Thursday, August 30, 2012

LIVE STRONG


For many years now, the yellow LIVE STRONG band has been almost as recognizable as the golden arches [hint: fast food king]. Whenever you saw the yellow wristband, you'd think "Lance Armstrong" and associate your thoughts with some of the following key words:


Cancer-free
Winner
Cycling
Great man
Perseverance

Well, if you're into the news and keep up with it, you would know that last Friday, August 24, after 10+ years of suspicions, the United States Anti-Doping Agency [USADA] stripped Lance Armstrong of his record seven Tour de France titles and banned him from future cycling competitions. To read more, click here

Anyways, I know there is a possibility that Lance did not take drugs to boost his energy or stamina [only God + Lance know the absolute truth], but unfortunately either way his "brand" or reputation has been tainted to millions across the globe.

It lead me to think about our lives and how it can take years to build a solid, reputable reputation [pardon my redundancy] and it can take just ONE negligent thing to destroy it all.

This makes me think of a quote I've seen floating on countless Pinterest boards that resonates in my mind:

Photo Credit: thinknice.com

Let that soak in a little-- "If you don't want anyone to find out, don't do it." It's such a basic principle, but yet so profound. Imagine if we all thought like that? Perhaps our world would be a slightly better place.

With that being said, I know we can go to the extreme and feel like we have to walk on eggshells 24/7 just so that everyone can think we are perfect. "Living for others" is exhausting, draining and senseless. Simply living like Christ never  jeopardizes our reputation. Yes, I know it's tough to live like Christ but didn't He also say, "nothing is impossible for me!?" 

Ephesians 5:12 sums it all up:


"Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."

So, the next time we want to do "that thing" that will get us in trouble or hurt our future goals/dreams or lead us away from Christ, remember to LIVE STRONG...for Christ. 

--nissy


















Tuesday, August 28, 2012

What are *YOU* wearing?

Photo credit
I don't know about you, but when I take a mini road trip by car I like to dress as comfortable as possible. Scratch that, whenever I travel by boat, plane, or car, I like to dress comfortably. A few weekends ago, my husband and I decided to visit my abuela [grandmother] in South Jersey. The plan was to leave early Saturday morning so that we could go straight to church [we attend church on Saturdays instead of Sunday, to learn more click here] for the 11:00 AM service. As we were arriving to my abuela's town, my husband suggested we change in the church's restroom, but I quickly shot it down because I know people would look at us so strangely without knowing the context of why we were in sweat pants. So, we decided to change in the car in a lonely parking lot couple blocks down from the church. As we were changing cautiously, my husband told me about a time he and his guy friends went up to NYC for the weekend and how they drove straight from Maryland to a church in North Jersey for church service and that all of them went inside the church looking like "street people" with their garment bags on their arms and changed in their restrooms. My husband said the looks they received were highly uncomfortable and awkward. Later when the guys had changed into their sharp church clothes, the church people's reactions changed. So obviously, I was really happy we did not decide to walk into the church with our sweat pants and flip flops [to then change]. 

That is when it hit me, we, Christians, tend to be like that many times. We expect new people to walk into our churches with "fancy clothes"aka (also known as) no sin, problems, addictions, etc. We expect them to be just like us, whatever that means since we are all sinners. If someone walks into the church and is drunk and a chronic alcoholic, what would we do? Would we shun them and snicker about them as we stare from across the room? Or would we embrace them and point them to the right direction [rehab or church based addiction program]? If someone walks into the church looking like they just finished their "night shift" in the red light district, what would we do? Would we pull out a long, flowy dress from the Dorcas closet and give it the girl who just walked in and tell her she cannot enter unless she puts the dress on? Or would we welcome her and make her feel truly loved [something she probably doesn't feel on a regular basis]? I can go on and on and on with different examples, but will stop right there. 

My point is that we all do not wear the "same clothes" (we sin differently) and all of us may not be experienced with handling different types of sins. This is where education and studying up comes into the play. Let's get educated to know what exactly we are dealing with instead of judging, hating, and ignoring others because we do not know how to handle it. The next time someone walks into your church wearing "different clothes," welcome them like Christ would and get to know what they are about. Christ accepts us as we are with "dirty rags" AND is ready to give us a clean garment [Galatians 3:27]; are we better than Him that we cannot do the same? Think about that...I dare you.

Be blessed--

nissy

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Let's Stop the Madness. Today.

I am writing this blog post in honor of women who have been abused [whether physical, spiritual, digital, emotional/verbal, financial or sexual]. 

One of the worst things to hear is that someone you know is getting abused. I don’t know if you’ve ever received word of such news and have felt that sickness in your stomach. It’s an awful feeling. What’s even worse is when the person doesn’t feel worthy enough to leave the abusive relationship and stay captive.

The other day I heard about a situation that broke my heart. A beautiful woman was telling me that her companion was “bullying” her and calling her “fat,” amongst other things [even though the woman is not obese and even if she was overweight he has no business calling her that]. I could not believe that her companion was berating her in such a horrible way. It angered me instantly and found myself wanting to berate the companion, but then realized it would be the
same low thing he was doing so I refrained. 

While this beautiful woman was telling me these horrible things, all I could think of [besides the anger] was that we are all God's daughters [if we know it or not, we are all His daughters] and I am 100% sure He does not want for any of His daughters [or sons] to go through abuse.     

Believe it, my dear sister in Christ.
Photo credit: www.indulgy.com
My dear sisters, let's remember WHO WE BELONG TO--- GOD! He loves us with a respectful, pure, tender love and wants us to be treated with the utmost respect from our men, peers and family [and He expects us to treat others like this as well]. 

If you ever find yourself [or anyone else] in a domestic violence (or any other) situation, please consider contacting the National Domestic Violence line. If you are in an abusive teen dating relationship, contact the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline at 1(866) 331-9474 or their website, www.loveisrespect.org. There are other organizations such as END IT NOW and NO MORE that offer lots of valuable resources as well and can be a beacon of hope for your "dark night." And If you find yourself in immediate danger, call 911! 

Besides all of those wonderful organizations who are there for you at whatever time of the day, please remember that God is there for you 24/7 (as well) and cares for what you are going through. You are not alone even though you may feel like it. God is there to wipe away your tear, to cool your bruises (internally and externally), and to love you unconditionally and wholeheartedly.


Whenever you are feeling used and abused and need something encouraging to read, keep these Bible promises [a promise is a pact that cannot be broken] and quotes below:  


God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah. Psalm 46:1-3,7


‘Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

Isaiah 41:10

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control. 

2 Tim 1:7 (AMP)

He [God] only is my Rock and my Salvation; He is my Defense and my Fortress, I shall not be moved.

Psalm 62:6 (AMP)

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. 
-- Eleanor Roosevelt

"You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it." 

-- Maya Angelou

The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any. 

Alice Walker

Always remember that you are God's precious daughter and are worth so much more than you can imagine. 


Be safe and be heard.