Sunday, September 7, 2014

Dynamite (explosive questions that seem to blow up in your face)

I spent the entire day on FB today feeling like I was arguing with a pastor on someone else's right to choose his walk with Christ. A well known pastor stepped down from his position because he felt he could not agree with the theology of the "fundamental" doctrines of the church. Funny thing is he didn't disagree with all of them it was more like one of them and it's such a touchy subject that it sparked a debate that lasted ALL DAY! LOL. All day. I unfortunately let my feelings get in the way because I couldn't understand how another pastor could not respect his right to be honest with himself. If more people would be honest with themselves and others we would see less hypocrisy in the church (the body not a building). I really have questions that I keep to myself because I don't want anyone judging my ability to be a Christian from them. Does having questions really mean I'm horrible or wrong? Does it mean I'm walking without the assurance of salvation? Does it mean that I don't really love Jesus? If I don't agree with everything does this mean I should leave too?

We don't want people to know we struggle, yet, we all do it everyday. Why must people suffer in silence? The body should not be isolated limbs and parts. Why can't we question things we've done uncontested for decades and centuries without judgment? Does that even make sense? Why are we so afraid to evaluate what we believe as a church? Do we fear that people will feel betrayed with the potential truth? I thought the truth would set us free. What is wrong with doing a spiritual check up now and then? Why is it semantics to say that I will not condemn someone else for his choice to leave? Why is it condoning sin? How can I honestly say I have a conviction if I can't test it? Why does a question mean that I don't really love God? Why does leaving a denomination mean I left Christ? It's stupid really. If I were to leave my denomination today do I go to hell tomorrow? Questions.... I think the people are honestly crying out for more transparency and honest discourse. It's not rebellion or an excuse for sin. It pains me that people are not trusted with the presence of mind to live under the power and grace of God. How is living by faith (being saved by grace through faith) in Jesus hedonistic? I don't get that. Is this the same thing as the Pharisees calling Jesus a friend of sinners and publicans? A winebibber? Do people really understand what grace means?

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Dis-Comfort Zoning

Disclaimer: The following post is long and personal and probably more information than you may be willing to read. I am more or less writing it so that I can find encouragement and accountability along the way.

Yes. Today is the day! I'm coming out of my comfort zone to make changes in my life. Sigh, I'm doing this blog post for accountability's sake. When I make something public,  I now have something to prove and to protect. Namely, my reputation and face. Ha Ha! I'm laughing to keep myself from crying (and chickening out). I am about to become a homeowner and landlord. Not only a homeowner, but also I am about to own multiple homes as residual income to provide funds for my children to attend college/university without having to take out loans and to help with my retirement.  I am also going to teach my children the same business so that they will have a model to lean on when they go into their own lives and begin to make incomes for themselves. I have always had a business mind/sense, but no courage to actually make it happen. I would psyche myself right out of the vision because of what others would think or possibly think. I can't live that way any longer because no one can give an account to God for what He placed in my life just as I cannot give an account for anyone else's life. God has given me this moment to live. Now I am ready because I don't want to keep living life the same way I have for years. Poverty (not about being poor, but having the wrong understanding of and use of money) is a generational curse and it is a stronghold. I am not ashamed of my roots because they have given me a point of reference from which to testify about the goodness, mercy and Glory of God! It is high time to do something different because the day is not very long and I want to have something to show for the life that I have lived.

It doesn't seem likely that a single mom should be able to accomplish these things I have in my head, but that's only because I used to put limits on myself. There are lots of single moms who have created residual income or created the lives they dream of for themselves and their children. I have a vision and I have the drive to get it done for Jesus and for myself. I see how I want my life to go and I have a plan. The one thing that has always daunted me about plans is that I used to make them, but then chicken out at the part where I have to trust in God and do something I haven't done before (exit my comfort zone). I now know that God is giving me the green light and I have learned especially in these last few years to trust Him implicitly and explicitly. The outside voices cannot be the driving impact in my life. I am laying down the lines (boundaries) and making the decisions to do what is necessary and real in spite of opposition or complaints. I cannot listen to the "voices of reason" as I know that those voices (family and well meaning people) have let me down before, and yet, I still cannot blame them as I am the adult who must make the final decisions in my life. With the help of the Holy Spirit, I have some obstacles to overcome: I will use the resources available to me to learn what I need to be successful (websites, blogs, people who are successful at what I want to do). I will get out of debt first. I will sacrifice for the sake of accomplishing the first step to move on to the next steps. I will not give up when things get difficult or I meet "roadblocks" because I will not lean on my OWN understanding or succumb to fear. I will come back to this post often when I get discouraged or feel afraid because I know this post will be my encouragement.  I will establish an accountability partner (Samantha...) and I will accomplish my three to five year goal by the grace of God: I will dispute or pay off my current debts completely (immediate goal), I will buy a home for me and the boys (in year one), I will pay off this new car early (in year two or three), I will bring up my credit score for a new credit card to establish good credit (also year one) and I will purchase my first income property once my car is paid off (by year three, four, or five or as the Spirit leads. I will continue to save even as I make my payments on the income properties. I will pay off my school loans completely (hopefully with total residual income by year ten or 12).Yep. It is a lot to get done, but the awesome thing is I know I am not alone on this journey and I don't have to do it all in one day. Jesus Christ did not put this feeling of urgency (read: need) and this mindset in me to leave me hanging nor to lead me on to nothing. I have not included all my goals since I really want to get through this first step. I felt this would be the best way to get a jumpstart since I know I have friends with similar goals that follow me on Blogger.

Here is where I am: I have about 13 dispute letters to send out and will pay off all debts that are verified to be my own. I'll post what that looks like later... I have made a budget that will cover my expenses only from the income that I currently make. I'll also post what that looks like later too. I will stick by said budget even when it means I cannot do those things I would like to do (like going to Jamaica or Brazil) until I no longer have those debts (read: open accounts) that zap my income. I will say no to the unnecessary expenses that would be nice but won't help me accomplish my goals unless my financial advisor, Jesus Christ, says it's OK. I will continue to systematically give according to the outline in the Word of God (tithe and offerings and paying forward/sowing into others even if in small ways). I will use any and all extra income to get out of debt sooner and to save towards my down payment for my house. Any income tax refunds will go towards debts and savings. I will forego all of the little costly pleasures (the things that nickel and dime me to death, but I have nothing to show for it later) that zap my future wealth and I will plan for unexpected issues rather than live from crisis to crisis as I have done in the past. I will build my emergency fund immediately as I pay down my current debts and I will take whatever I was spending on one debt once its paid off to attack a larger and more extensive debt until all debt is paid off (snowball effect). I will continually trust God with each step as I make them. I will listen to His directions and pray constantly to be certain I hear Him as He directs. I will give Him all the glory and honor with each step and accomplishment because I know that only He is the One who can do this thing in my life. I will teach others as I learn so that I may help someone else by my experiences to make it as well. I will be a Proverbs 31 woman...

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! Yes, I am fully aware of the fact that it is now February but to me the year is still fairly new, you know, like a car not long driven off the lot. I still have a lot of miles left on 2014. Please don't ask me why I'm up at 2 am and really don't ask me why I'm blogging...LOL! I have been pondering about when I was coming back to make my 6 month post and here I am. It's funny how life goes. I have been living now as a single mother for the last 3 years (officially in April). 

I recognize that I am now finding out what life is really about: Neighbors that play loud music in the apartment overhead (at 2 am...), looks directed towards me from insecure people as though I have the plague (divorce cooties), children who think they rule the world, students who think they rule the world, bills, bills, bills, and more bills, attacks on every side, genuine moments of gritty, yet irreplaceable, unconditional love, and most of all hope. I have so much hope for my future I practically ooze with it!

I honestly guess I'm saying all this to say: As long as I have breath I will continue to move forward: Today, tomorrow, and for the rest of my life. I'm not just looking for tomorrow to have the answers for today, neither am I looking back to wonder and ponder about what I did wrong to make my life what it is. It is what it is, and I don't believe in coincidence. I know at the end of it all the questions I've had about some of the dark threads in the tapestry of my life will be revealed by the One who is weaving it. I have no doubts that God holds my past, my present, and my future. So with that said, "Ha, devil! You thought you had me but greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world!" 

Here is my declaration for 2014 (and the rest of my life): What God has for me is for me. He sees the train of my life. He knows the thoughts He thinks towards me, thoughts of peace and not to harm me, to give me a hope and an expected end (my future). Jeremiah 29:11 (CeCe paraphrase). I am certain that all the strife, joys, struggles, strengths, heartaches, dolores de la cabeza (headaches), problems, triumphs, foolishness, faithlessness, faithfulness, fear and fearlessness has been to mold and shape me into the person God knows I am before my mother's mother's mother's mother was a thought. I will stand (even if that is all I can do), and as I stand I will trust. As I trust I will grow and I will live the purpose God has set for me since the beginning of the ages: to glorify Him with all that I am.

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