Control your feelings or let your feelings control you?

Dear Lord,

I stress and can't control it.
I thoght that was it.
I was wrong.

No wonder I was happy being a teacher. Don't get me wrong, being a teacher is not a piece of cake.
Maybe it's because I enjoyed it so much and I had such a deep love for my students, but
I've never been under so much stress in my life like in the whirlwind world of the computer programer.

I'm glad I have. Stress, frustration, pressure, or anger makes the worst come out of you.
Sadly, that worst comes out in an office environment for everyone to see.
To say that I haven't lived up to my "christian" testimony would be an understatment.
I've been very grateful for this, though.
1. It has made me realize I'm not the goody two-shoes I was so intent in making everyone believe I was, including myself. Yes, the realization has been mainly to myself.
This does wonders in crushing my pride.
2. It has challenged me to learn to be the difference. Knowing something and doing it are two very different things. Just because I've been taught all my life God's ways and principles doesn't mean I automatically follow them like I thought I would, including my marriage.

Stress brings the worst in me. My tolerance, kindness, softness, respectfulness, and much more is reduced to 10% when I'm stressed.
So, control your feelings or let your feelings control you? That, dear Shakespear, is the real question!
But then a question would come out of that one: Can you control your feelings?
Can you?

James says that the man who can control his tongue is perfect. Perfect.
Can you say confidently like Paul, "Imitate me because I imitate Christ"?
Paul is nice enough to let us know he is still human though, and how he is able to press forward.

Philipians 3

 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,

The extremely stressing environment of my work has been excuse long enough.
I love Peter's advice:

2 Peter 2
5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge;6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness;7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind,forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.
10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters,[a] make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

The first words that would pop out for me were "will never stumble and rich welcome." These are the words I covet and desire.
There is a good reason why we stumble and I've come to begin to learn to stop fearing stumbling.
However, as I now don't jump to the end and wish to strain toward what's ahead, there are new words popping:
"Make every effort, increasing measure, ineffective and unproductive, nearsighted, forgetting.."

This practical girl and reforming control freak is very happy to have the steps numbered and in an order:
1. to your faith add goodness,
2. to your goodness, knowledge,
3. to your knowledge, self-control,
4. to your self-control, perseverance,
5. to your perseverance, godliness,
6. to your godliness, mutual affection,
7. to your mutual affection, love!

Isn't it awesome they're 7 steps?! It's my favorite number! :P
You see, I was only trying for self-control right now.
Where has that landed me? Lets take a look:
1. I say less bad words. Not enough. I shouldn't say one.
2. I don't treat others badly when I'm stressed. Not enough. I should treat them kindly always, not just "not bad."
3. I have murmured less. Not enough. My attitude should always be grattitude.
4. I bite my tongue better. Not enough. I should be striving for "if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things."

You see, self-control alone won't produce in me godliness or mutual affection, let alone love!
And my "self-control" without faith, goodness, and knowledge before will never be true self-control. It will just be a means to give "a better image of myself, miss goody two-shoes again."

My dear friend Kenny, who happens to be fellow christian (thank You for christian co-workers!) was trying to give me tips on controlling my stress.
And then he finally gave me an advice that I could use (yes, I'm still dealing with others telling me what to do to not stress and finding it hard to swallow).
I had given up. There is no way I can control my stress. Is there?
And Kenny said: "Wake up every morning and pray for your stress beforehand."
That's a good start for step 1. Step one is actually having faith (Shhh, don't say anything. This messes up my 7 steps awesomeness :P).
Do I have faith God can control my stress and do something about it?

So, as I refuse to be ineffective and unproductive in my Christian life, today I begin to take steps putting every effort in them.
Step 1: Wake up every morning and pray for my stress. Linda, work in this step before you're already trying to jump on the adding goodness. Do so fervently and diligently.
And my sweet friends, you my awesome readers, you are welcomed in praying for my stress and my baby's health each morning too. I will highly appreciate it!  Let me know if you got a step for yourself for me to pray for it.

I love You, Jesus.
Let me not forget that we have been cleansed from our past sins,
and have mercy over me, oh God,
according to your unfailing love,
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions. :)


Nonsense advice

One of my greatest pet peeves, you know one of those that gets on your nerves immediately, is nonsense advice.

I was very known for spouting advice to and fro without much thought, but I am glad the good Lord is teaching me to listen more instead. Looking back, I'm ashamed of how many nonsense advice I must have given.

When given nonsense advice, I used them sarcasm. The loving Hubby patiently taught me to have better reins over my sarcastic nature. This was very hard because I spent many years perfecting my unbeatable sarcastic remarks and comebacks. Ask Paolo if you doubt :P

Last time I spoke with my brother, I couldn't help it.
We were talking on the phone and he was sharing his new experience of having to live by himself and having more responsabilities on his house. The dish washing, cloth washing, picking up, tiddying up, and dusting off were all a good humbling lessons for a boy who had had everything done for him for far too long. I was very happy to hear that, but I was also simpathetic with him. He said he could now understood what I meant by appreciating who and what you had before you had it taken away and done all by yourself.
I began sharing him that we were house hunting and now I would have a whole house to take care of.
And then he said: "Why are you renting? You should buy a home instead of renting. It would be much better, you know."
I couldn't help myself, "You don't say. Really! Wow, that thought had never crossed my mind before. I'm gonna go tell Rodol right now that we should buy a house instead. How silly of me!"

That's what happens when the boy has been given everything on a silver platter. I think at one point I got rude more than sarcastic. But seriously, this to me is nonesense advice. Does he even know how much is a mortgage this day? Wouldn't I be buying my house if I COULD!

Nonsense advice is when you advice me to do something I WOULD already be doing if I had the faculty to, but if I'm not doing it, what is the point of you advicing it?

Ok. I told you it was a pet peeve that really got on my nerves.

I'm three months pregnant. My doctor told me I don't have to stress. I'm living for two now, and I must have the little one in mind at all times. I do. It's all I think about. But guess what? I still stress. ALOT!!!!

My husband tells me I don't have to stress. My family and friends tell me I don't have to stress. My boss and coworkers tell me I don't need to stress. All the time!


Augh. This is the first time the blog post that has been an outlet.
The more they tell me not stress guess what is actually producing? Yep! You guessed right! More stress.

Satan and his demons are combo pack fans. Oh yes they are. They would always go to a fast food restaurant and order that huge family combo pack.
Their attacks are always on combos.

Last week I was asked to do a web application using a new JAVA language JSF. I was so slow learning it, it pilled up my work demand. Everything got accumulated. Result: a very, very burdened and stressed Linda.
I even shed tears from the overwhelm. I've been leaving work two to three hours late everyday!
The hubby gets sick and can no longer attend his pregnant ailed and very tired wife. The already not-feeling-so-well wife has to see how she looks over her worst-not-feeling-so-well hubby. Add the doctor, meds, and exams fees, which would have to be added to the already escalating prenatal exams, meds, and doctor fees. It's been three sleepless nights accompanied by early morning rises to a large pille of workload.
The dessert in the combo:
The dog gets sick!
Really? Really? Add worrying that the dog dies and the vet fees to the combo.

If you can't accompany your advice with: I'll help you with the cooking today since you're feeling bad, I'll come give you company while you look after the hubs, here have $20 to help with you worrying growing debt, DON'T tell me not to stress.

Ok, so more venting huh?
Where is the lesson needed to be learned?
Where is the part where you stop being selfish thinking only of yourself and humble down?
It's nonsense advice because I rely on what I'm capable to do, what I have faculty to achieve.
I am capable of nothing!
I've been asking my mom to pray for me everyday.
I've been expecting emails filled with stress-relieving advice from her.
The only thing she said: I've been reading my Bible every morning and that has made all the difference.
Well, I haven't touched my Bible since past post.
As always, mommy knows best.

They tell me not to stress because they care for me and my baby, not because they want to get on my nerves. Alot of close loved ones HAVE been helping you out and having you on their prayers. There is no need to explode with sarcasm and rudeness on your loved ones just because you are overwhelmed. And if there is a need to vent, your heavenly Father is waiting for you to take your burdens to His cross.

Psalms 55:22:
"Give your burdens to the Lord. He will not permit the Godly to slip nor fall."

Matthew 11:28-30:
"Come unto me, all you who labor and are heavy burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart and you shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

I Peter 5:7:
"Casting all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you."
In fishing, it takes a lot of 'casting' (fishing)...before 'catching'.
So in getting rid of burdens, a lot of praying....and faith brings the 'lifting of burdens'.

Dear God,
I'm sorry. I've been in alot of stress and burden. There is no excuse not to be searching You for You are my deliverer. Please, I beg of you, don't let my stressing affect the baby. Help seek You earnestly so that I might know the way and know the God in Whom I trust. Give me a gentil and soft spirit that I might reply to everyone with kindness and respect, for I know they do what they do because they care for me. Forgive me for the times I've let my anger and frustration control me. Thank you for having me, the baby, the hubs, and even the dog in your hands. Thank you because my financial security is in You and not my bank account. Thank you for the music of DC Talk that helps with the stress at work and has great messages. Thank you for the first mother's day roses and congratulations I've received. Thank for being here with me and for me inspite of me. I'm a sinner, Father; a sinner hoping to be a good mother. I want to be a good mother and a good example for my child right now. Help me. Help me be my husband's help meet and keep your commands of honoring him always, even when I'm feeling sick, tired, and frustrated. Thank you for these hard times. You can take care of these combos Satan throws at me. YOU have the FACULTY. In You I must rely.

I love You!


Anticipating Heartbreak

I'm ashamed of what I'm about to admit to you.
I am a fearful person.
I'm not talking of my very notorious fear of spiders, which is pretty big!
It's a life lived enslaved by fear.

It shames me to no extent when I consider all my beautiful Lord has done for me and in me.
Considering where I've come from and where He has taken me, how He has never forsaken us, and His blessing is continuosly present, I have no excuse for this shameful lack of faith.

Let me tell you about my wedding.
The wedding day is one of a girl's most expected days, described constantly as the "happiest day of your life." I don't believe in such hyperboles, but my wedding day was a very exciting and highly expected day for me. Except for a minor detail: we had relatives coming to the wedding from the USA, Mexico, and San Pedro Sula. Don't ask me why (it's probably my fatalistic, pessimistic self), but I was convinced- yep, that's the word: conviced- that someone was going to die on their travels to my wedding.

Isn't it my unbelief that I can be that happy with nothing bad happening? As my wedding day came closer and each relative arrived safely, the weighing burden in my heart was slightly alleviated, with the lingering expectation that something bad was still around the corner, like something could still happen to them in the way back.

This story is just aperture to portray how fearful I am.
Being such a fearful person, I've developed a few protective bad habits that follow me still.
The worst of them is: if you don't hope for it, you're not heart broken when it doesn't happen.
This practice works wonders with movies and books: lower your expectations a little so that when you finish the book or the movie the result is above your expectations and you enjoy it thoroughly. This doesn't work well with life changing events; for instance, an upcoming baby?

People ask me "Have you thought of names? Have you decided on the colors of the nursery? What are your feelings?"

1 Corinthians 13:13
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

I answer "It's too early for that yet. We are still in shock." 
The truth: I didn't want to think of those things. I don't want to name him/her (which for writing's sake we'll say him because it is too it) if it won't end with him on my arms, and I singing his name. I don't want to fantasize and plan a room that could end up empty, evidence of all my hopes and dreams shattered. 
I am afraid to hope. 

Faith is being convinced of what we heard but didn't see. Hope is waiting for that faith to come. Love is the fullfillment of our hope. With no hope, there's no love. 

Last wednesday I had a pretty ugly scare. 
I saw blood on the toilet and my mind ran away with me in seconds. 
I called the doctor, who said it was normal and nothing bad was happening and I should stay calm.
It was impossible. I went up the office's balcony and cried my eyes out and plead. 
I called the doctor a second time, who reassured me my baby and I were fine.
Not even her words could calm me. I begged her to see me that day. She agreed to see me last. Waiting for the time for my appointment was torture.  

Only seeing could calm me. 
There he was. Smaller than my fingertips. It was strange that his heartbeat was so visible. 
There you were unwilling to fantasize about how he'll look and what his name will be because you are too afraid of your own heartbreak, and there he is, heart beating strong. 
His heart is already beating! Your hopes and dreams HAVE come true. He lives already and you love him more than your own life. 

Why would you want to anticipate heartbreak? 
Is pain really that bad?
Why are you so afraid of it?
Would you feel better if the Lord decided to take him early and you weren't left in pieces because you didn't get your hopes high so you wouldn't really be disappointed? 
His heart beats! 

I could hear Jesus words: "Woman of little faith. You had to see to believe."

Oh, Father, I'm sorry.
His heart already beats and I already want to talk to him about You. 
I want to sing him the lullabies I long ago wrote for him.
On my belly, he'll hear the songs I sing only to You in our time alone, and now with him.  
I want to dream-nay, hope! I have a hope. I have a deep love.  
If he is a boy, his name is Rodolfo Alberto Zelaya Ulloa. I imagine him with his father's light brown hair and perfect smile and his mother's skin and stature.
If she is a girl, her name is Danielle Lilly Zelaya Ulloa. I imagine her with her mother's long, straight hair and her father's green eyes. 

Dear baby,
I already think of you every minute every day. 
I want to start teaching you the important things in life: like being a dog lover! 
You have three dogs you'll love to pull their ears. Don't worry, they won't bite.
They'll love to chase you on our huge backyard. 
Don't be surprised if at first they're a little jealous of you. They learn to overlook the fact that you are the center of attention when they learn you love them back. 

 Dear Lord,
Please forgive my unbelief. Your goodness has been without measure. I have no excuse to let thoughts like these take control over me. Make me seek Your Word and when in the valley of death remember You are my shepherd, not only guiding me but caring for me. I love You, Father. Thank You for the life beating inside of me and fulfilling my hopes and dreams.
I forever love You!