Reflecting on Jesus’s Last Words

    This Friday we gathered to reflect on Jesus’s last words before he died on the cross. I always find it funny that we call this day ” Good Friday”, how is it a good day? like hello… Jesus dies! ha. But we know it doesn’t end with him dying. So many things happen as he hung on the cross and He had a few words to say. Our church always honors His last words by having people reflect on his seven final words. I presented a piece from His forth saying “My God, My God, why have you forsaken?” Those words express abandonment, a feeling I have felt way too many times by God. This saying comforts me because it reminds me that Jesus knows what it means to feel forsaken and it also reminds me that God abandoned Jesus on the cross for that moment, just so that I would never feel forsaken by Him.

Many theologians say that when Jesus cries out the words My God, My God, why have you forsaken?” it is in that very moment that all of the sin of the world and wrath meant for us came upon Him, which means that at that moment He was separated from God. How crazy is that? God abandon His holy and perfect son for imperfect and unholy people like you and I. In Jesus being forsaken, We are accepted. I pray you may know that God is inviting you into his mercy and love. He is calling for you.

Here is my reflection:

Mark 15:33-34

And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour, Jesus cried with a loud voice, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

(God was silent)

That is the cry of my life.

At the footsteps of my home where I patiently waited for my father but he wouldn’t show. “ My God, my God, Why have you forsaken me?”

But He answered me.

It is in the memories of that touch underneath my garment as a young girl that my heart cries “My God, my God, Why have you forsaken me?”

But He answers me.

It was at the end of my broken relationship that I cried “ My God, my God, Why have you forsaken me?”

But He answered me.

It was in the hardest moments of my marriage that I’ve cried “ My God, my God, Why have you forsaken me?”

But He answered me.

It was in the complicated circumstances of my son’s birth that I cried “ My God, my God, Why have you forsaken me?”

But He answered me.

It is in my anxiety and depression that I cry “ My God, my God, Why have you forsaken me?”

But He answers me.

For God’s silence towards His holy Son was so that I may never feel forsaken by Him.

His cry leads to my acceptance.


Motherhood and Calling

      I’ve always struggled with understanding my purpose in life. For a very long time I felt without meaning until I met Jesus. The questions I had about life soon began to have answers and the big question of “What do I do with my life?” became clearer. Over the few years that I’ve been walking with Jesus, I have grown to love things that honestly, I didn’t care to much about before Him. When I began to understand the Christian faith and how it would change every area of my life, the word “Calling” was mentioned a lot. That word was just as confusing as the word “purpose”. If I don’t know what I’m called to do in life than what am I doing with my life? (my inner voice constantly asking this question) I still ask myself this question sometimes when I’m filled with doubt.  But over the years I’ve learned that as believer I have one call, to love God with all my heart, soul and mind, to serve him for all my days and to tell others the good news of Jesus. However, God gives us gifts and affections for things that lead us to either invest our time in or he uses them for different seasons in our life.

      I can’t recall the day I knew I wanted to work and serve young girls. I think that desire and vision grew over time. It grew from my own experiences as a young girl but also from interreacting with younger women. I’d like to say that God has allowed me to speak into the lives of women of whom some I’ve known for a season, others I’ve known for a while and some I just met for a moment. Each one of them were always drawn to me and every time I had a moment with them I felt so much joy. I enjoy hearing women share their stories and encouraging them. I enjoy it enough that it inspires me and makes me feel like finally I found my “calling”.

      I have two things that inspire me, my job and my son Calvin. This week I shared with someone why I’m not a stay at home mom, trust me I’ve thought about it. I went part time at work last year after having Calvin and I tried to budget however I could to be able to stay at home. But I didn’t feel that God wanted that for me in this season, he wanted me for something more. I didn’t desire enough to stay home; when I did desire too it came from fear. Fear of someone else caring for Calvin. Financially we also would have not been able to sustain our family and I missed being at work. Sometimes I wonder if maybe God has been keeping me from staying home in order to keep me from making my son an idol or perhaps its only to prepare me for what he has for me in the future. I will never know, but I do acknowledge that he has given me a heart for youth and women. I desire to help them grow, teach them and love them through every experience of life they go through. Most importantly I want them to know about God, the God that saved me of my own self.

    It’s been hard finding a balance between being a mom and my calling. I spend a lot of time at a high school working with youth and often that can be overwhelming. I find      myself a lot of times being too exhausted to even have the energy to play with Calvin. Weeks like these really make me ask God whether it’s worth being away from my him. But then I have weeks that are amazing, and I have a break through with a student or they ask me a question about God, that’s when I remember why I want to do this, whether it’s for a season or a life time. As a mom I fear that ministry would keep me away from Calvin and that he would resent me for it. Our family is all about ministry, (I did marry the guy that wants to be a Pastor. Ha!)

       My hope is to invite Calvin into what I love to do, and I have. I bring him Around my students, I’ve brought him to the times I’ve led devotionals for young girls and the girls I invest in get to spend time with him. That’s where I think I find balance, when both of the things that inspire me collide. I have the oppurtunity to disciple young people and also the responsibility to care for my son and his soul. Both equally important but I don’t believe I should neglect my responsibilities with my son and family over my calling. They are my first ministry, what good would it be to spend all my time working with youth and helping them grow, if my home is not growing?

       I pray that my time away from Calvin isn’t in vain, I hope that this season would be a time of growth for myself as a mom and a follower of Jesus. Nothing about your calling is easy, it’s sacrificial and takes time that often we don’t want to give up. Trust me, I would often much rather be with Calvin than at work, but this is the season God has called me too. I want to be able to use everything I do to honor him and to encourage others, it’s one of the reasons I started blogging. This season has brought me so much joy but also hard circumstance, praise God that he is faithful enough to walk us through them.

     My encouragement to you, whatever season God has called you too right now embrace it. You are in it for a reason, it serves a purpose whether you see it or not. Nothing about your calling right now should make you feel like you should be doing more. It’s about what are you doing with where you are right now?  If you’re a stay at home mom, you are doing something impactful and investing in your home and children. If you’re a working mom, you’re providing for your family while managing to serve and love them. If you’re a blogger, use your platform to honor God and allow your voice to be heard by others. Whatever you’re doing right now, is exactly what you should be doing.

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A Marriage That Endures

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 My husband and I will make three years married this November. The last few years have felt like the longest years of my life! People weren’t joking when they said that marriage ain’t easy. I think that Ruben and I can agree in saying that this marriage has been hard work, with an emphasis on the word HARD. We’re a very honest couple, and we don’t shy away from telling people how we feel- and especially letting each other know how we feel.

For the last three years, I’ve cried, yelled, cursed, slammed doors, and have had every tantrum that comes with a wife who’s used to running when things get tough. Marriage teaches you a lot about yourself and reveals the things you hide from others.

But in this covenant, there is no hiding. I can’t pick up my bags and run, I can’t fake the funk because my husband knows me. He knows the good, ugly, happy, and sad parts of me- yet he has chosen to love me.

     The crazy part is… I hate running! I get all sweaty, I get tired, and it’s just not something I like doing. But when it comes to confrontation- oh man… I can run. I spent most of my youth running home just to avoid getting into trouble with my mom. At seventeen, I left home trying to avoid feeling the shame of failing to meet my mother’s expectations and when things got hard in relationships, I avoided them or ended them. At the age of 20, I left home again, in order to live a life away from accountability. Till one day I decided that I was tired of running from hardship, and ran straight into God’s arms.

I call this “the surrender”.

       But then I met Ruben, and we started dating. And I thought “ I love this man, I’m in a safe place and he knows everything about me. I’m done with running” ha! and hardship began.

Ruben and I were great friends before we started dating. He’s actually one of the people who spoke into my life when I ended my six years long “on and off” relationship, and became a Christian. Eventually, we started dating and he decided he wanted to marry me, but in between our dating life and marriage, came some difficult trials.

I was scared of getting hurt. I carried baggage from my old relationship, and I was trying to figure out who I was. I also consider myself to be a very independent, strong-minded woman- which can be great sometimes, and terrible in others.  But much of my past played a huge role in our relationship. When Ruben and I would argue, my response would be “I’m done”. If I didn’t “feel” right about our relationship “I’m done” would be my way out. Many insecurities came to light, that I had been holding on too from my past. Ruben then became very insecure about our relationship and himself. Which eventually all led up to us having sex before marriage- and that was one the biggest hardships we’ve had to endure as believers.

    That significant moment only gave me more reasons to run. I wasn’t running because I didn’t love Ruben, I was running from shame. The shame of having sex before marriage when I had vowed to remain pure again until my wedding day. I was angry, and I felt like Ruben did not lead me away from falling into temptation. So I blamed him for all of it, not realizing that the reason why I was angry that my pride had taken a hit- I wasn’t this “ perfect” Christian. I was broken, and God was using this moment to expose much of the ugliness that I had tried to convince myself wasn’t there- but it was.

       But- by his grace, we made it to the altar. We got married… and yet I kept running.

We were both miserable. Our first year was a nightmare set on fire. But God has been in the midst of it all. He’s been present in the times I’ve said I would much rather be alone than married, he was around the times Ruben was knocking on our bedroom door while I wept inside. I know that this marriage has been able to endure hardship because of Him.  I think I’m able to understand the meaning of endurance because of my husband. He’s fought a lot for this marriage, he’ll always be fighting for it and God has shown me true and raw love. The kind of love that chases you as you’re running through the woods into the darkest place you can find and when you get there that person wants to go into the darkness with you until your ready to see the light.

      I remember once hearing a sermon called ” Jesus wants the rose.” Matt Chandler, who was preaching this sermon was telling a story about a time he listened to a pastor preach at a conference and the anger he felt about what he was saying. The pastor started by throwing a rose into the crowd and everyone had to touch and pass it until it got back to him. When he got the rose he held it up and said: ” who would want this?”. The rose was falling apart, damaged, and it looked worthless.  Matt Chandler said, ” I wanted to scream, Jesus wants the rose!”. He continues on with telling his audience ” He wants you!” He wants the rose that’s falling apart and feeling worthless. I remember weeping when he said that. After ending my longtime relationship I grew super insecure about myself and guys. Accepting love from people is very scary, it makes you feel vulnerable and fearful. And if you’re a runner like me,  you’ll start to run. But why are you running? Why are you so afraid of being loved? I think these are questions I often felt like God was asking me. I think for me it’s the part of being real and vulnerable and maybe having someone not embrace you and not endure with you. That is scary.

But God, he knew what he was doing when he allowed Ruben and I to get married. I think that’s the only part that brings me comfort. He chose us, and he is the only one that can keep us together. So if you’re very much like me and you’re still running… stop. God is trying to catch you, embrace you and love you. You know what’s crazy? God loves me more than my husband does, but he loves my husband just as much as He loves me. Because my husband is as broken as I am, we both are runners. I’m not sure I would want to spend the rest of my days running with anyone else but him. I pray that as we enter a new year into this marriage we would grow more in love, endure well, grow in patience and sacrifice more for one another.

You are not too much for anyone, not even a Perfect God. 

Stop running. ( note to self ) 

 

love, 

transparent city mama 


My Journey; #worldbreastfeedingweek

        It’s been 4 months now, Calvin has been growing beautifully and gaining weight. He’s exploring more foods and his high chair never fails to be covered in crumbs and tiny fingerprints of leftover avocado. It’s been 4 months since I stopped pumping. My breastfeeding journey wasn’t easy, it’s one of those mother things I wish could have been different for me. But eventually I acknowledged my reality and after 7 months of pumping I transitioned out. I’d like to say that I became more emotional and physically health. But every so often that little lie in my head sneaks up.. ” you should have tried harder”. While Ruben and I were away on vacation we had a moment where we realized we were running out of formula and that was a big issue. We were in a different country and Calvin can’t just take any formula. And as I stood alone in the kitchen area staring at that almost empty can of formula I said to myself, ” if only I was breastfeeding, this would be much easier”. That’s the first time in a while that I felt like a failure, but if I’m honest I feel that way every time Calvin is pulling on my shirt and someone say ” you want boob ? “ or “oh he must be hungry” and I hear those words and dismiss them with a quick ” Yup” and smile. With this week being #worldbreastfeedingweek I’m sure I’m not the only mother watching all those beautiful mamas displaying their proud pictures of themselves feeding their baby! It’s a beautiful sight and one that many probably wish they could have. I’m sure I’m not the only mother struggling to believe that their decision to stop breastfeeding, never breastfeed or not be able to breastfeed makes them feel less of a mother. But my value as a mother or woman is not determined whether I was sucessful at breastfeeding or not. It does not determine my love for my son or whether I am fit to make good choices for him.

I think very often women (mothers) believe this lie that their journey has to be the same as every mother that meets the “standard” of a good mother, but what really is a ” good” mother ? Or what gives a woman more value than another woman ? I don’t think anything from this world can determine my value as a mother, my value alone comes from Jesus. I am worthy to be a mother because he saw fit that I would be Calvin’s mom. That my decision for not pumping anymore does not determine my love for him. I am a mother of great value and I consider myself to be a great mother because that’s who I believe I am. 

To the mama struggling this week looking at all the wonderful breastfeeding photos, your journey is just as beautiful as any other mom. Whatever your breastfeeding story is doesn’t define how great of a mother you are or how much you love you kids.

I shared my journey 4 months ago, every time I need some encouragement I read it. 

IMG_4192“I’ve been exclusively pumping and supplementing with formula for 7 months now This whole breastfeeding experience has been such a struggle. I remember after giving birth having to pump consistently so that I could bring milk back to Calvin at the NICU. Every drop was celebrated there. While pregnant all I ever heard was how formula shouldn’t be my first option ever. ( never tell any mom this please, it’s often the only option for many women for multiple reasons) The first time the NICU doctor asked me permission to give Calvin formula since my milk wasn’t coming down quick enough I refused it because of all these formula comments, two days later he asked me again hoping for a yes just so they wouldn’t continue pinching Calvin with needles to give him IV and it took that to get me to say yes. I felt shame that I wasn’t producing enough and just kept thinking about other people’s opinions. But my case was different, every baby is different. Then I remember latching Calvin to my boob and crying of the pain, every time I tried I cried. It was until he was two months when he had surgery that the surgeon made me aware that he was tongue tie and that was the reason it’s been so painful. So we clipped his tie and guess what? He wouldn’t latch and my supplies continued to be low. So I bought lactation pills, cookies, teas, oatmeal, pumped non stop and no matter what my milk still what’s enough. Calvin was growing and I wasn’t meeting his milk needs. Honestly, if I didn’t believe in the benefits of Breastmilk and Calvin wouldn’t have been premature, I don’t think I would have tried this hard for this long. So many times I tried to give up, I was emotional and exhausted, I felt like I failed Calvin as a mom. But man, I’ve had one heck of a team cheering me on, my husband, family, C.J’s pediatrician and mommy friends. I am so thankful for them. Calvin is finally eating well and I’m back at my normal routine, which means I can’t spend much time pumping anymore. So this month we are saying goodbye to Mr. Pump and embracing this new way of feeding. “
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To the new mama struggling with breastfeeding, you are a supermama no matter how you feed your baby. 

love, 

Transparent city mama


Different seasons, same friendships

1DE95786-3B7A-4E61-81D8-5B4BA5AE636FWhile I was pregnant I spent a lot of time with different moms. I wanted to be around them and just see their life from an outside perspective. One thing I heard a lot from them was how lonely they felt sometimes. Some shared that their friends don’t come around often or getting an invite to something just seemed like a once and blue thing. The truth is that becoming a parent does change your life, I can’t just pick up and leave anymore. Every plan I make is around Calvin’s time. Sometimes I’m ready to go and he decides that he’s hungry or I take too long and now he wants to nap. Which in the beginning kept me from simply never go anywhere. That stage felt very lonely, yeah I wasn’t invited most places or friends didn’t text often but I was grateful for those that made effort to come by. They understand that I was in a different season, a season that I myself was trying to adjust too.

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Friendship is important overall, but having friendships as a mom is such a sweet gift especially with friends who are in completely different seasons as you. I had so many friends come by just to help with Calvin, sometimes they just watched him while I slept on the couch. They would come by and drop off a meal or just hang out. They kept me informed of the outside world. Ha! It was just the love I needed those first few months of motherhood. One thing I’m learning is that community is precious to our lives. We need it, we were made to be in it with God and his people. But I think sometimes we think that because someone is not in the same season as us… what can we really talk about or have in common?

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Well, you get growth. You get to grow and be part of whatever season your friend is in, at some point they were in the season you are in. I can’t say how thankful I was to spend my singleness around older married women. I learned so much from them but I also got the time to serve them. If you aren’t in a season of motherhood I encourage you to serve a mother especially if she’s your friend and if you are in a season of motherhood invite other women into your life, maybe go grocery shopping, on a lunch date, go to a museum or whatever you guys want. Being a mother should not keep you from enjoying friendships, yes it’s hard hanging with the kids tagging along but trust me you need that time too. Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Today Calvin and I spent the day with my sweet friend Pamela, she’s also my co-worker. Her friendship is so refreshing to me. She has served our family in so many ways and adores Calvin. I love being able to speak into her life and also learning from her. We spent the afternoon at The Pint Shop and grabbed some lunch at a spot in the Meatpacking District.  Just the outing any mama needs. Friendships like Pamela’s have been such a gift to me in this season of motherhood, they remind me why I need friendships in all seasons. To all my friends that have served and love me in this season, Thank you. I am blessed by your friendships.

love,

Transparent city mama. 

“Two people are better than one, because they get more done by working together. If one falls down, the other can help her up. But it is bad for the person who is alone and falls, because no one is there to help. If two lie down together, they will be warm, but a person alone will not be warm.” – Ecclesiastes 4:9-11

 


Mom Guilt; The Working Mom.

     Mom guilt, oh man. I thought guilt was bad, but mom guilt is so much worse. Well, at least that’s what it felt like for me. While I was pregnant with my son Calvin,  I remember telling my husband that I would never be a stay at home mom. I didn’t feel like I was built for it and I struggled with the idea of having to stay home with a baby. It’s just something I wasn’t sure I could handle with my anxiety. 

      Fast forward to 3 months postpartum, I had experienced an early delivery, my son was premature, I spent two weeks in the NICU with him, he was later diagnosed with Pyloric Stenosis ( it causes a blockage of food at the stomach outlet) and he had to get surgery, I was depressed and extremely anxious and after experiencing all of this I had to start preparing myself to go back to work. I had no idea how I was gonna possibly go back without feeling like I was choosing my job over caring for my son. Guilt is a feeling that if you allow it to sink deep in your heart and mind it will paralyze you. So I decided that I wanted to stay home and I took back every word I said every time my husband asked me if I wanted to stay home. Unfortunately staying at home was not an option anymore because we couldn’t afford it. I felt more guilt and bitterness, I felt like the worse mom ever. 

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I took this picture the day before I had to go back to work.

   The time came when I had to head back to work, find Calvin a daycare and figure out how was I going to go about my life moving forward. I remember the night before my first day back to work, I spent the night rocking Calvin to sleeping and crying my eyes out. The next day I got up, got ready and went to work. I could already feel the tears coming the farther I was from him. As soon as I entered the room one of my students greeted me with a hug and an “ I miss you”. She sat at my desk while I put my stuff back into place and she was sharing the latest news on her life. For a moment I forgot why I was sad and remembered why I even wanted to work from the beginning. I love my job, I enjoy working. You see my reason for wanting to stay home came from fear and guilt. Fear that no one would be able to care for Calvin properly and guilt that I was choosing my career over my son. Being a working mom is very often look down upon by society ( one of the many things mom’s judge each other about, but that’s another story) I believe that God has given each one us different gifts and talents to use on this earth. He has given me a heart for youth and working with young girls. Working at a High School gives me that and I love it. Why should I feel like I have to choose between my son and my career? I can have both equally and share my career with my son. I want him to know I value the lives of teenagers, that I want to teach and help them grow. I know that working might keep me from missing out on important moments in my son’s life, but I hope that I would inspire him to pursue whatever makes his heart happy and may he be proud of the work I do.

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One of my beautiful High School Students.

      So to the working mama feeling guilty, you got this! You are no less of a mother because you work. You are no less of a mother because you love your career. You are no less of a mother because you can’t see yourself staying at home. You are no less of a mother because you enjoy alone time. You are no less of a mother for doing something for yourself that inspires you. The working mom and the stay at home mom should be met with praise, two mom’s choosing different ways of working and caring for their families, both making a sacrifice hoping that one day their children would say “ Thank you, mom, for all you’ve done and all that you do.”    

 

love,

Transparent city mama.