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Encouragement for Women Fight the Good Fight Uncategorized

Don’t Take the Bait

I’m back in school, and this is my second week of the term so my blog writing is taking somewhat of a backseat, but I was up this morning at 4:30am knowing I had to put this right here. I am in two classes this summer – one of them being Theology 330 – Theology of the Family and this introduction is from one of the textbooks:

Your family lives in a war zone. With every exploding shell, the house shakes. Your physical body may never feel the shell shocks, and the plaster on your walls may remain intact—but the impacts are present all around you. Long after your children fall asleep and the chaos of the day fades into the quietness of evening, the shelling continues.

To be sure, when you look out your window and survey a suburban backyard, a busy city block, or the rolling hills of a rural landscape, what you see probably doesn’t look like a war zone. But don’t let such serene scenery fool you! Beyond the doors of your household and mine, a battle rages. The battle is about glory, and who will receive it. The battle is about authority, and who will exercise it. [Randy Stinson (2015). (p. 29). Trained in the Fear of God: Family Ministry in Theological, Historical, and Practical Perspective. Kregel Publications. Retrieved from https://app.wordsearchbible.lifeway.com%5D

I forget this so often, that we are in a daily spiritual battle. With that forgetfulness (or loss of focus) comes the reality that I lose sight of the fact that there is an enemy of my soul and yours that knows our tendencies and triggers and will exploit them in an attempt to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10a). Sometimes the attack is full on and you know that you are under attack. Sometimes it’s a million little irritations – you feel like it’s a constant drip of a faucet, and you don’t even realize, that this too, is an attack – a subtle one, for sure, but an attack just the same. Can I just say this to you and me this morning…? DON’T TAKE THE BAIT! Wait. Stop. Breathe. Pause. Think. Give it some time. If you’re like me, this is super hard but it is possible if we know that this is what the enemy wants us to do…to take the bait, hook – line – and sinker.

In the last 24 hours I have had several points of engagement where I could just respond a certain way but 75-80% of the time I just waited through it, and what a difference! Mario helped me too in one particular occasion, reminding me to “just wait – give it time”. My friends, that is one of our greatest assets in winning these big and little battles in our lives…WAITING! Waiting for God to bring to reality what is really going on. Waiting for your emotions to subside and rational thought to take over. Waiting for the Holy Spirit to give you the right words and heart. Waiting, waiting, waiting and WINNING!

I guess that’s today’s theme: Don’t take the bait – wait and win! This is why God got me up early this morning to remind me that we don’t have to take the bait anymore because we are not slaves to fear and sin any longer. Like the song below says, “I’m no longer a slave to fear. I am a child of God.” That’s all I’ve got today. May we be those who live out the second part of John 10:10 and live that abundant life God has laid out before us.

Ok, one last thing…here’s this special song from Zach Williams Live from Harding Prison Album, “No Longer Slaves” please watch and listen to this (all the songs and interviews are amazing!!):

With all my heart,

Sonia

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Encouragement for Women Run Your Race Uncategorized

Dream Horse Movie

Ok Wednesday, we see you! Good morning! Here is a short post to encourage you to watch the movie, “Dream Horse.” It is rich with beautiful truths and the best part is – it’s a true story.

I haven’t checked Rotten Tomatoes or any other reviews of this movie, but I don’t care. Okay, I admit I just did and look! Yay, they got it right!!

89% TOMATOMETER and 97% AUDIENCE SCORE

I love all the character stories in this movie, but the main character, Jan Vokes, truly inspires me – especially at this point in my life. I will turn 47 in less than a month and have had some big changes this year and have even more big decisions ahead of me so this movie gave me a glimpse at what living out your dream looks like. I needed to see this now.

It is easy to choose the comfortable, familiar and predictable. People would probably look on and say that is reasonable and understandable, but when I started my walk as a Christian I didn’t sign up for safe or predictable. I said yes to life, the life that He created me to live so I have to be brave and wise in my choices, uncomfortable in the unknown and patient in the process. I don’t want this year to just pass me by. I want to live it to the fullest letting God take my hand – pointing to sunrises, broken paths, sunsets, rainbows, valleys, scary roads, and butterflies all along the way. My life is supposed to wave His banner of miracles and so is yours. Our stories are to point to Him, to impossible possibles, so my prayer today is to live that dream because it is a reality. He made it so.

Please listen to this song called Jireh that says we are already loved, we are already chosen. Like the movie says, “Be brave. Be brilliant. You were born for this.”

With all my heart,

Sonia

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Fight the Good Fight Run Your Race Seasons Uncategorized

We Have a Friend, He Understands

Good morning, happy Monday! I hope you had a beautiful Father’s Day weekend, but if you didn’t and even if you did I am dedicating this blog post to you.

Put on your headphones or AirPods or just turn up the volume on your device and listen to this song that starts off with, “I have a friend, he understands…” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3N97fDmYKrE

Gabbie introduced Mario and me to Chandler Moore’s music and seriously, this singer is anointed! You can listen to Jireh and/or Lean On You for a few more examples. Amazing!

Mario had to work in Irvine all weekend. I tagged along so we could weave in some date time as well and during the drive up & back we usually show each other songs we’ve been listening to so I put on Lean on You and then He Understands came on right after. When Mario heard the first line, “I have a friend. He understands,” he looked stunned and said, “Now there’s a perfect description.” We proceeded to listen to the song without speaking as tears ran down our faces.

Later I asked Mario why this song hit him this way and this was his reply, “It doesn’t matter how much you try to explain to someone what you feel – what you are going through, only Jesus truly understands all of it.” There’s so much truth there! Even though Mario and I share so much of our thoughts and feeling with each other, only Jesus truly understands and that is the most comforting, heart encouraging, heartbreaking. liberating truth that we don’t have to walk around this week misunderstood. He understands. He really does. So let’s not try so hard to get others to understand us. Let’s free themselves up and ourselves up from figuring it all out.

Know this, beautiful person reading this right now, your heart is already tended to because He understands and will never leave you alone in your pain. We are so loved right here and there’s nothing we can do about it. Two truths to hang onto this week: 1) we are loved and 2) He understands.

Well that’s all I’ve got for today! Now that you’ve heard Chandler’s song He Understands, here is Lean On You to end out this blog and kick off this week: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-pwPyUZmUM

With all my heart,

Sonia

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“2% is not 0%”

I had a whole other post planned but just read Ann Voskamp’s post, and I am undone. It blew away whatever post I was going to put up here for Thursday so what we have on the blog today is Ann’s link so you can read for yourself about “Nightbirde” and the video from America’s Got Talent.

Happy Thursday, friends. Like the song says, “It’s ok. It’s alright.”

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

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Mother & Daughter

Dedicated to my sweet daughter, Gabbie

Now more than ever I see the value in living life as bravely and boldly as possible for several reasons but most importantly to be an example to my daughter. Our story as mother and daughter is a long one to tell – too long for a blog post but safe to say, that it is a story of love and grace. I missed the mark quite a bit as a mom, as I was so young when I had her so I pray often for God to show me how to be an example to her now. Things I want to show her:

  1. That God loves us and we are created in His image
  2. That I am proud to be her mom
  3. That true peace is possible
  4. That we need to deal with deep things to go higher
  5. That hurt is terrible but healing from God is beautiful
  6. That doing magnificently brave things is living
  7. That music is life (Zephaniah 3:17)
  8. That emotions don’t have to rule our lives
  9. That God takes away all shame and makes us whole
  10. That she is valued beyond what she could ever think or feel

I know I’m not the only mom in the world who has these desires for their children. Maybe you’ve been the best mom. Maybe you’ve been the worst. Either way, God has given us the most precious of all roles as mother to a daughter and it’s never to late to do brave things to show your daughters how to be brave and show God’s love.

So today I just want to say that I am thankful that I am Gabbie’s mom. I am thankful that I get texts with check in’s and questions and love. I am thankful that God has given me the opportunity of a lifetime to show my daughter how to live the life God created us to….it is not about how you begin the journey, it’s about how you end it.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.  James 1:17-18

Have a blessed day!!

With all my heart,

Sonia (AKA Gabbie’s mom)

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Encouragement for Women Uncategorized

It’s the Heart of the Matter

#valentinesday2021 I just searched this hashtag on Instagram and there are 446,000 posts already and we haven’t even gotten to the day yet! We are an obsessed people with all things love, love, love. I am glad for that. I, too, love love.

Do you remember that book that was turned into a movie, “He’s Just Not That Into You” by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo? Here’s the summary from Wikipedia, ‘The book is a “self-help” guide aimed for single women. The premise of the book, as stated in the title, tells women readers that if a man in whom you are interested in is not making the effort to pursue you, he is simply “just not that into you.”’

Then there’s the quote from Maya Angelou, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”

Basically stating that people will show you how they feel about you. We tend to ignore red flags, signs, warnings and that gut-feeling all in the name of getting love from that person(s). We all make these mistakes so this is NOT an, “I’ve got this! Let me tell you all the answers” blog post. (Well, spoiler alert, there is an answer but please just read ‘til the end). And I believe you don’t even reach adulthood before having this type of scenario with at least one, if not a few, relationships.

Side note: I’m sorry for the downer Intro on Presidents’ Day/Valentine’s weekend! Hang in there…I’m going somewhere with this.

We all search for love, long for that special love, the unconditional, never going to leave you, no matter what, thick or thin, “I’m amazed by you“ love. Totally normal! What isn’t normal is what we sacrifice & compromise to get it from those who never intended to love us in the first place. (Cue the Johnny Lee song “Looking for Love in all The Wrong Places”).

So, I’ve been married to the love of my life, by God’s grace, almost 16 years now, and I put that Johnny Lee song to rest quite some time ago – but even now, all that love Mario has to give doesn’t cut it because we are just plain human and fail each other and, at times, flat out break each other’s hearts.

But still , we all need that perfect love and we tend to spend our lives trying to attain it in all sorts of ways, when it exists and is free and readily available if you want to accept it: JESUS, God’s only Son. ❤️

I’m serious! I spent 35 years of my life without accepting His love in my heart because I thought I was too damaged, not good enough and certainly not holy enough. But I’ve been in that relationship with Him for 11 years now, and He has NEVER EVER let me down.

Don’t sell yourself short & believe the hype that love like that doesn’t exist or that it’s for other people, the “put together, well-behaved” people! And don’t miss out because you think you are “a good person” and don’t need “religion.” We all have that longing for the perfect love and the answer is the one and only, the Savior of the World, Jesus.

My Valentine’s prayer for all of us is that no matter where we are, we look up & let that love fill us to overflowing knowing that God sees every part of us and chose us as His own. Most amazing of all, He died for us. He literally laid down His life us to give us something we could never get on our own…everlasting life, everlasting love. Grab your Bible or type in Google, John 3:16 and read it, and then put your hand on your heart. That’s the heart He died for.

Thanks for reading!

With all my ❤️,

Sonia

P.S. Happy Birthday, Madds 🎈

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“NMWBYBD” – A Super Bowl Sunday Blog Post

N M W B Y B D. This is the tattoo I would get if I ever got one (or maybe I already have one 😉), just those initials listed and in that order. I’ll tell you why and what they stand for in a moment.

On a day when we tend to gather around TVs and food trays and all the like, I think of winning – who will win? Who will be victorious? Who will get that trophy, the ring, the interviews, the hype and the glory that comes with it?

For the last few days, weeks really…I’ll be honest, probably longer (all year!) I’ve been in a mental, spiritual and sometimes even physical wrestling match with none other that yours truly. There is a laundry list of things that are not going my way ,or the way I think they should go, in pretty much every area of my life right now. Before I go any further I will tell you that I am aware that I have so much to be thankful for & I am. This post is about the other things, the estranged relationships, the dreams that haven’t come to pass, the painful memories of the past hurts that don’t seem to go away, the health issues that keep creeping in and so on and so forth. It can get me down, and I mean down 😩!

So in my funk God kept bringing me to this verse: Luke 22:42

42 saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”

Did you catch it?

The “NMWBYBD”?

It’s the “not My will, but Yours, be done” part of that verse. That’s my tattoo because that is what true victory looks like. That’s winning!

Here are the facts: God loves us. God has a perfect plan for our lives. When we surrender to Him (accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior) we get to experience the great exchange of our will (which is mostly, if not all, limited and selfish) for His will (which is perfect and glorious). We get to have those moments where life gets hard and we shift our focus to sit in the “hard” and let God lead us through to the other side.

On a day when we look at winning through the lens of a tv screen may we also remember a garden scene where the real victory took place when Jesus uttered those words ‘saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”

My prayer today is that we look at the hard stuff in our lives and turn to God uttering those very same words. The garden didn’t look like victory at the time, but you and I know the truth – that garden, those words, our Jesus, made the impossible possible. He won so we could live victoriously.

Have a blessed Super Bowl Sunday!! Thank you for reading!

With all my heart,

Sonia

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Are You Okay With Being Weak?

 

Screen-Shot-2019-10-19-at-2.39.08-PM-1.pngFirst of all, it’s okay not to be okay. Let me lead this blog post stating that fact. We can all take a collective sigh of relief to stop trying to fight the obvious in our lives. I had a thought the other morning – or several thoughts actually – it was like a list that wouldn’t end, and it consisted of all that is wrong with me. All my weaknesses were flooding my mind: i eat too much, i cuss too much, i fight too much, i don’t fight enough, i clean too much, i clean too little, i talk too much, i don’t listen enough, i am gullible, i am cynical, i am emotional, i am cold, i am wishy-washy, i don’t have healthy boundaries, i am withdrawn, i am too much, i am not enough no matter what i do…and the list went on. I’d like to say this was an isolated event, but it wasn’t. So I spent the day trying to prove myself wrong. It was exhausting. It is exhausting. Anyone else do this? Then later that night I had another thought about this whole thought process. It was this: all day I spend fighting the fact that I am weak. I spend my day trying to overcompensate for my weaknesses and prove myself wrong about what I know about Sonia. Each day I am just growing weaker and more defeated. It is a vicious and futile fight. Why is that?

I was never made to be strong in the way I understand strong to be. That is why. Simple, really (but hard for me to comprehend!). I was never made to shoulder these weaknesses and magically nor forcefully turn them into something the world can nod their approval at.

So this morning I want us all to give ourselves a break. We are weak. Let’s just admit it, embrace it, own it. And just before you think this couldn’t be true about you, or true about that person with the perfect instagram – let me tell you, we are all weak. All of us. Different weaknesses – yes, but weak, we are, nonetheless. But guess what? Here’s the good part of that confession. We don’t have to stay like that – just a mess of a person. Let this equation roll around in your mind and believe it – this may the bravest thing you have ever done: your weakness = God’s strength in your life on display.

He will do miracles with those weaknesses! You just have to engage in the exchange. It is hard, let me tell you – that daily struggle is tougher than we imagine sometimes, but when you catch that stride and just let go and let God, something amazing happens. Freedom. Freedom from the thoughts of your limitations and freedom from fears that everything depends on you being strong. You don’t have to hold up all the spinning plates knowing you never learned how to juggle. Let the plates fall – and don’t care if the world laughs at the broken plates because God will pick those pieces up and make something incredible out of all the brokenness. He will put that masterpiece (made from your broken pieces put in their proper place) on blast for your good and His Glory!

Here’s a passage on that topic out of The Message (2 Corinthians 12:7-10):

“7-10 Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,

My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.

Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.”

Let’s respond to those weaknesses today with God’s divine plan to give us His strength. Let’s stop bullying ourselves. We don’t have to worry about what He is going to do with our weaknesses. Just run to Him. Call out to Him. Let His love lift your head. He loves us.

With all my heart,

Sonia