Uniquely Inspirational

The Problem with Dreams…

“I know the plans I have for you,” announces the Lord. “I want you to enjoy success. I do not plan to harm you. I will give you hope for the years to come.”  –Jeremiah 29:11 (NIRV)

Over 20 plus years ago I stepped onto the grounds of Southern Nazarene University. Little did I know that during my years of study there my life would change, my experiences would shape me, events would break me and God would rebuild me.

I went in with the illusion and dream, as many high school grads have… that I knew what I wanted to be. I thought I knew what would become of me after my studies. I had my life planned out. I pretty much had my priorities all down. I had a car, and a job, and now I had a pathway to my future. I was in a great university, and so far, people liked me. Everything would be great. I would get a B.A.  in Religion with a Psychology Minor, maybe add on theater… I would find the most amazing, handsome and God-loving 6 foot tall “Superman” I could during that time. We would get married right after I graduate. W’d move to the mission field in some other country, have our children there, 4 of them, and live happily ever after.

Yeah…NOPE! That did not happen…

I did get my B.A. in Religion though, and did marry a shorter, but not so perfect version of “Superman.”  But that is all that went along with my plan. Within the grounds of the university I found passion in Mission Studies that replaced the minor in Psychology, and I even saw the opportunity to get a second minor in Spanish. I responded to those changes with glee… but then…

walking on old rails
Walking on old rails laid down in Thailand by the Japanese

I got derailed…

My life got derailed…

It wasn’t all for the bad… for God had other plans for me within the events of my life and maybe even as a response to the “tragic times” of them. Little did I know that God would create a pathway that would carry me in different directions.

Between my junior year and senior year I lost my Mother to cancer. I was more than heart broken. I was lost and walked through a tunnel for months. My studies had already suffered as she had been in the hospital during my sophomore year, and this was worse than that. I thought to myself, as my 4th year began, why should I continue them now? I can’t even focus! I had amazing professors and a fiancee who believed in me and helped me get through that year. I got married during the final year, right after Christmas. And we began a life completely off my plans. We entered the pastoral ministry in the USA. “Surely this is temporary…” I thought to myself…

Yeah… NOPE…. it wasn’t

So my plan, that I had envisioned, that I had laid out, didn’t go well. I was now more derailed than ever…

I was wrong. I was so wrong. God had taken aspects of me and re-molded me to do far more than I thought I could. He taught me to find a new “plan” regardless of the different pathways our life took us through. God worked within our derailment and placed us in different rails that would still work within His Plan. And the more control of our lives we gave God, the more interesting, exciting and new pathways He would provide. It became God’s “good, pleasing and perfect will” for us.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”   —Romans 12:2 (NIV)

In the process of it all I wound up working in my mission field here in the USA. Not what I planned or dreamed of, but it was God’s plan and dream ultimately. He opened the doors when others closed some, and kept us moving us forward through life. Through experiences that where great, to the painful ones, God kept rebuilding, strengthening us and placing new rails towards new destinations that we never thought of.

We have ministered in the middle of nowhere, to small towns, small cities, large cities. inner-city areas, multi-cultural areas and more.  I have learned the differences within the American/White culture as much as I have learned the differences within the minority cultures. I have experience a life that was not even, remotely, close to my dreams.

As I look back at that excited, perfectly planned, determined and dreamy girl… I can only smile and see still all those characteristics even today.

New things still excite me, I still plan, this time knowing that it will change. I am still determined, and I still dream. The difference is that I rely on God more than ever to create my pathway, to set my rails down according to His will. Then I get on His path and pray that there is no derailing. And even if there is, God will place us back on track.

Life goes on… as God creates unique pathways in our lives that may not be what we expect but we ride with willingly.  For we have accepted that our lives may not be “happy ever after” but it will be unique and full of JOY, LOVE, GRACE and more. For we ride on the rail of Life that God has placed before us, regardless how odd, difficult or painful some of these stopping grounds will be. In exchange you never know how often an amazing and unique that journey will be as you ride on the rails of God’s will.

So, sit back an enjoy the ride. Let God lay your rails down for they will be unique just for you. Let go of your plans and let God be in control. You will be amazed at the unique journey you take when you are in His will.

We were also chosen to belong to him. God decided to choose us long ago in keeping with his plan. He works out everything to fit his plan and purpose.  We were the first to put our hope in Christ. We were chosen to bring praise to his glory.” –Ephesians 1:11-12 (NIRV)

Uniquely Mi Vida

The Problem with Puppy…

Some wake up to the warm licks of a puppy. Some wake up to the soft whimpering of one. We have been waking up to the squeaky barks, cries and even howls of ours.

Mikko, a Bichon Frise, was my Mother’s Day and Birthday gift combined from my girls and partly from my savings account. He had adapted well, sleeping for 5 hours and waking up to make his daily trip to the bathroom and back to bed. After we came back from our trip at the beginning of August everything went…terrible… Mikko found the power of barking, crying and howling all at once, and only during the night.

We tried everything, from tiring him out before going to bed, to giving him the calming chews the vet suggested and  “ignoring the cries.” Nothing had worked. So what are we to do with a demanding puppy and sleepless nights the week before our teaching days start? Well…. Keep on trying, and that includes new things, yet staying consistent with the hours and the routine.

Like every newborn baby, raising and training a puppy takes a lot of patience. They are all different, and create different attachments. Mikko seemed to attach himself rightaway to my 3 year old Serenity, a maltichon. Eventually it may become a healthy one, but as of now, poor Serenity has to deal with a now 5 month old shadow. Apparently she doesn’t remember all the pain and annoying months she gave Darly. Luckily for Darly, she is an outside dog, so we could often rescue her from Serenity’s puppy months. Yes, Mikko is persistent and learns fast, except when it comes to bed, bathroom areas and annoying his “elder.”

Patience, persistence and consistence eventually paid off just before we started our substitute teaching jobs and has continued for 4 more nights. Of course we had at this point, implemented the (what I call) “far, far away” strategy which is: the more he cries the further his bed gets from us, then backwards as he stops crying. Either that or my brain was too tired and could not hear him anymore. He eventually got rewarded after by having his bed in our bedroom right after he slept through a few nights and only waking up once to go to the bathroom.  That was the end of 3 agonizing weeks. When he saw that he could be in the same room after being good, he was satisfied and that marked the end of the crying, howling, whimpering nights. It has now been 2 weeks of pleasant sleep. Now that he can peacefully rest knowing that we are still around, the household can follow suit as well. It is a battle of patience, persistence and HOPE. Hoping that eventually things will turn out the way they should. Even a puppy can learn and adapt to the changes around him.

We learn the importance of being patient, even with a warm cuddle ball who is not even 5 pounds. We understand his needs, his fears of not knowing where the family is, or just not wanting to be separated. I’m no dog whisperer, but I know that one has to be patient with a puppy when it comes to training him/her. Sleeping through the night, potty training, teaching him/her the off limit areas and more, takes a lot of patience. Training your pup doesn’t happen in 2, 3 or sometimes, 4 months. You have to constantly watch the pup, at least share that “constantly” with others, when housetraining. Sometimes we have to learn that patience also means making a few changes for the sake of a puppy (and yes, especially a baby). I had to roll up my living room rug while the puppy potty trains. Small sacrifices like that are just temporary when training a pup.

We have to stay persistent, no matter how tired we get. It takes months to fully train a puppy and one has to be willing to adapt and give up on their own ideals (your house will not be kept clean so get used to it, and yes there will be accidents for a while.) Just like a baby, toddler and young child, you have to keep “reminding” the puppy of the rules. And in the process of being persistent we need to stick with the rules ourselves: Always taking the puppy out after waking up from his nap,  never giving him/her human food, always feeding him/her the same amount of food (according to weight and age), never allowing them to chew on shoes as toys or napkins, or furniture…and so on.

All this will eventually be followed by rewards, the reward of having a well-trained puppy, because ultimately we have hope that the puppy will get it. And then we will not only find fulfillment in our accomplishment, but we have formed a bond with this warm, fuzzy licking furry friend. Hope keeps our spirits up and our energy afloat. It reminds us that the best is yet to come. With that thought we can be patient and persistent and consistent in how we address situations that seem overwhelming, or just down right agonizing. Hope is not only what we need as human beings but as Christians, as workers, as parents, as spouses and more. It is the fuel that keeps us going.

night time MikkoNow that Mikko has learned to sleep through the night, he has even rewarded us by not asking to go out at 5 AM for the past 4 nights. Even better: He has let us sleep through part of the morning on our last 2 off days. (We had to actually wake him up at 7:30 & 8 AM to go outside) YAY!! Another unique puppy trained! Now if only he can go through 4 more weeks of “No-accident” days and I can place my rug back in the living room. For now, Mikko just adds that extra uniqueness to our lives…my life…that keeps making it oh, so unique.  So this morning I woke up late with a lick on my face (Thanks for the wake-up Mikko), sure beats the howling at 2… 3… 4… and 5 am…

Uniquely Inspirational

The Problem with Summers

“‘Cause a little bit of summer is what the whole year is all about.” — John Mayer

As a mother of three, the ending of the summer months has been a cause for celebration. Yes, we parents celebrate! We celebrate the ending of cleaning constantly after children. Reminding them to wipe their dirty feet before coming in. Making daily lunches or making arrangements for their care while we work. We may even miss the homework nights… “who said that?”… I did. It kept them busy, plus we had a chance to see what they were learning. Yes, the summer sometimes threw a wrench in our plans, and required us to rearrange them. It would sometimes cause chaos at home if the kids were not kept busy. Truly, summer gave us more work to do than we cared to do.

Yet, we loved the summer months! We got a chance to enjoy being with the kids more. We used summer as an excuse to get more time off, with the illusions of VACATIONS! We would travel, enjoy the USA, it’s history, geology and people. This is the time when we formed many memories that we like to look back at and laugh. It is when the kids were creative….very creative… very, very creative which brought laughter or frustration. It is the time to be yourself without the influences of those at school. It is a time to go and investigate, play in the sun, or in the water, or dirt… Summer gave us time to enjoy a bit of freedom.

So summers can be a bitter-sweet time of the year.

And now is over…

Well, now my summer was not the same as it has been in the past. The kids are all grown up…. seperated by their own responsibilities. It was quiet at home this summer. It lacked the cheerful stories of “Guess what Mom…” and the yelling of “She started it…” and the creativeness of “look what I made…” No groups of kids gathering in my livingroom to play the Xbox causing loud cheers to rumble through my walls. No, this year, each of the girls had there own thing. I didn’t even get to see my youngest more than for 2 1/2 weeks. My oldest never got a chance to visit us with her husband, and my middle child…. well she was here physically (LOL) but was constantly taken away by the internet, her online job and relationships. Yes, this summer was unlike any other… it was just odd…and severely quiet..

Yes, the problem with summers is that they are too long, too short, and not enough of them.

“So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun.”

Ecclesiastes 8:15

I thank God that we enjoyed everyone of them with their quirks and all. The memories that were created, and the ones we may never want to revisit…ha ha ha…Those loud crazy moments are the ones I cherish the most. From the first touch of ocean my girls felt, to their first camping out, to their first trip on the plane to even the first bug (or boy) they brought home… to their first video game audience… every moment was a wonder… no matter the hard work and headaches.

So I enjoyed life… as unique as it was. Looking forward to the years and the differences they bring…  learning to enjoy the past life more, as the future life shrinks.  Enjoying the unique memories that this change of summer’s seasons began. To expect the laughter once again someday with future grandkids (who knows when that will be)… Meanwhile I will enjoy the silence and maybe even take advantage to read more, play games myself and vist places with my husband. Hanging around with my sister, dad or brother… I think… (Hopefully not often). I look forward to new unique summers to come, creating new and unique memories. Being thankful that I’m not hosting a gang of kids… because now I have the Xbox to myself! (At least until the girls show up again or my nephew is old enough).

Uniquely Deep, Uniquely Inspirational

The Problem w/ “MY” birthday

 

May birthdays
My family celebrates 5 birthdays (one not present) and one college graduation in May…so why can’t I?

God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well.” –unknown

“Did you you know that I just turned the age my mother was in her last year of life? And Erica is the age that I was when she passed away?” I asked my husband thoughtfully as we drove back to our Texan home on my birthday through the highways of Oklahoma.

“It just makes me think…” I half said and thought to myself.

What I didn’t tell him is that for the past 5 days I was living in a quiet fear of the “what if’s”: “Did she know it would be her last year?” “What if this is my last year?” “What if my daughters go through what I went through?”  “What if my mother woud have lived longer?”….and so it went. I had to tell myself over and over again, “I have to get through this year.” And when that wasn’t helping because the fear of death kept creeping in with it’s ugly head… I prayed… and prayed and begged… (To get rid off those negative thoughts)

It had been an emotional 5 days…  I kept avoiding thinking about these things, a birthday that I regret even having. Yes, fears got the best of me often, no matter how often I pushed back. Until I realized… I was going about it the wrong way. I was letting fears conquer me. I was letting the “what if’s” depress me. I was letting the event of losing my mother overwhelm my possible future.  And I was letting the lack of joyful celebration ruin my special day. I was not looking at it from God’s perspective nor through His loving purpose for me.

It is then that I realized the amazing Godly life of loving service my mother displayed and lived during her last year of life. It is then I was reminded of my favorite Bible verse that she lived out so well: “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Phillipians 1:21

 

My Mother lived the life that the apostle Paul talked about in Phillipians chapter 1. More specificcally in verses 19-26: for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.  I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.  For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know!  I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far;  but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.  Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith,  so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.” (NIV)

As I went through my memories I realized Mother was celebrating her life, even after knowing it wouldn’t be long. She spent her last 11 months sharing the love of God, challenging her lost friends and families to find peace, joy and true forgiveness (and love) in Chrsit Jesus. She spent her time singing, enjoying life, even a trip to Tikal with her family, (even though it was to be her last, but I think she knew it). She lived her life for Chirst and for the sake of others. She lived a life worthy of her call, to the fullest of God.

Raqui's 48th bday

I realized then, this is the life I want to continue to live and live it to the fullest, even if I too only had one year to live. Though I have a strong feeling God is granting me many more.

As we drove closer to home…it hit me. I shouldn’t be afraid. It was unfounded fears that kept me from trully enjoying this day. It is a gift from God. It is meant to be lived as He lived for me.

So, as I accept my birthday and my age, I decide to commit my life more deeply to living it for Christ. Sharing the Gospel. Loving others as God loves me. Helping those who need Christ find Him. Striving more and more to be Christlike and last but not least enjoying life, my family, friends and more. Because my life is a gift regardless for how long it has been gifted. This is the legacy I want to leave, as my mother did. I pray and hope that through my being on this earth, with my family, friends and church, I live a life of joy, faith and godly love, in all the while helping others do the same. For there is so much to do, to give, to share, to love in this world and until the time comes, I will remain here living for Christ.

Therefore, I thank God for another year of life. I thank him for creating me so unique. I thank Him for calling me to serve. cakeface“May my life, Lord,  be your reflection…may it be worthy of my call and the gift of life you have given me.” So I will celebrate! I will celebrate this unique life and I will live it uniquely for Christ.

 “So that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, ” – Colossians 1:10

Uniquely Mi Vida

The problem with selfie’s

 “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”

Proverbs 31:30

I have to be careful where I leave my phone. My daughters have taken up the habit to take silly selfies on my phone, at least two out of three. I keep some for laughs and once in a while I’ll post one on Facebook, but wind up deleting some. Younger kids just seem to love taking selfies, though my girls seem to be out of those norms; they only post them once in a while…and I’m okay with that, except for my oldest who seems to enjoy posting more than my other too. She does, however; share the limelight with her husband often. Oh to be young!

I’m not a “selfie” kinda gal. In fact, I am really not into them as much. I rarely post them actually. Maybe I’m just too old to really care about my own “selfie.” Maybe I’m just too self-conscious of how I look….nah… that’s not it. Maybe my problem is that they seem…rather “selfish?” Or more because it seems a little vain to me… I really don’t know. I figure that if anyone wants to see my face often they themselves can take my picture.

To break my “not a selfie kinda gal” image I decided to have fun as well… so here you are.

So why do we do take “selfies” in the first place? Why do selfies seem important? I can only think of 3 things (Feel free to add your own ideas in the comments below):

  1. We are happy with who we are and how we look. We just enjoy life. I suppose that a person that is happy and joyful, at least for that day, will want to take a picture and share it with others. This is my favorite type of selfie actually, and one I love to see. It reminds me they are enjoying life and happy with, not only with who they are, but happy with how God has created. They are satisfied with who God created them to be. We just love and enjoy life and can’t wait to share that with others. If only Todd would have taken a selfie when he saw Kevin Sobo at the airport last year. Now that is a super happy moment!
  2. We are a bit vain yet love how we look. Yes, we look in the mirror and say to ourselves “Dang, I look good!” and for some reason, just in case that moment may pass and we may not look good the next day, we take a selfie. We feel the need to take share it with the world, they may not see our gorgousness otherwise. After all, they may want to see it but can’t so we do them a favor… I tend to keep away from this type of selfie but even I have fallen prey of such thoughts, so I try to stop myself… I just store those pics and rarely post them. On the other extreme, those who feel like they look great but  think “let’s take a selfie and see if others agree.” So it becomes a self-esteem issue. This is where a balance is important. Maybe avoiding the selfie altogether is better.
  3. We are self-loving and others need to know. This is on the border of being narcissistic. People who just have to take a picture everywhere they go…of themselves. There are those who not only enjoy their moments in life but have to take a selfie of that moment, every instant. I say it borders on narcissistic because for many, it gets out of hand. It is like when they see a friend they haven’t seen in a long time, they must the a pic with them, more like several. In a new area of the city, a selfie. Trying new food, a selfie. A new hair style, clothes, with furniture, makeup… you name it… a “selfie”. I have even seen people take a picture of themselves with every animal at the zoo… you know what I mean…. (Like they just can’t take a picture of the surroundings and people without them being in every single picture.) Kind of takes away the joy of the scenery or others around you and makes you look insecure.

I suppose I frown on number three. I truly believe we need to stay away from the need to be the center of everything. Sometimes being in the background enjoying your long lost friends. family members or the new scenic views is so much more relaxing. Yet I understand the funny moments in life. Those unique times, opportunities and events that you don’t want to forget. The memories of your love ones… So when I pick up my phone and find those unique selfies of my girls, I have to smile. God knows how much I love them. I store them for those unique moments that I want to remember there silliness or just need a smile. Just so long they don’t fill my phone with them!

Girls, please don’t go crazy with my phone. (I still need to be careful where I leave my phone. Who knows who is taking a selfie with it).

Uniquely Mi Vida

The problem w/ Summer’s Trigger Happy Fingers

Self Control: Greek “EQKRATEIA”

  1. The virtue of one who masters his desires and passions.

  2. Restraint exercise over one’s impulses, emotions and desires.”

Summers make it really hard to keep track of a To-Do-List when you don’t have a normal routine. It seems impossible because I have to rely on myself to create one and then I have to follow it. Sometimes I do better than other times. I do better when I’m busy and I have other things on my calendar (Like the missions trip, camps, trainings, weddings and more), outside of myself… these past 2 weeks have been a “self-control” nightmare, and my “trigger happy fingers” have gotten the best of me half the time. Yet, I try to keep them in control, after all it does affect my finances…

I suppose it all started after all my weeks of traveling were completed and I finally had time to rest. But that is one problem…. I can’t really rest fully. I have to be doing something else. So in between preparing to start teaching ministry students I needed another project… (Remember this ADD person needs to multitask). So I began to “redo” my kitchen…which eventually carried on to other areas of the house. (But with limits!) I remember that I had to take my non-stick cookware set back to the department store seeing as they had not lasted long and the lids no longer sat snug against the pots or pans. All went well, I got a new set. Of course I had researched for hours with no results since they only had one option for me to replace it with. Then I looked at my 27 year old stainless steel pots and “asked” my husband, (I have to ask and smile you know), “I think I should replace our original set. Is been 27 years and they are showing a lot of wear. Would that be alright?” And after a lot of research and showing him what I found he agreed. He then informed me that “Prime Day” is around the corner and maybe I can find what I like at a bargain. (Well, that may have been his mistake). That is the beginning of my tragic, timeless and battle with online stores. I was caught in their whirlpool of sales and was having fun. You see I remembered 3 things at this point:

  1. My birthday is coming up, and with that, dollars.
  2. My 3 daughters are out of school (and one married). I don’t have to spend anything for them to go “back to school” (except the one who is in college, but she already has 80% of her stuff).
  3. I always set aside a little money for summer projects. Well, that settles it. Time to get my kitchen updated and change out my bathroom… oh, and my 19 year old no longer wants her “middle school” look in her room…hum

As you know this means online shopping…

at least for me. I can gather more information and check all stores without leaving my house. So I get my coffee and sit by the computer in my jammies and voilà! I’m in shopping heaven, or close to it. So here are my pointers in controlling my Summer trigger happy fingers:

  1. I review what I had in my kitchen that is broken, OLD (like over 20 years), missing parts or non-functional. (or just plain ugly… I’m sure you have some too). Before taking it out I need to make sure it is worth replacing. I don’t bother boxing anything up until I have the replacement, or it is on its way. This keeps me in control and from going berserk with shopping.
  2. I spent more time on researching and watching for the lowest prices, reviews and options than actually purchasing. I know my price limits, and I know that if I can’t find something at a reasonable price, I don’t need it at all. Checking for reviews (and reading them), is important for me because I don’t want to waste money. I am limited on finances anyway, and I try to get at least 40% off although I shoot for 60% or higher.business-coffee-communication-433313.jpg
  3. Whatever I find, regardless of the discount, I place it in my “list” and leave it…. It might go down more, or I may not even get it. This again allows me to restrain myself, narrow it down and not go overboard…even when your family thinks you have. This may be time consuming but worth it.
  4. When I find the best deal, I mean the BEST deal, and I know it is worth it, I place it in the cart. I check out other places for price matching, and maybe coupons to see if I can get it even lower. This may mean checking out the local areas. For example, I finally found a stainless steel cookware set that has high reviews, originally $299 for only $84.99 with matching lower price plus a 20% off coupon. I wound up getting it at a department store. “Happy birthday Raqui.” “Why, thank you hubby!”
  5. I Do not buy anything I cannot pay for, even if it is on sale. I make sure that if I use my credit card, I have the WHOLE amount to pay for it when the bill comes. (Sometimes I send a portion of it ahead of time so it won’t be too overwhelming when the bill arrives.) This is where it gets tough… because I’m looking now at a set of dishes with my favorite colors.  Don’t really need them, but I would really, really like them. I think I will wait until next year. I will save up. Controlling my urges to buy is practicing self-control, even when I didn’t do too well when I bought the blue glasses. In my defense, they were ½ of Amazon’s price plus I had a $7 credit. And no one can come even close to it.
  6. Be crafty. I reuse things by redoing them even by painting them or using the parts to make something different. I also use old stuff or by things from the dollar store, thrift stores and garage sales for my little projects. Sometimes I just have things around that I can use. I redid my vase from the bathroom by taking things off and adding the new colors and ribbon. Used $2 only and my new bird in a cage décor cost me $5 to make with items I already had like the metal/glass lantern and mini lights.

So yes, I switched several things out of my kitchen. I ended up spray painting other items so I wouldn’t have to spend more money to replace them. I switched out my bathroom shower curtain and accessories (and painted it) for less than $70 and got my college daughter new bedding, rug and a few decor items, (getting rid of her preteen stuff), for way under $80. Replaced broken household items and old worn out things plus damaged utensils and more in my kitchen. I even added a conner shelf in my bedrrom to replace the musltiple shelves that seems too chaotic. I think I did pretty good considering I stayed under $400 total for all rooms….  (I hope my husband doesn’t read that part.) At least I hope I did… (I did purchase items for the church as well, but that is not included.) Yes, this is my confession, which is good for the soul.

So, next time I feel the need to create summer projects I will need to check my trigger happy fingers at the door and leave them behind. Projects that are uniquely me need to always be restrained by self-control and self-discipline. Otherwise my ventures into the summer would not be so unique, as I would join many in the world deep in debt. Well, I’m expecting a couple of boxes soon…. and thank you for shopping at…BN-UU819_KEYWOR_P_20170824114524

Share your summer self-controlled trigger happy fingers do’s and don’ts in your comments.

Uniquely Inspirational

Out of the Darkness

 “But God chose you to be his people. You are royal priests. You are a holy nation. You are God’s special treasure. You are all these things so that you can give him praise. God brought you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” – 1 Peter 2:9

I have worked with young people for over 25 years.

I have worked with young people in 3 different countries and they all have several things in common:

    1. They are struggling with their future
    2. They are struggling with relationships
    3. They are struggling within themselves
    4. They are struggling with sin and that leads to struggling with God

Sometimes they just ignore it, hoping that ignoring it will make it go away. Otherwise it leads to more pain. Sometimes they just accept it, as part of life and they give in to their emotions allowing the feelings to lead them, hence covering up the pain. Sometimes they face it, head on by fighting it. Often this leads to causing pain in others around them, whether voluntarily or not. A good example of these struggles can easily be seen in these lyrics Out of the Darkness By Little Steven, and in Matt Hegardy’s song as well.

However, the best solution, the one I constantly pray for and work for (as well as many pastors , family and friends), is that they surrender it to Christ. Hence, stepping into the Light of Christ and out of their darkness. Maybe Erin Willett is figering this out in her song Out of the Darkness.

It seems to me that this is the hardest thing for many young people to do, to surrender it, because they really cannot imagine the outcome. At times they feel that the outcome is so overwhelmingly good that they cannot believe it.  Often they just think that “no way that will never happen to me” and that they cannot overcome it….ever.  the dark shedThe worst yet, they are so comfortable in their own discomfort that often the pain and hardships become so entwined with their emotions and who they are that they in fact enjoy it. After all, they have been taught that there is nothing wrong and that their darkness is a good thing, it makes you “cool.” (Maybe not in those words, but you get my drift).

Such a simple solution, yet too hard for many to take.  As if they were stuck inside a dark cave.

This summer I watched how many young people saw the LIGHT, they finally understood not only the LOVE of GOD for them, but His purpose, His intentions and His PROMISES. They saw where humanity had gone wrong, they saw how the darkness came and had lied to them and swallowed them whole. They saw the lies and sin for what it is and saw JESUS for who HE IS and how HE gave his life for them so that He can pull them out of the darkness. As I watched the youth come to the altar, as I heard the prayers and heard their plea, I knelt by a young girl to pray. My question, “What do you want God to do for you today?” Her response was , “I don’t know. There is so much and I’m confused…”

20180620_194057

“What are you most confused about?” As she searched for answers I could not stop from feeling her pain. “My life, my relationship… is just…” and she burst into tears before she could finish. I asked again, “What do you want Jesus to do with it?” “To make it right…” She finally voiced. As we prayed she admitted her need to be forgiven and healed. The more we prayed, the more peaceful she became. At the end she looked at me and said, “I feel peaceful, I feel free and I know God loves me.”  Yes, this young lady, along with dozens had prayed out of their darkness that night. She now had left the darkness behind. The pain, she, along with many, had come to the realization that she could not hide it, ignore, live with it, live above it, but all she had to do was to surrender it. In that process Jesus took her hand and led her out…

I left that night with tears of joy.  Taking it all in. For that night many young people encountered the Savior, His forgiveness, His grace, His love, His light and His healing power. They found freedom for the first time. They lined up to share with others what God had done, sharing how they have been healed.

As I thought about it and dwelled on the service the day after. I had been seeing them around the campgrounds. I talked with a few, noticing their smiles and seeing the joy and peace in their eyes. Their words supported what I saw in their eyes and smiles. It showed the difference, no pain, no darkness. I walked into the sanctuary to find this projected on the wall:20180621_183542

As we left at the end of the week I was reminded how amazing is God’s grace that not only steps in to pull us out of the darkness, but was willing to go into it himself (when He died on the cross for us) just to get us out. Jesus himself suffered. Jesus himself was in pain. Jesus himself carried our sins, our darkness and left it behind. He understands us, He has lived it and if He can bring us out… into the light. Matthew West portrays it best in His song “Into the Light.” Jesus didn’t just pulled us out and into the His light… He continues to give us light and walk by our side. He took our hand and walks with us. Yes, Jesus walks with us no matter how uniquely weird and crazy our lives gets. All we have to do is take His hand, let Him lead, and hold on for our dear life. Because believe me, living with Christ is such a uniquely lit adventure!

 

Uniquely Mi Vida

The effects of being uniquely ME

“In those days, I will pour out my Spirit on my servants. I will pour out my Spirit on both men and women. When I do, they will prophesy.” –Acts 2:8

Raqui Sharing

“Why do you want to be an co-pastor?” A church board member from Puerto Rico asked me during an interview with my husband, “Isn’t it enough to be the pastor’s wife and just “minister” as one?” (It was 1994 and I was expecting my fisrt child). 

“Was it enough for the Apostle Paul to stay with the disciples and work within their shadows from Jerusalem? Where would the church be then?” That should have been my response, but I just said, “I am not called to be a pastor’s wife. I am called to be a minister and to do that I have to take responsibilities since I’m in the process of ordination…” (I was eventually ordained in 1995, a year later, being one of the few Puerto Rican women at the time, I think I was the second or third.) 

Ironically enough this church wound up selecting a female friend of mine to be their pastor about 12 years later.

About 4 years later, a denominational leader is Kansas City called us into his office to talk about our call to missions, (and still do). Referring to me he asked, “Have you considered stepping aside and letting your husband do his ministry?” 

From the corner of my eye I could see my husband, Todd, shifting to respond, but I beat him to it. “I have never kept my husband from ministering, nor interrupted his ministry. He has his calling and ministry and I have mine. Even though we have separate callings we know how to work well together.” (Maybe I should have mentioned that I had not seen any disciple leave ministry and let Peter do ministry on his own.) I responded without shame. My husband affirmed that neither of us keeps the other from ministry. Then he insisted that the question be addressed to him as well. I smiled.  

Houston Work and Witness
Raqui praying for a couple who lost everything to the hurricane in the Port Arthur, TX area.

These are just a few of the hurdles I have had to jump over in my life. Questions that Christians may find irresponsible and even absurd, others find necessary. It is not that they are opposed to me, it is that they doubt my calling, or that women may be called. I have never been able to understand fully why. Yet, I never allowed it to impede or keep me from God’s calling. All I know is that I had, and HAVE, a calling. When I was 14 years old i answered the calling much like Isaiah 6:8, “Then I heard the voice of the Lord. He said, “Who will I send? Who will go for us?” I said, “Here I am. Send me!””

This is not to say that it has all been easy…sometimes life has been super difficult, other times super easy… but for whom hasn’t it been? I have had, as everyone else called into ministry (men or women) to pass through storms in which I have been soaked by the rains. But I have also have had times in life that it has been, to say, rainbows. Either way, I have seen the hand of God working, at every turn, in the lives of those who I have shared Christ. This tells me that I am following His will.

Dr. Jerry Porter always told me that the calling is affirmed by people who have come to Christ through your ministry and the spiritual growth in their lives. He affirmed my calling many times. It is very important for women like me to have people like him in our lives.

So what then is needed to confirm a calling? First let me be clear, ALL Christians have been called (“mandated”, actually),  to share the message of Christ. ALL of us are called to work in the fields. (Matthew 28:16-20) We have ALL been called to love and be like Christ. Yet, there is a specific group that God calls to be Pastors, Missionaries, leaders, teachers and so on…

July 4 Baptisms
Estrella getting baptised by her pastor Mother, with Pastor Dad assisting.
  1. This calling comes from the depths of your heart with a huge passion. This passion cannot be stopped. A person with the passion of Christ does not see the soul of human beings as everyone else.  We see lost souls and we constantly want to try to help them find their way. We want them to encounter Jesus Christ. We want to help them to maintain a relationship with Christ. We want them to find holiness and live by it.  That passion comes in everything we do, for it spills into our lives and our home. Sometimes it even makes us cry. The compassionate and empathetic heart is part of Christ’s. When you talk about Christ and teach the scriptures, the passion is heard.
  2. The calling is found in the scripture. No matter how often your read it or what verse you read, you feel the calling through it verses. When God calls you, He uses the scripture to lead you. God speaks to hearts though the scriptures. He also speaks during prayer times. Hearing the voice of God in our souls as we pray, a voice that cannot be shut off. As you read, as you pray, the voice of the Lord gets louder and the calling becomes just as loud. For me I heard it in the stories of the prophets in the Old Testament (as in Jeremiah 1:4-10) and the calling of the disciples, the great commandment and others like it. When I heard it as I read about the Samaritan woman by the well and in Ruth, I had to accept that it was from God, it was real. Even when I prayed today, I could and can hear His calling. (He can really be demanding when He wants to be and needs to be).
  3. Others around you and throughout your life see it too. During our lives others see you gifts of “pastor, missionary, teacher and leader. The people themselves, our families and friends, affirm our calling. They form part of our mentoring group, who we need, especially while our calling is developing.  It is important to talk to our pastors, leaders and those of strong faith who have known us and have watched us grow spiritually. My parents, as missionaries, and my pastors, were my best mentors. Besides them, I had other leaders that after finding out about my calling, they would hug me and support me. The most important thing is that they mentored me and taught me (and still do) how to be a minister. It was they who prepared me by giving me responsibilities, jobs and guiding me. This is how they, and many more, have affirmed me in my calling. {A great HUG of Gratitude to those special to me: My Parents, Bill Porter, Dr. Jerry Porter, Dr. Roger Hahn, Dr. Dennis Bratcher, Rev. Noemi Vasquez-Pla, Rev. Manuel y Norma Guzmán, Dr. Howard Culbertson, just to name a few}
Papi Predicando y yo interpretando al ingles
Translating for my Father, Rev. Mario A. Cintron. We make an awesome team.
  1.  Your gifts and skills are given for the sake of that calling. Sometimes we may not understand why we have certain skills that wind up transforming or supporting our calling. Yet, all those gifts and skills are being used for our calling, if not now, they will. Here is where I saw my calling more clearly. The gift of teaching and preaching with passion affirmed my calling. The gift of translating, of helping, even finances and budgeting, and more have assisted me in sharing the gospel. If I ever had a doubt, all I had to do was look at my gifts and skills and see that God gave them to me for ministry. That is big.
  2. When God calls he gives a hunger for education in Theology, biblical studies and the Truth. You have a hunger to learn more that seems to increase as you see the need to equip yourself with the best tools to be your best. Some come to me telling me that they only need the Bible. If that was true, and that is all you need, Jesus wouldn’t have spent 3 years with his disciples (but would have just given them the Torah and walked away), and Paul would not have gone for 4 years to learn more after his transformation and calling. The Bible is the most important thing,  but not the ONLY thing we need for ministry. A true calling comes with an appetite, a hunger for learning more, wanting more knowledge and greater wisdom. Because a man cannot live on bread alone. We need to learn about the people, the cultures, the history, the ways people think, life itself and more. Education is important here, it fulfills those things that equip us to better minister. For we know that the calling is not just preaching… it is more than that, and the preaching needs to be solid.
  3. When God calls He provides. He is after all “Yahweh Yirah,” the Lord will provide. I have learned that will open the doors and will close the doors according to God’s will, always providing for my means. On my end, I have to make sure I don’t force the doors open just because a door seems more pleasing, fun, solid, shiny or whatever… I have to learn to TRUST fully on God, even when that “door” seems scary or delapidated. When I said to God “yes” and asked that He provide my education, He did. When I said “yes” and asked to show me the man that had said “yes” too and was a man of God, and with the heart of God, He did. When I said “yes” and asked that He supply my financial needs… He HAS. God provides as long as we are following HIS WILL and saying “yes.”

Then, what are the “effects” of all this in my life? Well, they have made me who I am today. As a Latin woman, more specifically, a Puerto Rican called into ministry, I have to continue to live a life according to my calling in ministry. Yes, I know eyes are on me a lot. No matter what happens. That means that I have to keep myself connected to God in all things as mentioned. It is difficult but not impossible. It is hard work, but never in vain. I have had more chapters in my life that have been more positive than negative. I have seen children, young people, and adults come to the feet of Jesus, sanctified, healed and called throughout my life. And all these make my life very, VERY, much worth living. Because this unique life that I am living, I am living for Christ, regardless of the “effects” that follow.

“We speak the truth. We serve in the power of God. We hold the weapons of godliness in the right hand and in the left. We serve God in times of glory and shame. We serve him whether the news about us is bad or good. We are true to our calling. But people treat us as if we were pretenders.” –2 Cor. 6:7-8

Therefore I keep heading forward…. with Christ by my side because “for me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” -Phil. 1:21 What else can I say? And this UNIQUE life that God has given me?… is… uniquely HIS.

“For the Sake of the Call”– Steven Curtis Chapman

Únicamente Español

Soy Una Planificadora…con TDAH

“Si lo puedes soñar, lo puedes conseguir. Conseguirás todo lo que quieres en la vida si ayudas a otra gente a conseguir lo que quieren.” –Anonimo

{nota: esta es una traducción del blog del 10 de Mayo}

Así que esta soy yo tomado un descanso porque tengo mucho que hacer, pero no quiero hacer nada, por lo menos por el momento. Eventualmente me veras arrastrándome fuera de esta silla. Porque me siento así?

my coffee mugBueno, Yo empecé mi día con mi sabroso café con leche y me senté al frente de la computadora a trabajar con mi sermón del Día de las Madres. Pero eso no fue lo que hice. No, mi TDAH insistió a chequear mi lista en me “wishlist” para la boda de mi hermanita. Primero tenía que ver el vestido que había ordenado (o vestidos), para estar segura que eran el tamaño correcto…una pausa. Mi segunda hija me necesitaba que la lleve al trabajo. Así que me fui. De vueltas y a la computadora y hacer mi “Lista de quehaceres” para hoy. Estoy pensando que primero debo de leer la Biblia…Solo que soy boba y escucho a mi celebro TDAH., porque a ver las etiquetas que ya tenía abierto, decide ver los zapatos para el vestido. Así que al túnel de zapatos dorados mi mente se fue. Eventualmente me dije, “no necesito zapatos si el vestido color de rosa me sirve.” Con eso pude volver, por fin, a trabajar en el sermón…bueno así pensé hasta que vi los papeles al frente de mí. Se me había olvidado que tenía que hacer algunas llamadas importante, más vale que los agá. Una de esas era la universidad de mi hija menor para chequear su balance. Dando me cuenta que no había visto los mensajes, mi curiosidad me gana y veo que mi nena menor me había llamado. Debo de llamarla… pero primero, las llamadas. Bueno, eso tomo tiempo, más de lo que esperaba. Por fin llame a mi pequeña estudiante universitaria. Todavía al frente de la computadora tome mucho tiempo ayudándola arreglar sus finanzas para el próximo Otoño. Estando segura que todo está pagado. Cuando colgué y decidí,  “Raqui, reponte. Enfoca tu mente.” Después de una oración empecé a leer y reflejar en las escrituras. Por fin, estoy avanzando. Dejando que mis pensamientos que aportaran ideas y mis ojos buscando información mientras oro, “Señor, dirígeme a la palabra correcta.” Para entonces ya me estaba dando hambre. Pues claro, eran ya la 1 pm. Con mis pensamientos todavía corriendo y en oración, agarre mi almuerzo. Devueltas en la computadora, siento y escucho a Dios aclarándome cual escrituras debo de usar el domingo entrante. Me emociono y empiezo a juntar mis notas… Estoy avanzado mas todavía! Chévere!…y antes de poner mis pensamientos organizadas en mis notas…entra Papi…El me necesita que lo ayude con su seguro de su “nuevo “ carro. (es una historia larga, no me preguntes.)  ***sigh*** Pues bueno, por lo menos tengo las escrituras, tema e ideas ya listas. Por lo menos sé que va hacer el mensaje. Lo deje llenando una información y mientras tanto me fui a lavar los trates hasta que me llamo para hacer las gestiones. Cuando se fue me di cuenta que todavía no nos había registrado para los talleres de pastores dado anualmente. Déjame hacerlo…

Sí, yo soy una planadora. No puedo culpar mi mente de TADH por impedirme de completar mi “Lista-de- quehaceres”, especialmente cuando hay otros a mí alrededor.  (A veces siento que mi vida será mejor si doy números). Aunque no me distraiga yo misma, otros lo hacen por mí. Algunas veces mi tendencia de para lo que estoy haciendo para ayudar a otros molesta… bueno, a mi… casi siempre cuando sé que tengo mucho que hacer. Creo que lo que me molesta, y se que aquí mi auto-disciplina debe de encargarse, es que cuanto estoy en el proceso de termina cierto tarea, algo surge. Y algo siempre tiene que surgir. Ese “algo” tiene que ser otros… o es algo que vistes en la esquina de tus ojos que te intereso… o que simplemente esta fuera de lugar… O cuando estas limpiando un cuarto y recogiendo la ropa sucia te das cuenta que el piso necesita barrerse. Uno para para barrer y buscando la escoba, se da cuenta que los trates están sucios… Espérate. Déjame terminar los trates antes que se me olvide… Que  me esta  SUCEDIENDO?? Tal vez si debo de hacer algo para controlar este TADH! Sinceramente, solo tengo que terminar mi lista-de-quehaceres…yo sé lo que debo que hacer.

frustrating computer workPlaneando puede ser muy frustrado si uno no puede aprender a priorizar, bueno, planear. El problema es cuando otros te necesitan porque necesitan tu ayuda. Ayudando a otros no es malo. Supongo que a mi no me molesta porque es quien soy y quien quiero ser. Me recuerda de la Regla de Oro: “Trata a otros como quieres que te traten” Como dice en Mateo 7:12, “12 Así que en todo traten ustedes a los demás tal y como quieren que ellos los traten a ustedes. De hecho, esto es la ley y los profetas.”.(También lo podemos ver en Lucas 6:31) En un modo espero yo que otros me devuelvan el favor cuando tengo mucho que hacer. No lo espero, pero me gustaría. Por lo tanto, he aprendido a hacer flexible con mis planes. He aprendido que hay cosas que puedo poner al lado si alguien me necesita. Eventualmente terminare con mi lista de quehaceres, (bueno, casi todas, está bien, algunas veces solo la mitad). Algunas cosas se pueden terminar el próximo día sin problemas. Manteniendo en mente para cuando ciertas cosas se deben de hacer me ayuda. Si confeso, algunas veces, no puedo ayudar a alguien. Por ejemplo, el otro día, mientras que estaba cocinando, mi hermano llega a pedir…pues, ayuda… “Lo siento. No te puedo ayudar a hora. Pregúntale a Todd.” Después de todo, ya se estaba poniendo tarde…

Sinembargo, algunas veces no importa mis planes. Siempre doy tiempo para otros. Es mi forma de demonstrar mi amor hacia otros cuando les ayudo. Y mas cuando pongo mis cosas al lado y le doy prioridad a gente. En si les enseño amor y que ellos me importan. Como Pablo dice en Romanos 12:9-10 “El amor debe ser sincero. Aborrezcan el mal; aférrense al bien. Ámense los unos a los otros con amor fraternal, respetándose y honrándose mutuamente.” Aunque enseñamos el amor en diferentes formas, echando nuestras cosas al lado para otros es una de ellas. Ayudando fue una de las formas especiales que mi Madre usaba para ensenarles el amor. Más específico, el amor de Cristo. Supongo que lo aprendí de ella. Ella siempre planeaba ante mano todo lo que iba hacer ese dia hasta a quien iba a ayudar de acuerdo a sus necesidades.

A menudo, mi Mama Muchas veces ponía a lado sus propias necesidades por las necesidades de otros. Sin importarle su “liste de quehaceres”, ellas siempre tenía tiempo para otros, hasta para mis amigos.  Claro que ella no tenía un cerebro disperso como yo tengo… Sin embargo, yo trato de imitar el amor hacia otros, poniéndolos primero (Filipenses 2:3-5). Creo que Yo empecé aprendiendo a ayudar y planear cuando le ayudaba.  Más cuando ella estaba muy ocupada con otros. En ayudándole mientras que ella tenía muchas cosas que hacer (Y muchas cosas en su calendario) me di cuenta cuanto ella se alegraba por mi ayuda (y menos estresada, y eso siempre fue bueno para mi). Esto, en torno, me hacía muy feliz. (Claro que no estaba nada de mal que algunos días me recompensaba con pesetas.) Así que uno puede decir que en ese tiempo aprendí a ser una “ayudante planeadora”. Vi la importancia de planear pero también ayudar a otros. Claro que con mi TDAH es más fácil de distraerme para ayudar a otros.

Siendo una “ayudante planeadora”, es mi forma especial y única para terminar mis quehaceres y ser amable hacia otros. Hasta con mi TDAH cerebral y todo lo que sigue. He aprendido que siempre tengo flexibilidad en mi “lista-de-quehaceres” con tal que mantenga mis prioridades en tacto. Mi concepto se ve así: As un plan A, B y C y siempre esté dispuesto para ser flexible y prepárate para volver a escribir y reorganizar cuando otros te necesiten; con tal que puedas realizarlo. Mejor es que lo hagas en lápiz… por si acaso tienes que añadir, cambiar, quitar… Ahora… para terminar mis notas antes que tenga que cocinar. {OH, Y CASI SE ME OLVIDA: Hacer las cartas electrónica, terminar de limpiar la cocina, mapear el cuarto de mi hija antes que vuelva de la universidad, …oh, y…}  ESPERATE!… acaso acabo de escuchar a mi hermano entrar????!! Unicamente a mi….

Únicamente Español

Los Efectos de ser Única Yo

“¿Por qué quieres ser asistente del Pastor?” Me preguntó un miembro de la Junta durante una entrevista a mi Esposo y a mí, desde Puerto rico. “¿Acaso no te basta ser una esposa de pastor normal?” Insistió él.

“¿Acaso le bastaría a Pablo quedarse entre los discípulos y estar a la sombra de ellos en Jerusalén?¿ Dónde estaría la iglesia entonces?”, le hubiera constatado… pero solo le dije: “Yo no soy llamada para ser una esposa de pastor. Yo soy llamada a ser un ministro y para ser eso tengo que tomar responsabilidades, ya que estoy en proceso de ser ordenada para ser Presbítero.” (Finalmente, fui ordenada el Año 1995, una de las pocas Puertorriqueñas en ese entonces en la Iglesia del Nazareno. Creo que fui la segunda o tercera).

La ironía es que como 12 años después esa misma iglesia eligió una Pastora, una amiga mía.

Unos 4 años después,  un Líder en Kansas City, nos llamó a su oficina. Quería hablar con nosotros sobre el llamado que ambos teníamos de misionero, (que  todavía tenemos).  Refiriéndose a mí, “¿Has considerado moverte hacia un lado y dejar que tu esposo haga su ministerio?”

Por la esquina de mis ojos vi que Todd quería responder, yo le gane, “Yo nunca me he metido con el ministerio de mi esposo. El tiene su ministerio y yo el mío. El tiene su llamado, y yo el mío. Aunque sean llamamientos separado, sabemos cómo trabajarlo juntos.” (Posiblemente le hubiera dicho que yo no vi ningún discípulo en la Biblia hacerse un lado para que Pedro haga el ministerio solo.) Le respondí sin pena. Mi esposo le afirmó que ni yo ni él impide al otro el llamamiento. Trabajamos juntos y nos complementamos muy bien. Todd también le exigió que le hiciera la misma pregunta a el. Yo sonreí.

Houston Work and Witness
Raqui praying for a couple who lost everything in the Port Arthur area.

Estos son pocos de los ejemplos de lo que yo he pasado durante mi vida. Preguntas que unos encuentran irresponsables y absurdas como cristianos, sin embargo, otros lo encuentran necesarias. Nos es que están opuestos a mí sino dudan mi llamado. Nunca he podido entender completamente el porqué. Nunca lo deje que me impidiera del llamado de Dios. Solo sé que yo tenía y tengo un llamado. Y cuando yo tenía 14 años yo respondí como Isaías 6:8, “Entonces oí la voz del Señor que decía: ¿A quién enviaré? ¿Quién irá por nosotros? Y respondí: Aquí estoy. ¡Envíame a mí!”

No es para decir que todo ha sido fácil… algunas veces han sido súper difícil, otras veces súper fácil. (¿Pero, para quien no?) He tenido, como todos llamados al ministerio, que pasar por muchas tormentas en la cual he sido empapada por un aguacero. También he pasado por muchos arcoíris por decir. De cualquier forma, he visto la mano de Dios obrando en todo momento, en las vidas de personas quienes le hablo de Cristo, lo cual me dice, que estoy siguiendo su voluntad.

El Dr. Jerry Porter siempre me decía que el llamado de Dios es seguido por afirmación en las personas que uno trae a los pies de Cristo y el crecimiento de otros en su vida espiritual. El me reafirmó mi llamamiento muchas veces. Gente como él son muy importante en la vida de mujeres como yo.

Entonces, ¿que es necesario para confirmar un llamado? Primero, quiero decir que TODOS somos llamados a compartir el mensaje de Cristo. TODOS somos llamados a trabajar en la obra. TODOS somos llamados a amar y ser como Cristo. Sin embargo hay un grupo específico que Dios Llama para ser Pastores, Misioneros, Maestros, etc.

July 4 Baptisms
Estrella getting baptist by her pastor Mother with Pastor Dad assisting.

1. Este llamado viene del fondo del corazón, con una pasión enorme. Esta pasión no se puede apagar. Una persona con la pasión de Cristo no puede ver al ser humano como todos. Vemos el ser humano perdido y siempre queremos ayudarles. Queremos que encuentren a Cristo. Queremos ayudarles a mantener esa relación con Cristo. Queremos que encuentren la Santidad. Esta pasión viene en todo lo que hacemos, se derrama en nuestras vidas hasta en nuestro hogar. Algunas veces hasta nos hace llorar. Yo me encontró con lágrimas siempre que veo una cuidad o grupo de gente, o un individuo; porque siento el dolor y confusión de su ser perdidos y lastimados. El corazón compasivo y empático es parte de Cristo. Cuando hablas de Cristo y la escrituras la pasión se escucha.

2. El llamamiento siempre se encuentra en las escritura. No importa cuántas veces y que verso lees, siempre ves el llamamiento en los versículos. Cuando Dios llama, El usa las escrituras para dirigirte hacia ese llamado. Dios habla a nuestros corazones por las escrituras. También durante nuestro tiempo de oración. Escuchando la voz de DIOS en nuestro ser… una voz que, trate lo que trate, no puedes apagar. Y mientras más lees, más oras y escuchas la voz de DIOS, más fuerte sientes ese llamado. Para mí, era siempre lo sentía en las historias de los profetas (Como Jeremías 1:4-10), el llamado de los discípulos, el gran mandamiento y otros similares. Pero cuando lo ví en la historia de la mujer samaritana y en Ruth sabía que era de Dios. Cuando oraba sobre el llamamiento, y en días presentes, también, siempre escucho su voz. (El puede ser muy demandante cuando quiere.)

3. Lo ven otros alrededor de nuestras vidas. Durante nuestra vida, otros ven el don de pastor, misioneros, líder y maestro. La gente misma, nuestra familia y amigos, te afirman ese llamado. Ellos forman parte de nuestros mentores lo cuales necesitamos mientras el llamado se desarrolla. Es importante hablar con nuestros pastores y líderes que nos conocen y nos han visto crecer.  Mis padres, como misioneros y mis pastores, fueron mis mentores. Además de ellos, habían otros líderes que cuando yo les conté que sentía el llamado, ellos (todos) me abrazaron y me apoyaron. Lo más importante es que ellos mismo me mentaron y me enseñaron como ser un ministro. Fueron ellos quienes me prepararon por medio de responsabilidades y trabajos que me daban. Así ellos y muchos más, me reafirmaron el llamado. {Gente muy especial y les doy gracias: Revdo. Bill Porter, Dr. Jerry Porter, Roger Hahn, Dennis Bratcher, Noemi Vasquez-Pla, Revdo. Manuel y Norma Guzmán, Dr. Harold Culbertson, para nombrar algunos}.

 

4. Tus dones y habilidades son dadas para seguir ese llamado.  Uno nunca sabe porque tenemos ciertas habilidades que se transforma o apoyan tus dones. Sin embargo, todo eso ayuda al llamamiento. Es aquí en que yo vi más mi llamado. El don de enseñar y dar el mensaje de Cristo con todo fervor, fue una forma de ver el llamamiento más firme. También el don de traducir, de ayudar y más son necesarias para compartir el evangelio. Si tenía duda de mi llamado, solo tenía que recordarme de mis dones y ver que el llamado era grande.

5. El hambre por la educación teológica, bíblica y otros… el apetito de aprender más se multiplica porque uno que es llamado quiere servir con las mejores herramientas. Algunos vienen a donde mi diciéndome que solo necesitan la biblia. Si eso fuera correcto Jesús no hubiera estado con los discípulos por tres años. Le hubiera dado el manuscrito del Tora y ya. Si eso fuera verdad Pablo no se hubiera ido a estudiar por 4 años después que Jesús lo transformo y llamo. La Biblia es lo más importante pero no es lo único que necesitamos para el ministerio. Un llamamiento verdadero, de Dios, viene con un apetito de saber, aprender y leer más. Porque ese apetito no se puede llenar con solo pan. Necesitamos aprender de la gente, de la historia, de vida y más. La educación llena todo eso y nos da más apetito para querer aprender más… porque siempre queremos equiparnos con lo mejor para hacer el mejor trabajo. Pues sabemos que el llamamiento no es solo predicar… va más, mucho más allá… y la predicación tiene que estar firme.

Entonces, ¿cuáles son las “efectos” en mi vida? Pues, que como mujer latina, más específica, puertorriqueña, llamada al ministerio, tengo que mantener una vida de acuerdo a mi llamamiento. Pase lo que pase. Eso significa que tengo que mantenerme conectada con Dios en todas las formas ya nombradas. Y es difícil pero no es en vano. He tenido mucho más cuentos de los buenos que de los pocos malos. He visto niños, jóvenes y adultos venir a los pies de Cristo ser santificados  y llamados. Y eso hace todo lo que paso y he vivido, valer, MUCHO, la pena. Porque ésta vida única que vivo, la vivo por Cristo. En las palabras de Pablo:

“..con palabras de verdad y con el poder de Dios; con armas de justicia, tanto ofensivas como defensivas; por honra y por deshonra, por mala y por buena fama; veraces, pero tenidos por engañadores; conocidos, pero tenidos por desconocidos; como moribundos, pero aún con vida; golpeados, pero no muertos..”   –2 Corintios 6:7-9 (NVI)

Asi que sigo  adelante…. Con Cristo a mi lado, porque “para mí el Vivir es Cristo y el morir es ganancia.”—Filipenses 1:21. ¿Qué más puedo decir? Esta vida Única que me regalo mi Dios…es…únicamente SUYA!!