Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Not My Words

Many of us are more than ready to give it when somebody comes to us with some sort of need.
Whether they are asking for it or not. Instead of listening to them carefully, we are already thinking how WE are going to solve their problem and guide them through life.

Most of the time it is done with good intentions. We hate to see somebody suffer or be frustrated not knowing what to do. We want to help.
Then, what is the problem? WE.
Many times the word WE refer to good things such as team work, relationship, sharing, etc.
In this case it isn't precisely good. It refers to "I alone".

When somebody opens their soul to you and shares what is in their heart, you are stepping on holy ground.
They are uncovering themselves, being vulnerable. Acting by impulse can cause more hurt than healing. Being slow to speak isn't only wise, but also shows appreciation and respect for opening up their lives to you.
Our most common mistakes are: not listening to them wholeheartedly, and not listening to the One who can truly give perfect "advice". If we respond to other's needs out of our own thought process, without the Holy Spirit helping us, our words will be like a leaf in the fall. Pretty, but dead. Unable to hold on to the tree of life.
It is absolutely necessary and essential to listen to the person in need... and the person of the Holy Spirit to give you the words (if any is needed) to respond.

I must confess that many times I just jump in and start babbling. Yes, that is what it is when it is not guided by God. Then in the middle of my own show, I am reminded that it is not my words what this person needs. It is God's. He is the one who will cause the streams of living water to flow through me. (John 7:38-39). Yet, how will this happen if I don't first ask Him to?

"If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him" {or her!}James 1:5

I encourage you to ask the Holy Spirit to minister through you, to speak through you and love through you. To teach you and give you the words, if words are needed. Ask Him to shine through you and make you a channel of God's love, joy, comfort and peace so you can bless others. I encourage you to seek to be in God's presence always, so that it is HE who we see through you.

Lets make the word WE refer to God, in the person of the Holy Spirit, and you together in prayer.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Busy Being Available

Available: Present and ready for use; at hand, accessible. (

One of the phrases most of us hear/say at least once a day is: I don't have time.
Whether it is "I don't have time to make the bed", "I don't have time to make dessert" or even, "I don't have time to listen to another political ad". Whatever the reason, we always seem to run out of time for something.
We are so afraid of being tagged as lazy or unproductive that we fill our schedule to the 25th hour.

How does this affect our ministry? do we have time to sit down with a friend and chat...without looking at the clock? can we have two cups of tea instead of just one? or even more so, in the midst of your day, if someone calls expectantly, do you have a few minutes to spare in a conversation about nothing important?

I know, we all have things to do, projects to finish, kids to care for, husbands to attend to, we all have a life to live. But this life of ours has become a race instead of a walk. A competition instead of something to enjoy. We may get things done, but are we enjoying them? are we able to fully invest our lives in things that matter? or has our life become a check list where we check off what we got done, is if everything was as simple as grocery shopping?

Real meaningful relationships are not built with a check list lifestyle. All good things in life demand that we invest our time, sometimes our money, but more than anything: our lives. To drop what we are doing to help a neighbor move some boxes, to stop the movie to talk to our friend on the phone, etc. It all shows availability. Always ready "to be there" for others. At hand.

Real meaningful relationships are also built with initiative. Many a strong relationship is a two way road. However, not everyone is a social bug or ready to ask for help when needed. To be available is to be present, yet how will they know we are there if we don't let them know? With today's technology, there is no excuse. No time for a call? a simple text will do. Not a text-er? a one sentence letter, a call, a quick stop by, or even a prayer for them will do sometimes.

Jesus is the greatest example of availability and initiative. If we have a relationship with Him is because he came to us. He makes himself available to us every day. He made himself available to the cross!!
He is always ready to listen to us, to comfort us, to encourage us, to love us. He is never too busy for us.
Even though He is divine :

"Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness" {Phil. 2:6-7}

His availability didn't come with heavy feet and a frown. His love for us was the motivation. He joyfully makes himself available to us at all times. Even for our most insignificant need. His ears are always glad to hear our voice calling His name. Nothing is too insignificant or unimportant for Him. 

In the same way, we are called to care for others. For each other. Being available and taking initiative to show our availability witnesses of the love God has poured on in us. Our availability will open doors to new friendships, new opportunities to share the gospel with words or simply with our actions. Even to blessings in our lives. God calls us to always be ready and present, always available to do the works of His Kingdom. Are you ready  to answer to His call? Will you be available for others? ...or are you too busy?

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying,
"Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?"
And I said, "Here am I. Send me!" {Isaiah 6:8}


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Baby Steps, Giant Steps.

Amelia is two months old (10 weeks to be exact).
Time truly flies! I feel like we have had her forever. I love it!
Motherhood is great! I love every minute of it...although it can get a little boring at times, specially for a stay at home mom like me. Yet, I enjoy every minute with my little girl.

God has been speaking to me in so many ways lately. And one of them is that every one o his children are different. I have learned that a "baby step" for one person may be a "giant step" for another, and vice versa. I bring this up because many women told me (and keep telling me!) that having a baby-tot-child in general, is so hard and time consuming. That my life will never be the same (as if that was something bad!), and that I will no longer be able to do the things I used to because I will live by baby's schedule.
Not true.
Not for me. At least not so far.

I appreciate every piece of advice (asked and not asked for!), as well as every warning of the complications of life that await me. I truly listen and store them in my heart for future reference, and to prepare my heart so I'm not taken by surprise. However, I see that this is just a "baby step" for me.

I'm not saying it is not easy. I do not mean it is not time consuming. I do not mean to take away from the hard work of mothers, or to diminish their efforts and time invested in their children. I am doing it too. In fact, that'll be my job for the rest of my life!
It IS time consuming, hard, and challenging. But I guess sometimes we tend to state things as facts that apply the same for everyone. Sometimes I feel like everyone makes things look/sound worse than they really are just so that everyone around them stands in awe and applauds them.
I keep hearing: "Oh, you just wait until she is born...Oh you just wait until she starts walking...Oh you just wait until you have another one running around...Oh you just wait for this or for that...Oh you just wait! It sounds like they want me be overwhelmed, stressed, tired, margin-less like they were. It makes me sad sometimes. Can't people just be happy for me and rejoice in the Lord for I am relaxed!

I know not everyone is like that though. Some people truly struggle. Some people mean well, they just don't know how to communicate it.Again, God created us all different, with different skills, personalities, etc. Not every jar of clay can contain the same amount of water. If you pour 2 gallons of water in a 1 gallon container, it will overflow. We all reach our limits at different points and that is just fine.

The same goes for me, when I criticize others, I must remind myself that God created us different. Some people reach their limits faster! Some work better under pressure, some can't work at all under the same amount of pressure. What is a giant step for me, may be a baby step for others.

I guess I should just say I praise God for making this step in my life easier than I thought (or was told) it would be.

For those who don't know, my life has changed (giant steps!) a ton in the last three years:

I left my family, friends, and everything I knew when I left my country and moved to the US. After 4 years of graduating from high school and already working, I went back to a language that wasn't my native, in a system that I had never known. For the first time in my life (at 21 years old), I lived by myself (no parents!) and had to learn to drive. A year later, I got married. A year after moved again to a different city and, finally... had a child. I gotta say, I've had my share of giant steps for a while. Excuse me if I rather brag about a baby step! Finally!!
That is that I am taking this step without my family close by. My husbands side of the family are wonderful and I consider them very much my family - not only "in laws". But they live almost 2 hours away, have their own families and jobs...and to be honest, sometimes it is just not the same as having your own mom and sisters with you.  So please! rejoice in and praise the Lord with me on this!! For you it may have been (or is) the most overwhelming, time-consuming, challenging and hard thing to do to have a child (or more!), but please be glad that God is helping me have some margin so that having Amelia doesn't leave me exhausted.

Comments, questions, advice and constructive criticism are welcomed!