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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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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!  

Advent: Rejoice!

dsc_0835-2So it’s Christmas Eve and I am fighting my feelings.  I’m sitting here with my hubby on a quiet evening.  No family…. Not that normal excitement that usually comes with the season.  In some ways it seems kind of sad, but it’s just because things have changed.  Most of the boys are now with significant others and living out of town.  So we spent our “Christmas” together on Saturday, so that they would be with their ladies families on Christmas day.  It was wonderful to be together, but the new normal is taking some getting used to.  It was kind of getting me down having such a quiet Christmas Eve and anticipating the same on Christmas Day.  It didn’t help that I was going to the doctor because I wasn’t feeling well.  Really?  Is this how the holiday is supposed to be?   Continue reading “Advent: Rejoice!”

Advent: Focus

IMG_8720Advent.  It is a new tradition for me, so the first Sunday of Advent almost passed me by.  Yikes!  It is not my fault!  I don’t come from a background where Advent is celebrated, so it just kind of snuck up on me.  I was barely over the turkey and it just appeared! 

So just like anything in my life, I take what is celebrated by many and use it for my own nefarious purposes.  Ok…. Maybe not nefarious, but I definitely do make it my own.  I need to have help in keeping focused, and writing helps.  I tend to be shall we say….. wordy.  So if I have to post something, like for Advent, it helps me to focus and get the writing done.   Continue reading “Advent: Focus”

Remembering…..

What do I want to remember?

IMG_7423I want to remember that in my actions, I sow seeds. They can be seeds that lift a person up, encourage and give strength. Or they can be discouraging, defeating and used to tear down.

I may never see the fruit of those seeds, but that doesn’t mean that there won’t be a result or even a price that’s paid.

I think of those days and the men who lived here, planned and executed evil.  The seeds sown in their lives were ones that exploded in death.

What seeds could have changed that?

Continue reading “Remembering…..”

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…..”

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.  

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!

…quickly torn apart.

“Isn’t it amazing how long it takes to build something, and how quickly it can be torn apart.”

I had a sermon playing on my phone as I was pulling weeds.  It’s funny. I’ve listened to it a couple of times before but this was the first time I remember hearing the quote.   Maybe it caught my attention because of circumstances.  I tried to keep listening, but the quote kept turning in my head, so I turned it off and put on some music.

DSC_1782We’ve had so much rain lately that the weeds have taken over.  So it was past time to get out and clean them up.  They were easy to pull, as the ground is soft and the weeds were pretty big. Some of it was small and kind of reminded me of ground cover. It was more delicate and harder to pull out.  It was such a pain!  I had half a mind to let it stay, but I knew no matter what they looked like, they were still weeds.  As green as they were, I knew that it would take over and that wouldn’t be good.  Plus, it would have gotten me into huge trouble! My son worked one spring to get the area all dug out and the mulch put down, so I want to honor the work he did by keeping it cleaned out and looking good.

I think of how upset he would be if I just let it all go to the weeds.  It took him time, sweat and a lot of hard work to get it all completed.  Like the quote, he had built something that took effort, and as I looked at the mulch, I saw how easy it could be ruined.

It’s a lot like life.  Even things that are developed, worked on and cultivated can be ruined when we leave the habits, activities or even people that shouldn’t be there.

God help me to keep the weeds pulled!

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