Empowered by Jesus: Original by Design.

Lord,

Thank you for creating me in your image. I am ‘original’ by design. Even though I am a sinner, I am your beloved daughter. I deeply treasure the royal kinship with the King of kings. I am loved and forever cherished by our Heavenly Father and His only Son.

”How amazing is that?!” I am a child of God (John 1:12).

His truth reminds me of how wonderfully I was created even though I tend to be self-critical at times. Let me never forget ‘whose I am’ ever again. “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm‬ ‭139:1-4, 14, 24‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I am … Chosen. Forgiven. Redeemed. Loved. Treasured. Set Apart to God.

“How special is that?!” I am unique and one of a kind.

No one can snatch me out of my Father’s hand either (John 10). I feel protected and secured right about now, Lord.

You always hold me close to your heart.

I praise you boldly and will sing a song of Thanksgiving always!

I am alive and well in Jesus Christ.

Let me be mindful of our enemy though, the father of lies, who wants to destroy or distort our  well-being and your divine master plan. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…” John 10:10 NIV. The enemy planted the seeds of doubt and insecurity and convinced me I was ‘not good enough’!
Back in high school…
My girlfriends and I were gathered outdoors in the patio for a short recess and held an informal conversation about college. Everyone was inspired about future possibilities and asked relevant questions to the School Counselor. When our morning break ended, everyone rushed to their scheduled classes except me. I was unassured of the aptitudes needed to succeed in college so I asked for the counselor’s opinion.
After a brief silence, she answered gently “I don’t see you in college.”
“Ugh? Did I hear correctly?” I silently asked myself, was downhearted then walked away in disbelief.
Was I not good enough for college?” this sentence repeatedly echoed in my mind for the rest of my high school years. Discouragement settled in my heart soon thereafter. I never inquired again about college admission, SAT prep courses or career choices.
The self-deprecating message ‘not good enough’ replayed in my mind intermittently for almost three decades. It was a lie the enemy had planted in my mind and it played out throughout college and career life. I never thought I was good enough.
Academic life was ferocious
But God…
He granted me the confidence to overcome insecurities, fear, and doubt. By breaking down challenging tasks into manageable action steps, developing effective study habits, and learning from past mistakes, I overcame hurdles in both my personal life and career development. In Christ, my spirit was renewed every day, a steadfast character was built, and spiritual maturity evolved over the years.
The unexpected materialized twenty years after high school graduation!
I poured some Colombian coffee in a mug, grabbed the wireless headphones out of the leather tote then rushed to the home office at sunrise, “Lord help me be alert, organized and articulate in today’s conference call”  I whispered to myself. As I dialed the conference number, I meditated on His promise, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” Ephesians 3:20 (NIV).
I was astonished about the progress all team members had made so far in previous conference calls.
I was invigorated when the State Commissioner’s genuine appreciation for Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) was initially displayed.  ABA is a treatment modality for children and adolescents who are diagnosed with intellectual disability and pervasive developmental disorder.
Never in my wildest dreams, did I expect to be in a regional leadership role much less conversing with a State Commissioner at 8 a.m. on a monthly basis! God’s vision is bountiful. I’m not letting the enemy plant another seed of doubt in my mind ever again.
No more lies, Satan, not today or ever again!

Lord, you have orchestrated favorable circumstances in my life. When these circumstances are unexpected, overwhelming or tragic, you give me the strength to persevere thru it all.

I am shifting my attention and focus to your heavenly ways and I will embrace your never-ending grace when I fail or experience setbacks. I know you love me even though I’ve got plenty of character defects (John 16).

“I am a work in progress.”

You are a forgiving, loyal and merciful God. You love me for who I am even at my worst. I am devoting the rest of my life to serve and worship you, “Serve and worship the awe-inspiring God. Recognize his greatness and bow before him, trembling with reverence in his presence.” Psalms‬ ‭2:11‬ ‭TPT‬‬

My heart is filled with gratitude, Lord.

Some say I have a type A personality. Others may not even notice the difference! I am much more interested in what you have to say, my Lord. Help me not be bothered by others’ critical opinions.

Man’s critical opinion is irrelevant. Your eternal view matters to me the most.

“How can I maintain eternal focus today, Lord?” I have asked myself repeatedly over the years. There are so many distractions, temptations, and earthly influences.

The more I know your truth, the more I witness how your truth has set me free.

I am engraving all of your precepts in my heart so I may never forget them or sin against you (Psalm 119:11). I enjoy meditating and discovering heavenly treasures in your Word every day! I take captive every thought on fruitless habits and ask for your strength to overcome temptations.

Apart from you, I cannot do anything, Lord (Psalm 16:2, John 15:5).

Yes, Lord! Help me overcome today’s temptations.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” (John‬ ‭15:5, 7-8‬ ‭NIV‬‬)

When I am drifting away or get distracted Lord, gently nudge me back to you so I may abide in you and bear much fruit. Your spirit of truth guides me and shows me how to persevere thru turmoil, confusion, chaos, and uncertainties (John 16:13). In the midst of life happenings, I would like to grow spiritually and be much more steadfast in my walk with Jesus.

The Holy Spirit gifts us with a range of blessings. Thank you, Jesus, for the power and blessings of our forever companion, the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit filled life is full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness. goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

I need help with self-control, Lord.

I believe but help me with my unbelief when it comes to frivolous spending. I have thought of  being ‘not good enough’ to build a retirement plan. I know this is a lie!  Help me stop and walk away from the next shopping extravaganza. Some days I do well and other days I just want to shop non-stop. One of my current concerns is to manage the finances well and display self-control when faced with temptations over the Holidays. I want to be content with all I have today. I’ve got enough! Help me stay within the boundaries of my established budget. I am worthy of maintaining a solid retirement account. Yes, Lord! I know you want me to be a good steward of your resources.

I know if I rely on the power of the Holy Spirit, I will have the strength to walk away from needless spending. I need wisdom every time I make financial decisions and your strength to walk away from temptations of all types.

In Jesus’ name,

I bravely pray.

Amen.

Let us sit at the Lord’s feet:

Inscribe and Meditate: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭12:1-3‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Memory Verse: “But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one. We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we command. May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.” 2 Thessalonians‬ ‭3:3-5‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Weekly Challenge:

Identify a lie that has played out in your life over the years. Pray for God to replace it with His Truth.

Weekly Tip:

His Truth will set you free (John 8:32).

 

Photo Courtesy: Javier Reyes @ Splasher89CF692D-36A3-4CA8-BA9A-4BAE7064998C

A Prayer for Macy

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How sweet when Scriptures are ‘active and alive’ in the midst of unsettling circumstances.

Jesus reminded me of his Truth, 1 Corinthians 4:12. His timing was perfect too.

“We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly…”

On Friday, I noticed a young woman’s desperate cry to save her kitty on social media.  People demanded the young woman to consult with the vet immediately without acknowledging or addressing the core treatment barrier.

The reality was ‘Momma cat’ didn’t have the money to pay for the vet bills after she had rescued ‘Macy’ from a gloomy, rainy, cold winter night.

After reading multiple, critical and harsh commentators on Facebook, I established a ‘gofundme’ campaign.

Some contributed and supported the campaign, others ignored it and few were insulted by its noble mission.

And, who knows ‘how many’ individuals reported the link to the page’s administrator after the campaign was posted on his/her social page!

Praising  Jesus right now!

I’ve got the Veterinarian and mamma cat’s contact information. Macy is on her way to the clinic at this very moment and I will be able to wrap up with the campaign this week, and most importantly follow-thru with Macy’s progress after her eye surgery💕

Her eye will be surgically removed in the next 24 hours.

I heard Jesus say in my disbelief, ‘pray for those who reported you and for the administrator who banned you from the page!’

“Are you kidding with me?!” it was the initial, candid response.

I was angry, disheartened and in disbelief when I found out I was banned for posting a campaign on social media. There were no warnings or alerts regarding rules.

Since then, I’ve been taking all negative thoughts captive to Christ and will continue loving ‘unlovable’ citizens on this earth today and always.

I love Jesus.

He wants us to love everyone 💕 including the unlovable ones.

Please pray for Macy’s eye surgery and post-recovery phase.

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(Courtesy picture: Gwen Dean — 5 weeks after the eye surgery)

If you like to donate to Macy’s campaign, please click the link below:

http://www.gofundme.com/help-ms-rescued-kitty

There is time for Everything

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In the book of Ecclesiastes, the truth reminds us of…

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot…a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance…”

It’s time to mourn indeed.

God hears our Prayers

As I hustled towards the double doors of Corporate building in despair, I prayed “Lord, I don’t want for GQ to suffer any longer…let him rest… Take him now if its your will”.

“Answer me when I call to you, My righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer” Psalm 4:1 NIV

The veterinarian had left me a voicemail by the time I unlocked my office door.

By then, I knew the Lord had seen my distress and had heard a piercing cry for His mercies.

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Our last morning together. He was relaxed while I drank morning coffee and ate breakfast.

Continue reading

Hidden Bay

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For over fifteen years, my folks lived across this Bay with a panoramic view of North Miami and Aventura.

Mom was vivacious for countless years.

Mom exercised regularly at a Gym and walked daily to a local park, cooked ‘arroz con leche’ often, traveled to Venezuela at least twice a year, played cards with girlfriends, was diligent in taking care of dad and was determined  to overcome her Alzheimers.

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“It’s a new day under the sun”,

I reminded myself as I drank coffee quietly near the pool and momentarily reflected how our lives have forever changed in less than sixteen months.

When dad captured his last breath of fresh air, and waltzed right into the presence of our Lord, family dynamics forever changed.

Mom’s health has deteriorated since then.

Mom gets easily fatigue today. She sleeps often throughout the day, is unable to recollect new information, gets confused at times, is reluctant to wear her dentures, needs supervision, is unable to drive a vehicle, isolates herself, suffers from bodily aches and pains, and disengages from the world often.

The bellyaching fact is mom will never remember how many days  we recently embraced together.

As I hugged and kissed mom, I grasped how our lives will never be the same.

When I approached the counter of Delta airlines, my heart was filled with affliction and sorrow.

Because the Lord is near the broken-hearted, He comforted me as I headed towards the gate, D2.

The Lord reminded me of an inevitable reality,

“In old age, your body no longer serves you so well. Muscles slacken, grip weakens, joints stiffen. The shades are pulled down on the world. You can’t come and go at will. Things grind to a halt. The hum of the household fades away. You are wakened now by bird-song. Hikes to the mountains are a thing of the past. Even a stroll down the road has its terrors. Your hair turns apple-blossom white, Adorning a fragile and impotent matchstick body. Yes, you’re well on your way to eternal rest…”
‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭12:3-5‬ ‭MSG‬‬

It’s a new day under the sun, indeed.

The Lord will never leave me nor forsake my beloved mom.

Our lives may have changed. Nevertheless, mom’s unconditional love will always prevail in my heart, and her fingerprints will forever dwell in my soul.

For: Chicken Soup for the Soul: Living with Alzheimer’s & Other Dementias: 101 Stories of Caregiving, Coping, and Compassion. Click the image below to purchase:

Be Still

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How many times have I checked this tree in our front yard? Not once or twice but multiple times this Spring. My husband and I drove around the neighborhood and compared similar trees in size and development this past weekend. We asked ourselves, ‘Do we need treatment for a fungus or fertilizer?!’

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Our other tree started to show foliage overnight. We were so excited, ‘It was just a matter of time’. We both agreed.

I don’t know about you…

I take delight in manipulating external factors so outcomes can be achieved in a timely manner or even sooner than expected.

When outcomes are delayed, I get impatient. When hurrying, I mess up at times.

Can I really rush the growth of our front yard trees? That’s a foolish thought! We can use pesticide if there is fungus and fertilizer to nourish the soil perhaps.

I truly struggle with God when circumstances are not unfolding as expected. I may repeatedly ask Him, ‘Help me now, I need an answer’ or ‘Please, fix this for me right now! or ‘I will fix it myself!’

The Lord reminds me everyday, “Be still, and know that I am God…”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭46:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

God is in control. He takes care of details and aligns the circumstances with the most favorable plan in our lives. We just need to surrender and trust in Him alone.

It’s quite a challenge to wait, I know.

It took me twenty-five years and three professional licenses before I stepped into a regional position. Even though I face opposition multiple times in a day, God reminds me “Be still, Adriana’.

God equipped me for the circumstances I’m facing today; otherwise, I would have already failed.

God’s mercies and grace are renewed every morning. He is my refuge and comforter. As I’m sitting in my leather couch this morning, I am counting all career blessings that have unfolded this past year alone.

Let me relax, drink my morning coffee, and enjoy my day ‘off’.

Spring is already here and there is no need to rush.

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Daddy’s girl!

“Let heaven and earth praise him, the seas and all that move in them,”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭69:34‬ ‭NIV‬‬

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Happy first anniversary dad! I’ve missed you.

Enjoy the serenity, sea breeze, singing birds, tropical weather of your heavenly estate.

Dad and I would sit together for unlimited hours at a time! We talked about anything, laughed at funny jokes, shared updates on ‘novelas’, arranged for auto repairs, shopped for office supplies, ate ‘Arepas’ every morning, dealt with disappointments and grief, watched ‘Sabado Gigante’ traveled to Scandinavian countries…

YES! I was dad’s little girl.

In my teens, dad enjoyed my piano practices at sunrise, and even dreamed of piano performance in concert halls. As I grew older, dad was delighted about college plans and career opportunities.

I vividly remember dad’s tears of joy when I graduated.

If I could whisper in his ear where I’m possibly heading next… He would smile at me right at this moment and would say, “you can do it, Adriana”

Dad never graduated from high school yet lived in two countries, retired in his early 40s, traveled around the world and provided us with life-time opportunities.

Praise God for His faithfulness!

 Dad was a remarkable man who also battled Parkinson’s disease for over 35 years, shared his wisdom, loved unconditionally and left fingerprints engraved deep in my soul!

Dad’s integrity, humility and forgiving heart will forever be treasured.

Dad is much alive in my heart!

YES! I’m still dad’s little girl.

The Accidental Feminist

The Accidental Feminist

 “The great hope is that no amount of sin, personal ambition, feminism or even good desires will change God’s good design for women,” Courtney Reissig.

I’ve never considered myself a feminist, but I am now convinced I’ve been an ‘accidental’ feminist all along!

Challenging God’s authority is indeed a manifestation of feminism.

Wow!

That’s a profound statement.

 I spent at least twenty years orchestrating my life exactly the way I wanted. Did I ever consider biblical truths? Did I ever align past decisions with His truths?

Probably not!

 At the end of the day, I was mentally and emotionally drained. I was quite unfulfilled I must admit. Accomplishments, possessions, status, promotions were never enough. Things, people or events will never fulfill the longing of our hearts.

I can sit here in front of the computer screen and dwell on all types of regrets while I type my next sentence. Instead, I choose joy for God has transformed my life in the past decade.

Praise God for His beautiful design for women.

I’m not only content but my lifestyle has aligned with His heart and most importantly His truth is revealed one day at a time!

Get your copy at Amazon.com today. I hope you will enjoy the read as much as I did.

Guilty as charged!

Have I used ‘facetune’ app to erase wrinkles on my face?

Guilty as charged!

There will always be an opportunity to fix our ‘looks’ on the app. by just clicking different features.

‘click’ red eyes are fixed, ‘click’ wrinkles are faded, ‘click’ teeth are whiter than ever, ‘click’ textures are smoother and even another ‘click’ 10-15 lbs. are instantly off!

Magazines and TV commercials highlight the latest trends of beauty products.

Have I used anti-aging products?

Guilty as charged!

As a matter of fact, I’ve found the best products for facial ‘aging’ spots in the market recently. Yes! I’m quite aware of the aging process… Loss of hair, belly fat, grey hair, aging spots, flabby arms just to mention a few!

Exercising our bodies, and eating healthy promote wellness. Just know, our hearts need most of our attention.

Guarding our hearts from negative emotions will enhance our quality of life. Don’t allow anger take root in your heart.

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Have we asked ourselves lately?!

Am I resentful or forgiving? Am I judgmental or understanding? Am I hateful or loving? Am I selfish or giving? Am I angry or compassionate?

If we are experiencing negative emotions today, let’s pray for God’s perspective, renew our minds quickly and pray for healing of our tender hearts.

1 Samuel 16:7 reminds us, “People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 

‘Please Lord, give me a fresh perspective on aging and most importantly heal all matters of the heart. Give me a fresh perspective on gray hair very soon! I don’t want to be ‘guilty as charged’ on my next birthday…’

In Jesus name I pray, Amen.