A New Me

e7e4bf937f69f1db546578bb64371b9cIt’s strange, this process called sanctification in Christian life. Does the bulk of healing and deliverance for the new Christian always happen at the moment of salvation (as many believers seem to think, if you judge from their lack of interest in pursuing further healing & deliverance)? Or does the bulk of it happen after that leap of faith is taken? If we imagined the moment of salvation to be like jumping off a cliff, when does the shedding of your old rags, developing gills, and learning how to breathe like, swim like, eat like, think like, and live like a sea creature happen? Especially after having been a land animal your whole life prior? I don’t see how it’d all happen in an instant the moment you jump… I mean, it could, but most of the time, for most folks… I don’t see it as a magical Little Mermaid-esque Ariel mermaid to Ariel human transformation.

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In my opinion and experience, learning how to be a sanctified, healed, and delivered follower of Jesus is exactly that – a process of learning how to BE a new creation. You could change everything on the outside (like Ariel suddenly having a human body) but the way of thinking and perceiving, therefore living, will remain mostly the same until change becomes necessary.

I’ve been spending a lot of time researching, reading, and learning perspectives on relationships, identity, self-respect, resilience, health, and boundaries lately. Well, it’s been a few years (try 20+) since I’ve been interested in these topics, but the intensity lately has been… try a minimum 2-3 hours of reading a day 😉 One thing that keeps coming up for me personally is that in order to be where I want to be in life and become all God wants me to be, I need to surrender control, face my fears, embrace change and uncertainty, and this is optional, but ENJOY THE PROCESS 🙂 The ride, the drop, the roller coaster, whatever you want to call it.

In any case, it’s been tough, but I like these quotes that remind me of who I aspire to be – a woman of grace, strength, dignity, and most important, good humor 😀

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I have faith that God is moving powerfully in me, in my life, in my relationships, in my communities, and in the world today. He always has been, praise Him (award for longest humanitarian mission in the history of the Universe goes to YHWH, clearly)! I also am developing a desire that I’d like to be set on fire so it becomes a burning desire, to go long and hard after Jesus, to put nothing else before Him, and to daily seek the Abundant Life and New Creation/Kingdom of God reality in my own being and life… and not give up when it gets hard or discouraging.

I will fall and get up, I will keep on going and keep my head up, because the Savior of the World calls me His Beloved and Friend!

Healthy Habit: Positive Affirmations

eaacf13dc9f0332bd8eaf93f06be5e21I have read a line recently that said, “Do not give up your personal power.”  I felt challenged as I reflected on how I have so often given up my personal power (aka my commitment to and my taking of responsibility for my Self.) How many times have I read the phrase “personal responsibility” but not really understood it? Goodness. I’m glad it’s finally starting to make sense in this thick (yet somehow so complicated & sensitive…) skull of mine 🙂 Thank you, Holy Spirit. I love this processing of becoming more self-aware and learning what is wisdom. Proverbs says that the beginning of wisdom is the Fear of the Lord, and that is something I want to cultivate and grow in my life constantly. It keeps me from getting off track and it keeps me sharp, realistic, humble, and open to whatever God wants to do. God disciplines those He loves, and I have been asking for it for a few years now – it’s a major battle daily, but I feel I’m situated and supported in such a way that it’s becoming a growing series of small (but still real) victories these days!

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bed511f8212b57f9468857c74f1001cbhave made a commitment to myself to make a regular practice of self-care in the area of my thoughts by managing the inner voices that influence my emotions everyday.

The Positive Affirmations suggested in one workbook are simple but straightforward, and surprisingly/sadly not always the inner voice or lived reality for me.

1. I accept and love myself fully (God accepts me and loves me fully, which enables me to do so as well!
2. I am a valuable, amazing, and worthy human being and WOMAN.
3. I’m worthy of love, abundance, and peace (and I’d like to add: respect, considerate regard, as well as regular affection and attention.)
4. I allow myself (and position myself) to experience joy and peace in my life and relationships (this means HEALTHY BOUNDARIES)
5. I deserve healthy, caring, and loving relationships

I’ll have to print these out and repeat them regularly, lol… I want to add scriptures to these, as the Word of God gives POWER and LIFE to my soul!

I ❤ Jesus.

There’s a Rest

There’s a rest in the fight
There’s a place of abiding in the vine
Teach us how to abide
oh I will wait
Teach us how to abide
I’m gonna rest my weary soul
oh I will wait
Teach us how, teach us how, teach us how
oh I will wait
Here I will stay
Here I will wait
Here I will see Your face
Here I will stay
Here I will wait
Here I will stay with You
‘Cause there’s a rest in the fight
There’s a place of abiding in the vine
Abiding in the vine
I know that
There’s a rest in the fight
There’s a place of abiding in the vine
Abiding the vine
Here I will stay
Here I will wait
Here I will stay with You
I give You room
I give You room
I give You room
Gonna lay these burdens down
There’s still waters
and green pastures

Important Reminders

494ddd91ace1fb69907e7ccb3b10428fI really need to memorize this one 😉 My identity lies in being a beloved and cherished daughter of the King of Kings! I am never alone and I am always loved and thought of by my Ever Present Father ❤ I belong to Him and I am HIS.

I belong to the One who IS, the Great I Am who created and established all things that exist.

The first few verses in the 1st chapter of the Gospel of John has always been so beautiful an mysterious to me- “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life,and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

John 15:5 goes on with Jesus sharing His identity using a natural metaphor for His I AM statement: “ I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

And in Acts 17:28, Paul teaches, “For in Him we live and move and have our being.”

I’m reminded of Brother Lawrence’s habit of cultivating the the deep presence of God, described in his classic, “Practicing the Presence of God.” While I walk through the halls at school, talk to students, do my IA duties and supervision, I want to continue cultivating that habit – it is LIFE unto me to abide in God’s presence and keep my mind FIXED on Christ ❤

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I love that this picture uses a baby to signify the value of developing independence as a part of growth and maturity in life. I love that it says “sometimes,” because I value interdependence. I love that there’s grace and encouragement and positivity in this quote – it’s empowering to know that these times in life are meant to be for edification and reminders that we are strong, capable, and powerful! I also love that it’s a greyscale photo, very simple and yet focused on the chubby little feet of the child walking.

I am okay with being like a child, falling here, getting up there, even crying then and now, but always being lovingly watched and encouraged by my Papa, knowing that if anything bad happens, He will be there to pick me up and hold me in His strong and secure arms.

Collection of hundreds of Free Inspiring Quotes from all over the world.And though sometimes it feels like I’m walking alone through a Valley of Death, or a wilderness that feels dry and lonely, Psalm 23  & John 10 reminds me that my Shepherd is a Good Shepherd who guides me to green pastures, leads me to rest & provision, and comforts & protects me in trial and tribulation.

I am blessed! Last night, I was given grace to just thank God for my entire nightly prayer, and it was a deeply blessing experience.

Hallelujah, my Savior Lives!

In Jesus’ name and blood, amen.

Peace Amidst Uncertainty

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These quotes from Pinterest are reassuring during this time of being alone to reflection, prayer, and seeking direction. I confess I’ve been so focused on work, school, and relationships that I’d failed to focus on preparing for Easter during Lent – but the timing seems perfect for taking the time and space to reflect & pray, creating more room for the Spirit to fill the empty places and clean out the messy ones. Speaking of messy places…

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I’ve been on a long journey of healing and discovery, I think since I was 15 or 16 years old. That’s a full half of my life spent trying to clean up, heal, and organize my interior life! O.o Sometimes I feel discouraged during the more difficult phases of the journey, where every step forward seems to be followed by a few, or many, steps back… and I fight sadness and despair when it feels increasingly uphill and repetitive, like the same issues, bad habits, character flaws, traumas, emotional wounds, and personal failures keep coming back again and again to haunt me…  even the ones that I thought I’d gained victory over years ago! Lately, the most persistent and painful one these days stems from a false belief, the lie that I’m inadequate, worthless, unworthy of unconditional love & respect, and just plain unacceptable/unloveable if I am not perfect (a.k.a. performing well enough in most areas of my life to be a blessing, and not be a burden on anyone). In this false belief system, too many mistakes and failures are a huge problem, especially when they’re the same ones happening over and over again without any progress, and if I continually fail to perform decently and keep causing pain, inconvenience, and disappointment to those around (or above) me, then I should be (and I do feel) deeply ashamed of myself and think about leaving those places, communities, & relationships. It sucks to be stuck in these negative & untrue thought cycles, especially when the reality is that I’m actually growing, improving, and progressing, just not as quickly as I’d hoped (or naively/foolishly expected). **Note to Self: Don’t listen to the enemy’s lies anymore, cuz they totally SUCK!!! 😡

The thing is, as a believer & someone who has spent countless hours in prayer, study, counseling, all sorts of therapy & inner healing, I know in my head that these lies are not true, but when I’m faced with a conflict or problem that I can’t seem to resolve, resolve, or fix quickly, then the emotions that can come up sometimes overwhelm me and I struggle to bounce back and return to a place of calm, self-acceptance, peace, and positivity. And the older I get, the longer it seems to take for some reason! -_- (Anyone have an explanation for that?) Anyway…

Last night I shared my testimony at a V.O. church in Inglewood through a last minute invitation. And it was SUCH a lovely treat! The invitation came from someone I just met two days before, just this past Thursday – talk about unexpected yet divine appointments, right? 🙂 LD was a sub for RK’s English class which I happily TA for M-F, and she turned out to be a worship director suddenly in need of one musician w/a testimony. True Fact: God is awesome & the best networker in the Universe! TBH, I’d been avoiding most ministry opportunities and friends’  invitations lately, but this one felt so clearly like God was inviting me to say yes, and simply go have fun with Him… like it was primarily for MY encouragement, for MY good! So I accepted…

And it really was for me.

I met wonderful brothers & sisters, felt an enormous sense of grace & acceptance come over me as I sang, played keyboard, and shared my testimony, and I just had a great time in fellowship – in particular, with a young woman I met there (whom I hope to reconnect with soon since her family lives by school). She said something that touched me deeply and made me want to dive more deliberately into cultivating my First Love with Jesus again.  AM shared with this euphoric smile on her face (as if she was a newlywed or new mother), “I am just so in love with Jesus right now, I’m finally at that place I’ve always longed to be, that I can’t even imagine sharing that with anybody! It’s just so good, and I’m really happy with where I’m at in my life.” ❤ I was actually jealous, hehe.. but in a good way. It made me recall how Paul wrote that the Gentiles who became followers of Christ were to inspire jealousy in the Jews who had rejected the Gospel – though we’re both Gentiles, this young Latina (who’s at least 8 years younger than me and just beginning her seminary studies) just made me so hungry to be back in that place of sweet intimacy & daily walking together with Jesus in love again.

I’m so, so SO thankful 🙂 I remember now that I had prayed a few weeks ago a prayer I’d heard Mike Bickle of IHOP-KC suggest when we are dry & tired, feeling distant from God, “Lord, help me to want to WANT to be close with You again” (paraphrased, probably butchered, by me.. but you get the point ;D) And now I am seeing that prayer answered in a sweet and joyful manner that involved making new friends (LD & AM) and being refreshed, encouraged, and strengthened to continue walking in my calling again 🙂 “Yay, God!” *Hannah doing silly dance*

—- So how does my long-term goal of “Re:Cultivating Intimacy with Christ” break down into short-term goals that are S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timed)?  *I learned this helpful acronym while co-facilitating the College Seminar at school this past February)*

1. Spend daily time seeking God at a specific time and place; in the evening, alone in my room.

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In a strange way, this blog has been a real sacred space for me, and I’ve  also been working on making my room at home a beautiful and sacred space again, not just where I can sleep in peace, comfort & safety (a reality that I’m constantly reminded to be grateful for as I listen to world news on the radio daily), but where I can also nurture my relationship with God, grow in intimacy with Jesus as I read my bible (the Father’s Love Letter), pray & intercede, and worship in song & dance in that secret, quiet place.

2. Choose at least one quote and/or one verse that speaks truth and inspires me to go deeper in thought, feeling, and being w/God, and write about it, while reflecting on my day. Kind of like a digital lectio divina or examen.

i.e. This quote about finding myself again…

It’s in the Arms of Love, especially the Father’s, that I am truly able to find myself over and over again… and frankly, I am someone who gets distracted, loses direction, and gets lost quite easily, like literally (just as LS or anyone else who’s driven with me before!), but also figuratively / spiritually in life, too. So I’m praising God that He’s such a patient and faithful Father who won’t ever let me go, who won’t ever lose patience with me as I stumble like a baby learning to stand, walk and then run in certain areas of my life, and who won’t ever, ever stop loving me for who I am, and also for who I am not. He made me, so He knows everything about me, my every thought and feeling before I’ve even had them… pretty incredible, if you ask me.

cf355867255771956fbcfd468b213b37On the radio this afternoon, there was a funny game show coming live from Brooklyn, NY (I think – I was listening to 89.3fm, my 2nd choice after 89.9fm) where someone was changing the lyrics to well-known songs and I heard a tune I knew I’d heard before, but I couldn’t put my finger on it until it ended. But when I got out of my car, suddenly I remembered that I know the chorus of the hymn, and it goes like this:

“And He walks with me and He talks with me. He tells me I am His own. And the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known.”

Apparently it’s a hymn by C. Austin Miles called “In the Garden” that’s been covered by many a singer in decades past, including Elvis Presley! I prefer this rendition by Mahalia Jackson, the Queen of Gospel, better, though.

She is quoted as saying, “I sing God’s music because it makes me feel free…it gives me hope. With the blues, when you finish, you still have the blues.”

I like that. I want to commit to singing God’s music more, not only with my voice, but with my life, too.

3. Spend time walking & talking, or singing & dancing/cooking/cleaning w/Jesus, at least twice a week.

4. Continue to practice physical (which connects to emotional, mental, and spiritual, ultimately) self-care by eating a balanced diet, taking my supplements & medications, and stretching at night and in the morning.

5. Fill up on water & Water, maybe at the same time, so I’m reminded to be filled w/the Spirit & receive Living Water while drinking actual water in the morning & at night. (Yay for memory devices!)

Five SMART goals, set!

All I need to do now is make myself an achievement or progress chart to put stickers or something on, so I can track my achievement 🙂 Lol & ptL, working at a school has clearly made me more organized and practical. I’m loving it!

What are Values?

The Lovely Addict

As we work to transition from unhealthy to healthy, one of the most important lessons, if not THE most important lesson we need to learn is that creating personal values and sticking to them is the basis of all other learning experiences going forward. Your values, or lack thereof, can and will set the stage for your success or failure. And so, if you want to change from unhealthy thinking and behaviors to healthy, you must have a set of values, and they must be more important to you than anything else.

To a love addict, the term “values” can be hugely confusing, because we either don’t know we have any values, or if we do, we do not consider them to be something very important. Case in point: have you ever stayed in a relationship with someone who degraded you? Who did drugs and made you feel uncomfortable? Who lied…

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A Deeper Well

http://orchidanimation.com/caldera

Just watched a haunting and beautiful animated short film about a girl who lives between worlds, ultimately leaving both worlds as she ends up letting go. Apparently it’s one man’s tribute to his father who had struggled with schizophrenia… I was not expecting that, but I was not surprised. It was moving to reflect on that, and explains why the film was so powerful.. the music and images stir up deeper feelings inside you, if you’re open to it.

The writer talks about how his father was misunderstood, medicated, yet unable to fully be present in either world sustainably.. he honored his father, though his father was mentally ill. That’s amazing to me, and makes me wonder, where are the deeper wells of wisdom, understanding, and truth in the human mind and soul?

In RK’s class, she showed a video about Van Gogh having unlocked a scientific mystery in his paintings, “Starry Night,” that he painted while experiencing psychosis. Is there something spiritually deep and mysterious happening when people are suffering from mental illness? It makes me wonder, particularly as I study human development and psychology for Social Work preparation.

The next time I experience turbulence mentally or emotionally, perhaps I won’t try to self-medicate or try to escape from it so quickly…