Children of the Day


children of the day

“For you are all children of light, children of day.
We are not of the night or of the darkness.”
1 Thessalonians 5:5

I was caught off guard this past Summer when I was asked to teach one of the several Bible Studies offered by our Women’s Ministry at our church. Although I have been in leadership for several years and have taught a lesson or two, I have never flown solo. In a moment of what I can only describe as Holy Spirit filled courage I said, YES!”

I spent the weeks following in a cycle of panic and faith. My relationship with Christ however, could not have been more intimate. I was constantly on my knees baring my soul. All of my concerns of feeling unworthy and unqualified were gently quashed by His amazing grace.

For the last 10 weeks I facilitated Beth Moore’s Children of the Day Bible Study. I stood up each week wrecked inside with nerves but taught with authority in Christ led by the Holy Spirit. It was such an incredibly amazing and humbling experience.

I don’t believe it to be a coincidence at all that my first solo teaching experience was based on books of the Bible authored by Paul. I was continually reminded of how God used Paul, a man who once took the lead in murdering Christians, to give instructions on how we are to live as Children of God. It helped knowing even though I have a shady past, God sacrificed his only son so that my sins would be forgiven and he could, in fact, use me to teach others.

I grew in my walk with Christ alongside some wonderful, God-fearing women. We discussed mobilized ministry, prophecies, hindrances, spiritual gifts, and the man of lawlessness among other topics. It was such an honor each and every week to get an opportunity to remind them, and myself, we no longer live in darkness because we are children of light.

The women in my class encouraged me every step of the way with their words of affirmation. I in turn gave all the glory to God because, well, there is no way in this world I was able to lead on my own strength. I was vulnerable, confident and completely dependent on God.

In the words of Beth Moore:

Be brave.  Be bold.  Love big. We won’t be here long 
Take the torch of the gospel to a land of souls and shadows.  
For you are children of light, children of  the day. 

Oh What a Night!

take and give away

Last Wednesday began like any other day. The alarm went off at 6:40am and our morning routine began. The first set of kids were showered, fed and dressed. I packed lunches and backpacks and drove them off to school. It is a routine I could perform in my sleep.

I came home and started the same routine all over again. This time with our junior high daughter. Her morning started earlier than normal thanks to her monthly orthodontics appointment before school but even that was routine.

We left the orthodontics, picked up her friend and blasted Taylor Swift’s song, Shake It Off on the way to drop them off at school. My life is the epitome of a suburbanite. Up until that point it had been just a day in the life of another housewife. See what I did there? …Moving on.

Then something completely and utterly out of the ordinary happened. Not only did I go on a job interview but I was hired as an independent contractor for the first time in over eight years. EIGHT YEARS!

I mentioned in the post Who I Am Right Now I was looking for part-time work. I was looking for the improbable situation. You know one I could work either from home or when my kids are at school with the flexibility to put my family first. What’s that saying? With God all things are possible.

I didn’t even seek out this position. It was offered to me. The pay is well above sufficient for the amount of work I am required to do. Work I can do from home at my leisure and I started immediately. Praise God!

Mr. C and I went out for a quick-lunch to celebrate before the after school routine began. After school snacks, homework and the never-ending paperwork that requires a parental signature were tended to. I freshened up and headed out for a new adventure and a long night.

I met my daughter at school with her softball bag. It was the second day of 8th grade junior high softball try-outs for the competitive team. She could only stay for forty-five minutes. With the coach fully aware of her situation he had her take her turn at bat first. You guys! She shined.

We left as the other girls continued on with try-outs. As we were in route she shoved in a snack and did a quick change in the car while I made it clear she did her job. She did more than hold her own at try-outs and she should be proud no matter the outcome. Today we learned out of the 19 girls who tried out, she was one of the 13 girls who made the competitive team!

We arrived at our destination and piled into a school bus filled with 8th grade girls and their mothers. We were headed to Arizona State University for the Hispanic Mother Daughter (college-prep) Program. Six hundred mother/daughter pairs from the Metro-Phoenix area applied for this program and only a hundred were accepted, including us.

More significantly it was a program I had participated in when I was her age with my aunt because you know my mom up and left and I needed a fill-in. The same aunt who battled pancreatic cancer for two years before dying a few weeks before I turned sixteen. Oh and if the day wasn’t emotional enough it was also pregnancy and infant loss awareness day. I was an emotional mess on the inside.

We unloaded the school buses and I watched as many of the girls looked around with awe-struck wonder. It had been the first time they had seen a university. I was that girl many years ago but my daughter was not. In fact she was very familiar with the area. She has been exposed to the neighboring theater, attended ASU football and softball games and runs a 4.2 mile race honoring Pat Tillman each year if her schedules permits it.

When I finally returned home after a long night, after everyone was tucked in and I was up alone I was able to reflect on the entire day. I found myself rejoice fully sobbing.

My daughter and I were given separate personality test that night. Our results were nearly identical. I spent my life trying not to be my mother and that night I say next to my daughter who beamed with pride knowing we were so much alike. I. Can’t. Even.

There are so many things that have been taken away from me. My mother left, my aunt died of cancer, my dad died of end stage liver disease and I miscarried, to name a few. With all of these things that have been taken away, I have gained so much more in terms of personal growth.

I have been given the chance to right the wrong, so to speak. Without those life experiences I would not be the person I am today. I know the importance of modeling a healthy marriage, a real one not a fake perfect one. One that puts love above all else. As a mom, I wouldn’t necessarily say I wouldn’t love my children. I would say because of my experiences I know the importance of a hug, of teaching them their worth in the Lord or in opening their eyes to all the possibilities that life has ahead of them. I still have no clue what I am really doing but I do know what not to do!

I know the Lord is not done taking away. Pruning will forever be a part of life but the growth that results because of it is far better than the life that once was.

How has God pruned your life for the better?

Can You Relate To Me?

 “For you created my inmost being;
You knit me together in my mother’s womb.”
Psalm 139:13

For as long as I can remember I have been told by mom that I was an accident. A mistake. Unwanted. To me, this explained why she abandoned me when I was seven years old.

Years later, when I was a teenager, vulnerable, nearly homeless and in desperate need of love my mom took me in but soon after began to verbally insult me. She repeatedly said things like “You are nothing! You will never Be anything? Look at you. How could anyone love you? You could NEVER be loved!”

Out of spite I set out to prove her wrong and strived for perfection but I carry those words with me. Every time I fight with my husband, scream at my children, struggle to make friends I remind myself of her words. I often quit before I could succeed because I am scared she is right and I am nothing. How can I be beautiful if my own mother doesn’t think I am worthy of love?

If you can relate to my story in any way then you know it is extremely easy to give Satan a foothold when it comes to self-worth. I have been told many times that I should get over my mom already because I know her words are not true. However, you and I both know it is not that simple.

This much I know:

God himself knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I am His child. I belong to Him. His love is perfect and infinite. He already knows the plans he has for me. Plans to prosper me, not to harm me. To give me hope and a future. In Him, I AM wanted. I AM Loved. I AM beautiful. I AM a child of God.

Therefore on days when I struggle I cling to this truth! And for good measure I listen to Gungor and praise God for my story. My beautiful story that will ultimately bring Him Glory.

Have You Seen God Today?

They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty
And I will meditate on your wonderful works.
Psalms 145:5

Lately I feel like I have been going through the motions. I read my Bible, go to church, and tend to my duties as a mom and wife. Instead of seeing God, I see the multiple piles of laundry on the floor, a grocery list, my impending run, a dirty restroom, emails to be returned, bills to be paid, bickering children and a stressed husband.

If God is our creator, shouldn’t we see Him in all things? The truth is we can’t see Him if we aren’t looking. In his song “I Saw God Today”, George Strait sings, “I’ve been to church, I’ve read the book, I know He is there but I don’t look, near as often as I should. His fingerprints are everywhere, I just look down and stop and stare, open my eyes and then I swear, I Saw God today.”

Do you want to see God today? It’s simple. Do what the song says and open your eyes!

When is the last time you paused and admired His creation? Take time to praise Him for the morning sun, the night sky, the birds in the air and the mountains in the backdrop.

Has praying over your meal become routine? Seek to go grow closer to God and gain renewed heart of thanks for our food by fasting.

Do you ever look for God in your mirror? You should. God created us in His own image. I challenge you to look in the mirror every day and see God.

With my eyes wide open, I can see all the provisions given to me by God. My children are clothed and fed, I have able legs, indoor plumbing, friendships, an income, God’s precious gift to me and a man who loves me so much he bares the sole burden of providing for our family.

Have you seen God today? Where?

Three and Out

“When pride comes,
then comes disgrace,
but with humility comes wisdom.”
Proverbs 11:2

It’s eleven o’clock at night. I’m sitting here debating whether to sneak in a day 6 post even though I have missed the last couple of days. So, I started skimming frantically through my journals and flipping through highlighted passages of my Bible trying to find a “good” topic to write about.

It felt all wrong because I believe it is wrong to try to force a post. This is why some serious soul-searching followed.

I never intended this challenge to cause me to choose topics that are appealing and easy to write about. It has never been or will be my intention to manipulate a post on a Biblical topic for the sake of reaching a quota. It is my desire to bring Glory to God not my ego.

I started out on this journey convinced I was fully prepared to complete this task. It turns I am not. I still completely believe with all my heart it is my calling to write out devotions on how to live out scripture in our everyday life. However, I do not have the time this month to dedicate the adequate amount of energy required for the #Write31Days Challenge. Lesson Learned.

I am officially declaring my effort a three and out play. You know, like in football. I gave three great attempts and getting a first down to continue running the ball down the field in hopes of a touchdown but I fell short. I’m punting the ball to the other team and coming up with another strategy for when it’s my time to run the ball again.

In the words of Frenchy, “I don’t see it as dropping out. I see it as a very strategic career move.” The plans for this blog could not be clearer. I have every intention of continuing to write faith-based post and keeping this little blog of mine alive. I will do it with the discernment and the wisdom I have
gained in my walk with Christ.

I recently heard Bob Goff say “If we fail, we fall right into the arms of Jesus…Do the next thing!” This is me waiving the white flag and admitting I have failed. The arms of Jesus are oh-so comforting! I’m excited for whatever is next to come.

Unconditional Respect

“…and the wife must respect her husband.”
Ephesians 5:33b (NIV)

 

wedding 003

Mr. C and I have been married for eleven of our fourteen years together. Like many married couples we have had our fair share of ups, downs, twist and turns. We spent five godless years together trying to figure things out for ourselves. Here’s a shocker. It wasn’t working.

Two years into our troubled marriage, after becoming regular attendees at church and members of a couple’s Bible study, we were baptized together. We started to rebuild our marriage using Christ as our foundation. Let me be real clear. It was not easy. In fact it was probably one of the hardest things we have overcome to date. Our marriage is living proof that with God all things are possible.

Today our marriage is solid because of the foundation in Christ we have worked to build and maintain. However, that does not mean it is or ever will be perfect. We are flawed humans. We fight. We argue. We have moments of pure selfishness. We are after all both first-born, controlling, stubborn individuals who have a tendency to always be right!

No matter how hard life gets or how much our ugly flesh reveals itself there is one thing I know to be true. Mr. C loves me. I don’t doubt his love in the least bit. I question it sometimes because I am not the easiest person to love but I do not doubt it. For a gal like me who has been repeatedly told by her own mother that I was unwanted and unlovable to know that I am loved is humbling.

I can also say with certainty that Mr. C knows that I love him just the same, more if you ask me. When it comes to respecting him, however, I’m not the best at demonstrating it. I struggle daily with living out my part of Ephesians 5:33b.

We are told we must respect our husbands. We are not given the leeway to insert “if” into the equation. This means our respect must be unconditional. When you break it down it means to have an attitude of an esteem toward your husband without conditions or limitations.

I was raised to believe that respect is earned. I decided who and what actions deserved my respect. I believed this part of scripture was defined through my viewpoint because I truly do love my husband. My thought process changed when I read this excerpt from the book Love and Respect.

There are many wives who tell me, “Respect and love are the same thing”…I have been in counseling session with her mate sitting there listening, the wife will readily say, “I love my husband but don’t feel any respect for him.” But when I turn this around and ask the wives how they would feel if they hear their husbands say, “I respect you but I don’t love you,” they are horrified…What she doesn’t understand is that her husband is equally devastated by her comment…she needs unconditional love and he needs unconditional respect.

For some of you this is hard pill to swallow. It was for me when I was first introduced to this concept. If we are to live out this scripture we have some serious work to do. If you truly want to live out this scripture start by esteeming your husband.

Let’s let our husbands know how much we appreciate them going to work to provide for our families every day. Compliment them in public. Ask for their advice on how to hand a situation. Make sure they know you value them. Make them feel as valued and wanted as we did when we were first dating.

This does not mean you need to be doormat or that your husband is always right. It is possible to have a differing of opinions and still manage to show respect. For some reason we, and I mean me, feel like we can drop that courtesy with the ones we love because they will continue to love us. Instead, when it is necessary to confront your husband, do it in a loving way.

Showing unconditional respect to our husbands is not a weekly task that can be checked off as done. It is something that needs to be part of our being. It is a task that can only be accomplished when we see our husbands through they eyes of Christ. I am committed to showing my husband respect, period! Are you?

How do you live out Ephesians 5:33b?

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31 Days Pic This post is Day 3 of the #Write31Days Challenge.

There’s a Plank in My Eye

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others , you will be judged, and the measure you use, it will be measured to you. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in you own eye?”
Matthew 7:1-3 (NIV)

It is common knowledge that we are commanded not to judge others. I like to believe in the grand scheme of things, for the most part, I do a good job of living this out. In fact on most days I would say I go above and beyond to extend grace to the world at large.

However, on occasion, I have those days. The kind of days when I find myself wondering what the heck is just wrong with some people and/or making assumptions based on outside perceptions. Maybe you have had them too?

If I am being honest here, sometimes those days turn into weeks and even months. All of a sudden I appoint myself keeper of the moral compass others are to use to live out their lives.

The crazy thing is I often find myself being applauded for my beliefs as I pass judgment on others. It is easy to stand on a soapbox and rant about topics that already carry a bandwagon of others who think the same way. This is why we are called to live in this world but nor of it.

I am purposely trying to avoid naming the exact actions I tend to judge for the sake of living out scripture and all. Just think about the topics you have strong opinions about. Parenting, marriage, finances, politics or religion to name a few.

It is possible to have strong opinions and not pass judgment. However, it is extremely easy to cross the line when our hearts are not equipped to discern the beginning stages of Satan’s stronghold in this area. Which brings me to the whole point of this post. When I find myself passing judgment on someone else it is most likely because I am struggling with sin in my own life.

I love the way the message translates Matthew 7:1-5

“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.

Ouch! I don’t know about you but I tend to recognize the sin I am struggling with in others before I realize it for myself. I am blinded by the proverbial plank in my eye. Now that I know this to be true I am on alert for ways in which I can live out this verse.

My defense is simple. Anytime I find myself starting to travel the road of self-righteousness I start yelling, “Plank in my eye! Plank in my eye!” Look I am not an expert on how not to judge but I do know this silly little trick of mine works for me.

You must first be willing to confess you are blinded by a plank before you can set up safeguards to prevent yourself from passing judgment

Anytime I find myself starting to say, “I would never…What was she/he thinking…How could they…I would too if…” chances are I’m about to pass judgment and it causes me to pause. I then start to search
myself for whatever sin I might be harborig.

We could all use the following steps to live out Matthew 7:1-3:

1.) Acknowledge and confess we are susceptible to passing judgment.
2.) Set up safeguards to discern when we are passing judgment.
3.) Seek out the sin in our own lives.
4.) Confess and seek forgiveness for both passing judgment and our sin.

I’m not saying that once you admit your struggle you should be able to live a life without judgment. This is simply not true. We are not perfect people. None the less we are called in our walk to become more like Christ. This is an imperfect, progressive journey.

How do you live out Matthew 7:1-3?

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This post is Day 2 of the #Write31Days series  31 Days Pic

I’m in ~ The #Write31Days Challenge

31 Days Pic

 

I sit here writing through tears about to embark on a journey I believe is completely ordained by the Holy Spirit.

It all started when I felt led to take part in The Nester’s 31 Day Writing Challenge. The premise is simply to write every day for 31 days. Because I could barely write a post once a week I thought committing would be a challenge in of itself, trust me it still will be.

However, I planned on using the next 31 days to reintroduce myself to the blogging world. I contemplated several topics from weight loss to making memories with my family. God had a different plan.

As I was preparing to teach my weekly Beth Moore: Children of the Day class I came across this quote from Beth, “Your ministry is the collection of you life works for the glory of God.” It caused me to pause and evaluate my own ministry.

Yesterday morning I stood in front of my class encouraging them to evaluate their spiritual gifts and brainstorming ways they could be used for the glory of God. With authority in Christ, something I’m often timid to assert, I spoke of the importance of not only equipping our selves with scripture but the significance of living it out.

Right then and there I knew I was to surrender this little blog of mine for the glory of God. For years I have filled journals with devotion ideas on how to live out scripture. I kept toying with the idea of having a Faithful Friday post as a means to give life to the words pressed upon my heart by the Holy Spirit. For one reason or another I have put that task on the back burner, until now.

I know it is not a coincidence that today, on Day 1 of writing 31 Days of Living Out Scripture I am clinging to Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and future.”

In all honesty I am scared. I don’t feel the least bit qualified to discern scripture let alone find the time to write every.single.day based on the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Today I chose not only to believe God has a plan for this #Write31Days challenge but I chose to live it out by being brave enough to hit publish.

31 Days of Living Out Scripture:

{Day 1} I’m In ~ Jeremiah 29:11

{Day 2} There’s A Plank In My Eye ~ Matthew 7:1-3

{Day 3} Unconditional Respect ~ Ephesians 5:33b

{Day 6} Three and Out ~ Proverbs 11:2

{Day 13} Have You Seen God Today ~ Psalms 145:5

{Day 14} Can You Relate To Me? ~ Psalms 139:13

{Day 20} Oh What A Night! ~ Job1:21

{Day 29} Children of the Day ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:5

JM Info

The Evolution of Another Housewife

plans Six years ago I gave birth to my very first blog, Cisneros Family Legacy. At the time I had two kids at home full-time, one kid in school all day for the first time and a kid navigating the halls of High School. It made sense to chronicle our family life.

After consistently writing about the whirlwind of parenting I began to realize I was losing my identity as an individual. It was an eye-opening discovery. I began to embark on a journey of discovering who I was simply as a Child of God, not as a wife or mom.

Please don’t misunderstand what I am saying. I love, love my life as a housewife and fully accept it as my primary role. However, it is not my sole mission in life.

During this process. I fell in love with running and a passion for Women’s ministry was born. More than anything my desire to write about things outside of raising a family was ignited.

I wanted to find a medium to write about life in general. On a whim Another Housewife was started. My areas of focus continue to fluctuate depending on my season of life. However it is my desire to have an impact as a Child of God, wife, mother, sister, friend, and a human being. I choose to accomplish this goal in the mundane task of a housewife, the joy and pain of motherhood, the ups and downs of maintaining a Godly marriage, growing in my walk with the Lord, making mistakes, tackling fears, chasing dreams, dealing with grief and disappointments, making friends or by serving others.

If you have been following our adventures for a while or just stumbled upon this little blog of mine I want to sincerely welcome you. Another Housewife is about to embark on a new season of blogging. Stay tuned because legacies are made one memory at a time…

JM Info

Five Things Friday: Who I Am Right Now

I have great admiration for bloggers who are able to maintain a series. I can hardly find the time to get my eclectic thoughts into actual words, let alone be responsible enough to write about the same topic each and every week. I especially love the diverse topics presented in the phenomenon that is Five Things Friday.

The truth is I would be setting myself up for failure if I tried a series on something about my favorite things. I am a pretty simple person with a regular routine. I would run out of things in two, maybe three weeks to write about because it’s like ground hogs day around here and I’m loving every minute of it.

I still wanted to find a way to participate because I think there is value in sharing things about ourselves. I mean we can find solidarity in sharing a favorite TV show or Bible verse and we might just find a new favorite thing of our own. Using the number five keeps it short and simple by my yard stick. Plus, it’s my favorite number.

I thought what greater way to kick off my inaugural Five Things Friday than by sharing about who I am right now.

five things

1.) I’m teaching a Bible Study: Every Tuesday morning I facilitate Beth Moore’s Children of the Day at our church. Saying yes pushed me completely out of my comfort zone. My confidence and authority in Christ is growing each and every week. I have fallen in love with teaching and am blessed to be learning so much about grace from my class of wonderful women.

2.) I’m training for a Half-Marathon: I have taken a hiatus from running due to an injury followed by laziness. I am slower than slow but my only goal is to cross the finish line on November 2nd. It will be my third, half-marathon.

3.) I’m not into this pumpkin everything craze: I love, love pumpkin pie but that is where I draw the line. Okay, I do cross the line and make a million individual chocolate chip pumpkin breads to give as gifts and for my kids but not for personal consumption.

4.) I’m a wannabe author: I have wanted to write a memoir for as long as I can remember. It has been on my to-do list for so long it is embarrassing. I have talked about it, planned for it, outlined it and made a personal writing space to accomplish it. You know everything except the writing part. You know the part that makes you an actual author. Well, I’m over the moon to report I am actually in the process of writing it!

5.) I’m seriously contemplating going back to work: I have not brought home a paycheck in thirteen years. While Mr. C continues to provide a comfortable lifestyle for us, our kids are becoming increasingly expensive. Raising athletes who double as brainiacs who want to go on school trips to DC is expensive, yo! If you know anyone looking for a virtual assistant or anyone looking for someone from 9:00 am -2:00 pm I’m your gal.

…and that is who I am right now. As always you can keep up with the shenanigans that go on behind the scenes of Another Housewife by following me on Twitter, Facebook and my favorite Instagram. I know better to declare this a series but maybe, just maybe once a month I’ll be inspired by another Five Things Friday topic. Any suggestions?

The only thing left is to find out who you are. What five things define who are you right now? Ready Go!