Our Lives as a Puzzle

My son and I were doing a puzzle a few weeks ago, one of those massive ones with lots of pieces. I don’t know that there is anything more aggravating in life than being close to finishing a puzzle of that size and realizing you don’t have all the pieces.

My life has been like that. I’ve come to the realization that our experiences in life are pieces to a puzzle. Good and bad they make us who we are. Not only do our trials in life add to us, there are times and situations we loose puzzle pieces.

The biggest threat to loosing puzzle pieces is loosing who you are. I’ve lost myself. What I mean is that I didn’t stay true to who I was or who God had created me to be. I allowed myself to act out of character, to give myself away, and loosing a piece of who I was.

I am trying to relate myself to a large puzzle. God created the pieces, and had the pieces planned out, I went and lost some of those pieces. After loosing pieces, I would go crawling back to God hoping that He could put me back together, recreate some of those pieces I had lost, fill in the voids. God always did that.

The problem is when we keep putting ourselves in the place to loose pieces of ourselves and who God created us to be. We give ourselves to men and women in hopes of finding love, we turn to a bottle or a drug to try and forget the hell we know, and we bury ourselves in hopelessness and despair.

Puzzle2Thank God He can replace missing puzzle pieces, thank God He can fill the void that comes when we’ve given pieces away, and thank God He knows what the end puzzle picture looks like.

Maggie Gonzales…thank you for reminding me I’m not an incomplete puzzle that should be discarded, but rather a puzzle missing pieces that only God Himself can replace.

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90 Days of Transformation: Lessons Learned, Part I

Twenty one days ago I started an epic journey. On August 1, I decided to take 90 days of my life and completely transform it. My 90 days of transformation are stretching everything I have known about myself and God. I set a few goals for the 90 days, like losing weight, hearing God’s voice and discerning the enemies, and being an all-around healthier me.Goals

Just twenty days into my transformation I started learning some valuable lessons. I’ve learned the hard part is just getting going; once you start you learn to love it or grow to hate it. I’ve learned that although you may think its okay to cheat on food choices but one bad choice turns to two and then three. I’ve learned that God is always speaking; so is the enemy, the part you have to learn is to decipher who is who.

Working out started as a chore for me. I knew I needed to do it but really had no desire, especially because I knew I had to work out in the mornings before going to work. I had to start getting up by 5am and sometime earlier, just to have time to pray, read, get myself and my son ready for the day, and still hit the gym before work. The first few days were awful, I had to figure out what time I needed to be in bed to get a decent night’s  sleep and the morning after working out I realized how sore I truly was and it made it that much harder.  Fortunately, by the second week, I was looking forward to it, and now, twenty-one days into my journey, I love being in the gym. You truly learn to love it or grow to hate it. By hate it, I mean some of the food choices. I don’t always enjoy eating the healthy vegetables but I know they are good for me so I do it anyway.

I thought I could cheat on food choices without it being a big deal. I had decided to do a Daniel Fast during my 90 day transformation, only eating fruits, vegetables, and legumes, and only drinking water. For two weeks I made all the right choices, but then, I decided I could cheat one meal and have lasagna with the family…big mistake. In my mind I started thinking it was okay to cheat occasionally, the rest of the time I was doing great, what would one meal hurt. But, it didn’t stop at one meal; I then thought I would be okay the next couple of days to sneak in a sweet.  The only person I was hurting was me! I had to decide that a cheat wasn’t worth it. Is there anything in your life you’re allowing yourself to cheat on that is hurting you? Choosing to make better choices for me and to do what I felt God was calling me to do really set me in a place to hear Him, not to mention I was spending the time to hear Him.

The last twenty-one days, I have spent a minimum of an hour each morning with God. Best decision I could have made. It doesn’t make me any holier but I can tell you what it has done. It’s allowed me to hear God’s voice and recognize the enemies. Let me tell you, the enemy is speaking just as much as God is and it’s who you choose to listen to that determines what you hear.

Be encouraged, these 90 days aren’t making me a better Christian than you, and the same results I’m seeing, you can too. All you have to do is make a choice. I’m choosing to get fit for life, I’ve learned some valuable insight and can only imagine how ingrained it will be in the next 69 days. I’m getting closer to God and learning a lot about myself. Thanks for taking the time to read, if this has encouraged you, or if you have any questions or comments, then leave those below! You can subscribe to this blog and even follow me on Twitter. Love you all, be blessed!

When Churches Unite to Become “The Church”

Be The Church

As a church we have some great outreach programs. We offer a food pantry where we serve numerous families in our community, we volunteer countless service hours in and around our city, and we even build soccer fields and playgrounds to open up to families. Our church is involved in reaching our city for Christ and we do an amazing job at showing the love of God to those who would never step foot in a church building otherwise.

However, how often does “The Church” join together to reach people as one united Church? How often do churches across our city work together as the body of Christ to serve those in need? We do a great job of staying separated by church titles and a poor job as coming together as “The Church” to be Christ to a hurting world.

In my job I’ve had the opportunity to meet a mother who has never been to church. This woman is in her thirties, she is married but it’s an abusive relationship, and both husband and wife have had their struggle with drug addiction.  Seven months ago she became pregnant, and over the course of our relationship I’ve found she has no family or friends that are willing or able to support her. Even though she’s never been in a church, I thought she might be willing to be around some other women in a small group.

My small group at church decided we wanted to throw my friend a baby shower and when I told her about it she was excited. Although we have a decent size small group, I thought that other women I know would be interested in blessing someone else. I took to Facebook and another small group from another church in our city decided they wanted to be a part! At the baby shower, two small groups, from two separate churches came together and blessed my un-churched friend more than she could have imagined.

What if all the churches in our community came together to serve one purpose, with one goal of reaching others for Christ? What if race and denomination didn’t separate us but united us? Imagine the impact we would have if we united together to serve the un-churched? We might not see everyone in our city come to know Jesus, but what kind of impact would it make on those who are not in a church? Imagine if the Church was less focused on themselves and more focused on reaching people for Christ by serving the un-churched? We do a fairly good job of reaching out, but we could do so much more if we were willing to unite as one! Be encouraged! Be united!

An Irrevocable Calling

“for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable”

man with questionsAre you sure God? Don’t you mean for someone else? You couldn’t possibly mean this verse is for me; all that I’ve done against you and those around me. I’ve felt so inadequate for so long. I know that God had a calling on my life but I had done so much in the past, He couldn’t possibly still have a calling on my life. Could He really use me, now, after all that I had done?

In 2003, after graduating high school, I went to an internship at a church in the Dallas area. It was a 1 year internship, serving in youth and college aged ministry. I loved writing the sermons, studying the word of God, starting my mornings in worship and prayer every day. I never really had been that faithful with daily reading of the word. This started a new chapter of my life; I was 18 and learning so much about myself, my calling, and God. I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, I was called to ministry at that point. I was within a month of completing the internship but my dreams were crushed, it was my own fault, but I was devastated. At that time, I decided God couldn’t really use me anymore and the next 8 years were spent verifying that. With each failure, I felt further and further from God and the calling I knew he had placed on my life.

I spent the next 7 years of my life, in and out of church, one bad decision after another, with only a few good choices thrown in. Three years ago I got involved with a local church. I decided I needed to raise my child in church and set a good example for him. God started healing my broken heart; he started restoring clarity to my mind. In the last year, God began reminding me of the calling on my life.  Once again, the thoughts of not being enough entered my mind, I was a failure, always had been – did God still want to use me?

Just this weekend I stumbled across this verse in my daily reading. “For God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.” (Romans 11:29) All the negative thoughts I had towards myself and the calling God had placed on my heart, they were lies. This verse has given me a new passion; it has reminded me that God choose me, who am I, to deny the calling that God placed on my life. I am making a choice to do what God has called me to do. No longer can I deny that God has called me and set me apart.

Let me encourage you with this, this verse is for you too. The desires of your heart are there because God gave them to you; they are intertwined in your DNA. Don’t allow your thoughts and feelings to keep you from being what God has called you to be. Your past cannot keep you from the calling God has placed on your life, it was only a delay. Now is the time!Romans11.29

Mercy

“It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.”

Romans 9:16

Paul was convicted. He had previously mentioned how frustrated with himself he was, “why then do I do what I don’t want to do, and don’t do what I want to do”. Have you been there? I have. Knowing that God has called you to so much more, yet you struggle to keep your eyes on Him and what He has called you to. We think our failures keep us from the promises of God, yet the promises of God are yes and amen. Amen – so be it. Do we believe the word of God, does God lie? You’ve heard preachers say, if He’s brought you to it, He will bring you through it. Do you believe it? Do you trust that God has a plan and a purpose for your life? Do you think that God would place the desires only to watch us fail and not give us hope for tomorrow? I feel that way sometimes, but we can’t rely on our feelings.

I get upset with myself at times, because I know God has called me to more, but my feelings and thoughts get in the way and I have a hard time believing I could ever be what God called me to be. But with that statement it is where this particular verse comes into play.

“It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.”

Because of God’s mercy, you and I can be what God has called us to be. It has nothing to do with our desire, thoughts, feelings, or effort. God’s mercy is enough to put us on the right track. Keeping God as the priority, even when we are not who we need to be, allows us to be who He called us to be.

Lord, thank you that is has nothing to do with our human desire or effort, but on your mercy. Lord, allow us, even in turmoil, to look to you. God help us to know that you see us as whole and complete lacking no good thing. Allow our thoughts to be your thoughts, anything not of you, let us cast it from our mind and replace it with Godly thoughts. Lord your mercy is what makes us enough. Father, help us to rely on you and your word. Amen.

mercy

I hope this ministered to you. This verse truly blessed me this morning and I had to share my thoughts on it. I’m a single parent that loves God that has been called to ministry but is as nervous as heck about fully trusting God to provide. I’m learning to let go and let God. You can find and follow me on Twitter and would also love to have you follow this blog. I try to post a new blog each week, struggle or not. Praying for you guys and gals, deuces.

My Confessions…

I had a really rough past week and a half. You would think after 28 years, I’d have figured out how to handle all the small stressors in life and not allow them to compact putting me in a place to explode. But, I haven’t. If you decide to continue to read this post, I hope you don’t mind me being honest. And if you continue to read and hear about my dark side, I hope it doesn’t turn you off completely. I need to be me, and this me needs to be open.

I know I’m called to ministry, full-time ministry. Ministry where my paycheck relies on how well people like to hear me speak and want to hear what I have to say. That scares me. I grew up spoiled, having what I wanted when I wanted it. Being a single mom, I’ve became the bread winner for my family. Not saying I don’t have help, my parents have helped me more than I could ever deserve and I am eternally grateful. But I know that I have to make a decent pay check and when I don’t my bills don’t get paid. Just the thought of not being able to afford my ridiculously large car payment scares me to death. This spoiled, grown-up child, fears of not being able to take care of herself or her little boy that depends on her.

I hate it when people don’t like me. I go out of my way, bending over backwards, to do what I can to serve others and to make people happy. I care and love with my whole heart and when it’s not returned, it crushes me. I hate that it crushes me to not be liked. I’m scared that I will always have people that dislike me just because I am me. All I can be is me, and I don’t want to fear not being liked.

I struggle with depression. Like I previously mentioned, I never learned how to handle all the small stressors so then when I let them build up they end up suffocating me. Literally, there are times when I feel like I can’t breathe, it scares me that my depression could affect me in full-time ministry. Who is going to want to listen to someone bring the word of God, that at times, struggles with relying on the word of God.depression

I’m scared that I’ll never learn how to deal with all the small things that end up as big things that cause me to be depressed, and if I can’t get over my depression, then who will like me, and if no one likes me, then who will want to hear me speak? I will be better though, I know that to get through all of this I just have to stay in God’s Word, stay on my knees, and even when I’m too tired to be on my knees, my heavenly father won’t be disappointed if I just lay on my face. This week has been trying for me, but I do know that God has me in the palm of his hand. He loves me, the good, the bad, and even the ugly side of me. God loves you too. I’m living proof that if God is willing to use me, He is more than willing to use you too.

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Super Moon in Perspective

Tonight you will have another chance to catch the “Super Moon”.  Just being able to see it will leave you in amazement. It’s size and the light it reflects is unreal. Headed home last night with my five year old, he noticed how much larger it seemed and little does he know that tonight it will be even closer and will seem even larger.

 

Super moon in perspective

Leave it to me to try and smash the moon with my pointer and thumb. Even though just looking at the moon it seemed enormous, putting it in between my fingers made it almost disappear.

I’ve had some problems in my lifetime, so many I put on myself, others were situations I had been put in by other people. There were times those problems were overwhelming, the magnitude of situations took my breath and sometimes hope away.

What I learned last night by smashing the moon with my fingers was that it was all about perspective. Those things that seem too big for us, God takes his pointer and thumb, puts it in perspective and tells us that we have this.

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