Categories
Encouragement for Women

rejection IS protection

 

D0448B0C-6527-47CC-9CE4-E2154E2269F5The first time I heard this phrase was from my husband. Mario’s trumpet teacher in college told him that because he would have to go on many auditions and rejection was a certainty in his field. Good advice. I just Googled the phrase “Rejection is protection” and various links with blogs, articles, journals etc. came up about this topic. Good old rejection! So much has been said about it that I don’t even want to write about it right now, but it’s pressing on me so here I go.

Rejection was a huge part of Jesus’ existence. Check out this link and you can read all about it: https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Rejection-Of-Christ . And even though it was such a big part of His life it still does not define Him. How do we live like that? How do we embrace rejection, knowing that God has a plan on the other side of it for us because rejection leaves a mark. Jesus bears those marks in His hands, in His sides. So how do we look on the other side of it while we are in it? I’m seriously asking the question because it is very real and sometimes overwhelms everything else. In US History I am also studying Abraham Lincoln and his life was marked by rejection as well, and it paved the way for him to be the kind of president that would abolish slavery. Okay, here’s my thought on this. Rejection is an essential ingredient to walking in our destiny. And if it is an essential ingredient, how do we rise above it while our hearts break in the midst of it.

Here’s one thought. Let’s get over ourselves! I’m laughing as I write this because I, for one, know this is a huge challenge for me and maybe for you too. We don’t know everything. We don’t see the big picture. We can’t know the beginning and the end. All of that belongs to God. And if it belongs to Him, He allowed it. It’s His gift to us in many ways, this rejection. If we let it, it can mature us, move us, inspire us…

Right now I know a lot of people who are facing big rejections in some way. I know I am too. I hope we get over ourselves and get going in this business of trusting God with our rejections because, as it’s been said, it really is His protection.

With all my heart,

Sonia

On the outside
You're free to roam
On the outside
We found a home
On the outside
There's more to see
On the outside
We choose to be



Lyrics "The Outsiders" by needtobreathe
Categories
Encouragement for Women

Big Mouth

Happy Sunday night! We had a busy weekend with Mario getting over that stomach bug thing and then all the weekend things: family, church today and a gig at LACMA for Mario. We just got home. I hugged the dog, and here I am at the computer!

So tonight is going to be brief as possible (ok, it might be long), but I wanted to put it out there that it’s occurred to me that I have a pretty big mouth. I had a few conversations this week where I did too much talking and not enough listening and it got me in trouble. And then an argument with my husband on Friday night where I just let my big mouth get out of control. I’m not proud to say these things, and I do know the verse that says, “…For out of the abundance of the heart the man speaks” Luke 6:45b. I don’t know about you, but I feel awful after stuff like this. It’s not all the time that it’s like this but it’s been more frequent in this last week and since I’m in the Bible study, “Discerning the Voice of God” with the women at my church I know it’s God telling me I’ve got something going on in my heart. Now the question is, “Am I willing to let God get in my business?” I will tell you my answer is “Yes!” Because if there’s one thing I know it’s that I need to change. I want to change more into the woman God created me to be. So that means I’ve got to be humble and open my eyes to the things that aren’t great to look at in my character. I know I’m not a malicious person, and I’m not just beating myself up here over my recent failures. But I want to be honest with God, myself and others. It is hard to be wrong, but so is staying stuck and thinking you’re right. Since I started walking with God my perspective is that I’d rather it be hard as long as it gives me more depth and integrity. I believe if you’re not growing as a person, it’s not that you’re just not growing – you’re regressing, and I don’t want that for my life.

Before church started today I was sharing a little bit about my week with my friend, and she said, “We’re in a war and fighter’s train by being hit. They train to build endurance by the blows so they can withstand the whole fight.” That resonated with me that it’s not just about getting knocked down, it’s about the getting up and getting back in there. That’s the overcoming part. So we’ve been knocked down a bit, let’s choose to get back in the fight and keep pressing forward. As God’s children, “We are more than conquerors through Christ who strengthens us.” Romans 8:37

I also got the opportunity to sing worship today at church. After what I allowed to come out of my mouth this week it occurred to me that it could be used for good too – even if I’d blown it this week. God’s grace is that wonderful. He knows I am sorry and don’t want to dishonor Him. He knows I’m weak and need Him. He knows I fail. But He created me, created us – not failure, but for victory, for overcoming

Thank you for reading! Have a wonderful week!

With all my heart,

Sonia

Categories
Encouragement for Women

When enough is enough

First of all I’d like to say thank you for the encouragement and support for those who read the last blog post, “The Great DINNER Exchange.” It was the most read blog post to date, and I received messages from people sharing their heart with me about their situation. It is good to know we are in this together, and we are not alone in these struggles.

Tonight’s blog post is not about marriage or friendships or being a mom, but it is about a relationship. It’s about a relationship with diet and exercise or should I say the lack of healthy commitment in this relationship. The progression to this point of complacency started in the last year and a half. I got comfortable with being lazy and careless and didn’t really see it as a problem until this past Sunday’s photo. Now, I know it’s not that I am extremely overweight or out of shape but I know this is an area that has owned me and caused me shame. Here’s the photo from September 17, 2017:

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This past Sunday

Now this isn’t terrible at first glance but this was a little less than two years ago:

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November 2015

I didn’t quite realize all this had happened until the photo above this one was sent to me. It had several people all lined up for an after church photo and here was this person staring back at me that I didn’t quite recognize. I mean, she looked familiar, she had my clothes on but she wasn’t me. She couldn’t be! Let me just put it out there that I know this has been an area where God has said to honor Him and His Word, but I didn’t see it as a problem. Until now, until enough is enough! The laziness and complacency has held me down for almost two years, and I’ve been all too eager to just let it just happen with no conviction. Until now. It’s not just what I see in that photo that bothers me. It’s what it represents to me because I know me. It says that I don’t care about making sacrifices so I can be healthy inside and out. It says I don’t care about being a helper to my husband in his fitness. It says I don’t care about being a good steward of the body God has given me. It says I just do not care. And that is not okay with me because I do care, very much. I do use food for comfort and don’t exercise just because I am too tired or lazy and haven’t been intentional in this area on any consistent basis. So I am going public with this for the accountability and because I want to go on a journey for lifelong change not just a quick fix. I want to give my very best, and I can do that best when I am healthy. So I am embarking on this journey to healthy living and will share updates in the blog from time to time (definitely not putting a true “BEFORE” photo on here just yet) but tonight the challenge for me, maybe for us, is to be intentional with being healthy. Let’s discover what that looks like for us and start pushing the bad stuff away and inviting the good stuff in. Thank you for reading and the feedback. It means more than you know!

Philippians 3:14 The Message 

Focused on the Goal

12-14 I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.

With all my heart, Sonia

Categories
Encouragement for Women Uncategorized

The Great DINNER Exchange

The summer of 2017 (the one that we are just saying goodbye to) was one of the hardest for our marriages. I shared my idea for this blog post with Mario (my husband of 12 years) and asked what his thoughts were. He said, “Be honest. Tell the story.” So here I go. But before I dive in I have to say Mario is the love of my life. I’m the love of his life. It was at the end of June this year that I discovered something I wasn’t quite prepared for (I will spare you and me the intimate details of this discovery) but safe to say it’s one that rocks you to your core. It was one of those times when you don’t know if everything is just a bad dream. I don’t care how many years you’ve been married – there are some heartbreaking moments when you can’t breathe. I mean…really…the person you love most on the planet holds your heart in their hands and you hold theirs. Tell me that they’ve never or you’ve never crushed it?! Well this was one of those crushing moments. And before this becomes a pity party for Sonia I must tell you I have given Mario equal reasons to feel crushed, and he has forgiven me (maybe he can write a blog post as a follow up to this one to share his story as well).  So getting back to a few months ago…there was something being unearthed in our marriage and in us that needed to be unearthed. I drove to the beach alone a few days after the “discovery” and went for a walk during sunset. I sat on a bench and looked at the sun as it started to set. I was angry and was doing my best to use that anger as a cloak for my broken heart. As I sat there longer and talked to God in my heart about the “why’s” and the “how’s” I felt Him say to my soul the most absurd thing, “Go home and make him dinner.” I literally shook my head no. But again, there was the message, “Go home and serve him.” Even as I type the tears are coming. It was so clear, but I was so angry. How could I do that? How could I do that through this anguish? But I did. I got up, walked to the car and drove to Trader Joe’s and picked up Brussels sprouts for a recipe I wanted to try. I came home and all that was going through my head was, “Why am I doing this after what happened?” I set the table and motioned to him to sit down to eat. He looked at me in disbelief but sat down. We both ate. Afterwards we had one of the most honest conversations we’ve ever had. I was still hurt, but now truth and love were on the table. We have both hurt each other in this marriage. We are not perfect, but now we weren’t running from our mistakes. We were facing them. Together. In the months that followed we put the pieces back together, put one foot in front of the other, got godly counsel and hung on for dear life. So, fast forward to the theme of “The Great DINNER Exchange.” Two days ago we celebrated our 12th anniversary as husband and wife. Mario surprised me with the most elegant dinner I’ve ever had. It was magical. It was amazing. At the end of the dinner I remembered what God had said to me that day at the beach, and I looked at the exquisite table and tears came to my eyes. It felt as if God was saying to my heart at that table, “This is the exchange…that dinner when you were heartbroken for this one where I put it back together the right way.” I obeyed Him, and He delivered far beyond what I could have asked for. I still love our marriage – flaws and all – because it is a constant reminder that miracles happen, that God is faithful, and HE HAS A PLAN. I trust Him because we fail Him, and He still loves us so much. He loves our marriage. So the challenge tonight is to close your eyes and obey God. Push past the feelings, the crushing pain and obey the One who can make sense of it all.

Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. 1 John 3:18 NLT

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Colossians 3:13 NLT

 

With all my heart, Sonia

P.S. To the man of my life, Mario, you are the hero of my life. I love you with everything I’ve got. Happy, blessed beyond measure, Anniversary!

 

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Notice the “Happy Anniversary” envelope in the corner of photo
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Pre-dinner photo (Mario’s idea) He’s such a romantic and I love it!

 

 

Categories
Encouragement for Women

Still

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“A silent 10-minute song is the newest hit on iTunes,” wrote Derek Lawrence in the August 11, 2017 edition of Entertainment Weekly.  He went on to write, ‘”Do you hear that? Probably not, but a 10-minute silent song is climbing the charts. Samir Mezrahi’s track “A a a a a Very Good Song,” which features no sound, costs $0.99, and lasts one-ninth the running time of The Dark Tower, currently sits at No. 51 on iTunes, coming in just behind rap superstar Kendrick Lamar’s “HUMBLE.”’

Good evening John4four Readers, I am writing this at 10pm on Thursday, September 14th. Thank you for joining me here!

So I heard the story about this song a month ago as I was listening to the news. I found it funny, but totally believable. A song with no sound, and people are buying it. The reason for this nothing song being such a hit is because people are buying it so they can have some silence in the car when their iTunes comes on. They want silence for awhile.

Our worlds are noisy. Our minds are noisy. I fight against silence sometimes. I’ll get up and blog and turn on music. I’ll go to make coffee, breakfast and turn on the news or HGTV. I get in my car and turn the radio on or make calls. I’ll get to work just bursting to talk to my coworkers. Then the phones start going at work and people come in and out of the office and talk all day while ambient, office music plays in the background. Noise all day.

I do have this one part of my day that is quiet and still. It is usually sometime between 5am -6am. My husband is not a morning person so I am up before him 99% of the time. I head downstairs and let the dog out, grab my coffee and sit at my desk with the Bible. It’s quiet, and I pray. And even though it’s super quiet, my head can be noisy sometimes. To-do lists, reminders of the day, emotions and anxieties can creep up to wrestle the quietness out.

Lately this has been the case. Too. Much. Noise. So this morning as I sat here leafing through the latest women’s study book we are doing with our church, “Discerning The Voice of God” by Priscilla Shirer, it occurred that I am afraid of the stillness and silence sometimes. I crave activity. One of the verses Priscilla referenced in the study video from Session 1 tonight was Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God.” That’s the challenge here tonight. To be still.

I am praying we are brave enough to be still and solid right where He has us so we can hear Him with our whole hearts .So I’ll share the prayer I wrote tonight as I get ready for this season of listening for God’s voice and having a soul ready to follow Him wherever He leads:

“I’m scared of this, Lord. I didn’t realize it until now. Please help me to press forward in faith and make me brave. Crack me open for Your purpose and glory. In Jesus’ Name. Amen”

With all my heart,

Sonia

Categories
Encouragement for Women

I have brave friends

images.jpegThis post is gonna be short and sweet today. I have a big work day ahead, and that means my hair needs to be on point so I can go into it with at least one thing going for me LOL! So no messy bun for me today!

That said, this post is dedicated to the women in life, my friends. I am sitting here at this desk and names are just coming up of women I know battling all kinds of things and pressing forward. Dear brave friend, you know who you are. You’re the one staring sickness in the face and rising above it in prayer and in humility and in hope. You’re the one battling addiction and feeling defeated yet getting up day after day saying, “I love you, God.” You’re the one battling an eating disorder and being willing to be honest and ask God for strength for change. You’re the one just feeling beat down by life and finances and believing God for miracles and giving even though you have nothing. You’re the one who battles a crippling disease that keeps you in bed most days but even then you text others to see how they’re doing. You’re the one that is full of insecurities yet you push past them to show up and lead the way for others to see Jesus. You’re the one who’s husband broke your heart yet you still tend to the needs of your family and get up and give “one more day” and then “one more day” and so on. You’re the ones who battled all kinds of things each Sunday to show me how to get up and sing to God for real. You’re the one who battled cancer that took your hair and taste buds for a time and let me be there during the process and have lunch with you after your appointments. You’re the one, despite your own disappointments, shows me how to laugh and persevere in the middle of a work day that can suck the life out of you. You’re the one who thinks you have nothing to offer, but you offer yourself anyway and you don’t even know how important your love is. You’re the one who laughs with me even though life has given you so much to shed many more tears. You’re the one who pushes past business and life and comes over mid-week to recap life and sing songs. And finally you’re the one who got beat up by people that call themselves “Christian” – you didn’t give up, but instead rose up to lead an army of women to take up arms in God’s army (you know who you are) and encourage people from all walks of life to get real and get healthy.

This morning as I sit here and type (with tears running down my cheeks)  I realize I am blessed beyond what I deserve. You’ve been God’s hands and feet and heart in my life during crucial, game-changer moments and I want to take a moment to say, “Thank you, a million times over, for being on this journey. You are braver then you could ever imagine. I love you and thank God for you!”

Proverbs 17:17 & Proverbs 27:17

With all my heart,

Sonia

Categories
Encouragement for Women

Echoes of the past

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Last night I had a ton of homework in my US History class. I’d waited too long to get started on the mountain of assignments due, but I didn’t want to rush. I’m enjoying this class so much so I just took my time knowing that I will get points taken off for turning it in past the 8:59pm deadline. An unexpected thing happened during one of my assignments. Since I am in US History of course one of the portions of study will be the slave trade during the colonial times. I had to watch a video that referenced an account of a man who was taken from his homeland at 12 and taken aboard a slave ship. The horrors described were too much for me although I got through it. But then I had to fill out this sheet to help me with a quiz that I had to take. The sheet was called Slave Trade Database Quiz/Questions/Queries. Basically this sheet gave you a list of scenarios regarding slave vessels and voyages and you had to look up the answer using the database. One of the questions said to look up how many slave voyages were listed for the years 1514-1607, which I did. The list was long and the first one listed was a voyage from 1539 that started in Sengambia and offshore Atlantic and disembarked the slaves in  Puerto Rico. I learned last night that there were numerous slave voyages to Puerto Rico. If I delved further in I’m sure I would come up with a staggering amount of men, women and children taken from Africa to Puerto Rico. The numbers of these slave vessels was staggering.

I broke down crying. My husband was at work and I was just here looking at this database and looking at the color of my skin and thinking of my grandparents on my dad’s side and how beautiful their skin color was and how sweet the texture of their hair was. My grandmother had the loveliest caramel color, coarse curly black hair and light green eyes. My grandfather had slightly lighter skin and straighter hair but very strong features.

I don’t know why this fact of slave trade to Puerto Rico and the blood that courses through my veins along with my mom’s Mexican side from Uruapan, Michoacán, hit me with such force. Maybe its the echoes of the past and things that make me angry or make me cringe today. I had to remind myself that the things my ancestors must have endured was not just tragedy. There’s this thing in me that drives me and has these ties to the past. I love how pops of color, the corals and the aquas, call to me and remind me of Puerto Rico as I love the vibrant colors of the serapes from Mexico.

I finally connected the dots. I am always fighting against being dominated in any way or against any perceived threat that my rights are being taken away from me. Staring at the slave trade database I realized that my history is connected to it and my very present self is too. I spoke with Mario while we was on his way home, and we talked about how we are now just slaves to God out of love for Him. I was still upset with the cruelty of humanity and how it played out in my families in Puerto Rico and Mexico. And Mario had to remind me that this is what defines us today – Jesus’ blood.  Even though the world or even our own mind wants to make us slaves we can push back and be slaves only to our Creator that made us to love and overcome and run free.

I don’t know where to go with this latest information about Puerto Rico is going to take me. I definitely want to know more, but I want to appreciate that the echoes of the past are just that, echoes. I want to mourn the past but then take the good, the gifts and have them be used in my life for the great adventure God has set me on.

Whatever your echoes are and mine are, we are created in His image and He loves us. That’s our very present reality.

Genesis 1:27

27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

With all my heart, Sonia


Gil y Julia, Abuelo y Abuela in Puerto Rico

Categories
Encouragement for Women

Diamonds

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This is from geology.comThe formation of natural diamonds requires very high temperatures and pressures. These conditions occur in limited zones of Earth’s mantle about 90 miles (150 kilometers) below the surface where temperatures are at least 2000 degrees Fahrenheit (1050 degrees Celsius). This critical temperature-pressure environment for diamond formation and stability is not present globally. Instead it is thought to be present primarily in the mantle beneath the stable interiors of continental plates.

Today’s Blog Topic: Women under pressure because we are made to be diamonds. 

This semester for school I am in US History. At first I wasn’t thrilled at the idea of having to take a required course because I’ve enjoyed being in all the Biblical studies. Lo and behold, I was in for a treat. For my chosen research project I’ve decided to study the life of Mary Todd Lincoln, wife to President Abraham Lincoln. I chose her because I’ve always admired what President Lincoln was able to accomplish in his lifetime despite his many obstacles.

Imagine what life must have been like for her as she helped her husband standing by his side as he took a stance against slavery and led the country through its most tumultuos time. She was one of two First Ladies. Her counterpart being that of the wife of the Confederate States of America, Varina Davis.  That must have had its own set of challenges in addition to the pressures of supporting President Lincoln. In Civil War Journals, First Ladies: North & South Mary Todd Lincoln is described as being “highly intelligent, tempestuous, hot-tempered, loyal and loving.” Her brothers all fought for the confederate army yet here she was married to the leader of the Union. She had convictions and was criticized for it one minute and praised for it the next.

The reason why I know this is timely for me is that I am in a season where I need to find my voice and stand up for what I believe in. And not just to prove my point – because believe me, making waves and not going along with the status quo has a cost and most often, it is your reputation and life as you know it. So it would be easier to just go along with the masses and nod and wave and “live and let live.” Why make life hard for myself, right? WRONG. And I know it’s wrong because God has made this clear to me right now, “…The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?” Hebrews 13:6. 

I need to learn how to do this – how to stand up righteously and selflessly. I need the pressure and the heat of this thing to serve the purpose of God’s master plan for me and so do you. We are made to shine. We are diamonds. So let’s not lay down, play dead nor let the world run us over. It’s not rebellion that I am referring to with regards to not being a “well-behaved woman,” it’s about rejecting a status quo that wants to silence you when God has a message He wants to deliver through you.

Let the pressure and the heat do its job and trust God.

With all my heart,

Sonia

 

P.S. Thank you to my sweet friend for introducing this music to me. Please listen and enjoy!