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Husband ❤️🐻 Run Your Race Seasons

Everyone’s A Critic

Happy Friday! We made it & Happy Juneteenth! Mario’s fresh off a fishing trip, and it was a good one. I know he loves fishing, but he also uses that time as his own personal retreat with God. He texted me this before I went to bed on Wednesday night while he was on the ocean: “I can barely see land. It’s beautiful out here. God’s presence for sure.” When he goes fishing he loses reception in international waters so sometimes I get freaked out not being able to reach him. He’s a wild man, and I love that about him. I can’t keep him held back because of my fear. I know this is something I have to GROW through. And grow, we did! Shout out to my faithful friends and family who prayed us up.

At 10:36pm Wednesday night Mario sent me a text of something he had read on a devotional called, My Utmost For His Highest. I have to share it:

Jesus’ instructions with regard to judging others is very simply put; He says, “Don’t.” The average Christian is the most piercingly critical individual known. Criticism is one of the ordinary activities of people, but in the spiritual realm nothing is accomplished by it. The effect of criticism is the dividing up of the strengths of the one being criticized. The Holy Spirit is the only one in the proper position to criticize, and He alone is able to show what is wrong without hurting and wounding. It is impossible to enter into fellowship with God when you are in a critical mood. Criticism serves to make you harsh, vindictive, and cruel, and leaves you with the soothing and flattering idea that you are somehow superior to others. Jesus says that as His disciple you should cultivate a temperament that is never critical. This will not happen quickly but must be developed over a span of time. You must constantly beware of anything that causes you to think of yourself as a superior person.

There is no escaping the penetrating search of my life by Jesus. If I see the little speck in your eye, it means that I have a plank of timber in my own (see Matthew 7:3-5). Every wrong thing that I see in you, God finds in me. Every time I judge, I condemn myself (see Romans 2:17-24). Stop having a measuring stick for other people. There is always at least one more fact, which we know nothing about, in every person’s situation. The first thing God does is to give us a thorough spiritual cleaning. After that, there is no possibility of pride remaining in us. I have never met a person I could despair of, or lose all hope for, after discerning what lies in me apart from the grace of God.

I read each word and was convicted and encouraged at the same time. Only the Holy Spirit can do that! I’m going to let you in on a little secret…I was a little afraid Thursday morning when I hadn’t heard from Mario so I played the “Worst Case Scenario Game” from the TV show This Is Us. Here’s a clip to give you the idea: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=utP53SA6HzU

So I played the game and thought to myself, “Worst case scenario is something bad happened out there on the ocean.” Terrible, I know, but that’s the “Worst Case Scenario Game.” My next thought which I know was right from heaven was, “And the last thing Mario would have shared with me was the Word.” I cried. That’s my husband. That’s the growth journey we have been on. He hasn’t always been this way and neither have I. Jesus, in His loving patience, is working things in and out of us by His grace.

Well…Mario got home around 7pm yesterday looking a little sunburnt, exhausted and totally happy! Fiona (our pet pitbull) and I met him with that same happiness that he was back safe and sound. They caught fish (see photo! YAY!) but even if he hadn’t, that little overnight trip gave him time to focus on what God had for Him, for us and the message of criticism. Jesus says, “Don’t” and so we work on that and keep each other accountable.

To end this out I will share what my friend texted me this morning when I sent a photo of the fish Mario caught. She wrote, “He is a fisherman of men too!” I have spent too much time being a critic of my husband in the past so I have to broast in the Lord when I say, yeah, he is a fisher of men, and I am beyond grateful that God made him the man he is.

Have a blessed Friday, friends and family!

With all my heart,

Sonia

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Encouragement for Women Fight the Good Fight Run Your Race Seasons Uncategorized

We See You, Hump Day!

Here we are, middle of the week, and I admit I slept in an hour longer than I set my alarm for. I have been doing lap swimming in the afternoon to help get the quarantine weight off and believe me when I say, I have been sleeping like a rock! Anyway, life is definitely changing at break neck speed and I could write all day about decisions we have to make and the unknowns and blah, blah, blah, but I don’t want to. I want to put our focus where it should be to face this middle of the week and all that we will contend with. Here is a song that Mario sent me a link to last night:

And here is my journal entry for today while I was listening to the song: Father God, Help me to push everything out of the way and just focus on Your goodness. Whatever I can’t understand or fix, I know You are making a way, so I can just rest today. Thank you for Your goodness. I will live in Your goodness and love.

That’s all I’ve got today, friends, and if that’s all I’ve got and all you’ve got, we are good to go. God’s got us. Believe that!

With all my heart,

Sonia

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Encouragement for Women Fight the Good Fight Run Your Race Seasons Uncategorized

Oh, But the Joy!

How are you doing right now? I ask because it is 6:42am, and I woke up with a barrage of junk (when I say junk, I mean JUNK) rolling around in my mind. The theme in my brain this morning, failure. My failures. It was like a video montage of past mistakes, failed relationships, heartbreaks and unfulfilled dreams. Nice, right!? I cried as I journaled my thoughts and prayers. By God’s grace, I had two verses right in front of my face as I was writing that cast light on those thoughts to overshadow them with truth. These are the verses:

With God all things are possible. Matthew 19:26

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

I don’t ever want to write all my victories or all my struggles. I want to write the real life ebb and flow, ups and downs that happen so that anyone reading this knows that it is normal to have all kinds of internal and external battles and you win some and you lose some, but in it all God is faithful.

So this morning I don’t need to reminded of who I am in my worst state or how scary or how messed up a certain situation is, I need to be reminded of who God is and how much He loves me because at the end of the day, that is the only truth that matters. This, this here is what I need to be reminded of:

You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.
You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever! Psalm 30:11-12 NLT

This morning, as I type, I know I have a choice to either be buried by thoughts of my limitations or I can apprehend the power of God in my weaknesses. I can push aside the thoughts that nothing will ever change and lean into the change by way of what He has spoken over me in all these verses and in my heart and mind these last eleven years of my life as a Christian. He specifically gave me the following words in my heart the first year I started living my life for Him: “I have anointed you for service and you will suffer, Oh! But The Joy!” Now I understand, if you don’t have a relationship with the Lord, this is all going to seem weird and strange, but if you do, you know what I am talking about.

Speak this out loud this morning, look in the mirror or go outside and look up at the sky and say these words right to Him:

“You have also given me the shield of Your salvation; Your right hand has held me up, Your gentleness has made me great.” Psalm 18:35 NKJV

His gentleness has made us great so let’s be gentle with ourselves today! Have a beautiful rest of the day not believing the hype and walking only in His truth.

With all my heart,

Sonia

Categories
Encouragement for Women Fight the Good Fight Run Your Race Seasons

The Honey Badger and The Bear

Happy Monday morning! I hope you all had a great, full weekend. I’m coming off of a busy one, but it was chock-full of all the good things. Mario worked the majority of the weekend so I was holding down the fort and attending Saturday celebrations all by myself. Thankfully we had a window to attend church yesterday morning and guess what the teaching was on?! The Blessing of Marriage 🙂

At the beginning of the service they did a little game with a few couples they brought on stage called the, Not So Newlywed Game. One of the questions they had to answer was what animal would your spouse say they are most like. Mario and I played along and got it right. He would pick the bear, and I would pick the honey badger.

Here are some characteristics of the bear from https://onekindplanet.org/animal/bear/

Amazing Facts About the Bear

  • Bears are extraordinarily intelligent animals. They have far superior navigation skills to humans; excellent memories; large brain to body ratio; and use tools in various contexts from play to hunting.
  • Bears grieve deeply for others. Cubs are known to moan and cry when separated from their mothers.  This can go on for weeks if their mothers are killed by hunters.
  • Bears have excellent senses of smell, sight and hearing. They can smell food, cubs, a mate or predators from miles away. Their great eyesight allows them to detect when fruits are ripe.
  • Some species of Asiatic bear build nests in the trees. They can use these for hiding, eating and even sleeping.
  • Bears care deeply about family members. They will risk their lives and even fight to the death in order to save a cub or sibling from danger.

I have always called Mario “My Bear” because he gives such good hugs and the facts about bears above do describe his personality especially how he cares deeply about his family and his protective nature. I love him for this and so much more.

Here’s a little fun fact about honey badgers from https://facts.net/nature/animals/honey-badger-facts/

Honey badgers do not back down.

One of the most interesting honey badger facts is that the Guinness Book of World Records listed honey badgers as the “most fearless animal in the world”. This claim is backed up by actual honey badger behavior. Honey badgers aren’t afraid of facing animals much larger than them, and will fiercely fight to the death if not left alone. 

They will also fiercely attack any intruders that come across their dens. Honey badgers have been observed to challenge large mammals into fights, such as Cape buffalos and rhinoceroses.

When Mario first saw a YouTube video about honey badgers he looked at me and said, “That’s you! You don’t turn from a fight and you don’t give up.”

These animals both have one thing in common, they are protective and will fight to protect. I guess that was my take away yesterday among other encouraging marriage reminders, it was the fact that Mario and I are different in many ways, but God reminded us that these characteristics are designed by Him to bring about good in our lives and the lives of those around us.

At the beginning of this year we made a huge decision to push aside all the other competing priorities in our lives and put our marriage first. We pulled back from so many things because God was pointing us in the direction of getting our lives back in the order He created: God first, our spouse and then everyone/everything else. It was SO hard. It still is sometimes. The decision came about by way of heartbreaking, gut-wrenching, agonizing circumstances that made it clear we could not go on like that. It was pain and hurt that pushed us in the direction we needed to go. Believe me when I say this decision didn’t come without judgement from onlookers, and it cost us tremendously. I have to say this though, we are now four months into our decision and have never been more fulfilled, balanced and blessed in our marriage. God is teaching us to cherish each other like never before so we are able to apprehend the blessing that is our marriage. It is hard, but we chose to obey God, and He is honoring that obedience.

That’s my encouragement for all of us today. If God is calling you to great change in your life…pray, pray and pray some more and then OBEY. He will multiply that obedience. It may not make sense to anyone and may not even make sense to you but it means peace – a peace that surpasses all understanding, and I don’t know about you but this Monday morning, this girl right here, she wants peace, the peace that only the Lord can give as we trust and follow Him.

Have a great week! Know that I am trusting and obeying right alongside you all!

With all my heart,

Sonia

Categories
Encouragement for Women Fight the Good Fight Run Your Race Seasons

The Great Assumption

Happy Weekend, friends! Mario and I have been trying a keto diet for the last six weeks for various health reasons. We’d heard about keto/low carb beforehand from a few friends who’ve had great success in weight loss and management of glucose levels so we started doing our research online and discovered that there is so much out there about keto. So much so that it gave new meaning to TMI 😳 I was on information overload so I got info from a coworker with years of experience in keto. That was a huge help in getting the process started.

We gave away several boxes & bags of groceries full of things on our “avoid” list and purchased some new keto friendly sweeteners, almond flour, coconut flower and lots of proteins and veggies.

We were cutting out all the carbs we could and thought we would see better and quicker results, but it was a slow process. Very slow! Finally, in frustration, my husband reached out to his friend and found out his secret to success with it (he’s lost so much weight that he is now trying to NOT lose more weight! Can you imagine that?!). His friend shared with him that he tracks all his food in an app called Carb Manager BEFORE he eats whatever food he is about to consume.

Well, we started doing that and found we were exceeding our carb allowance each day which was why we weren’t seeing results. We had thought we understood what foods were high in carbs, but we had it wrong. We didn’t have all the information. More importantly, we didn’t have all the information beforehand.

The verse, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” Proverbs 3:5 came to mind as I thought about the spiritual aspect of getting information and input from the correct source before making decisions, and then taking that a step further in filtering it through God’s truth and light.

Assumptions. They’re a killer! When Mario and I were on a walk yesterday evening we talked about this theme, and he said it’s also important in whatever relationships we have not to assume we are better than or have all the answers just because we are Christians. Sometimes that’s our mentality as believers. We can get caught up and think we are actually better than. The danger in this is that we can never be taught by anyone we view as not on our level. We don’t learn. We don’t learn how to love better. We don’t learn how to grow. We don’t learn about ourselves. We don’t learn about God’s love. We don’t learn about others struggles. We stay stuck because we assumed we had all the answers.

Well my friends, I know we all don’t want to stay stuck so my prayer for us is that we get information – we don’t ignore – we don’t lean on our own understanding and we don’t assume. My prayer is that we gain some understanding and ask questions, seek God and step into the opportunities to grow. Yes, we have the power of the Holy Spirit living inside of us, but that doesn’t mean we can think of ourselves more highly than others. It actually means the opposite, that we kneel down and serve the “least of these” and in the process we get the wonderful growth that God promises – that abundant life we all want, the one that Jesus promises! So, here’s to that abundant life. Let’s go out and live it!

With all my heart, Sonia

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Encouragement for Women Fight the Good Fight Run Your Race Seasons

I Have Loved You

Happy Thursday, Loves! Today’s post will focus on the phrase, “It is what is.” I have found myself using this phrase quite a bit the last few months trying to explain certain things out of my control and then one day I saw something on social media that said “It is what it is util it isn’t.” That caught my attention. I Googled the phrase It is what it is and found this article: https://www.inc.com/peter-economy/the-stupidity-of-it-is-what-it-is.html

It is an awesome read about the phrase and why he feels it is stupid. He quotes Army officer Major Andrew Steadman in the article, ‘”Here’s the problem with It is what it is. It abdicates responsibility, shuts down creative problem solving, and concedes defeat. A leader who uses the expression is a leader who faced a challenge, failed to overcome it, and explained away the episode as an inevitable, unavoidable force of circumstances. Replace It is what it is with “This resulted because I failed to do __________” and you get an entirely different discussion.’

I admit I’ve used that phrase quite often lately, and it just didn’t sit well with me. I’ve shared in previous blogs that I am in therapy for my mental health, and I am going to share a little bit more about that right now and give you the reason for this blog title today. My therapist suggested EMDR therapy due to certain triggers and responses in my life. I had heard of this therapy before and knew a little bit about it so it didn’t surprise me when she brought it up. I just didn’t know if I was ready (here’s a link with information if you want to read a little bit about the therapy https://www.emdr.com/what-is-emdr/ ). I knew it was a call to action in every way for my mental, physical and spiritual health, a call to change. God was making a way for great change in my life and now it was up to me to either be courageous and brave or stay stuck.

I chose to be brave. I had my first EMDR session yesterday and in the interest of word count and time and the sensitivity of the subject I will leave out all the intimate details, but I will say there was a moment during the appointment where this verse came up in my mind as if God was whispering it over my entire soul,

“The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying:“Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.” Jeremiah 31:3

I am still basking in that reality that God has had His hand on my life always, during every good and bad thing I have experienced. He was there. He is here. He sees it all. I am on the road to healing during this time of therapy, and I needed to know that He is with me. I am writing this to tell you today that it doesn’t have to be It is what it is. You can take His hand, trust Him and let Him walk you through to the other side of dealing with whatever needs to be faced. How it has worked and how it looks in my life is not turning my back on the appointments even when my heart is pounding out of my chest and my throat is closing up at the very thought of whatever is on the other side of healing.

My prayer for all of us is that we don’t settle for the status quo in our lives. We can proclaim a victorious, “It was what it was, but now it is not” over whatever change God wants us to embrace. The only reason why I can even write these words today is because of that verse reminding me that He has loved me with an everlasting love.

Dear reader, know this truth today, He has loved you with an everlasting love. He has called you. You are His and because of this truth our lives don’t need to be It is what it is any longer. He has given us the power to live on the other side of whatever haunts us. He has given us hope.

With all my heart,

Sonia

P.S. If you have any song suggestions, please send them my way! I love to listen while I write 🙂


Categories
Encouragement for Women Seasons

The Bible Excerpt That Perplexed Me Most

Happy Monday! After a week off of blog writing, I am ready to sit here and type away. It’s 6:01am right now, and I did have a hard time sleeping last night and have been up for a while so I am praying I don’t just ramble here. Ok here we go! There’s been a theme rolling around in my brain for the last few days. This past week I read Proverbs 31:10-31. I just picked up my Bible one morning and read it, and it just perplexed me. Don’t get me wrong – I love the verses. They’re so encouraging and inspiring, but I am just perplexed at this woman. Who is she? Is she real? Do I know her? Am I her? Could I ever be her? So many questions. Here are the verses from the NLT because I think this version helps me the most with this passage right now:

A Wife of Noble Character

10 [a]Who can find a virtuous and capable wife?
    She is more precious than rubies.
11 Her husband can trust her,
    and she will greatly enrich his life.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
    all the days of her life.

13 She finds wool and flax
    and busily spins it.
14 She is like a merchant’s ship,
    bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household
    and plan the day’s work for her servant girls.

16 She goes to inspect a field and buys it;
    with her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She is energetic and strong,
    a hard worker.
18 She makes sure her dealings are profitable;
    her lamp burns late into the night.

19 Her hands are busy spinning thread,
    her fingers twisting fiber.
20 She extends a helping hand to the poor
    and opens her arms to the needy.
21 She has no fear of winter for her household,
    for everyone has warm[b] clothes.

22 She makes her own bedspreads.
    She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns.
23 Her husband is well known at the city gates,
    where he sits with the other civic leaders.
24 She makes belted linen garments
    and sashes to sell to the merchants.

25 She is clothed with strength and dignity,
    and she laughs without fear of the future.
26 When she speaks, her words are wise,
    and she gives instructions with kindness.
27 She carefully watches everything in her household
    and suffers nothing from laziness.

28 Her children stand and bless her.
    Her husband praises her:
29 “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world,
    but you surpass them all!”

30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;
    but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.
31 Reward her for all she has done.
    Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.

One of the most powerful lessons from these verses is all the relationships this woman has. We learn she is a wife. She is a mother. She is a homemaker. She is a businesswoman. She is a volunteer. She is a friend. She is an influencer. She believes in self-care. She has a vibrant relationship with her Creator. She is the woman she is because she invests in these relationships and lets them invest in her right back. If there is any encouragement we can take from the demands of being a woman in this time and space, it is that we are surrounded with everything we will ever need to live out the Proverbs 31 life. God provides each and every opportunity for us to step into our glorious, powerful destiny to be that woman.

As I started writing this post I took a break to make a phone call. I am so thankful I did! I could not write this the way I need to without insight from a woman who speaks with wisdom and gives instruction with kindness ~ verse 26 ~ (special shout out to MDG 🙂 ).

During the phone call I shared what I was going to be writing on and why I am perplexed by these verses. Here are the highlights/insights from this wise woman: 1) The Proverbs 31 woman struggles just like us 2) These verses are not an absolute state all the time – we are works in progress 3) The Proverbs 31 woman has to go through hardship to be this kind of woman.

I held back tears hearing these revelations. It was like God was giving me the permission to breathe and be. Maybe, like me, you’ve read these verses and were immediately filled with doubts and insecurities because of everything you think you’re not, but hearing that insight set me free to be okay with rereading about the Proverbs 31 woman and not hating on her nor myself knowing that I am her, and she is me. So today know that, if you are in Christ, YOU are her, and she is you.

That’s my heart for us today, that we would lift up our voices in prayer not only for ourselves, but to intercede for one another to remain steadfast in the glorious “work in progress” that God has set in motion for us. Yes, it takes a village to raise children, but it also takes a village to be the women God created us to be. Disclaimer/Confession: I’m not perfect at this (and I suspect many of you aren’t either) with broken friendships and failed attempts to connect on deeper levels, but I think all women struggle with intimacy in friendships. That’s even more reason to lean into those relationships and let the love of sisterhood (and 6am Monday morning phone calls) change our perspective on the Proverbs 31 woman in each one of us.

“…But a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.”

Maybe I’ll write more on these verses this week, but that’s what I’ve got for today. Proverbs 31 Women, unite and get ready for all that God has for us this week! Thank you for reading & sharing ❤

With all my heart,

Sonia

Categories
Encouragement for Women Fight the Good Fight Run Your Race Seasons

The Struggle

Yesterday Mario texted this to me, “That’s a sign of life. If you’re struggling it means you’re fighting for a reason. Dead fish float down stream.” I had texted him that I was struggling so much in my walk and where to go to church, struggling with enrolling in my final year of school (starting back up on June 28 – prayers appreciated), struggling with my hormones, struggling in friendships, struggling in my mental health. Struggling! So that reminder from my husband was perfect and timely.

Struggling is a sign of life. I am struggling against my old pattern of throwing in the towel and giving up when it gets too hard. Maybe you’ve got struggles too to which I say to you what Mario said to me, “That’s a sign of life!” Hang in there! Thankfully we can look to God’s Word for the fact that struggling is not unique to us!

Genesis 32: 24-30 24-25 But Jacob stayed behind by himself, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When the man saw that he couldn’t get the best of Jacob as they wrestled, he deliberately threw Jacob’s hip out of joint.

26 The man said, “Let me go; it’s daybreak.”

Jacob said, “I’m not letting you go ’til you bless me.”

27 The man said, “What’s your name?”

He answered, “Jacob.”

28 The man said, “But no longer. Your name is no longer Jacob. From now on it’s Israel (God-Wrestler); you’ve wrestled with God and you’ve come through.”

29 Jacob asked, “And what’s your name?”

The man said, “Why do you want to know my name?” And then, right then and there, he blessed him.

30 Jacob named the place Peniel (God’s Face) because, he said, “I saw God face-to-face and lived to tell the story!”

Struggling, wrestling, reasoning….all part of the process. Don’t let the struggle scare you, let it encourage you (I am preaching to myself here too!). No pain, no gain! No sacrifice, no winning! No perseverance, no finish line! But think about the other side of these truths: Yes, pain – but all gain! Yes, sacrifice, then the win! Yes, perseverance..then the glorious finish line! Thankfully we get the choice and thankfully we have a faithful God who knows our struggles and gives strength where we are weak!

2 Corinthians 12:9-11 NASB And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast [a]about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I delight in weaknesses, in [b]insults, in distresses, in persecutions, in difficulties, in behalf of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

With all my heart, Sonia

Categories
Encouragement for Women Seasons

The “DIS” and the “UN”

Nothing like a fresh color to fight discouragement too 🙂

Let me start out this Friday post with words that start with “DIS”: discourage, disorder distract, disappear, dissimilar, disadvantage. Now let’s look at words that start with “UN”: unwell, unhappy, ungrateful, untrained, unwilling.

Looks like these aren’t great prefixes: ‘dis’ means apart and ‘un’ means not! Ok, why the word lesson for us today, right?! I think it’s because I’ve had the word “discouraged” rolling around in my head since yesterday. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful over many, many things, but I’ve been battling discouragement. Maybe you have too!

I’ll just be honest here and list a few of my discouragements (in no particular order): estranged relationships, finances, weight, school, work, hormones, writing (I love it, I’m doing it right now!! It can be discouraging to find time not to mention the feeling that you’re just not a good enough writer & it’s just a waste to put all the time and effort in). Do you see it, the theme, the “dis/un” life going on right now!

So what do we do with this when there is SO much to be thankful for? How do we battle the world and our own minds that tries to keep our focus on the negative?

We can turn to His Word, I promise, we can. I just did to help me write this for my heart and yours and found this verse when I typed in HOPE:

Psalm 61:2-5 The Message

God, listen to me shout,
bend an ear to my prayer.
When I’m far from anywhere,
down to my last gasp,
I call out, “Guide me up High Rock Mountain!” You’ve always given me breathing room, a place to get away from it all,
A lifetime pass to your safe-house, an open invitation as your guest. You’ve always taken me seriously, God, made me welcome among those who know and love you.

We can turn to worship (thank you A.D. for sharing this a while back): https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Iooys8xC3QA

We can turn to Him in prayer, anytime – anywhere. It can be a simple, “I need You, Lord!”

You can text/call that friend, those friends, you know those ones that will pray for you at a moments notice!

Bottom line is we have a way out of it, a way into hope, a shift of focus that God gives us. It’s also okay to be patient with yourself if the discouragement is deep and long. God knows!

I just wanted you to know for this “before weekend read” that it’s okay to be discouraged and to be un- whatever because the truth of this hope we find in Jesus is truly unending and that is an “UN” that changes everything. Have a beautiful weekend full of hope. With all my heart, Sonia

Categories
Encouragement for Women Run Your Race Seasons

Saturday Brunch & The Funny Thing About Surrender

Here we are, first day of the week, and it’s tax day. Let’s breathe! Whatever this week holds, we know God is already there. I’ve got about half an hour to write so we are off to a good start. I have my Peets pour-over coffee in my “Rise & Shine” mug and am wearing my favorite oversized morning sweater with the softest Target leggings ever, so yeah, I’m feelin’ good. I hope whatever you are doing right now, you take comfort in the simple blessings God has provided. Sometimes that’s all it takes to surrender a bad attitude or a case of the Monday blues.

My daughter has been in New York for the last month and a half with her wife and her wife’s family and just got back this past Friday so to say I missed her is an understatement! She is 28, and I am beyond blessed that she likes to spend time with her parents 🙂 So Mario was working this past Saturday, and we took that opportunity for some long overdue mother-daughter time. I dropped Mario off at work while Gabbie looked for a nearby Saturday morning brunch spot (you just gotta love Yelp these days!). We went to a wonderful cafe with plenty of seating and delicious food.

We started catching up and talking about some of the “drama” the last few months, and I brought up the word “surrender.” I explained that the “drama situation” had me thinking about surrender, and how it is a process. I can’t will it to happen. I can’t just wave a spiritual wand over it, and it will disappear. I have to go through this process of the ebb and flow of the emotions, the reasonings, the questions and the dialogue with God over it. The grip this has had on my emotions is starting to lessen, and I am seeing something else in play: the fact that God does wants us to truly let go and let God in these hard places we face.

I don’t think there is a standard formula for each person, but I do believe that there is a process. There is a point of surrender when you are just tired. It’s the point where you are done with holding it up and hanging on too tight. It’s the point where you “hand it over to God” and say, “Take it please!” It’s at that moment that it’s not about ‘us’ anymore or ‘them’. It’s about the fact that it was weighing us down, and we need to lay it down. And please, please know I know it is not easy to lay down the bitterness, the misunderstanding, the broken heart, the unrequited love, the loss of job, the estranged family relationship, the dream that never came true, the battered reputation, the infertility, the financial mess, the boring job, the shattered friendship, all the heartache but lay it down, we must.

“Laying it down” may look different in your life than mine. In mine right now, it looks like speaking less about the drama and not fixating on figuring it out. It also looks like a change of focus, my mind/my thoughts about it/them are changing. I am softer when I talk about it, gentler when I think about it. The hardness around my heart that felt like it would never go away has given way to a gentleness that shocks me.

The funny thing is that surrender then looks like freedom when before it looked like defeat. Surrender ushers in the beautiful knowledge that it’s not up to you, that there is a bigger plan, but that the plan is no longer your focus. Your focus now is the One who led you through that heartbreak and loss. You follow Him. You let Him lead because once again, He proved Himself faithful with your surrender process.

I was so thankful to God that I could talk this through with Gabbie. I could be honest and share that this process is necessary, hard but good. Like the saying goes, “The struggle is real, but so is God.” As we finished up our delicious meal I told her that that’s why I reposted the “Mansions” blog post I had written 5 years ago because this process of surrender had me looking up once again, knowing there’s more to all this than meets the eye. His will, His plan, His way. SURRENDER. What do you need to surrender?

My prayer for us this week is that we lay it down, but if surrender seems impossible for whatever is concerning you, I just pray a whisper of willingness for you. It can be a whisper, He will hear you.

Thank you for reading! Have a blessed week. With all my heart, Sonia

P.S. Please enjoy this song by Blanca! So so soooo good!