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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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Insecurity

Advent: Freedom…..

whiskey-typewriter-shutterstock-570x380You know the funniest thing about God?  He wants to talk to us!  I don’t get it…. Why?  If I am who I am and He is who He is…. Why is He so big on trying to communicate with me?

He will speak to me anywhere.  I have a tendency to pop the TV on during my quiet time on a Friday. Funny thing is, whatever I watch, I tend to get something more than I bargained FOR.  Kinda like God won’t let Himself be silenced, even if I am slacking.

This morning I caught a few minutes of “Eat, Pray, Love.”  Now I’ve never seen this whole movie, but I was drawn to the setting and the food they were eating.  As I watched, I got  caught up in the conversations of the characters.  The lead character is eating her way through Italy (dream!) and she says, “I am through with the guilt.”

UnknownI loved it!  We women get so many mixed messages, it’s hard to keep our heads on straight.   Here was a woman who was trying to really live.  Her motivation was not going to be out of a sense of guilt, but out of love. Well for her, the love was for pizza. For me, it is the love of God.  Or better put, the way that God loves me.

If I look to see how I am loved, it is totally, fully and in the complete knowledge of who I am.  There are no secrets between Him and I, He knows it all.  The good, bad and ugly to borrow a phrase.  Even that full knowledge doesn’t dissuade Him from loving me. That is the kind of love that gives a person freedom.

UnknownI struggle with this a lot.  While I believe I am so loved, I have a hard time trusting in it.  While His love is perfect, our worldly version is not.  And that my friends has left a mark.  I still chase after it though.  I want that kind of freedom!  To trust so much in that love, gives me the confidence to become the person He made me to be.  The one that’s inside of me.  The one that I find it hard to let out. The one who laughs too loud, eats too much, cry’s too easily and doesn’t want to wear a mask.  She is kind and just wants to encourage you, whether she knows you or not.  She loves Jesus, but she drinks a little.  She is scared to be vulnerable with you, because she cares what you think.  Her feelings get hurt easily and she lets them hurt.  That’s because it’s either hurt or anger, and she never wants the anger to have life.  I know I am not the only one who wants this freedom.  I see it in myself, and I see it in other women.  I see it in the bible.

 

I was reading about the woman Jesus met by a well.  I see it in her.  When she is face to face with that kind of love, she can’t help but let everyone know.  It doesn’t matter that Jesus knew all about her life, her husbands and the man she was living with.  That love gave her a different perspective.  That Love gave her freedom!!

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So here is to perfect LOVE that gives freedom and the amazing life that comes from it!

Advent: Trusting the gardner

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So another day…..another post.  It’s funny, because when I start these writing binges, I typically have a day or two of posts in my mind.  Day 3 though is always where there is surprise.  I typically have no idea where I am going, and it makes me nervous. What is going to happen?  Will I be able to write anything?  The funny thing is, something typically catches my attention.

So I have been reading through the Bible this year.  I’m not following a reading plan or anything, just reading along until I’m  too tired, or I find something that I want to ponder for a while.  Just going at my own pace.  Well as I started to read today, I wondered if I should go to the Nativity story since it’s that time of year?  That would make sense….right?

But…..I really wanted to keep reading where I was.  So back to the beginning of the gospel of John and what he wrote about John the Baptist.  Ah…another outsider.  I’m  intrigued by the path of the cousin of Jesus.   His mom getting pregnant way past her prime, his father doubting and struck speechless, the Angel and the news that this young man would be the forerunner.  The one who would come before the Messiah. Pretty cool….  You’d think he would be an important part of the temple and everything that surrounded it, but he wasn’t.  I’ve always wondered about that.  Why not? It is part of his family heritage, it would make sense….right?  The ultimate insider!

I ‘ve tried to get on the inside, but it’s never really worked. Isn’t the church where you IMG_5979use the gifts you have?  I’ve taught Sunday School and was pretty good at storytelling, but any role outside of that has never happened.  There have been times over the years where I’ve thought, I could be used for that!  Or I’ve being willing to say, use me!  For some reason though, I was never picked.  Or there wasn’t a place for me to use my gifts.  It used to bug me, and I wondered what’s wrong with them?

It was hard at times, but trust is a great thing.  And I had to work at trusting God.  I had to realize that it was not them, but really me.  If God didn’t open that door, there was a reason.   God used those times to help build trust in Him.  Not people, not pastors and not in church, but Him only.

I wonder if it was like that for John?  He knew that God was going to use him and even what his role was.  The real question was how was that going to look?  I can’t imagine his parents thinking it would be the way it played out. Your son, the one who is supposed to come before the Messiah, out in the wilderness, eating bugs and telling people to repent.   Where is his place in the temple?  Wouldn’t’ that be where the forerunner spoke from?

 

IMG_7061John though was an outsider, and I like him because of it.  Maybe because he was an outsider, he was able to be who God really needed him to be?   I like to think so.  It helps me to think that any time we may spend on the outside is just a proving ground. A place where God can weed, water and grow us to who He really wants us to be.

Change of perspective….

Attached are photos from both Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks.  At this time of year, the beauty of these parks are a bit muted.  You see a few trees that are wearing their fall “glory,” but fall in the Sierra’s isn’t astounding.  What you do see a “pop of color” here and there that I just happen to love!  Both parks were pretty quiet when we went, and that made it even more special.  It was a time (at least for me) to remember not only how small my problems are, but how big God is.

I love the picture of the path with the granite rocks dotting the way.  I had to watch eachIMG_6695 step carefully as I walked, making sure to navigate around the bumps and place my feet on flat ground.  Why?  Because I am such a clutz!  Now there was plenty of good ground to step on, but I had to pay attention to make sure that is where I was walking.  I took the picture because that is really how I am feeling right now.  My life’s path feels a bit bumpy, so I am taking it slow trying to make it through.  The picture gives me hope, as the path does eventually smooth out, and I know my life’s path will too.  It is only a matter of time…..

Until then, I am thankful that I live so close to these beautiful places where I can breathe in fresh air, see blue sky and get a change of perspective!

Doing what I gotta do…..

So today I worked on finding an illustrator.  It may not sound hard, but it was.  Unfortunately, I probably am to blame for that.  I tend to overthink things, and try to figure out the odds before I even make the attempt to do something.  It is a self-defeating cycle that I tend to go through with many things, but I always do it when I am scared.

I should be really happy.  I am done with my picture book, frankly I have been done for a while, and I am just trying to find an illustrator.  So what is so hard about that?  Well, it seems that I am just a big chicken.  Fear eats at my soul, it runs that deep.  And it sucks!  I am tired of the fear, but it just continues to rear its ugly head continually.  I am beginning to feel like this post is a therapy session, I guess I should be laying down for this. Continue reading “Doing what I gotta do…..”

Only passing through…

I saw a tweet the other day by Christine Caine; “Don’t get stuck somewhere you should only be passing through.”

It immediately struck a chord with me, because that is a fear of mine.  Here I am trying to become a serious, or at least a somewhat serious writer, but will that truly ever happen for me?  Will I ever be able to write something that makes people think, or something that speaks truth into their lives?  That encourages them or even makes them laugh?  I have no idea, but the path I am on means that I am at least going to try.    There is a fear though, that I will get discouraged and stop putting myself out there.  Why? Well, because I have done that before.  I might get sidetracked, and yes I have been there too.  It reminded me of a favorite bible character that I have.

You see, he took his family out of the place that they had been living.  That place was Ur.  The story says that they were traveling to Canaan but they stopped at Haran and settled there.  No friends, this is not about Abraham, but of his father Terah.

Why did the tweet lead me to this man?  Well I will tell you.  I know I am taking a little license, but it seems to make sense to me.  I imagine that God may have told Terah to go to Canaan.  Maybe this whole story of God calling out a people was going to start, not with Abraham, but with his father?   Maybe, for whatever reason, he stopped in Haran and never got to the place where God had called him.

Are my assumptions true?  I have no idea, but I still look to Terah as an example of what I do not want to be.  He was on his way to a destination, and got sidetracked.  The why’s and how’s are unknown, but what we do know is that he never got there.  That is not how I want to be, but I fear that is how I will be.  I see the path, but I don’t really know where I will end up.  It scares me, because it means trying to be successful at something that is very subjective. Truthfully, you all may find out how really very stupid I am.  Or at least, that is the fear.

Well since I am not supposed to be “fearing” anything, per my pastor last week, I guess I will stick to the path.  Truthfully, I really don’t want to miss out on what may be at the end of the journey.  I really don’t want to be Terah.  I want to make it to the place where God calls me.  Like the quote that started all of this, I don’t want to get stuck somewhere I should only be passing through.

 

 

A little indignity.

Not a very auspicious start when you miss writing on the first day of Lent.  Not being Catholic, I do not have the traditional teachings of Lent to fall back on, so I have just try to listen and see how God moves my heart.  So this year I heard someone say that the forty days is in commemoration of Jesus time in the desert.  I don’t remember hearing that before, or if I did it did not hit me like it did this year.  Why?  Well it had to do with a conversation I was having with God earlier today.

unknown-2I was praying, because I knew I would need help writing for a couple of hours today.  I totally have ADHD and while writing is the way that I believe I am supposed to communicate, it is still really hard for me to do it.  I get distracted so quickly and easily.  Anyway, back to my conversation coming home.  I had gone for a walk to the bank, and knew I wanted to write when I got home, but I wasn’t sure what I would write about.  Then my mind started to wander back to my lovely surroundings, and the quick trip I took to the mountains with my hubby. Continue reading “A little indignity.”

Ready for my close up….

img_4817I have a new office.  Well, it is actually one of the same old bedrooms in our house, but we have given it a major overhaul.  It has been cleaned and painted from top to bottom, adorned with a new desk, rug and drapes.  The things that were in this room are coming back in one at a time.  With each item, I am taking the time to see if I truly need it or not.  This room had previously housed our computer, desk and other “office” stuff.  It had also become a catch all for everything else.  When that happened, it became a room that I did not like.  There were things in the room that did not belong, and other things that needed to be addressed, but could be ignored because they were hidden in the chaos.

 

As I sit here enjoying the fruits of my hard work, I know the room is a metaphor for my life.  Every so often, God sharpens my vision and gives me a clearer view into my heart.  He lets me see the mess that has accumulated and not only does He give me the desire to clean it up, He gives me the ability to do it.  How do I make this connection between this room make-over and my life?  Well it has to do with two things.  Provision and insecurity.  These are two fears are the stumbling blocks in my life, but with each new day, God is giving me the will and the way to overcome them. Continue reading “Ready for my close up….”

My Rock

20150330-p3301911-e1428356430678-1240x785So this weekend I went to the Pinnacles National Park with my hubby and his parents.  We were all in their RV and it was wonderful.  It is fall, so the park has a total “old west” look to it, which some people may not find the most attractive, but I thought it was gorgeous.  The Pinnacles is known for its rock walls, talus caves and California Condors.

The first day that we hiked, we got to the set of caves on the trail and I had to say some quick prayers before I entered.  I do not like being closed in or confined, whether it is clothes, under water, airplanes and even caves.  I was with my hubby though and I could not hold him back, and to tell you the truth I did not want to hold myself back.  So we went into the cave and I did OK, till we finally got to a point where the outside light was no longer visible.  It was then that I caught my breath for a moment.  To me, this was the place of most danger.  The place where I could not get out quickly if I needed too.  I mean really?  They had just issued an earthquake advisory for Southern California a few days before, and while I was not in the south, we were directly on the San Andreas Fault line.   I am a lifelong Californian and we do not typically get advisories like that, so there must be something to it.  Right?

Well in the middle of the cave, these thoughts flash through my head quickly.    So after hpnm0110another quick prayer, I turned on my light and followed my hubby.  In retrospect, the length of the cave was very short, so I was able to easily get through.  So you would think on day two I wouldn’t have any problem with the cave?  Think again.

The hike we took the next day was even longer, and took us from one side of the park to the other.  It was a wonderful walk enjoying the quiet and the calm of the chaparral.  When we reached the cave on this trail, I felt pretty good.  I figured that if I could survive the first caves, I could survive this one.  I am sure that I said a quick prayer going in, but in looking back it was not enough.  We got to the inside of the cave, and it became dark again so we put our headlamps on.  I was doing Ok, but we came to a point where the further we got the more uncomfortable I became.  It was then we reached a spot where we would could not walk through any more.  We had to literally get on hands and knees to climb up a boulder about six feet up, then crawl through an opening that was probably 4 feet wide.  Now that is a good amount of room, but to a chicken, any smaller spaces seem very disconcerting.  It was at this point that my fear again reared its ugly head.  The words were on my lips to tell my hubby that I wanted to turn around, but I couldn’t.

So I started crawling up to the spot where he was sitting, waiting for me.  The higher I got, the better I felt.  I was cracking up, because I am sure that everyone could hear me.  As with each rock I touched I reminded God that He is my “rock” and my “shelter”.   Before I knew it, I was through the caves and out on the other side.  At that point, my fear seemed a bit silly.

The payoff?  Well the other side of the trail was my favorite part of the whole weekend.  It was beautiful!  There was a “courtyard” on the other side of the caves, surrounded by towering rocks.  After such a long hot walk, it was cool, refreshing and awe inspiring.  I thought as we continued to walk, that I could have missed it all if I had turned back.  I thought about what I wouldn’t have been a part of, if I had let that momentary fear change my direction.

14572759_10209832544864192_8318213139520730873_nI was really encouraged by my experience at the park.   I read the bible and the stories of people are very much alive to me.  They help me see what God has done in the past, and how He is able to work in a person’s life.  To have a more personal reminder though, is even better. It helps me push through that moment of fear and find the courage to keep going.  It reminds me that even in the darkest moment, when the problem is all encompassing, an answer may shine through just a step or two away.

Enjoying the joy!

So today I was thinking, I haven’t written in my blog in a couple of days.  How can I be a writer if I don’t write?    Since my blog is typically the things that I see God teaching me, I was kinda stressed that I did not have anything to write about.  Is He ignoring me?  Am I ignoring Him?  I then took a good look at my week and calmed down.

I have been working on a children’s story that I wrote about eight years ago, so I really haven’t been idle, but   it is hard though when there is no feedback.  When I write in the blog, I at least feel like I accomplish something when I hit the post button.  Editing a story, is much less satisfying.  I am telling you, every day is a battle in my own brain.

This evening though, I felt that my mind is in a better pla63419-keep-calm-and-love-cookingce.  How do I know?  Well it has to do with some of the other things I have been doing this week.  I have been doing some deep cleaning in my kitchen, tap dancing and cooking.   Why are these things important?  Well if I am not writing, I feel guilty.  When I feel guilty, I start getting fearful, I doubt and have a hard time being productive in anything I am doing.  This week though, I tried to find some balance.  The balance that I need between writing, taking care of my family, working on my own insecurities and trying to be who I think God wants me to be.  I am not sure if I got the balance right this week, but I feel like I made a better attempt.

It then hit me that God had been speaking to me this week, I just needed all of the pieces to come together to see it.   He gave me a vision of what my life can look like, when I am not living in the land of doubt and fear.  When I choose to live like I say I believe, and trust Him.  From the outside it may not look really different, but to the inside of me, it is like night and day.

But make everyone rejoice who puts his trust in you. Keep them shouting for joy because you are defending them. Fill all who love you with your happiness.  Psalm 51:11 NLT

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