Tag Archives: Faith

She’s Always On My Mind

I remember first holding you, so tiny in my arms.
Next thing I knew, you turned two, angelic, and quite a charm.
Your silhouette dancing in my dreams before my eyes –
Remembering your joy with my simple lullabies.

I imagine your eyes, your voice, your laughter,
Spending time together, nothing else mattered.
Thinking about you often before crawling in bed at night,
I loved you so much, never wanting you out of my sight.

I wish you could tell me what’s on your mind today?
What are the things you’re longing to say?
Would you have married a wonderful husband?
Live in a castle and have many children?

Oh, if only, if only, I could see you now,
I would run to you, hold you tight and twirl you around!

Oh, sister, there will always be a hole in my heart,
But I guess I knew that from the start.
If I still had you now to talk, share secrets, laugh and cry
I would not be here now thinking: Why did you have to die?

 

Dear Readers:

As we approach the anniversary of my baby sister’s life and death, what I have shared is very dear and personal to my heart. As my eyes mist with tears, I still feel my heart burn heavy from missing her! But please understand that I do NOT “blame” God for my sister’s death! Our God is Sovereign and I believe that He allows certain things to happen to us for His greater plan and purpose. (Isa. 57: 1). After all, His ways are higher than our ways.

Now, I’m not by any means a theologian, a preacher, or a Bible teacher. I’m just a layman, a simple woman of faith, with a finite mind trying to serve an Infinite God. I know that it rains on the just and unjust (Matt. 5:45); bad things do happen to good people.

If I am to be honest, I don’t always understand the mind of God. Howbeit, I purpose in my heart to trust Him! And if I am to be truthful, yes, my heart does have a few unanswered questions. On occasions, in my journey of life I have meltdowns, wallow in self-pity, and find myself clouded by doubts and fears. However, because of His steadfast love and His unfathomable mercy for me, I thank God that I don’t remain in that state of mind!

You see, I am a work in progress.

 

 

In memory of my sister who prematurely passed away 50 years ago by a hit-and-run driver. (To learn more of her story, click here.) She would have been ten years older than my first-born! I had to say goodbye to her when I was nine, just a month after she turned two years old. I remember so much pain and suffering as a child back then. In retrospect, I believe God may have spared her from something worse. I look forward to the Blessed Hope that one day we will embrace one another once again. She will not return to me, but I will go to her one day. And we will NEVER have to be apart. 

 

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Filed under Bereavement, Personal

Another Glorious Birthday

 

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Hello faithful followers and fellow bloggers!

I just celebrated another birthday. As I mature, although not always pain-free, I am thankful to God for my health and for surrounding me with great friends and loved ones. My family continues to grow as my son recently married and I embrace my new daughter-in-love. I know in God’s perfect timing, a new little addition will be added…ah yeah!

Mostly, I am thankful to the Lord for restoring unto me the years the locust had eaten. For those of you who don’t know my story, I was once a neglected and lonely little girl. Life didn’t become easier for me as a teenager and when I thought I had met my Prince Charming, I imagined he would whisk me away into a happily ever after. He hadn’t sown all his wild oats. He was an abusive man twice my age. Before I knew it, I felt trapped and was a 22-year old with 4 children, the oldest then only 5 years old!

So yeah, I endured some hardships but I learned a lot of lessons along the way. I am stronger today because of them. No matter what life has dealt, I have always strived to become better instead of bitter. I believe we can turn stumbling blocks of defeat and difficulties, into stepping-stones of  purpose and peace. I came across a quote that said: “Pain is inevitable, but misery is optional.” Let that sink in. Some of us remain miserable all our lives. I don’t want to be that person, do you?

Take one day at a time. No grit, no grace. If you have a pulse, you have a purpose! Hold onto faith and keep on smiling. Have a grateful heart. Be thankful for the little things. Believe the best is yet to come. You ain’t seen nothing yet!

 

 

 

 

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Mother’s Day is Everyday

My oldest daughter and I were asked to be a part of a workshop at our church speaking on adult daughters and their mother’s relationships. We made a list and examined our strengths as well as our weaknesses. I know from experience that mother-daughter relationships can be both complex and diverse.

There are many ups and downs, no matter how positive, or complicated and trying the relationship. Psychologists say daughter’s primary complaints are that mothers try to baby them being overly critical and demanding. From mom’s perspective, daughters don’t listen to them, make poor choices and have zero time for them.

I do not find this teaching comfortable or an easy topic for me. There are many challenges in parenting and this thing called “motherhood” hit me between the eyes at an early age. My mom raised me pretty much as a single mom, as she never married after her and my dad split. She had common law relationships–I can think of three–and I was pretty much left on my own. So yeah, I was neglected and raised myself. Matter of fact, our roles were reversed and so I’ve always felt that my childhood was taken from me!

I left home early and married very young. Had my first child at the age of 17, and by the time I was 22, I had my 4th. Ironically enough, I did a lot of the same mistakes in parenting as my own mother. I wrote about my personal journey as a daughter, wife and mother. You can say I was a real hot mess back then. In retrospect, I thank God that He rescued me from myself! Now that my children are adults – I can think of a lot of things that I did wrong and regret in my own role. But nothing worthwhile comes easy; at least it never did for me!

In every challenge there are defeats and triumphs – and all of us have some scars along the way.

Lamentations 3:22-23: “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.  They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.”

I am familiar with the power struggles, the pet peeves, and the miscommunications.

What I see in my daughter(s), the good, the bad, and the ugly – I sometimes see a reflection of myself. Oh, those flaws! Clearly, I may not always like what I see … or hear. But you know what? We’re on the same team – we love each other, and we are there for one another.

Jer 31:16: Thus says the LORD, “Restrain your voice from weeping And your eyes from tears; For your work will be rewarded,” declares the LORD, “And they will return from the land of the enemy.”

I can’t stress how I prayed, interceded and wept for my wayward child (children). But as a mother – that’s what we do! We don’t give up and we don’t let up until we have God’s peace. Know that it’ll be in His time frame, not necessarily ours. And when God does it, it’ll be a sure work. He leaves nothing undone.

HOW CAN WE BE STRONGER TOGETHER?

These are a few golden nuggets from my own firstborn’s perspective:

Everybody knows that TWO heads are better than ONE. In Girl scouts and in the 4H Club, you’d learn that three strands of string make a strong rope. To play harmony on a piano, you’d play with two or more notes. And you know, you won’t find a giant redwood tree standing alone!

  • Teaching by example, learning by experience, in values and in skills – all help us become stronger together.
  • Spending quality time with one another binds us stronger together as a family; i.e., meal times and outings.
  • Appreciating each other – showing love and affection.
  • Sharing a laugh builds us up – laughter is good medicine.
  • Sharing in responsibilities, accomplishing tasks together.
  • Stand by each other in times of trouble, uniting and pulling together when things get tough… when we encourage each other, we are stronger together.

Most important … when we learn to forgive each other, being open and honest, yet kind, we become stronger. Remember: attack the problem, not each other.

We encourage each other, consult with each other, spend time with each other, learn and grow from each other. No matter what the circumstances, despite feelings, perspectives, weaknesses and “bumps” along the way, when we face life together, find God together, pray together … all of these acts and then some, we can get through it and be stronger together!

My daughter(s) and I have come a long way.

Ps 90:12 “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.”

Here are my acronyms for MOTHER & DAUGHTER:

M ake the first move

O mit malice

T hink before responding

H ave realistic expectations

E xtend grace

R epair damage quickly

 

D are to forgive offenses

A gree to disagree

U nity is better than division

G ather your words with prayer

H old unto hope

T alk about ways to communicate

E mbrace change for the better

R espect each other

 

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

 

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Filed under Mother/Daughter, Relationships

Mary’s Reflection

When she looks back on her life, she sees a faded memory of a girl unsure about herself, frighten, lost, and insecure. She can’t help but to see sheer pain, disappointments, mistakes and heartaches.

She thinks about the roads she’s traveled: Roads filled with quick sand like the dry Sahara desert and potholes the size of Texas that tried to swallow her whole!

She thinks about the battles she’s fought for her marriage, her sanity, and her four small children:

She thinks about the struggles she’s endured from abandonment as a child and then again as an adult, along with the failures, and the low self-esteem:

She thinks about the sacrifices she’s made in walking away from an education, the letting go of a special-needs child for the child’s best interest, and in putting her dreams on hold,

She thinks about the love she’s lost in saying goodbye to her baby sister, her beloved grandparents, and her 15 years of marriage:

She thinks about the tears she’s shed in her loneliness, with emptied promises, shame and pain:

But as she looks back on her life, she also sees the lessons that she’s learned:

She sees a girl …

Not one who scratched and clawed her way to the top. But a girl who had just enough grit to float to prevent from sinking when life tried to weigh her down. Who walked on pebbles and used them as her stepping-stones to get to higher ground. Who’s childlike faith in the God above would blossom into something much greater than herself. While she may have had a father figure missing in action, she’d come to know her Heavenly Father who never left her side.

When she looks in the mirror and what does she see?

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A girl once dejected and rejected. She no longer is that sad, little girl. So don’t you feel sorry for her. Applaud her, because it was during the dry seasons that she discovered an oasis. Rejoice with her, because in the darkness is where she found a beacon of light. Admire her for rising above her crisis in spite of her circumstances.

She may have started out in the valley, pecking along like a chicken digging for worms. But then the Ancient of Days taught her to spread her wings like an eagle, and soar into the heavens over the mountaintop.

Don’t cry for her, feel sad for her, or grieve for her.

If you’re looking for a lost and lonely child, she is not here. Misunderstood, she may be; a wonder to many she may be. If you’re looking for perfection, she is not that girl; she still has flaws. If you expect to see sophistication or to hear profound eloquence, you may be disappointed.

Her past may even want to dictate her future, the voices in her head play a broken song, her name may even mean “bitter” — but she refuses to be that girl anymore.

What kind of girl is she?

A simple girl.

A grateful girl.

A blessed girl.

She believes in second chances & new beginnings.

She is stronger today for everything she endured. Her scars serve to remind her that she is a survivor. She appreciates the beauty of living life one day at a time. She surrounds herself by those who encourage and genuinely care for her. She clothes herself with a garment of praise, amazed by the wonders of God’s grace.

When she looks in the mirror, what does she see?

She sees a girl turned woman.

If wrinkles must be written upon her brows, she refuses to let them be written upon the heart.

She is more than a conqueror.

She sees strength, learned lessons, and pride in herself.

Sad? No. Alone? No. Afraid? No.

Not that girl anymore.

© M.A. Pérez 2018, All Rights Reserved

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Filed under Memoir, reflection, reminiscence

A Word Fitly Spoken …

Re-reading this quote spoken to me so many years ago still brings up a sea of memories of a difficult place in time.

As you can imagine, I was going through hell. All along thinking I was alone, I never realized that God not only heard my cries, but He knew of my pain too! Just like the song goes: He was there all the time–and in my case–God used someone with skin to not only pray but to reach out to me in my darkest hour.

It seemed like forever that I was blinded and so discouraged; I really didn’t see a way out of my situation. But a neighbor, who quickly became a true friend, made me her business. She wasn’t condemning or pushy; she spoke life over me! She was caring and loving and wise beyond her years. She prayed much and gently wooed me back into the arms of my Heavenly Father. Eventually, I received the support I needed and slowly began to heal. Sanity and wisdom kicked in, and I did what I needed to do for myself and for the welfare of my small children.

What am I saying?

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I wrote Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit & Grace so that others might find hope beyond their hopelessness and despair. We’re all walking through something. We all have a story. Some are strong enough to stand on their own, while others need a little encouragement and help in finding their way. They may have been lied to, beaten down, some even to the point of isolation. Ever been ashamed of your pain? I was.

No matter what, you can rise above your circumstances. It takes a made-up mind and a determination to change. Allow your experiences to make you a better person not a bitter one. Many times what we’ve gone through can help someone else to overcome his or her own struggle.

There are people around you hurting. Make them your business. A warm smile, a kind word, a gentle touch. Show them love. Give them hope. Be the hands and feet of Jesus.

Bloom where you’re planted.

 

“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.” Jer. 29:11

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Filed under Christianity, encouragement, Kindness

The Day the Earth Stood Still

https://bible.org/illustration/build-me-son-o-lord

Thoughts …

What is your Father’s or Mother’s Prayer for your children? You’ll probably never achieve the level of accomplishment of General Douglas MacArthur, but when all is said and done, what will make you whisper “I have not lived in vain”?

Reflections From the Heart

“No, not again! Not now!” I cried out in the bathroom. I’ll call Marisa. She’s always been strong. She has it together.

I reached for the phone and dialed her number. When she answered, I blurted, “The test is positive! I’m pregnant.” She’ll lift my spirits.

“Mary . . .” she began. “How in the world will you care for another baby?”

Then again, maybe not.

“What are you going to do?” Marisa squealed.

I thought, If I knew that, I wouldn’t have called you. Wasn’t I the one supposed to get some reassurances, some guidance, some support here?

“I . . . I don’t know, I thought–”

“Mary, what were you thinking?” she shot back. “You can’t possibly have another baby! You’re only twenty-one; you already have three children, and now number four on its way? Your husband drinks too much, he works only when he wants to…

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Stay the Course

Help!

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”

I don’t understand …

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.”

I don’t think I can anymore …

“All things are possible to them that believe.”

What’s the point?

“I will make a way when there seems to be no way.”

I can’t!

“You can do all things through Christ.”

I’m tired!

“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

I feel so alone!

“I will never leave you or forsake you.”

I am weak!

“Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might”

I am so scared!

“Fear not, for I am with you.”

I feel so inadequate …

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Useless!

“Those who know their God shall be strong and do great exploits.”

Too much pain!

“I heal the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds.”

Darkness!

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness.”

My situation is hopeless!

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.”

I can’t see my way out!

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.”

Why?

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

It’s too hard!

“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; His understanding is unsearchable.”

No one cares …

“But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

Or listens …

“It will also come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear.”

I am invisible.

“Commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him, and He will act.”

It hurts too much!

“I will wipe away all tears from their eyes. There will be no more death, no more grief or crying or pain. The old things have disappeared.”

I feel like I’m dying!

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

I. Can’t. Go. On.

“My grace is all you need, for My power is greatest when you are weak.”

What is the meaning to life?

“Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

Doesn’t anyone care?

“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”

My plans, hopes, desires, and dreams have failed!

“My ways are higher than your ways.”

I don’t know …

“Come unto Me and I will show you things you know not of.”

I want to finish well …

“Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.

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The Birthday Boy

Hello my fellow blog followers and fans!

Sometimes life throws you a curveball – sometimes you duck, sometimes it hits you right upside your head. How you react will determine what kind of player you are.

So what do you do when fear knocks on your door? Do you face your giant, or do you stick your head in the sand? Remember there are two sides of F.E.A.R.: Forget Everything and Run or Face Everything and Rise. Takes grit, doesn’t it? More importantly, it takes God’s grace, too.

Eight months prior, was such a trying time for us with all the emotional roller-coaster from one minute to the next. We weren’t sure what the next second would bring, let alone the next day. The days and nights were difficult ones. But I’m here to tell you that the support, prayers, and genuine love from family and friends made all the difference in the world! And I am happy to report that my husband is a walking miracle; (read about it here), and I am so thankful for the goodness and mercy of God.

I recently threw a surprised party for the Birthday Boy, also called the Miracle Man, with many of our close and precious friends. It was an incredible turn out and my hubby was indeed taken by surprised. He couldn’t believe how many people were able to keep the secret from him! Whew!

On July 21st, we celebrated Mark’s life. And I would like to share some of those moments with you through this slide.

 

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Filed under birthday celebration, Survivor

The Day the Earth Stood Still

“No, not again! Not now!” I cried out in the bathroom. I’ll call Marisa. She’s always been strong. She has it together.

I reached for the phone and dialed her number. When she answered, I blurted, “The test is positive! I’m pregnant.” She’ll lift my spirits.

“Mary . . .” she began. “How in the world will you care for another baby?”

Then again, maybe not.

“What are you going to do?” Marisa squealed.

I thought, If I knew that, I wouldn’t have called you. Wasn’t I the one supposed to get some reassurances, some guidance, some support here?

“I . . . I don’t know, I thought–”

“Mary, what were you thinking?” she shot back. “You can’t possibly have another baby! You’re only twenty-one; you already have three children, and now number four on its way? Your husband drinks too much, he works only when he wants to, you have a child with special needs, you guys don’t have enough money . . . !”

My mind swirled. I hung by a flimsy strand, all hope slipping. Okay! Tell me something I don’t know. Marisa’s right, whom am I kidding? I. Can’t. Go. On.

Then, she added, “Listen, I’ll help you. If you will get an abortion . . . I will help you pay for one.”

So, that’s it? The quick-fix solution to the problem . . . to end an innocent life?

“I . . . I’ll have to think about this,” I muttered. “Let me sleep on it and get back with you.”

Did that answer come out of me?

I placed the receiver down, heavy with conflicting emotions. My world came to a halt. My heart felt heavy. I cradled my belly, thinking: I can’t have another baby. But can I truly consider this the way out?

The girls slept in their room. Their father was—Lord only knows where. I sat alone in the dark, crossed-legged on the bed. My head ached. My stomach tied in knots. Overcome with waves of hopelessness, memories churned to the one security blanket I had ever known: the home of my grandparents. And I realized I was sinking. Fast.

What happened to my anchor of faith? My hope? Isn’t God big enough to handle the mess in my life? I have to admit, I’ve been too busy for Him. Now that I need Him, does He still care? Then it occurred to me: If I can’t trust God now, then what’s the point of going on?

That instant I prayed like never before, and pored over my Bible. The Book of Psalms always comforted me, and that night before sleep overtook me, my “Ah hah” moment came after reading Psalm 139:13: For You created my innermost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I wasn’t about to take the life of my unborn child, believing that God gave that life in me.

Come morning. A new day. A fresh start. Resolute in my decision, faith sparked. God had always taken care of me before. I determined to trust Him to carry me now. I believe, Lord. Help my unbelief. Give me the grace to endure…

I reached for the phone and dialed Marisa’s number.

“Thanks, but no thanks.”

“Mary, think about what—”

“No!” I shouted. “I’m going to walk on and trust God. You knew my convictions. I thought they were yours too.”

“Mary, I was only trying. . .”

“How?” I interrupted, pacing the floor. “By offering me an abortion? I came to you down and out for encouragement and prayer. I needed to hear ‘hope’ beyond my pain, but you didn’t—you wouldn’t—give me that!”

“Look Mary, you’re still so young. I’ve been around longer than you. . .”

“You never had children,” I protested.

“I married a jerk once too. They don’t change.” Marisa went on to give one reason after another how she was looking out for my best interest.

After long seconds of dead silence and nothing else to say, we hung up.

I thought of a lesson in Sunday school about Job who called his friends miserable comforters, even his wife told him to “curse God and die.” They were supposed to be his friends; yet, those comforters increased his trouble by condemning him.

Marisa and I parted ways. Our friendship ended that day.

Days, weeks and months overlapped one another; my past troubles behind me. With my heart overflowing and my eyes drowning in tears, I reached down to kiss my newborn. “Hello, Daniel Michael,” I whispered. “I’m your Mommy.”

**********

Before long, my little curly-lock hair boy is running around with deep brown eyes touching my heart each time he looks up at me.

Next thing I knew I blinked, and the little boy is now a strapping young man and I am gazing up at him.

(An excerpt from Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit and Grace)

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Note: Please understand I share this story not to condemn, criticize, judge or belittle anyone who for whatever reason may have made a different decision than I did. Everyone has their own story to tell; this is mine. I may have made a lot of mistakes in my life. This was one example when I was strong enough to make the right decision for me. I believe that strength came as I prayed to my Heavenly Father. While it’s true that I may have my share of regrets in life, not giving birth to my one and only son thirty-six years ago is not one of them.

Happy Birthday, son! I love you with all my heart!

© M.A. Perez 2018, All Rights Reserved

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Filed under Memoir, Pro-Life, Uncategorized

I Am The New Year

Life, I am the new year.
I am an unspoiled page in your book of time.
I am your next chance at the art of living.

I am your opportunity to practice
what you have learned about life
during the last twelve months.

All that you sought
and didn’t find is hidden in me,
waiting for you to search it out
with more determination.

All the good that you tried for
and didn’t achieve
is mine to grant
when you have fewer conflicting desires.

All that you dreamed but didn’t dare to do,
all that you hoped but did not will,
all the faith that you claimed but did not have –
these slumber lightly,
waiting to be awakened
by the touch of a strong purpose.

I am your opportunity
to renew your allegiance to Him who said,
‘Behold, I make all things new.’

I Am the New Year.

~ By Author Unknown

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