Surrendering all

The month of January. It felt like i’ve been to hell and back. Tormenting thoughts day and night till i could take it no more. No more hope, no more joy, no more life. Regrets, worries, fears, pain and sorrow all at once. Words cannot describe the pain. It was a pain that caught up with me from years past. I knew that if i will go on like that i will eventually die. My heart was racing as if in one moment it would explode in my chest. My mind was bombarded with negative thoughts. Lies and accusations against God, asking tough questions: “where were You when this happened?””if you are so good then why didn’t you stop that person from hurting me?” “If you love me so much then why am i hurting?” “How can i trust you with my future if i was hurt in the past?” “God, it seems like i am living someone else’s life. Is this what You call love?” “I don’t understand a thing about how to live this life”. 

And the pain was screaming louder and louder each day “He is not good. He doesn’t love you. He’s cruel. You can’t trust Him”. 

There was one point i could literally hear dozens of voices accusing God and myself. I would put my head on the pillow at night only to hear them louder and louder. You know, it would’ve been easy to shut these voices and say “God is good” if i was successful and had an easy life.  “Of course God is good. Just look at my life and how blessed i am.” This would’ve been my easy answer. (I am blessed btw). But my experience said something else. My painful experiences were screaming at me “Just curse God and die, His goodness is just a figment of your imagination. Everything is a big scam!”

 And this tormenting cycle would go on and on day and night. Couldn’t eat. Couldn’t sleep. I was like a walking zombie devoid of life. My hair was falling out from the stress. My hands and legs would get numb because of lack of sleep. Words cannot describe the hell i experienced. There were moments i even wondered if this is the end of my life, and sometimes i wished i would die because i couldn’t take it anymore. 

Then one night at 3 AM as i lay in bed agonizing i began feeling really sick. I knew if i was to continue like this I had to either call the ambulance or end up dieing. I was on a slippery slope. It was a crossroads for me. And i had met some people who never recovered after going through something like this. I knew this was the moment when i either choose life or i choose death. I tried dealing with this on my own. Prayed, worshipped, declared Scripture, you name it. I did it all. I realized i can’t fight this on my own and i need my spiritual family to stand by me. So i woke up my room mate to pray for me. She did and somehow i managed to sleep a few hours. I woke up feeling the same. Very sick. I decided in my heart that no matter what i’ve been through, no matter what may come in life, if i want to live i have to rise up and accept the life i’ve been given. Good or bad, painful or not, it’s my life and i am going to live it. No more fears, no more regrets, no more worries. I decided in that moment that no matter how much it hurts, my default line is: “God, you are good and that’s the end of it. I will NOT question Your love for me. The CROSS IS ENOUGH EVIDENCE and that settles it”. I got out of bed, went into the bathroom, i looked at myself in the mirror and shouted “Rise up! Rise up! Rise up Cristina!!!” I took a good look at myself then told myself: “Whatever this is, i am waging war!!! If i doubted so much His goodness i will dare to believe for even more than before, and if He doesn’t turn out to be as good, at least i tried. Nothing can be worse than this.”  Then i went back into my room, knelt before God and said “You are good. I can’t feel it. I can’t see it but i choose to believe it.”  Then i turned to the enemy and screamed at the top of my lungs “Get away from me Satan!!! You will never have me!!! I belong to Jesus and that’s it!!! Get away from me!!!” 

After this i literally felt the fear, anxiety and panic go away. It was like a heavy blanked that lifted. And peace rested on my heart on my mind and on my body. I felt like Heaven kissed Earth in that moment. It was a peace that passed all my understanding that was waging war against me. The voices became more distant until silence settled in. The questions had no power anymore. Nothing mattered anymore but His presence. 

Something shifted in my heart during that war. Something changed that will never be the same. 

I am free.

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7

“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and a sound mind. ” 2 Timothy 1:7

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Jesus, lover of my soul

  

 

Jesus, lover of my soul,

Let me to Thy bosom fly,

While the nearer waters roll,

While the tempest still is high.

Hide me, O my Savior, hide,

Till the storm of life is past;

Safe into the haven guide;

Oh, receive my soul at last.

Other refuge have I none,

Hangs my helpless soul on Thee;

Leave, ah! leave me not alone,

Still support and comfort me.

All my trust on Thee is stayed,

All my help from Thee I bring;

Cover my defenseless head

With the shadow of Thy wing.

Wilt Thou not regard my call?

Wilt Thou not accept my prayer?

Lo! I sink, I faint, I fall—

Lo! on Thee I cast my care.

Reach me out Thy gracious hand!

While I of Thy strength receive,

Hoping against hope I stand,

Dying, and behold, I live.

Thou, O Christ, art all I want,

More than all in Thee I find;

Raise the fallen, cheer the faint,

Heal the sick, and lead the blind.

Just and holy is Thy Name,

Source of all true righteousness;

Thou art evermore the same,

Thou art full of truth and grace.

Plenteous grace with Thee is found,

Grace to cover all my sin;

Let the healing streams abound;

Make and keep me pure within.

Thou of life the fountain art,

Freely let me take of Thee;

Spring Thou up within my heart;

Rise to all eternity.

A warriors heart

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One thing that characterizes a Christian is a warriors heart. Underneath the smiling face there’s a heart that was wounded again and again but refused to let pain stop him from loving.

When he is tired he still gets up to serve,

when he is discouraged he encourages himself in the Lord,

when he is persecuted he chooses to bless and love his enemies,

when there’s a storm all around, his heart is calm,

when everyone says it can’t be done, he walks by faith and obedience to His Lord who says “I can!”,

when there is no hope, he remembers that God is faithful.

He is a victor. He is a deliverer. He is a lover. He is a gentle warrior.

Fighting for the cause of LOVE.

And that’s what makes him successful.

My 2 expensive cents

What i am about to say has been burning in my heart for quite a while and today as i was walking home from church and after having coffee with a good friend, i decided it’s time to let it all out. Don’t worry, i am not going to rant. But i do want to share my 2 expensive cents. They are expensive because what i am about to say are lessons that were costly to me.

The Lord has given me the grace to meet many girls and connect with them at the heart level. One thing that has come up again and again is that these girls were heartbroken because the guy they were in love with chose someone else over them. They were feeling worthless and were saying things like “I don’t understand why he chose her and not me. Why couldn’t he love me? Was I not good enough? Wasn’t i beautiful enough? But the Lord spoke that he is going to be my husband” so on and so on. I could see the pain in their eyes as they were asking questions of why and why and why. All i could do is say “I know exactly how you feel” as i remembered my own struggles and tears i’ve shed over this issue.

If you went through this, i feel your heart. I remember the mental torment i was experiencing because i didn’t understand what was going on. It makes me angry that we don’t know our identity in Christ as we should and we let ourselves be walked all over by the enemy. It took me a long time to understand some things and grow up from my naive thinking, but once i knew the truth, it slowly started to set me free. And this is what i desire for you!

I want to encourage you by what i’ve learned and hopefully this will lift you up, open your eyes and thrust you into a new beginning!

  1. If the guy you are so in love with has chosen someone else, let him go. Let him choose and do whatever he wants. Why? Because he will do it anyway. You cannot control him, and indeed true love is giving freedom of choice to the other person. Don’t stay in the trap of your own emotions, desires and fantasies. Be free! You are worth it and anyone who doesn’t fight for you is not worthy of you! Period. Just like he chose that “other girl”, there will be someone to choose YOU! Just wait it out.
  2. “If love is not proven, it is not there” The Lord spoke this to me as i was praying about someone i had liked but noticed he wasn’t taking any steps towards me. You can have all the feelings, even all the prophetic words about someone (yes, you heard me!!!), if he hasn’t said anything then it’s nothing. If a guy likes you he will say something. And if he doesn’t have the courage to do that, then probably it’s better that he doesn’t. Why? Because you want a MAN and not a boy. Anyone who has been in love or liked someone knows that when you have feelings for someone, you are bold and courageous. I’ve seen even the shiest person step out, because their fear of losing the one they loved was greater than the fear of being rejected by them. So, if he hasn’t said anything, then it’s nothing. Faith without deeds is dead. Love is an action and if he hasn’t acted it’s better if you go on with your life. Love cannot be contained and it will eventually spill out. You want a husband that’s Christ’s image in your life. He gave up everything to come and pay the ultimate price of love: His own life. This is how much you are worth! There are so many love stories where the guy traveled to the ends of the Earth just to see his beloved’s face. Wow! This is love and this is for you and me! We were created to be abandoned lovers who do crazy things for love. As girls, our love should be a response to our beloveds proven love.
  3. You are not of the world to think like the world. There is a Mighty Creator who breathes galaxies into existence, who loves you tremendously and He has a plan for your life. Your happiness doesn’t depend on a man’s choice but on God. If God chooses you, that’s all you need. David when he wrote Psalm 23 he said “You anoint my head with oil”. This is so profound because Saul was chasing him down to kill him, but he knew that if God promised him something, then He will do it, even if his enemy is the most powerful person in Israel. God is in charge of your life and not a man! Stop giving him that kind of power!!! Rest in God’s perfect love and faithfulness. If He said it, He will do it. He set apart someone special just for you!
  4. This leads me to the next thing. If the guy hasn’t chosen you it’s because he wasn’t the one. It’s very simple. We like to over complicate things but in fact things are very simple. Don’t condemn yourself for someone else’s choice. You tell yourself “I should’ve done this, maybe then he would’ve liked me, or maybe i shouldn’t have done this, etc”
    Stop it! Stop these tormenting thoughts! Set your mind on things above!!! What’s yours is kept safely for you in God’s hands. If He is able to keep the planets and stars in motion, then He can surely keep what you’ve entrusted to Him. Choose to trust Him even if you don’t understand! He is in control of your life! And your future husband’s, and everyone else’s that belong to Him.
  5. Don’t listen to the lie that you weren’t beautiful or good enough. I remember sitting across the table with a friend in a coffee shop as she was telling me the heartaches she was going through, and as i was looking at her i kept thinking “Wow, she is SO BEAUTIFUL! And she doesn’t even know it!” There’s a passage in Song of Songs 2:2 where King Solomon says the following to his beloved
    “As a lily among brambles, so is my love among the young women.”
    This is the way your future husband should look at you! He should see you as the most beautiful woman on this planet!
  6. In my last point i am going to be very tough. If he is married and you still have feelings for him you need to stop them right away. Be fierce, be violent! Take him out of your mind completely. Stop thinking about him and stop talking about it, to the Lord or anyone else. David fasted and prayed that the Lord would have mercy on his dieing son, hoping that somehow God would heal him, but the moment he died, he rose, washed his face and asked for food to eat. He knew it was over and that there’s nothing else to do. Do the same. Get up and get over him!!!

YOU ARE PRECIOUS, BEAUTIFUL AND WORTH IT! Wipe the tears off your face, put on a cute outfit and call your girlfriends, go out and do something fun together! God is for you, He loves you and He wants THE BEST for you!

“Awake, awake,
    put on your strength, O Zion;
put on your beautiful garments,
    O Jerusalem, the holy city;
for there shall no more come into you
    the uncircumcised and the unclean.
Shake yourself from the dust and arise;
    be seated, O Jerusalem;
loose the bonds from your neck,
    O captive daughter of Zion.” Isaiah 52:1-2

When i cannot find my way, i know Who is waiting for me…

When i cannot find my way, i know Who is waiting for me...

“Therefore I will hedge up her way with thorns,
and I will build a wall against her,
so that she cannot find her paths.
She shall pursue her lovers
but not overtake them,
and she shall seek them
but shall not find them.
Then she shall say,
‘I will go and return to my first husband,
for it was better for me then than now.’” Hosea 2:6-7

The Holy Spirit

He is called my Teacher and Helper. But to teach me what and help me how? I didn’t ask the Lord this question because i thought i don’t need an answer. Until today.

As i was talking to Jesus i came to conclude that even though i have tons of information (what i think i know) on how to have a relationship with Jesus, i actually don’t know how to have an intimate relationship with him (to love Him as He wants to be loved), because the end result of my “trying” is not more love for Jesus, just more hard work and stress to keep it up: reading the Word, praying, serving others, etc. All the while trying to do all these i knew in my heart that something is not right and that there is more. More passion, more excitement that is. I tasted it after i got saved 16 years ago, so i knew there is more. I just broke down crying, telling the Lord: “I’m so sorry Jesus that i don’t love you as you deserve to be loved. I don’t know how to anymore. Please help me love you” Don’t get me wrong, i have loved Jesus over the years and had a measure of passion for Him, sometimes stronger, sometimes not so strong, but this time i was hungry and desperate for more, not only for the moment, but to last for a lifetime. I want to wake up every day and love Jesus more than i loved Him the day before. Yes, there are ups and downs like in any relationship, but i came to the place where i don’t want to live without that passion anymore.

Then He gently spoke this verse to my heart that i read so many times over the years but never really understood it until now. ” Do not lean on your own understanding” Proverbs 3:5b. Wow!!! I was blown away!!! It was like my eyes were being open so wide and i realized that so many years i have leaned on my own understanding on how to apply truth and wisdom to my life in order to produce love in my heart for Jesus, and not leaning, trusting, working together with the Holy Spirit to teach me and help me how and when to apply truth in order to grow in my relationship with Jesus.

So many times i tried to teach myself how to have a relationship with God by taking the information from other people on how they do it and then apply it to my own life, all the while neglecting the fact that only the Holy Spirit can teach me on a personal level how to live life with Jesus. The Holy Spirit knows how and when to help me apply the truth in the labyrinth of my heart, mind and soul. It was right when God said: “Do not lean on your own understanding” because only He is the source of all knowledge, not only about God, but about myself as well. He knows me better than i know myself and i was such a fool leaning on my own understanding. I had to repent of thinking that i know better than God on how to love Jesus, just because i had the information. I was wise in my own eyes, but in reality i was so foolish!!!

Having this revelation frees me from the burden of always trying to “figure out” how to have a relationship with God. And i am determined to take the Holy Spirit’s hand through the labyrinth of God’s heart and mine and let Him unite our hearts in one. And if the Lord is indeed a consuming fire, as we become one i will be consumed with love for Him every day of my life. Do it Lord!

 

Impacting the world in one generation

I posted at one time on my Facebook about how i know in my heart that i haven’t done all the things i could do to impact the world for Jesus, and one of my former DTS collegues sent me this e-mail. I was shocked to see how much we impact the world around us even when we can’t see. Here it is:

“Think for a second about all the people that see you, or your Facebook page, or you talk with in a given year. For the average person, it’s probably thousands of people. If you are living for Jesus, and talking about Him, and reading your Bible, then a small percentage of those people will see that. If ten people see it every day, that’s 3,650 people every year. Most won’t care and wont be affected by it, maybe even 99.97%. That still leaves that .03% that see it and are changed by it. That’s a total of 1 person every year that you affect for Jesus. That one person will go on the next year and another ten people per day, 3,650 per year will see them living for Jesus.

Year 1: you affect 1 person: total 1
Year 2: you affect one more (1), and the first one (+1) affects one more (+1) for a total of 3 affected people.
Year 3: you affect one more (1), and those three (+3) affect one more each (+3) for a total of 7 affected people.
Year 4: you affect one more (1), and those twenty seven (+7) affect one more each (+7) for a total of 15 affected people.

The underlying equation that will predict the totals as the years go by is (2^x)-1, ie. year two is two squared minus one, year three is two cubed minus one, and so on.
Let’s say you live a life for Jesus for 50 years. When I put (2^50)-1 in my calculator it tells me that in 50 years, a total of 1,125,899,907,000,000 will be affected for Jesus in that time.
There are only 6,000,000,000 people on this planet. All this from one changed person per year.

Do you see the value of a life lived for Jesus? Don’t be bummed if in 50 years you only convert 50 people to Christianity. God is at work, and someday He’ll share with you the big picture.”

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