Tag Archives: Faith

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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Filed under Blessed Hope, encouragement, Faith, God, Hope, Prayer

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-five years ago is not one of them.

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

© M.A. Perez 2017, 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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Filed under New Year poem

When Trouble Comes …

trouble

Dear Readers:

What do you do when trouble comes? When dread clutches its icy fingers around your heart, or unimaginable images boggle the mind, what do you do?

I’ve been away a few days, but by the grace of God, I am back. Yes, an unforeseen event — beyond my control — brought me to my knees. It began when I received an unexpected phone call twelve days ago . . .

“Mom, come to the job-site; Pops fell off the ladder–”

“What? No!”

“He’s not responding now, Mom. I need to call 911.”

By the time I arrive at the scene, paramedics surround my husband. They have him in a neck brace and on a gurney, asking him questions. He is in and out of conscientiousness, unable to say where he is or what has happened. At that moment, many things become a blur to me. I try to follow the ambulance to the Emergency Hospital, lest I become lost due to complete disarray and panic.

So there I sit in the midst of the storm, waiting and interceding:  I can’t leave this hospital without him, Lord! 

I soon receive word that my husband suffers from severe injuries from falling off the 20′ ladder. Even though he missed the concrete, he sustains thirteen fractured ribs and partially collapsed lungs. A surgeon is assign to Mark and once in the ER, they insert a chest tube to inflate his lungs.

I call on family and friends to please pray for my husband . . .

When the accident occurred, my daughter and husband were working together. She joins me in the waiting room. “Mom,” she said, “when I got to Pops, he was praying, ‘Please help me, Jesus … heal me, Lord.'”

That piece of news soothes my soul — it comforts my heart, it encourages me — it encourages us all! You see, after his fall, my husband is unable to communicate; yet his spirit-man cries out to God for help!

This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. Psalm 34:6.

15045729_10207832063581448_925697627_nI stay in ICU as long as I can before they send me home. Three days later, they transfer Mark to a private room with a common germ on the skin called MRSA (a type of Staph). I remain with hubby in his room for the duration of his stay. He is in a lot of pain and discomfort. The morphine pump doesn’t seem to be enough. Every day, several times a day, two or three blood samples from different veins are taken for blood culture. Only problem is that Mark’s veins are small rolling veins, which eventually cause his arm to become tender and swell up.

We’re so blessed having our dear pastors from church come by, as well as a few other visitors, dressed in gloves and gown to pray over Mark. On the fourth day, the doctor removes my husband’s chest tube, but he is not out of the woods yet . . .

Day Five: Mark experiences excruciating pain in his leg, so much so that his blood pressure elevates with 103-degree fever. Still unable to sit up, they wheel him out on his bed for additional x-rays of his hip, femur and leg. When they return, he is knocked out. In the wee hours of the morning, he’s awakened drenched in sweat, tugging and pulling off his gown, tangled with the wires he’s connected to. I buzz for the nurse and try holding him down until help comes. They cool his body and when they use a wet cloth on his brow and neck, he says it feels good.

Day Six: The doctor leaves after checking in on Mark. That same hour, Mark says he feels a chill. I figure maybe his fever has worn off and I cover him with another blanket. But he complains of still feeling cold and begins to shiver. Ten minutes into it, he takes a turn for the worse. I call for the nurse. She comes with a couple of extra blankets, telling Mark he’ll soon be warm and leaves. Mark’s shivers become more vigorous and uncontrollable, he even starts wheezing. After a few more minutes of shivering, he becomes unresponsive. I run out to fetch help.

The nurse comes in and rushes back out and calls for a Code Blue. Within minutes, a rapid response team of ten to fifteen people arrives at Mark’s bedside bringing along some emergency equipment; even the chaplain walks in. While the team is surrounding Mark, the chaplain is trying to speak with me. He asks if I am the wife. He says he can see how much love I have for my husband. But I don’t want to chat with him. I want to talk with Mark. The doctor comes and asks me what has happened. “You tell me,” I answered.

I quickly phone my son, telling him of Mark’s condition and to pray. I remain near Mark’s bedside and caress his face while talking to him. And I look to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of my faith. I don’t know how many minutes pass before the doctor and the entire team, work on getting Mark to respond. Thank God, my husband finally comes to!

More test. They find that Mark has a bout of pneumonia, as well as an unknown infection in his blood. He is off of morphine and Norco is given for pain. Now they have him on a broad spectrum of antibiotics for infections. Three days later, the infection he has is called Acinetobacter, commonly isolated from the hospital environment and hospitalized patients. In other words, this type of bacteria is frequently associated with healthcare associated infections.

Day Nine: Mark is able to sit up in a chair for a short period of time. That evening, he is using a walker as we walk around the corridor. The hospital staff is amaze and delighted. It is obvious that they adore my hubby.

It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. Lamentations 3:22

Day Ten: Homeward bound!

I am happy to report that hubby is resting and quite content being back home. I appreciate every one that extended their love, prayers, and encouragement on our behalf. I may feel a bit worn out, but then again, I am one grateful woman. We have much to be thankful for.


I once read, “It is hard to wrap your heart around trouble when it pierces your soul.” So when trouble comes knocking at your door, don’t walk it alone. Give it to God and reach out to others for encouragement and support.

He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken. Psalm 62:2

© M.A. Pérez, 2016, All Rights Reserved

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Filed under Code Blue, crisis

Thy Will Be Done

I know you hear me
I know you see me, Lord …

 

I’m so confused
I know I heard you loud and clear
So, I followed through
Somehow I ended up here
I don’t wanna think
I may never understand
That my broken heart is a part of your plan
When I try to pray
All I’ve got is hurt and these four words

Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
I know you’re good
But this don’t feel good right now
And I know you think
Of things I could never think about
It’s hard to count it all joy
Distracted by the noise
Just trying to make sense
Of all your promises
Sometimes I gotta stop
Remember that you’re God
And I am not
So

Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Like a child on my knees all that comes to me is
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will

I know you see me
I know you hear me, Lord
Your plans are for me
Goodness you have in store
I know you hear me
I know you see me, Lord
Your plans are for me
Good news you have in store

So, thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Like a child on my knees all that comes to me is
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
I know you see me
I know you hear me, Lord

Isaiah 65:24 “And it shall come to pass, that before they call,
I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.”

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September 15, 2016 · 9:05 PM

When You’re Down – Look Up

“Touch the Sky” by Hillsong

What fortune lies beyond the stars
Those dazzling heights too vast to climb
I got so high to fall so far
But I found heaven as love swept low

My heart beating, my soul breathing
I found my life when I laid it down
Upward falling, spirit soaring
I touch the sky when my knees hit the ground

What treasure waits within Your scars
This gift of freedom gold can’t buy
I bought the world and sold my heart
You traded heaven to have me again

My heart beating, my soul breathing
I found my life when I laid it down
Upward falling, spirit soaring
I touch the sky when my knees hit the ground

Find me here at Your feet again
Everything I am, reaching out, I surrender
Come sweep me up in Your love again
And my soul will dance
On the wings of forever

Find me here at Your feet again
Everything I am, reaching out, I surrender
Come sweep me up in Your love again
And my soul will dance
On the wings of forever

My heart beating, my soul breathing
I found my life when I laid it down
Upward falling, spirit soaring
I touch the sky when my knees hit the ground

My heart beating, my soul breathing
I found my life when I laid it down
Upward falling, spirit soaring
I touch the sky when my knees hit the ground

Find me here at Your feet again
Everything I am, reaching out I surrender
Come sweep me up in Your love again
And my soul will dance
On the wings of forever

For many, this has been a difficult and challenging year. As we come to the end of 2015 and soon enter a new year, my prayer is that with every new dawn and in every new challenge, may we find inner strength and peace from the One above who promises to never leave us or forsake us.

Nobody said life would be easy, but nothing worth having ever is.

Hold onto the memories. 

About "Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit & Grace"

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December 27, 2015 · 1:23 PM

So Long for Now …

“Fred, Eric, Sarah, and Michael – to all of Susan’s extended family and beloved friends: My family and I extend our sincere condolences.”

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Susan’s family

 

“My heart is heavy today. Susie was my friend. She reached out to me when I was going through some personal pain in my life. She welcomed me and my family into her heart and into her home some 30 + years ago. Our daughters the same age, became close friends, her youngest son and my son, a year apart, became diaper-buddies. Our husbands (during my first marriage) even grew close!”

“I’d watch Susie. She had such an up-beat personality and her words were always so encouraging. Even when I didn’t feel so ‘upbeat’ and ‘positive’, I couldn’t remain feeling down for too long around her. She had a way of hugging you while she patted you on the back … hard! Being around Susie, I learned how to communicate with my small children. I learned how to laugh with them. Susie just had a way with children – she genuinely liked them! I don’t think she ever met a stranger; conversation simply flowed out of her mouth and she truly cared for that one she was speaking to.”

“Susie had child-like faith, always believing that her Heavenly Father was ready to grant her simple requests. Whether it was the petition for the salvation of loved ones, or to save our nation, whether she sought a miracle for a deformed child or for the healing of herself – she knew that there was nothing too hard for God to handle, and never wavered in standing on His promises. She was a true worshiper. She loved to danced before the Lord and become lost in His presence. I don’t doubt she is up there now, dancing with our Savior!”

“Susie believed in hope. Hope against hope. Hope for a better day. Hope that God had something better. Hope that tomorrow would come. She trusted, loved, prayed, believed, laughed, encouraged, interceded, danced, worshiped, sang, rejoiced, wept, and praised! She convinced me that I could make it, that everything would be okay, that I was destined for greatness, and that with God ALL things were possible to them that believed.”

“I enjoyed being around her, but towards the end I am ashamed to admit that I grew uncomfortable. We sometimes cower in the things we do not understand. We cringe from anything that may appear bleak before our eyes and before we know it our resolve weakens, our faith wavers, our hope diminishes. Yet, our God is constant. Aren’t you glad His love’s unwavering, His tender mercies unfailing, His grace enduring? He doesn’t give up on any of us! He says in His Word His grace is sufficient for us – His strength is made perfect in weaknesses.”

“Susie, thank you for the memories. You will be sorely missed. I rejoice knowing that your pain and suffering has ended. When you took you last breath here on earth, your next breath became your first one in heaven.  You get to experience Christmas everyday now, while we plod along doing all we know to do just to make it through another day.”

“And we who are left behind, may we not grow weary as we continue on this journey. May those of us who know Christ, remember that this is not our permanent home. Through every tragedy, every trial and every triumph, remind us Lord, that You, oh God, have something greater in store for us. Although there are times we may not understand Your ways, God, may we remember that we can trust Your heart – for You know what’s best for Your children.”

“They say that I was a great friend to Susie, but it was she who was a great friend to me.”

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Doing what she enjoyed doing best.

 

I’ll always remember my friend, Susie Bubeck, and forever treasure our friendship of the many years we shared together! One day we will all reunite, but today we sadly said goodbye to her.

“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” II Tim. 4:7

© M.A. Pérez 2015, All Rights Reserved

 

About "Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit & Grace"

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December 23, 2015 · 7:48 PM

Not that Girl Anymore

She is not the girl who scratched and clawed her way to the top. She is the girl who learned how 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 learned that childlike faith in the God above would blossom into something much greater than herself. She may have had father figures who were missing in action, but she became comforted with a Heavenly Father who never left her side.

Once dejected and rejected, today she no longer is that sad, little girl. Don’t 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 air 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. If you expect to see sophistication or to hear profound eloquence, you may be disappointed. Her past may 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 is stronger today for everything she endured. 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.

Sad . . . alone . . . afraid.

Not that girl anymore.

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© M.A. Pérez 2015, All Rights Reserved

 “The past does not have to be your prison. You have a voice in your destiny. You have a say in your life. You have a choice in the path you take.” Max Lucado

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Filed under Survivor

Oil of Joy

What exactly is joy?

I’ve heard it said, “The world didn’t give it to you and the world can’t take it away.”

Joy: a feeling of great pleasure and happiness. At least that’s what I read online. Sounds good to me, but I know from experience pleasure and happiness don’t last. Let’s face it, most of us look to others to please us. We look to others to make us happy, just as we look to things to make us happy and bring us pleasure. But if we’re honest, that in itself is fleeting, isn’t it? Before you know it, we’re needing another fix!

So, how is “joy” different?

The Bible teaches that the joy of the Lord is our strength. (Nehemiah 8:10b); I love that! But can one experience joy while going through everyday life with its many toils, twists and turns? To be honest, during times of trauma, the thought of joy escapes me. I mean, I am not necessarily thinking about joy during these times.

So when I read my bible and reminded that the joy of the Lord is my strength, this is what it means to me: It’s a joy unspeakable and full of glory!

I may not be able to explain it, put my finger on it, or even see it. But I know it’s there – I know it in my knower. (Bear with me please, I’m fully aware this isn’t “correct” English.) But I just know that I know. It’s not an “in your face” kind of thing. It’s not necessarily a giddiness. It’s not even a denial of difficulties. For me it’s a reassurance that everything is going to be all right. I may not understand some things, even while having a meltdown, feel sad or grieving.

The pain is real. The battle is real. But so is the joy real. This joy is an indescribable knowing that come hell or high water, I am safe and secure in my Heavenly Father’s arms (just like when I was a child in my earthly daddy’s arms). Even in the midst of pain and sorrow, here is where there’s strength and comfort. This joy floods the heart, it brings an inner peace and strength even though everything else around may be chaotic.

I didn’t always know this or believe this way. But through my experiences, I’ve learned some things. Life happens. Happiness is fleeting. Pleasure is temporary. But the joy of the Lord is constant regardless of circumstances and situations.

Joy is the best makeup – Anne Lamott

Excuse me while I put some makeup on.

Have you experienced this joy?

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Filed under Devotional, Isaiah 61:3