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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

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 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 Seasons

Mansions

Happy Friday! We made it! I have to tell you I had a rough night of sleep, could be peri-menopause, could be that I was hungry, could be all the things I was thinking about, but it was probably a combo of all those things. So instead of writing a new blog post and risk it being completely incoherent, I wanted to re-share my blog post from five years ago because this movie scene above has been playing through my head again so please take in this reminder that there’s more to life than meets the eye! Have a blessed weekend too. Thank you for reading this week. I hope it blesses you too ❤   With all my heart, Sonia

There’s this movie, The Holiday, that has a scene in it where Kate Winslet’s character, Iris, sees the house in L.A. that she’ll be staying in for her Christmas holiday. She is a woman who lives in a small, simple cottage in England so this place was a far cry from anything she’d ever lived in. Now, I don’t recommend the movie unless you love RomCom’s like I do, but this scene has something in it that hints at something I read in John 14:2.

Jesus says: “In My Father’s house are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” John 14:2

I don’t about you but I know I don’t live like I  remember that truth every day, AND I SHOULD! We should! I’m going to let you in on an ugly secret…I hardly ever think about that wonderful truth about our destiny. I did when I first became a Christian seven years ago. Wow, did I think about it then. That was one of the things that I kept right at the forefront of my thinking, the reality that this world – what we see and live in now – isn’t it, and that Jesus is preparing that place for us.

So I’ve had a couple of rough weeks – some things in my control, others not so much. Things have been pressing in, and I have been reacting badly. It seems like all I’ve been doing is blowing it and then saying, “Sorry, God, I did ______ again!”

Here are some excerpts from yesterday’s journal entry:

Saturday, October 15th 8:35am “I’m sorry. I’m still in a rut. I can’t see my way out. You see me. What’s the answer? Where’s the way out? How long will it be like this? Is this really Your will, God? Let me still cling to You. I can’t feel You anymore, and I’m drowning.” 

Quite the “woe is me” journal excerpt, I know. But I also want you to know, it’s not always like this. This walk with Jesus has all kinds of days and seasons. I had bad days/seasons when I wasn’t a Jesus freak so why wouldn’t I have them now? I know God has been trying to get me to stop looking in so much and start looking out, to Him, others, the future, heaven, and maybe that’s why at 5am I had this scene playing in my mind from a movie that has nothing to do with anything really spiritual. I do love the song though. The whole soundtrack is really amazing. It’s Hans Zimmer, so of course!

God woke me up with this movie scene playing in my head as if to say, “It’s going to be better than that!”  Better than we could ever imagine here on earth with our limited perspective and no matter the troubles, the days, the emotions, the dangers, the enemies or “frenemies”, failures, woes, the steps backwards, the highs or lows, HE IS PREPARING A PLACE FOR US. Here’s another verse that just jumped out to me just now to tie up this early Sunday morning blog post:

But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9

The challenge: Live like a woman who believes what God says and looks forward with hope in her heart that she will dwell in a perfect mansion in His house.

It’s all about You, Jesus.

Have a blessed Sunday, Everyone. I hope we worship like never before today!

Love, Sonia

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Encouragement for Women Puerto Rico Run Your Race

JLo and “Againiffer”?

“Monster In Law” Premiere (Stock Editorial Photography)

Happy Wednesday, friends. How’s your week so far? Mine’s alright – lots of things swirling around in my brain already, some great and some not so great, but overall this is the them today: HURT. I am Christian. I became a Christian almost eleven years ago. So when I am thinking about how I processed being hurt before I became I Christian, I just remember never dealing with it. I just walked around with the open wounds in my life and my choices led to adding to my pain. I was living my life just trying to survive and functioning out of a constant myriad of pain. Back then, the pain turned into hardness and numbness. I became more and more cynical, more self- sufficient, more unforgiving, more controlling, more selfish and more and more closed off to true relationships. That’s what survival meant for me then. The hurts of unattended heartbreak made me an untrusting woman and eventually led to immense control issues.

I know…this is a heavy topic for a Wednesday morning, but I was reading the news last night and came across the latest headlines about JLo and how she is now with Ben Affleck. I understand that this might be a publicity stunt or something fabricated like that (putting this in here for my husband who constantly reminds me not to believe everything I read in the news – I get it LOL), but just the fact that she has been married three times, engaged four times and has had numerous boyfriends, leads me to believe this former Fly Girl is looking for love in all the wrong places. Seriously, she just got out of a long term relationship with ARod and now she’s with Ben, and it’s “Againiffer”?! She seems like the woman at the well in the Bible in John chapter 4, doesn’t she? (You can read the story here: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John%204%3A1-26&version=NIV).

No judgment here, I promise! I can relate – obviously – my blog’s title should clue you in that I know a thing or two about searching for love and ending up hurt until you find yourself at a well under the scorching sun, filled with shame. So, what I have learned about “hurt” since becoming a Christian? Well, the biggest thing I’ve learned is that there is actual healing that leads to wholeness. There really is, but there’s one catch, and the catch is you have to be willing to admit the hurt and surrender it. I totally get that surrender is a complicated term, especially nowadays, but it is true.

I am in a season where deep hurt is a very present reality – just when I think I have forgotten about it, I am struck with a memory or see a photo or something pops up on social media, and I remember…oh yeah, that’s right -there’s the pain. I got hurt, very badly. Thankfully that’s not the end of this blog post. The very amazing thing about being a Christian is that healing is possible – true healing, not like the little instagram quotes that you read one minute and forget the next. My healing process means that I am honest with God about what I am feeling. I journal about it. I am in therapy over it. I talk about it with my husband and only a few trusted friends (if and when I need a sounding board so I don’t toilet paper anyone’s house). I look to God’s Word over it, and most of all these days, I have hope in it. Hope that God will change me more into the whole version of the Sonia that He created. I already see glimpses of this wholeness. Even though the sting of it will pop up, the solidness that is anchoring me to the truth and love of God is indescribable. I just don’t have words for that part of it. I wish I did. I wish I could tell you what this new found strength and trust in the Lord feels like and looks like, but I will say this: you have to be in it to know it, and I invite you – if have never experienced the healing power of Jesus Christ accept it today. Accept Him today! If you want prayer over this just send me an email: sonialvsJesus@gmail.com, and I promise I will pray (and probably cry) with you.

So to all you former or current FlyGirls, Jesus is standing there at whatever old well (or boyfriend) you are staring at, and He is saying “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.” (John 4:26 NIV) I pray you don’t miss the opportunity of a lifetime for the healing of all that hurt.

With all my heart, Sonia

P.S. I put the salsa version of “The Blessing” song here since we are all about the Latinas today with JLo & all. Please enjoy and give yourself some room to dance!

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Encouragement for Women Run Your Race

It Didn’t Go My Way

Happy Tuesday! I hope you all had a beautiful time celebrating Mother’s Day this past weekend, but if it is a hard holiday for you, I pray you had peace and comfort! As we all know, holidays can be, well, in a word…COMPLICATED. I am going to share a little bit about our Sunday’s family Mother’s Day dinner. First of all, for those of you who don’t know, we have a 28 year old daughter – she’s my only child. She has been in New York for the past months so she was not in town to celebrate with me which already made it not as great as it could have been, but I get it – she’s 28 (I promise, Gabbs, it is fine!).

My dad had texted me during the week and asked if my husband and I would join him, my mom and my sister at a restaurant in San Marcos at 3pm. 3pm on a Sunday can be tough – the strong urge to just lay on the couch usually hits me around that very time! But of course, I said yes so Sunday afternoon around 2:30ish Mario and I got ready to head out the door, and we made it to the restaurant at 3:03pm. My dad is a retired Marine, needless to say, he’s a stickler for time so I thought we were late. We walked into the restaurant and said we had reservations at 3pm. I gave the hostess my mom’s name and my dad’s name. She checked her list and said that there weren’t any reservation with those names. I then had the sinking suspicion that they hadn’t made reservations. My parents had still not arrived by this time so I called my dad, and when he answered he said they were on their way. I explained we didn’t have reservations, and they weren’t taking walk in’s. My parents had me on speaker phone so they were both talking, trying to figure it out. My dad asked if I had any ideas. And I said, “On Mother’s Day?! No – we probably won’t get in anywhere without a reservation!” To say I was irritated is an understatement. I am not proud to confess here that I am a 47 year old woman, and I basically had a full-on tempter tantrum. In the interest of your time and mine, I will spare you all the reasons why my reaction went from zero to sixty but, yeah, it’s historical.

I was all but ready to just hand my mom her card and flowers in the parking lot and head home. You may be thinking this is an excessive response, and I would agree with you. Believe me when I say I am cringing as I am typing this. Mario saved the day with calling another restaurant down the road that could seat us in 25 minutes – so off we went while I was sulking in the car. When we finally got seated my mom said that when we get to be their age we will understand (the oversight of not making reservations). At this point I was a little less aggravated, and we ordered drinks and our food and had the most amazing time.

It was one of those meals that had everything in it – stories, funny FUNNY stories, love, memories, my dad’s non-PC jokes, updates on life, etc. It was special, and my mom even apologized for something years ago. It hit me that I would have missed out on this all because it wasn’t going my way. I would have forfeited this special time if I told Mario to just take me home. I would have walked away from a beautiful opportunity with my family all because of this 16 year old version of myself that sometimes tries to rear her ugly head and navigate my disappointments. It didn’t go my way that day, and I am glad it didn’t. It was better, way better!

I guess the takeaway/theme for today’s blog are the questions, “What Isn’t Going Your Way?” and “How Will You Respond?” Take a moment to think about, pray about and be about responding differently. Breathe, listen, and press in to the uncomfortable new normal of not letting your emotions dictate what your response will be. Bottom line: DON’T MISS OUT ON WHAT GOD HAS FOR YOU! I promise it will be better than you could imagine. (Also read Ephesians 4:32 about being kind and tender-hearted – it will hit you right in the heart in the very best way).

And to my parents, I love you so much. Thank you for being you.

With all my heart, Sonia

Categories
Encouragement for Women

A Monday Share

Happy Monday! I just read a devotional right now from Our Daily Bread and because the verse referenced is my life verse AND because it’s a beautiful reminder for the week ahead, I am sharing it here. Let His love sing over you today. Let’s tune our ears to His voice singing love and speaking truth over us. Have a blessed day, friends! Tomorrow I have a Mother’s Day story to share with you so stay tuned 🙂

With all my heart, Sonia

Here’s the devotional:

He will rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17

A young father held his baby boy in his arms, singing to him and rocking him in soothing rhythm. The baby was hearing-impaired, unable to hear the melody or the words. Yet the father sang anyway, in a beautiful, tender act of love toward his son. And his efforts were rewarded with a delightful smile from his little boy. 

The imagery of the father-son exchange bears a striking resemblance to the words of Zephaniah. The Old Testament prophet says that God will joyfully sing over His daughter, the people of Jerusalem (Zephaniah 3:17). God enjoys doing good things for His beloved people, such as taking away their punishment and turning back their enemies (v. 15). Zephaniah says they no longer have any reason for fear and instead have cause for rejoicing.

We, as God’s children redeemed by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, sometimes are hard of hearing—unable, or perhaps unwilling, to tune our ears to the exuberant love God sings over us. His adoration of us is like that of the young father, who lovingly sang to his son despite his inability to hear. He has taken away our punishment too, giving us further reason to rejoice. Perhaps we might try to listen more closely to hear the joy ringing loudly in His voice. Father, help us to hear Your loving melody and savor being held safely in Your arms.

By:  Kirsten Holmberg

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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 🎈