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Parallels

6438586_orig.jpgI am going to write this and try make sense of it while keeping it as brief as possible . Here it goes. A few weeks back Mario, my husband, came home late from work. Usually I like to stay up until he gets home. On this particular day I was wiped out and by 9 o’clock my eyelids felt like they had paper weights on them. I went upstairs and soon I was in a deep sleep. The next thing I know is I’m sitting straight up in bed, gasping like I’d seen a ghost and terrified. Mario had come in the room without me knowing and had been standing by the doorway of our bedroom trying to figure out if I was really sleeping or playing a joke on him. I must have felt someone staring at me because I sat straight up without even realizing it and gasped being choked by the shock of the jolt of waking up like that. With Mario’s permission I’m going to share what happened next. He starts yelling at me, “Why are you freaking out! What’s wrong with you? Why do you always freak out like this?” And then he says, “You scared me!” After coming to my senses I yell back, “I scared you!?” The argument escalates to name calling, and I am literally shocked that I went from a dead sleep right into a shouting match with my husband. The whole time I’m thinking, “How do you get to be mad at me for scaring you when I was the one sleeping, doing nothing, completely innocent here?!” Mario’s trying to make a case for himself, and I’m doing the same. Round and round we go until we end up in separate rooms. I can’t even be around him by this point. After a few minutes that seemed like hours, I have an awareness that something else is going on here. Yes, this is a fight. I am familiar with that, but somewhere in my mind there’s a window, a doorway to something else…I shout out into that space, the window- if you will, and ask God, “What is going on here? Why is this happening, God?” During this time, there’s a ping-pong match going off  in my thoughts and emotions between my furious anger at Mario and my questions to God. The questions to God start to override my anger, and I tell Mario that we need to talk this out. And as late it was, and as tired as we were, we did just that. We began by picking up where we left off, yelling, and stating our cases. And then Mario asks me the question, “Why did you get THIS angry about all of this?” To which I respond with an answer from somewhere deep inside me, not the obvious one, but the layer underneath it. As soon as I said why, I was shocked by my own answer. I had not known that these emotions were tied to something else deep in my history. As soon as I had answered him, I felt a relief. Then the stinging angry/sad tears came. I was mad I was crying about this now, but relieved I had an answer to a question I had asked. Upon hearing my explanation, Mario’s tone changed, his face softened, and he said, “You’ve never told me that story before. It makes sense now.” I learned something about Him and about me that night. I always thought that God wasn’t near me when I got angry or when Mario and I had an argument. I thought how could He want to be near me when it’s like that..when I’m like that. But He was. He was there with me and not only was He there, He heard my cry. He heard and He answered. He gave me insight about myself and why I do the things I do and He showed me that He is always there, waiting for me to acknowledge Him. Our Pastor often references the phrase, “factoring God into the equation of your thinking.” That moment that concept made sense to me like never before. So on that night, that seemed like an utter failure, God turned it into something supernatural. During that whole argument I thought my world was going along as I understood it, but there was this other thing happening, a supernatural thing, a parallel thing. That space – the window – in the argument where I called out to God was right next to what was going on in the natural. It’s been said, “There’s more to this than meets the eye,” and that is true about most everything, but when emotions are running at full speed how can you put the brakes on and “factor God in”? I don’t have the answer for how that looks in your life, but I know that He says to call on Him in the midst of the situation – to seek Him in the moments that are hardest. As I was thinking about this blog post and how to communicate what had taken place this is the verse that came to my mind over and over again:

Jeremiah 33:3 “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.”

Thank you for reading this post. I pray we call out to Him like never before. He, alone, has all the right answers to every question (even in the middle of the night in a heated argument with your spouse)!

In His Love,

Sonia

 

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Yes, this post is about armadillos.

 

It was the week before Easter this year when I had this reoccurring feeling gnawing away at me. I should back up a bit. At the beginning of March – a few weeks before Easter – I had gone on a trip of a lifetime to the Holy Land. Even though I love words, there are not any profound enough to describe what happened in my soul on that trip. The thing I came away from that trip with was this moment in the Garden of Gethsemane when I came face to face with some BIG truths about myself and God and life and how I’d lived it up until that point. In that place of olive trees it was a cataclysmic moment where all my questions crashed into the garden of God to be sorted out. All I know is, I would never be the same.

So getting back to that week before Easter. I’d had this gnawing feeling that the measures I took all my life to ensure I would not get hurt at all emotionally – or at least not too deeply wounded in relationships – would no longer be effective. They did not fit, but I could sense that I wasn’t okay with this. I wasn’t okay with not being able to protect myself against pain and suffering. I’d been doing it for so long. “How was I going to survive now,” my soul cried out. So this is where the armadillo comes in. One morning I woke up with an image in my head of an armadillo. In my mind I could see it’s strange “armor” and how weird they look. As I thought about this animal, I thought about myself looking like that when I try to put on my own protective shield, the one I’ve fashioned and perfected over the years. I could clearly see this ugly attempt at protecting myself.

I couldn’t stop there. I looked up armadillos on the internet and learned something startling. Armadillos can get leprosy. I was shocked! That’s when it hit me. God was saying to me, “Keep this up, and you will be like a leper in your soul, slowly dying off piece by piece!” The message didn’t stop there. Later that day, I’d watched a tv show on Netflix that had nothing to do with nature. It’s a guilty pleasure kind of show. Anyway, the main character is a small town doctor. She was examining one of her patients when she concluded that he may have acquired leprosy. When she asked him what he had been doing that day he said he was helping his friend catch his pet ARMADILLO!

Alright, that was enough for me. Change had to be made. So that’s when I just asked God to show me how to stop doing what I’ve been doing all along, self-protecting. I was never made for that role. That’s God’s job. So if you’re anything like me and you wear some weird armor you’ve created over the years, maybe it’s time to stop. I know there are many reasons that armor was even there in the first place, but there comes a time when you’ve got to exchange the substitute for the real thing. It’s a courageous thing to just be willing to change. It’s not going to happen overnight, but it will happen because that’s what God promises. He says His truth is our shield (Psalm 91).

Thanks for reading, and have a great week!

In Christ’s Love,

Sonia

“being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” Philippians 1:6

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Romance

Last Tuesday I got a phone call that shook me up. It was around 6:30p.m. I answered the call and heard the sobbing sounds of a loved one on the other end. My heart stood still and my mind started racing as I began to listen to the heartbreaking cry of a young woman in a devastating situation. Things had gotten really ugly for her in her latest relationship. My heart broke for her. I wanted to shake her and pick her up and set her on the path of wholeness and health and safety. She is too far deep in this to see her way out.

That’s not how this works though. I know because I’ve been in the same place she is now. It is her choice and no one else’s. I know what she is looking for (dying for, really)

…Romance.

I went about my week – checking in on her periodically through texts and calls. It’s obvious she’s not done with this toxic cycle. She would be going back for more. My heart was heavy and tired, but I also know that no matter how hard she looks in the wrong places for the romance she so desperately craves, she will not find it there. I know because I never found it there either.

So Saturday rolls around, and I’m in CVS and this song is playing in the store as I’m standing at the check out counter:

 

A smile broke out on my face because I remember when this song first came out and how I felt about the words. I looked at the cashier and said, “I love this song. It’s so romantic.” She nodded a knowing a smile and said, “Yeah, I know.” I said, “I remember when I first heard this song. I thought to myself ,’I can’t wait ’til someone feels that way about me’.” I paused, looked down and smiled wistfully listening to this beautiful song. She must have looked at my wedding ring, because she then said, “Then you met your husband and he was that person, right?” I looked up at her straight in her eyes and said, “No. Don’t get me wrong…my husband is amazing. But it wasn’t him.”  I then said,

“It was Jesus. He’s the One.”

She smiled back at me, handed me my receipt, and I walked out feeling loved by the Lover of my Soul, knowing that I’m loved in a way that not even my husband could do and Mario (my man) can love me in so many ways, but the romance I’ve always sought is Divine. 

It’s designed and delivered by heaven and not ever to be found elsewhere.

For anyone reading this, if you are love starved in any way, I know this feeling all too well. I think we can all relate. I pray for the courage to reach out your hand and heart to the One who can hold it perfectly in every season of your life. Jesus Christ.

He is and has promised  and proved to be Savior, Deliverer, Protector, Restorer, Comforter, Counselor, King…the One who did the most romantic thing ever. He laid down His life to give you and me the opportunity to live in His never ending love.

Take His hand. He won’t disappoint.

In His Love, Sonia

Hosea 2:14-15 “Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
Will bring her into the wilderness,
And speak comfort to her.
I will give her her vineyards from there,
And the Valley of Achor as a door of hope;
She shall sing there,
As in the days of her youth,
As in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt.

 

 

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Forgiveness

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First things first…I dedicate this blog post to my coworker, Judy. Thank you for allowing me to bend your ear these past 48-72 hours (wink, wink).

It was on Tuesday, July 11th at approximately 3:30pm when I got a call from someone close to me. I answered my cell right there in the front lobby of our office because of the incessant calling. The conversation lasted a total of one minute. I know it lasted only one minute because I just checked my phone. That’s all it took to break my heart a little…ONE MINUTE. It wasn’t earth shattering news I had received, but it was a shattered hope. Just the day before I had swallowed my pride and said yes to something I would have historically said no to. A day later, this caller, this “someone close to me” was on the phone explaining that there had been a mistake and they weren’t going to be able to see me as originally planned. I was angry with myself for letting my guard down with this person and trusting that they actually wanted to spend time together. I thought to myself, “I should have known better. I should have said no in the first place.” I hung up the phone embarrassed, shocked, confused and slightly numb and had the feeling that I wanted to hurl that phone as far away from my ear as possible. I mumbled, “Okay, fine. I have to go. I’m at work.”In the midst of trying to move on from that conversation, there was an epiphany. Almost immediately after hanging up the phone, I could feel the sadness start to work its way up from the bottom of my heart, like a paintbrush and watercolor, just seeping its way up, up. That’s when it happened. The epiphany moment. Just as quick as the sadness sprung up, this hardness closed in around it like vault doors. I started thinking things like “Suck it up!’. “This is nothing to be sad about!”. “You are not going to let her get to you this time!” It struck me right then and there that there was this automatic response system that usually takes place when these things occur, the “vault doors around the heart” thing. But this time it was different. I could feel the sadness come up before the hardened anger. That’s never happened before. This was definitely new.

On Sunday our pastor spoke on a number of issues relating to our emotions. He referenced the analogy of someone driving along with a tumbler full of grape soda on their dashboard when they hit a bump in the road. The bump initiates the cup falling and causes the grape soda to spill out and make a mess everywhere. He explained that the cup of soda had been there all along – the bump just exposed what was inside. He also said that we shouldn’t blame the bump, the cup nor the driver. Those things just exposed what was already in there.

Well, that phone call was the “bump”, and I now had to deal with my mess of emotions. I went on with the rest of my day, wrestling with wounds that were screaming to be attended to. I prayed. I prayed silently in my heart for God to show me how to feel the right emotions here, the ones I am supposed to – not the ones I’ve allowed to give me a false sense of control and “protection”.

God heard my prayer. 

I felt the sting of the hurt, letting it hurt as pain like that should, and then this morning I prayed some more, for others, for myself, and then scrolled through Facebook and Instagram where I saw this verse over and over:

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

I heard the message loud and clear. Unforgiveness was my grape soda. I have harbored a ton of it towards this person for many years, and it is time I deal with it. Has the hurt magically disappeared? No. Not yet anyway, but I am willing to let God show me how to do the very thing I know He is calling me to.

So tonight stop blaming the driver, the cup and the bump and ask yourself this question, “What’s my grape soda?”

Don’t worry about the mess. God makes miracles out of them!  (P.S. I want to hug whoever said this first!)

Love,  Sonia

 

 

 

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All work and no play.

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I literally just hit submit on my English homework assignment – deadline was four minutes from when I’m writing this…8:59pm. This Monday holiday off was marked by an entire day spent crawling through, what felt like quicksand of reading, webinars, PowerPoints, quizzes and outlines. No one’s fault but my own. My original plan? Get it all done by Friday night so I could focus on fun activities all weekend, maybe even get some relaxation. Reality? I had a mental set back Friday night when I logged into my online account for school and discovered I got a zero out of 50 points on an assignment from last week.  It turns out that it was a simple formatting error, but I had to redo the entire assignment which ended up taking me five hours to do because all I kept thinking about was that zero. Has this ever happened to you? You get thrown by a perceived failure and aren’t able to move past it, even if no one knows about it? When I saw the workload of the assignments I still needed to turn in after the five hour detour I thought there’s no way I can catch up. I was ready to quit and get zeros on everything else. I wouldn’t quit school, but I was willing to take zeros this week.

Thankfully that is not how this blog ends. There were a series of things today that kept the wind in my sails to go just a little bit farther with each assignment: a phone call from a friend who said to keep going because if I can do it then she knows she can do it too, a perfectly timed In-N-Out run by my husband so I could stress-eat and read at the same time, a phone call from friends to just check in right around the final home stretch and then my husband confiscating my phone with just an hour left to turn in my work so I wouldn’t be distracted by texts and social media. As soon as I hit submit, I felt like I had climbed a mountain. God orchestrated all the help I needed along the way, but I had to do the work.

Instead of going into this week with a bunch of zeros, I have a huge sense of accomplishment and gratitude. I don’t know what my grades are, but I know they’re higher than zeros.

It takes a village. It really does.

 

 

 

 

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Happy birthday!

I celebrate my born again birthday every year on July 30th. Six years ago I said the sinner’s prayer and received JESUS Christ as Lord and Savior of my life. On this day 7/30 I read the One Year Bible readings and was brought to Psalm 23…so that is my heart’s cry for whatever God has planned for this sixth year of my walk with Him.

The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.



May we have no other desire but to accept and give His love, no matter what. His love wins. Every time. 

In His Love, 

Sonia

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i’m not who i thought i was.

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things i do know about myself:

  • i love God.
  • i’m a wife.
  • i’m a mom.
  • i’m a daughter.
  • i’m a sister.
  • i love to sing.

i know…a lot of “i’s” in that opener. That’s what this post is about. A big dose of the reality of who i thought i was. It is 3:35am on Friday morning. i really did try to go to sleep this whole night. i tossed and turned, opened windows, tried different pillows, but nothing could shut my brain off. i journal pretty much every morning so i’m considering this my earliest journal entry to date. So here it goes. i blew it tonight, but the blow it didn’t just start tonight – it’s been brewing. There have been signs of this event on the horizon for the last few months. the gory details of the unraveling entail all these little things – not really a huge thing, but tiny little things that all led up to this sleepless night. i wasn’t doing anything “crazy,” but the things i have or haven’t been doing are much more subtle and therefore much more dangerous and deceiving. All those little things pointed to one thing. i am selfish. very selfish. i’m not beating myself up here. Most people could say the same thing – yes, we all have selfish tendencies, but these things that were going on in my heart and mind were more than just the slight bent towards selfish living. It was clearly evident that somewhere along the line, i’d lost my way. Oh, and tonight, this was on full display in a conversation between me and the Lord on the drive home from a Bible study, of all things. i did most of the talking at first. i was angry that He’d let me get this far. i blamed Him for where i found myself standing. i reasoned with Him why this couldn’t be so. “i mean, really, i’m Sonia, the girl everyone thinks is so kind”. “How can You show me something totally different than what i think to be true about me”? And the best question of all…”Why God?” i’m uncomfortable even writing that down because nothing catastrophic has happened to me. The only thing that’s happened is that reality has hit me where it hurts, right smack dab in the middle of a sky high pile of pride. There was so much to celebrate tonight. That’s the bummer of it all. There was so much good happening, but it didn’t go well for me, and that was the problem. Yikes, yuck! So now what? What happens after you come face to face with the ugly truth about yourself ? That’s the question i’ve been grappling with. What to do now? I texted a few friends for prayer – i even second guessed doing that because i thought, “How selfish of me!”. i mean, i really can’t trust myself here. This is new territory – one that i can’t run from. i guess i could run, but then what? A junk drawer can only hide so much junk and a closet can hold only so many skeletons. And who wants a home full of junk and skeletons, anyways? i’ve asked God for something pretty regularly since i became a Christian and that was courage. i knew i needed it then and boy, do i know i need it now. It takes courage to let the veil fall from your face and look at the truth of who you are. It’s easy and cowardly to blame others. Yes, people wrong us and yes, we wrong people, that’s why God says to forgive, but that still doesn’t give us a free pass to keep going along our merry way perceiving ourselves as a victim – just tossed around by our circumstances.

So God has me thinking and praying and seeking and knocking and asking this night (morning).  i need to say sorry to my husband for getting angry at him for not making me feel better tonight (i can’t expect him to do that which only God can).  i need to say sorry to others. i need to turn from this road. i need to accept truth and accept love the way God chooses to reveal that to me. i need to let His Hand mold and shape and cut off.
i need to “Be still and know that He is God.” (Psalm 46:10). i need to trust words like:
“O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God – through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin. There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” Romans 7:24-8:1
That’s it for this journal entry. It’s not what i know about myself that matters – it’s what He says i am and what He says He is doing and what He promises He will do about all of it. It is all about God after all. And since i’m His, i can put my hand in His and keep walking.  It is now 4:22am so to some Good Night and to others Good Morning and to all,
God loves us so much that He will give us truth to set us FREE. 
 
 
 
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The “How”

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Forgive me for what very well may be the most scatter-brained post ever! I just needed to get that disclaimer out there before I proceed. If this writing reflects anything that’s been going on in my head, then that disclaimer was extremely necessary. Okay, here it goes:
I’m a Christian woman.  I am saved by God’s grace.  I am a new creation.  God says.  This is true.  I know that. My mind, however, is trying to figure out the “how”. How is this going to work? How is God going to change this lump of mess that I am? How will He quiet my mind and spirit? How will I break free from my insecurities? 
The “why” is easier for me to accept. He loves me. He loves us. That’s the beautiful “Why”. But the “How”? That’s a big, humongous question mark for me – one that has me doubting and comparing and coming up short on answers. I mean, if you really knew me, you’d shake your head too. I cling to verses like:
1 Corinthians 1:27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty. 
For the last few weeks I’ve been reading the book of Romans. It was in chapter 7 verse 18 that I read Paul’s words and saw the word “how” like a huge magnifying glass was right on it: “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.” I thought, “You too, Paul?!” From verses 19-24 he paints a vivid picture of the battlefield for Christ followers. I’m thankful for those verses right now. I need to see that this is “normal”. I need to see that striving for perfection so you think I’m good, I think I’m good, God thinks I’m good – is a waste. It’s nothing. That kind of thinking is motivated by me, not God’s Spirit.
I don’t know if I’ll ever truly understand the “how” – maybe I’m not supposed to. This is what I think the “how” looks like now, though, as I still look to discover Him in this process:
In the garden of Gethsemane Jesus says a prayer for Himself for what He is about to face. In the gospel of Luke (chapter 22, verses 42-44) He kneels down and prays in agony. His pain is real. The grief is evident. The emotion raw. Verse 43 is, “Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him.”
Jesus, God in flesh, needed strengthening and in His humble humanity, He allowed it.
He didn’t take anything by force. He submitted to His Father’s plan. He surrendered in that moment in the garden. In verse 45 of that same chapter it says, “When He rose up from prayer…” The battle of His mind was center stage here, but I think I see some of the “how” here:
Look heavenward for strength…surrender in the garden moments…rise up after praying, don’t just stay on my knees…get up and do it by faith…be okay with it not “looking” right…and finally humbly admitting the truth of who I am and who God is in me.
God is in control of the “HOW”. I am not. I am only able to be willing and to seize opportunities of change, and THAT is not even me, it is God Spirit who lives and moves and breathes in me.
For those of you, like me, who struggle with the ugly truth of who you used to be, please know this, in God’s Hands, you are beautiful. The process of becoming a free flying butterfly comes, it will come. With pain, with struggle, with gardens that only God sees, it will come and this is what God says,
“For I know the thoughts I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13
ALL MY HEART….the good, the bad, the ugly. He wants all of it. That’s some of the “How”.
That’s all I’ve got to write today. Thanks for reading this.
Still seeking Him,
Sonia
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Introduce Yourself

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I got a text on New Year’s Day. It read, “God bless you abundantly this next chapter of life..get out of your journals!!! I love you!!!” I can’t stop thinking about the part, “get out of your journals”. I’ve been a faithful journaler since January 2009. I haven’t skipped more than a day or two throughout every year since then. I love my journals. I call them my prayer journals, and they are full of prayers, big ones and small ones and everything in between. There’s also things like this in there: “I’m scared” or “I am so hurt” or “I blew it again” or “I will never get it right!” Then there’s my favorites, “God, You are so faithful” or “Jesus, thank You for saving me.” or “God, I look to You for this.” Whatever day, hour, mood or season, my heart is poured out on those pages. My daughter has said what is cool about the journals is you can read them either way, starting at the beginning and going forward or starting today and going backwards. Such is the story of all our lives. On Facebook, I’ve seen lots of posts about this “next chapter” for the new year, and I do believe that 2015 can be the most dynamic ever, and it will take courage. So here’s my first courageous leap of 2015, stepping out of my journals a bit and dipping my foot in the water of possibility. I give myself permission to be willing to be more intimate than ever with Him, to be more honest with myself and others – even if I come out being the bad guy – and to be courageous enough to change in whatever way(s) I am supposed to. This first blog post is part of a blogging course I enrolled in, and we were asked to answer the following, so here goes:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal? Because I already keep a personal journal, and I love to write. Public blogging seems just the right balance for me, not too public – my reader stats are nowhere near those of the blogger giants out there – and yet not so private that my thoughts remain buried. 
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about? God; my past, present and future; things I see highlighted in my life and/or the lives of others. 
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog? just about anyone – whoever (or is it whomever) I am supposed to connect with. 
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished? that words wouldn’t just be words, but that they would have life and meaning and be pointing heavenward. 

Special shout out to my husband, Mario G., for praying for me this evening 🙂 I got  with the computer and almost had a meltdown because I thought this draft didn’t save before the computer crashed. He remained calm as the computer was restarting, grabbed my hands, said a prayer and then returned to his reading. I looked at the computer screen, logged into WordPress, held my breath and there were the words I’d hoped to see, “Saved Draft”.

That’s all I got tonight, folks. That’s gotta mean something, right? “Saved Draft”?!

Have a blessed, dynamic, courageous New Year!

Love, Sonia Gonzales

 

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Change

changeYes. Change. As we come to the close of 2014 this seems like a fitting topic for what may be the last John4four blog post of the year. I apologize for not keeping up with my goal of writing once a week. Things, well, changed. I went back to work full-time in September while juggling a tough Fall semester of school, but more than that, it felt like the topics that kept coming up were more private things I had to walk through with God rather than write them all out here. All of those things brought me to this day, this topic of CHANGE. I’ve changed since I started writing this blog. I go back and read the first post and think, “Wow, Sonia, EDIT! There’s just too many words.” As I write this blog it is 11:14pm on December 20th here in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, where my dad is from. I am here with him to support him and his family in the difficult task of saying goodbye to my Abuela Julia. She passed away this past Sunday. I’ve seen family members that I haven’t seen in 30 years. This trip has been quite the teacher in the topic of change. I read this in the devotional Streams in the Desert today: “God seeks ‘eagle people,’ for no one ever comes into the full realization of the best things of God in his spiritual life without learning how to walk alone with Him….May we allow God to isolate us…God knows how to change our circumstances in order to isolate us.” I am experiencing this in real-time during this trip. I don’t speak Spanish well at all, something that has challenged me for years, so it is hard for me to communicate with the people around me which is isolating. I am not totally isolated in that respect though. One of my cousins understands English very well so she speaks in Spanish, and I respond in English, and we understand each other pretty well like that. But there have been many social gatherings where there’s much chatter going on that I simply am not a part of, and I’m left to my thoughts sometimes. Then there’s the most obvious aspect of isolation, being away from my husband, Mario, my close friends and family. I’ve come to realize on this trip how much I’ve relied on him and others for my comfort. That’s totally normal, but taken to the extreme, it can be a crutch. It can keep me dependent on others more than my Savior. I see that more clearly now than ever as I’ve had limited contact with anyone other than Mario- cell reception for me is spotty at best here. There’s also a big church event tomorrow that I’m missing which has made me homesick and lonely in many ways, but this, I know, is a good thing. God moves us where we need to be, exactly when we need to be there, so here I am and there you are 🙂  So, we have to change. We must change. Things have to change, but there’s more to change than just change. I am a recovering “change-aholic” which, I feel, is the wrong kind of change, the one where you just change things to get out of something, to feel better, to manipulate something, to run from something…whatever the reason, it was never done in God’s timing or in His will. It was always done to escape reality. Not anymore.

God woke me up.

Recently I made a hasty decision and realized almost immediately, I had said yes to something way too quickly. I knew I was in trouble. All I wanted to do was to jump ship right then and there – to run, to get myself out of that situation as quickly as possible, but everything in my spirit and wise people around me were saying, “Wait on the LORD.” Amidst days that took their toll and more uncomfortable moments than I care to write about, I endured. Each day, sometimes faith-filled days, sometimes fretting every second kind of days, I endured. The Overseer of my soul saw to it that I was not crushed, and He saw to it that I was changed. And then deliverance came. Just when I thought I couldn’t go one more step, He opened a marvelous door and this time I waited for Him to reveal it and open it. I didn’t take matters in my hands. I didn’t run from my current situation to jump into another one. He led me. I followed Him. Believe me when I say, it was weird. It felt totally contrary to anything I’ve ever done…so I know it wasn’t me, my strength or my will which gave me a new confidence and a new kind of stability that only God could bring. Those circumstances = useful for change. Today’s circumstances = useful for change. But why change? That’s the real question. Why? The answers to the WHY could fill a thousand and one blog posts but here it is, found in the only book that matters: Romans 8:29 29 For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. There’s the answer: to be changed to be more like Jesus. That’s the glorious purpose of His allowing the seasons of solitude, storms and overwhelming odds. May we be a people who yield to the mighty Hand of the Potter as He shapes us into that which we were intended to be…wholly His. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. May this new year be one of glorious, “mountain-moving” change in your life and mine! In His Grip, Sonia