Sunday, September 24, 2006

Where do I look for my security?

Went to Calvary Chapel Montebello, CA today with my sister.

What a blessing to visit with Pastor Pancho Juarez for a few minutes. How he needs encouraging. The Lord is taking him through a dark season. I know the Lord is using this time in life for His glory and for Pastor Pancho's relationship with Him, a closer, more intimate walk with Jesus. For nothing is wasted with the Lord. I'm thankful to My Father that He allowed me to speak words of encouragment to Pastor Pancho.

I shared with Pancho my summer of being able to lead a women's study. I wanted him to know how the Lord used his teachings to help convey the subject of contentment and Jesus to my small group. I also shared HOW God spoke to me, His sense of humor as I experienced some strange and terrific things in my life and how the Lord used them to speak Truth into my life. How my love for not only reading the Word has grown, but now my love of studying the Word has begun. I loved Pancho's reaction to that last statement; a wink and smile, as if to say, "Yeah, you got it! You go girl!"

But as Pastor Pancho says, he stumbles, he falls, he loses focus, his heart is dark.

And so the great struggle. I work out my salvation with fear and trembling.

I've had some moments recently that have shown me that my focus has being imbalanced. And so He humbled me today. How lovingly the Lord reels me in. My focus is back on track. My eyes are fixed on the Author and the Perfecter of my faith.

No matter what...

I serve a Lord who is with me

He will not forsake me.

When I am having those weak moments of trusting in my flesh, the Lord is near whispering into the depths of soul, "Lean not on your own understanding, Loretta, but trust in Me."

Praise the Lord, for He is so faithful.
Praise the Lord, for nothing is too great for Him!

"He is our comfort, our sustainer.
He is our help in time of need
When we wander, He is our Shepherd
He who watches over us never sleeps

Take heart my friend, the Lord is with us
As He has been all the days of our lives
Our assurance every morning
Our defender in the night"
"Take Heart, My Friend"
Fernando Ortega

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Mute Math playing at the fantasy come true

My grupo favorito, Mute Math kicked off their 2 month tour here in Seattle. What an amazing show. . . complete with a light show.

Roy Mitchell-Cárdenas, bassist for the group y mi amigo bueno, reminded me that I had said last year they should perform at the Showbox.
I had the wonderful honor of picking Roy up from the airport as well as the other members and crew. Wonderful people!

That evening before the show, as I stood there waiting for MM to come out, I could feel the anticipation growing as the crowd was waiting to hear their favorite band.

Then it started. . . my stomach began to feel queasy (and no . . . not from the bad chinese food we'd had before the show), but from seeing a fantasy fulfilled.

The music began and I could feel the tears wanting to well up inside of me. Why was this happening? I realized I felt like a proud mom watching her kids.

Throughout the show, I walked around the Showbox looking at all the people, on the floor, back in the bar, then standing on the opposite side stage left, over by the mdse. and the looks on their faces. . . it was awesome!

I didn't feel I could truly let go and enjoy the concert just for myself, until the end and I REALLY enjoyed singing and dancing to "Peculiar People."

Their CD will be released Sept 26. A special kick off will take place at FINGERPRINTS in Long Beach, CA.

Wish I could be there!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Can marriage get better, be better with time?

16 years ago, I attended our church's women's retreat where Nancy Missler was to be our guest speaker. Her husband is Chuck Missler the "Who's Who in Prophecy." She had written a book called: Why Should I be the First to Change? - which tells the complete story of the "turn around" of Chuck and Nancy's 20 year Christian marriage.

I remember reading that their marriage began to take a turn after 18 years. At the retreat, feeling very defeated in my own union with my husband (married 4 years) I approached her, tears flowing from my face and asked, "Is it going to take me 18 years, too?"

Well . . . my husband and I have been married for over 21 years and yes . . . overall, it has been more than 18 years.

My husband is a great guy. I have truly been blessed. In any marriage, two people bring "baggage" with them, and I had LOTS to bring. I expected my husband to always be my "knight," which of course is totally unfair. I had an unrealistic view of marriage.

Gary Thomas asks the question "what if marriage was not meant to make you happy, but to make you holy?"

I am mostly a slow reader by nature. A week before Gary was scheduled to speak at a intimate seminar for our church, I had decided to finally read his latest book, "Sacred Influence." By day 5, I was in chapter 10. This book has transformed my life and my view of my marriage.

A couple of days before I had thought to open up the book, in my quiet time I'd read "For 'who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?' But we have the mind of Christ." 1 Corinthians 2:16. Reading this many times before, I had never thought to ponder this statement, but this particular morning I asked the Lord, "If I have the "mind of Christ," then what does that look like?"

A few moments later, I recalled 1 Corinthians 13:7 "bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." I thought of what my marriage had been. What I wanted it to be. And then I realized, perhaps this is the "cross" the Lord has asked me to "bear." I CAN bear, I CAN believe, I CAN hope, I CAN endure, BECAUSE LOVE NEVER FAILS!! (1 Corinthians 13:8) The cross doesn't have to be carried with a heart that is cast down, but a heart that is rejoicing!! I can bear this cross with JOY!

So a couple of days later, I begin to read "Sacred Influence" not knowing that the Lord was answering my question, "If "I" have the "mind of Christ," then what does that look like?"

This book is aimed at wives and how to be the wife your husband needs. The Lord had been preparing me to read this book for the last 3 years . . . okay 22 years!!! All my suffering, physical, mental, emotional, imagined was allowed so that I would be ready for the lessons I would learn as I read through these pages.

I was soaking up the pages as I read what I could be to my husband, who he needs me to be as his wife. I no longer felt resentful about my having to change in order to see change in him. I desired to change and become a woman he honors, loves and respects.

I am amazed . . . in about 5 days, I felt my countenance change and become uplifted and encouraged.

Before Gary Thomas got up to teach us in the ways of being better spouses, I asked if I could speak with him about his book and the changes taking place in my heart and mind.

He smiled as I spoke, not a polite "I'll listen for a few moments and tune out to think about what I'll first say as I walk up to greet the folks out there," but a smile like he knew what I was talking about. I welled with tears as I told him that even if the man I married didn't become the husband I wanted or needed, I understood that this was my cross to endure. And I was willing to become the wife my husband needs and become the woman God desires to see in me. He said, "well . . . you've just said what I prepared to say to everyone today. You got it, you "get it." "

I further explained how I wished many of my friends out there at the tables could read this book, because they don't realize, just as I didn't, that they are punishing their husbands. He was surprised by what I said and commented, "what an interesting statement, I need to remember that, "they are punishing their husbands." "

And yes, my husband has seen the changes in me and has responded in kind. God is good. I can love my husband not because he loved me first or meets my needs first, but because Christ loved me first and gave His life up for me and I want to please my Lord and be a sweet sacrifice to Him. If I say I love God, but hate my brother then I lie. (1Jo 4:20 ) I believe I finally understand that verse.

Can marriage get better, be better with time? Depends on where your focus is and what you define as "better." Better doesn't always mean "happy." You can experience "seasons" of happiness. But it will be through the fires of testing that you will see what your marriage is made of and who you are as you go through those times.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Is marriage meant to make us happy or holy?

Gary Thomas author of Sacred Marriage on Bono of U2 :
"In his most recent CD, he has a line that appears in two different songs, it's slightly altered but it's pretty much the same thought, appears in two different songs, and it struck me because Bono is about my age, he's been married about as long as I've been married, extremly unusual for a rock star, in that he's been married to the same woman for over 20 years. And he writes one long line. He says; "I could never take the chance of losing love to find romance." And here's a rock star... he could find a new romance everyday of the week as U2 is out on tour, but he says you know what, there's a certain excitment in romance. Yeah, there's a certain fun to it, but to take that, I'd lose love. I'd lose a sense of loyally walking with one woman throughout my life. And he says I choose love."

Gary Thomas, noted author and speaker of Sacred Marriage was the guest speaker at our church recently.

Another quote from that Sunday's message:
"When we expect perfection out of marriage we are setting ourselves for disaster. Marriage means tortuous work and a predictable routine. That's what you should expect. Indeed a successful marriage has little to do with sustained bliss and everything to do with the grind." from her book "Surrendering to Marriage" by Iris Krasnow Quoting this author because a growing number of newlyweds thought marriage would be different, terrified they had made the wrong decision because they couldn't believe how difficult marriage was. He says: "you didn't make the wrong choice, you went into it with the wrong expectations, about what marriage would involve. You never really understood what it was about."

This was my favorite:
"You go into marriage hoping for a Mercedes Benz and you wake up with a Geo Prism!"

My husband and I are attending his seminar this weekend. And I am anticipating alot. Mostly changes from within myself.

You can listen to this message, by clicking the link below:

Listen Now!

Read now: Chapter One

What do you call it? Fear, anxiety, worry, concern?

Call it whatever you want, but. . . the bottom line is, it's fear.

David Hocking says:
"Fear is the expected result of not trusting the Lord. Whenever you have stopped trusting the Lord, you have opened up pandora's box of fear.
Fear will result in emotional traps.When you decide you're not going to trust the Lord, or maybe you just don't, you haven't decided to do that, it's just our natural tendency. The result of not trusting the Lord is you fall into emotional traps.

Read Psalm 23.
"The Lord is my shepherd;I shall not want.He makes me to lie down in green pastures;He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul;He leads me in the paths of righteousness. For His name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,I will fear no evil;"
Stop there.

The fear of evil is a result of not trusting the Lord. Some of us are afraid of evil itself, no matter what form it takes and it's an emotional trap.
If the Lord is for us, who can be against us says Romans 8. We either believe that or we don't."