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.

God the Protector

I’ve never been able to see God so clearly in this role as I have this past year.

It’s been a year of mistakes, a whole lot of Grace, and repeated forgiveness. But through it there has also been a lot of growth and good change. I’m not who I was this time last year and that is because through the rough waters of this past year God has protected me.

Psalm 34:19

“The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all;”

Psalm 46:1

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”

Deuteronomy 20:4

“For the LORD, your God is He who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.”

Psalm 50:15

“And call upon me in your day of trouble I will deliver you and you will honor me.”

I look at these verses and see Gods constant promises to protect me but certain times in life or even this year I see times that Gods protection looked like the exact opposite. There were certain instances in my life more often than I’d like to admit, where the things I wanted so bad were things that God was trying to protect me from. For that reason I felt as though God stopped protecting me; though it was the very opposite. Fairly recently I looked back at one of those incidents that I continued to have confusion over whether God was truly protecting me and I decided to ask him. I asked God in those times that I felt most unprotected, where was He? And He showed me that He never left my side and that some of the things that happened that hurt me the most were truly the very things He used to protect me.

Here is some of what I wrote down in the time that God was teaching me about His Protection…

I’m learning not to regret my life,

Not to wish away the hard days I’ve walked.

Suddenly my gaze has shifted,

to look back and see your place.

For days and nights I cried out to you in despair.

God why did you leave me to walk those days alone?

But no longer will I raise those cries,

For now I see you in those moments you never left my side.

You were my hedge of protection,

Pushing out the distractions I longed for.

Long before, I thought it was cruel,

Little did I know that it was you.

Those days of feeling stripped from what I thought I knew.

Feeling so broken I entered the unknown.

God you knew.

All along you were leading me.

When I look back to those most broken moments,

I see you piecing me back together.

I see you’re arms wrapped tight around me healing me with your grace.

You have been the one who loved me all along.

I’ve run to all these doors beggging for that love,

I’ve weeped and weeped because the doors always ended shut.

But you were always there freely offering your overflowing love,

So I will not regret those closed doors.

Because without those moments I wouldn’t have found the tears that cleared my vision.

And if those doors were opened I wouldn’t have kept walking,

For as I walked I looked back and saw your place.

Every moment you had been protecting me.

How should God being our protector change the way we live?

For me as I’ve been learning this about God it has given me the freedom to live for God in uncomfortable unsafe ways. Obedience doesn’t always look easy or always attainable BUT with His promise of protection I have freedom to walk that obedience out.

It has also helped me realize in those times where it feels like things are being stripped away from me that often it’s for my protection. I KNOW God is looking out for me, I KNOW His way is better than mine, so when He asks me to live a life without a clenched fist but palms wide open… I can only do that because God promises to protect me.

How do we remind ourselves that He’s our protector?

God has given us His word for a reason. If we’re memorizing verses of those promises then we are preparing ourselves with weapons to fight against the enemy. So, when the devil tries to convince you that the Lord has forgotten you or left you, you can fight back with truth.

Another way, continually be looking back in your life and asking God to show you His ways of protection in your life. Thank Him for that, and share that with others because they need to be reminded too.

Rest in the peace that comes with knowing your God fights for you, He will protect you!