Encouragement for Women · Run Your Race

13 Pounds Lighter (Give or Take)

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My HIIT Machine from Costco 🙂

I had to go to a doctor’s appointment yesterday and had to step onto the scale. Disclaimer: I am not all caught up in fitness, but I would put myself into the category of people I have heard described as “Fit-ish.” At times I am more motivated than others, but I have purposed to do cardio at least four times a week along with some other at home exercises sprinkled in here and there – nothing too drastic, but I did commit to this. Some weeks are better than others. More often than not I have kept my commitment and got up on that machine. Now add that to some GI problems in the last year that “inspired” me to make some much-needed diet changes and, “voila!” I have kept some weight off. After I was weighed by the medical assistant I asked her what my weight was. She said that I was ten pounds lighter than last year at this time and thirteen pounds lighter than May 2018! Now I know weight is just a number and muscle weighs more than fat etc., and I believe that, but my clothes fit better, my left knee has stopped hurting me and some of my joints that ached a little before hardly ache at all now, so I know it’s a good thing. This is not a”quick fix -lose weight fast thing” because it’s just been little tweaks to my routine over time. I now have proof that little decisions towards my health when no one is looking & when I am tired and would rather not, are making a world of difference. Taking care of my body is not selfish act – as a matter of fact – I’m called to this, and not just in the way of my physical health, but in every aspect of life. I need to show up for myself & so do you! Whatever little tweaks God has been tugging on your heart to do, do it! Push through the obstacles of old patterns, old ways of thinking and just downright laziness. Invest in yourself! I say this to myself right now as I get ready for the upcoming year and all that God has. I know there will be all kinds of changes and unknowns, but I want to be going in the right direction.

This past year I pushed aside my Bible more often than I care to admit and chose doing things my way in many areas. I still pressed forward – picking up where I left off. God doesn’t leave us behind when we have a cheat day (or cheat week/month/year). He just lets us get up, dust ourselves off and keep walking. That’s what He showed me with this weight thing – He is pressing in perseverance not perfection. Although I want the perfection so badly, perseverance is where the victory is. I want to be more committed to “being” rather than “doing” because I know it’s in the “being” that the doing will be done the right way.  Here’s the “being” list: BEING God’s daughter. That’s it. That’s all I am called to do – the rest is up to Him. He just wants me to get out of the way, be ready for Him to lead me and then trust. Will I fail sometimes – yes! Will I get it right sometimes – yes! Will I mature through all this – yes! Will I grow more into the woman God created – yes, and not because it’s up to Sonia, but because it is up to My Lord and My God. He won me over ten years ago, and I look back on that ten year landscape and know I have lost more than these 13 pounds. I’m much lighter in the truest sense of the word. And just so you don’t get it twisted, I am not boasting in my abilities – I am boasting in God’s faithfulness.

The Race of Faith

Hebrews 12:1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Thanks for reading & thanks for running your race!

With all my heart,

Sonia

Encouragement for Women · Run Your Race

45 & Showing Up

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This from one of my favorite Bible teachers, Priscilla Shirer! Perfect insta post for this day!

To say I am blown away to wake up and celebrate this 45th trip around the sun is an understatement. I could fill a book and then some with scenarios that were not the safest nor sanest of things to do in my teens, twenties, thirties. With all of those memories comes this realization, “God kept me alive for a reason, and I don’t want to take that lightly.” I write in a prayer journal every day and this is what I wrote today at 8:45am: 

Dear Father God, Thank you for this beautiful day full of birth and identity in You! I pray I please You even more this year, respect and love my husband more this year and let go of the need of validation from others. Thank you for sustaining, growing me, teaching me and molding me. Steady as I go, Lord. No holding back now. I am brave, bold, beautiful and best of all, Yours. Make me even more effective for Your kingdom. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen!

There’s that part in my prayer – that secret part, the “Let go of the need of validation from others,” part – that makes me slightly terrified because I know it means that I have asked God to put me in the process of changing this, and He is faithful to do it. So why did I ask Him for this birthday gift? Because the people-pleasing part is killing me…as I know it is a killer for anyone. I just got off the phone with a friend of mine, and we were talking about the people-pleasing starts young partly because of not fitting in, like anywhere or with any particular group. She said, “It’s everybody’s story.” I agree. It’s not just my story. We don’t quite fit, and that is a good thing. So this year that is what I am going to do with God’s help: stop making it everyone’s job around me to make me feel accepted, valued and whole. That’s what God has already given me so I can open that up every day and launch out from there and SHOW UP!

To those who have been patient with me through all of these years, “Thank you and forgive me.” To those who will be put off by me putting up some new boundaries #sorrynotsorry, and to those that are in this same boat, “Let’s cheer each other on and point to Jesus!”

That’s all for today, with my whole heart, thank you for reading my b-day post!

Sonia

Encouragement for Women · Run Your Race

Insecurities. They’re a Killer.

Good morning. Happy Summer. It’s been awhile. It’s about 5:22am on Monday morning, June 24. I have been awake since 4am with a thought in my mind about insecurities – probably because I struggle so much with them. Let me give some insight to what goes in to these blog posts on here. What goes on in my head and heart is like a steady pressing in of a topic – a lingering theme that will keep popping up. When that happens there may be a few discussions with friends, prayer, more ideas and then I will try to talk myself out of writing. This has happened about 40 times with this topic until 4am today came around, and it was like, “That’s it. I really can’t take this anymore. I will write already!”

So here it is. Insecurities…they’re a killer. They kill everything in their path: identity, relationships, families, health, careers, hopes, dreams…everything. I think we know all of that firsthand, but how do we battle this? How do we not let this thing win? Disclaimer: I don’t have the answers for you. This isn’t a self-help blog post. Think of this more as a challenge for us. I, like many of us, love the instagram positive affirmation posts and quick 3 minute videos about how to be an overcomer. All of that is great and has its place but it doesn’t last, I mean, really it’s a 3 minute video, LOL!!

I’ll tell you what…it’s been almost ten years ago now that I started a journey – more like I was invited on a journey. Jesus literally met me in my lowest state of self-esteem and said, “Come follow Me.” And I did. Not knowing anything about anything, really. I knew the God of the Bible in the catechetical sense but thought He gave up on me a long time ago for a laundry list of ungodly acts and unrighteous living. That one act of believing what God says about me every day for the last 3,616 days has led me here to a place where I can say “publicly” that I tremble inside sometimes when I look completely in control on the outside – that I battle negative self-talk and sometimes believe it when I hear that old message in my head, “See, you will never get anything right.” I can admit that I struggle, sometimes greatly, with close relationships – that it’s a battle just to show up.

All that struggle isn’t for just nothing – it leads to amazing change and growth and new life and discovery of who God is and what He created us for. Believe it when I say that the struggle isn’t the killer – letting the insecurities win, however, is. The practical ways I battle this are to not to isolate. I heard somewhere recently that people die from choking sometimes because they’re too embarrassed for people to see them struggle so they find a private place and by the time it’s very serious and they need help, they can’t get it in time. Morbid thought, I know, but it’s true. Hiding and isolation are killers. I also start my day with God’s word most days. I need His words in my head a whole lot more than I need mine. I also serve at my local church where it is safe to have those struggles as people are open about their own. It really is a healing community. Lastly, I pray for perseverance. I pray to hang in there and not run from the hard stuff on the hard days.

Let me reiterate again, I don’t have the answers for you, but I know God does. I just want to share how my journey has been so far. To truly overcome insecurities or at least work past them on our really bad days, we need to have faith in something/Someone bigger than our fear and that is Jesus. He isn’t a bandaid or quick fix. He is a relationship, the one relationship that will truly lead you on a journey of freedom.

To end let me share the verse of my life from Zephaniah 3:17:

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With all my heart,

Sonia

Encouragement for Women · Run Your Race · Seasons

This (insert struggle here) is God’s Love Too

09da8585526a8d8d6938dab0d81eab0b.jpgTonight I have a confession to make here. I’m struggling with change all around me, and I do not like it. Relationships, jobs, schools, finances, family…things look very different than even a few months ago. Not all of it is bad, but it definitely feels like I’m on shaky ground, and I’m gingerly walking each step, holding my breath. I am questioning myself, doubting things I once found solidness in and have this sense that things are completely out of control. I wonder, “Am I just blowing it here?” or “Is everyone heading one direction, and I’m veering off the road?” That’s where I am right now. No concrete answers. No one saying, “Go this way or don’t go that way!” Just sitting here in my struggle against, CHANGE.

Last night Mario and I had a conversation about failure and one of the things we brought up was what real failure looked like. I said, “I think if you’re not growing and changing, you’re failing. If you unplug and disconnect from the hard stuff then you’re failing.” Little did I know how those words would play out real time in my mind the very next night as I sit here in this uncertainty.

This is all I know tonight…this is the only truth I can hang my hat on, “This, too, is God’s love.” Whatever all this is…the feelings, the wonderings, the angst, the worry…God’s love has not gone anywhere. That’s all I’ve got.  That He loves me, and He’s letting me have this time to process and grow out of fear and into faith. I’m a Christian so I do go through that process of trying to pinpoint what I’m doing that is sin so I can just confess it and be done with it. I have to just wait on God to see what He shows me. I have to cry out to Him and let Him know I am afraid and uncertain. I have to open up my heart to whatever truth He wants to reveal. Right now, it’s the “I have to” time because it’s part of growing up. I have to wait until He walks me through this to the other side. I can’t move. I can’t change friends. I can’t change jobs. I can’t change families. I can’t change churches. I can’t change anything, but I can wait for God to change me – because if you’re not growing and changing, you’re failing.

If you’re like me tonight, trust God and His timing. Don’t trust your feelings.

Also tonight in our Women’s Bible study we started “Steadfast Love – A Study of Psalm 107” by Lauren Chandler, and I have to tell you, as hard as it is to just “be” right now, these words we studied tonight really drove it home,

“He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven. Psalm 107:29-30”

God will get us to that desired haven – we can be sure of that. He loves us – we can be sure of that. He will deliver us – we can be sure of that. He is faithful – we can be sure of that.

With all my heart,

Sonia

Encouragement for Women · Run Your Race

Dirty Laundry Redefined

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Here are some of the titles I have written down for this blog:

“Fighting & Fixation”

“I Don’t Know Everything and Neither Do You So Let’s Relax Already!”

“OH NO! ‘Ruin is the Road to Transformation’ ”

“God, please help me”

Ummm can you sense a theme? It’s called being at the end of your rope, end of your self, end of the situation…whatever it is, it’s the end, YOU’RE TIRED!”

(Quick side note) About this image, just an FYI, I did try to find out who this “SoulBraille.com” person is to ask if I could use this image, but the website just goes to some GoDaddy account so props to soulbraille.com for creating this image.

Ok, now onto business, this blog format is way to inappropriate of a platform to give you all the nitty gritty details of the last two weeks of my life behind closed doors so let me say this, it was UGLY. Yes, ugly and Terrible. Horrible. Tragic. Unbelievable and yet, here I am wanting to tell you, that, yes I can say this, “God is here!”

You want to know why? Because if you knew me, I mean really knew me, you would know that I wouldn’t be sitting here at the computer, typing away, telling you that it’s gonna be okay. Okay, it might get worse before it gets better, but it is going to be okay God’s way. That’s the motto right now, folks, it’s gonna be okay – God’s way. What I would be doing if this was the old me….you don’t want to know. I promise you. You don’t!

There are messages that can play out in our minds about ourselves, our history and our destiny that just aren’t true anymore. I mean, I became a Christian at 35 years of age and that means 35 years of doing life in complete darkness and sick toxicity. 35 years! That means my elementary school years, teenage years, 20’s and half of my 30’s just jacked up from the floor up, literally. The history lesson that plays out in my head is so strong sometimes that I think this new life with God is just a hoax or a trick being played on me that I can be a new creation. Yet, here I sit in a home that is safe and pretty, with a sweet dog that is sleeping peacefully in her dog bed, with a husband that is working hard right now & we’re still married (!!!), with a daughter who loves to talk with me and see me, with friends a phone call away who will pray with me, with a church family that has real people in it who know God’s power and with a mind that is fixed on God’s promises, pushing through the pain and muscle memory of destructive habits.

I wish we would scream our deficiencies and let people see the ugly sometimes. Social media is so not reality a lot of the time. I know my accounts are too pretty at times. Social media is a good way to PR the heck out of your life when it’s in the toilet, let me tell you, so don’t believe the hype sometimes. I mean, there are times it’s just a good photo capturing a real moment, but when the angles are consistently on point, the color and background are flawless and the plastered smiles are perfect in photo after photo, it’s okay to ask the question, “What about your bad days?” We all have them, and they all suck! Doesn’t matter what filter you choose – it’s a freaking bad day!!

I was talking with a friend Monday night and she’s struggling too. During that conversation I was reminded of the story in Matthew 16 where Jesus was talking to Peter at Caesarea Phillipi and said to him,

18 Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’),[a] and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell[b] will not conquer it.” 

I got to go to that very spot (Caesarea Phillipi) a few years back on an Israel trip with our church. As our pastor taught there my heart just came alive to witness firsthand that this place that Jesus chose to have this conversation with Peter represented such death and darkness. I could relate to that! He was telling Peter that not even that evil would prevail against the work He was going to do.

Oh, how that inspires me right now, and I hope it inspires you too. Whatever darkness or death you are experiencing just breathe and get up tomorrow and scream or whisper to yourself, “God’s got this! God’s got me! God’s got them!” The gates of hell will not prevail against it, against you, against what God is doing in your life.

Air that dirty laundry – it’s time!!! You can be fragile…like a beautiful vase that God guards with His very life. You don’t have to be a ticking time bomb anymore. Let God bring the beauty from those ashes of your own destructive bombs created, and let Him hold your fragile heart. Stand in His safety. I’m standing there with you. From one broken spirit to another, it is well tonight and tomorrow and always. It is well, my friend.

With all my heart,

Sonia

Encouragement for Women · Run Your Race

Patience, Grasshopper!

New Years Day I woke up with a title in my mind, and it was this, “The Lost Arts of Subtlety, Discovery and Patience.” Don’t ask me why this title. I don’t know what’s it’s for yet. I’ll just have to be…patient (I know, corny – but true).

So do we talk about resolutions for the year or big plans or great changes for this year? I’m all for that but there are two themes that have been pressing on my heart and swirling around in this mind – and it’s these: bravery and patience. That’s it.

I don’t know what to say about those two words, but I did look up in the back of my Bible verses on patience just now and got stuck on Romans chapter 12 with these verses:

(Starting at verse 9 and going all the way to verse 21):

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love. In honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord: rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfast in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

On the top of that page of my Bible I wrote this (from chapter 12), “I AM TO BE A LIVING SACRIFICE.” That is really tough given all the junk around this world, the brokenness of my past, my control freak ways (sometimes – wink wink), and the overwhelming odds, really.  But I think that’s where these two themes come into play…the bravery & the patience. Both of those things only come through unselfishness. They only come by sacrifice. Do you want to live your best life? I know I do. Well, it can be found right there. God tells us and shows us, it’s in the giving and the sacrificing. Our pastor mentioned that at church yesterday in the first message of the new year: to give. That reminder, along with the first movie I watched this year (“Second Act” – starring JLo and Leah Remini) Leah Remini says to JLo’s character, “No one likes a selfish girl!” I agree. The world around us isn’t inspired by selfishness. It is inspired by those willing to sacrifice.

I think for me this year, I want to take to heart all that Romans 12 lays before me and seek God like never before. I want to let Him blow the lid off of all that is holding me back, and I just want to give in private, unseen ways and also in big ways that shout “FREEDOM” to a world full of people looking to live their best lives.

Thank you for reading, and I pray this year brings you even closer to living the best life that God intended you to live.

With all my heart,

Sonia

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Thank you to Gina G. for this Bible she gave me in 2010!

 

 

Encouragement for Women · Run Your Race

Difficult Relationships & Toxic Relationships

Hi! It’s been awhile. Please forgive me for this lapse. I am back in school & back to work so life is pretty full. However, I am writing today because of my daughter. She asked me to, and I’m so glad. She is  one of my biggest “why’s” for this blog. Since she is 25 years old , and doesn’t live at home anymore, this blog is sometimes my way of having a “virtual cup of coffee” with her and sharing thoughts & stories, ones that she and I can look back on and read and discuss. So here it is, Gabbie, some reading material for you – hopefully before you start this day.

I am not an expert on relationships. I don’t really know anyone who is. I firmly believe we are all trying to figure it out, but one theme keeps rolling around in my head, and it’s the title of today’s blog: Difficult Relationships versus Toxic Relationships. I know for me I can hang in there with the toxic ones so easily because it’s what I “know”. Those are the ones I feel I have control in, but the difficult ones, the ones wrought with struggle and change, those are hard to hang in there with.

I have people in my life that are just difficult at times. I know I am difficult at times too (probably more often than I care to know!). I think those difficult ones where you are challenged just might be those that are meant for you (and them) for monumental (HEALTHY) change in life. Yet it’s easy to run from those relationships because they’re just so uncomfortable and not fun at times. The toxic ones though, those you can find tons of reasons to hang in there and keep at it – at least that’s what I’ve found to be my tendency.

When I look back at certain relationships I think, “Thank God I’m not in that anymore!” But it took circumstances beyond my control to drive a wedge to even see that. Not to say that people can’t grow & change together and establish new depth to the relationship, but I’m referring to the ones that keep you STUCK. So I guess that’s it…that’s the real question. Are you stuck in a pattern of toxicity or are you in a pattern of uncomfortable, yet necessary, growth?

My answer to myself in this regard is this:

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

To sum this up, I’ll say this to anyone who needs it (me), “Don’t trust yourself and your fickle emotions, trust God.”

Thanks for reading! Have a great day!

With all my heart,

Sonia

 

 

 

 

 

 

Encouragement for Women · Run Your Race

Do You Need A Lawyer?

Good morning! Okay so the question on the table today is, “Are you okay with being misunderstood?” My answer, in a word, “NO!” Recently I have found myself in a situation where I have put myself out there, done the right thing – only to have it come back to bite me in the butt. Really, it’s a “no good deed goes unpunished” kind of situation here. But before I get too far into this pity party, let me say that this conundrum I find myself in is about something greater. No one likes having their reputation slaughtered or their name tossed about without being able to defend yourself. It’s a terrible feeling, so what do we do when we are faced with being misunderstood? We could take matters into our own hands and scream the facts at anyone who would listen. We could get so fixated in clearing our name that we are riddled with anxiety. We could get bitter and brood…or we could wait and see what happens. We could wait on God. There’s a verse in Exodus that I am thinking about right now, and it’s this one:

“The LORD shall fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” Exodus 14:14

That is easier said than done for me because I can be a fighter. Through this season God is teaching me to sit down, and let Him fight for me. It is tough. Tougher than fighting! In order to do this I need to trust God. Trust that this time of being misunderstood will pass and trust that God is my perfect defense here. Through this, He is teaching me to pray, to love more and to not be consumed with all the “noise.” Oh, and my reputation, that’s in His hands too. He is in charge of that. So in the meantime, while this whole mess swirls around me, I will cling to verses like the ones I read just before I started typing this morning:

Psalm 61:1 Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

Psalm 62:2 Truly my soul waits silently for God; from Him comes my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved.

So, until further notice, I will stay silent on this subject and keep moving forward looking outward past my own emotions and opinions. I will pray – that’s how I can fight best anyway, and I will keep my mouth shut. It’s better this way, that way it’s not all about me. It’s all about Him.

Have a great day knowing God is fighting for us!

With all my heart,

Sonia

P.S. Please, please listen to this song & enjoy:

Run Your Race

Nine Years and Counting…

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My journal excerpt from 2009…my first day as a Christian

Today is July 30th, and I want to say thank you to God for my ninth spiritual birthday. Despite all that held me back from thinking I could ever have a life full of hope, He pursued me and picked me up and set my feet on safe and solid ground. He’s given me so much, so much. I cannot even come up with the words for the miracles He’s done. I just know this, I love Jesus with my whole heart, and I want to serve Him with my life forever. The part in this journal page that says, “Please help me on my walk and on my journey..” I want you to know He’s done that and more. Well, I don’t have much time to write because I took the time this morning to read all my journal excerpts from July 30 for the past eight years, and let me tell you, it’s been quite a journey. And I’m glad to tell you a life with God is SO worth it. My life is proof of that, that He is faithful and we can trust Him with everything.

With all my heart,

Sonia

Run Your Race

Couch Potato No More

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Halfway through reading as of 7.28.18 🙂

Good morning and Happy Saturday! Thank you for taking the time to read this short blog post today. I picked up a book last night that I started a while ago but forgot (literally forgot) to continue. I got the urge to start reading it again because I love the story of this couple and how they’re bold about their faith in a very public way.

So after a low-key evening of about four hours of Mario and I on the couch watching TV, I started to read and got to the point in the book where Joanna tells a story about a couple who helped guide them before they got married. This couple challenged them to go without TV for the first few weeks of their marriage because, they explained, “that being in the same house and actually interacting with each other are two different things. Sometimes its easy for couples to get lost in their own little worlds at home – to be so focused on other things that they aren’t really together, even when they’re in the same room.” That stuck with me because there was a time when Mario and I didn’t have cable. We had a TV but we opted not to get cable because of finances, and we were just wasting time. We did this for six years, and we did not miss a thing!

The thing about distractions is that once you get rid of them, you have more freedom. And freedom is definitely that ideal that we are always chasing. Yet, it’s right there in the day to day choices of not being a slave to things. I know I’ve gotten very distracted by tv, social media, binge watching, binge eating etc. and I’m kind of over it. I want more. I want my husband and my family to get more of me – the “not distracted” version of me.

So Mario and I discussed this last night after I read him that portion of the book out loud, and we agreed that we are going to cut the chord on the cable again. Not just because the book mentioned it, but because we already knew we had to. That just confirmed it 🙂

Truthfully, half the time we aren’t even watching TV anyway…we are looking at our dang phones. So that’s probably next on the list – boundaries with that too. Not because we want to live these lives in a bubble, but because we want to get out of the bubble.

Well, that’s it for today! Have a great weekend & maybe shut off the TV and/or phone and see what happens.

With all my heart,

Sonia

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This was literally us from 8pm until about midnight last night!