Motto in a Minute: Enjoy What Matters Today

Motto in a Minute is a new series I will be starting! Encouraging words you can read in just a few minutes with a motto to help you repeat throughout your day and thrive! Today’s Motto in a Minute: Enjoy What Matters Today.

Life gets chaotic at times. Instead of wearily pushing through trying to survive, give yourself grace and THRIVE by focusing on what really matters! And ENJOY what matters!

Challenge yourself today. Push aside the frustrations, the stresses, the worries, and the little things. Reflect on what REALLY matters today and why. Is it your job? Your marriage? Your family? A friendship? What important area of your life needs to take priority today?  Then, put your heart and your energy into that. 

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters” Colossians 3:23 NIV

Enjoy what Matters!

Selah

If you enjoyed this post, please take a moment to share it and encourage someone in your life!

Love Keeps No Record of Wrongs

For about six years, I performed music at several wedding ceremonies and receptions as a part-time gig. During wedding season, I was consistently surrounded by the whimsical romance that seemed to linger in the air. The ceremonies filled me with joy witnessing what seemed like “a happy ending” to each individual couple’s fairy tale. It wasn’t until a few years later, after my own fairy tale “happy ending”, that I truly realized that the grandiose ceremonies and harmonious vows were just the beginning…


I knew from the relationship ups and downs that my husband and I had prior to our marriage, that there was no fairy tale. However, I was slightly blindsided by the amount of work a marriage takes, especially when it came to forgiving and moving passed the “downs”. Even though God turned all of our prior mistakes and shortcomings into good, the wedding ceremony was not the victory celebration that we overcame the struggles. Rather, it was an agreement to forgive all past wrongdoings, and commit to love each other moving forward in a life-long journey.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Part of attending these enchanting weddings was also listening to sometimes captivating, sometimes predictable, sermons from the ministers. 1 Corinthians 13 was what I used to consider predictable and monotonous. I would often say that I would NOT have that scripture passage as part of MY wedding ceremony someday because it was so cliché. Perhaps it was not overused, but perhaps I did not truly understand the depth of these words…

Years later, as my fiancé and I enthusiastically sat through our meetings with the pastor in preparation for marriage, I recall having this same attitude. I remember when the pastor mentioned that he was going to read that passage a part of me was screaming in disagreement. The other part of me was just so eager to get through the preparation and on to the wedding. So, I agreed to it, and told myself I would talk myself into accepting the passage.

Later as I reflected and allowed myself to go waist-deep into the passage I found beauty in it. I found meaning in the passage that I had missed, or maybe forgotten, before.

Yes, I said waist-deep. Because even then, I STILL missed one of the most essential, and most life-giving phrases of the whole passage…

“It keeps no record of wrongs.”

Now, I strongly dislike clichés, but this truly means to forgive and to forget.

I spent much of my life with the attitude that “I can forgive you, but I don’t have to forget.” Even when I was the guilty party and repented, I would still wonder at times if that person actually forgave me, and even more so, if they had forgotten…

I know what it is like to feel unforgiven.

It is disappointing, disheartening, and imprisoning! It made me feel guilty, unaccepted, inadequate, unlovable, and discouraged. I always worried what people would think of me. I felt I could not grow into the person I wanted to be, let alone the person that God had intended me to be.

However, I also know what it is like to feel and be forgiven.

Glory to God that He made a way for us to be forgiven! He sent His only Son to live and suffer on this earth as a man, to be the lamb that was sacrificed to redeem us that were born into sin. We no longer have to be guilty! We can repent, ask Jesus into our lives, and decide to live His lifestyle following His ways.

One day I also had to intentionally forgive myself for all of my own past mistakes and repent for holding on to them. I had to be intentional about allowing God to pull me out of the cement I was stuck in for so long to intricately change me. I had to put my worries, doubts, and insecurity behind, and faithfully allow Him to propel me forward into becoming the woman He has called me to be.

Three years into marriage (and almost 9 years into our entire relationship), God made known to me that I was still keeping my husband’s record of wrongs… even wrongs from years prior to our marriage. The most important earthly person to me I was having trouble genuinely forgiving…

This summer we attended a Matthew West concert. His encore was a song that changed my marriage for the better. It is an inspiring, brilliantly written song called “The List”. If you have not heard it buy it on iTunes, or look it up on YouTube, and listen to the lyrics… like now! It is about how “love keeps no record of wrongs”.

The moment I heard the words to this song, I felt convicted. In that moment, I realized that I had been holding my husband to things in years past. Every time we had a “discussion”, I would bring up his record of wrongs… his OLD tendencies or mistakes. I would try to justify my actions, my fears, my feelings, and my insecurities by mentioning his past sins that the Bible says Jesus separates from us “as far as the east is from the west”(Psalm 103:12).

The wrongdoings that my husband had made in the past, repented for to me but more importantly to the Lord, I had claimed to have forgiven. Yet, I would battle with them, and defend with them.

It was at the concert that night that I realized I was imprisoning my husband. I was not allowing him to grow as a husband, as a father, nor as a follower of Christ. That the sins that Jesus suffered, bled, and died for and threw into the “sea of forgetfulness”, I was still holding onto. Not only do we not have the authority to hold someone to their forgiven sins, but how discouraging, guilty, unaccepted, inadequate, and unloved we make a person feel by doing so.

This realization absolutely broke my heart.

The song made me realize what scripture has to say about our sins and forgiveness. For the first time, I genuinely understood the words in 1 Corinthians 13. After all these years, it had finally absorbed into my heart and spirit.

We need to “let it go”. Sincerely forgive the big and the small, never to mention it again. How freeing and life-giving it is to know that you are forgiven! How amazing the grace of God! How wonderful to be constantly forgiven and encouraged by your spouse. 

And yes, I have that poorly drawn sign on construction paper in my living and dining area as a constant reminder. (I have several hand written scriptures around our household…real life is not always a perfect photograph.)
It can change the whole tone of marriage when your goal is committing to show love and grace by forgiving and encouraging always. Instead of discouraging each other and holding each other back, allow each other to move forward, to progress, to improve, and to become the person they are to be in Christ.

Let us get rid of the record of wrongs we hold for our loved ones! Tear it up, burn the list! Free them, and free your relationships, to grow abundantly.

Marriage vows were an agreement to forgive all past wrongdoings, and to keep forgiving. Marriage vows were spoken to commit to love each other moving forward in a life-long journey…


To love each other with patience, kindness, humbleness, honor, selflessness, gentleness, and forgiveness. It is a commitment to protect each other, trust each other, hope and persevere through all weather. Through all sunshine-filled peaks and all dark valleys let us forgive, encourage, and love.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Selah

Overcoming Anger and Impatience in Motherhood

I just want to sing, “Nobody said it was easy”…

I often sing it out loud in the midst of household chaos.

My children… they are learning and testing. I have three children, ages four and under. I hear it gets much better and much easier, especially with the boys, so we shall see!

However, I totally understand the anger and impatience that can find us as mothers. Sometimes I feel like anger and impatience are like those Aunts at family parties that hunt you down to give you big smooches and leave lipstick all over your face. You feel like you have no control over the situation, and then you’re left with a crimson stain…

It doesn’t have to be like that though. We can learn to smother anger and persevere with patience!

A large part of persevering as a mother, is to remember that we are NOT battling our children, but we are battling our feelings. Feelings do NOT always lead to truth, so they should not dictate our actions. Feelings and thoughts can come from the enemy!

Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s

schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against

the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of

evil in the heavenly realms.” -Ephesians 6:11-12

It can be a daily battle, which is why it is so important for us to start our day with the Lord and clothe ourselves with the Armor of God. In the morning, I try to fill myself up the Word of the Lord, which is the “Sword of the Spirit”, and pray to prepare for my day.

“Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit,

which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions

with all kinds of prayers and requests.” -Ephesians 6:17-18

Remembering that our children are not our true battle can be a great step towards successfully overcoming our anger and impatience. In the same way, it is important to remember that a child does not always act out to purposely misbehave. Usually they are just reacting to their feelings that they do not yet know how to cope with! We need to help them understand their feelings, and teach them how to cope with them positively.

“Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist,

with the breastplate of righteousness in place,

and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes

from the gospel of peace.” -Ephesians 6:14-15

Children are always watching. They notice how we react to different feelings and situations, and they learn from us. So if we react to frustrations and annoyances in anger, they too will learn to react in the same manner. If they witness us lose control, yell, or hit, they too will believe that is how to react. If they watch us give up when situations become difficult, they too will give up and therefore will not learn perseverance.

Find what works for you! Stop and breathe. Walk away from the situation to calm down. Quote scripture that gives you strength (I have helpful scriptures posted all over my house). Sing! Ask God, who so graciously gives, for patience. Calm however you need to, then approach your child with love and grace, just as the Father shows love and grace to us.

If we manipulate them, shame them, threaten them, and punish them for reacting to their feelings (no matter what those feelings are and whether we think they are right or wrong for having them), they may never grow into the self-confident, loving, gracious, forgiving, (the list goes on) joyful people that we desire them to be! Instead, we need to be prepared with the armor of God, and filled with the fruits of the Spirit, to be able to MODEL positive, self-controlled actions. Listen to their little, yet big, feelings! We need to be able to lead them with love when they are angry. Support, encourage, and guide them to persevere and smother their feelings of frustration.

In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith,

with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”

Ephesians 6:16

Let us show them that we have faith in them; that we know they can overcome! Let us teach them to put on the armor of God daily, but show them grace when they need to be guided through their feelings and reactions. If you struggle with anger and impatience like I sometimes do, then you have however many years of practice in reacting. Give yourself grace! I know Jesus does. He can wipe away that crimson stain…

Allow yourself to search for joy in those difficult moments. Let us look at those moments as learning opportunities for BOTH us AND our child. Let us try to be a good example of Christ because sadly they won’t see Him in much of this world today. Day by day, we can overcome anger and impatience in motherhood. Love and grace.

Selah

-How do you overcome anger and impatience in motherhood? Any questions? Did you enjoy this post? Please leave your comments below!

Hope for Anxiety, Brokenness, and Depression

I can relate, Friend. I have been broken. I have been broken many times in many ways. I know what it feels like.

I know what it feels like to pretend to have it all together because everyone else needs you to be strong. I know what it feels like to be exhausted, worn, and beaten down. I know what it feels like to be used and abused. Fearful. Anxiety-driven. Numb.

I know what it is like to feel unloved, worthless, ashamed, and rejected. I know what it is like to constantly feel like “I’m not good enough”.

I understand the panic, the doubt, the lack of control, the anger, and the insecurity.

I know what it is like to be surrounded by people, yet still feel completely alone. I know what it is like to cry out of desperation and feel like no one hears me.

I understand, friend. I have been there, and I am here with you today. Let me tell you other things I know.

I now know what it feels like to be full of peace and joy. I know what it feels like to be loved unconditionally. I know what it feels like to have strength that is bigger than me because it is not my own. I know what it is like to be accepted, forgiven, and to have worth. 

I am good enough because Jesus is good enough, and He lives in me. I know what it is like to have our Father God in control. I know what it feels like to have my tears dried, and my ashes turned into beauty. know what it feels like to always have someone who hears me when I call. 

The best part about that, is the someone who hears us, Jesus, also knew what it felt like…

He was rejected, beaten, and falsely accused. He was deserted by his disciples, those that were supposed to be closest to him, when he needed encouragement and strength the most.

People tried to make him feel fearful, worthless, and ashamed, but He knew His worth. He knew that His Father in heaven still loved Him, and He knew that he had worth, purpose, and a place waiting for him in a kingdom not of this dreadful world.

Friend, whatever it is that is causing you heartache, turmoil, and desperation… I have great news for you, today. 

Even more than I can understand your pain, Jesus can. And He is alive today at the right hand of God. He will hear you, and with the Holy Spirit He will intercede for you to the very One seated on the throne.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭41:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

God is BIGGER! God is GREATER! Our God that spoke our universe into creation…He is bigger and greater than all of your problems. God can turn all of your bad into good! He is merciful, gracious, and full of love, and the sun can rise again and break through your darkness.

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“This is what the Lord says, he who made the earth, the Lord who formed it and established it—the Lord is his name: ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’”

‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭33:2-3‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I have seen it happen. It has happened in my life, and in the lives of others. For those broken pieces to be made into a new, beautiful creation, you must first call on Jesus as your Savior and seek forgiveness of your shortcomings. Then, you must submit your life to Him daily and walk in His ways. Surrender to the great plan He has for your life.

“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 ‭NIV‬‬

Praise God that He has made a way for us to be redeemed and restored through His Son Jesus!

“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭53:5‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Let the Father hold you. Let Him heal you and make you new. Let Him bring you out of the darkness into His marvelous light. 

Selah

Searching for a Quiet Mind

Tonight, my mind is full of noise. It is full of questions and ideas. Questions and ideas about the things God wants me to do. Brainstorms, To-Do Lists, email, social media, etc.

Time kept passing by in increments of half hours every time I checked the clock.


Dinner, bathtime, bedtimes all flew by too fast. Now, it is about 10:30. The kids are fast asleep, and I could be too. I should be sleeping.

This is a battle I often fight. One thought leading to another. My daily To-Do List resonating in my mind as I evaluate my performance throughout this day.

Did I clean enough? Was dinner up to par? Are the dishes done? Did I play with the kids enough? Did I love them enough, Lord?

I can do more, Lord, what should I be doing? In my days? In my life?

Then, two and a half hours after contemplating if I was enough today, and what more I should be doing in my life, I remain exhausted. However, exhausted with the beginnings of a plan. A challenge.

A challenge to seek God first every morning. A challenge to implement a true quiet time with the Lord BEFORE my children wake up like bright headlights ready to navigate their days. A challenge to give myself grace by reducing my daily To-Do List, and increase my joy in treasuring simple moments. A challenge to go to bed earlier by having more peace about each blessed day. A challenge to remember He is enough.

Stay tuned for an update on that challenge. I will share as I search for a quiet mind nightly… a peace knowing that I am enough because He is enough, and He lives in me.

Selah

You Have A God-given Purpose

As important as it is to love others, and build them up with our gentle and encouraging words, it is important for us to also love ourselves as God created us. Believe in the beauty that the Lord can shine through us. You have a life WORTH living! He made each of us with a purpose according to His divine plan.

“I urge you to live a life  worthy of the calling you have received. Be

completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with

one another in love.” Ephesians 4:1-2 NIV

Now, maybe you are still searching for your purpose. Waiting…wondering… all the while God may very well be shaping and developing you. It can be so frustrating as a human who simply cannot understand how God works all the time. What am I supposed to do, Lord? What am I supposed to BE? I will go deeper into this topic at another time; about purpose. For now, REST in understanding the simplicity of this verse:

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,

which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10 NIV

You were created by God! He is glad. He is joyful that He made you with all your abilities, talents, and even quirks that make you…YOU! You are His “handiwork” that He created in Jesus “to do good works”. These works God had planned for you long ago. He will use you when it is time…when you are ready… and it will be BEAUTIFUL.

     As these lush trees know their time of foliage is becoming short, they will surrender to the seasons knowing that in time, they will flourish beautifully yet again. 

~Priscilla Gonzalez~

So until then, put your faith, trust, and hope in Him. He created the vast universe, after all! And if you trust Him with your soul’s eternity, then how much easier it should be to trust Him with our earthly bodies and temporary lives! Surrender to His plan and daily live within His commandments. Ask the Holy Spirit’s guidance for every decision in every moment! If you surrender and obey, He will bless you.

“in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Proverbs 3:6 NIV

Some people have passed this area in their lives. They know what they are supposed to do! They have heard God’s gentle, yet powerful voice. Praise God for that! However, for some of us, we doubt. It seems much too difficult so we have fear. We doubt ourselves… our ability, our strength, our capacity to fulfill our God-given purpose.

Wait a minute…

If this is God’s plan for you, then why do you doubt? If He knows all that was and is to come, then surely He knows you can succeed at the plan He created for you. Not by your own strength, but through HIM, by HIS strength, and by HIS utmost capacity to fulfill His purpose for you.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Philippians 4:13

Recently, I heard a pastor’s sermon about fear and faith, and his words have stuck with me. He said, “Where there is faith, there is no fear!” Amen to that! That means if you truly have faith in the God of this universe, the God who knows all that was and is to come, the God that wins in the “end”… then there is NO room for fear. There is NO room for doubt.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we

ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…”

Ephesians 3:20 NIV

Wow, I love that verse. He can do so much more than you can ever imagine, or dream up, for your own life. If you are living within His will, He is at work within you.

If you simply surrender to His plan for your life, whether you have discovered it or not, then He will equip you.

Surrender! Put your faith and trust in Him, and not in yourself. God does NOT, and will NOT, fail. Ever.

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart,

but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”

Proverbs 19:21 NIV

Selah

Choosing Love & Grace in Motherhood

Many times, as a mom, I must consciously choose love and grace in the chaotic moments of life. I must push away the frustration, and smother the anger that wants to arise. I must purposely choose to use my greatest ability…to just love.

Let’s face it…Whether we are stay-at-home moms or working moms, and no matter how many kids we have, life as a mom can get chaotic… PERIOD. No matter what anyone says, it DOESN’T quite get easier!

I say this, not to see the glass as half empty, but because it’s true! Whoever started saying “it gets easier” to exhausted moms at their wit’s end had good intentions, I’m sure. It is most definitely a hard adjustment in the beginning as we cry out for sleep. That part will get easier.

Babies, toddlers, teens… They are constantly growing, going through phase after phase, stage after stage. No matter how much of an expert you become at handling the newborn’s schedule, next comes growth spurts and teething as babies…

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then comes potty training and the tantrum era (“terrible two’s” or threes AND fours in my son’s case)…

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Then, our children hit preschool or school age in which we need to have the patience to help them learn (whether we send them to school or teach them in the comfort of our own home) all while maintaining discipline, manners, hygiene, nutrition, and so much more!

Then, they become preteens, then teens… oh man! And even if you find all the tips and tricks that help you with one child’s stage, your other child (or children) may end up having a completely different personality, and you may have to learn all new ways to cope! It just never ends, but call me crazy… I really don’t want it to actually end anyways.

I have learned how fast they grow, and still “practice” treasuring even the difficult moments. Like while I was trying to write this post for example, my preschool aged son could not sit still and do a quiet activity while I tried to write because he had done all his letter and number tracing, and chores. I tried Legos and various other activities, but I guess I picked the wrong time of day to do this. If you have ever tried to work at home, or make an important phone call, or do anything with children around… then I’m sure you know that frustration can arise and even elevate to anger if you let it…

I kept getting impatient that he would not let me work, and then I look at him and laugh my head off! Why you might ask? Because I JUST realized his pants are on BACKWARDS! He went to the bathroom about a half hour ago and must not have paid much attention, but neither did I! This moment of humor made me relax. It also made me realize that I was not paying attention. It made me remember that he is so young. So young for such little time. I took this opportunity to snuggle him, and put the work away.

If he were perfect and did everything correctly, I would have no role, no chance to be a good influence and help shape his precious life. I would not have enjoyed that moment of laughter and snuggling as I told him he accidently put his pants on backwards, and that I was going to help him fix it. I was also able to “practice” patience, and show him love and grace instead of frustration.

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I have three young children, my oldest only 4, so as you can imagine my patience is often tested. It seems as though someone is always crying or needing something. Sometimes all three of them are crying! I have adjusted to three young ones very well, and even find myself often THRIVING with them. Maybe doing more than a typical new mom of 3, maybe less… I do homeschool preschool with my oldest, we take them all grocery shopping, go for walks, play outside, and go places on the weekends (the mall, the library, etc.) mostly with all three in tow. However, chaos arises whenever it pleases. Someone doesn’t want to put their shoes on, I forgot someone’s water, the baby gets hot or hungry, someone hits someone else, someone gets tired and throws a tantrum… the possibilities for chaos are endless!

Daily, I must make a conscious effort to show my children love and grace in these moments of chaos. Whether they do something wrong, act out, or cry, I must LOVE. I must show grace. I must get down on their level and redirect them. Guide them. Acknowledge their feelings, and help them navigate them. Sometimes I fail. Sometimes I yell. I am still learning…

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BUT the most beautiful moments are when I REMEMBER they are just young, beautiful, learning, growing children that God created. When I remember this, I show them love and grace in the situation. I help them through their little, yet big feelings. It can be made beautiful! You can change the path of a whole situation just by choosing love and grace. After all, isn’t that how our Heavenly Father treats us? With constant love and grace! When our children are young, we are their examples of Christ. To truly teach them who Jesus is, we need to be like Him. We need to instill these same characteristics into our children, but we first need to take control of ourselves.

We, also, are always learning and growing. It may be in different ways and different levels than our children, but we too must learn. Make that conscious effort. That choice. Choose love and grace over anger, and over impatience. Practice the fruits of the Spirit! “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23) Be the example of Christ that children need in their lives.

Pray. Push away the frustration, and smother the anger that wants to arise. Purposely choose to use YOUR greatest ability…to just love.

Selah

Introduction-My Prelude

Fresh start…

A handiwork….

I have blogged before, mostly for personal use, but I felt God calling me to more. I heard that gentle voice for a few years now, telling me that He wanted me to do more than just write about a personal story here and there.

I’ve always had a strong passion for two things… music and ministry. God has used me in both areas throughout my life, separately and together. Violinist, Composer, Women’s Prison Minister, Worship Leader, Music Teacher…

Secondly to those two passions, I have always enjoyed writing. I can reminisce about all the “books” I wrote as a child or teenager, that never were completed. I always thought I had such great ideas, would be so passionate in the beginning, and then would never complete the work because I didn’t have “the vision” of the complete work. I would start writing with no clear end or purpose in mind. Much like my relationship with blogging has been.

However, now it is time to begin a new venture! I have pushed aside the doubts and fears, and taken the leap! For Ephesians 3:20 says, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” There is nothing to doubt or fear if it is from the Lord! Where there is faith there is no fear, and God has spoken that to me in so many ways.

I am going to start this venture, and enjoy it, inspire with it, learn with it, and endure it. However long or short God wants me on this journey, I am going to commit. My prayer is that this blog serves the Lord by blessing the readers. By blessing YOU! That each time you read a post of mine, YOU will be filled with “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). That you will feel loved, find healing, find restoration, believe your worth, and live with purpose all through Christ.

I hope you will follow along, listen to, and be blessed by this new symphony that the Lord is allowing me to compose!

Selah (believed to be a musical interlude used in Psalms, or to mean “pause, and think about that”)