Farewell

A step to move forward; letting go of the past is required. I am at a crossroad. I look at the options ahead of me, yet I still see what I wish still existed. I am at a standstill. With all my heart I want to let go and start anew, but there is something deep down within that remains afraid of the unknown that lies ahead. I look up to You, no words are said, You know the very look my eyes carry. With my face downcast all I can say is, “I want what You have in store for me.” Help me to let go of what was, for forgetting it will not happen. A day is coming when I will no longer look back on the memories and mourn, but be thankful for the opportunity given. I hear it again and again, “This had to happen,” and immediately I am comforted. You know the plans You have for me. I know they are not to harm me, for through the eyes of hope I see Your prosperity.

Farewell

September 15th of last year, was the day we celebrated the life of my husband. It was the day I thought I would be saying, “see you later,” but it turns out I have been trying to hold on to him for as long as I could. The process to healing has taken a bit longer. I have been fighting my way through, constantly saying, “no.”

I have been wishing things were the same, only to fully ignore what God had been trying to do. It was not to hurt me, but to give me a new future. Just like His promise in Jeremiah 29:11 says. This verse has been my everything during this season of widowhood. I was reminded of a poem that I wrote:

“You Know,” came to me at night while I was in bed. I remember feeling angry and doubting God’s goodness. I doubted that He cared for me because of what He had allowed to happen. I was angry at Him because I believed that He didn’t answer my prayers. At that moment that verse came to my heart and I repeated it out loud:

‘You know the plans You have for me. Plans to prosper me and not to harm me. Plans to give me hope and a future.’ When those words flowed through my mouth a sense of peace came over me. It was a clarity that I needed at that moment to realize that He knew what He was doing. A vail was torn and it was a confirmation that something good was going to be coming out of this. My Father manifested Himself to me at that moment.

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Fighting The Motions

These past few months have been seasons of growth and a lot of healing. They have also been moments where I have been letting go of him, little by little, but fighting God every step. I have been taking baby steps because I have been afraid of “forgetting” him and acting like he never existed. Last night I felt like the time was soon coming when I would start taking down photos of him and I. I immediately shot back, “I am not going to act like he never existed.” This only proves that I am fighting God.

I often ask myself, “why is this so hard?” I have yet to get an answer. I wish I didn’t feel the way I do. I wish it was easy for me. I wish I was able to be fully obedient to let go completely, but I haven’t.

Every step; the good, the bad and especially the ugly have been necessary for growth and healing. There was no way I would have been able to skip over the harder parts just to get to the good.

Fading Away

It’s like a movie that is playing in my head, the memories of what was are slowly fading away until everything is gone. Pictures are being removed, clothes have been taken down… the realization that that part of my life is really over. I am afraid.

I am afraid I will forget him, but I know I have to say, “I’ll see you later.” I know it’s time. For I know that this will make way for the man God has for me. The best is yet to come. God’s best for me, he is yet to come. I am a single woman walking in the ways of God. This gift of a new start, I will not take it for granted.

I want to see the Goodness of God in my life.

 

Letting Go

As I let go, I am not forgetting. What I am doing is letting go of my past. Even now memories are being shot in my mind and they hurt. The very reason I am meant to let them go. Memories of the hospital visits. Memories of what it was like to endure hospital stays and so much more, I am letting them go. I am letting go of the sadness, the lonliness and the pain. I am letting go of the ugly, to fully embrace the good that is soon to come.

It’s what is best for me.

I will always carry the good in my heart and the good examples that were made I will carry into my new relationship. The lessons learned will always be in my heart, for they have made me wiser and have helped me see what kind of woman I want to be.

I will always have that special place in my heart for Freddy. He was my first real love and husband. I could never forget that. I am letting go of my past for myself, in order to move forward and also as respect for the man God is preparing for me.

My sister in law told me something that really made me think. She said, “after this step, there is one more step you will have to take. You will have to let go of all the photos and things of Freddy when God brings that man into your life.”

At that moment, I was thinking of how hard that would be, but now, I know when that time comes God will give me the courage and the ability to do it. It will be that fresh start He has been preparing me for… I will be ready. 

It’s all one step at a time.

 

 

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I Will See You Later

My life is a movie that is playing out and a sweet mystery it’s becoming. One step at a time, things are unraveling. Stepping into this new season and this identity, many doors have been opening. I have stepped through a new door, only to finally understand that the one behind me has already been shut. I take a look back and all I see is a closed door that can no longer be open. I begin forward, ready to embrace the new He has for me.

I now say, “I’ll see you later.” It’s time.

You were my best friend and I loved you. You were the best part of my life for those eight years. You helped me know God’s love for me in the way you loved and cherished me. Your friendship helped me through difficult moments at that time. I will never forget your encouragement and the words of life you spoke over me. You always reminded me of who I was and who you knew I would be. I will always be thankful for having you in my life, Alfredo Hernandez Jr. I believe you would be proud of the woman I am today. I know without any of this, I wouldn’t be where I am. You showed me how to love unconditionally. You showed me how to cherish every moment. These are things I will carry over when God brings the One.  Thank you for being the man of God you truly were. I especially thank you for teaching me what true worship is. You always had a worshippers heart. I will never forget that.

I will see you later. I love you.

With that I say, “goodbye,” to the past.

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2010 – 2018

Dare You To Move…

A song played at his service, as if he was telling me.

Welcome to the planet
Welcome to existence
Everyone’s here
Everyone’s here
Everybody’s watching you now
Everybody waits for you now
What happens next?
What happens next?

I dare you to move
I dare you to move
I dare you to lift yourself up off the floor
I dare you to move
I dare you to move
Like today never happened
Today never happened before

 

The Ugly Side

“There are days I feel so good and happy and there are days like today when emotions and sadness come over me like a flood.
I walked out of Subway feeling so alone. I was missing him. Walking to my car tears began to fall down my cheeks. It was like I was watching myself from afar. I was seeing myself feel what I felt and I saw myself going through what I’m going through… I just sat in my car and just started crying. I couldn’t hold it in.
Guilt has come again, but in a different way. I have been reliving how things were and I’ve been feeling like maybe if I had been different with my husband he would still be here. If I took better care of him. Or if I didn’t push him so hard…
This was my day.
I wanted to leave work early and just hide away. I wanted to be alone and to push everything/everyone away.
I didn’t let depression win. I didn’t let isolation win.
I will have my best days and I will also have my worst days… eventually things will balance out and stronger I will be. 🌸
God is the God of comfort. This helps me through.”-Stephanie (January 9th)

The Ugly Side of Grieving

I have been walking into the deepest parts of grieving; that moment when all things are being completely stripped away; when all that I new is starting to become nothing more than a memory. I have been experiencing break downs, lash outs and moments of just me wanting to run away and go. Where? I don’t know… at the moment any place sounds better than here.

It was a Wednesday, I broke down at work while on my lunch. I had a moment where I felt like I was watching myself there in that moment. I was by myself.

I saw myself feeling how I felt and I felt what I was feeling… tears just fell down my cheeks. I couldn’t help it.. and at that very moment, I just felt so alone. 

I sat in my car and began to cry. I let everything out. I felt so weak that I didn’t want to go on with my day. It was that moment I wanted to revert, isolate myself and be alone. But I couldn’t.

I am going through these changes that no one else understands. I cannot be like everyone who is moving on like nothing has happened or like those who are ok because, “they know where he is.” I just can’t!

Of course, there life wasn’t affected like mine. He was my husband, the better part of me. I knew who I was with him, now I am not so sure. 

I am breaking cycles. I am breaking patterns. I am breaking routines. I have begun doing things that I never did before. I am re-finding myself and figuring out who I now am without my husband.

A Breakdown

In the last few days I have had multiple breakdowns. None like before. These have been from deep down; from the places that are still hurting. Confusion comes in; fear, doubt and the worst of all, the wondering of, “Why?!” 

I have been constantly tormented by that question. Why has this happened? I didn’t ask for it.

I have been completely honest with God. I have cried out to Him and I have yelled my frustration at Him. He continues to hear me.

This past Thursday I didn’t go to work.  I just couldn’t. I needed time alone to clear my head. I needed God.

A lot has been coming at me and temptations from every which way; my weakness and vulnerability have been used against me as though I am going to cave in… I am not.

I spent that early morning alone with God at the church. There I was able to just let everything out and cry without being heard. These past few times, all I have been wanting is to cry without someone asking me, “are you ok? or what’s wrong?” I just wanted to be able to without being asked. To know that it was ok to just cry.

Being in God’s presence, completely transparent helped to expose what was buried.

I yelled at God. I felt so much hurt and like as though He let me down. I told him, “Everything that I have ever asked from You have given me and You have always helped me in everything, but I didn’t ask to be a widow.” 

When those words were released from my mouth, I felt this “ahhh!!” moment. Like God was saying, “There, that’s it.” I have been so angry, but have pushed it aside trying to pretend that I am ok.

It’s just been so hard. I can’t move on the way everybody else is. I just can’t. I can’t avoid these steps of this grieving process. Like I said, no one else was affected the way I am.

This has been my reality…

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Random moments of sadness and breakdowns. I can’t avoid them… I am going through them though I don’t want to. I feel broken; waiting for God to put me back together. To pick up with pieces and turn me into something beautiful.

 

See the source imageThe meaning of the word everything: “the current situation; life in general.”

God causes (the current situation; of life in general) to work together for the good of those who’ve been called…

Reading the definition of the word “everything,” this verse made more sense to me. He takes my current situation and then uses it to benefit me in the long run. Though I cannot see it yet, He is working.

 

It’s Healing

“It’s  not a storm, it’s healing.”-Mimi

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I am no longer seeing this as a storm, but a way for healing; a way for restoration. 

 

To The Cutter Inside…

I see you. I know you. I get it. Life has thrown at you things you had no control over. It has even left you believing that it was your fault. Deep down inside you wanted to take it out the only way you’ve always known how; on yourself. Life has knocked you down, but still, I see something in you that desires to get up and rise. 

You thought you had no choice but to fight; as though there was no one there to defend you or protect you from what you felt inside. It’s your defense mechanism. I get it, but still, there is a way out. A place to cast your burdens; your cares.

You take a look at your life and wonder if things will ever get back to normal. What is normal, now? Nothing about what you’re going through is normal to you. What scares you the most is that you know deep down inside, nothing will ever be normal. I see it.

You often wonder if someone else will accept you and love you as much as the last one; such thoughts bring you torment. I can see it. I know it, but still, there is someone who does.

You look around and all you see is loneliness and you feel as though there is no escape. Your eyes, stuck on the problem in front of you and desperation runs through your body. You panic because you don’t know how to handle it. I know what that feels like, but still, you’re never alone.

Your emotions rage and you don’t care. This is your normal, but still, there is someone who desires to show you another way.

You ask, “How do you know!?”

My answer is simple; “I know because, I was you.” 

 

Thoughts of pain I can control tempting it has always been; the twisted lie that says things will be better if I did. All it was, was a temporary relief that only caused more pain, but in my mind it was ok because it was the only pain I was able to control. Though the scars remain, who I was, is gone.-Stephanie

 

Poem Inspiration

The poem, “To The Cutter Inside,” was inspired by my recent thoughts about cutting. It literally came to me on the way to Salinas with my dad, niece and brother. I was feeling a bit bitter, because today was supposed to be mine and my husband’s eight year anniversary.

It’s been a couple days since thoughts of cutting have came to my mind. Especially because of the mistakes I have made recently. I was feeling angry inside. I wanted to lash out, but in a way that “no one else would know about.” 

In the midst of what I was feeling earlier this morning; all I could think about was what other girls or guys are going through. That’s why I wrote the poem the way I did. As if I was talking to someone. I am; I am talking to those who cut themselves as an escape and who have been truly hurt by things they couldn’t control; whatever that may be…I really do get it. 

And there really is a God who cares about you; who loves you and desires to set you free, the way He did for me. You’re not alone. 

 

A Part of My Story

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This is my tattoo; my left wrist. For years I used cutting as a way to deal with the hidden pain and problems I had at home. In eighth grade I began seeing a counselor to help with the depression and cutting, but that didn’t help. There was a root that no one or nothing was able to remove…

Self-pain was the only thing that I could control when everything around me changed in ways that hurt me… it went on through my teen years and a few of my adult years.

Though the temptations still come, I have been set free. The root that no one or nothing was able to remove, was finally uprooted by God, the one who can reach down deep into the hidden chambers of the heart to bring freedom to our lives. 

Psalm 139: 23-24

 

The Cross

The cross represents: salvation, freedom, healing, restoration, protection and so much more; but those few were the very reasons why I got it over my scars. It was something symbolic that I was led to do for me. When Jesus came into my life the first thing He did was make me new, covering my with His blood; giving me a new life and erasing my past. In His eyes I am no longer a cutter, but His beloved. 

God’s word says in 2 Corinthians 5: 17 that anybody who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone (forgotten; never to be remembered by God) and given new life; identity.

 

My Safe Place

He gave me a safe place to open up and finally let go of the things that I had so buried deep in my heart and began restoring my life. I found that there was freedom in finally opening up and confessing to God what I was going through.

When we release a secret or whatever it is we are feeling inside, it makes room for God’s perfect love to flow in and start doing the good work in our lives. You were meant to carry heavy burdens. You weren’t meant to carry shame. You weren’t meant to carry guilt or blame.

God sees you and stretches out His loving arms and asks you to place on Him your heavy burdens so He can give you rest. –Matthew 11:28

 

What’s Helped Me…

Having the revelation/ understanding that God knows me better than I know myself. That He sees all things. He understands me and gets me. He knows my thoughts; He knows what I carry in my heart. He knows my every move, nothing surprises Him or catches Him off guard. To me that is important. To me is means that when I run to Him and confess what I have done, He is prepared to hear it and just hold me in His arms and help me through it.

He knew me before I was born; nothing I ever did surprised Him.

“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.
Before you were born I set you apart…”- Jeremiah 1:5

God knows you. He has known your every move, every mistake, every thought… and still LOVES you. He says,

“My love, come to me as you are. Nothing you have done or do will surprise me. I loved you then, I love you now. Cast your cares up on me because I am the one cares for you. Rest in the knowing that I am never too far away. Find peace in knowing that I am the one who fights your battles. I am your defender, so you don’t have to fight anymore. Here my child, give to me everything that is causing you pain, so that I may heal you. Let me wipe away every tear and turn your sorrow into joy. Let me show you the life that was meant for you from the start. I love you.”

 


 

“You, you’re not alone
We’ve all been there
Scars come with livin’
You, you’re not alone
We’ve all been there
So, lift your head, lift your head
Lift your head to where your help comes from
You, you’re are not alone
We’ve all been there
Scars come with livin’

It doesn’t matter who you are
This world gon’ leave some battle scars.”-Scars by Toby Mac

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Reach out to God and He will take you by the hand. -Stephanie

A Woman; Her Body

A marvelous creation; a woman is. Created in God’s image, the splendor of His beauty. She is clothed in dignity and crowned with grace. The apple of God’s eye is she. He looks at her and a smile appears on His face. You are lovely. You are delicate, you’re made beautifully and wonderfully. The wonders of her body; so much it can do; what a masterpiece it is. 

Lately…

I have been thinking about what it is to be a woman. I have been learning things about myself and my body that I never really noticed or paid attention to before.

Sometimes I think it’s backwards, but I am now learning how to take better care of myself; my skin, my hair and so on. I am learning to take better care about my body and really learning to love myself, especially during this season of my life.

A part of me is gone; my husband. All that is left is… me. 

I have been led to share and open up about a part of my life that I used to think was unholy and shameful to talk about. I have realized that I am not the only one who has gone through or who is struggling with it.

I am a sexual being; with real temptations, but who now has self-control.

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It begins with Love and is all held together by Self-Control. You cannot manifest self-control in the midst of temptations if you do not love yourself enough to know that you and your body are worth so much more. ❤ -Stephanie 

A revelation I just received as I wrote that; the Fruit of the Spirit is also meant to be manifested to ourselves as well as towards others. How we treat ourselves, how we respect ourselves… it all paves the way for the way others treat and respect us.


 

Innocence of A Child

A couple weeks ago I had the opportunity to open up about something I had been dealing with. I was able to share with a group of women in the Life Group I started attending on Fridays. It was actually the very first time I spoke about it to anybody. It was nice to know that I wasn’t the only one who struggled in this area as a woman. (But first, the seed that was planted…)

Something I want to admit; (Gosh, it’s not easy, but here it goes…) For a long part of my life I had been addicted to sex. There had been a root in my life that was planted when I was a little girl, which led to the kind of lifestyle I lived.

As a little girl I was molested by a family member. I didn’t know it was wrong. I thought it was something normal because it happened more than once. I grew up and again I found myself being molested by a family friend’s son… again I didn’t know it was wrong.

At a young age, the enemy had placed this lie in my head… that if they chose me to do things like that to me, it meant that they liked me. That’s where the root of “people pleasing,” became a thing of my life.

I know for a lot of people it has a different affect on them.

Growing up I tried so hard to be liked and gain attention, and like most women and young girls I did it in a lot of wrong ways. I had no respect for myself and didn’t care that I was attracting the wrong kind of attention, as long as I was getting it.

One thing led to another and I found myself having a hard time saying, “no,” especially when I felt like saying no.  I just wanted to be liked. I didn’t want to be rejected.

That was a fear I had.

 


 

Purity

Void After Void– I am sure many know what that means. After the body and mind saying it’s a good idea, later to wake up and feel so empty and filled with regret… this is why:

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Our bodies were meant to be loved, cherished and remain pure; even in marriage. I allowed my past to move in my marriage. If I saw myself then how I am starting to now, things would have been a lot better. What God has removed from your life, it’s because it cannot go where He is leading you. Impurity cannot be where Purity and blessing reside.

pu·ri·ty
noun
  1. freedom from adulteration or contamination.
    synonyms: cleanness, clearness, clarity, freshness;

That is part of the definition of purity. We have the mentality that to be pure is to be free from sexual immorality, never having done anything wrong or things like that; although it is true, it’s not the only aspect of purity. It can also be in the form of restoration, the form of being set free from that kind of life style. It was for me.

Purity isn’t the state of never having done anything impure, it’s what has already been done for us on the cross. 

“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”- 2 Corinthians 5:17

This is His promise. 

Giving your body away and not loving it the way it was meant to leaves you feeling so empty and feeling worthless at the end of it all. What is meant to be cherished and respected only becomes a tool that one uses for fleshly gain. I say this because that is exactly how I felt after so long of doing the same thing.

 


 

Opening Up

Ok, back to what I shared with my lady loves:

I openly shared that one day God showed me something about myself…

I don’t know how to put this in words on this screen.. it was easier to say in person. (Ironic) At that very moment in my life I learned that I was like a guy who looks at women only as objects to satisfy a need. It got so bad that one day I had seen a good looking guy and began thinking so many things… I was never like that before!

All this sprung up after my husband’s passing. I realized that I even used my marriage to satisfy that need… and now that it was gone I began struggling, but this time it hit harder.

I had literally heard the enemy telling me, “now you’re free to do whatever you want with whoever.” The enemy knew where to hit me. He knew my weaknesses and even more so at a very debilitating time of my life; my husband passing away. 

I knew in my heart I didn’t want to be like that anymore. I knew that God wanted to change me and heal that part of my life for what is to come. I surrendered my sexuality to God. I surrendered those temptations and my sexual drive to God. I let Him make me whole and pure again. I allowed Him to fill that void in my life. That very void, I kept Him far away from for years.

I later found out that me being open and transparent was a blessing to someone in the group. That’s when I felt that it was time to share this part of my life with more people. It’s been a struggle for majority of my life and I am just now being able to walk in that freedom, healing and true purity.

It can be done for anybody who desires that change.


Be Restored

When I surrendered my sexual desires to God, when I surrendered my body to God, when I surrendered my impurity to God, He restored me. 

 

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What the world calls dirty and impure, God makes and sees pure. 

Woman, you are dearly loved. Created with special care. So delicate, so unique. When lies begin to make their way in, know that they are just that; lies. When God sees you, He doesn’t see your past. When you give Him your heart, all He sees is the perfect blood of His son. You are a new creation in Him and no longer the same. The world says that when purity is lost it can never be restored, yes it can. He is the God who restores. He is the God who heals. He is the God that makes all things new. He loves you. He values you. He cherishes you and calles you His own. 

 

Sometimes the way we choose to live are only manifestations of the wrong kind of seeds that were planted in us at a young age that we were not aware of, until we met Him.

Never judge. Never criticize. 

What was lost can always be found in Him. 

Forgiveness, a powerful tool it is. It sets a prisoner free, later to discover that the prisoner was me. I have made mistakes, I know that full well. I am human. I am not perfect, and I do not claim to be. I have hurt the ones closest to me with words; with actions. I have looked back, tears I have cried. “I am sorry”, I cried out to You. I have asked for forgiveness, but do I really believe that I am? For it is easier to forgive those who hurt me, but why is it hard to set myself free from torment and guilt? The past days have not been kind, my stomach in chaos; I need to be set free. I am not the bad person the enemy makes me out to be. I am yours. I am your Daughter. I have been forgiven. Help me to believe it’s true. Help me to live in this truth;

“Whom the Son sets free, is free indeed.” -John 8:36

The Days Have Been Hard

Words cannot express how this past week has been. Tears have been cried. Things have happened that I never imagined would happen to us. My husbands health has been a storm! I have been dealing with anxiety, stress and panic attacks.

Never have I experienced such “anguish,” before. I have been in this place in the past, but this time it’s been hard. Waves of regret, waves of guilt, waves of condemnation have flooded my mind trying to get me to surrender.

But nonetheless, God has manifested in mighty ways. What He has been doing in my life hasn’t been easy. It’s been a rough encounter; one of discipline and of freedom. One of them being; seeing the wrong of my ways, attitudes and so on. It all came to me like a flood when things happened with my husband’s health.

We Want What We Want…

…but when it comes down to it actually happening, we automatically feel regret. That was me this last week. In my heart I have grown an attitude towards the situation in my marriage, which only came from selfishness. I had grown a callused heart towards God for how things have been going. Telling Him, “This is not what I imagined, or what I wanted.”

How quickly that changed when He allowed this storm to take place. When the thought of losing my husband became reality. I started to see where I was so wrong and began pleading to God for help; for changes.-Stephanie

One thing I have been struggling hard to do is, forgive myself. Everything that I had done wrong and was doing wrong came to my mind. Tears fell from my eyes and I began thinking, “How could I have been like that?! How could I have acted like that and treated him like that?” I felt so much guilt. I felt so much regret. It broke me. 

Forgiven

As soon as your request to God to be forgiven is released from your lips, you are. God is not a God who holds on to offenses or wishes to “punish” you, the way the world portrays Him to be. It’s our lack of belief because of what we feel, that causes us to feel unforgiven. We think, to be forgiven means we no longer feel the pain or some kind of guilt. We have to remember that guilt doesn’t come from God. I am not going to sit here and say that it doesn’t take time for you to start believing it, because it does. It’s been almost two weeks since everything happened and I have yet to fully believe that I am forgiven.

The reason being; I haven’t been able to forgive myself, fully. God already forgave me. I need to forgive myself and let go of all the wrong I have said and done. It’s been a slow process, but I am getting there. Each day it gets easier.

What brings me comfort is what His word says:

Where is another God like you, who pardons the guilt of the remnant, overlooking the sins of his special people? You will not stay angry with your people forever, because you delight in showing unfailing love. Once again you will have compassion on us. You will trample our sins under your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean!- Micah 7:18-19

Learning From The Circumstance

In life, we will always go through problems. It’s been promised.

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”-John 16:15

God has not withheld anything that will help us and equip us for what life throws at us. There are signs and warnings that we seem to overlook because we think we, “know it all.” When things come suddenly and we are caught off guard, we question God’s existence or whether or not He is really for us. 

Everything that we go through is never in vain. I have said that over and over, because it’s true. There has always been a lesson to learn in every experience I have had. This one being no exception. It’s been a huge learning experience. I saw that with the utmost humility.

I have been learning how to be a better wife and what God expects from me during this season. I have been seeing where I can improve and allowing Him to remold me into the woman He needs me to be. I have been learning that life doesn’t just stop in the midst of the storm. I have been taken out of my comfort zone to continue doing things as the helper to my husband.

I wrote something last night. I shared it on Instagram and as I wrote it, it was a revelation to me and what God has been doing in my life these past few days.

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  • “In Darkness He Is My Light.” It’s been a rough few days, today being one. I honestly find myself still struggling to trust God, fully. I know He is asking me to let go and let Him. I know He is wanting me to do something here, while my heart wants to be there. As a wife, we tend to have this nurturing spirit when it comes to our spouse (family) when they aren’t feeling well. It becomes a feeling that things would be better if you were by their side. What if you can’t always be right there? 
    I have been learning recently that life doesn’t just stop in the midst of the storm. I have been learning that as wives, we need to keep moving forward for our home, for our marriages, for our life & relationship with God. It’s in these moments that we have to trust God is there when we can’t be. It’s in those moments when we have to trust God to do what we can’t. It’s in those moments when we have to trust that God is there and working all things for our good. Wife, you are the helper. I have been learning that. I have been learning that being my husbands helper means I take care of things when he can’t. It means keeping my home in order when he can’t. It means staying connected to God for both of us when he can’t. My husbands health has taken a tole on him and what he’s been able to do. Soon I will be able to share what’s been happening, but in the mean time I stand strong and continue to trust God.
    🌸Wives, I pray for strength over your life. Those who are struggling with their spouses health, I pray for peace and comfort. I pray that no matter what your storm looks like, that you will find strength in God’s truth. I pray that God will guide you and show you what you are to do in the now. I pray for restoration and that God’s will be done. In Jesus Name. Amen. ✨Wife, You’re Not Alone. 

My Husbands Helper

After writing that, I finally got it. It finally clicked in my heart. It’s not easy to let go and let God. It’s not easy not being there 24/7, but it’s true. It’s POSSIBLE. (Luke 1:37) Life doesn’t just stop in the midst of the storm.

What I have being learning is, when our husbands can’t, we pick up the slack; spiritually, physically and in all aspects.  We seek God for guidance to do what we need to do. We take up the responsibilities, making sure things do not just fall apart. Wife, I get it. I know. You’re not alone in this.

You’re stronger than you feel. You’re stronger than the obstacles you’re currently facing. I am still waiting for things to get better, but in the midst of all this, I am trusting God. I am learning to let go of things I cannot change, and change the things I can. I am learning to pick up the slack for my home, for my marriage and for my family.

I am not doing it alone. I can assure you that. I have had to humble myself before Him and ask for forgiveness and for help.

Again and again, and again I have heard these words: “God is more interested in healing your inside, than He is at healing your circumstances.” 

A hard pill to swallow, but what good is it for Him to change our circumstances, when our hearts are the same and most likely will not appreciate what He does? This is for me. This is for you.

In order to fully trust God in the storms, is acknowledging that He did NOT cause the storm. The enemy paints a pretty picture that tries to turn us against God. All the bad things in life are caused by our enemy, not God, but He does allow them. The reasons are often unknown, but in all my experiences I have seen victory after victory. The sooner we recognize that the enemy only comes to: steal, kill and destroy, the sooner we are able to cling to God for help and see Him at work in our life and circumstances; giving life and life in abundance.-Stephanie

 

The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.-John 10:10 (NLT)

Song On My Heart

Who You Say I Am by Hillsong Worship

 

 

 

Freedom

Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. A promise I hold close to my heart. You have said time and time again that nothing or no one can separate me from Your unfailing Love; no darkness, no highs, no lows, not even the mistakes I have made. Perfected in your Love, I am. I do not fear of what lies ahead. Though many things around me attempt to torment me, captivating my thoughts, You set me free because nothing outweighs the CROSS.

 

freedomWhere the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.-2 Corinthians 3:17

Painting by: Stephanie Ann Hernandez

Depression…

I am no stranger to depression. Throughout my life I have struggled with it and the torment; the lies and the loneliness it has brought me. But I have never experienced it like I have been, recently. It’s lasted a lot longer and my emotions have been all over the place and not to mention a sudden temptation to “cut.” Yesterday was the worse.

Thoughts so loud saying, “cutting will make you feel better.” It painted a really good picture of escaping my reality, like I had mentioned in my last Blog Post: Unveiled.

Yesterday, started out like any other day, but the difference was I was feeling tired with no energy to do anything. Things lately have been a little rough and have been so challenging for me, especially as a wife. My husbands health and things we are dealing with have had me feeling so overwhelmed. I shared a bit about it on Instagram: @wifeyourenotalone

I stayed in bed for awhile, feeling just blah. I was struggling to breath. The entire day I was in my own world, not really caring about things around me. I was so emotional, crying here and there; crying out to God for help. I just felt angry.

Throughout the day I felt so anxious, I felt so alone and I felt like I couldn’t breath. I felt like everything around me was just caving in on me, I was suffocating. I felt defenseless. Never have I experienced such pain caused by depression.

I realized how bad it was when my mother in law came to drop something off, hearing her say hi from the door, stung. I didn’t want to be around anybody. I didn’t want anybody to see me. I didn’t want to see anybody… I finally got it. I finally understood what depression really is and how much of a thief it is.

…Can’t Beat The Cross

IMG_4384Sitting at the kitchen table, last night and still feeling a bit blah and as though I couldn’t breathe, I started drawing and painting. I didn’t know what I would be drawing. First, I had drawn the flower (I just love to draw flowers) then I went into that heart, but it wasn’t my intention to draw a heart. I was inspired by a plant I have on the table. The leaves are shaped like a heart. I attempted to draw that… but I began drawing what I was feeling.

I felt my heart darkening and being surrounded by darkness. I just kept darkening the heart without realizing why. As I kept painting, I felt to place the cross in the center of the “chaos.” After doing so I literally heard these words, “Depression can’t beat the cross.” Then I felt led to add light bursting out, breaking free from that darkness. I connected the flower as it represented freedom.

I started crying. God had used my own painting to minister to me. It reminded me that the cross has power to defeat the lies that try to overtake me. The same is true for you. 

This isn’t the first time I draw out what I feel inside. He reminded me of that. A few minutes later, after that encounter with Him I realized that I was no longer feeling anxious or as though I couldn’t breath. I felt a sense of peace come over me.

This morning He reminded me of the verse: “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”-2 Corinthians 3:17 

The Spirit of the Lord resides in my heart… the very thing that the enemy tried to overtake. Greater is the power of the CROSS, than any scheme from the enemy.

My husband is such a wise man. Many times God has used him to speak words of encouragement into my heart and to confirm a lot of things. For example: he told me today, “I believe God allows us to go through things like this to bring us understanding of what others are going through.” I wasn’t seeing it like that.

Our marriage. His health. Me currently re-struggling with anxiety, depression and self-harm… someone needs to hear that they aren’t alone and that I, too, go through it. I believe that He will bring someone in my path who needs encouragement, someone who is facing the same things. Someone who needs to hear that there is a way out. That the cross has power to defeat the darkness! -Stephanie

Freedom Reigns

After my experience last night and my husband and I coming closer, I feel a lot stronger, today. I went to bed to my husbands embrace and I woke up to his embrace. God knew how much I needed that; needed to feel my husband’s love and support in all that I am going through.

Freedom is what I am feeling today because of the One who lives within me. It’s no coincidence that the topic, today is Freedom. Though we celebrate 4th of July, there is a deeper freedom God wants to impart to everyone. A freedom that truly lasts and that is ever life changing. FREEDOM REIGNS. He is FREEDOM. 

Prayer, My Heart’s Desire

I pray that this blog blesses all who come across it. That it will impart God’s true love upon them and they will be able to feel His embrace. I pray that freedom will come upon every heart and every mind that is currently being tormented by the lies of the enemy. I declare a divine intervention for those who are on the verge of taking their life or wanting to harm themselves.  I pray for protection and for guidance. I also pray that those who do not know God will come to experience and know who He is and open their hearts to Him. ❤ 

-Stephanie

 

 

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“Freedom reigns in this place.

Showers of mercy and grace.

Falling on every face, there is freedom.”

Freedom Reigns by Jesus Culture

Bloom Into You

Blooming into who you are really are, difficult it can be when all around you is what they expect you to be. Standing out, a beautiful flower you are. Thorns and thistles try to hinder, but the Creator prepares the way for you to not stay; in the same place. For there is room in this world for your full bloom.

I Am Such An Introvert

It’s been awhile since I have felt this tug on my heart about opening myself up and no longer hiding who I really am. There is something about me that I really dislike; I am an introvert.

All my life I have been one who kept to myself and kept people at a distance. I was sharing with some friends last night, that I avoid certain places because I don’t want to run into people. (That is not freedom.) 

“Like a turtle hiding in its shell, so am I. I hide behind insecurities. I hide behind not wanting to be seen. I hide behind all things that are not of Him. In doing so I am not blooming into who I really am.”-Stephanie

I have not been given a spirit of timidity, God has promised. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.-2 Timothy 1:7

Doing What I Have Been Called To Do

Like a flower created to bloom and manifest the splendor of God, so are we; so am I. We were created to stand out and not fit it or coward behind what’s not of Him. This world needs so much more uniqueness and less, “being just like everyone else.”

“I know I am not like someone else. I know that I can’t do what others can do. In all honesty, I spent so much time trying to copy and imitate, that I had lost sight of who I really was and what my unique qualities were. It hasn’t been until recently that I have been tapping into my gifts, my capabilities… those very things that make me, me.”-Stephanie

What makes you, unique? Have you really thought about it? Or have you been going with the flow, rather than against the current?

These can be hard to acknowledge. Like I mentioned in my last blog, it’s spiritual. We live in a time where it’s normal to all be the same and wrong to stand out and be different.

God Sees You As Special

When you were designed in your mother’s womb, God had amazing plans for your life. He engraved in you; potential, talents, gifts, identity and so much more. You’re His masterpiece; made ready to bloom at the perfect time.

Times are changing, things are shifting and it’s getting time for God’s people to rise up and be who they were really meant to be.

We were given life, but not just to exist… but to fulfill our purpose. To bloom where we are.

Image result for for i know the plans i have for you

…declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.-Jeremiah 29:11

It’s Not Just For The Introverted

Even those who are so outgoing can be hiding behind some kind of insecurity. Being who you are isn’t just about what people are seeing. It’s about what kind of heart you have and whether or not it aligns with His will.

So many people do what they think they should be doing, but don’t really bloom.

People aren’t happy with their life. People aren’t happy with what they are doing. People look everywhere for that sense of completeness, purpose and so on. They are in need of the right “food” to help them bloom.

Living Life To The Fullest

I shared this with the youth a few years ago. I shared with them that, to “live life to the fullest” had nothing to do with how much you partied in your life or all the things the world shows us is, “living life.”

Living life to the fullest is living out the life you were meant to live out. Accomplishing goals. Fulfilling your purpose; walking in your identity and not hiding behind insecurities or the masks of the world. 

I would rather bloom, showcasing all I can do and be criticized, then to remain in a mold and be just like everybody else who never blooms and shows the world who they are and what they are capable of.

 

Negativity. Hate. Rebelliousness against authority. No respect for others… that’s not what I mean. That doesn’t come from God, at all.  He will never lead people to act that way. He will never tell someone to mistreat others. What is not in His word, is not of Him.

All those things are distorted images of ones self and the way we see others; it comes from the enemy.

  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.-John 10:10

A New Day Horizons-Breaking Free

It’s a new day. As the sun shines bright, so is the fire burning deep within me. A new day horizons, so is my longing for you. I have been wandering around, this new person I no longer know. I sat at your feet, reflecting on who I have become, but her, I did not recognize. I felt like an outsider, in a home I have known. I looked around as though I didn’t know where I was. Like a little girl, I hid my heart. I felt afraid, I felt alone.  I have let so much time separate us. 

I look ahead, I look behind; I see where I want to be, yet captivated by the past. In the middle I remain. What is more important to me? The person I know I should be, or the person I used to be. Nothing good comes from the past. For looking back, I have become a statue; stuck in the same place, I cannot move.

I turn my eyes to you, where my help comes from. My heart yearns for you. Who I have become, I no longer know. It’s not me, it’s not who I am meant to be. I surrender my will. I surrender what I desire.

My feet are free, I am able to move again. No longer a statue, no longer stuck in the same place. 

…Heart of Grace

Written by: Stephanie A. Pequeno

September 21, 2017

This poem is an illustration of what I have been going through. Lately I have found myself being this person I do not know. I have been doing things I normally wouldn’t have been, and desiring to fit in. That’s not me. I have been forgetting the real me, the person that is meant to stand out, rather than fit in.

I have been stuck in the same place, because looking backwards gets me no where. This, I already know, but I continue to do it. Why? I have let a single person influence me, and their opinion of me, I held tightly. Not anymore.

But who are we, people? That our opinions should matter so much? Or that we should worry so much about the opinions of others and determine our walk at life by what others think or say about us? Why do we care so much?

We are afraid of being alone and rejected. We based our lives on what others say, when in reality they are living the lives they want. -Stephanie

Break free from that cycle. Break free from the mold. Break free from the worry of what others will think or say about you.

 

Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

He rejoices over you, He rejoices in the person you truly are, the very person He created you to be. He looks at you through eyes of Love and falls more in love with you. He holds you in the palm of His hand, never to let you fall. He knows what you’re capable of, and desires to help you through. -Heart Of God

There’s one opinion that matters, the opinion that is never changing and always remains the same; the opinion of God. 

 

A Closed Heart

A closed heart, self defense; a lonely road it can be. In constant watch, on constant guard; tiring it can be.

We take up a burden of being our own defender, that great task; we cannot handle. Our minds wander, suspicious of everyone we are; driving one crazy is all it does.

A closed heart, self defense; a lonely road it can be. In constant watch, on constant guard; tiring it can be.

Isolation arises, alone all the time is where our enemy wants us to be. Burned out; being our own defender, trusting no one. A closed heart, dangerous it is, for we care about nothing and do anything.

A closed heart, self defense; a lonely road it can be. In constant watch, on constant guard; tiring it can be.

-…Heart Of Grace

Poem Written by: Stephanie Ann Pequeno
(Inspired by recent events.)

It’s always so easy to shut yourself off, especially when you have been hurt over and over again. It’s easier to trust no one, especially after that trust has been broken. We make the mistake of building up a wall, thinking we are keeping people out and that we are protecting ourselves. We forget to see that wall as a prison, keeping us locked in and all alone.

I have been known for my walls. I had always shut people out, because it was the easiest thing for me to do. All my life I had that burden of defending myself from everyone and everything that tried to hurt me. I was very isolated, which only led to depression and loneliness.

To be honest, I find myself in that same place. I have been hurt, for my guard was down. I opened up and hurt I became. I am struggling to keep it open, for it’s not fair to those who truly care about me.

A closed heart keeps us at a distance from the people who truly care about us. We see every person as a threat, because of that ONE person who did us wrong. Not everyone is the same. I have learned that. Though it is hard for me, I still desire to keep my heart open. For when I do, I know I am given help to overcome.

I know it’s not easy, but with time all the pain, all the hurt turns into strength. You become stronger, you become wiser. 

Yesterday I read a verse that really spoke to me. It was Joseph speaking. His story; his brothers sold him, he endured so much suffering, so much pain and so much betrayal, but at the end he didn’t close his heart to those who did him wrong. After time, he was placed in a place of power.

20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.- Genesis 50:20

His attitude through all he had gone through was, humble. Joseph allowed nothing to change who he was or what he was meant to do. He guarded his heart, but not in his own strength, but in God’s. It is proof that nothing we go through is in vain, and that God always uses it for good, even the offenses, the betrayal, the pain, the hurt. It’s all about the attitude of the heart.

“You intended to harm me..” we say to our enemy, the spirit behind the offender, “But God intended it for good.”

God has promised that vengeance belongs to him, that He would take care of all who do us wrong, but not in the way we think, or in how we would do things. The battle is His and not ours.

We find endless peace, endless rest when we allow Him to be our defender. Like a child we are to rest in him, knowing that He will protect us. I can’t get over these examples; think of a child, one who is scared, who is being bullied… they run to their parents because they know they will defend them. That is how we are to be with God. We defend ourselves by running to Him. We defend ourselves by trusting in Him, because it’s there that our enemy cannot touch us. I still have a hard time surrendering. I, at times feel the need to help God defend me. I only get in the way and make things worse for myself. I become overwhelmed, I become angry, I become frustrated, I become depressed, I become closed off from Him and everyone else, and so on… the exact things the enemy wanted in the first place. -Stephanie

 

Standing behind our One True Defender, we are protected by things like that. God is mighty, God is powerful, He is never shaken. 

 

From My Heart

I am far from perfect, I constantly make mistakes. I fail to be the person I am meant to be, daily. One thing I know for sure is, I need Him. I have been hurt so many times, I have put my trust in and opened my heart to the wrong people. I am learning. I am growing. It’s becoming easier to walk away from things and people that are not meant for me. These experiences, are just that, experience. I am learning.

I want to be who I am supposed to be. I want to let go of everything that is hindering me. First, I must let go of trying to be my own defender; trusting God in every season of my life. Even more so now, because I just want to walk away from things.

“A closed heart, dangerous it is, for we care about nothing & do anything.”-Stephanie

 

Confession

I have been afraid. I have been afraid of letting people in. Afraid that if they saw these struggles, if they saw these things they would turn away. I have been afraid of speaking about what goes on. I have been afraid of opening up.

I know what it’s like to live in constant fear of being vulnerable and exposing the darkest parts of my heart. It hurts, it’s a scary thing. I also know what it’s like to be set free, to be able to walk around without those burdens weighing me down. I have learned to accept what has happened, and that I am no defined by what I have done or what has been done to me.

I have been given a gift. The gift of being His Daughter. For in that revelation, that new life, I can walk with my head high, because I am now defined by who He is and what He has done.-Stephanie 

 

The Past Is Gone

It takes a stronger person to let go.

For it is them who have finally realized the past is gone and no longer something to hold on to. There is power in letting go, in surrendering all the things I desire, the things I wish I could still have. Relationships, memories, anything that tries to keep me in the same place, is not for me.

Freedom is mine. Life ahead, is mine.

For it comes the moment I open my hands and let go. A heart willing, a heart open, is the kind that has understood nothing good comes from holding on to what is no longer meant to be. I struggle still each day, but deep down I know that nothing but good is to come. My heart is willing, but my mind still needs convincing, for it tries to keep me latched on to what the soul wants. Thinking that maybe, just maybe there is still a chance things will go how I want them to. That is only a lie. I know better. Greater is the one who is in me, than he who is in this world, the one who lies to me and tells me what is not true. For out of a rebellious heart I went searching for what was not of God, a door opened…now I desperately want it shut. The torment of my actions, keep me stuck, but I know I am forgiven.

“Rise”, my heart says, “For you are not what you have done. You are new, and I love you so. Your past is gone, cleansed you are, walk and sin no more.”

I hold my head up, like that woman who bowed at Jesus feet, when the accusers wanted to stone her. Guilt, shame & fear are my accusers. My defender stands before me and silences them. I am not what I did. I am not what I feel. I am not what others think of me.


I am what He has done. I am what He feels about me. I am what He thinks of me, for those things are constant, never changing.

My past is gone and so is the person I once was. I can walk in freedom. I can walk with my head high, looking to Him. For in my heart there is confidence, confidence that all things will be new. For the good work He begins, He will see it to completion. He is not one to lie, His promises are true. For I chose to let go of my past, He can now do what He has been waiting patiently to do. Am I ready for such goodness? Yes. Am I worthy of it? Yes. That’s how good He is, His faithfulness is never ending

I am His daughter; Crowned With Grace.

He sees what I am capable of. He sees what I can become. He sees the struggles, but turns them in to strengths.

He loves me. -…Heart Of Grace

We all struggle with trying to hold on to the past or those “good” memories, so much so, that we hinder the good things that are still to come. Sometimes we believe that the “best” things in life were the things in the past, or the people in the past. Which is a complete lie.

For those who truly believe in God’s goodness, know that better things are always yet to come. For He is the giver of good things. I am still learning and trusting Him, while at the same time letting go of what I think, or what I want. It really is liberating, because I have released that burden of trying to figure out what’s best for me. That’s my Father’s job, He already knows what I need before I even ask. -Stephanie

It’s the same for you. He knows what you need, He knows who you need. Ever feel like nothing you do goes right? Feeling as though every choice you make is the wrong one? Me too. I have walked myself down so many wrong roads. So many being dead ends, and a few of them leading me to pain. I did that to myself, because of what I thought was best for my life.
One of the biggest mistakes we make is thinking that we know what’s best for our lives, better than the Creator of Life. He created us. He knows how we function, He knows how to fix those broken pieces.
I once heard this story: One day there was a man who was driving when all of a sudden his car died. Stranded there, he opened the hood to see what was wrong. Trying himself, things were not getting fixed. He didn’t know what was wrong. A few minutes later a man showed up and offered his help. The owner of the car asked him, “Do you know what you’re doing?” The man said, “Yes, I know where everything goes. I know how to fix it, because I am the creator of this car.” (Of course I had to paraphrase it a bit, because I forgot how it actually went, but the point is there.)
I am like the man who didn’t know what he was doing. I honestly do not know enough about cars to fix them, even more so, when it comes to my own life. Instead of making things better, I make them worse… I know I am not the only one.
That is why Jesus, before ascending to heaven, assured us that He would leave us a helper. He knew that alone we couldn’t get through this life. That we would need guidance, help along the way, and solutions to the problems we would face.
Let go of the overwhelming burden of trying to figure out what is best for you. Find freedom in trusting The Father with your life. Trust that only He has the best solutions for your life. ❤

References:

  1. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.-Ephesians 1:7 (NLT)
  2. And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.-Philippians 1:6 (NLT)
  3. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who have never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust. When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”-John 8:7-11 (NLT)
  4. Don’t be like them, for the Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!-Matthew 6:8 (NLT)
  5. Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The only life is gone; a new life has begun!-2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT)