lose my joy no matter how hard life gets. Choose joy during this time. Choose to find joy in even the simplest of things. Choose to continue to trust in Jesus. Choose to laugh in the face of the enemy. Don’t lose hope and don’t lose joy.

4th birthday letter!

The older you get the more that I cry. The taller you grow the more I ask why. Today is your birthday and we’ll celebrate. But first I’ll thank God that I get to love you each day.

This year was big. You asked Jesus in your heart in the backseat of the car, at the red light, right outside of the Casey’s Store. While I know there will be a time later when you ask again because you might not remember I’ll always remember and so will Jesus the very first time on July 11th 2019 at 506 pm that you said “Jesus you come in my heart?”

You are strong, you are brave, you are kind, you have so much joy, you are filled with endless amounts of humor, you have wisdom beyond your years, you are filled with compassion, you are a leader and as much as I want to proudly shout that you are mine it’s just not true because YOU ARE HIS. You are so loved by Jesus and I am honored to be given the important role of your mother.

This year you made me proud on so many levels. One of my favorite memories is the night we were at a pizza restaurant. You ran up to dad asking him to help you find the girl who was sitting alone. He was confused so you ran up to me. It took both dad and I together to try and understand what you were asking. We didn’t see a girl sitting alone. Then we told you to show us and you did. You walked us right up to a young girl sitting by herself and you said hi. Ellie, I want to be like you when I grow up because you know how to love others just like Jesus does.

Today we will celebrate with furry stuff friends a homemade cake and presents. You didn’t let having to cancel your party get you down. You are so thrilled to celebrate in isolation. We will always remember Corona2020! You are thrilled no matter what because Jesus lives in your heart and as you always remind me “Jesus wants us to have joy!” You my child are filled with his joy.

Today you turn 4. I can’t even process how this happened. Today you turn 4 and already you are starting your birthday with a bam. You get to be a big sister. My heart overflows imagining you holding your baby sister or brother for the first time. You are so proud. Today you turn 4 and for some odd reason as we celebrate my heart breaks because slowly I’m watching you develop into your own and I Know that moment will come when you venture out on your own. Until then, we will continue to point you to Jesus because as long as He is first in your life nothing can break you. I love you my cheese taco. Happy birthday!

This picture was taken over thanksgiving!