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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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life

A little peace….

One of my favorite parts of the Easter story is of the last supper.  I have always loved how John relays how Jesus washed their feet.  I can imagine how uncomfortable they would have been, but how relaxed by the end.  I mean really….who doesn’t love a foot massage?  

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I think of the simple task of Jesus washing and drying their feet.  These men who walk everywhere, but not with the comfortable shoes of today.  No.  They are walking many miles with leather sandals of ancient times.  Can you imagine?  Ouch!  So they are sitting there, uncomfortable in the first place with Jesus assuming the role of servant.  Then as they are willing him to finish, they start to relax and kind of enjoy the slight massage of their sore and tired feet.  Before they know it, their eyes snap open and they realize that they were in total comfort.  They lock eyes with Jesus, and I can imagine the slight smile on His face.  


I think that is how He is with our lives.  We (I) fight him when he asks us (me) to do something.  I struggle like Peter with the appropriateness of the idea, and then before I know it, I am in the middle of His will and my life is filled with His peace.  I am in total comfort, and I can imagine His eyes on me.  And that same slight smile is on His face.  

….isn’t written yet!

“So don’t make judgments about anyone ahead of time, before the Lord returns.”   ! Corinthians 4:6

UnknownI’ve said it a bit recently to those around me, “it’s not how you start, but how you finish.”  And don’t get me wrong…. It’s easier to finish well when you get out of the blocks cleanly.

We judge a person on today or their past, but we have no idea of their future and where that will lead.  The choices, experiences and people that will all come together to make a complete picture in a life.

 

I know it’s hard, but as I read the verse this morning I wondered if we judge in life, when we should just have discernment?  So I got out the old dictionary and looked at the difference between judge and discern.

Basically, discern is to recognize something as opposed to judging where you form a conclusion about it.  I mean, I can discern that someone else is doing something that is harmful or full out wrong.  I can then take steps to not be harmed by these actions, but I just can’t pronounce judgement.  The end isn’t written yet!  If I do judge, does that contribute to an environment that pushes them towards a not so good result?

I am not sure….but it makes me think?  There have been people in my life that haveIMG_5237 judged me prematurely, and I think there has been a bit of an impact.  I am grateful though for those who have been on the other side.  The one’s that have given me the chance to change, grow and mature.  Those are the ones that didn’t write me off, but gave me the time, love and encouragement to fulfill the potential they saw and hoped to see bloom.

Know before you go….

Cayucos
Cayucos

I was driving through the fog and couldn’t believe all the cars with their headlights off.  It was crazy to me, and I thought, “your lights aren’t for you to see better, they are for me to see you!”

I totally knew that was important, but I wasn’t sure why?  It was just one of those statements that seemed bigger than the moment for me.  Bigger than just lights in the fog.  So I’ve been thinking about it off and on again, why is it so important to be seen?

Well in the fog it’s pretty obvious, so I don’t get hit!  But what about in life?

Part of it was something I already knew, but I kept skipping over it, because I was looking for other meaning.  “Let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds and praise your father in heaven.”  (Matthew 5:16)

So in life the light isn’t really for me to be seen, but to show off God. I knew that though, so it really didn’t seem like the whole answer.  Well, that was until this morning.  Since my hubby’s surgery, I don’t sleep really well.  So at 3:30am, my brain went to the WHY people didn’t have their headlights on.

Worst invention ever, automatic headlights!  You see now that people have automatic lights, they don’t have to turn them on when they get in the car.  At night it works great, but when it’s daytime and foggy, those lights don’t function correctly.  People are driving around assuming they’re on.  They assume, they can be seen.

That was the perspective I was looking for.  So God wants to be seen through the lives of His people, and that happens through how we live.  So what if our lights aren’t on?  What if like the automatic headlights, we assume we can be seen and in that assumption we believe Jesus can be seen.  So that’s the question, are my lights on?  And what am I showing the world?  Are we hoping going to church on Sunday shows the world we love Jesus? Maybe it’s the verse we post on Facebook, or the fish we have on our car?

IMG_0151Sometimes I think much of the things we hope shows people that we love Jesus, just doesn’t.  Just like the headlights, we assume they are on, because they’re supposed to come on.  We don’t bother to check our lights before we go.

 

 

My friend Kay just went through a bout with breast cancer and came through fighting.  A couple of weeks ago she posted something that was cute, but to the point.  “Check your coconuts!”  She’s an island girl so it’s perfect for her.  I want to steal that for myself, but change it up a bit. So today I don’t want to assume my lights are on, and I would encourage you to do the same.    So don’t forget, “check your light!”

 

 

 

Good or bad….with Hope!

3D man near red question mark

So it’s so hard to be me sometimes.  It must be even harder to be my hubby, having to put up with me!  I have a tendency to ponder things.  Ok, I tend to ponder EVERYTHING!    I think it’s irritating sometimes, but it’s who I am and so I try to embrace it.

I was sitting in church the on Sunday, and we were looking in the book of Revelation.  The imagery in the book is always a pretty trippy experience, but of course it got me to thinking?  I know…..what doesn’t get me thinking?

In a nutshell, we have John seeing into heaven and he’s upset because this important scroll can’t be opened.   What does the scroll contain?  Of course there are some very good educated answers, but what made me think was John’s reaction.  Why would he be so upset?  Did he know what was in the scroll?  I am not sure, but what I do know is that, because there was no one worthy he was distraught. He lacked hope.

“We have hope….rebellions are built on hope!”  Jyn Erso “Rogue One”

Yep, the geek came out of me at that point and all I could think of was the quote from the movie Rogue One.  Oh, and my hubby.  You see when he got the phone call from the doctor, his reaction was pretty funny.  He was so happy!  He was smiling and talking excitedly!  I could hardly believe I was looking at a person who’d just been told they have a brain tumor!   It was crazy, but I realized that the excitement on his face was what that diagnosis really meant for him. Hope!  He was in a bad place, as the pain became progressively worse in the past couple of months.  It didn’t help that he was frustrated by not being able to work a full day, his deteriorating eyesight and trying to find a doctor who could help him.  It was the holidays, but it was hard to find the “happy” during that time.  So with the diagnosis, everything changed.

Hope is such a powerful thing.  It can take the gravest of circumstances and give you a different perspective.  It gives you the strength to move forward, and face what you never thought you could. Hope is a beautiful thing!

There is of course a caveat to hope…you need to be careful where you put it.  Let me be clear, at this point my hope was not in the doctor, not in the diagnosis or whether it was cancer or not.  There was only one place where I could truly put my hope, and know that I would never be let down.  And that was in the Lord.  I knew at that time, no matter what happened, from the best outcome to the worst we would be OK.  We would survive!  I knew that because of how God had provided for our lives in the past, and from what I knew He had told me about the future.   It was actually the first thing I wrote about this year, https://cherylmendoza.com/2019/01/01/new-year-same-playlist/.

brown valley during a grey cloudy sky
Photo by Josh Sorenson on Pexels.com

We are still not done with the process.  My hubby is still recovering and will have radiation later this year, so this chapter of our story is still being written. Even so, before we were out of the hospital we were making plans.  New places to visit, a family wedding, concert tickets bought and a much more “happy” holiday season.

We look forward to it all, good and bad, with hope!

Laughing all the way to the…hospital?

whiskey-typewriter-shutterstock-570x380So day 2 is always hard.  I always wonder, what will I write about now?  I also feel behind the eight ball because I am tired. Taking care of someone can be tiring. Part of it is physical, but it’s also a mental tired.  Since I tend to overthink things, I am sure that is a lot of it!  There is a spiritual aspect to it too.  The word “spiritual” makes it sound very serious, but it really hasn’t felt that way.

The spiritual in our journey has included a lot of laughter.  Just to give you a little background, my hubby started having headaches that progressively became worse over the last half of 2018.  He never really had headaches as a rule, so we felt that something was up.  He started missing out on work, and it was really affecting how he was able to live his life.  To see him get weaker and become a bit like a little old man, it was hard to watch.  So you can imagine the excitement when we had a diagnosis.  A brain tumor?  All right! And he can have surgery? Fantastic!

red ribbon on brown cardboard box
Photo by Negative Space on Pexels.com

I can remember watching his face as he talked with the doctor that Saturday morning.  It lit up like Christmas!  We had just been given a present.  It was hope!  With that hope, what was ahead held no concern. We knew that it was all out of our hands, so we rested in those who took care of him.  The nurses, doctors and God.

 

At some point I thought of the verse that is quoted so often, “peace that passes all understanding.”  At that point I totally got it.  I mean really, brain surgery?  This is serious stuff, but we wanted it!  We had peace though, and I really didn’t understand how we could be feeling that way?  I didn’t argue though, it was a place I was glad to be.

IMG_7989The neurologist gave us an idea to fastrack the whole thing.  So he called a doctor at the local emergency room to get us in.  My hubby was so excited, we would go to the ER and they would transfer us to a larger hospital.  It would be there that they would see the big mass in his head and they may even do surgery this weekend.  Isn’t it great?  There was not one tear, one moment of hesitation or fear.  We looked at each other shook our heads with smiles on our faces.

It wasn’t long till we got ready and were walking up to the emergency room.  Before we got in I asked my hubby, “who are we supposed to see?”  He looked at me with a smile and said, “Doctor Martin.” When I heard that we both started laughing and I knew it was going to be all right.    Doc Martin is a TV show we watch, and the doctor is such a character!  And of course as soon as the doctor came in we had to greet him as “Doc Martin.”  The doctor laughed…..he knew exactly who we were talking about!  I always knew God had a great sense of humor and today He proved it again!

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: What better way….

Unknown“Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him.”Mark 10:21a.

I love this verse.  Jesus was about to bring a hard lesson to someone, but before Jesus does that, the writer tells us that Jesus genuinely loved the man.

When was the last time I told a tough truth to someone in genuine love?  Is that how we typically talk to each other?  It just doesn’t seem like it.  And unfortunately, the Christian community doesn’t seem to be much different than the rest of the world.

So if I want to love people like Jesus, then I really need to love people!  Not with an agenda, or a plan to “reach them” but just with the love of God.  If I can’t?  then I really need to check that out!

Unknown 8.24.28 PMWhat about you?  What better way to start the day than to be seeking to love one another!

Wow….. this really isn’t where I thought I would end up when I started.

Advent: Being mindful….

images-2You know, sometimes this writing part of my life is not easy!  I try to come up with something interesting, or thought provoking, not preachy and above all not too opinionated.  I try to frame what I write as my experience, and hope it either encourages or at least gives someone a different perspective.

It is hard though, because I am pretty opinionated.   I’d like to think that I have some pretty good ideas, because I have common sense, and in some ways I am pretty smart.  So I am thinking my opinions are wise…. Right?   Also, according to my pastor since I am so old, I am a good mentor figure.  (that kills me)

Well over the last few years as social media has exploded, I am less and less impressed with my own opinion.  Why?  Because I am so tired of hearing everyone else’s, I can imagine how people feel hearing mine.  I am lucky though, as I have an easier time holding my tongue than others do.  (don’t get me wrong, I came by this trait the hard way.  But God has taken hurt and made it into a useful part of my life.)

Why did I bring this up?  I really don’t know….I just started writing?  I guess it was the imagesphone call I got last night.  I am typically the one who is messaging or talking to someone to encourage them, but last night the call was for me.  Someone wanted to ask how I was, and check up on me and the family. I appreciated it so much!  And at the end she prayed for me, and it was cool because it showed growth in her faith.

 

 

_DSC9219Why these two topics together?  Well, I guess it’s because I hear much more ”opinion” than encouragement. And since I am like most people, I tend to think we are all looking for more encouragement, love, kindness and lack of judgment than we are looking for another opinion.  So today be mindful of the words you say.  Be a shoulder to lean on, cry on or just be a good listener. Leave your opinions behind, and see how you can be an encouragement to someone today.

Was that a little preachy?  Not sure…… will try better tomorrow.

Advent: Loves a state of mind….

IMG_7051Anyway, as I sat there, in the tiniest seat ever, (ugh)  I was struck by a lyric from the song Rhiannon.  “Dreams unwind, loves a state of mind.”  I am sure I’ve heard that sung a thousand times before, but tonight it kept rolling around in my head.  “Dreams unwind, loves a state of mind.”  The more I thought about it, the more true I knew it was. IMG_0143

Life has a way of changing it up on us.  Taking our plans and making them nothing like we envisioned.  And it’s not “if” life throws you a curve ball, it’s really like “when.”   So when the “when” happens, what are you going to do with it?  When the “dreams unwind,” where do you go from there?

I think many times we just try to wind that same ball right back up. We want to recreate what we were trying to do in the first place.  As I was reading this morning, I was struck by people, their plans, and then God’s plans. They were not always on the same trajectory.  It’s hard! We want what we want, or at least what we think we want.  Life though has a way of unraveling.  The hard part is really not trying to wind it all back together, but giving it up to God. Making His love your “state of mind” and giving Him what’s left to knit together something new.

It’s amazing what you can hear when you’re listening.

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