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Encouragement for Women Fight the Good Fight Run Your Race Seasons

I Have a Friend

I know it’s only October but it was 41 degrees this morning

Happy Wednesday! Here we are middle of the week. How was yesterday? If you read Tuesday’s post you know I confessed that I was having a tough day mentally. I texted a friend this asking her to pray for me, “Prayer request for me today. I’m struggling today with just tons of negative thoughts & don’t want to stay there. Got to let go and let God.” I sent that text a little before noon and then drove to Carlsbad to run some errands. As soon as I got in the car I was alone with my thoughts again. I immediately thought who can I call to talk this through or pray this away or just get out of my own head. My mind went through the list of people that would be available to talk at that time when all of a sudden the thought occurred to me, “I should just look to God. I should cry to Him, listen to worship songs and give Him this moment. Focus on Jesus.” So that’s what I did. I just turned on a radio station, I think it was 92.1 and songs were playing that had me just thanking God for that moment. I was thanking Him for the fact that I have a friend in Jesus. It’s not that we don’t need people around us, but sometimes the very best thing to do with our heavy hearts is to worship God and thank Him for the very fact that we are never ever alone. He is with us every second of every day. He loves us.

After a long day I told Mario about my afternoon car worship session with the Lord. I told him I was going to write a blog post about it today and title it, “Don’t Call A Friend, Call God!” He suggested another title, the one I ended up using because it is the lyrics to one of our favorite songs by Chandler Moore called He Understands https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3N97fDmYKrE

The last part of my day was participating in a Womens Bible Study where I was reminded that we are to yield to the separation that God has us in right now. If this season feels like loss to you in any way…loss of the known, the comfort, the friendships, the identity, the job, the place, then this post is for you. We have a Friend, and He understands. Lean in today. Don’t give in to pressure to reach out to the “known comforts/habits” that usually give you the out you want. Lean into the uncomfortable new place where God has you. God knows. He knows how hard it is. He is near and holding you close. This is growth, friend. Let go of the control and lean into His strength.

Leaning in,

Sonia

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Encouragement for Women Fight the Good Fight Run Your Race Seasons

It’s Tuesday

Happy Tuesday! I am writing the last paper for my Apologetics class today so this will be a short post, aren’t you glad 🙂 The assigned topic for the paper is to create a case for a friend who does not faith in Jesus and does not believe in miracles or the resurrection. The prompt includes some tips such as not using Bible quotes (because my intended audience does not believe in the Bible) so only use quotes from it when it helps with the argument for the historicity off the resurrection. I am going to put a plug in for prayer for me on this one. I have to cite at least five scholarly sources other than our class text. I am glad to do it but the research always takes the most time.

How are you doing this Tuesday, dear reader friend? I am struggling a bit mentally as I get through the first part of the day, some of it hormones – some of it the effects of a recent bout with insomnia – all of it, just being stuck in my own head (bordering on “obsessive introspection” as I recently learned about in Priscilla Shirer’s Elijah Bible Study called “Faith and Fire”). I hope you’re leaning into the truth about you and your purpose because that’s what I need to do right now so I will share these truths:

  1. You and I are created in the image of God. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yV0pu60Uqs
  2. He is faithful to complete the work He has started in us. It’s not dependent on us. He is faithful even when we are faithless. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nb9FMg8GFoc
  3. Look up, Child. We can focus on Jesus. He is our Friend. We are His. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N90b4O3B-kY
  4. No matter what, He is good and His mercy endures forever. Praise Him! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5KiQDoWo5t

I hope you listen to these songs and praise the God who is in control of everything. I hope we can be vessels for His goodness today no matter what is thrown at us. We have an assignment today and that is to know God’s love and to make His love known. Don’t believe the hype. Believe God.

Believing with you,

Sonia

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Uncategorized

Becoming More Acquainted

Each day I get more acquainted with my God and, unfortunately & fortunately, more acquainted with myself and my shortcomings which is why this Monday October 11 blog post is about GRACE.

I am intrigued with famous last words. Winston Churchill stated, “I’m bored with it all.” Humphrey Bogart said, “I should have never switched from Scotch to martinis.”

In looking at the Bible and the last written words from Paul in 2 Timothy he states, “The Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Grace be with you. Amen.” 2 Timothy 4:22

The last verse of the Bible: Revelation 22:21, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.”

So, this theme of grace has been floating around me, filling my mind, convicting me, encouraging me, bringing to my mind answers and questions. So how do we do this, the grace filled life? In the middle of a flipped upside down and inside out world, estranged relationships, political chaos, frightening world events…how do we do this?

I heard this in church a few years back, “The amount of grace you give is in direct proportion to the amount of grace you allow yourself to receive from God.” There’s a clue to the equation! We have to recognize our need – our desperate, constant need for grace. If we don’t see that part, the part where we need His grace all the time, then we won’t give it. We can’t give out what we don’t possess. We end up in a graceless existence, harsh and cold, unforgiving and unloving.

As I am typing I am reminded of this verse: “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: for men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” 2 Timothy 3:1-5

Heavy, heavy, heavy truth. That verse is eye-opening! We need grace! I wish I could have a megaphone in my car and ride around shouting that we need the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ every minute, every day! I get it wrong so many times. I need His grace! But I don’t need a megaphone. You don’t need a megaphone. We just need to live it out, humbly recognizing our need for grace and then taking those opportunities to give grace.

Maybe sometimes grace looks like letting go of the shame and allowing God’s forgiveness to set you right. Maybe it looks like letting someone off the hook and softening towards them. Maybe it looks like letting go of the unrealistic expectations and loosening your control. Maybe it looks like forgiving someone else’s wrongdoing against you and letting God sort out the rest. Maybe it looks like saying sorry first. Maybe it looks like letting them say sorry to you.

Maybe it looks like an honest inventory of your life to see where you’ve been living in light of His grace. That’s how it looks for me right now. Honest inventory. And if God has me looking at what the last verse of the Bible says, then I’d better take note, sit up, listen and get to stepping in that direction.

So each day I get more acquainted with my God and thankfully more acquainted with my flesh and in turn, more acquainted with HIS GRACE. Humbling equation but life-saving, life-giving equation.

The only way to live this equation out is to have a relationship with Jesus Christ. If you have never put your faith in the Lord, let today be the day: click here to pray

I have to wrap this up now and log in for school. Please forgive me for my long winded blog post today. I haven’t written anything other than school papers for a while and obviously I am rusty and wordy. Thank you for your grace. May we live and move and breathe in His grace. May we be ambassadors of His grace today.

With all my heart,

Sonia

P.S. This song is for you, Mario. Thank you for sharing it with me. I love you!

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America Fight the Good Fight Puerto Rico

Happy Birthday, Dad!

My dad, Samuel Morales

My dad was born and raised in Puerto Rico 🇵🇷 I have to put the flag here (you know how proud Puerto Ricans are of the flag!). He signed up for the Marine Corps during the Vietnam War and did two tours in Vietnam. He was in the Marine Corps for twenty years and retired as a Gunnery sergeant (GySgt). I was born on a military base in Twentynine Palms, CA, the oldest of three girls, and we lived on a few military bases while I was growing up.

My dad has been retired from his second career, his second career also in protecting the community. That’s what I know to be true about my dad, serving and protecting his family, community and country.

My dad went through boot camp only speaking Spanish. He was not bilingual then but successfully completed bootcamp and was a US Marine through and through.

I wanted to write this post to let you in a little bit to see a family man, a hero in so many ways, front and center.

He and my mom (who was born and raised in Uruapan, Michoacán in Mexico 🇲🇽 -there’s another flag for you because I have to represent both!) met in Oceanside while my dad was stationed at Camp Pendleton & the rest is history.

There’s lots of life that happened between then and now, but I have to tell you that as a daughter, I am so proud. So proud of all the things my dad has accomplished in his life and instilling a love for this country 🇺🇸 (and that’s another flag we love in our home) and sacrifice, service and the freedom he fought for.

I spoke with my Dad on Friday night, and we did some online shopping for some new baseball caps for him as birthday gifts. The ones he chose said “USMC Vietnam Veteran” and they had to be camo, of course!

So to my dad, this proud daughter says, “Happy birthday, Dad! Thank you for loving all of us and giving us a life we could be proud of! 🙌🏽🇵🇷🇲🇽🇺🇸 God bless you, Dad!“

With all my heart, Sonia

Categories
Encouragement for Women Fight the Good Fight Seasons

Go and Sin No More

I’m up at 1:20am unable to sleep and this theme keeps rolling around in my head. Since I can’t sleep I came downstairs to write so here we go.

The title of this blog may bring to mind the story of the woman caught in the act of adultery in John chapter 8 or maybe even the woman at the well in John chapter 4.

I was saved on July 30, 2009. I was 35 years old and had lived all my life searching and running and running and searching. I said the sinners prayer around a dinner table that amazing day in 2009, and my life was changed forever in that instant.

I had what some would call a “radical conversion moment” where one minute my life was going the wrong way and the next it was not. What I have found these last 12 years of my Christian life is that everyone’s story is unique. Some people have that “a-ha” moment like I did and for others it is more like a long, slow simmer into their faith life. Either way it is powerful, real, personal and miraculous.

I’ve often wondered about a few women in the Bible, and what their lives looked like after they began to live as Christians. The Bible doesn’t mention the failures and slip ups of either the woman at the well (John 4) nor the woman caught in the act of adultery (John 8) after their moment of coming to faith in Jesus, but you’ve got to know that they weren’t perfect from the get go. They probably struggled with old tendencies, and…NEWSFLASH! They probably did sin even after their miraculous encounters with the Messiah Himself! Oh, but His grace covers!

These were women with extremely broken pasts: the woman at the well who’d had five husbands and then the woman caught in the act of adultery. Let me say that again for the people in the back: a woman who’d had five husbands and another woman caught in the act of adultery. Safe to say, they had issues with men, and they probably had a laundry list of lots of other issues as well. I can relate. Let me let you in on a little secret (or maybe not so little of a secret). I was the woman at the well. Let me also confess that some things in my life changed miraculously on that wonderful July day in 2009, and others… well…let’s just say I am a work in progress and thankful for the Lord’s grace and truth in my life. Oh, but His grace covers!

That’s the thing about God that’s so perfect! He is gracious, and He is truthful. Only He can understand the whole truth and nothing but the truth. The trap for us onlookers sometimes is to think that because someone is saved they need to do A, B and C in a timeline that we perceive to be acceptable to the Lord. We become judge and jury without really knowing the heart of God.

I think the reason this theme, this warning is coming to mind is that we are at a critical time in life when we need to come together as the body of Christ and truly be about our Father’s business. He did not call us to police the lives of other Christians and think ourselves superior. He called us to live lives of love in Him and in service to others. The moment you and I become critical and frustrated with others’ lives not looking as holy as we think ours is, we have stepped outside of being of service to others and have entered the futile realm of merely being a spectator. The Bible has something to say about that. I just looked this passage up in The Message:

A Simple Guide for Behavior

Matthew 1-5 “Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults—unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.

At this time there are men, women and children in Afghanistan who profess Christ who are not concerned about how someone else’s faith life looks, of this we can be sure. Their reality is a life and death one. We can be certain their focus is the Lord and not the speck in someone else’s eye – the smudge on their neighbor’s face. This should be a sobering thought, a wake up call that we need to get serious and stop sweating the small stuff or we are going to miss the very thing God wants our attention on. We need to deal with the ugly sneer on our own face and pray. Like the verse above says..”that we might be fit to offer a washcloth to our neighbor.”

Thank you for reading this early morning post. It’s a heavy one for sure, but one I think we all need. It’s time. Time to be humble. Time to be prayerful. Time to grow. Time to change. Time to stop judging. Time to come together. Time to love. Time to be about our Father’s business.

With all my heart,

Sonia

P.S. If you have been judged, pushed out, demeaned, bullied, left out, ridiculed, misunderstood and even if you’re the judge and jury…this song is for you and for me:

Categories
Fight the Good Fight Run Your Race Seasons

To my enemies

I have been studying a ton as I am in the third week of my classes and am reading about family, marriages and relationships. Good thing because there are lots of real life situations that I can draw from. One of the most incredible truths I have been reading about this week is how we are all designed in God’s image. Let that sink in, “Mario, made in the image of God. “Sonia, made in the image of God.” “Gabbie, made in the image of God.” “Alex, made in the image of God.” And so on and so forth. Even this, “My enemy, made in the image of God.” Oof.

Maybe this isn’t a new concept for you. Maybe you just know that people are made in the image of God. I’ve read this and thought I “knew” it, but something has changed. I don’t know if it is just that this is my birthday week, or my hormones are behaving or if this is just God’s birthday lesson highlighted for me by letting me sit higher on His lap as He takes the wheel so I can see better.

A little something about me (and maybe all of us): my vision and perspective at times has me seeing everything and everyone out of a lens of hurt, trauma, triggers, bitterness, fear…basically the potpourri that makes up PRIDE. So not pretty, let me tell you! Like I said, God has given me a greater view, a higher perspective if you will, and the perspective is this: not only am I created in His image, but everyone I lay eyes on is as well. I’m telling you, it is overwhelming, this feeling of a beautiful crushing of how precious people are. It has softened me, ruined me and made me realize how hard hearted I can be when I feel I have the right to be.

I feel like my birthday gift from God this year is this softening of my heart – not the chiseling or pummeling that I am used to, but a tender melting of the walls I had around my heart. I am seeing His creation, His salvation, His power, His plan, His beauty in other people like never before. Even the bad stuff looks like good stuff right now. I am rooting for us all to see each other with the eyes of the Lord. Jesus showed us the way (Matthew 5:44) and gave us the power (Romans 15:13).

To my precious loved ones, you are made in the image of God.

To my enemies – known and unknown, you are made in the image of God.

I pray we can all live in that truth.

If you need some reminding today, turn this up. This is dedicated to you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yV0pu60Uqs

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Encouragement for Women Fight the Good Fight Uncategorized

Don’t Take the Bait

I’m back in school, and this is my second week of the term so my blog writing is taking somewhat of a backseat, but I was up this morning at 4:30am knowing I had to put this right here. I am in two classes this summer – one of them being Theology 330 – Theology of the Family and this introduction is from one of the textbooks:

Your family lives in a war zone. With every exploding shell, the house shakes. Your physical body may never feel the shell shocks, and the plaster on your walls may remain intact—but the impacts are present all around you. Long after your children fall asleep and the chaos of the day fades into the quietness of evening, the shelling continues.

To be sure, when you look out your window and survey a suburban backyard, a busy city block, or the rolling hills of a rural landscape, what you see probably doesn’t look like a war zone. But don’t let such serene scenery fool you! Beyond the doors of your household and mine, a battle rages. The battle is about glory, and who will receive it. The battle is about authority, and who will exercise it. [Randy Stinson (2015). (p. 29). Trained in the Fear of God: Family Ministry in Theological, Historical, and Practical Perspective. Kregel Publications. Retrieved from https://app.wordsearchbible.lifeway.com%5D

I forget this so often, that we are in a daily spiritual battle. With that forgetfulness (or loss of focus) comes the reality that I lose sight of the fact that there is an enemy of my soul and yours that knows our tendencies and triggers and will exploit them in an attempt to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10a). Sometimes the attack is full on and you know that you are under attack. Sometimes it’s a million little irritations – you feel like it’s a constant drip of a faucet, and you don’t even realize, that this too, is an attack – a subtle one, for sure, but an attack just the same. Can I just say this to you and me this morning…? DON’T TAKE THE BAIT! Wait. Stop. Breathe. Pause. Think. Give it some time. If you’re like me, this is super hard but it is possible if we know that this is what the enemy wants us to do…to take the bait, hook – line – and sinker.

In the last 24 hours I have had several points of engagement where I could just respond a certain way but 75-80% of the time I just waited through it, and what a difference! Mario helped me too in one particular occasion, reminding me to “just wait – give it time”. My friends, that is one of our greatest assets in winning these big and little battles in our lives…WAITING! Waiting for God to bring to reality what is really going on. Waiting for your emotions to subside and rational thought to take over. Waiting for the Holy Spirit to give you the right words and heart. Waiting, waiting, waiting and WINNING!

I guess that’s today’s theme: Don’t take the bait – wait and win! This is why God got me up early this morning to remind me that we don’t have to take the bait anymore because we are not slaves to fear and sin any longer. Like the song below says, “I’m no longer a slave to fear. I am a child of God.” That’s all I’ve got today. May we be those who live out the second part of John 10:10 and live that abundant life God has laid out before us.

Ok, one last thing…here’s this special song from Zach Williams Live from Harding Prison Album, “No Longer Slaves” please watch and listen to this (all the songs and interviews are amazing!!):

With all my heart,

Sonia

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Encouragement for Women Run Your Race Uncategorized

Dream Horse Movie

Ok Wednesday, we see you! Good morning! Here is a short post to encourage you to watch the movie, “Dream Horse.” It is rich with beautiful truths and the best part is – it’s a true story.

I haven’t checked Rotten Tomatoes or any other reviews of this movie, but I don’t care. Okay, I admit I just did and look! Yay, they got it right!!

89% TOMATOMETER and 97% AUDIENCE SCORE

I love all the character stories in this movie, but the main character, Jan Vokes, truly inspires me – especially at this point in my life. I will turn 47 in less than a month and have had some big changes this year and have even more big decisions ahead of me so this movie gave me a glimpse at what living out your dream looks like. I needed to see this now.

It is easy to choose the comfortable, familiar and predictable. People would probably look on and say that is reasonable and understandable, but when I started my walk as a Christian I didn’t sign up for safe or predictable. I said yes to life, the life that He created me to live so I have to be brave and wise in my choices, uncomfortable in the unknown and patient in the process. I don’t want this year to just pass me by. I want to live it to the fullest letting God take my hand – pointing to sunrises, broken paths, sunsets, rainbows, valleys, scary roads, and butterflies all along the way. My life is supposed to wave His banner of miracles and so is yours. Our stories are to point to Him, to impossible possibles, so my prayer today is to live that dream because it is a reality. He made it so.

Please listen to this song called Jireh that says we are already loved, we are already chosen. Like the movie says, “Be brave. Be brilliant. You were born for this.”

With all my heart,

Sonia

Categories
Encouragement for Women Fight the Good Fight Run Your Race Seasons

P.M.S., Perimenopause & Pink Bubblegum Ice Cream

How was your Monday? Mine was rough, physically. I am going through what is called “perimenopause.” Doesn’t that sound fun? The word pause in there should imply something of a restful state but alas, that is the furthest from my experience thus far. Here’s some more information on that https://www.health.harvard.edu/womens-health/perimenopause-rocky-road-to-menopause

So yesterday was one of those days, call it P.M.S. or call it perimenopause, but I will call it no self-control, no energy, not cute and so not okay! I got through work and thankfully we are still working remote because if I had to be seen in public with the outfit I had on yesterday, I would have become a whole other kind of prayer request for anyone who knows me!

Right after work I put heating pads all over my midsection and laid on the couch hoping these cramps would be beat back by the Thermacare heat wraps, I sipped on a glass of wine (did not drink it all, and it did not help anyway!), and I broke down and ordered Baskin Robbins Doordash delivery of Pink Bubblegum Ice Cream, my favorite since I was eight years old. That’s worked in the past, the ice cream trick, some kind of self soothing with the pretty pink frozen delight, but this time it did not and I ended up throwing most of it away!! I took one bite of the ice cream and could feel my teeth screaming at the sugar and my stomach going into panic over this rush of confection it hadn’t seen in a while.

The problem….I have been eating pretty clean for about a month now and my body has been healing up from all the junk I used to eat, and I had been feeling pretty good. I recognized right away the yucky side effects of eating like this. The ice cream that I used to think “helped me” had revealed itself to be nothing more than an eight year old’s fantasy of all things good and fun.

The solution…don’t freaking fall for it next time, Sonia! Seriously though. I know all this, and I still caved. I felt so bad I was willing to try anything (well almost anything), but still. I KNOW BETTER and I STILL WENT FOR IT! I know, that’s life sometimes, but I put this out there as a reminder to not reach back to those things that used to bring us comfort.

I know that if I had just waited it out and fallen asleep I would have been just fine. Maybe I would even feel a little better than I do right now, but sometimes I learn the hard way that the old way of doing things no longer applies. I reach for the familiar, the old tricks, the known stuff to make things okay, but I am thankful that God doesn’t let me go down that road.

He got my attention using the physical and the natural to give me a little nudge in the right direction to keep me off the old path. This is a new path that I am on with Him. The old things no longer apply. Maybe that’s the same for you and if so, I would encourage some summer reading, maybe even a book like the one I just started called, “Girls With Swords” by Lisa Bevere. I just started it this past weekend and on page 12 under a heading that says, “Old Tactics” is this:

Now is not the time to draw back in fear. It is a time when we must rise up and flourish in love. When I became a Christian, I learned that God actually had a plan for my life. It wasn’t merely that I had a new destination in the afterlife. I learned my life mattered now. I had been purchased at great expense, and my life was no longer mine to squander. God wanted me to become all He had created me to be.

Well, I will sign off here for today and ask that we pray for one another that we purpose to do things the new way and live in all He has created us to be. We are not normal ordinary women. We are God’s daughters. Have a blessed Tuesday, lovelies!

With all my heart,

Sonia

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Fight the Good Fight Run Your Race Seasons Uncategorized

We Have a Friend, He Understands

Good morning, happy Monday! I hope you had a beautiful Father’s Day weekend, but if you didn’t and even if you did I am dedicating this blog post to you.

Put on your headphones or AirPods or just turn up the volume on your device and listen to this song that starts off with, “I have a friend, he understands…” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3N97fDmYKrE

Gabbie introduced Mario and me to Chandler Moore’s music and seriously, this singer is anointed! You can listen to Jireh and/or Lean On You for a few more examples. Amazing!

Mario had to work in Irvine all weekend. I tagged along so we could weave in some date time as well and during the drive up & back we usually show each other songs we’ve been listening to so I put on Lean on You and then He Understands came on right after. When Mario heard the first line, “I have a friend. He understands,” he looked stunned and said, “Now there’s a perfect description.” We proceeded to listen to the song without speaking as tears ran down our faces.

Later I asked Mario why this song hit him this way and this was his reply, “It doesn’t matter how much you try to explain to someone what you feel – what you are going through, only Jesus truly understands all of it.” There’s so much truth there! Even though Mario and I share so much of our thoughts and feeling with each other, only Jesus truly understands and that is the most comforting, heart encouraging, heartbreaking. liberating truth that we don’t have to walk around this week misunderstood. He understands. He really does. So let’s not try so hard to get others to understand us. Let’s free themselves up and ourselves up from figuring it all out.

Know this, beautiful person reading this right now, your heart is already tended to because He understands and will never leave you alone in your pain. We are so loved right here and there’s nothing we can do about it. Two truths to hang onto this week: 1) we are loved and 2) He understands.

Well that’s all I’ve got for today! Now that you’ve heard Chandler’s song He Understands, here is Lean On You to end out this blog and kick off this week: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-pwPyUZmUM

With all my heart,

Sonia