Empowered by Jesus: Let Go of Control.

“See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction.” Deuteronomy‬ ‭30:15‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Lord,

Please, forgive me for thinking I could control today’s events by manipulating environmental conditions. I desperately wanted to expedite the timing and possibly the outcome(s) of all my circumstances. Help me trust in your character instead, and in your faithfulness, promises and most importantly in your eternal masterplan.

You are the One who has control over our lives!

You orchestrate the details of all life happenings then map out how new beginnings unfold.

You created the heavens and the earth, and every living creature in today’s world. God even breathed ‘the breath of life’ into the man’s  nostrils at the very beginning of biblical times! (Genesis 2:7).

Without you, I would not be alive today. “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Psalm‬ ‭139:13‬ ‭NIV‬‬- I praise you for the miracles and blessings in my life today. You are in control, not I.

Control is an illusion!

If I think I am in full control over my life, then I am living a lie. It is a subtle, recurrent strategy from the father of lies, our enemy, who wants for us to disregard God’s will. He is crafty in drafting an illusion; he is a con artist. He wants for us to remain in bondage to our sinful nature and be apart from you, Lord. The enemy is jealous of our intimate fellowship and wants to steal our joy, destroy our present and future and enslave us once again!

But, Christ has defeated the enemy on our behalf.

We have the gift to make a choice, thank goodness Lord! We have free will.

Our ability to make a decision is a heavenly treasure. God wants us to be intentional and prayerful when making choices. The Holy Spirit, our eternal companion and coach, will guides us in decision-making if we pray first.

Thank you, Lord, for being a reliable and trustworthy Helper.

It is our decision whether we surrender to God’s will or not, whether we are obedient to His commands or not, whether we partner up with Him in our day to day activities or not, whether we choose to engage in earthly distractions or fruitless habits like ‘retail therapy’ or not.

Ultimately, God wants us to partner with Him in today’s journey and in all of our decision-making opportunities.

God encourages us to choose wisely so we may not be enslaved to idols ever again. Idolatry is anything that pulls away from our intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. Everytime I spend time in frivolous spending or complaining or even perfectionism, the Holy Spirit convicts me of what truly matters.

I need to repent, surrender my desires, and follow Him!

His desire is for me to be always free and alive; “Let me be clear, the Anointed One has set us free—not partially, but completely and wonderfully free! We must always cherish this truth and stubbornly refuse to go back into the bondage of our past.” Galatians‬ ‭5:1‬ ‭TPT‬‬

Jesús is the light to our path; “Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John‬ ‭8:12‬ ‭NIV‬‬)

We do not have control in Life.

When tragedy occurs, God is already there on our behalf!

Several years ago…

My sister and I had it ‘all’ planned out prior to her international trip. We had mapped out the ‘perfect’ plan, the projected timeframe and all of the details for the action plan. We had explored all available options together in the best interest of our elderly parents.

We thought “we were ready to go.” We were wrong!

I was consulting 90 minutes away from home and was about to take a lunch break when I received a phone call from my sister. I was intrigued yet surprised by her unexpected call and even had a fleeting thought, “she must have forgotten to say something else about her trip…” I was calm and relaxed.

When I answered the phone, I heard her trembling and high-pitched tone of voice, “Dad just had a heart attack and died…” She was still in shock and I was too!

Our lives were drastically altered by the unexpected and overwhelming sense of grief and loss. She was in Venezuela and I was in the United States, many thousand of miles apart.

I felt helpless when I realized my passport had expired, and there was no available international flights at the time! I was unable to attend dad’s funeral. I was heart-broken, grief stricken and alone. Many even judged me for not being at dad’s funeral and only a couple of people reached out throughout the painful journey of loss and loneliness.

In my walk thru the valleys of emotional distress and sorrow, God was my only source of refuge, comfort and hope. The Lord is near the broken-hearted and to those whose spirits are crushed (Psalm 34:18).

Praising Jesus! He truly understands.

He will never leave us nor forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6).

He even weeps with us  (Luke 22:62).

God does not waste our emotional pain ever!

The only control we have is in our decision-making process when we make choices today. We can believe in His promises rather than feeling hopeless, choose Hope over despair, be with Jesus instead of being lonely, and choose meditation rather than fruitless habits such as retail therapy.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew‬ ‭11:28-30‬ ‭NIV‬‬

After dad’s funeral, the intensity from family estate planning and challenging, work demands led to anger, fear and despair. My needless shopping spinned out of control for another season.

I did not handle my grief well at the onset of this major loss until I brought this hardship to the Lord’s attention one afternoon. I knelt down in front of the Cross, surrendered my heart and trusted Him with the healing process.

Out of angst and helplessness, I chose to dig into the book of Psalms one day at a time. I inscribed His verses at Sunrise and Sunset, recited selected verse throughout the day, journaled my mixed emotions and believed in His eternal promises one moment at a time. When I entrusted my emotional distress and grief to the Lord, my soul was refreshed. Only then, I was able to get a grip of my needless spending habit.

“From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe.” Psalm‬ ‭61:2-3‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Praising Jesus for His healing!

How did I let go of control?! When I realized I did not have control over  my circumstances and allowed the Holy Spirit to guide me thru chaos, confusion and hatred one event at a time.

I was flexible and receptive to the soft whispers of the Holy Spirit and did not hold too tight my daily schedule, routine or agenda for the day.

When we choose to follow His ways, He sets us free.

I am choosing Life and Prosperity today, Lord. I want to be free for the rest of my life and not be enslaved ever again.

‘God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change… the courage to change the things I can… and the wisdom to know the difference’ (Reinhold Niebuhr)

in Jesus’ name I bravely pray and boldly praise you,

Amen.

Let us sit at the Lord’s feet:

Inscribe and meditate on 2 Peter 1:1-12

Memory Verse: 2 Peter 1:3-4 “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”
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Weekly Challenge: Consider a budget for Holiday shopping this year and add it to your household budget. Review budget goals weekly. Track your daily expenses.

Tip for the week: Do not spend more money than you earn. Pray over your finances daily.

Photo courtesy: Iong Sitaula @Splasher

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God’s awesome presence.

“If you bow low in God’s awesome presence, he will eventually exalt you as you leave the timing in his hands.” 1 Peter 5:6 TPT

88ACCEE4-D2FC-44A8-AD7C-7E70DA5A2BFBPhoto credit: Victoria Sereda @ Unsplash

Abba Father,

You are always opening up new frontiers. I  will relax, be humble and allow you to conquer the world on my behalf (Exodus 14:14). You are in charge of all life happenings (Psalm 46:10). 

Forgive me if I attempt to hurry things up. As you know, I am impatient and don’t mind wrestling with you at times! I also know you don’t appreciate when I anticipate or imagine the worst (Matthew 6:25). Forgive me if I have worried way too often in the recent past.

You speak to me in all circumstances. 

When an incoming email calms my heart, you reassure me I’m on track… when a photo exhibits a friendship, your heart is on display and I know I’m loved…when a neighbor assists me, your commitment is manifested and I no longer feel helpless…when strangers are kind, I know you deeply care… when I‘m excited about training, I know you want me to grow and reach my potential… when I hear a ‘warning’ from law enforcement, I know you want me to be on alert, on guard and honor your celestial ways on earth.

Lord, I know you are managing all of my affairs relentlessly and faithfully. I truly appreciate how you are orchestrating all life events on my behalf.

Help me ‘be still’ (Psalm 46:10). Your palpable presence is appreciated and I know you are cheering me along the way. 

You make everything beautiful in your perfect time  (Psalm 18:30). You are an awesome God! I love you with all of my heart, soul, and mind. (Matthew 22:37)

Your beloved and faithful servant.

(sign your name here, and make this prayer personal)

 

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.

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Balancing Work and Rest!

Ecclesiastes 4:8 NIV

“There was a man all alone;

he had neither son nor brother.

There was no end to his toil,

yet his eyes were not content with his wealth.

‘For whom am I toiling,’ he asked,

‘and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?’

This too is meaningless-

a miserable business!”

His plans will always prevail!

It’s Saturday morning already!

 My husband is preparing a tasty omelet in the kitchen,

My sister is on her way back to Venezuela,

My second oldest boy is trying to settle down in his morning routine,

and,

I’ve got urgency to get ready for a brunch in less than an hour!

Living in the moment is strenuous when faced with life extinguishers, doubt and fear.

 It starts with a benign question, ‘what if…?’

By the end of the thought, I have colorful, vivid images of a catastrophe.

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It’s truly exhausting!

Strongholds can be debilitating without a doubt.

As I wrestled with life altering decisions,  I finally grasped a reality.

There are no warranties in life.

In my most recent decision, I just wanted someone to reassure me about the future.

I wanted everyone to say, ‘it’s going to be alright…You won’t fail’

I even wished for a descriptive manual with clear instructions in ‘how to’ succeed at the task.

Guess what?!

No one can foretell the future much less can tell you if the decision you are about to make is the most favorable one.

When I kneel before Him in humility and most importantly with a surrendered heart, He always leads the way.

As soon as I surrendered this morning, He reminded me of one of his truths.

Just know, the Lord’s plans will always prevail.

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭19:21‬ ‭NIV‬‬

How peaceful does that sound?

It was comforting and reassuring!

Now, I’m ready for brunch.

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Don’t ever give up! (part I)

“When do I begin the process?” I asked the high school guidance counselor about college admissions.

Academic grades were average and English was my second language. I had tutoring services for Reading comprehension, Algebra, Geometry and Statistics. I disliked History and Biology. Writing was a daily challenge too.

“Was I struggling in maintaining a decent G.P.A? “

Yes, indeed!

Counselor’s response was poignant, “Don’t bother. You will never amount to anything.” She walked away, and disengaged from our brief conversation.

“How was I supposed to react?”

I was only 15 years old and was an aspiring freshman in High School. I was ready to overcome educational challenges yet needed some direction and ton of assistance.

I was quite disheartened and discouraged throughout high school. Fortunately, I completed high school and enrolled at a local community college soon thereafter.

The recurrent theme in high school was,  “I’m not good enough.”

Despite of my inadequacies, I developed effective coping strategies one day at a time and improved on study habits over time.

As soon as I completed one degree, I enrolled in another one of interest.

Thirteen years later, I defended a doctoral dissertation in front of a challenging committee and a professional audience.

Consistency and optimism are key ingredients for success.

Today, I’m a licensed Mental Health Counselor & a Registered Clinical Supervisor in the State of Florida, a Board Certified Behavior Analyst worldwide and a Psychologist in the State of Tennessee.

God definitely has a plan for all of us!

God wants for all of us to prosper and run the ‘race of life’ well. He doesn’t want for us to be discouraged much less give up. He encourages us to persevere and rejoice in every struggle, in the midst of adversity and hardships.

The Lord is always faithful.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”‭‭Galatians‬ ‭6:9‬ ‭

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Back Row Girl!

I was always the ‘back row’ girl, quiet and shy!

Did I ever enjoy piano performance? Was I delighted to answer  teacher’s question? Was I eager to ask questions when confused? Was I ever willing to lead a group of friends in high school?

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I was always the girl in the back row doubting my ‘skill’ set and afraid of stepping out of my comfort zone.

Just like when Moses doubted himself, “Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.””
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭4:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Because my speech was delayed until age four, I always struggled with fluency and articulation of speech then.

I never thought I had the courage to master two languages, develop leadership skills much less be licensed in two States and be Board Certified today!

 I steadily developed one skill at a time; an ability to express ideas to large groups, generate profitable outcomes, problem-solve and facilitate team discussions just to highlight a few. Our skills and talents are sharpened everyday as long as we are willing to embrace change.

We just need to step out of our comfort zones, move to the front row, believe and trust in the Lord.

Our Lord will equip us along the way. Just like He equipped Moses so he could confront Pharaoh; both assistance and resources were provided.

God will do the same for the two of us!

Perseverance, optimism, and Faith are undeniably key ingredients for a brighter spotlight!

Take courage, take a step forward, find your front row seat, and be ready to make a difference.

Don’t be a back row girl!

His Gift

I only hoped for the ‘best’ when I confirmed my decision with a nationwide recruiter who offered me a career opportunity in Tennessee.

Taking a leap of Faith was just the beginning of a fulfilling journey in Faith!

I moved away from family and friends, and left behind a metropolitan lifestyle in Sunshine State.

I signed a ‘one-year’ lease for one-bedroom apartment in Germantown area, packed all personal belongings, and drove to a new State with my feline crew. I thought it would only be temporarily. I was wrong!

Collierville, Tennessee is ‘home’ today.

As I settled down in career endeavors, I initiated a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and soon realized I was digging deeper into my Faith.

How did it all happened?!

Because of my brokenness, I repented of my sins, invited Jesus into my heart, backed away from self-defeating patterns and believed in Jesus to be my Lord and Savior. Jesus died on the Cross and resurrected three days later so I could have His gift of Salvation.

Thank you, Jesus!

I’m now embracing a resurrected life filled with hope, grace, joy and forgiveness. Because of His unfailing love, I’m a new creation In Christ.

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“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭4:18‬ ‭NIV‬

Woman on a Mission

After cruising in a minicooper across three States and over 800 miles, I settled down temporarily in Germantown with my oldest, two furry companions. I was eager to embark in a career opportunity that a nation-wide company had offered me then.

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Was I willing to take a risk? Yes, indeed.

Even though I moved away from family, friends and a metropolitan life-style, I learned quickly ‘how’ to nourish these relationships, establish new ones and was blessed by safe travels over the years.

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭11:1‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Because of the move, I embarked in the most fascinating journey of my life not as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst or as a Psychologist but as a follower of Christ.

 His character, unfailing love, grace and forgiveness have made an unremarkable impact in my life. I pray daily not to ever drift away from the Truth.

All of my ordinary experiences are filled with His grace and presence. How can I be reckless and drift away again? Not a chance.

Today, I’m a woman on a mission and ready to share His faithfulness with you one day at a time.

Blessings are reminders of His goodness.