Release

I wanted to change things up and start by sharing words I’ve put together, thoughts and brokenness I’ve been wrestling with lately. Warning they aren’t the pretty and Jesus centered ones you’ve probably expected from my past posts. I didn’t write them with the intentions of sharing them with anyone but more so to give my thoughts a place to breathe. That being said they are a bit uncomfortable but if you keep reading it gets better.

“I fear the thoughts.

I fear the feelings.

I fear the fear.

Oh look I’m doing it again, not claiming them as my own.

How seems to be my most prevalent question

Running swiftly through my brain.

It’s funny if you say how out loud repeatedly it starts to sound like ow.

It’s quite fitting, because that’s the only way I know to describe my life right now, ow.

An emotionless ow,

At least I try to shut off all those overwhelming emotions.

There’s far too many to choose from,

I don’t even really know what they are

and I wouldn’t dare feel them out as they constantly beg me to do.

I can’t go a casual “how are you” from someone I know without breaking down into tears,

Begging them please not to ask either verbally or in my mind.

I guess that brings us back to how?

Because I can’t even think down the path of why…

that’s for another day, another battle, something more than just survival.

So how?

How do I deal with the wounds that have made their way inside my house and called it their home.

I haven’t even reached that place where my house is my home, where my body is my home, where my church is my home.

No, the only home I’ve ever allowed myself to know is kind you make out of temporary people and temporary feelings.

Yet my wounds have made a home of this body,

and if I don’t figure out how to stop them soon they’ll make their forever home right where they’ve always wanted

My soul.

How?

How do I allow these wounds to heal even if it means scarring,

even if it means feeling my pain?

How do I dive into the endless sea of confusion and loss when I risk not making it out alive?

I’ve always been known to wear the coat of vulnerability, but it was just a coat.

there’s nothing truly vulnerable about wearing a coat in the storm.

No, that is just what comes natural to my instincts.

But the true vulnerability I need is to stand there naked in the rain.

Exposed for all I am,

Allowing the storm to wash me, crush me, or sweep me away.

Naked but not hiding under any coats or clothes, no facade,

Just me.

How do I stand naked in these storms?

Those are the questions I wish I were asking myself,

But the only one I am asking is how do I survive…

I just want to make it out alive.

How do I move on?

How do I let go?

How ?”

In a season where it feels as though I’m stripped of everything that was once so comfortable to me, where it feels as though the only things I have is my relationship with Papa and my words. Both endless if you choose to dive in and yet feeling extremely empty if you keep them at bay.

I don’t want to say these are things I’ve learned, because I’ve said that before. That’s the thing I’m so prone to talk about what I’ve learned what God has taught me. Never what I’m learning or he’s teaching me for that might give you a glimpse into just how broken I am, you’re allowed to know that I was broken but not that I still am. I work at a church, I’m a leader, I’ve already been saved I’m not supposed to be broken anymore. Others your brokenness is welcome here but mine? No, and if you just don’t acknowledge it, smile more, just keep encouraging others it’ll just disappear.

I’m not quite sure when my pride became so big, when I reached that point in thinking I was the only one who had to have their life together, essentially to be just close enough to perfect. I know you’re broken but I cant be. No wonder I’ve felt so alone, when my pride has been too swollen to let anyone or any light in to heal this ever present brokenness. When my back has been breaking from the load I’ve been pretending wasn’t on my shoulders.

It still amazes me how constant Papa is despite my brokenness, my pride, my avoidance. He’s been whispering one word to me for quite some time now. Off and on Ive listened to him repeat this word to me and frankly there were many times where deep down I knew what he was asking of me but I was too scared. But I’ve wrestled with why he’s seemed distant, well maybe I always knew but since I chose to walk in my brokenness alone I had given myself the ability to twist the situation, twist his words so they were less convicting, less specific, just less. Sometimes my efforts to avoid my brokenness just create greater areas of brokenness. The whole time my Papa has been whispering the word RELEASE to me and yet I still grapple with every line of that poem, every question of “how” when this whole time He continues to tell me release.

Some of you probably get that, the connection, because you aren’t in my shoes, not because my shoes are special but because you have perspective. Others of you are closer to where I am, out here saying “He said one very vague word how is that supposed to explain how to heal and deal with painful, REAL, and complicated things in life. (And that’s after I actually connected the his word to my questions.) That’s the thing He never said he was going to give me an entire map to my life, in fact if he did I wouldn’t need him anymore, just follow the map and I’m set.

I don’t want this to sound like some trite Sunday school sermon, because I realize we are all going to go through the throws and waves of life that at some points can feel as though we are drowning in. But I’m reminded in all of this of the Israelites. God every day would give them bread from the sky, but it was just enough for the day. They weren’t to go out and store up for another day, but to rely upon their father EVERY day to supply their need. He’s calling me one word at a time to rely on him, in faith, in obedience, in courage, to follow him ONE word at a time. When I take that step He will show me the next, but why would he show me more, tell me more when I have yet to be faithful with his one word to me, as it been piercing my soul and stripping me of all my excuses.

I’m broken. But I want to see the light get in. Most days I feel incapable of walking out obedience in the way I know he’s asking of me. Most days I fall apart and feel alone and afraid. Lately feeling like I’ve hit rock bottom, then my pride jumps right in that pit with me and starts digging. Like I said earlier I’m in a season where it seems all I have is my relationship with Papa and my words. Despite the uncomfortableness I’m ready to dive into their endlessness, to leave behind my pride and to keep taking steps towards obedience and vulnerability even when I feel incapable.

Leaving Behind my Slavery

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

‭‭-Galatians‬ ‭5:1‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Sometimes it’s scary to begin to live without the chains that have always entrapped you.

Sometimes it’s scary to walk into freedom that is foreign to you because you’ve always lived as a slave.

Freedom isn’t always a comfort zone, sometimes it’s actually painful.

Sometimes those first steps are harder than any of the steps we’ve taken in abusive, destructive, dark, manipulative, sinful, ashamed, cruel, slave bound lands that we’ve been walking in all our lives.

Sometimes freedom is the bravest thing we’ve ever done, to leave everything we know and allow something else… someone else to change our thinking on all we have ever known.

Some of the thoughts I struggled with back & forth as I approached freedom:

1) I was struggling to take hold of freedom, because the idea in theory sounded liberating but far too good to be true…

2) This may be true for some people but you don’t understand my situation… I’m just kinda stuck. It’s a part of my life and I’m just gonna have to live with that…

3) I KNOW freedom is right there and I know I have to just take a step, but I would rather stick with what I know than risk a series of unknowns that could possibly be even worse…

4) I get an uneasy feeling when I think of my life being changed when I know what I have isn’t great. But I know how to bandage these wounds, and I fear new types of wounds that I may not know exactly how to take care of…

Fear kept me in captivity for 19 years. I learned to believe that I loved being a slave, because every time I tried to leave, a cold wind would come that was foreign to my desert slavery, and I’d immediately go running back. Fear tangled me up and locked me down to the point where I let my slavery scare me into changing most things I had firmly believed, because they became inconvenient to my captivity. That’s the thing God isn’t about captivity. His tune is one of freedom and victory, and it sings loud and clear. It doesn’t fit in a box, it doesn’t stay in chains. It shouts and dances joyfully. Therefore the two don’t coincide.

“For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

-2 Corinthians‬ ‭3:17‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Before I knew Jesus I was stuck in my slavery. After I joined in a relationship with Him, He released me of that and slavery became a choice. Six of those years in slavery were purely out of choice, my choices to stick with what I knew, over what the Father was so graciously offering. Everyday He would hold out His hands to me and say, “alright my dear are you ready to be free?” I knew if I reached out and put my hands in His, my chains would break off.

He’s powerful like that! But I didn’t… Sometimes I’d lift up my hands, other days I’d get closer and actually extend them but still not put my hands in His.

There were days where I’d work up the courage and put my hands in His and the chains would break. But I’d cower back and put the chains right back on because I wasn’t ready. Yet He remained so patient with me.

I’ve finally reached the place where I realize that I don’t want to be a coward anymore. I can’t live in slavery and fear, if I want to be the woman Abba is calling me to be.

I say all of this because…

1. I get it, walking away from something that has enslaved you so long can be scary and hard

2. I want to be straightforward and not leave you in a false belief. Even after you leave, it won’t necessarily be easier.

3. Walking more in freedom with Him WILL make it easier, but that doesn’t mean that there won’t be times when you long for what you knew.

4. I love you enough to let you know it’s not worth it…these chains, that slavery. Come up with your best reason why your enslavement is better for you, do it I dare you. I sure did, I came up with loads and loads of excuses, make that 19 years of rationalizing all of it. But I promise I would still tell you living that way is only holding you back. You may not always see the effects, but it’s goal is always to keep you away from living freely with God. The way you were made.

5. You don’t have to do it alone, in fact you can’t do it alone. Walking away some days takes friends carrying you in the right direction speaking truths to remind you of who He is, and who that makes you by inheritance. FREE.

“For if you keep following, lusting, thirsting after the very thing God wants to uproot out of you, you will continue to be lost, deprived, thirsty. You will miss the opportunity to fully know God, to feel God, to be healed by God, to hear God.” – Andrea Williams

The Truth about my Season of Life

I’m back!

So, I didn’t write a blog last month, September I had a guest speaker, and in August I wrote the blog a month late. I kept hitting a wall, a wall in the form of questions. I’d think about the blog and get all my writing stuff ready, but the topics I had thought about writing a few months ago just seemed forced. So, I dropped them and approached some questions: What story do you have to tell? What are you learning? What is inspiring you?

I’ve tried very convincingly to tell myself that it was due to my outrageous busyness of this season of life that I am unable to answer questions such as these right now… but that was only an excuse. It wasn’t until recently when I was reading what another woman had to say that I realized my issue is that, I’m trying to write someone else’s story not my own.

Every time over these past months that I’ve gone to write, I’ve wanted my life to look a certain way and have my blog reflect that. I wanted to be that woman the one who actually seems to be able to balance her multiple jobs, maintain healthy friendships, have a strong walk with the Lord, investing and serving others, eating well, exercising, and keeping up with my blog; You know the girl who does everything and still manages to actually keep up with her laundry while doing all that, with only having one day “off” a week.

When I realized that I didn’t fit into that mold, that I didn’t even know I was trying so hard to replicate, I neglected to look into what MY story actually is in this season of life. I couldn’t see my fruit because I was looking for oranges to grow off of a grapevine. Impossible, I know right. It’s not that I wanted my life to look perfect or anything, but at least just to look orderly, balanced, and imperfect in the ways I could control.

I started to realize that I’d been putting the image I wanted to see in myself in front of the mirror of who I really am. It created confusion when I would move around and wiggle my arms to see that the image didn’t move as I did. The realization was that, If I’m taking up energy to see the person others want me to be or I want myself to be, I will run out of energy and won’t be able to see who I truly am and what I was created to be.

My life is far from perfect. These days I often feel like I’m a flamingo trying to balance on my one leg while balancing my responsibilities on my head, dodging all the fish that are falling from the sky… track with me, it’s a long way of telling you that I’ve lately been in a state of imbalance, frustration, and confusion. It seems as though I’ve gotten lost searching to find and fix the beauty in the chaos, when I was only meant to admire it. This is my season. I’ve made some decisions in which I have not completely thought through, decisions based off fear, and bitterness, but I also have made grace filled ones, and decisions based off of love. All of these have lead me to where I am. I put WAY too much on my plate in order to distract myself from the loneliness that comes with not having many people my age around, I eat a lot of junk food, and hey I’m working on the laundry thing too. However, this has been where I’m at in life and if you’re somewhere similar and can relate, IT’S OKAY! There are many things in the midst of all the chaos that needed to happen to prepare me for this next season I’m walking into.

Life is definitely going to be different, I’ve lost some good friends, made some new ones, and am reconnecting with old ones. I’m moving out of my parents house in to my own apartment for my first time. God is teaching me so much about who I am, releasing control, and being at peace with my journey and it’s seasons. Work is still going to be crazy but I love my job, and it’s not taken lightly that I am beyond blessed to do a job I LOVE. I don’t know what this new season will hold, but I can’t wait to see what the Lord does!

Unraveled

I just want to start by saying this month I’m getting real vulnerable, not just for the sake of being vulnerable but for those out there who are struggling. For the girls (or guys) who have sat in my place and let their minds run wild, falling apart on the inside thinking they’ve truly messed up, or are confused about where God is leading them. But this is also for those who for some reason think I have it all together. If I were to let anyone continue to think that I’d be a fool, my life is far from together. So if that’s too real for you then you probably shouldn’t read on. Otherwise, here are my REAL thoughts and prayers with God.

To unravel. I’ve had my fair share of it. I’ve watched my mind tear at the seams of all that I thought I was. To put into question everything that seemed to be the ground you were standing on only to find out, you weren’t standing on what you thought you were all along. You put into question who truly knows you when you don’t even know yourself. Did you change, or were you falling for the facade everyone else had been falling for? The only words I could hold onto:

MY.

FIERCE.

MESSENGER.

What does that even mean? What about when I don’t do what I’m called to do? Does that change who I am? Am I defined by my mistakes? Clearly I wasn’t truly listening to God if I allowed someone who broke my heart into my life… I never should have let him in.

Wait wait wait! Breatheeeee.

I feel. Because I feel, I feel pain. Pain that takes time to heal. If I think about it too long I feel sick to my stomach and isolated. I use to believe that the unraveling of myself was a consequence for ignoring what God had told me, but this time I didn’t understand. God, this time I thought I was following you, where did I mess up? Because here I am completely unraveled, with all the questions that came in with the pain.

Funny thing, my questioning of everything, and my pain weren’t consequences as a result of a wrong choice. For a minute there I thought I heard you wrong God. It sounded like you were trying to tell me that you chose to unravel all that I am as a result of seeking your will in the situation… that can’t be right. In that split second bitterness was trying to enter my heart. Bitterness brought of my own ignorance. But then these words sank deep into my being, closing all the doors and sealing all the windows that bitterness loves to walk through…

“He UNRAVELS because He loves us, He loves us, therefore He UNRAVELS us.”

Making that Choice with my hands open and eyes looking for Abba’s direction, that is what led me into the season of having all I know so well be flipped upside down. From the very first day I see the unraveling of my pride a girl who thought she knew it all and didn’t need anyone else’s help. I see the unraveling of my hard heart towards people, the promises He was trying to show me. And like I said the unraveling of all I thought I was which included my insecurities, and self confidence that was rooted in who I had made myself to be and not from HIm who gave me everything. So many more things… my standards, my pain, my comfort zone, my fear of intimacy with God, my relationships with my family, and even my view on who I thought God was. Everything was put into question, and it wasn’t until he spoke those words that it started to make sense.

You see I had watched all of this happening and starting to change and yet I struggled so hard, putting all my effort into not letting myself be redefined, because someone walked into my life. For to me that would have been a punishment, It was never about the him though. God uses crazy things to shake, unravel,and break down any stubborn views that create barriers to the miraculous things He wants to show us about Him or us. I’m learning how beautiful it is to be gracefully broken, there is raw peace and joy that come from being fully exposed in your brokenness and yet being told “That mar doesn’t define you.”

I find this part equally important, that God doesn’t JUST unravel us, He unravels us so that He can REPLACE. Something consistent throughout the Bible is sometimes missed. When God tells us what not to do He replaces it with what you should do or hold onto instead. He isn’t in the industry of telling us to get better and leaving us in that. Nor is he naive to the fact that if we leave those things that we’ve removed such as bad habits, sin patterns, fear, create space for the enemy to fill it with something else. So go to Him with those empty spaces, I know first hand He is the best comfort.

My prayer for you all is that as you walk through the unraveling, and you allow God to take things away and make you new, that you’d be asking Him what he wants you to replace that with. That God would give you endurance through the confusion and chaos. That you would have the perseverance to press into Him so that He can give you the strength to press on the journey He has for you.

Here is to new seasons and a God that continues to make us New!

P R O M I S E

Hello My Blog Readers!

I wanted to go ahead and intro our very first guest writer on the blog. Not only is she one of my best friends, but also the one who edits my blog regularly. That being said I knew she was the best person to guest write because she has walked with me through the entire process of my blog journey. She has prayed over these blogs with and for me. She has a heart for people and the love of Jesus. And she knows the heart of the heart and mission for the blog as well as I do. So without further ado…. (-Rebekah)

My Name is Marissa Medina and I am the behind the scene editor of our beloved Rebekah’s blog. But aside from being the editor of this blog, somethings about me are that I am a Jesus Loving, Sassy Latina, Lover of Coffee, Dr. Pepper, and Food, Small Group Leader For middle school girls, worship leader, photographer, and lover of traveling and spontaneous adventures. Lastly, my Favorite month is September because September is my birthday month!

September is a month filled with many emotions caused by having, the school year starting up again, workload getting more intense, vacations and time of relaxation come to an end, and seeing that everything around you is changing. With all these crazy changes, we as Christians often forget about the promises of God for our life, or at times don’t want to believe or receive the promise. So, to help with that I have 3 ways that you can put God’s promises into action this season and the rest to come.

First of all, the promise land was the huge promise that God gave the Israelites; A land of their own, an inheritance, land filled with milk and honey. They had this promise because they were God’s special, chosen people. But they gave up this promise of God because of their hardened hearts. When we have hard hearts, we cannot understand God’s plans and his ways because it blinds us to what He is trying to teach and show us.Hebrews 3:7 says, “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”We too must keep a soft heart that is willing to hear and receive God’s voice if we want to inherit and own the promises of God. We must have a heart of submission towards God and be on guard from bitter and rebellious attitudes and behaviors.

Secondly, we need to know how to reject unbelief.

Hebrews 3:12-13 says, “Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”

Sin deceives us so that we see the truth as a lie, and the lie seems like the truth. Unbelief and doubt set in leading to hardness of heart. That’s what happened to the Israelites: even though they saw God’s mighty works and wonders, they still allowed their hearts to doubt God and His promise. If we are living in unbelief, we cannot expect to see the promises of God in our lives. God’s promises are available to everyone, but will you believe and receive it? These are the keys to unlocking His promises!!

And lastly, we need to combine the promises of God with Faith!

The Israelites heard His word and promises, but they never obtained what God promised them because they walked in unbelief instead of faith.

Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

Faith is believing that you already have; it’s pulling God’s promises from the spiritual realm into the physical realm. I know these steps may seem hard to follow, because personally I am still learning about receiving & believing the promise God has for my life.

A little backstory, when I was 17, towards the middle of the summer I was in the hospital for almost a whole month, caused by a huge amount of blood loss. I needed to have multiple blood transplants and once I was stable multiple doctors came up to me saying that because of this incident, I would never have children of my own. As a 17-year-old hearing that was heartbreaking because I have always dreamed of having a family of my own blood, but that was a dream forever crushed. So, after that I tried to live my life as normally as possible but the pain of knowing that I would never be a mother in the future dragged me down. But one day I was with Rebekah and we were talking about God and his promises and I at this point I never really knew what my promise from God was. But we prayed together and as the week moved on God revealed his promise to me that I was going to be a mother, no matter what the doctors said. When I realized my promise, I was bitter hearted, did not believe the promise because of my unbelief in God’s power and belief in the doctors, and I did not combine the promises of God with Faith. But day by day I have learned that no matter what, no one can change the promise God gives and if it seems that you ruined the promise or it is gone, like the Israelites when they had to walk an extra 40 years in the dessert for their unbelief. Know that God’s promise still stands and will always come to pass with His perfect timing. God’s promises are available to us if we’ll just believe in faith, obey and keep our hearts soft toward Him.