Did you know God is a Planner? There are dozens of scriptures in the Bible that reveal the character of God. We can acquire a wonderful picture of who He is and how He operates when we spend time in His presence and read His Word (the Bible). Most of us know He is loving, forgiving and that He cares. But how many of us know He likes order, goals and planning?
I’ll admit sometimes it’s annoying and other times it’s humbling the types of remarks my husband and I receive. We often hear things like “Your life must be easy, because your marriage is perfect,” or “your children are perfect”. We chuckle because we know WE ARE NOT PERFECT! Although we do aim for perfection because in Matthew 5:48, God tells us too! Side note: God never asks us to do something we cannot do. It’s achievable. The honest truth is we have conflicts in our marriage just like everyone else; we are guilty of yelling at our kids sometimes, getting angry, frustrated and disappointed like everyone else. What gives us this appearance that we “have it all together” is not because we spend countless hours looking for the best posed picture for Instagram or rehearsing how to “act” in front of others; it’s because we work HARD at keeping God the center of EVERYTHING.
God is the center of our marriage, parenting style, self-care, friendships, work, everything! We use His Word, the Bible as our instructional manual. We constantly turn the pages of the Bible looking for guidance, strength or direction. We’ve learned that when we seek God’s wisdom, we find a path that’s error-proof. It so happens, that when anyone seeks God, He gives grace and glory as a bi-product (Ps. 84:11). What people observe in our lives is not the greatness of Juan or Angelita. It’s the greatness of our God and what He can do in a family.
One early morning, while I was in prayer, I began to thank God for all the blessings He’s given me. If you’re new to prayer, always start with thanking God for your blessings. Ps 100:4 says you enter God’s gates with a thankful heart. In that moment of thanksgiving, I thought about my life without him. Immediately I felt prompted to write this blog…”What would my life be like without God?” Truthfully, because I know how to recognize God’s hand in my life, I can easily write all day what He has saved me from, healed me from, redeemed from, delivered my from… you get the picture. I’m going to do my best just highlight a couple areas of really what my life would be like without God.
My Life Without God…
I would not have been married, but bitter and full of hurt. Because I struggled so much in my adolescence fighting against God’s love and will, I dealt with rejection after rejection in my relationships. While God was trying to keep me from hurt, it was like I was running to it. It didn’t take long before I felt battered and broken.
Even early in Juan and I’s relationship, we had conflicts in our beliefs and how to live our lives. Outward influences constantly put roadblocks in our relationship. Not to mention, we were immature. We had no idea what healthy dating looked like or even what a healthy marriage was supposed to be. There were times we hurt each other so deeply, recovery looked impossible. We struggled with trusting one another, validating each other and managing conflict. It’s without a doubt if we didn’t have God, we would have never married! I would have never fought for our relationship through prayer. I can’t number the times I cried before God for my husband, my heart and our relationship. By God’s grace, He led us to a church that would show us how to be a husband and wife and teach use how to have a healthy marriage.
I would have had poor eyesight and Scoliosis. I recently shared with a friend when I was in sixth grade I had really bad back pain. I always assumed it was due to a bad fall. Until one church service, right before a minister prayed for me, I discovered I had one leg longer than the other. I had scoliosis. The man called my mom to witness and before our very eyes, God stretched out my leg to align with my other leg. In that same week, God healed my family’s eyes (we all wore prescription glasses) and he filled my Dad’s cavities (at that time we couldn’t afford to go to the dentist and my dad desperately needed fillings). I am convinced there’s nothing God cannot do!
I would have had chronic stomach pain. When I was in high school, for years I had chronic stomach pain. After countless examinations, tests and diet suggestions, the doctors were never able to identify the onset of my terrible pain. I remember crying night after night in horrible pain, until one night I cried out to God. I fell asleep and the pain never returned.
I would have been dead. Honestly, God has saved my life more times than I can count. One day I dropped off my husband at work and I wasn’t feeling well enough to drive. Despite my condition, I persisted. I was driving to Sac City College to double up my load while attending CSUS. I didn’t make it. I made a wrong turn and I ended up driving my little old sports car right under a 4X4 truck head on. My car was completely smashed. I walked away sore but without a scratch.
I would have been mentally unstable and socially scarred. At four years old I was molested by my Uncle. It went on for a while until one day my mom confronted me about my suspicious behavior. I was trapped in fear for so long and completely ignorant about the severity of the situation. After the truth had been revealed, so much division came upon my family and relatives. The situation haunted me for years, it distorted my relationships with significant others and effected my view of intimacy until God healed my brokenness.
I would have been depressed with a broken heart. My brother and I had a very close relationship to the point when I was in high school and going through some really tough times, I literally told God, “I don’t care if any one dies but please don’t ever take my brother.” I was ignorant, full of hurt and didn’t know God’s character as much as I do know. God doesn’t “take”, he “gives”. Yet here I was less than four years later after uttering those words, hearing the one person I didn’t think I could live without was no longer alive. My whole life felt crushed. I can remember my boyfriend (now husband) practically carrying me to the car as we left the movie theater. I happen to take my mom’s call during the previews. She told my boyfriend the news to prepare him for my reaction. A moment later she told me what had happened. Juan helped me out of the theater while I wailed. I’m surprised no one stopped him to see what had happened to me. God met me in my distress. He picked up the pieces of my broken heart, mended and healed me of my wounds. At that point in my life I had to know God was real. Church couldn’t be an event and faith couldn’t be a fad. I needed to know God as my Comforter. I had to trust Him like never before. Like a loving Father, He began to reveal to the answers to my questions, comfort my heart and hold me when I felt alone. I’m forever grateful for God’s love and the promise I have to see my brother again.
Honestly, I could never imagine the fullness of my life without God. Life without Him is inconceivable. He is the air the breathe. He is my source of strength and peace. He is my hope when I feel all hope is gone. He is my help when I don’t see a way of escape. My heart grieves for those that don’t know Christ. I couldn’t endure the weight of this world and all of its turmoil on my shoulders. God knows no can, which is why He had to send us Jesus.
So when people admire my family, my marriage or my life, I can’t accept the credit. What they are all seeing is the light of God within us and what He can do in a surrendered heart. There is no darkness too deep, He cannot deliver you out of. No act too horrible, He cannot forgive. No brokenness too scattered He cannot mend and heal. God is able to help, heal, recover, mend all who are willing to allow him to. He loves us all. There’s nothing we can do to change that fact. Still we are all given a choice. A choice to receive His love or reject it. I’m praying you receive His love. Believe me, you won’t regret it. As my Pastor says, “Life goes better when God is first.” I know it to be true.
Praying for you,
Just as you would protect your valuables, your marriage should be protected too! We often focus our attention on the things that are clearly visible. For example, our kids need new tennis shoes, the car in the driveway needs to be clean, the living room needs a new paint job, the water filter in the refrigerator needs to be changed and so on. Life can be so demanding, we can forget about the things we cannot see or touch, like our marriages. Yet, marriage is one of the most valuable parts of our lives and the infrastructure of our home, it needs protecting. Continue reading “Fortify Your Marriage Before It Decays”
On my birthday, my husband hacked my personal Facebook page and left the most beautiful, uplifting post about me. It was a message that probably gave the impression that I am a perfect woman. Which I am not! Regardless, he went on describing how I am this “superwoman” doing all these amazing things. As I read his post I kept thinking, “How is this me? I am in no way the woman he is describing!” Although his message was sincere and sweet, I had the hardest time reading it. My judgmental radar was up and I began to criticize every word he wrote. I wasn’t looking for any errors on his part, rather it was I who was on the surgery table to be scrutinized.
It’s amazing for me to believe I have been with Juan, my husband, my best friend, the man of my dreams for nearly 19 years. [Side note: You can expect this to be mushy…it’s my love story after all.] To think I’ve spent more of my life with him than anyone else, including my parents, helps me realize the impact he’s made on me. I’m incredibly thankful to God for orchestrating our paths together. We seriously needed one another (and still do) and not in a dependency kind of way, rather in a way to improve and benefit each other’s lives. Although he is hardly the same guy I met back in 1998, I am more in love with him and appreciate who he is today more than ever before.
The other day, I had a conversation with a friend about the challenges children at this present time endure even at a young age. Between the shootings that have occurred at elementary schools, child prostitution, and unlimited, uncensored access to information, without a doubt our children are being raised in a different world than we were.
At any moment, I can put on my Television or go on my phone and see the news of tragedies taking place within or outside of our country. My heart grieves over the catastrophic journeys parents have walked. I’m constantly prayerful and I’ve shed many tears over the sorrow these mothers and fathers have endured. No one deserves the heartache of watching their child suffer or experience a tragedy. In times of sorrow, I’ve often heard the question of “Why do bad things happen?” or “Where is God when bad things occur?”
I believe with both of these questions we can find some direction from the Bible. It was while I was composing my first blog post on How to Conquer Parenting Fears Part I (if you haven’t read my Part I and would like to, click here), I realized these questions come up and they need to be addressed. If you’d like to empower yourself with 5 tools to help you conquer fear, I encourage you to read my first blog. I know it will bless you. In this blog post, I want to answer those questions that enter our minds in the midst of tragedies. I hope to empower parents so they can raise their children without fear.
Throughout my adult life, I’ve made it a priority to be fit in every area of my life. Of course this is easier said than done. Nonetheless, I’m up for the daily challenge and I’m quite determined! I may not be the skinniest girl on the block or the happiest person every second of the day, but I’ve learned to be content, confident and willing to make changes as needed.
As we draw closer to Thanksgiving many of us will be encouraged to reflect on the things for which we are thankful. Although it’s great to count your blessings at the Thanksgiving table, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to read how incredibly beneficial having a thankful attitude can affect your life.
In fact, Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy, head of the division of biologic psychology at Duke University Medical Center, said “If [thankfulness] were a drug, it would be the world’s best-selling product with a health maintenance indication for every major organ system.” Thankfulness has tremendous advantages that not only affect us biologically, but enhances us psychologically, extrinsically at our work place, in our marriages and our friendships too. Here are 8 major benefits to having an “attitude of gratitude” that can change your life throughout the year:
Both of my children were napping near me while I was folding laundry; and all of a sudden a thought hit me like a ton of bricks…“What would I do if something tragic ever happened to my children?” In that moment my heart sunk into my stomach. Tears begun to fill my eyes and fear tried to grip my soul. In that instant I recalled my first brother.