The Power of Your Story

Currently, I am working on a writing project about transformation, which I hope to share with you in the spring.  In review of my life in recent years I find myself nostalgic.  Old photos remind of us of a time when --- who we were, dreamed of becoming, and who we are today.  Photographs are moments caught in time, that now flood our minds with memories of seasons, heartaches, heartbreaks, and joy!

In particular, this photo (below) reminds me of how far I have come in the last 10 years.  Today, I have hope anchored in my soul knowing how far God will take me.  God has no limits in his dreams for his children.  How far he will he take YOU? 

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What Is your story?

(Stay with me).

I have shared before from ages 19 to 30 my life became very messy. Nearly, the subsequent decade, would be about me healing, pursing faith, letting go, and stepping into confidence. I think most of us have a story of transformation. 

My life became immeasurably whole when I committed myself to prayer, to encourage others, and to tell my story of what my belief and practice of Jesus’ life has done in me.

If there’s ever a time to boast it is in all God has done and who HE will always be!  I love old photos of when my siblings and I were kids because I am reminded of the joys in my childhood.


Now and then...

The picture below is from earlier this year and reminds me of the work and healing in me.
What physical picture or memory reminds you of the miracles in your life? Change doesn’t happen overnight. Healing takes time, but the fruit is peace, joy, and hope anchored beyond circumstances.

I think for my friends who do not believe in God or have a rocky history with church —- I get it. I think there is more than enough happening in our world that may lead you to think faith is not helpful. Lots of people speaking on 'behalf of Jesus' and often things church leaders say can smell a little like pooh. I am a pastor and I get it.  Yet, in my experience I know so many faith leaders who are honest, vulnerable, and have INCREDIBLE stories of God's goodness in his or her life who speak truth.  YOU have those stories.  

I leave you with this picture of me declaring to a room of people not that I am awesome. Instead, that I have failed...been hurt...hurt people, and have been disappointed —- but God rescued me. This has made my life awesome!

My rescue didn’t start at church

My surrender started in my bedroom at my parents house with a single prayer asking God to help me.

I still make mistakes. I have bad days. I long for things that have not happened yet and become disappointed.....I cuss a little....nobody’s perfect. But I am trying. I know you are trying to live your best life everyday and God sees us!  Maybe you do not have a blog or platform but you can and should declare to others the things God has done in and through you! Your story will encourage someone and we are at a time when encouragement is necessary.  We need authentic stories of what God is doing in your life. 

What God has done in me has made me feel MORE like me! I have so much more room to grow, but growing in Christ has made me more like myself.  I pray you feel the same!

The prayer I prayed at my parents house when I was broken and all of the prayers prayed since -- He heard me.

I listened.

(As a lover of literature) to quote Robert Frost “...that has made all the difference.”

Why I Jumped

I was scrolling through Instagram probably for the thousandth time today.  My thumb has become conditioned to quickly swiping up with a quick tap, that I almost missed something amazing. “Great things never come from comfort zones” my friend posted.  The soft pink graphic post with calligraphy gray writing looked like a print I should order off of Etsy and frame on my wall. The graphic was subtle but it may as well have been a lion roaring in the road:


There it was in gray and pink --- the answer to my recent anxiousness.  Opportunity was knocking but the comfort of routine had become more attractive than what was fresh, new, and life-giving.  Something was wrong.  Since when did muddy waters prove appealing over crystal clear water?  Do not let your comfort zone trick you out of what is good for you. 

Is there a potential promotion?  Maybe you have desired taking a class, or working out.  Has there been a desire to volunteer, but having to do research and meet new people seems like too much work?  Maybe you see the potential for a new relationship, but fear and reminders of the past keep you stuck in neutral calling it comfort.  I love a Netflix and a (lactose free) ice cream day --- that’s comfortable.  But my body, soul, and mind appreciate when I switch out the Netflix for a good book or a power walk at the beach.  Sometimes the effort is just getting past my thoughts and hang-ups.

About seven years ago I was the young adult pastor at my church.  I took a group of college-aged students 13 hours north of home, deep into the mountains, to what looked like a scene out of “Legends of the Fall”. I was far from home and out of my comfort zone.  During that time I had been struggling with a diagnosis of myelopathy and undergoing further tests to rule out Multiple Sclerosis.  I was committed to this trip, but my sorrows, couch, pajamas, and a large pepperoni pizza were calling me.  I wanted to be anywhere other than on this trip spiritually leading students.  My spiritual health was languishing over the weight of the diagnosis.  My body was acting in ways that I had no control over.  Nevertheless, I persisted.

The beauty I witnessed on that trip I will never forget for the rest of my life.  The beauty of nature spoke of God in a way that made my soul come alive.  I climbed, leapt, and swam further than I ever had before.  I was pushed outside of my comfort zone and God met me in the wilderness. I never knew I could jump off the side of a mountain and not only survive but love it!  I rafted and flipped into a roaring rapid. In each moment God met me.  

Now, I am not suggesting you jump off the side of a cliff into a river.  But I am praying that if you are lost, unsure, or feeling afraid that you will step out of your comfort zone into the areas Jesus is calling.  Maybe it’s going back to church, or trying church for the first time! Maybe it’s taking that dance class you keep talking about but never sign up for.  Maybe it is starting a blog, or seeking out a mentor.  Whatever that MOMENTUM CATALYST is for you….SHAKE things up so you can SHINE!

We have to wake up friends.  This is a GOOD time to be ALIVE.

Social media makes it so easy to compare our lives to others.  Leaving us feeling insecure. Instead, give your thumbs a rest and take the first action step toward that thing you KNOW will make you feel alive.  Shake off that comfort.  Soon the comfort might turn into chains, if you are not careful.

Shake so you can SHINE!


Klamath River

Klamath River

Open Letter to My Mother For Mother's Day (WARNING: sensitive subject)

Dear Mom:

Today is Mother’s Day and I find myself filled with nostalgia.  This afternoon, as our family sat around you I stared at you thinking how beautiful you looked.  I studied your face searching for pieces of my own.  I wondered when I am your age will my skin be as flawless?  Will I smile with my eyes the way that you do?  Will a table of my own children, grandchildren, and a husband lean in to hear my thoughts and confer with each other to make sure I am okay?  I know we are not perfect, but we love you.

I am grateful for your life.  

I am grateful for our time together even though I can often be distant --- it’s not you --- it’s me.  I am an inward person who puts out a massive amount of energy in ministry and lately school; therefore, with my limited free time I tend to want to recharge by being alone.  I know this distance hurts you and I am sorry.  

As I sat across from you this evening I thought of our timeline.  I was the daughter who you ordered beautiful custom made dresses.  Rather, my sister was the one to prefer that kind of kindness.  You always wanted your daughters with you.  Yet, it must have been hurtful when all I wanted to do was wear my old E.T. sweatsuit and stay home to watch “I Love Lucy” with Pop.  You always made sure your children had the best even when you went without.  You were fearless in your defense of us. I dared any teacher to give me a difficult time because like a superhero you would show up and change the atmosphere.  No one was going to mistreat, discriminate, or ridicule your child. Not happening. Not today.    

My teen years were difficult.  Not because I was rebellious (let me be honest, I still lined my stuffed animals on my bed at 16 and my curfew was at 8:59pm), but I saw you as “old school” and assumed you would not understand.  I was a quiet and stubborn kid who always wanted to blaze my own trail.  I remained out of trouble and you succeeded in sheltering me in the safety of private schools and suburban neighborhoods. I excelled in school and for all intents and purposes I was a good kid.  For my sweet sixteen (Pop said “No”) but you rented a convertible for me and paid for my friends and I to spend the day at Magic Mountain.  I will never forget that day!

My young adult years were hard while I was far away at school.  There was nothing you could have done differently!  Life is just crazy at times….I hardly recognized myself during that period.  Nevertheless, young adult years are much about self-discovery.  When I called to tell you I had gone through with an abortion I braced for the worst.  I assumed my Jesus-loving conservative mother would disconnect from me the way that a line goes dead following an unexpected drop. Leaving me to wonder what had happened and if you had heard anything I said.

Instead, you proved to be everything you had been to me my whole life --- my superhero.  My Jesus-loving conservative mother loved me with a deep unashamed love that could go toe-to-toe with the greatest love stories.  You listened to my pain as I relayed the story of self-proclaimed Christian protesters calling me a “Baby Killer” and that “I would be judged” one day.  You listened, when I shared that the people at the clinic never really helped me to plan anything.  You cried with me when I told you I woke up, my face wet with tears, on a gurney next to many other young women with similar stories --- this was the process of abortion and you loved me through it.

Mom, the gift of grace you gave me that day when I told you my story was you living out the image of God you are fashioned in.  As good mothers do --- you put me first.  Your concern was to love me, protect me, help me to mend, and guide me back onto a path with my faith --- a relationship I desperately needed and longed for.  Mom, you are an exquisite strength that I cannot comprehend.  

Yes, we argue. We butt heads. We often disagree.  You drive me crazy always having to be right (I see where I get it from :-).  I am a risk taker and you would prefer me to remain safe.  You believe in tradition and I am a total unconventional progressive.  We are similar, in that we are both sensitive, and we both love hard without condition.  Thank you, Mom.  You are a gift to me.  I am finally mature enough to even appreciate our disagreements.  

Thank you for loving me for all of my life.  I will love you for all of yours and beyond.  I celebrate you today and I know how blessed I am to have you alive and present that I can tell you so.  Mother’s day can be tough for women who desire children but for one reason or another life has not worked out that way.  Regardless, you make Mother’s Day worth celebrating and I pray, if given the opportunity, I will love my future family the way you have taught me.

¡Feliz Dia de La Madre, Mama! Reina de Panamá y reina de nuestros corazones.

Love you, Mami.

La Niña