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Encouragement for Women Run Your Race

The F Words, Part 2

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To continue the story about my friend I would have to say that she had her own stuff. She had her own junk pile that she had heaped on her husband as well. The kind of junk that destroys a marriage: deceit, unfaithfulness, insecurities, unrealistic expectations, abuse. All things that absolutely obliterate anything good in marriage. But that’s the thing about personal pain and hurt in a relationship…you only see what’s been done to you. So that’s all that she could see. It was hard for her to see that she had a choice because self-inflicted pain and self-sabotage had become a habit.

Well one day she decided not to live that way anymore. Habits had to change. Her mind had to change and most of all her FAITH had to change. Oh she had faith all right, it was just enough to get her to the scary part of really having faith and then she would run the other way and shrink back. FEAR would set in and  coarse through her veins and almost had her convinced not to trust in the Lord. All of this was a vicious cycle that kept its grip on her life until she’d found that she had just gone in circles for five, six, seven, eight years.

If her marriage was going to survive, if she was going to survive, her fear had to go. So she started on that path to deal with her own junk pile and exchange it for the life God created her for. Her faith needed to come to the forefront and blaze the trail for where her heart had never been before. Change is possible. God says so. She is willing, and He is faithful. That is the most important thing.

Sometime down the road on this blog I will post an update of this couple riddled with the ugly F word called failure, and I will let you know where FAITH took them. All I know is, it’s going to be a miracle. Just you wait. Hang in there!

With all my heart,

Sonia

Categories
Encouragement for Women

The F Words

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For this blog post I will share a story about a friend of mine:

“For years I was married to a ghost. I knew that going in. This was a man who never fessed up to anything. He kept secrets and had a mind that he rarely let anyone really see. On the outside he was perfectly outgoing and fun loving. Everyone wanted to be around him – a real people person. I loved that about him. His confidence in social settings stood in stark contrast to my “faking it ’til I make it” shakiness. The first time I knew he had an issue with pornography was within the first month of dating. I was on his computer and being the nosy, control freak that I can be I hit the history button and there was a massive list of those sites. I confronted him. He assured me it was a thing of his past, part of his bachelor days and that now that we were together he wouldn’t be doing that anymore. I was no saint either so I just chalked it up to one of those “in the past things” we could move on from. Fast forward a few years into the relationship. Things were progressing in our couplehood. We bought a house, moved in together. Our sex life changed. His desire for me grew cold, and he didn’t care if I walked around naked or fully clothed. I felt ugly and rejected and not at all like my other friends who were complaining that their husbands/boyfriends wouldn’t leave them alone. I would laugh and say, “Gosh, me too.” But inside I was dying as I lied. I asked him what was wrong with us and if he was up to his old habits looking at porn or if there was something else going on. He assured me that there was nothing going on, worse than that he called me crazy. And then one day I came home from work, and he wasn’t home (he’d had to leave in a hurry to take care of a work emergency). I had a strange feeling and started to go check the computer and notice that everything was unplugged. I was confused by this and plugged everything in and up on the screen was an image of a naked woman. My heart sank. I didn’t watch to see what came next. I went into a rage. I threw all of his clothes outside and called him. We were done in my mind. Finished. He had led me to believe that our sex issues and my suspicions were all my fault and here it was that it was his obsession with other women in a virtual reality that was really killing us. My broken heart didn’t allow for sorrow at that time, it only allowed for anger and rage. I’ve forgotten what took place in the months that followed, but we ended up getting passed that, and we got married. Like I said, I knew what I was getting into. I thought, “We are married now. Surely we will have a better sex life and things will change between us!” Not exactly. During our marriage we had seasons where our intimacy was better but mostly the bad was more prevalent. Then a few years into our marriage we started going to a Christian church, and I thought, “For sure now we will be blessed in this area. We will have a passion like never before and things will be right!” Wrong. I began to get more and more bitter while he began to go deeper and deeper into his own mind. We both started serving at our church and going to a marriage group, attending couples counseling. You name it, we were doing it. All the outside stuff looked great. People would look at us and want a marriage like ours – called us “so cute” and “so adorable”. Yet, we were dying inside. Both of us. Fast forward another six years, and things are now so off. I am thinking I am just the most terrible, undesirable wife there ever was. I become more and more demeaning and disrespectful. And then one morning I’d had enough. I prayed for wisdom and for gentleness, I prayed specifically the verse, Matthew 10:16 that says, ” …Therefore be as wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” I knew my husband would be home all day while I was at work so I hid a recording device and left it recording. He’d dropped me off at work and as per our usual routine we prayed before I got out of the car. I prayed to God that we would both honor Him in all our ways at work and at home. That prayer was an appeal to my husband, I know that now. God was calling him to purity and wholeness and all he had to do was be honest – if not with me, with someone else. We attend a church that makes it safe to come out with our junk so we were in the safest place where he could confess and confront his addiction. I came home from work and asked if he would go and pick up some groceries for dinner while I stayed behind to work on a computer project. As soon as I heard the car back out of the driveway I grabbed the recorder and began the process of fast forwarding and rewinding to discover what I already knew to be true. He was back into pornography again. But this time as a Christian man, a Christian man that people looked up to and respected. The ghost was no longer a ghost. I saw him for what he was. A porn addict. At first he tried to blame me. My complaints, my ways. I wasn’t having it. This thing in him existed long before I ever came along. This was him, but he was playing on my insecurities, “Maybe it is me. If I wasn’t so nagging. If I wasn’t so old. If my butt was in better shape.” I kicked him out of our bedroom and threatened divorce and meant it. I researched Brazilian Butt Lifts and resolved to put it on his credit card too! The next few days I was walking around with a weight lifted because now I knew the truth, but my heart was completely broken. That old message from long ago raised its banner high once again with these old ugly words, “YOU ARE NOT ENOUGH. YOU NEVER WILL BE”. My dad had done the same thing to my mom and our family, addicted to porn and dating other women. So here I was thinking if I don’t leave my husband I am just like my mom. I pushed back with the word of God, desperate to have Him use my pain for building instead of destroying. After a few days of my own soul searching I started to ask him questions. Not the ones I’d asked the times before but ones that were,  I know now, from God. The real questions and this time I got real answers. Ones that broke my heart for him. I saw him for what he was, not a ghost, not a villain but a precious and broken man. Compassion welled up in me and gratitude for this mess we found ourselves in. We are in one of those “for worse” seasons in the “better of for worse” commitment we signed up for. God has us and the “F Words” are definitely at the forefront with the choice being will we move forward in fear or in faith? I pray it’s faith because I have had enough of fear. This is the road by which we discover the couple God designed us to be. I have to remember that with God the end is never the end, it is a beginning. So please pray for us and for all Christian marriages because we are not perfect. We just need to be honest and that’s going to take faith. Pray for that.”

Thank you for reading this blog post today. Next blog post is part two of “The F Words”.

With all my heart,

Sonia

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Encouragement for Women Uncategorized

The Toughest Day of 2017

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Photo taken June 29, 2017 Carlsbad, CA

 

I just googled the most middle day of the year, and it is July 2nd. So almost smack dab in the middle of last year my world got rocked. I read a description somewhere about traumatic events and how you start to describe things as before “that” or after “that”.  On New Year’s Eve a few nights ago I glanced over the year of photos in my phone and found that to be true, this photo marks the point of the “after”.  I wrote about it last September in one of the blog posts so I won’t go into the details here. But here’s the thing about 2018 and beyond, we are guaranteed a tough day – maybe even the toughest day ever. My prayer, a resolution if you will, is for the toughest day to drive us to our Great Savior – the  only one equipped to bring answers, healing, restoration, strength, forgiveness, love and grace through the excrutiating process of rebuilding after heartbreak. Let your heart break when it’s supposed to and then trust God to put it back together the way it was intended to be in the first place.

The Snapchat photo here on this page says it all. In the midst of my greatest pain, sitting there at the beach with my heart in shreds and my mind trying to make sense out of everything, God presented me with a command, “Trust Him.” Everything in me wanted to run and handle life with bitterness, revenge even. But I got up from that bench at the beach and took a step and then another one towards my car, and even though I didn’t how to proceed from there, I did. The power that I needed to forgive and forge a new path was there from God. And that event, that toughest day, opened up me up to a new life. A life of more honesty, more depth and more grace.

So here’s the theme for 2018: GRACE and more grace. Your toughest day can be your greatest day.

Thank you for reading!

With all my heart, Sonia

Categories
Encouragement for Women

We will overcome

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Mario & me. July 2003

Thank you for reading the next part of “Holy Duct Tape for the Hot Tempered Wife.” With all my heart, Sonia 

My husband and I were sitting at the stoplight to turn onto our street when it struck me how far we have come from the couple we used to be. Things are far from perfect, but I thought about how much we have experienced in our 14 years together and how easy it would have been for either of us to walk away. I looked over at him in the car and said, “You know, our marriage is like the stories we see on TV of people who overcame incredible obstacles, like that man who was born without arms who now works as a Nascar racing engineer.” I went on to tell him that if our marriage was put on display in physical terms like that it would be the same kind of impact, incredible odds being overcome to achieve what looks to be impossible! If I were to read the story of my marriage on paper I would think, “There is no way these two people are going to make it!” I wouldn’t bet on us, just us. But here’s the thing, it’s not just us. My husband and I started living our lives with God a little over halfway through our marriage. Through a series of gut wrenching life events, we came to a place where we were ready to stop doing things our way. We walked into a church in June of 2009 and started to listen and things started to change.

My husband is a trumpet player and started playing when he was 12 years old. He was a very good player so after high school he toured with a band. In his early twenties he decided to go to school and get his degree in music. When he showed up for the first lesson with his college music professor (one of the best classical trumpet players in LA) he was told that he had to relearn how to play the trumpet. He had been playing his instrument for ten years thinking he was great at it, and now he was being told that he learned bad habits along the way. He had to start from the bottom – like he had never played trumpet before. He said he wanted to quit. He had to relearn all the mechanics of breathing and a whole new technique. If he did not go through this process of being broken down, he wouldn’t have survived as a musician but his success depended on it.

That is the story of great change… and it means believing God through the process of being torn down to be built up again the right way. Our marriage is in that process and sometimes we soar and sometimes we crawl inch by inch through another day, another learning experience. If it was just up to us, we would have been done. It is hard. Thankfully we look to God and believe Him when He says, “Behold I make all things new.” (Revelation 21:5) Mario reminds me often that it takes two people committed to making it work. Sometimes one or the other is stronger and pulls the other along but we are both in it for the change God wants to bring. Our story is not the fairy tale like the ones we have read about before. Our story is riddled with brokenness, but that’s where we have found His greatest miracles of redemption. The Nascar engineer story reminds us that the world sits up and takes notice when people overcome. So in these fierce marriages of ours, we too can overcome and be a testimony of our great God with a great plan far beyond what we ever imagined possible.

Here are the verses to meditate on today:

Ephesians 3:17-21 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Day 4 Themes:

1) Believe God & trust Him!

2) Stop looking at our inability & look to God for He is able.

Prayer

Dear Father God,

Thank you that, no matter what, You don’t give up on me. Thank you for the numerous do-over’s and the countless reminders that You are for me and my marriage. I pray for my husband and me to heal from the past hurts we have inflicted on each other and to keep our focus on You. I pray that we see each other with new eyes and that we embrace an even greater passion for each other. I pray we pray together. Only You can remake our lives. We trust in Your power to bring beauty from these ashes. It’s for Your glory we continue on. I love you. In Jesus’ Name I pray.  Amen!!!

 

 

 

 

Categories
Encouragement for Women

“Sonia, you have to start acting like…”

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Thanksgiving 2017

Next excerpt from “Holy Duct Tape for the Hot Tempered Wife”

I found myself on a cold winter evening last year seated at a dining table, my husband next to me, staring across the table at our pastor and his wife. This was no casual meeting for coffee. This was an intense discussion about our marriage and deep issues we were dealing with at the time. If ever I wanted the ground to open up and swallow me, this was one of those times. But before I go into that – let me back up. How did we get here? The few months that had led up to this evening meeting were the hardest my husband and I had encountered in a while. We were dealing with the loss of a family member due to cancer, the purchase of a new home and the end of my husband’s first (grueling) semester teaching full time…all of this in the span of eight weeks. We were emotional, sleep-deprived, disconnected and disgusted with one another by the time we found ourselves at that table each explaining our “side of the story”. My husband recounted, verbatim, some horrible words I had shouted at him during one of our recent fights. I was shocked to hear what I had said to him. I mean, I know I had said them, but to hear them that way caused me such embarrassment and shame – partly because of who we were meeting with and also because they were just so wrong. I’m sure at the time I said them, I felt justified and maybe even proud of myself for having such cutting things to say, but here they were on display for the four of us to behold, and I wanted to run out of there. Our pastor and his wife were patient, offered insight and prayed for us, but there was one thing in that conversation that stuck out to me and pierced my heart. Toward the end of the conversation, our pastor turned to my husband and gave some guidance and direction and then he turned to me and said, “And you, Sonia, you have to start acting like a Christian woman.” He said some other things after that to offer encouragement, but that phrase played out over and over in my head, “start acting like a Christian woman”. Things didn’t magically get easier the days that followed, but I was thinking more and more about what it means to be a Christian woman. I am often so worried about me, consumed with me and want to make sure I am okay that I forget all else. I forget that to be a Christian is to live a life in service of others, and if you’re married, first and foremost, in service to your husband (and lest I forget to add this disclaimer, husbands are to lay down their lives for their wives so it’s a mutually giving situation when done the way God intends it to be). My husband is not without fault in our conflict, but a hot-tempered wife is not just hot-tempered for the sake of being difficult, there have been things along the way in life that molded us into a “I will never be hurt again. You will not hurt me. This will not hurt me” kind of person. All that to say, living sacrificially is the exact opposite of everything I know instinctively. So here’s the good part, the part where we get some answers, some of the “how to be a Christian woman” part. Here’s a verse to start thinking about:

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:1-2

There are a few things going on that are key, one of them being to give (stop being so selfish) and the other is to be changed by the renewing of your mind (humble yourself – you aren’t right all the time, you know).

This journey I am on feels so foreign to me that sometimes I feel like I’ll never get it right, but I know that God says with Him all things are possible. If He says it’s possible to get my mind right, to get control of my emotions, to live selflessly and to have a thriving marriage, then I’ll believe Him.

Day 3 Themes:

1) Get over ourselves. I know, but really, we need to! It’s time.

2) Let’s change our minds to have our minds changed by God’s love and His Word. Enough with the negative self-talk!

Thank you so much for reading & thank you for your patience.

With all my heart, Sonia

P.S. Another extremely HUGE key part of this story is that we let 
people in to help keep us accountable! It is so humbling to deal withyour dirt with others, but it is healthy when done in a safe 
environment! Let’s not give up but instead give in to God’s way of 
doing things (and let others in!).
Categories
Encouragement for Women

The unexpected is the best part

Happy Tuesday! Here’s the next part of “Holy Duct for the Hot-Tempered Wife”. Thank you for reading.

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

My husband and I went on a road trip up the coast for Valentine’s weekend in 2016. We ended up not making good time that first day because we argued badly just trying to get on the road. I almost ended up not going.  We had to stay overnight in a hotel off of the 101 in Morro Bay because we were so late in leaving. I’d wanted to see some of the highway stretch before Big Sur during the day so we made the decision to stay at that particular hotel. We’d never stayed there before but we were definitely led there. Every time I think of this story I want to cry. Here’s why. We pulled into the hotel a little after sundown. Mario and I were in a battle just getting to that place, like I said we’d had a pretty ugly argument right when we were to begin the road trip. It was tough getting into the car and onto the road in North County, San Diego so by the time we were 290 miles north in Morro Bay we were still walking on thin ice, on edge with nerves frayed. The woman at the check in desk was helpful, efficient and there was an ease and a lightness to her that was in stark contrast to my own heavy heart. I did my best to be the sweetest version of myself and said the appropriate polite things while we paid and got keys to our room. I had already made the decision to hit the continental breakfast the next morning for coffee and some sort of inviting carb loaded treat (I felt I’d earned it!). The next morning I did some of a Bible study from Beth Moore called, “Children of the Day, 1 & 2 Thessalonians”. I was on 1 Thessalonians 4:9 “About brotherly love: You don’t need me to write you because you yourselves are taught by God to love one another.” In the study Beth Moore asked, “Do you have a similar example from someone you know or have read about (or perhaps seen in the mirror this morning) who seemed to have learned some biblical truth straight from God without textbook, training, or human teacher?” My answer was YES. I did have a personal experience myself where I felt God taught me something straight from His Word a few years back when I read the account of the ten lepers cleansed in Luke 17:11-19. What I learned from God in that story was that the least likely to be thankful, the Samaritan leper, was the only one who came back to say thank you to Jesus and because of this he gained insight when Jesus said to him, “…your faith has made you well” (vs. 19).  What I learned was since the leper was the only one who was thankful and acted on it, he was the only one who got this piece of information straight from Jesus about how powerful faith was. So, getting back to that morning in the Morro Bay hotel. I recalled the thankful leper and set about to get us packed up and ready to get back on the road. I was still somewhat rocked from the day before because of the big argument, but I was thankful too. I was thankful that God got us this far into the trip even though it was so tough! Mario packed up the car and then we found our way to where the continental breakfast was. In that little breakfast place there was the attendant from last night to greet us with a sweet smile and a quick introduction about how to use the waffle maker (that was the BEST!!). We were her only breakfast customers so far – so it was the three of us there in that room. As I was trying my hand at the waffles I looked over and saw the woman sitting there staring out. She was looking out the window toward the shoreline of Morro Bay at a big rock. I started talking with her asking her questions about where she’d lived before coming here (she was of East Indian descent, and I was curious about her story). She explained that she had come out here from North Carolina last May. She then said something that caught my attention even further. She said, “Every morning I sit here and look outside and thank the Good Lord for bringing me here.” She went on to say that she had been a Hindu and converted to Christianity 15 years ago. She had left an abusive marriage last May which is what brought her out to Morro Bay. I knew then that this was a divine moment. We were supposed to be at that hotel, and I was supposed to hear this reinforced message of thankfulness as a key to my walk – even in my most angriest, most painful moments – and our new friend was supposed to know that God sees her and sends her brothers and sisters to remind her that she is not alone. We took the opportunity to pray together, and then my husband and I drove away with completely different attitudes – in awe of God’s power in spite of our biggest mistakes! That day was such a gift. I cannot explain the sweet scenery that played out before our eyes as we traversed the magnificent Highway 1. I can only say this, there was a moment when I saw these huge trees, fierce and brave meet the shoreline that held back this equally powerful and mesmerizingly bright blue ocean, and I thought, “This is where the forest and the ocean shake hands and decide to be friends forever.” That’s the story of my marriage. We are both so strong, so different, fighting for that shoreline, but God uses that force to change us into a vision of His glory. So hang in there, sister. Be brave, whether you are the ocean or the trees, this fight is a good one. Be thankful for the process.

Day 2 Themes:

1) Thankfulness is key. (Don’t worry if you’re not thankful right now. Hang in there!)

2) Be brave, and don’t be afraid that you’re too strong. There is a purpose!

Prayer

Dear Father God, Thank you for giving me so much, even in my biggest defeats. Thank you that You never give up on me, and that You are always ready to teach me a life giving lesson. Please help me to be sensitive to Your Spirit and to obey You. Please help me to hang in there and to not be afraid of how it looks and feels right now. Please help me to not see my husband as an enemy ,and I pray the same for him to not see me as his enemy. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen!

With all my heart,

Sonia

 

 

 

Categories
Encouragement for Women Run Your Race

The Merry-Go-Round – A story about (not) loving my enemies

I’m going to tell you a story this morning about eight year old Sonia. I am the oldest of three girls. My sister, Lorena, is the middle child with a heart of gold. We grew up moving around more than others because my dad was in the military. My sister and I were both in a school in Mountain View, California where she was in first grade and I was in fourth. At this particular school they had two separate playgrounds – one for kinder and first graders and another for second through fifth graders. There was a chain link fence dividing the playgrounds. I’d told my sister to go to the fence and stand there if she ever needed me and sure enough one day she was standing on her side of the fence crying. I ran over there and she proceeded to tell me that a girl in her class was making fun of her because of her lisp. Well, I was good friends with a rather large fourth grade Samoan girl so we went over to where the bully was sitting on the merry-go-round. My friend and I proceeded to spin that merry go round until that little girl got the message that she should never again pick on my sister. It was always like that growing up. If anyone picked on my sisters or my family I saw red and went after them with everything in me.

Fast forward to 43 year old Sonia. Recently a good friend of mine was the recipient of a woman’s petty behavior, and it broke my friend down. I found her in a room crying. Well I saw red and since that day I’ve had a few encounters with this woman and my ice cold attitude coupled with an obvious disgust for her very presence any time she was  near me led up to an encounter yesterday that reminded me of that merry-go-round scenario years ago. I think it’s called “icing someone out.” I ignored this woman when she was talking, passively aggressively speaking to her in condescending tones and just begging her to engage. In my mind I kept thinking, “Say one thing wrong – just one thing. I’m ready.” I was poised to unleash my every opinion of her to make her cry. That was my goal, really, to make her cry – to make her pay for what she did to my friend. Different weapons (no Samoan friend, no merry-go- round) but definitely same goal. At some point this woman did walk away from me unhinged and thankfully I had another thing to attend to or I would have followed her and really let her have it.

This thing in me never bothered me until now. I was fine with it, I liked it about myself until yesterday. I think God has been putting His finger on this thing and saying it’s time to grow up and trust Him to defend. I called my husband and then a good friend yesterday to talk about this, and they both prayed for me. And then last night in church somewhere towards the end of the Bible study I hear these verses: Romans 12:17-19 (NIV) Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.

I am not perfect and neither are my enemies. I am put in these situations to highlight and expose what’s going on inside me. It still doesn’t make it right what these people did, but I’m not God. It’s His job to teach them just like He’s teaching me. It’s my job to obey God when I hear Him speak and I do hear Him on this…loud and clear: “Love your enemies.”

Luke 6:27-31 (NIV)

Love for Enemies

“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.  If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them.  Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.  Do to others as you would have them do to you.

Yikes! I could NEVER do this if left up to me, but thankfully the Spirit of the Living God lives in me and says I can do all things through Him because He loves me. Have a great day, my friend, knowing that our ugliest parts can be the best parts when we turn them over and commit them to our Loving God.

With all my heart,

Sonia

 

 

Categories
Encouragement for Women

Dear Little Miss Control Freak

“If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever loses his life for Me will find it.” Matthew 16:24-25

My need to control my environment is strong. That sentence is an understatement. Let me rephrase that. My need to control my environment – if left unchecked – is catastrophic and devastating. Maybe it’s the same for you, and that is why you are reading this. Let me assure you right out of the gate here – we are not alone. In preparing to write “Day 1” I thought of several of my  friends and family who have these same issues with control and overwhelming emotions when either a perceived threat or a very real fear has swept in. Just because we are not alone does not make us a part of some exclusive “Bad Christian Ladies Club” nor it does not exclude us from the “Good Christian Ladies Club” either. It just puts us in a category of women who no longer want to be ruled nor defined by the raging emotions that cause damage and dishonor the Lord. When I was praying about writing this and the topic of my rage and anger, I felt a wave of shame and condemnation come over me. It was almost like I couldn’t pray about this part of me. Even though I know God knows all about this fiery girl of His, I felt like I couldn’t admit the severity of it to God. I wanted to call it a “struggle” and label it something mild and non-threatening, but the fact is that it IS life-threatening.  I knew I didn’t need to hide from God, but somewhere down deep came these thoughts of shame because I felt like it’s just so unladylike to have this harsh and vicious way about me.  It can “feel” exhilarating and powerful when you rage and take back your (false sense of) control, but that feeling of control is a big lie. We have been deceived. This can no longer be my first and last line of defense. If I want to have any shot at the abundant life Jesus talks about then I need to learn how to be a strong woman without the clawing, fighting and hissing of mean words and threats. The enemy of my soul does not want me getting victory in this. My intense anger and explosive emotions have made his job all too easy.

So getting back to that moment of prayer where I felt that shame come over me…I decided right then and there to be honest with myself and God. In the silence of my heart and mind I called it what it was. And then an unexpected thing happened. I felt God say to me, “I love you.” I didn’t hear a voice fall out of the sky, but He said it in a way that felt like it was right from His heart to mine. In my ugliness I felt His love right there. He was there with me in the true confession. I don’t know if it was because I was appropriately convicted over this for once or if it was because God knows how hard this is for me. I don’t quite know how to articulate it, but if I could try to explain what took place, I’d have to say that He was pleased that I would come to Him like that…humbly.  And pleased that I would be willing to deal with this finally. So if there’s any encouragement I can give right here at the starting line, it would be this: He loves you. He loves me.

As difficult as things are right now and as difficult a breed of women we can be, we are created in God’s image to love with power and to have self-control and solidness when we let go of our warped sense of control. God wants us to see His power displayed all over our lives and that happens when we admit our greatest weaknesses – the root ones, the real ones. And if we don’t know yet what those roots are, then at the very least we’d be willing to go through the process to allow Him to discover why we do what we do. I don’t know if there’s a formula, and I doubt there’s a “one-size fits all remedy”, but He guarantees this: HE IS FAITHFUL. His Word says in 2 Corinthians 12:9 that “His grace is sufficient for us, for His strength is made perfect in weakness”. Our weakness in exchange for His strength – now there’s a formula I want to learn about. Which brings takes me to our meditation verse at the top of the page: Matthew 16:24-25. In order for us to find our lives – the lives we have always wanted, we have to lose our life – the old one- the “control freak” one – the one that rages to protect herself like an injured animal. Time to open up that cracked heart and let Him in to do life-saving and life-giving surgery. Let’s hang in there! It’s worth it.

In summary, Day 1 themes:

1) That He loves us.

2) That it’s time to lose that old life (let go of control) and be willing to live the new one (embrace the weakness).

Prayer

Dear Father God, Thank you that you love me so much that You want me to exchange the lies of my own control for the truth of the power of Your Spirit at work in my life. Please help me to be honest with You and others and to stop trying to hold everything together myself. Please give me a willing spirit, heart and mind for the change You want to bring to my life. I want to honor You in every area. I have kept this pressed down and covered up for so long, and I am exhausted. Please show me how to exchange my weakness for Your strength, for my good and Your glory, I pray. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

So this is Day 1 of the Holy Duct Tape Devotional. The fact that I’m doing this right now is no accident. Thank you for reading!

With all my heart,

Sonia

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There’s our little Luna watching me type 🙂

Categories
Encouragement for Women Run Your Race

Project: Holy Duct Tape for the Hot Tempered Wife

I’ve been working on a little writing project near and dear to my heart, and tonight I want share it with you. This is the first draft of the forward to “Holy Duct Tape – A Devotional for the Hot Tempered Wife.”

Foreword

Full disclosure: I know I am a tough wife. I know that my expectations can border on the impossible. I know I can have quite the double-standard when it comes to letting each other down in my marriage. All that to say that I am acutely aware that as I go into writing this, God wants to deal with the lady typing on this laptop right now. Do you ever find yourself praying things like, “God, please send an army of angels to harness this mouth of mine.” I know I have, and that’s on a good day. Sometimes I just say things so quick and fierce that there’s no time for a hint of any kind of prayer or even a thought, for that matter. I know there are other wives/fiånces/girlfriends who aren’t quite capable yet of saying sweetly (after a major “husband blow it moment”), ‘It’s okay, my love. I understand. Let’s move past this shall we?’ I have nothing against these patient and demure women, I just haven’t known how to respond in a truly honest and healthy way. I will share a story at the onset of this to give some light to the beginning of my journey. I remember being a brand-new Christian and trying to explain to the Pastor’s wife my intense reactions and the behavior that seemed impossible for me to get a handle on when I’m in an argument with my husband. She seemed ill-equipped to deal with my particular issue. She acted as if I was someone to be quickly dealt with and then avoided because I didn’t have it all together as a wife. To her defense, maybe she was just not used to my kind of attitude problem. I don’t know what her reasons were, but all I knew at the time is that I felt more strange and more alone and well, more evil, than other Christian ladies by the time I left. The one thing the Pastor’s wife left me with was one verse and it was this one:

Proverbs 25:28 (NLT)  A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls.

I never went to her for guidance again because she simply pointed out that I was broken but didn’t offer any hope or direction in how I could be rebuilt. I knew I had some broken walls. I just didn’t know how those walls were to be repaired. God wants us to be healthy, strong women. My walls have been broken down for far too long and maybe they have for you too. It’s time to carve out a new way of dealing with our emotions so let’s do some business with God. The repairs can happen, and He is faithful to do it. He says to follow Him. Let’s learn to do that, and watch what He does with our junk. All God wants is for us to be willing and if you are reading this, then that means you are! Get ready for some great change.

So to end tonight’s blog post…I’d like to say thank you for reading this. I plan to post more excerpts here and there. Good night and God bless. 

With all my heart, 

Sonia 

Categories
Encouragement for Women

Reminders

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Good morning! It’s been a while, and I don’t have much time. I just have to write this before I head upstairs to get ready for work.

One of the things I beat myself over is that I have a REALLY hard time finishing things. Getting to the end or completion of things I start is very hard for me. This is a very real fact of my personality – for whatever reason. Lately I’ve been thinking about certain things that I haven’t finished, and it got me down until just a moment ago in the women’s Bible study book I am doing with my church. I was in the chapter that talks about Joseph’s life and how it is wrought with twist and turns and the unexpected until he ends up – fully prepared by God -to do what he was created to do. It struck me that not even ME, with my many flaws and, other people’s flaws can stop God from finishing His story for my life.

I was reminded that Mario and I are in our 13th year of marriage and that I am going on my fourth year at Liberty University. I am in my third year of writing this blog. I’ve served at our church for five years. I am on my way, and I needed to be reminded of that and maybe you need that reminder too.

We are on our way because He is at work. If it were up to me – just me – I would be in despair but the thing is, it is not up to me. This life Jesus got a hold of back in 2009 is His, and He will never let me go.

Here are some of the reminders of our divine destiny:

  • Proverbs 16:3 (NIV) Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans.
  • Philippians 1:6 (NIV) being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Have a beautiful day and stay cool out there (heat wave is in full effect today)!

With all my heart,

Sonia