7/26/15

That Time They Tried to Expel Us From the City

After spending almost 9 years on the mission-field of Puerto Rico and 3 years processing what I have learned there, I'm ready to share some of these life-changing moments with you.

One of the many stories that may floor you, is about a pastor who tried to expel us from the city.   
Let me back up a bit.

We were asked by a church in a small mountain city, to become one of their leaders and teach them about revival. We had served as associate pastors during the revival of the early 90's & these pastors seemed genuinely hungry for a move of God, so we accepted.

We weren't children pastors, but my husband loved talking to the kids. He told them about God's power and encouraged them to pray for their unsaved parents, grandparents, etc. They did! Parents were getting rocked by God as their children prayed for them at home. In turn they'd invite their extended families to receive prayer -they were getting physically healed and turning their lives over to God. It was an exciting time! The kids were getting fired up and families were changing. 


 (Photo of my husband praying for a child in Paraguay)


Unfortunately, the pastors didn't like it.
"These kids aren't equipped and these families aren't coming to church," they griped. 
We needed to stop encouraging this behavior among untrained children and allow the adult leaders to visit the homes so they could bring them to church. 
  • Problem #1 - Thinking an institution needs to supervise what God is doing in His sovereignty and love. 
  • Problem #2 - Believing that the ways of God can be understood with the natural mind. 
We did our best to explain that this was what a true move of God looked like. Pure, untainted love, reaching out with no strings attached. We were told that to allow these things, but not disciple these people, was un-Biblical. "Make disciples of all nations," they quoted.  But what they refused to understand is that reproducing church members wasn't the same as making disciples. 

Then God started moving in our home.
Around that time our house was continuously packed with college aged kids. (I'll share some crazy stories about this in another post.) They too were getting fired up about praying for strangers, believing for healing/miracles, etc. And they were experiencing them for the first time. Our house was overflowing with hungry lives and we were having a blast! Wow! The stories we have about physical manifestation of God's glory when they visited are astounding. 

A true move of God cannot be controlled. 
The church was not happy. We were messing things up. We were causing chaos! Didn't we know that some of the youth coming to our house didn't even go to church? Didn't we know some of them drank alcohol and were sleeping around? What were we trying to do?

They were upset with us for trying to change the way their leaders prayed for people - they were pushing them down. When we explained that pushing wasn't a move of God, they became indignant! (Yet people were falling when some of the "un-trained" kids gently held someone's hand.) 

After much prayer, we decided that this church wasn't really looking for revival. They were looking for their church to grow and to control a move of God. We lovingly explained we would be leaving.

That's when they tried to expel us from the city.
We were in trouble now! 
During a city-wide (small city - not even a stoplight) pastors meeting, this pastor stood up to let everyone know that Len and Gretchen Rodriguez were witches. We were manipulating people and trying to steal everyone's church members in order to start our own church - our own cult! (By the way, we had no desire to start a church. --Nope! Not even a cult.)
While some of the other pastors grew upset, the leader of the meeting said that since we weren't there to defend ourselves, they needed to be quiet. (This leader later became one of our friends.)

We had no idea what was going on, but some of the youth found out. They rushed to our house and let us know that the leaders of this church were going to stand in the town center with picket signs saying we were witches and needed to leave the city. 

These kids were so mad! We needed to go and defend ourselves. They had formed a group and were ready to march to the pastor's home with us. They wanted to help us create our own signs and retaliate.


Our reaction shocked them!
"We're not going to defend ourselves," we said. And we gathered with this group to pray for and bless these leaders. It was a total God thing - we had no bitterness in our hearts. As a matter-of-fact, we felt badly for these people who were obviously deceived. Our hearts grieved for these leaders.

These kids had never seen anyone respond with love. They knew we had a right to be mad, but instead we taught them a valuable lesson. One they still hold dear to their hearts. It was probably one of the most single important moments we experienced on the mission-field. 
It was the day these kids saw love in action and learned what honor looked like.

The church never did storm the center with ugly signs. They grew silent.

One night the Lord gave me a dream about what was happening in this church. They had opened themselves up to deep deception. The Lord sent us there in His mercy to help them, but they refused help. Their eyes were white with blindness as they tried to lead each other. They were worshipping with their backs to the altar and were staring at blank walls. Pride was driving them, but taking them no where. (I suppose that's where I got some of the ideas for my fiction novel, Aegis.)

I woke up crying - my heart broke for them and I was able to pray with a true heart of understanding.
I ran into this pastor day after day at the grocery store. It was kind of funny! We literally ran our grocery carts into each other as we rounded the corners. I would smile at him each time, no butterflies, no anger, only real agape love. Every time he frowned, grunted, and one time he almost ran away. Let me tell you - I was amazed at my own reaction! I'm not trying to give you the impression that I'm perfect! This was truly the hand of God. 

Always watching
In closing, let me point that the "greatest" things we did on the mission-field didn't happen when we preached at churches. It was the times we showed love. It was the times we believed in people; the times they learned that God believed in them. It was the times we empowered others to step out of their limitations and become "Jesus with skin on" for others. It was when we simply realized that we were being watched - by those around us (both for and against us), and by the Lord. It was when we valued those the church system deemed as unfit for ministry. (Let me say I am not against church. I am a member of Bethel church in CA.)

What situations have you come against like this? How has it affected you? 
I'd love to read your comment below. 
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7/15/15

Making Peace with Catholicism...and Other Religions

I remember it clearly - watching a reel-to-reel movie in Sister Patricia's second grade class. Although I don't remember why the girl in the movie was crying, I do remember the affect it had on me. My heart was gripped by the fact that I wanted to know God more.

The church was close to our home and I liked to hangout there, hoping to find God. One of the priests found it so odd, he phoned my Mom to let her know I couldn't be there everyday. Guess I looked a bit like a 7 yr. old hoodlum with my pigtails and missing teeth.

In the eighteen years I grew up in Catholicism, no one ever taught me the deep spiritual truths of knowing God. All I knew was to attend mass, say my prayers, and take communion. And I did - until I visited a "non-denominational" church and felt God's presence for the first time. I was wrecked - in a good & bad way. Not only did I find what I had been looking for, I also became judgmental towards the Catholic religion. They had let me down.

Then, about ten years ago I started reading about the Catholic mystics of old with their visions and spiritual manifestations. Their passion and commitment to the Lord stirred me. Why hadn't I ever been taught this in Catholic school? I reasoned within myself that it had to be because Catholics themselves either didn't believe it, or they thought the days of mystics were long gone. Since I personally knew many people who were experiencing God's presence in very tangible ways, myself included, I again formed a judgment - Catholics must be much, much different from the way they were in the days of the mystics. They must have lost their hunger.

Very recently, I was doing research on Catholicism for one of my novels. I watched a show called, The Sisterhood, Becoming Nuns and I was blown away! This was not what I expected. These young women wanted to become nuns because of their passion for the Lord & their desire to place Him first in their lives. They spoke of encounters with the Lord, having visions, etc. It was the kind of "talk" that I was used to, but because I had never heard it as a young Catholic, I didn't think it was normal for Catholics. Sister Beth Ann, one of the "head nuns" in the show, was my favorite! The way she spoke about the Lord with such passion and zeal, blew me away. If I had met her when I was younger, I probably would have become a nun. This woman spoke my language! One of the girls, Christie, spoke of seeing Jesus and laid flat on her face in adoration. What? Since when did Catholics do that?!

Hey, they are just as passionate about God as I am.

And that's when God started speaking about the way I have wrongfully judged religion. You see, I have been a radical, Jesus loving Christian for about 27 years. My entire life is centered around loving Him. And because it wasn't the Catholics, Pentecostals, or Baptists that taught me about intimacy with Jesus, I decided they must not really understand it the way "we" do.

Then the Lord reminded me of a time we ministered in a Pentecostal church - suffice it to say that I was critical of a few things - until that service ended with a time of literal miracles. I left repenting. Good thing, huh? Yikes!

Being confronted by my own lack of love, as opposed to God's great love, was very humbling. Being focused on what I saw on the outside, kept me from seeing the heart behind it. Sure, every religion (mine included) probably has a few things that are practiced in error, but God doesn't turn His nose up at it. He loves with pure, unashamed fervor. He reminded me that the whole reason people join religions is because they're hungry to fill a spiritual void - they are hungry for God. If God doesn't turn His back when people make a mess out of the simplicity of Christianity, why was I turning mine? I'm obviously not perfect so why should I expect anyone else to be?

He even went so far as to remind me that many who practice false religions (worshiping things other than God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit), started out with a zeal for truth - a void in their spirit that unfortunately led them to someone who could only offer them what they knew.

To say my heart has changed is an understatement. I used to form opinions about people based on the way they worshipped, prayed, etc. Now I look past the actions and try to view their heart from God's perspective. I do my best to love and honor; not because they are right or wrong, but because God is looking much closer and I should too. It's not about trying to change people's minds or way of doing things - it's about loving them because God does. It's about finding out where we are alike in our passion for the Lord and allowing that to be a foundation we can agree upon.

What religion did you grow-up in? How has that influenced your relationship with God and others? I'd love to hear from you!

6/30/15

Hey God! Where'd You Go?

For many years I have started my day by spending quiet time with the Lord. Sometimes those moments are amazing and sometimes, quite frankly, they aren't. But either way, when we set ourselves to seek His face, it is always time well spent. 

As Thomas Merton said, "We should not, however, judge the value of our meditation by how we feel. A hard and apparently fruitless meditation may in fact be much more valuable than one that is easy, happy, enlightened and apparently a big success."

I remember when my friend Patricia King told me of a time when the Lord warned her that she wouldn't feel His presence for a season. He encouraged her to continue doing all of the same things she had been doing, and that He would still be there, even though she wouldn't sense Him. She said that when that happened, although it was a very difficult time, it taught her a lot. Patricia learned to go to the Lord for who He is and what she could offer Him (love, devotion, adoration, etc.). Her communication with Him wasn't in response to what she felt or what He was saying, but in response to who she already knew that He was/is.

There are so many books on how to tap into God's presence, how to worship, pray, etc., but the truth is there is no sure fire method for turning off distractions and hearing. Very often entering into a place of prayer, worship, hearing, seeing, etc., comes out of a place of tension. A tension we shouldn't despise.

Sometimes His presence greets us swiftly and profoundly and other times we feel as if we are trying to run through mud. Finding Him often comes out of this place of tension; this acknowledgement that while He invites us, we still must trust Him to know what we need. Often times he is pulling us to focus more intently, pray longer, to pull ourselves out of distraction and enter by faith even when we feel nothing. We may be struck by our inability to tap in, but this tension, this plan of God to allow us to face our humanity, grows our roots stronger. Remembering that we are utterly dependent upon God's grace, keeps us humble. It brings death to pride.

If you are walking in a season like that, and feeling frustrated with the seeming silence of God, take heart! Continue loving Him regardless of what you feel or don't. Soon, you will be enjoying the change of season, where the touch of God becomes profound again. We must never grow so accustomed to His presence that we forgot that it is also a profound honor to be there with Him, even though we are His children.

6/24/15

Just Do It!

I fell in love with dance because it gave me a way to express what I didn't know how to say.

Writing came as I matured; as I began to believe in myself and find my voice. Now I dance and write from a deeper, more fulfilling place.

Our journey of discovery with the Lord never ends.

My dance has been a number of things over the years - worship, ministry, intercession, prophecy, etc. But it has since become more profound; more authentic. I step into Him and give Him the deepest part of myself, not as concerned about what is happening around me, or who "gets it". As I dance in heaven's atmosphere, I give the Lord an opening to reach through. It's no longer about my efforts to bring heaven to earth. I simply dance in Him and allow Him to release through me. That's it. Even now, when injuries have stolen a great deal of my movement, I am more confident than ever that those movements are filled with God's breath, power, and love.

In part I have those injuries to thank for changing me. God never brings pain and sickness, but He most certainly knows how to take them and turn them for our good. Because I couldn't dance for almost a year due to a back injury, I had to look deeper into myself to find that I was more than dance. Instead of stripping away my identity, it helped me find it. I realized I truly have a voice; that I truly carry God's presence in everything I do - even in a smile. It gave me confidence to risk failure and become a fiction writer (a secret desire I had for years).

I not only believe in myself, but I believe in the One who has given me various gifts and talents. And I trust that He knows how to convey Himself through them. Fear restrains us; keeps us from running after our dreams. Overcoming fear and stepping beyond what is comfortable, propels us forward. The more we put action to our desires, the more momentum we gain. Too many of us sit idly by, living life through imagination only. It doesn't mean we will always succeed, but it does mean we won't ever have to live with the regret of, "I should have tried." As long as we've prayed and sought the Lord, sensing no red light, we can move forward with expectancy.

So, write that book, get in shape, learn something new, run after the career of your dream, travel the world! How? Set goals, reach them, then set some more! Encourage yourself, cut yourself some slack - your going after your dreams, not taking out the garbage - it is going to take determination and time. Risk making mistakes. Change habits that steal time or push you away from your dreams. If you're learning a new skill, study, practice every single day! 

I'm convinced that if we spent as much time working towards our goals and praying into them, as we do sitting around dreaming about them, our lives would be much more fulfilling! Cheers!
P.S., if you haven't seen this funny, motivational speech by Shia LaBeaouf, check it out:

5/29/15

Authentic Artistic Expression

Writing is like dancing with my fingers. In dance, my body alone conveys the deepest stirrings of my being. In writing I transfer the movements of both my heart and my body to paper.

Whether we are writers, dancers, musicians, singers, painters, sculptures, photographers, etc., each of us carry an expression of God's heart which He asks us to unveil to the world. (Obviously, there are many more ways of releasing His heart than the arts, but this is the subject for today.)

The more time I spend in God's presence, the more of Him I want to release. I  used to think that unless large numbers of people viewed my work, it was a waste of time. Now I realize it's about so much more. It is about being faithful to who we are and honoring the One who gave us these gifts. I'm reminded of the story of the talents in the Bible - even if our gift is small, we mustn't hide it. 

We are called to release what is inside of us - whether to five or to five million, isn't the issue. Whatever articulation of beauty God wants to release through us, we have to trust He will bring the people He wants to convey it to. I think sometimes in our effort to either hide our gift or to gather supporters, we forget that there is a reason we express ourselves the way we do. God wants out! He wants to present to the world that part of Himself that He has so carefully placed inside of us. It is also the reason we cannot compare ourselves to others.

As artists we sometimes feel that unless society validates us, our gift isn't special. Of course our gifts are special - they are the breath of God within us! What matters is that we remain honest, unhindered, authentic, and humble in our expression, and be faithful to give it away. 

Today I pray that you will not only be unhindered in your expression, but that you will remember Who it is that you release through it.

5/27/15

Enjoy the Journey, Reach Your Goals

Lately I've been feeling a bit torn. On one hand, I've finished my first novel, an obscure dream I hid tenderly in my heart for many years. I never thought I could do it, but I did! And I think it's pretty good. But of course every mother thinks her baby is beautiful.

I never imagined I would find a career I'd love as much as dance, but this burns deeply and I feel the breath of God on it. Learning how to write and create with Him, whether fiction or non, is fulfilling, peaceful - the Creator and His creation exploring together.

On the other hand, now that I've truly caught the writing bug, I feel dissatisfied because I don't have enough time. Like many of us, I would love to quit my job and focus on writing. I'm blessed with a great job that I can do at home, but my heart is pulled in a different direction. 

Can you relate?

When you finally decide to stop dreaming about something and run after it full-force, even if you fail, it's a big deal! But what happens once you are in full stride and you're not sure if you'll ever reach the finish line? Do you stop and figure it out, or do you keep running and pray on the go?

How often do we focus on reaching the goal and forget the beauty of the journey? The time we spend studying, growing in our craft, or praying about it, is never wasted time. The fact that we are going after what is in our heart, is exciting! Of course there are boring parts  - creating websites, writing a synopsis, searching for agents, etc., is not fun for me, but they're still important. 

What God does in us during the preparation time is one of the most important parts of the journey! We must yield to the Potter's hand as He forms and prepares us to be strong vessels. If we aren't fully formed, we will crack under the pressure of the very thing we are made for. We must trust in His timing, remembering that He knows when we're ready to be presented.

But we must do our part to stay focused; not just on our goals, but on His leading everyday. Stay close to His heart. Don't waste time. Listen and move with His Spirit. Have fun as you move closer and closer to fulfilling those dreams!

Today's post is different. But I wanted to encourage those of you who are running after your dreams and feeling a bit frustrated in the process of fulfillment. We must keep our hearts satisfied in Him, and hear His direction and wisdom, in order to walk this out. 

5/16/15

Come Alive


I am in Him. Within the King of glory, nestled safe in the burning heart of His love, alive within the deep mysteries of eternity, I am there. 

Living. 

Moving.

Coming alive.

My identity stares back at me in the reflection of His face; the internal resonating with the external. And then I remember ~ He is in me. Our life is a beautifully weaved tapestry of love. 

Yet, though the Creator of all that is seen and all that is unseen is both in me and around me, He gives me the lead. 

Never demanding what I won't willingly give.

Never pushing me to move in ways I don't want to go.

Never forcing my voice to speak words He longs to share.

Always loving.

Always compelling me to come deeper into that burning heart of passion that burns away what still looks like me. 

It is not about me. 

I am in Him.

He is in me.

This is where I live. 

I want to look more like Him. 

To live and breathe and have my being intertwined so completely with Him that there is no separation.

An effortless pas de deux. My spirit and His, moving separately, yet aware, connected, appearing as one.

I am guided by His eye.

Thrust into action by my new-found awareness of His gentle touch.

Exploding with His passion.

I am in Him.

He is in me.


3/28/15

Reigniting Your Destiny/Letting Go of the Past

Over and over again I've been hearing stories from people who are going after their dreams. Some are young and filled with a zeal for life that has met little resistance. I like hanging around young people, because it reminds me of what it is like to run after life with untamed passion.

Others who have felt the excitement of life wane over the years, have recently met with the God who awakens dormant desires. They are taking giant leaps of faith to run after their dreams once again, regardless of cost.

Living life with passion is always the right choice.

My heart has been stirred to encourage you today! Many of you have been contemplating what it would be like to take a risk and go after your dreams - some for the first time, and others with renewed hope.

Let me speak to those who believe that they are past their prime in life, and whatever goals and dreams they once had, are long gone. Stop believing the lie that life has crippled you! Life hasn't crippled you, it has prepared you for this season. It has made you stronger and left you with a limp to remind you how much we must rely on the Lord. It is time to take the untamed passion and zeal we had when we were young Believers, and unite it with the wisdom and humility we have gained. 

Running after dreams is wonderful! It is exciting! But the fulfillment of that dream is not our identity. It may be part of it, but it isn't the core of who we are. It took me years of living on the mission field to learn this lesson. For a long time I thought ministry was my identity, but it isn't. Our true identity is found when there is nothing to wrap our hands around, except for the Lord. It's one of the reasons He allows us to go through hard times ~ to find out who we really are. To realize we are okay just because we have found ourselves in Him.

It wasn't until I felt that I had nothing besides Him, and that I would be okay with staying safely tucked away in Him, that I began to soar. Intimacy is the key to understanding. What seems like
destruction in our lives, can eventually catapult us into our destiny when we remained fixed in Him during that destruction. We find beauty in our ashes. We find strength in weakness. We find faith in abandoning ourselves to Him. 

I've found satisfaction in this season of my life, not just because I've begun to step into something I secretly desired for years, but because I'm finally okay with being me. I'm happy with who I am as His child, and any mask I used to wear to appear more acceptable to my peers, has been burned away in the fire of God's passionate love for me. He loves me; and because I am secure in His love, I am able to take great leaps of faith, even if I fall, because I know my Father will pick me up and brush me off. He kisses away the pain of the past and ignites my heart to soar past man made limitations.

My desire for you today is that you too will soar! That you too will shake off the past and take that leap of faith you've been contemplating. Know that the Lord has kissed that limp and in your weakness you will find His strength to move forward. 

I'd love to hear your thoughts, and if this has spoken to you today, please share!


3/21/15

The Unveiling


Last night my husband surprised me with a beautiful feather quill pen. He told me that the Lord prompted him to give it to me, letting me know that He (the Lord) had given me the pen of the writer. When I awoke this morning, there it was, beautifully waiting on my nightstand, next to my manuscript. It reminded me of the shift that has taken place inside of me; one I had been longing for.

As I came downstairs, with my new feather pen and manuscript in hand, I realized how truly content and happy I am. It reminded me how drastically different life was only a few years ago, when I had a sense that something inside was dormant, but I didn't know what.

Having been a dancer for my entire life, I've expressed myself, most eloquently, without words. With the movement of my body I was able to convey the deepest of emotions with my entire being. It has, and will always be, a significant part of who I am and how I release my heart when words fail.

Being in ministry for most of my adult life, I've learned that ministry, most importantly, is not standing before the crowd to preach the notes I so diligently put together. It is loving, honoring, and noticing those around me who need a facet of God that I carry. The frustration I've so often felt in ministry, had to do with the fact that unless I was dancing over someone, or reading something I'd written, I struggled to convey God's heart.

When I hit my 40's, I began crying out to God for something more ~ for that part of me which I knew hadn't been awakened, to come alive. My life in Him, in His presence, had been amazing, tender, and satisfying. Yet I knew there was something more He hadn't released in me. Have you felt this way?

It wasn't until one day in Puerto Rico, that the shift began. In my spirit I saw an angel come and give me a gold feathered quill pen. There was much more to the encounter, but little did I know that from that day forward, writing would take on a whole new meaning for me.

How improbable it seemed, to find a new passion, a new way of expressing myself, in my 40's. To be completely honest, I had no idea what I was searching for. Since moving back to the states, the Lord began steadily breathing life into the area of writing. I've written my entire life, but it wasn't until His timing came, that I realized my calling. It wasn't until He chose to take the veil off of what I could so vaguely see, that I was able to give myself fully to it, and find immense contentment in it.

Now my 345 page manuscript of Aegis, my first novel, is sitting by my side. What an amazing feeling!

If there is one thing I have learned through this experience, it is that He knows me, He sees me, and He believes in me.

Perhaps you are feeling discontent with where your life is currently. Perhaps you too sense that God has more for you. If that's the case, let me assure you ~ He does have more! Regardless of age, if we will diligently seek Him for answers, for guidance, for wisdom, and for creativity, He will answer. He will breathe His life into the places that have long felt lifeless.

He knows, you, He sees you, and He believes in you!

2/28/15

How Dark Are The Dark Times? That Little Blue/Black Dress Got Me Thinking!

You know that little blue and black (white and gold for some) dress that's causing a stir all over the internet? (If you don't know about it, NO biggy!) 

Well, it really got me thinking. (And not only about how I need a new dress!)

Some people look at the photo and see blue and black and some see white and gold, even if they are looking at the same exact photo on the same exact device. It has to do with how the cones in our eyes interpret dim lighting. Anyway, I started thinking about how we see "dark" times in our life as opposed to how God sees them.

No - I do not believe God brings sickness or financial ruin. However, I do believe that most of the time we are so caught up in the darkness of very rough seasons, that we are unable to see a very bright light shining in the midst of it. That little dress all over the internet is freaking everyone out! 

How can two people look at the same photo and see two different things? 

Dark times are just like that.

Many times we realize after we have come out of a dark season, just how present God really was in the midst of it. Afterwards, we can look back and realize that it made us stronger, changed our viewpoints, brought us closer to God, etc. 

God actually shines brightest in our deep darkness - we can either focus on what He is doing in the midst of it, or we can focus on the darkness. Two people going through the same exact situation, can see it in two different ways which results in new found strength or a devastating crushing under the same burden.

Darkness empties us of understanding. Darkness drains us, and we are left completely and utterly confused when trying to figure it out with our natural understanding. This is where we aren't seeing things correctly! That darkness is actually filled with God's brilliant light. 

When we are left with nothing but an utter dependance upon God - that is the place of pure light; of pure surrender. And it is in that place that He shines brightest!


Hard times are hard and honestly, none of us like them. That's a fact. But I can see why Paul said he learned to be content whether abased or abounding. He was able to see that even in our darkest times, God will shine His light and turn faithless times into what can become our greatest victories.

And trust me - that dress...blue and black! 
That darkness...filled with great light!

2/22/15

How To Balance The Left/Right Brain Conundrum

Today I offer you a candid look at my journey of starting a new career as an author. I'm not about to offer you 10 steps for balancing a busy life, nor am I going to tell you how "together" I have it. It's just me, walking through life.

Let's get right to the juicy center of it all: Although I've written a number of articles for websites and have a personal story published in someone else's book, it wasn't until the summer of 2014 that I realized how passionate I am about writing. Ironically, at the moment, I'm an Event Coordinator for an accomplished non-fiction author.

Making the decision to embark on a new career path has been a crazy awesome fun! But it's also challenging. I always test 50/50 for being right/left brained, I prefer to live life on the "right" side. The part I'm struggling with, is the fact that my job requires me to be 90% left brained. And I didn't realize until recently, that life on the "left" side causes me to shift my attention away from the Lord. Don't freak out on me! I know He's always with me and I can close my eyes and BAM! there He is. But for whatever reason, having to be so decisive, logical, and strategic, makes it harder for me to slow down and experience Him. No offense to you amazing lefties! But I'm not used to it and I find it exhausting.

I used to start my day with hours of quiet contemplation with Jesus, dancing, and writing, but now I'm too aware of the time- HURRY to start work, RUSH to drive kids around, RUN errands, tap back into CREATIVE side and work on my novel, teach ballet, exercise, dance in the various ministries I'm in, and oh...I'm a wife and have a house to clean , and for some reason people think they have to eat every day which means I need time to cook! I'm in a swirl of activity, busy flopping back and forth between left and right brain. 

I crave the peace, passion, creativity, and depth of living not just from my right brain, but from my spirit. And that is where I am at the moment - learning to jump around in my brain, but to live from a much deeper place in the spirit. To remember to slow down and look, listen, and expect Him to show up. I had NO idea that my job would so affect my ability to let go of the noise in my head and embrace the quiet of my spirit. I'm not complaining about my job! I have a GREAT job! But I'm realizing now, more than anything, I'm ready to see my dreams and my passion as an author become my full-time job. Until that happens, I need grace!

Can you relate?

1/14/15

Silence the Noise Within


Constant thoughts are the noise within that dulls us to His voice, His touch, His breath.
 
Being dedicated to spend time with the Lord, silencing what clamors for attention like a crying child, isn't always easy. Life demands we pay close attention to the things that matter from day to day, but over time dull us to what gently whispers from behind the veil. 

At times becoming still enough to hear those whispers, is difficult. We forget that the veil no longer separates us, but entices us to draw close and see what awaits just beyond it.

Distractions don't have to be forced from our mind. To look past them we simply turn our attention to Him and remain there until everything else fades. In the stillness of His presence, distractions lose their grip and we find their importance landing in proper order. All we have to do to hear, see, and feel Him again, is turn our attention towards Him.

Many unwind with movies or TV because it silences the thoughts and lists streaming constantly through our consciousness. But we must do more than only give our minds a break. We must refocus on the eternal, get lost in the limitless awe, and breathe His love. It's in the simple turning towards Him, that we find peace that remains even in the midst of life demands. 

He is the place of peace, of creativity, of wisdom, and of grace.
He is the One that silences the noise within.

12/7/14

Where Dreams Begin - Again


Words are such powerful bits of life, aren't they? Recently, since venturing into the area of fiction writing, I've fallen in love with the beauty and power of words for the first time in my life. Though I've written non-fiction before, I've never really understood how beautifully captivating the artistry of words can be.

Words are mystical- allowing us to get lost within their depths. 
Words can be loud, echoing within us long after they've been spoken.
Words can be as soft as a whisper, enticing us to lean in and hear.
Words can heal.
Words have roots which grow hidden beneath the surface, until they blossom with life or death.

This summer I decided to pursue my secret dream of fiction writing. I've always loved reading and often would put a book down and say, "Ugh! If only I could write like that!" 

How often do we dream of doing something but don't, simply because we aren't sure if we can? Sometimes finances, or other things can hinder us from pursuing our dreams, but if your dream has the breath of God upon it, it will succeed. Take the first step! Don't sit back and wonder if it could have been a success. 

Let's take what is within us - potential gifts to the world and trust God to disperse them where He wants them. That is my goal - to give readers a gift. There is life that flows through our words especially when they are God inspired.

I'm more than halfway done with my book. When it's published, there's no telling what God will do through it. What is your dream? What do you have that God is waiting to breathe upon? Leave me a comment below - I'd love to hear the dreams of your heart.

Look doubt in the eye and run after your dreams!

7/15/14

Perhaps

Perhaps this will be my least read post in my blog. In truth, it really doesn't matter. 
Tonight I am writing. Just writing. 

I was first profoundly impacted with the raw power of what a book can do, when I read The Secret Place, by Dale Fife. Each word seemed to play a chord within my heart; picking at strings and creating melodies that I didn't know existed - drawing me beyond simple words on paper. I normally devour books, but this time I savored each bite, allowing myself to appreciate His presence in each page.

It was then, after reading this book a few times, that I realized I too wanted to write something that could only be described as God's love on paper; wooing its readers to delve into His heart through the letters on a page. My desire has been and still is to see a creative stream of writing that can unlock even the most guarded heart.

That was over twelve years ago. Since that time, I have written for a couple of ministries, authored two small books and began this blog. However, it has only been over the past few months that I
realized that writing was becoming a passion of mine and something I have decided to pursue without regard to the reasoning that has previously held me back. One never knows the power within, until they release it. It is time for me to find out what God wants to say through me. Through the tapping of my keyboard, I have found my voice.

I may spend the rest of my life searching for the words that will change a life, but I will find them. God will give them to me. My dream is to write something that is teeming with the very essence of God, something that will be remembered not for how beautifully it is written, but for the literal presence of God that rests upon it.

This will be what I write.
Perhaps you will be one who reads it.

7/12/14

Awakened

  Awakened
As I lay my head upon Your chest,
I hear souls, crying.
With each beat of your heart-
Nations, calling.

As though awakened from a dream,
I focus my gaze,
Shake off the past,
And give You praise.

Unite my heart,
Give me Kingdom eyes.
Not denying my part,
Letting destiny guide.

Extending Your hand
I see what you hold-
The treasures of life,
Are the jewels of souls.

Dancing in the fires,
Learning to hear
Your greatest desire,
To draw them near.

  ©Gretchen Rodriguez, 2005