Learning joy

Me and the hubby at my uncle's wedding

Pit and I have our traditional silly christmas shoot

My mom soooo beautiful

My family with me on christmas... so blessed :')

When I thought of writing a post on joy, I wanted to do a very sistematic approach on definitions, Bible verses and contrasts. However, this is not that kind of blog. It is not meant to teach or convict. It is merely my own revelations and truth I learn as I walk with God.

Joy used to mean to me: to feel happy and good inside, and I wonder how I sought this "joy." Webster's New World Dictionary defines joy as synonymous with "happy," "glad," and "cheerful." A thesaurus relates it to "exultation," "rapture," "satisfaction" and "pleasure." Yes, this last two were my personal definition: satisfaction and pleasure. The first four month of 2011 where probably the most unsatisfactory and unhappy days of my life.

I thought I lived a joyful life because I tried to live a life of serving. I spent probably more hours at church in my youth than at home. It brought me great satisfaction and pleasure to serve in different ministries at church: 180°(youth church), music band, Bible study group, etc. I thought my joy was in the right place for ALL of these I was doing for God, but was I really? As I grew up and learned many things, saw many things, lost many friends, had differences of opinions and crossed feelings, the satisfaction and pleasure of doing the above diminished, hence my joy diminished. Today, as a busy married woman, a working adult, a barely-ever-have-spare-time-to-do-what-I-love girl, the day by day brings no satisfaction or pleasure. I'm barely involved in these ministries and, if I am, I find them a burden instead.

Then the lie that joy will come from finding the "one" (I could write another post(book) on this subject of the "one", but another time maybe (mental note)). I have found my one to share my life with. I would use up the whole post to describe how amazing he is, but he truly is. But, alas, joy eluded me still those first four months being almost a newlywed! If you are expecting a man or a woman to make your life joyful, you are mistaken. Not only do you have tons to accept, but you have more tons of change to do. I remember my hubby telling me he was worried he wouldn't make me happy and I said to him: "Why would that worry you if that is not your job? Why would it worry you if my happiness does not depend on you?" And it is a good things we have both learned this (for I worried as well :P) Your spouses job is to love you, not make you happy. To be happy is your job and depends on God. 

This year taught me many things, most importantly: life is harder than you think. It is definitely no walk in the park. You know, if your mother ever tells you when you grow up you'll finally understand her and see what she sees and means, she is not lying one bit and she is probably withholding. Boy, Oh boy, is life hard. If you are not working, you are doing errands. If you are not tired, you are sick. If you are not paying bills, you are paying debts. If you have free time, there is no money to go out. Money is hard to make and barely lasts, time is short and barely enough, everything around you demands of you: the house needs cleaning, the clothes and dishes needs washing, the car needs parts and repairs, the dogs need feeding and bathing, the food needs cooking..... And I still have no kids!! Please don't get me wrong, I am not complaining. I'm just trying to portray how hard life has become, and I am pretty sure there are bunches of people having a harder life than mine. You know the phrase: "youth is wasted on the young"? I'm not sure it is, it's just they are so oblivious. I surely was. I have expressed here many times how much admiration I have for my mother and how it grows and grows everytime. Be grateful at how easy your parents make your life and never complain because your main responsibility is to study and do homework; THAT is a walk on the park!

This brings me back to my ecclesiastes posts and the toils under the sun. I was talking with a friend the other day and we were talking of life and love and why. He told me he stopped caring about life and I said: "What you need is to read my last blog post."(where I spoke of being in awe of God) and he said: "Nah, what I really need is a million dollars." This is another lie that joy will come if you have money. I'm not gonna lie, this has crossed my mine and my heart has desired it. "Life would be more satisfactory if I had more money," the world thinks and I too. And every raise I've had since I began working has brought no drop of joy to my life, no sign of relief and release.

I think 2011 was my year of revelations. As for joy, I had one this christmas. I think not even the christmas were my parents had just gotten divorce can match the pain, affliction, agony, concerns, anxiety I felt this season. Yet it was my most joyful christmas. Ah, the paradox! Is it ironic? is it contradictory? Is it GOD? Oh yes, God. Finally my joy were it should! Here is one of my favorite revelations on joy: It is a fruit of the Spirit, hence only a believer can have joy.

Joy is this to me:
Remembering the cross: To think the price for my life is the blood of my precious Jesus. My worthless, sinful, low life is worth His glorious, perfect, precious life. Been a while since tears of joy fall down my cheeks as I write. My God has provided me with salvation through His Son!
Psalms 63:5-7 My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.

1 Peter 1:8-9 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

His mercy is new each day: or else I would have already been obliterated by His wrath. I fail so much and He remains faithful. That brings joy to my heart.
Psalm 90:14  O satisfy us with Your mercy and loving-kindness in the morning [now, before we are older], that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. 

It is His plan: And His plan is good and perfect says the Bible. He has control, He has knowledge of what He is doing. And it may seem hard, and I may not understand, but I can rest, worry no more, and trust the Creator. That brings me joy.

Psalm 16: 9 Therefore my heart is glad and my glory [my inner self] rejoices; my body too shall rest and confidently dwell in safety. 

Psalm 5:11But let all those who take refuge and put their trust in You rejoice; let them ever sing and shout for joy, because You make a covering over them and defend them; let those also who love Your name be joyful in You and be in high spirits. 

Hope: This hard life is not forever. Jesus has spoken of the houses He is preparing for us in heaven. There will be a day when we will see Him and our joy will be complete.

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the 

Psalm 16: 11 Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy, at Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore. 

I'm sure the revelations on joy will continue. Joy comes from what God does and what He gives, not what I do or have. Above I wrote that to be happy is YOUR job. Here is what the Bible says: 
1 Thesalonians 5:16 Be joyful always.

Letting sorrow fill your heart, specially when life is hard and times are bad, is a temptation we must not fall into. There is too much to be joyful for. As much pain and struggle I see in my family more than ever, I choose joy, because I rejoice in the Lord; and no matter the circumstances, I can always rejoice because of the Lord and for the Lord.

Merry Christmas!

How many gifts this christmas!

*299 My mom, sister, and my brother (he was supposedly not coming) spent christmas with me!!!
*300 A picnic under the wind mills with my sis Pit and my daughter Denise, and my hubby nicknamed by the girls "Bimbi" :P
*301 A night with my mother and her hands caressing me. (mental note: write a poem of your mom's hands!)
*302 A loving husband, my greatest gift from God this year. Oh, I am so fortunate, so humbled.
*303 A christmas music box by the hubby! Never had one before.
*304 A wedding spent in dancing with my family
*305 My mom's fractured toe :'( ... God knows why and I'm grateful.
*306 My sister's confidence in me.
*307 Time spent with my dad and his family on christmas too.
*308 Food! I am full and happy.
*309 A night with daughters Denise and Sarai. It was such an awesome time!
*310 Salsa lessons for the family from Pit!
*311 My famous torrejas (honduran traditional christams desert)
*312 A lunch for the in-laws at my little house.
*313 Being able to sing at the christmas special and losing my voice till it was over.
*314 A lovely christmas play by the youth church. So proud of their hard work. It was amazing and many new people came to see it and hear the gospel.
*315 A lovely time with Danny and Carlos Arturo taking Pit out.
*316 A lovely dinner with Tito, Roy, and Carlos again with Pit and Rodol-
*317 Real EspaƱa lost the championship. Hope the hubby is also giving thanks for this.
*318 Getting sick yesterday but being able to go to work today without murmuring much. :P


In awe of my God?

I don't even know how to try to attempt at making this a short post. There is so much to say, so much to repent, so much to learn.

I remember when I was young I thoroughly enjoyed studying the books of Jeremiah, Isaiah, and Ezequiel when I read them the first time. I have read them again several times since, but never did it have that taste it had the first time. So, I decided I wanted to study these books next a little more closely and calmly. I was so rebuked by this chapter in Jeremiah, I wanted to share those teachings with you.

Jeremiah 2
1 The word of the LORD came to me: 2 “Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem:
   “This is what the LORD says:
   “‘I remember the devotion of your youth,
how as a bride you loved me
and followed me through the wilderness,
   through a land not sown.
3 Israel was holy to the LORD,
   the firstfruits of his harvest;
all who devoured her were held guilty,
   and disaster overtook them,’”
            declares the LORD.

I remember when I began my walk with the Lord. I was a scrawny, tall twelve year old girl meeting people who had a relationship and a walk with God for the first time. I remember being surprised by the fact they would talk about God in such a personal manner. "I'm sleepy," my classmates shares, "I spent all night talking with God and singing praise." She was just two years older than me. How was that possible? I wanted and craved that too. So my walk with God began with a bang! I wanted to know everything about Him, His Word, His purpose for my life. I wanted my relationship with God to produce what these young people's relationship with God had produced in me.

 4 Hear the word of the LORD, you descendants of Jacob,
   all you clans of Israel.
 5 This is what the LORD says:
   “What fault did your ancestors find in me,
   that they strayed so far from me?
They followed worthless idols
   and became worthless themselves.
6 They did not ask, ‘Where is the LORD,
   who brought us up out of Egypt
and led us through the barren wilderness,
   through a land of deserts and ravines,
a land of drought and utter darkness,
   a land where no one travels and no one lives?’
7 I brought you into a fertile land
   to eat its fruit and rich produce.
But you came and defiled my land
   and made my inheritance detestable.
8 The priests did not ask,
   ‘Where is the LORD?’
Those who deal with the law did not know me;
   the leaders rebelled against me.
The prophets prophesied by Baal,
   following worthless idols.
 9 “Therefore I bring charges against you again,”
            declares the LORD.
   “And I will bring charges against your children’s children.
10 Cross over to the coasts of Cyprus and look,
   send to Kedar[a] and observe closely;
   see if there has ever been anything like this:
11 Has a nation ever changed its gods?
   (Yet they are not gods at all.)
But my people have exchanged their glorious God
   for worthless idols.
12 Be appalled at this, you heavens,
   and shudder with great horror,”
declares the LORD.

It all happened so quickly. Was there anything I should have done or could have done to stop it? Can I do something about it today? A whole generation of young people who had served beside me, astray. What happened to the lives committed to God we had talked about and dreamed about together? The great comission that was supposedly burning in our hearts? And I "remained," but did I really? And as I read these passages and examine myself and not others, I do shudder with great horror at the thought: "have I exchanged my glorious God for worthless idols?"

13 “My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me,
   the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns,
   broken cisterns that cannot hold water.
14 Is Israel a servant, a slave by birth?
   Why then has he become plunder?
15 Lions have roared;
   they have growled at him.
They have laid waste his land;
   his towns are burned and deserted.
16 Also, the men of Memphis and Tahpanhes
   have cracked your skull.
17 Have you not brought this on yourselves
   by forsaking the LORD your God
   when he led you in the way?
18 Now why go to Egypt
   to drink water from the Nile[b]?
And why go to Assyria
   to drink water from the Euphrates?
19 Your wickedness will punish you;
   your backsliding will rebuke you.
Consider then and realize
   how evil and bitter it is for you
when you forsake the LORD your God
   and have no awe of me,”
 declares the Lord, the LORD Almighty.

"No awe of me, declares the Lord".... What if these were the words God would speak of me: "You have no awe of me!" What if He'd asked me: "Where is the love you had for Me in your youth?" And of course this sinful heart of mine would try to justify: "The days have been hard, the struggles have torn me, time is no where to find, labour is always on my back, sickness overtakes my body," and maybe even throw a: "I have been alone." But seriously, would all these excuses have any weight if I were truly in awe of my glorious God?

 20 “Long ago you broke off your yoke
   and tore off your bonds;
   you said, ‘I will not serve you!’
Indeed, on every high hill
   and under every spreading tree
   you lay down as a prostitute.
21 I had planted you like a choice vine
   of sound and reliable stock.
How then did you turn against me
   into a corrupt, wild vine?
22 Although you wash yourself with soap
   and use an abundance of cleansing powder,
   the stain of your guilt is still before me,”
       declares the Sovereign LORD.
23 “How can you say, ‘I am not defiled;
   I have not run after the Baals’?
See how you behaved in the valley;
   consider what you have done.
You are a swift she-camel
   running here and there,
24 a wild donkey accustomed to the desert,
   sniffing the wind in her craving—
   in her heat who can restrain her?
Any males that pursue her need not tire themselves;
   at mating time they will find her.
25 Do not run until your feet are bare
and your throat is dry.
But you said, ‘It’s no use!
I love foreign gods,
   and I must go after them.’

This is true of my generation. It saddens me to say this, but it's true. It is true for me as well. Yes, I try to seek God, but not with the fervent, starving, craving desire I use to. He is no longer my waking thought everyday. I have fought Him and resisted Him. I have questioned Him when He has been always good, always there.

 26 “As a thief is disgraced when he is caught,
   so the people of Israel are disgraced—
they, their kings and their officials,
   their priests and their prophets.
27 They say to wood, ‘You are my father,’
   and to stone, ‘You gave me birth.’
They have turned their backs to me
   and not their faces;
yet when they are in trouble, they say,
   ‘Come and save us!’
28 Where then are the gods you made for yourselves?
   Let them come if they can save you
   when you are in trouble!
For you, Judah, have as many gods
   as you have towns.
 29 “Why do you bring charges against me?
   You have all rebelled against me,”
            declares the LORD.

I could pretty much translate this to: "Why are you questioning your God when you have changed Him for your own wisdom and ways, for the world's wisdom and ways. Why do you ask your God to save you now? If you chose ways that aren't His, shouldn't they save you? Didn't you trade your almighty God for the worthlessness of this world!"

30 “In vain I punished your people;
   they did not respond to correction.
Your sword has devoured your prophets
   like a ravenous lion.
 31 “You of this generation, consider the word of the LORD:
   “Have I been a desert to Israel
   or a land of great darkness?
Why do my people say, ‘We are free to roam;
   we will come to you no more’?
32 Does a young woman forget her jewelry,
   a bride her wedding ornaments?
Yet my people have forgotten me,
   days without number.

I almost feel God's hurt of Him trying to turn His people's heart back to Him, and they have treasures more precious than Him; Him Who gave them all. Makes me feel ashamed.

33 How skilled you are at pursuing love!
   Even the worst of women can learn from your ways.
34 On your clothes is found
   the lifeblood of the innocent poor,
   though you did not catch them breaking in.
Yet in spite of all this
 35 you say, ‘I am innocent;
   he is not angry with me.’
But I will pass judgment on you
   because you say, ‘I have not sinned.’
36 Why do you go about so much,
   changing your ways?
You will be disappointed by Egypt
as you were by Assyria.
37 You will also leave that place
   with your hands on your head,
for the LORD has rejected those you trust;
   you will not be helped by them.

God is way too merciful these days. I sometimes wonder how does He dare receive me in His pressence. I hurt for I know I have sinned. Yes, others too have sinned, but I answer before God for myself and not for others. I don't want it to be said of me: "How skilled you are at pursuing love" like a wild animal that ignorantly seeks whereever she thinks she might find it but will never satisfy it, so she'll continue wildly seeking. I want to remain in such awe of You there are no excuses to seek you earnestly, passionately, life-dependently :)

How loving and merciful You are. It was us who forsake You, and You who have truly remained. I praise You for always calling me back to You. You don't give up on me even when I say: "there is just no worth in trying again." You are my God. I mustn't forget that. You are my glorious God!

This season is crazy and there is so much to do, seriously I have had no rest. Yet I am in awe of You revealing truth and repent to me during this hard, hard time; where I can truly practice giving you the highest place of worth in my life and let go of everything else. I will find rest in You for I trust in an awesome God that is always with me. This christmas is for You first and foremost!

And as always, more than yesterday,
!!! I love You!!!


Don't be without hope

Oh grattitude monday,
Today you are tough one. Being so, I will cherish you the more. Mainly because in the midst of it all, I have truly learned to see my Heavenly Father's hand and His unending love. No, I have not yet mastered my attitudes and emotions, not yet mastered honest trusting, and not yet mastered rest in You. So I continue to cherish you, grattitude, for you show me this short comings and get me excited of learning a little more these masters the Holy Spirit is making me course.

I haven't been sleeping well; I am unable to relax. The situations my family have been going through for quite some time have taken its toll on our spirits. The tears and prayers have been countless. The glimpses of light have been shortlived. The impotence and helplessness remains. Tensed as a cable wire, I discharged my electricity (emotions) on dearest husband. In a humanistic approach, I tell him he must understand that I am going through some stuff that brings me down and puts me in a foul state. He must not take my rantings personal and must withstand them in love (right). So now, not only am I not honoring him, but it's his fault he gets upset because he is "not understanding." Thankfully, I did less damage than I usually do, controlled my mouth a itsy little better, and snapped out of it quicker. Saturday morning, the hubby left to give a tutoring. It was the night before and that morning that I had been really down. He kisses my forehead ever so sweetly and tells me he'll try to be more understanding when he comes back (seriously, jewel of a husband!!). No, hard times are no excuse to misbehave. They are no excuse for miscaring my husband. Yes, I want to cry in bed all day and be depressed and moppy. No, I must not indulge this sinful ways. So I decide to clean up, dress up, put make-up on, do my hair and look nice for the hubby, do the house, make lunch, and receive him looking bright and happy for his return and ready to serve him. Wow, what a difference it makes choosing God's ways over your ways. I was even able to let go of my stress, worrying, sadness and distraught, and serve him joyfully. The rest of the weekend went much different and we were able to enjoy it together.

Hardship is everywhere, all around us. A dear mother lost her child after four hopeful months in the hospital with him. If I think this grattitude monday is tough for me, I can't even begin to understand what it means to her. And yet, she is grateful. Grateful of the support she got not mainly from her family, but from her church. She is from a small town an hour and a half away from the city. She had to leave her three other children behind under the care of brothers and sisters in Christ while she spend those hard months beside her youngest bedside. All her church showed up to support her and acompany her.To think that she has things for which to be grateful breaks my own heart. You are ALWAYS, ALWAYS able to give thanks to God. I remember when I read Franklin Graham's Rebel Without a Cause I would cry on almost every chapter. I remember this story of a town on a snowy mountain (I think it was in Russia) that were poor and starving. I don't remember if they were escaping a war or something, I read the book a decade ago. What I remember of the story is these people were freezing and starving. Graham described how hard it was to reach this town and how the closer he got the colder it got. And when he reached the top, he found the people sitting close together for warmth covered in carton boxes and singing praises to the Lord. And alot of the chapters of the book told similar stories of wonderful grattitude in the hardest of situations.

Have you noticed how those who have less are more grateful to God than those who have alot? That again breaks my heart and it's why again I cherish grattitude. It breaks this heart of stone of mine! It opens my eyes to turn my gaze to God always, always. "For we are not without hope" the wise Bible tells us.

Linda, don't be without hope! Practice grattitude instead:

*277 the Holy Spirit continuous teachings in and to my heart
*278 December is here. No Grinchs allowed, christmas is beautiful. Time to share and love!
*279 It's spelled CHRISTmas, get it right! It's a beautiful season because of CHRIST! lol
*280 beautiful daughters and friends. They pray for me, they pray with me, I pray for them, it's prayer time!
*281 one-of-a-kind husband! Boy, I am a lucky, lucky girl
*282 4 days for my mom and sis to come. Thursday come quickly!
*283 a nice christmas lunch in the office.
*284 money shortcomings that make us focus on the Lord instead of the consumism of the season. It also makes us trust Him. :S
*285 the hubby's hard work and studying. Please help him, Lord, in this final exams week.
*286 a wonderful sunday shared with long-time-no-see friends (i've had so many of those lately, I'm loving it)
*287 long calls with Pit. I can always share my heart with her and the distance makes no difference. She gets me!
*288 a diet paying off (my pants fit!)
*289 a mildly warm december (i'm loving it, the hubby not so much :P)
*290 my mother-in-law finally home and out of the hospital
*291 my sin ever before me bringing me to my knees before my God making me dependant of Him
*292 lunch time shared only with Vany bringing us a lil closer.
*293 no inhaler in my gym class but being able to control the asma attack without it. (and being thouroughly scolded by everyone for not buying a new one u_u)
*294 a nice movie date with the hubby (it was a chick flick... he loves me)
*295 make-up helping my tired look to greet my hubby.
*296 being shown by the Spirit to look presentable and bright just for the hubby
*297 a very brotherly hug from my dear Kevin
*298 the lovely christmas candles my secret friend at the office gave me. They look lovely in my house and say: Love, Peace, Hope (all the ingredients I need)

Wish I had a closer look of my candles for you to see them. 


Saint Google

Yes, that is how we call him (it) here at work, Saint google. As a computer programer almost weekly having to work with new technologies, techniques, languages, codes, etc.. saint google is our rescuer. And I fall to think saint google knows it all. I hadn't realize how much I trust saint google and how much I go to him.

I am grateful many people saw my previous post because they like my singing (though I bet no one liked my video, boy I look bad and my mouth moves so weird, lol. I seriously had second thoughts on posting that :P), but the lyrics was what was important. I recorded that at 2 am this morning, woke up with a whole in my heart and teary-eyed, clutching my husband's arm. He immediately held me and began to pray. I felt my heart calm down and my hope return as I heard him and saw him instictively run to God first. And there I was singing of trust in God "no matter what the day or night may bring" but here I was some hours ago running to saint google instead.

Skimming on pages I don't understand, fearing things that are not what we might hear, my mind racing to think the worst, my heart racing to loose hope, and my spirit racing towards despair, saint google had not been my rescuer today.

Being called on the error of turning to saint google, I went to Scripture (when will you, foolish girl, learn...)

Psalms 118

1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; 

   his love endures forever.

 5 When hard pressed, I cried to the LORD; 

   he brought me into a spacious place. 

6 The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. 
   What can mere mortals do to me? 
7 The LORD is with me; he is my helper. 
   I look in triumph on my enemies.

 8 It is better to take refuge in the LORD 

   than to trust in humans. 

13 I was pushed back and about to fall, 
   but the LORD helped me. 

14 The LORD is my strength and my defense[a]; 

   he has become my salvation.

 15 Shouts of joy and victory 
   resound in the tents of the righteous: 
“The LORD’s right hand has done mighty things! 
 16 The LORD’s right hand is lifted high; 
   the LORD’s right hand has done mighty things!” 

17 I will not die but live, 

   and will proclaim what the LORD has done. 

18 The LORD has chastened me severely, 

   but he has not given me over to death. 

19 Open for me the gates of the righteous; 

   I will enter and give thanks to the LORD. 

20 This is the gate of the LORD 

   through which the righteous may enter. 

21 I will give you thanks, for you answered me; 

   you have become my salvation.

Dear Lord,
I only ask one thing to You this day: teach me. Teach me, teach me, teach me! Teach me that I may see the great things the Lord is doing here. Teach me that I might trust in You above all. Teach me to seek You and not loose sight of Your greatness. Teach me of your goodness. Teach me of Your Word. Teach me faith, love, and compassion. Teach me understanding and support with wisdom. Teach us. Ok, I ask two things: guard us and protect. You are the true Rescuer, You know it all, You I shall seek.

I love you!