Saturday, May 9, 2015

Mother's Day

Mother's Day. A day I used to get so excited about. I loved any opportunity to celebrate my mom. Sure, I celebrated her more than just this holiday. But it was nice to have a dedicated to celebrating my best friend.

I loved our "dates". My mom and I (and a lot of times, my sister too) would hang out at the mall or go eat at one of my mom's favorite restaurants (mostly Souplantation).

I also love how dedicated she was to me. She was my biggest cheerleader. I often think about how much she invested in me during college. There aren't many mothers who would drive their children to COLLEGE everyday. Who'd sit in their car or wait in a nearby shopping center til I got out. Then, we'd have lunch at Baker's. She also would go to all of my local concerts when I was in UCO and Wind Ensemble. She'd sit in the front row and would just smile ear-to-ear as I sang or played my trumpet. She would also go to every chapel with me at CBU.

My mom was truly amazing! Anyone who knew her could testify to that. So, I am so blessed that God made me her child. I learned so much from her. She taught me that dedication and hard work pays off. She taught me that when you serve others, you find joy. She taught me how to lend an ear to those who need someone to talk to, a shoulder for someone to lean on, and how to shed a tear for those who need comforting. She taught me to be a shelter for those who are lost. She taught me how to stand for what's right. She taught me how to love without condition. She was my role model for what a mother, wife, friend, and child of God looks like. I am truly blessed.

It is hard to believe that it has been 10 years since she passed away. And I have noticed that I stopped celebrating her. In fact, it has gotten to the point that I have forgotten all about Mother's Day and only remembered after seeing everyone posting something on social media. To be honest, the last 9 years have been years of mourning. Years of being upset with God for taking my mom away. But this year, and I hope in the years to come, I want to celebrate my mom. I want to celebrate the fact that God chose HER to be my mom. I want to celebrate the 20 years that I got to grow and learn from her. I want to celebrate the fact that her death was not a "good-bye" but rather a "see you later". I want to celebrate the fact that she is in heaven at the feet of Jesus (how awesome is that?). I want to celebrate that her legacy lives on in me. I want to celebrate that my parents' love for each other never died but continues on in us, their children. I want to celebrate the blessing that is my mom.

I love you mom!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Help A Brutha' Out

I just got off the phone with my Dad. It is always great to hear how God is moving in and through him in Mexico. God is continually growing my Dad's ministry.

Let me try to give you a quick history of my Dad and his ministry in Mexico.

When my Dad was 12 years old, he went on his first mission trip and knew then that he was called to missions. When he was 14 years old, he went on his first mission trip to Mexico and knew that that was where God was calling him. At 17 years old, after finishing high school, he moved to Mexico and attended a Bible school down there. After finishing school and getting married, him and my mom moved to Los Mochis, Chihuahua, Mexico where my Dad witnessed to the unreached; the Tarahumara people. In 1981 or 1982 (I am not too sure), my parents moved to the US so that my mom could get a visa (that is a long story we won't go into).
My family in Mexico before I was born.
My Mom fell in love with the US and thought it would be best to stay stateside until us kids were older. She wanted us to have a good education and just a better life. And though my Dad's heart still beat for Mexico, he wanted what was best for us too. The day I graduated high school, I remember my Dad telling my Mom, "Okay, our last kid has graduated high school. Let's go back to Mexico." But my Mom struggled being away from her children, even if it was only 4 hours away. She simply responded, "I meant when they graduate from college."

The yearning grew more and more through the next couple years until in December 2004 my Dad decided to quit his job and get ready to go. He had no organization to back him and barely any money in the bank but he knew he could no longer be disobedient to what God had called him to. He was blessed with some donations, including a home. My Mom passed away while my Dad was still putting the plans together to go down. In mid 2005, my Dad finally moved down to Mexico and has seen some AMAZING blessings from his obedience. He has a home, a library for pastors, a Bible school meets on his property, he leads several Bible studies in different villages and is now looking at making a new building to house single mothers.

Inside the library. There is more to it than seen here.

In front of the library.
This is where you can step in. Our God always provides and my Dad has been blessed by those who God uses. He is not under any organization and him, his wife and their ministry only get by because of supporters like you. I will be honest, missionaries do NOT have it easy and they do see blessings but they also go through hard times. My Dad only receives around $500/month and I know that there are times where they barely have enough money left over to eat. My Dad never complains because he knows and believes God provides.

If you would like to support my Dad and his ministries, please leave a donation through my PayPal account. Please leave a note with your donation stating whether your donation is for any part of my Dad's ministry or if you would like to donate specifically to buying the materials he needs to build a home for the single mothers.

Thank you and God Bless.


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

I Am Ready To Jump In

The thought of starting my own ministry has been hitting me more and more each day. I feel like I need to get the ball rolling because I feel like it is just around the corner for me.

The problem? I do not even know where or how to start. I know part of it is sharing my dreams. I know part of it is networking. And that is why I feel like I need to write this blog now.

I have talked in the past about starting a organization that mentors fatherless children and I still feel like I will play a part in doing that. I really want to connect with my pastor and see if this is something we can create within the church. I feel like my job is to start it then pass the torch.

But around January 2011, I asked God what He was calling me to do, full time. That is when He revealed to me that I was to start a home for missionaries who are in the US on furlough. It has been so awesome to see how God continues to put people in my life with the same dreams. I think it is God just reaffirming that this is from Him and also connecting me with people that I can lean on and learn from.

As most of you know, it would be much easier for me to go to some foreign country and do some awesome ministry that helps bring an end to injustice. But God calls us into obedience and calls us out of our comfort zone a lot of times. I have learned from past experiences that in our obedience, God blesses us. I also know that there are people waiting on the other side of our obedience.

So, I have been looking for a job not so much to occupy my time or even to have money but to save up for something bigger. I haven't had any luck but I trust that God has a plan in all this. I have also spent a lot of time looking on the internet for old camps for sale. It is impossible to buy a place with no money but I believe in a God who makes the impossibles possible.

Anyway, I don't know what it will take for all this to happen but I know God will continue to put the right people in my life to walk alongside me. Maybe He'll even put the desire in some people's hearts to support me. I just know that I am ready to jump in.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Leaning

“God comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” ~ 2 Corinthians 1:4


Today, I was looking through some photos that one of my aunt had just posted to her Facebook page.  As I skimmed through, I saw a setting that looked quite familiar.  Then, there was a photo that confirmed that where they were was exactly where I thought they were; they were at the cemetery where my mom is buried.  As soon as I saw a photo of her gravestone, emotions started to well up within me. 


I had gone through the stages of wanting to be her when I was a little girl to feeling like she didn't understand me when I was a teenager to her becoming my best friend as soon as I graduated high school.  So, losing the woman who I not only saw as my mother but as my role model and as my best friend was extremely hard.  It took a while for the harsh reality that my mom was gone to hit me.  At first it felt as though this was all just a bad prank and that at any moment my mom would come walking through the front door and that everything would be okay.  But that never happened.






When reality started to set in, I found myself unable to sleep at night.  Sometimes, going a week without sleep.  I would sometimes sit in my room listening to songs that I hoped would ease the pain but would just cry for hours.  I began to question God.  Not whether or not He existed but why would He allow this to happen.  I didn't understand.  I was a good child who always listened and my mother was the best mother a child could hope for.


After a while, I began to push God away though He was relentless in His pursuit of my heart.  I started to look for comfort in the people around me.  Long story short, I ended up being in a relationship with a guy who brought me a false sense of comfort.  One day it hit me that the only real comfort I could find was in Christ.  I asked God to pull me out of that relationship; I felt trapped and didn't know how to get out.  And sure enough, God answered.


Since returning to my First Love, I have felt the comfort that only comes from Him.  I have felt the peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7).  And God has brought me to a deeper understanding of Him and He has shown me that He does use everything for good (Romans 8:28).


I used to be a counselor at a camp and there was a group of girls that impacted my life more than they could ever know.  Well, tonight I found out that one of those girls' mother has cancer and isn't expected to make it past a week.  I do believe that we serve a God who can heal but I don't know if healing her mother's body is according to His will.  But I do know that either way, He will use this situation to bring Him glory.  But that still doesn't ease the pain I know this young lady is going through.  So, I write this blog to ask for you to lift her up in prayer during this time.  Pray that God surrounds her with people who can comfort her with the same comfort God gives and that she is filled with peace that surpasses all understanding.  Pray that she continues to lean on God during this hard time.



Thursday, July 7, 2011

Identity

As everybody does, I have struggled with identity.  It's just a part of life.  From a very young age we try to figure out what makes us who we are.  So many times though, we allow the things that others say about us to creep in. We choose to believe the lies that we are ugly, inadequacy, stupid, unworthy of love and the list goes on and on.



While on the World Race, I confessed to one of my teammates how I had felt unworthy of ever being loved because of who I saw myself as.  She told me to sit down and write all the lies I believed about myself and from where they were rooted.  I took the next few days to write out all the lies then went through the Bible (the Book of TRUTH) and began to read what God had to say about me.

Walls were tore down in those few days and weight was lifted from my back.  I still remember the last day of reading and writing under a tree at a camp in Southern Africa.  I looked down and saw a dirty, rough piece of coal and God said, "That is you."  But He continued to explain to me that He didn't see just a piece of coal but what the coal would become through time, heat and pressure; that piece of coal would become a priceless, beautiful diamond.



This past week I had the privilege to cook at a training camp for Adventures in Missions as another group of people were about to embark onto the mission field.  During their training camp, they began to speak of identity.  They even got to write the lies they believed on a piece of pottery and on the last night they got to break those crafts into tiny broken pieces of clay.

I even heard the story of one of the leaders and the lies he chose to believe that led him down a path of wrong decisions.  But I also heard the excitement of what God has already done in his life as he chooses to walk in his true identity and as he chooses to help others walk in their identity as well.

I write this because today I watched "God Made You Special"; a DVD by VeggieTales.  In one part of the video, it talks about identity and it just took me back to the place of rediscovering who I am in Him.  You can watch the section of the DVD below.

If you do not know where your identity lies ask God and He will show you.  Then choose daily to walk in who He created you to be.




Here are some key verses that helped me.  
  • "For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will"  Ephesians 1: 4 -5
  • "Before I formed you in the womb I chose, before you were born I set you apart."  - Jeremiah 1:5
  • "What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what I whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs" - Matthew 10:27 (this one is about the authority given to speak... something I struggled with)
  • "I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing.  He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.  You may ask for anything in my name, and I will do it." - John 14:12-14
  • "The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.  He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives   and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.  They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.  Strangers will shepherd your flocks; foreigners will work your fields and vineyards." - Isaiah 61: 1-5
  • "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool." - Isaiah 1: 18
  • "I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made." - Psalm 139:14
  • "The King is enthralled by your beauty." -Psalm 45:11
  • "For when I am weak, then I am strong." - 2nd Corinthians 12: 9-10