Monday, February 28, 2011

Family Tree

I'm so excited for my son to be born in the next two months... it is still kind of surreal that I am going to be a mother. Just to think that 4 years ago I met this man who would be my husband... we fell in love, got married and are now starting our very own family is the best feeling in the world. I've always been the maternal type, babysitting nearly all of my younger cousins at some point; I changed my first diaper at like 9 years old... it has been my grandest desire to be a wife and mother ... more than any other goal in my life it is this I have asked God to grant me. AND here we are :) I can't help but just GUSH about this new life inside of me because I feel so blessed.

With this blessing comes a lot to be nervous about too! I have been praying to God about certain "generational curses" that have affected my family as I add another branch to our family tree. I have seen too many of my loved ones fall to these simply because it is how we were raised. It hurts me even today to see certain family members struggle because they feel defined by the type of man their father was, a particular lifestyle or addiction, financial status, and even an illness. The body of Christ or "The Church" as many refer to it literally rests on the institution of family and when we allow the enemy to break apart our families, we allow him to break apart our body as believers. This is why the family unit is so important to be preserved and nurtured.

I thank God because since I was old enough to make the decision, I proposed in my heart to create my own legacy and fulfill the destiny I was meant to regardless of how I grew up. Up until today, God has been faithful! Though I come from a divorced home I was able to take the leap of faith and I am happily married, though addiction has plagued my family I can say that I have never even tried drugs, though education was not an option in past generations, I was the first in my family to graduate college.

God is faithful when we set our minds and CHOOSE to take accountability for our own lives. I pray that he gives me the strength to do this when raising my son as well. It is not always emotionally easy to break away from these generational curses... you can't change your family and you can't change the past. But you CAN determine your future! Even in the tough times when I am reminded that I don't have a father I can depend on, or when I have to witness the addiction struggles of someone dear to me... even in those times when all I can do is cry and feel sorry for myself - GOD reminds me that he is ever PRESENT in my life and HE DEFINES ME not the circumstances in my family. I can honestly and truly say that I am content... I have joy that surpasses understanding. Healing is happening and as the word says, I am confident that he who began his good work in me will carry it out to completion until the day I am joined to him for all eternity =) I won't be my father or my mother, I won't be anyone but the person I am destined to be!!

This song by Matthew West was recently played on one of my favorite TV shows and since hearing it, I feel like it is my anthem. Take a listen - the lyrics are included!

Blessed and in awe,

Friday, February 25, 2011

You Complete Me.. You Had me at Hello...

In church recently during Sunday School, we had this huge debate about horror movies and what are the kinds of things that we as Christians should be watching. I think that performing arts can be a HUGE influence on it's observers because the emotions and passions of the artist are behind it; driving it in a way that makes us literally feel what they are feeling. (if the artist is good that is).

That's why a song can make us all giddy or a film can move us to tears. No other art-form taps into us like that and while that can be a wonderful thing to experience (and help others experience as a singer and writer myself) we should also be cautious about the things that we allow to take in with our eyes, ears, minds and many times our hearts. Young people in particular are very susceptible to the mainstream media but people of all ages can really get "sucked in" to certain ideals without even realizing it. Art is a powerful thing!

All the while debating about whether or not we should be watching scary movies, a friend of mine (who loves scary movies) made the point that she thinks we all just need to monitor how certain things affect us and make personal decisions accordingly. She then said something that really made me think -- "I don't like romantic movies or the ideas they portray about love." This immediately resonated with me and all I could say was "WOW what a great point".

OK so here is my disclaimer --> I have only been married almost 3 years and my husband and I only dated one year before that. I do not consider myself to be a relationship "guru" and I won't at all pretend to be an expert on love. I am young, I am growing, I am learning and as I do it is my desire to share my heart and put out there what this learning process is doing for me. My ideas are constantly being molded based on life experiences and wisdom from great people around me and I'd hate anyone to think otherwise.

So now, that we've gotten that out of the way... what are the ideas that movies, songs, literature, and the mainstream media portray about love? Why is divorcing for "irreconcilable differences" such a common thing? Why are so many young women out there still waiting for a Prince Charming?

LOVE is such a huge word and everyone has their own ideas about what it means. The bible really says it best in 1 Corinthians chapter 13. It says what love IS and what love IS NOT. I think this chapter is one of my favorites in the bible because it is such an excellent model of what it is to truly love. When I read this, I think of the love of Jesus and how he displays it to us in exactly the way described here. I think that God is love and this passage is a literal description of the characteristics of God. This passage was even read at my wedding (as I am sure it is read at many weddings) as a reminder for my husband and I to strive for this perfect love every day as we spend our lives together.

Now, let's get REAL pallleeeese! - sometimes my husband is selfish, or angry, or jealous... sometimes he is far from patient or kind and what then? Does this mean he doesn't love me? Should I throw this passage in his face and be like "Tisk-Tisk, love doesn't seek it's own! We must not have real love then". Sometimes a parent grows resentful because they have to put their child's needs over the things that they want to do.. does it mean that parent doesn't love their child?

Not one of us loves perfectly! Why do we have expectations based on our favorite movies instead of based on ourselves? When I look in the mirror, I don't see a perfect person so why would I expect perfection from my partner? I have said this before and I'll say it again - LOVE IS A CHOICE. We won't be successful in love until we take that ownership.

There is no Prince Charming.... and there is certainly NO ONE in this world who can complete you. We are made whole (complete) by God's grace and when we choose to love ourselves. I can't look to anyone to complete who I am because who I am is never identical to anyone else. I am an original creation that is meant to live and carry out an original destiny unlike that of anyone else. Some people will join me on my journey and others will be a part of it for a short time... no one will complete me.

I admit it... my heart melts every time I watch Jerry Maguire and hear Tom Cruise say those famous words...

Don't wait for the person who "completes you" to come along.. you'll find yourself waiting forever.. and don't wait for someone you love to grow into that person.. Just keepin' it real :)


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Letting Go

My very good friend gave me this inside of a card several years ago when I was going through a rough break-up. We were also co-workers at that time so my friend got to see me every day and experience my "loss" with me. I literally went through the grieving process and eventually learned to let this toxic relationship go. Today, I find myself on the brink of more changes, more relationships to let go of, and more "brush" to clear out of my path so that I can move forward.

Today, when I feel lonely and abandoned.. when I feel that I have loved unconditionally, been transparent and showed my TRUE self but it wasn't enough... when I feel let down or rejected... I am reminded of these words that my wonderful friend gave me years ago...

LET IT GO by T.D. Jakes

There are people who can walk away from you. And hear me when I tell you this! When people can walk away from you: let them walk. I don't want you to try to talk another person into staying with you, loving you, calling you, caring about you, coming to see you, staying attached to you. I mean hang up the phone.

When people can walk away from you let them walk. Your destiny is never tied to anybody that left. The bible said that, "They came out from us that it might be made manifest that they were not for us. For had they been of us, no doubt they would have continued with us." [1 John 2:19]

People leave you because they are not joined to you. And if they are not joined to you, you can't make them stay. Let them go. And it doesn't mean that they are a bad person, it just means that their part in the story is over. And you've got to know when people's part in your story is over so that you don't keep trying to raise the dead. You've got to know when it's dead. You've got to know when it's over.

Let me tell you something. I've got the gift of good-bye. It's the tenth spiritual gift, I believe in good-bye. It's not that I'm hateful, it's that I'm faithful, and I know whatever God means for me to have He'll give it to me. And if it takes too much sweat I don't need it. Stop begging people to stay. Let them go!!

If you are holding on to something that doesn't belong to you and was never intended for your life, then you need to...LET IT GO!!!

If you are holding on to past hurts and pains... LET IT GO!!!

If someone can't treat you right, love you back, and see your worth... LET IT GO!!!

If someone has angered you ... LET IT GO!!!

If you are holding on to some thoughts of evil and revenge.... LET IT GO!!!

If you are involved in a wrong relationship or addiction ... LET IT GO!!!

If you are holding on to a job that no longer meets your needs or talents .. LET IT GO!!!

If you have a bad attitude... LET IT GO!!!

If you keep judging others to make yourself feel better... LET IT GO!!!

If you're stuck in the past and God is trying to take you to a new level in Him... LET IT GO!!!

If you are struggling with the healing of a broken relationship.... LET IT GO!!!

If you keep trying to help someone who won't even try to help themselves.. LET IT GO!!!

If you're feeling depressed and stressed ... LET IT GO!!!

If there is a particular situation that you are so used to handling yourself and God is saying "take your hands off of it," then you need to... LET IT GO!!!

Let the past be the past. Forget the former things. GOD is doing a new thing for this year!!! LET IT GO!!!

Get Right or Get Left .. think about it, and then LET IT GO!!!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Judgement and Discernment

Spiritual gifts as outlined in 1 Corinthians chapter 12 are a very interesting thing... We know that there are different kinds of gifts but they all come from the same Holy Spirit and the purposes of these are to edify, redeem, build up others and ourselves. Discernment in particular is something I have prayed and asked God for since I was a child. I knew all about this spiritual gift and there have been many times throughout my life that God has given me discernment either for my own protection or to speak to someone else. It is a "heavy" thing (the best way I know how to describe it) to perceive in your spirit the intentions, purposes and many times "other" spirits behind a person's words or actions. We see discernment of spirits utilized a lot in the ministry of Paul for the purpose of delivering others. Ultimately, discernment comes from a wisdom that is God's and God's alone with a redemptive purpose.

Judgment however (which is often mistaken for discernment) comes from a "wisdom" that is human. Based on what we know, see, believe to be and therefore tainted by our own views. Our own situations can be an influence in this type of "wisdom" ... we can compare how we would handle something to how another is handling it. We begin to measure based on OUR views, OUR prejudices, OUR passions. The problem with this is it is not perfect since a wisdom formed on our own will always be flawed. The problem with this is it is punitive and critical. Ultimately, judgment will never build anyone or anything up, will never redeem and will always destroy. It is a trait that is very much one of our enemy who is named "the one who accuses".

When speaking to each other, offering advice, listening to a problem, or even thinking about a situation... it's important that we ask -- are we using discernment or judgment? Remember, WE ALL HAVE ISSUES. As a body (1 Cor 12:12) we are meant to depend on each other... just as the fingers need the hand. We are meant to care for each other and carry each other's burdens (Galatians 6:2). What good am I as a part of this body if I pass judgment on a member that is not functioning, and say "well you need to just go get fixed." ?? If this was the way we were supposed to treat each other, I'd have very few conversations with the people I love. I'd just send them all to therapy and say "come see me when you've worked out your issues".

Carry each other's burdens...


"For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you." - Matt 7:1

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Bed rest, nesting, and my amateur modeling career

This is going to be a short and sweet post... I just wanted to keep the blogging world updated. Lot's has been going on :)

I've had some health issues that were brought on by the pregnancy and was just officially placed on bed rest by my doctor. I am supposed to stay off my feet as much as possible for the duration of the pregnancy which means I will now be working from home. I'm grateful that my company is being very supportive and they have made it possible for me to access all files from home so that I can continue to work. I would go absolutely bonkers if I had to be home with nothing to do and I really need to still get a paycheck so I am grateful. Baby Picon is doing just fine though! I can handle it, so long as he is doing well - God is so good!

The baby's crib was delivered already and we are starting to really get into the nursery and get it ready for Baby Picon's arrival. I will post pictures when it is all done... It's all so exciting! There's so much I have wanted and planned for in my life but this little baby growing inside of me surpasses all my wildest dreams! There is nothing I want more than to hold my little guy in my arms and it's getting so close... 10 weeks left! Woohoo!

This weekend we also had our maternity photo shoot with my amazingly talented friend Lacy. Check out her photography website - here. It was a really casual, fun, photo shoot and I got to take a peek at some of the pictures and they look great! I had a really specific idea about the type of photos I wanted for the maternity shoot and Lacy knew exactly how to put it all together. I'm really excited to see the finished photos and incorporate them when creating special memories for Baby Picon. I'll be sure to post my favorite pics when I have them!

I hope all my readers have a great week! It's V-Day tomorrow and I can't wait to have some special time with my hubby to celebrate. May you all have a wonderful time celebrating the love in your lives as well :)



Friday, February 4, 2011

What am I Worth?

I've had some pregnancy related health issues and was put on bed rest this week by my doctor. With my husband working full time and my mother stuck in California (her flights have been canceled because of the winter weather) it has been difficult to get up and do things for myself because I have been in so much pain. During trying times like these and the only two people I know I can count on being unavailable, I have been struggling with feelings of loneliness and disappointment that so few friends have asked me how I'm doing, or offered to come over and help out. It's been a long painful week (physically and a little emotionally) and I admit, I've been feeling sort of sorry for myself.

But then... I recently read a Facebook status on my good friend Noemi's page about self-worth and it really got me thinking. I don't remember the exact quote but it basically said that we should never let another person determine our value (worth) when Jesus already set that value as he died on the cross for us. Her post really touched me at my core and was a turning point in my attitude this week.

Now, let me just say that I've been "in church" my whole life practically. I'm a Pastor's grand-daughter but was raised in my grandparents home (from the age of 9) so I definitely feel I had the "PK" experience... I'm basically a product of the faith my mother and grandparents instilled in me from such a young age. The bible was the guide my family always used morally, socially, in our finances, relationships... in everything! I actually find myself quoting the bible in random situations like office meetings and of course, my co-workers have no idea but it's just kind of second nature to me. Now please don't get the wrong impression, I am not saying this to boast. I realize that I was blessed to be raised in a family of faith but in many ways, this has made it soooo easy for me to take my relationship with God for-granted. When something is so ingrained in you, it almost stops being "special" if you let it. I'm not quite sure how to word this but I hope you get what I mean. Anyway, back on track here -- when I read my friend's post it REALLY HIT ME! Especially for the particular season I have been going through, it's like I let this powerful truth float to the back of my mind and have really been doing just the opposite - I have been letting others determine my value.

I read a lot of Joyce Meyer books and I think she is an awesome teacher of the word. She is my favorite and that's basically because I can relate so much to where she has been and how she has coped throughout her life. In her book "The Confident Woman" Joyce addresses the issue of insecurity and learning to stand firm in the security that God gives us. That book really ministered to me and though I read it several years ago, I plan to revisit it soon. When I was a child, I was exposed to the world of addiction and how it can completely shatter a family... it shattered mine. My parent's marriage not only deteriorated as a result of my father's addictions but I was abandoned as well. The abandonment of a parent (father-daughter) has such HUGE impact on the self-esteem of that girl and it has been my life's journey to pick up the mess and move forward as a confident woman. My confidence cannot come from myself, but only the trust I have in God and his plan for my life. My confidence can only come from the assurance that HE LOVES ME and LOVED ME SO MUCH that he sent his son to die for me. This simple, powerful truth is so easily forgotten in the midst of our circumstances, life and relationships with others.

I'm grateful that God has placed people in my life and out of his love for me, I have also been blessed by the love of others. But what happens when these people get to their wit's end? Human beings, we tend to have limits and though very few people will admit it, our love isn't naturally unconditional. Not even a parent's love... well, not every parent I can say that from experience. Corinthians says that "Love endures all things" but when the going get's tough, are we really ready to make that commitment in our families and friendships? And if not, how do we handle it when our closest friends say "I can't take it anymore"? Maybe life just pushes us further apart, maybe we just can't deal with each-others baggage anymore, maybe the relationship has just become too difficult... who knows? But how do we handle this? Do we stop believing that we are worthy of love? I did... but I assure you, only for a short time!

The feeling of abandonment is the most difficult of all for me because it always takes me back to the issues with my father. I hope one day to be completely healed from that and truly forgive my dad. Just when I think I have, something happens that triggers a feeling that was hiding deep down inside. When it feels like people who I love are giving up on me, it is by far the greatest challenge but ya know, my faith is in he who LOVED me and he who determined my value a long time ago when he said "you are worth my blood, you are worth my life".

I am blessed to have those people in my life who have stuck by me... who have with all my flaws and weaknesses decided to love me and not give up... But I am learning now that these people I can only count with one hand. And that's ok! I know my worth and I will no longer let anyone else weigh in.

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well." - Psalm 139:14

From the heart,