When I First Believed!


I was cleaning out closets when I ran across a photo album of the year I studied in Spain. Here I found silly pictures and started leafing through the pages of my past. So lost, alone and unaware. Then I found it! The HOST! Yes, the very host (holy bread) blessed in church to eat as a reminder of His death!! Oh the story!!! Tears filled my eyes and I cried for that girl!!!

While living in Granada in my late teens early 20’s I had been very lost and….searching. I found myself in a world with others on the same journey. I did things teens sometimes do and in positions I stumbled upon. One night, after an evening at some bars, we ended up at a Moroccan Tea shop which are so very popular in Spain. A few hours of chai tea and smoking I started a quiet, lovely and picturesque walk to my house. I was blessed to be living with a host family that had a beautiful home right next to The Alahambra and all it’s little shops and old churches. On my walk home I became increasingly paranoid and couldn’t think straight. I quickened my pace and thought about how much this street looked like a back lot of a studio. That it was too picturesque and too perfect. I just knew it had to be a set up. I was so busy convincing myself that I was being watch that I barely noticed it!

A host. Yes, a host…the big white round one with the cross imprinted on it! Yes, the one a priest blesses as Christ’s body for us to share… there on the floor, at 2am, in the dark, in Spain, on the street! What? Surely this was part of the plot I was being set up for right? Paranoia grew. Surely I was hallucinating this! Mental note: No more tea and smoking for me. So, I kept walking but was getting closer to it and yet it didn’t disappear. Ah, a brilliant thought! It wasn’t there was it? No, it couldn’t be! A plan: I’ll step on it and prove to myself that it’s an illusion! So I walked and tried not to look at it and stepped on it and took another step….I heard it! A very clear and audible crunching sound!!! What??? I pivoted around and stared at it….now behind me….cracked, with a clear shoe mark on it. Broken into two pieces………

I fell to my knee’s, tears fell down my face, and here….it was my turn to break!!! Who was I? Lost, in a foreign country, unaware of what my current actions would do in my life so many years later. I refused to believe in this host, on the floor, so I challenged it’s existence. Yet, it still lay there, now broken because of me! He loved me!!! Even if I refused to believe in his existence and chose to challenge it by stepping on it….it remained! I sat there crying and picked it up and ran home!

I’d like to tell you my life changed immediately and life was perfect from then on! I’d like to tell you that….but it wouldn't be true. It did take me a little longer to understand however, that was the day “that I first believed.” 

Here I am 17 years later. On my living room floor, with 3 year old triplets running around and asking me what this white broken thing was. The MERCY, the GRACE….how do I explain that to them? “Mami what’s that?”…..all I could mutter… “A gift from God.”

How many times have we not taken His love, mercy, grace and favor for granted. Asking for more. Always wanting more. Not understanding the value and truth of what was already gifted to us. I am thankful for a God that despite our flaws loves us and meets us even in those dark deserted streets. You are never alone friend!!!

"What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?" 
Matt 18:12

I'm Not Insulting You....I'm Describing You.

I saw this quote recently and was a bit taken aback or perhaps offended by it. It kept popping in my head for a few days so I decided to unpack it and figure out what it meant.

You can chose to read this in a few different ways:
  • Through the eyes of hurt saying it to someone else
  • Through the eyes of offense at it being said about you
  • Through the eyes of revenge seeking to hurt
  • Through the eyes of betrayal feeling wounded
There was no particular situation this week that this could attach itself to but still it sat in my head. I felt a nudge. How would people describe me? Would I be surprised by the descriptions? Was I doing what my Father was asking?

See, I know I fail him daily but I try with all that I am to see that which is before me and act according to His will and not mine. Sometimes I get it right, sometimes I falter and yet other times I still find the rebel within me walking away. What would people say?

I found this a beautiful challenge. Not a co-dependent need to please others but a challenge of self. How do I want others to describe me? To really describe the nature of God I want them to see within me. I want them to see the best of a heavenly Father that has saved and loved me regardless of my faults. I want them to see the hope and life I have because of His love! I want them to ask me about Him! I want them to not see me or describe me but to describe HIM WITHIN ME! So go ahead.....describe away!!!!

"Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth."1 John 3:18

Life is Like A Mixed Tape

Here I date myself.....

Anybody remember mixed tapes? Hours spent making them. Hours spent listening to them? Contemplating orders of songs and choices. What was the true message of this mixed tape? These were serious questions! You laugh but if you were a child of the 80's or even 90's you understand.

I find that at 40 life is so much like those mixed tapes. When life is going by it is important for us to always chose the next song. In this beautiful life you will find many adventures. Some welcomed with excitement and joy and others with a heavy heart simply endured. The great news is that we don't just have to sit back and wait for what "life" has for us because we know a God that has created us full of purpose and life!

Don't live your life on Pandora...waiting to see what song they'll play and where "they" will take you. Take reigns of your life and make your own Mixed Tape.  

If life is giving you a valley with a slow beat you have the choice to change tune and make it the journey you imagine your Mixed Tape of life to be!!

Plan the next song and dance my friend!

"Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning."-Psalm 30:5

Rose Bushes

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”- Abraham Lincoln

I never really liked roses. I never really understood why but I always knew.

When my husband and I started dating I asked him to never send me flowers. They just didn't mean to me what they meant to most girls. I'd prefer a box of chocolates thank you very much. So years went on like that. I never questions my discomfort with roses. They just annoyed me.

Recently we moved into a new home. A very pretty spanish style home that was cared by a lovely lady who loved roses. (of course) The entire front yard was riddled with roses bushes. Every color and all kinds! (I never even realized there were different kinds) I was annoyed by this view of my porch. So one day I decided to cut them down in preparation for a nice green lawn. I took shears and started cutting away.

A few bags later my husband walked by. I asked him what the point of such pretty things with such thorns!? It's then it all came to me. I rarely have moments where things hit me all at once but this was one of the rare few. I recalled going to buy flowers as a little girl with my Dad. Always believing they were for my mom and I but somehow they never made it home to us. He would say he never actually bought them or that they died in the car from sunlight. In this far memory I found the root of my distaste for roses. What flowers were meant to represent in our society as love and friendship actually represented betrayel and the feeling of not being "enough" for a man I loved.

There it was. So little. So simple. So sad. I finally realized that it was never about the roses but something the enemy had planted within me so many years ago. As I continued to cut these bushes that morning I said a simple prayer. "God, as I cut these out physically help me cut it out spiritually from where the roots grow. May no one ever plant what is not of you within my me. Give me the sight to pull it out not only of myself but of others around me!"

Funny thing.... a few weeks later I walked onto the porch to enjoy my coffee and saw that every single rose bush had regrown. Oh, but not just regrown but grown anew! Taller, fuller and brighter than before. So many little rose buds staring right at me! What????

I started reading articles on rose bushes and came to find out that "You could never prune a rose bush in a wrong way." Why? Because it would simply outgrow the incorrect pruning and grow anyways!

It's simply beautiful how God will never allow his children to be pruned incorrectly and will always correct the mistakes and continue to grow us!

So again I quote:

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”- Abraham Lincoln

Holy Spirit whispers

As I was driving my kids to school this morning my daughter asked if she could tell me a story. Now, at 7 years old there’s only so far these stories normally go and they usually end the same however, this morning I felt a whisper from the Holy Spirit to really hear. As I listened to her story I was well aware that this story was exactly what God wanted me to hear today. I would love to share this with you!

A story from my Leilani:
“There was a little girl and she was really great at a lot of things. People always told her she was great and she liked it. She could sing, dance, act and was great at anything she did. One day she decided she wanted to do a show for her family and friends because she was so wonderful at so many things. She practiced and worked really hard. On the day of the show she did everything amazing and was so excited at the end when she took a bow for her friends and family but she didn’t hear a single applause or cheer. She didn’t understand and was confused until she looked up and looked to see why and then she noticed that during her entire show she forgot one single thing…..to open the curtain!”

Isn’t it funny how we all get caught up into thinking we are skilled, gifted or purposed at something when others applaud us? If we don’t keep our focus on God we begin to think it’s all about us and that we don’t need anyone’s help! How great would it have been if this little girl allowed her friends and family to be part of the show and depend on someone she trusted to open up that curtain!

The great works we do are nothing if we do not include others in the progress and if we forget to open the curtain what is it all for? Do you have people in your life helping you improve your story? People that hold the crucial role of opening up the windows and doors of your life for others to see the wonders God has done? God created us for community and one talented person will never go as far as a group of talented people! So invite your friends to the beautiful story you are writing and make it a beautiful show for all to see!

Thank you to my little Leilani for the story that opened my heart today! And thank you Holy Spirit for your quiet prompting whispers!!!