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Cheryl Mendoza

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

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cherylmendoza

Advent: Hope

I told someone today that we are in the middle.  And if you ask most people, the middle is the hardest part.  It’s at that point where you feel like you can’t go back to where you started, but still can’t see the finish line.  It can be a place of frustration, fear and sadness.  The waiting during this period can be so hard, and it doesn’t even matter what you’re waiting for!  At this point in the pandemic, even waiting in line at that new Dutch Bros can bring about  a slight depression!

Years ago, we went hiking once at the Pinnacles.  It’s a very interesting national park in California.  I say interesting because it’s not the spectacular landscape of say a Yosemite, but the beauty is there just the same.   It’s claim to fame are talus caves that you can hike through, which are pretty fun, unless of course you like to see your hand in front of your face!  And yes…that’s not my type of hiking.  I could choose not to do it, but the only problem is that I wasn’t alone.  So what do you do when your partner is much more adventurous than you?  Well that’s how I wound up in the middle of a cave, with no light and very little courage.  That’s the scary part of the middle…sometimes you aren’t even sure you’re there yet.  At what point can we differentiate between the walking in, and the point when we’re finally making our way out.  

When we were far enough into the cave where no natural light reached, I was scared.  It was an unnatural fear that’s beyond what is normal.  Crazy as it sounds, the rocks themselves gave me peace.  “…You are my rock,”  says part of Psalm 31.  That portion of verse gave me hope.  I kept repeating that to myself as I carefully found my way through the rocks.  Once I got through the cave to the other side, I really didn’t fear it any more.  I was still a bit uncomfortable with the darkness, but since I now knew about where the middle was, I was able to enjoy the cave instead of being so anxious to get out.  

We’re in the middle, but are we still headed in or on our way out?  That’s the question!  As we continue to live through this painful time in our history, I think back to that cave and the God who is my Rock.  Remembering gives me hope, and isn’t that what this time of the year’s all about?  Redemption, light in the darkness, joy, peace…..The HOPE of Christ!  

Respond in Love….2020

“…..in their own self interests”  That was the part of the sentence that caught my eye.  As I make decisions regarding the pandemic and how it will shape how I act in the coming days, shouldn’t I take into account more than my own self interests?  

The book of Judges is one of my favorites in the Bible.  If you haven’t read it, I would encourage you to crack it open but don’t expect the warm fuzzies.  Why I like it so much is because it’s opened my eyes to how humanity acts, and why we so needed saving.  At the end of the book there is a tale of people who do “whatever seemed right in their own eyes” with horrific results.  Is that who we are?   

So as we go through this crazy time,   (I wanted to use unprecedented but didn’t since it’s so overused now) I would ask that instead of looking out for just yourself, you would also look to your community.  These are your neighbors.  The real people you know, laugh with, care for, put up with and love.  Let’s stop seeing this through the lens of the media, twitter, FB and our political filter.  

All those things add distortion to what you are seeing, and clarity is what we all need right now.  If you really want to know what’s going on, concentrate on those directly around you.  That is your truth!  Let’s work to keep each other safe, lend a helping hand and encourage one another!  

Above all else, respond in LOVE.  When we choose love, we’re giving back control to the One who is truly in control anyway.   And in His hands we can find truth, peace and the oh so needed love to share in a hurting world.  

Careless whisper…..

When people tell me they’re having problems with their kids, I try to listen a lot and not give an opinion.  The only one good piece of advice I really have is this; whatever happens never say anything to hurt.  There are some words that you can never take back, and apologies will never be enough to erase.  We’ve lived by that in our household and looking back, I think we are seeing good results. 

Our sons like us, and they like each other.  I attribute much of that to that one piece of advice, of how we talked to and about each other.  

– Please listen to the words coming out of your mouth.  They may be poisonous.  Choose to speak life!

I wrote that out on election day….just a series of things I thought would be wise to remember, but I wanted to revisit this one today.  As I listen to people speak, I wonder if we truly hear ourselves?  And more so, if we truly weigh the impact of carelessly spoken words?  I think about words a lot.  I like writing more than conversations, because it gives me the opportunity to delete those careless words before they wound.  

And do not mistake my meaning.  I believe our words are leaving a mark, and it’s not a good one.  I have thought about it before…. 

“…..But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire.  And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire….. “  James 3: 5&6

I have wondered if the spiritual is having an effect on the physical.  The more we let fly with our mouths, the more this world is on fire.   And it’s effecting us all, both spiritually and physically.  

So I leave you with the struggle in my own life.  To stop setting fires with my mouth.  To stop before I carelessly criticize, judge or let the sarcasm fly.  To instead bring beauty, love, encouragement and most of all hope.  

“Careless words stab like a sword, but the words of wise people bring healing.”  Proverbs 12:18

Election advice….

So Scott left yesterday and before we went our separate ways, we had a conversation about the state of the union.  We are both realists, but I have a heavy dose of optimism that helps me deal with looking at the facts.  He does not.  It was strange to sit and listen to my son articulate so well a viewpoint that I can understand, but ultimately must fight against.  I must have hope!  So in that spirit, I am penning a few thoughts.  

 – Pray.  God is in control no matter who wins.  And neither candidate is His choice.

 – Please listen to the words coming out of your mouth.  They may be poisonous.  Choose to speak life!

 – Trust the process.  The election process is run by your neighbors.  You trust them to watch your home when you’re gone, they bring you soup when you’re sick and you celebrate the holidays with them.  They are not here to steal an election from you. 

 – Put away your fire arms.  People will get hurt.  (Jeez Louise!!)

 – Don’t be scared.  You can be concerned, but if you start acting because of fear, that is when it will hit the fan.  And unfortunately right now, both sides are peddling fear to us all.  

 – If you think all is lost because your candidate did not win, you are wrong.  Our country has some hard work to do, and the person in the Oval Office can help or hinder it.  The fact is though the hard work is ours to do regardless.  

 – You are not 100% right.  How can I know this?  Because none of us are!  

Scott told me of letters that he had read.  They were written by normal men who were fighting in a war.  They were shocked to realize they were fighting and killing people they knew.  Fighting their own neighbors.  People they had much in common with.  There is nothing civil about war, whether it be fought with guns or with words. 

Again, my hope is not in a person, but in a Creator.  And I believe He has created us all out of His great love for us!  So today and into the future we who look to Jesus and choose to follow His example get to only respond in one way.  And that’s in LOVE.  Anything else is garbage.  So if I see you today…. I love you!  And may God give me the strength to continue to respond in love to all people for the rest of my days!  

Ponderings: words I say

I really need a  nap, but I was compelled to write.  I was talking to Mike this morning, 51A62216-98FB-4FD3-A3ED-5897A2B839B0and I brought up the prophet Isaiah.  Like doesn’t everyone?  I have always been struck by this one interaction with God.  He says that one year he see’s the Lord.  Holy cow….to say the least!  Isaiah goes on to describe the scene, and eventually he realizes his own sin in comparison to the glory of God.  He says “I have filthy lips and live among a people with filthy lips.”  For some reason, that verse has always gotten to me.  It was like Jesus was saying, “girl…this verse is for you!”  At some point when I started actually posting what I write, I felt that Isaiah’s moment in time had lessons for me. 

 Eventually an angel takes a coal from the altar and touches Isaiah’s lips and “cleanses” them.  It is then the Lord asks “who shall I send?”  Isaiah steps forward to take the job.  

IMG_0143After reading this, I always tried to write what I think will honor God.  More importantly, I work hard to make sure what I say does not drag Jesus’ name through the mud.  Truthfully, because of this there are some thoughts in my head that have never made it to print.  When I am tempted to use sarcasm, a sharp wit or demeaning points to prove someone wrong, I think of Isaiah.  Of how he was burdened by his “unclean lips.”   And how I don’t want to live with that kind of burden.  Got enough other sin in my life to deal with.  

Plus I am reminded that in offering up my words to God, I am also in line to receive potential blessing from what I write.  The blessing of encouraging others, sharing strength and showing love to a world in such need.  Plus ya just never know.  He may even bless me with the opportunity to say something that is truly life changing. 

ca9583de30e2e850b492eff0c494a42d--nativity-silhouette-silhouette-cameo“All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign.  Look! The virgin will conceive a
child!  She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel, which means God is with us”. 

If you want to check it out for yourself…..  Isaish 6:1-7

 

A prayer for a lifetime

_DSC2940Lord this world needs you.  I need you.  Help me not to react, but to find the path that leads to shalom in my life and in the lives of all.  Today as we think of that day so long ago when You gave us the power to make “Your kingdom come,” help us to not be distracted.  Give us the strength to be a conduit of the Holy Spirit that gives us the power that can change the world.

The angels sang on the day You were born and told the outsider, “Don’t be afraid!”  They made it clear that the redemption you were offering was “GOOD NEWS OF GREAT JOY, FOR ALL PEOPLE.”  Forgive us who call you LORD, but do not proclaim YOUR good news.  Forgive us for muddying the waters.  Let this Pentecost be different.  Help us to lay down our lives (our opinions/rights/our idols)  for our brothers and sisters.  What is done in humble love, though imperfect it may be, will be honored by You….and in that there is HOPE. 

Turned away from it all like a blind man

Sat on a fence but it don’t work

Keep coming up with love but it’s so slashed and torn

Why, why, why?

Love, love, love, love, love

Insanity laughs under pressure we’re breaking

Can’t we give ourselves one more chance?

Why can’t we give love that one more chance?

Why can’t we give love, give love, give love, give love

Give love, give love, give love, give love, give love?

‘Cause love’s such an old fashioned word

And love dares you to care for

The people on the edge of the night

And love dares you to change our way of

Caring about ourselves

This is our last dance

This is our last dance

This is ourselves under pressure

Under pressure

Pressure

Under Pressure….. Queen

Easter: Coffee, jammies and HOPE!

IMG_4885So here we are …. Stuck in the middle again.  I felt like this last year, when Mike was recovering from brain surgery.    Now?  Well there’s nothing like a global pandemic to put life on hold.  But is life really on hold, or has the focus just shifted?   Maybe here in the middle is where we regain perspective? 

 

They were in the middle too that Saturday, but they didn’t know it yet.  They thought it was over, the wise teaching, the healing and the restoration of a nation.  Everything they had been living for was changed in one day.   Continue reading “Easter: Coffee, jammies and HOPE!”

Hosanna?

img_8960So Palm Sunday is typically my favorite Sunday of the whole year.  I think back to spending it with preschoolers and how we would tell them about that special day when Jesus entered Jerusalem.  Making leaves, doing a parade and shouting Hosanna!  For preschoolers, it’s the perfect lesson!  There is a lot of energy, color and activity in the re-telling of the event.  Today though I sit alone in my backyard, missing the energy of the typical Palm Sunday celebrations in church. 

img_8959

I am beginning to think though, that maybe this is how it’s supposed to be?  Instead of songs and shouts of Hosanna, I have wind and rain shouting a chorus.  And while there are no palm fronds, there are the trees in my backyard violently waving their praise!   

While this might not be the Palm Sunday you were imagining, maybe it’s just what you need?  This week as we all move toward a very different Easter, may it be a time of reflection and focus.  A time to look at life and our priorities.  To decide if what we think is important, really IS that important! 

But the wisdom from above is first of all pure.  It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others.  It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds.  It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.  James 3:17

Lent – Killer Pride

IMG_7061OK… so again…. I haven’t written.  This totally bums me out, and have given me a crappy week.  Lent is a special time, and I try to use it as inspiration, but I am an imperfect person.  I have been looking at the why, and there are some legitimate reasons.  I work in the mortgage industry and for the past few weeks, it has been crazy!  That has taken a lot out of me.  Then of course there is the whole global pandemic thing….. Really?  Also, there are people in my sphere of influence who are dealing with real pain and I do my best to be an encouragement to them in their hurt.   And in that craziness, I’ve found it hard to keep focus.  

 

Why haven’t I said anything about this before?  Well there is one word for that and it’s PRIDE!  Truthfully I was embarrassed.  I want to communicate and work through my mess in front of all, so that others might feel some kinship and know that they’re not alone.   But I tell you….the pride thing gets me a lot of the time.  Anyone who reads this blog can easily see how I have “dropped” the ball.  So for a few days, I was stressed.  The crazy thing is, I didn’t know what I was stressed about?  It took days and some mirror gazing to figure out my pride was hurt.  The first year I did this….I wrote every single day!  I have yet been able to meet that first years output.  Because of that, I feel like I’ve failed.  The funny thing is, if this is failure, I am still writing more than I have in the past year.  I am failing “forward”!  And really…that is a win for me!   Continue reading “Lent – Killer Pride”

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