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Cheryl Mendoza

How He speaks to me…..Or… can't He just call my cell when He wants to talk?

Living the best life!

IMG_8198Friday was a hard day.  I had been out of sorts for the last few days.  Maybe it was hormones, a heavy heart, work, hate pouring through the tv screen or a combination of that and more.  I was blue I guess, so yesterday morning I tried to do what would put me in a better frame of mind.  I read my bible and sat in the backyard in the only cool part of the day. My yard is not any kind of oasis, but there is enough growth and color to bring me peace.  So as I sat there, I chose not to open FaceBook.  I typically do it, so it was kind of weird for me, but I went with and hoped that it would contribute to a more peaceful state of mind.

As I sat and drank coffee, I wondered if part of my feelings were due to what we have
just went through and what is coming up. God has been so good and showing me peace, provision and presence during Mike’s surgery and recovery, but I wasn’t sure if I was still feeling like that.  So as I pondered, I felt like I wanted to go back to that time.  No… not Mike going through pain.  More like I wanted my trust to go back to God, in all things. To really live my life.  I have felt fear creeping back in over things that don’t even matter, and I knew I was returning to an old way of reacting.  My mind went to an upcoming trip we’ve planned and are so excited about.  It’s not till the end of September, and I was thinking, “am I going to put living on hold till then?”  No! That isn’t right!

_DSC2940I asked God to help me resolve to identify those things that are a step backwards for me, and to help me go forward.  To LIVE fully!  Every day!  To work hard, play hard and most important…. LOVE hard.

It was encouraging and lifted me up.  God set the bar a little higher for me, helping me to look up and seek to live a life that is full and honors Him.  How better can life get?

My time in the yard ended, and I got ready for work.  As I got in the car, I opened my phone to sinc my music and FaceBook was open.  So without thinking,  I started to scroll through the feed.  It was then that I saw a post that caught my eye.  It was a verse:Though you have not seen Him, you love Him. Though you do not now see Him, you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of our souls.” 1 Peter 1:8-9

 Now I love the verse, but I couldn’t understand why a sad face with a tear?  I don’t feel sad with that verse…. It gives me peace and brings joy of a life that comes to a full circle in faith.  It really irritated me.  I thought wait…. what kind of mixed message is that?  Then I saw it again on another post and I realized why.

61090122_372332523391263_2373045765493751808_nI had known her as a girl serving preschool kids with a knack for telling a story, my hubby knew her as a student athlete, and during her illness we met the young woman she had become.  I will always remember the day she came to our house.  Mike had set up his “photo studio” and Kay, who is a cancer survivor, came to offer encouragement to a young lady fighting her own battle. We all talked about her treatment, school, photography among other things.  Faith and hope were sprinkled in the conversation, that included lots of smiling and laughter. 

And as I sat in my car, I realized why I hadn’t looked at FaceBook that morning.  God wanted to give me an example of what he was showing me.  The right perspective before I heard the news. While she was so young, her life was well lived.  She had used it to funnel love, grace, laughter and faith to those around her.  And in that life, we see the truth of what God is encouraging us all to do. Live your best life through Him.

Grateful still?……

IMG_0620I was thinking the other day how grateful I was.  We had just gotten back from a family wedding in San Diego, and it had been so much fun! It was just a moment when I was reflecting on the wedding, the love of family, the amazing time we had and how far we had come this year.

I thanked God for the peace, strength and all the good people He has put in our path to make it all happen.  As I sat there I wondered, would I feel this way if the outcome hadn’t been so good?     What if Mike’s health and surgery had not progressed so well?  Then I remembered that we aren’t really through it yet.

 

Continue reading “Grateful still?……”

What trouble?

So timing is everything.  The older I get, the more I believe that.  I have been reading through the bible.  I’m not on any plan, timeframe or anything like that.  I read, ponder, and write.  I may read a little one day, a lot, or I might even skip a day.  (shhh….don’t tell anyone)  Some days I just re-read what I’ve previously read, and stop and ponder it more.  Those days are the best!   Those are when the word of God matches perfectly with my mood, or the events of the world to bring me a specific message.

dsc_0901When I was reading the letter from James, Jesus brother, he talks about waiting patiently while you are going through trouble.  My first reaction was to think, I better hold onto this because we are walking through trouble. But my mind rebelled.  What trouble?  Well, I tried to come up with some, but really couldn’t.  I mean I know Mikey has radiation coming up, but that pales in comparison with what he’s been through.   The boys are doing pretty well, and a couple are even thriving. Then I thought back to a couple of verses before.  And it says, “Your gold and silver are corroded.  The very wealth you were counting on will eat away your flesh like fire.”   That one got me, because for a long time money has been a real problem for me. Continue reading “What trouble?”

#Respondinlove…..always

IMG_7061So it was a few days ago, and I don’t even really remember what I was reading/watching.  It really must have been FB or something, and reading comments about the problems at border detention facilities.

They kind of bugged me.  Why?  Well they kept calling for the government to be compassionate and I thought… how?  A government is a thing.  It can’t be nice and it can’t be mean.  It can be neither loving or unloving.  Now it can take steps to alleviate suffering at the border, but because it is made up of separate people with differing ideas that isn’t as streamline a process as it seems.

When I think of government, I remember Samuel’s warning to the nation of Israel when they wanted a king.  That they were more likely to be oppressed by their new king than anything else.  They went with him anyway, and found a whole mess of trouble in the process.

Continue reading “#Respondinlove…..always”

Greatest is LOVE….

IMG_7220.jpgI was talking with a friend the other day.  It had been a while so we chatted about this and that, but we eventually came to the situation that had been happening at my church.  We’ve known each other for years, and during that time I have always gone there. She felt bad.  She knew of my love for my church and how it is a big part of my life.  It is where I worship, learn and serve.  I mean, that is part of my life everywhere I go, but church is obviously the place I naturally live out my faith.

Continue reading “Greatest is LOVE….”

You may be surprised…..

IMG_8153It’s so funny how God speaks to me.  Or maybe what’s really funny is how I listen?  I told my husband the other day that I had never dreamed about being a writer.  Like, that is what I want to do when I grow up!  Nope….never felt that way.  Writing for me is more about submission and therapy?  I write to submit my thoughts and feelings to God, and ask Him to help me sort through them.  To move from knowledge to wisdom.  Well…hopefully.

 

 

Continue reading “You may be surprised…..”

The Mystery of it all…..

We had visitors and commitments this past weekend. While it is good to see people, it was even better when we were alone and driving up into the mountains.  Ok… well the foothills at least.  We went to one of our favorites spots, and I couldn’t believe the changes.  It was the last place we visited right before Mike’s surgery and it was his first solo drive after.  So much though had changed.

Where we typically go is more like a creek than a lake.  Monday though, it was definitely a lake!  We’ve been going to this spot for the past few years now, and I’d never seen it so full! Beautiful water!  I guess we aren’t in a drought any more.  We typically climb down from the parking lot and explore a bit, but today it was all under many feet of water.  So we found a spot, and just sat.  The surroundings had drastically changed, and so had we.

60874093_10217777558244561_7147374966990700544_n Continue reading “The Mystery of it all…..”

To laugh or not to laugh….

img_4462It’s Mother’s Day, and I am sitting here listening to Christmas music.  I know it’s crazy, but in some way it brings me comfort. It reminds me that there’s hope for this world.

 

 

It’s been quite a year packed with all sorts of crazy happenings, but also some of the sweetest moments.  And you know, the older I get, the more I see that it all goes hand in hand.  Life, death, pain and pleasure.  Love, fear, failure and triumph.  All these things occupy the same space at the same time, and it’s right that they do so.  It’s not always fun, but it’s the way it happens in this world.

There has been pressure this year.  With tumors, surgeries and unfortunately a lot of 16939225_10211261381504215_4523643083069843847_npain, but as Mike said the other day, “I don’t think I’ve laughed so much.”  It’s pretty weird because we typically laugh a lot!

I think this is the feeling you get when you truly feel loved.  I know about the whole “God so loved the world” thing, but I don’t think I’ve ever come as close to understanding it than I do right now.  We are loved by the Creator of all, and He is on my side.  Our side.  Even while we walk through scary times, I know that His love keeps us safe.  Things aren’t perfect, but I trust Him, and that gives me peace.  Because of that, we look to the future and laugh.  ‘Cuz it’s been mind blowing so far, and we still have a ways to go.

And for the record, I am listening to “Jazz Musicians Christmas” on Pandora….. so it’s not really like listening to Christmas music. IMG_0171Right?

 

 

Love IS the answer…..

So I had a bit of a revelation the other day. I was hurt by someone I didn’t even know.  They commented on something that wasn’t a big deal, and it bugged me.  Now luckily I worked my way through the hurt, but it made me wonder.  “Do you know who I am? “

I mean obviously, she didn’t know me at all.  The question came to my mind because of an exercise this speaker did at the conference I was attending.  It was the same conference where this lady approached me.  The speaker had spoken about insecurities, bullying, anxiety and how we might be playing a role like an actor, instead of being our authentic selves.  So she asked us to take a nametag and write down all the names we called ourselves, and exchange them for what God says of us.  So here we are writing down the real and perceived flaws or inadequacies that pretty much most of us feel, ready to exchange them for something better.  As I went through the process, I thought of my encounter, and laughed when that question popped into my head.  “Do you know who I am?”

And no, not in the hands on hips, attitude filled, head bobbing way.  No, it was more like the hurt, sad or broken woman who was writing on the nametag.  She didn’t know if I was worthless, fearful or abused.  She didn’t ask if I was anxious, stupid, ugly or unwanted.  She just came up to me and made a comment that could wound, without intending to.  In that moment, whoever I thought I was, may have just been confirmed by a complete stranger and a silly exchange.  Worthless, not good enough, different.

It was sad to feel this way in the midst of this gathering where I should have felt safe.  It was even sadder to think that those words may have found more fertile soil in someone else.

It made me mad for a couple of weeks.  Not in the I am mad and going to be in a state of anger kind of way, but in the way where I couldn’t write about it until now.  Where I could actually write clearly about the encounter, and not be harsh with my words.

I wanted the anger at my hurt to be gone, and just be left with the sadness of how we treat each other.  Now I have no illusions that this woman was trying to hurt me on purpose, but she did on accident.  It made me wonder how many times we do that with other people?

Now to be perfectly clear, this was a Christian women’s conference.  A quick weekend event that is meant to encourage and uplift.  So you can really imagine my chagrin to have had this little hiccup in the proceedings.  Now, she may have thought that what she did was no big deal, but remember my question, “Do you know who I am?”

When we don’t know someone, it is really hard to know how to approach them.  Quite frankly, it’s impossible!  We don’t know their personality, history or the day they’ve had.  Multiple factors that all add up to who we are and how we filter information.  So how can we talk to each other?  Well, I would give my most favorite example, and that was a guy named John.

You see, we meet John through the bible.  For many of us, his words are the first we memorize about Jesus.  “For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son….. John 3:16.

He writes the ultimate words on how God loves us, and it’s a good thing, because later in his life John is called again to give some hard truth.  In the book of Revelation, heaven is opened and John sees what is to come.  Some of it is hard truth, but it’s truth we can handle. How?  Well because we go back to where John started, “For God so loved…..” We can handle the truth when we know that someone loves us.  If there is even a bit of doubt of that love?  Well then you can almost guarantee a bad reception to anything you say. Hard truth, or even a simple comment in the middle of a crowd.

So friends, check your heart when you make that observation, comment or give advice.  Make sure that person knows you’re speaking out of love.  If there is any possibility of doubt, maybe you shouldn’t be saying it? Take the time to lay that groundwork of love first.  Then you will have the ability to speak into their life in a way that will encourage, uplift and bring wisdom at the exact time they need it.

 

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