Be You

You are far too valuable to let the opinions of others determine who you are or how you see yourself.-…Heart Of Grace

“I sat in bed this morning, I heard those words in my heart. I have been slowly breaking free from this cycle, it’s been far too long. I have been pressed down, I have been discouraged, I have been broken by the worry of other’s opinions about me. I have pretended to be someone I’m not. I have gone out of my way to be liked. I have isolated myself because of the fear of being myself. I only hindered the person I was meant to be. I have broken free.”-Stephanie

 

No one ever has the power to make us feel how we don’t want to feel, unless we give them permission. The opinions of people change constantly, it’s no wonder many of us have a hard time deciding what we want, who we want to be, etc. We try to fit into unrealistic molds.

I have learned that having a heart that is constantly changing, like the swishes of the waves, only leaves a feeling of emptiness. I have tried so hard to be a people pleaser, but it only left me drained. I did my best to make sure no one had anything bad to say about me, that only left me overwhelmed.

I want to encourage you, if you find yourself bending backwards for people or being burdened by the opinions of others, know you’re far too valuable than what they may be or are thinking or saying about you.

Image result for affected by opinions

 

Be You

Written: June 9, 2017

Stand out when they want you to fit in.

Turn around when they want you to follow.

Be yourself when they want you to be like them.

Worry not about what they will say,

For opinions are like the ocean waves, they come and they go.

Here now and then gone.

But you, darling, remain the same.

                                                                                                  -Stephanie Ann Pequeno

 

The Beauty of My Body

I looked at you and all I could see was flaw upon flaw. I had worked so hard to get you to go away, but the harder I tried the longer it remained. I hated you, I disliked you, I abused you. I called you names. I looked at you with disgust in my eyes, I was broken. The days were hard, the struggle was there, but little by little my vision of you changed. My eyes were opened to see that there, before, me was beauty. Imperfectly perfect are you. I have learned that you are loved. There is a Father who sees your flaws, but still thinks you’re absolutely beautiful. Because of this, I have learned to love you beyond the flaws. I look at you with love in my eyes. I look at you with desire to help you, in my heart. No longer do I abuse you, no longer do I hate you. You walk with me, you work with me to change what should be changed, and enjoy the journey on the way. No longer do you shut down at the abuse. I thank you, for we are now stronger. We are now healthier. We are mentally stronger. We are one. Beautiful body, are you.-…Heart Of Grace

body

This poem was inspired by my experience yesterday. While I was stretching before my walk, I saw my reflection in the window and I thought to myself, “I like what I see.” It surprised me, because I have been one who has struggled with their weight and the way they saw themselves. I used to hate my body, myself. I mistreated it, I abused it in so many ways. I even starved my body, I went as low as to call myself a, “fat pig.” There were times I fell into depression and never wanted to leave the house because I was not confident in my own clothes. I treated my body like an enemy. I never understood and my body and I were one. I did one thing with my body, expecting it to do something else.  I later realized my body didn’t respond to abuse. Who does?

One day I just had enough of feeling sick, not having energy and always feeling depressed. It was then that I cried out to God for help and finally began doing something about it. I took my health back. I took the love and respect for myself back. God renewed my mind and placed love in my heart for my body, now I am doing better with loving it and nurturing it. (I started working out and eating right. I am now showing my body love.) It’s been 3 months and I am down almost 20lbs.

It hasn’t been easy, but God has helped me through it all. 

“It’s not everyday I like my body. There are days I look into the mirror and do my best to love what I see. There are times I wish I could trim the excess away from certain parts. Lately I have been feeling comfortable in my body, ever since I came back from Oregon. Those three days I was there I did not workout, but I did my best to eat well. I came back with a new mentality and I have not been pushing my body like I used to. I no longer plan my days around my workouts, I workout around my day. Honestly that has kept me in a good routine and feeling good physically & mentally. I felt great today and I liked what I saw. It’s confidence from God that I have.”-Stephanie

I have learned and I’m still learning to see myself the way God sees me, because when I do my body will respond how I want it to. I’ve learned that, punishing your body will not cause it to change how you want, only loving it can.

Remember, you’re beautiful. You are loved just the way you are. God, thinks you’re a gem.

Forever Free

Life takes many shapes. Fears mold us into things we are not, fitting in, hiding who we are. On the outside we appear to be something, that our hearts know we’re not. Who can save us, who can set us free? His name is Jesus. Who’s identity leads us to break free, exposing who we’re meant to be.  Forever Free. 

wpid-img_20150210_181405

Poem written by Stephanie Ann Pequeno

February 11, 2015

Just Know

Beautiful one, how I desire for you to know; that you are worth far more than what you can see. For deep down, there is a gem, your heart. Each day I look into it and I can see every desire and every dream that you are afraid to make known, even to me. Just know, you can accomplish what you set out to do, but alone you will not go far. Just know, that I have given you these dreams, for I wish to accompany you on this journey, to take you farther than you can imagine. Just know, my darling, that you’ve been chosen for a time as this. The time is now. Get up and take hold of what has been give to you and know,  my mighty hand is upon you.-…Heart Of Grace ❤

“The mighty hand of God equals; purpose, protection, provision”- Steven Furtick

Me (2)After spending a beautiful weekend in Oregon, surrounded by amazing people for a marriage retreat, I came back home inspired.  Today I woke up with so many ideas in my heart, but not knowing where to begin. I was starting to feel overwhelmed with all these ideas, but all I heard was, “Come to me.” I know that voice. It’s my Heavenly Father wanting to hear all about my ideas, my dreams and visions, even though He already knows. During my walk I began opening my heart to Him and allowing Him into my plans, I began to feel peace. I know He is preparing a way for me.

Many times I’ve began things and never followed through, why? I always tried to do them alone, without God. Of course, when there is something new and exciting that we want to try, the first thing we tend to do is jump right into it, without careful thought and consideration…let alone communication with God. There is no set foundation to those plans.

His will or my will be done?

Today’s poem was inspired by the season I am currently in. A time to set aside my time for Him, to be able to hear from Him as well as Him hear from me. A time to begin planning and doing. I have wasted so much time just “thinking” and not doing, just talking about it and leaving it to “chance.” When it’s God who wants me to get up and start moving. I have been afraid. I have been doubtful, doubting my own capabilities or if it would even work. I was simply doing what I wanted or what I felt.

My mentality changed when I received a powerful revelation… that what God calls us to do, He also equips us to do it. That a desire placed in our hearts, surrendered to God will always fall into place. Period. So my lack of obedience and faith is no longer justified by any kind of insecurity I feel.

“God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called.”-Unknown

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.-Romans 8:28-30

Encouragement

We have all been given gifts, talents, dreams, desires and so on. But there is only one person who can ignite and transform them into something amazing, that’s God. The one who gave them to you, and knows just how to use them in your life, for your life and others. Sometimes doubt and insecurity try to sneak their way in our minds, trying to disarm any joy or passion we may have, but know that in Christ you already have the victory.

After battling this for some time I have realized that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, who has called me according to His purpose. Which simply means, that everything I surrender to him will be successful, because He has called me to do it. Same goes for you.

God has said that apart from Him we can do nothing.

Do not be afraid to step out of what is comfortable, for doing so you will see God move in mighty ways. For in the unknown He makes things known. Trust him, entrust all your dreams, desires and visions to Him and see him use them in wonderful ways.

(Blog was inspired by the teachings we received in Oregon, at the Marriage After God retreat by Jennifer Smith from Unveiled Wife & Aaron Smith from Husband Revolution. For it sparked that passion in my own life. I am learning. I still have a ways to go, but God is with me and goes before me. I am not alone. <3)

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.-Deuteronomy 31:7

Loneliness, Just A Word

“I sit here, alone. It never fails, though I am surrounded by people loneliness seems to find me. It whispers in my ear, “I want you.” It’s ever seductive voice captures my attention, I follow. Alluring me into a dark place, filled with temptations, I surrender my will. I sit there with loneliness. My mind begins to fill itself up with how things would be in different circumstances. I look around and see what is there, but yet something inside remains empty. Nothing that is seen can satisfy what my heart desires. I struggle to find the peace that sets me free. I struggle to see what I am meant to see. Loneliness blinds me. There is a giant gap between me and them. For loneliness has placed pain within when I think about becoming vulnerable and opening up. How I want to break free. How I want to fight back. “-…Heart of Grace

These past few days have been the worst. Lack of desire, motivation to do anything. All I want to do is stay in bed. I’ve been feeling alone, I have been feeling just isolated. I’ve been here before, I know what it feels like, I don’t like it. At all…

Through all this only one word comes to mind, loneliness. I always feel this way when I start depending on people to fill that void I have. The very void that only Jesus can fill. I have been looking to the wrong people, the wrong things for that satisfaction. Looking for a new “excitement” has only left me feeling drained and so exhausted. I need Him. I really do.

Loneliness is a real thing. Many people struggle with it. It’s a dark place that many do not escape from. It’s a place that lies seem like truths, a place where lies become their realities. A place that paints a false picture, only catering to ones feelings they are already carrying inside. How do I know? I have been there. I once believed that no one loved me. I once believed that I was never good enough. I once believed that people would be better off if I was dead. These are all pictures loneliness paints, to enhance the insecurities, to enhance the lies, to enhance the feelings.

There are days when all I wanna do is cry. That takes strength. There are days when I confess to someone what I am feeling inside. That takes strength. There are days when I push through and tell loneliness to get behind me. That takes strength.

When you feel the need to hold back your tears, because you don’t want others to see you cry, that is weakness. When you want to hide everything that is wrong because you’re afraid of what they may think or say, that is weakness. When you sit back and do nothing about how you’re feeling and allow it to control your life, that is weakness.

For it takes a stronger person to shed tears, admit there is a problem, ask for help and fight back. -Stephanie

Then, loneliness becomes just a word and no longer a reality. ❤

I Am Not Alone

When I walk through deep waters
I know that You will be with me
When I’m standing in the fire
I will not be overcome
Through the valley of the shadow
I will not fear

I am not alone
I am not alone
You will go before me
You will never leave me

In the midst of deep sorrow
I see Your light is breaking through
The dark of night will not overtake me
I am pressing into You
Lord, You fight my every battle
And I will not fear

You amaze me
Redeem me
You call me as Your own

You’re my strength
You’re my defender
You’re my refuge in the storm
Through these trials
You’ve always been faithful
You bring healing to my soul

No Longer Isolated

There are days, like today, that I find myself struggling to hold on to you. I am overwhelmed with so many emotions. I feel sadness, I feel alone, I feel like I am slipping away. In the morning I rose, in my heart a song. My heart, my soul could not rest until I played it, and again. My many mistakes cause me to push myself further away from you. Though you constantly remind me of your unfailing love and amazing grace, I still feel ashamed. Distorting the image of how you see me, I start to feel unworthy. I just fall on my knees, in surrender. My heart cries out to you, ‘I need you.’- …Heart of Grace

It is one of those days, where I wake up and a certain song is playing in my mind. I cannot rest, or I do not feel right unless I listen to it. I have learned that it’s God’s way of comforting me, or simply reminding me that He is thinking of me and wants me to acknowledge Him.

The days have seemed so long. It seems like, as the days go by, further away I become. So many things happening, life is happening. Struggles occur, but the last thing I do is run to the one who can bring me peace.

Ever done something that leaves you feeling so unworthy, ashamed, making you want to hide?

I have, many times. I beat myself up about it for awhile. I try to “hide” from God,  I try to isolate myself from everybody. I am afraid of them seeing me in my error. As though they might “judge” me or think less of me.

When an enemy desires to strike you down, they will always try to catch you alone, not when you’re surrounded by people who love you. So what better way to do that, than with isolation. -Stephanie

I have been here before, in a place of isolation, surrounded by a wall that I, myself have built up. I thought it was my way of protecting myself, but then I realized it was actually locking me inside, alone with the one that torments, the one that strikes the mind with lies.

Isolation is never a good thing. While we think we are trying to protect ourselves, what we are actually doing is making ourselves even more vulnerable to what is already tormenting us; shame, guilt, depression, sadness…etc. Those are enemies, the very things that try to catch us alone. I have struggled for years with these, and it wasn’t until I realized what I was doing that I broke free from those walls of isolation.

I realized there was a God who loved me regardless of what I have done. There were people there for me, who saw me for me, not the things I have done. That’s the power of love. Real love.

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.-Ecclesiastes 4:12

If you struggle with isolation, please know that you’re not alone. There are people who understand what you’re going through, people who have been where you are. There is a God who sees all and knows your deepest cries, who has seen ever single tear. He extends his hand to lift you up, out of those walls of isolation.

You are courageous. You are brave. You are loved. You are more than what you feel, or think. You’re beautiful. You are cherished. You are a warrior.

Remember that, the next time the enemy tries to isolate you. It cannot mess with someone who knows who they are and what they are capable of. – Stephanie ❤

Calm, In The Storm

In the midst of chaos, you’re the only stable thing. You calm what’s raging within, in perfect peace I’m in. Through the night, restless I became, but never far away were you. You held me close, you comforted my heart and reminded me that when the morning comes, joy will be restored.-…Heart of Grace

Inspired by a sleepless night & the experience it was.

calm-before-the-storm

Quote by: Stephanie A. Hernandez

“Though it was rough, the all surpassing peace over powered the storm. In the morning (when I woke up) the joy was restored. I woke up feeling strengthened, though I didn’t have much sleep. I was no longer in pain.”

God is the God of all comfort. His promise is; “Though sorrow lasts through the night, joy will come in the morning.”

No matter what you may be facing know that it is not the end, for the light shines brighter after the storm. It’s always calm, after the storm. -…Heart of Grace

Be strengthened in knowing that you’re not alone in what you’re going through. People may leave you, but the One who LOVES you, is always there.  ❤

 

I Didn’t Know I Had That In Me

I have never pushed myself that way before. At the first sign of discomfort my first thought was always to quit. How many moments have I thrown away, the moments that could have been used to show me what I was capable of? Time after time, after every defeat, I felt I wasn’t good enough-or that I would never be able to reach those goals. My mind raced with so many thoughts, my heart filled with so many emotions… but not yesterday. Of this, I am proud. -…Heart Of Grace

Yesterday, a day of which I have never been more proud of myself. It started so slowly. I woke up late, I felt tired. Due to the early morning trip to the ER. I had no energy to do anything. All my body was telling me to do was sleep. I couldn’t. I remembered a responsibility I had. I made a promise to myself that I would stick with my daily workouts, which pushed me to get moving. Everything within me did not want to, but my mind kept telling me, “you will be feel so much better after.” It was right. I started off with laps around my backyard. I walk in my backyard, because I don’t like being seen when I work out. I think that’s why I have avoided gyms. (I have no idea why I am like that.) I walked for an hour. During my walk my foot began to hurt. I heard a voice telling me to stop, that it was a good reason to just “rest.” I simply kept going, eventually the pain went away.

“Opposition will always come your way, when you’re about to reach a breaking point in your life that will be a blessing to you, but greater is He who is in you, than he who is in the world.”…Heart Of Grace

Then it came time to fulfill my duty. It was Cardio day. It happens to be my favorite, but not so much when I’m trying to get the momentum going. A part of me wanted to skip it, after all I already had walked for an hour. “Nope,” my mind told me. So I pushed through and started my workout. I jogged around in my garage, I rode on my stationary bike, I did that for what I thought was thirty minutes. With my heart racing and sweat running down the side of my face, all I could think about was, “I have finished.”

I looked at my Fitbit, and realized I had reached my daily step goal of eight-thousand steps, ninety minutes of movement, and so on. As I went to sync my Fitbit I realized something amazing. I surpassed my thirty minute Cardio workout by two minutes. It might not be a big deal to some, but to me it was! I was ecstatic. I still had plenty of day light left, and so much more to do. By the end of the day I had reach, yet another goal. I had finally reached; ten-thousand steps- equivalent to four miles.

18010731_183114755542101_7044325537914540090_n17990345_183114782208765_9043030941477909362_o17917278_183114798875430_8015861440490766416_o

 

 

 

 

 

I honestly, didn’t know I had that in me. This is my all-time best.  I didn’t know I was capable of such victory when it came to fitness. Never have I been the one who loved working out. Shoot, in school I hated P.E. Yup, I was that over-weight girl. Yesterday, proved to me that I am no longer that girl. I am now a grown woman who desires to have a healthier life-style and desires to be in better shape…not for anybody else, but for me. I realized yesterday that I can go beyond that what I think I can. That I am stronger than what I feel, that I don’t have to bow down to the first sign of discomfort. At the end of the day, I ended at just a little over eleven-thousand steps.

God says I am an overcomer and that the victory is already mine. I believe him, yesterday it was proven.

 

For the Love of Writing

    I sit here, not really knowing what to say. All that comes to mind is this… for many years I have written down every thought, every experience, every emotion and revelation. All with the desire to share them with others. Now that I have a chance, I draw a blank. Words of poetry, words of love, words of anger all flowed from these fingertips. Never to be seen again, hidden away are they. It’s a new season, a time to share. Ashamed, I will not be, for bravery I now carry within. I desire to share my story, for others to see. To let them know they are not alone, to remind them they are human, to let them know imperfection is beauty. After all, there will be no stories to share, if my life was perfect…

-…Heart Of Grace