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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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hope

More than hope….

So I have these blocks with letters.  Every year at Christmastime I take them out and spell words with them.  I feel like I am missing some letters, because I can only spell two words every year?  So my choice is limited, but every few years these letters speak to me.  (No….not audibly…just metaphorically)  

A couple of years ago I started using them to spell JOY, and it really was a reflection of what God was talking to me about in that season.  Typically the other word I spell is LOVE since that is a favorite of mine, but this year was different.  What jumped out at me immediately was HOPE!

When I sat the letters on my hearth, I knew it was meant to be.  HOPE is a word is that brings its own energy.  There’s power, action and new beginnings imbued in that one word.   And right now, a lot of us can use some of that in our lives, me included.  It was on Saturday, and I was just getting my Christmas decorations out.  I am so behind this year, but that seems to be the way with everything in 2020.  Just off a bit…. or even off a lot!  I just don’t feel like I can catch up!  It didn’t take long though to get wrapped up in what I was doing.  Enjoying the memories that the decorations evoked.  So many good times!  There were also a few items that reminded me of harder days.  Even with those memories, I could remember how God brought us through the difficulties.  

And that is really where my HOPE lies….. 

“Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the showdown of death, and to guide us to the path of peace”

Luke 1:78 & 79

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!  

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?

 

 

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.  

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!

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