What would I say to my 9 year old self?

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“Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story—those he redeemed from the hand of the foe.” Psalm 107:2

Time stood still. The clock didn’t tick. My lungs didn’t inhale another breath of air. My body was moving but my mind froze. This is what trauma does; someway, somehow time doesn’t move forward. I mean, it moves but you’re stuck. Physically your skin ages. The wrinkles around your eyes that creep up like vines when you smile tell the world you’re no longer a child. Your responsibilities speak volumes into the level of adulthood you’ve reached. But emotionally? Emotionally, something didn’t move when the clock struck 12. I was 9 when the force of reality hit me like the titanic striking the iceberg. My security was smothered, my voice was silenced, and my control was stripped from me. Life doesn’t cater to how something will affect you. You have to make a choice once it hits; you can either use it to grow and you allow that thing to develop you or you run, you hide, and you stuff it all deep down in the trenches of your soul. For years, I chose the latter. . .

The thing is when God meets you where you are, He doesn’t leave you the same way He found you. His grace reworks your heart and His love transforms you. His hands mold healing into those deep places that wounds have festered. But the result of past hurts begin to surface in order for Him to work. I’ve learned God reveals to heal. For Him to heal those areas of your life, you will be triggered. But the trigger is what exposes that which needs to be healed. If you are self-aware, you can identify it, dig at it’s root, feel it’s pain, process it, and begin to heal. It never feels good but I can guarantee God is with you through the process as He is with me. Healing is not the goal, it’s the process and the journey. Wholeness is the goal.

As I sat before God this morning, He reminded me of what a classmate said just a few weeks ago. She said while she was in therapy, her counselor asked her, “What would you say to your 6 year old self?” As she shared, tears flowed down my round cheeks. It struck a chord in my own heart and instead of condemning that little girl in me, my soul ached for her. God ushered me this morning to talk to my 9 year old self. I’ll tell the truth. I didn’t want to. I didn’t know what to say. But as He walked me through, I spoke to her. I said:

“It’s not your fault. You are not to blame. . . You are not at fault. You are loved. I love you. . .” 

That’s all that came out. I had nothing more to say. I wish I had brilliant eloquent words that I told her but those are the only words I could say. You’re probably wondering why I chose the age of 9 but that was the turning point for me. I don’t remember much from my childhood. That’s what trauma does but I remember this day to a fault. I remember coming home and all of my things were packed. Everything except my father’s things. Now, I grew up in a Christian home but the truth is it was chaotic. It was unhealthy. And with all this, I loved my parents. I love my parents tremendously now more than ever. I understand now. And by the power of God’s redeeming hand, I now have a beautiful relationship with my father and with my mother. God is bringing wholeness where there were fragmented pieces. Sometimes there needs to be a break down in order for God to build it back up His way that is perfect. If this is the first time you read this, let me tell you, God is mighty redeemer. He can restore that which was broken. He can redeem what was lost. This day, my mother decided she would finally leave my father. She couldn’t take it anymore. I remember looking at my room completely empty except for a crayon on the floor. Like a scene from a movie, I picked it up, walked to my father’s bedroom, grabbed an envelope and wrote “I’m sorry” and put it on his pillow. I thought I was at fault. Now, my “I’m to blame” mentality was already years in the making because of past hurt. So when I had to speak to my 9 year old self, I had to remind her this wasn’t her fault. All those other things before that day, she was not to blame for. I had to tell her that she was loved because I can’t move forward in time, I can’t move forward in my healing today, if she doesn’t know that she was loved. . . 

What would you say to your child self?

 

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Anyway, any way

“When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.”” – Luke‬ ‭19:5‬ ‭NIV‬‬ –

As I walk into 2018, I’m reminded of the story of Zacchaeus. Nothing stands out to me more today than Jesus telling him that He MUST stay at his house. Let that sink in. . . Jesus was intentional about entering into his world, flaws and all. During Jesus’ Ministry, He never made it about Him. He always made it about the person(s) He was ministering to as He did with Zacchaeus.

As I enter 2018, I acknowledge I am broken. I am flawed. I am imperfect. Yet God still loves me anyway. He calls me to Him anyway. He wants to spend time with me anyway. He enters into my home anyway. In any way and every way, anyway, God always seeks to stay at our house; to lift heads, to mend brokenness, to heal wounds, to save by grace, to simply be close; closer than the skin on our bones and the breath in our lungs. . .

I want this to be the prayer of my heart for 2018 and forward: I pray I would put others first as God puts me first when I enter into His throne room. I hope I would be intentional about meeting people where they are and responding to their need in His way and not my own. I pray to love people with His heart & listen with His ears.

With 2018 in front of me and 364 days ahead, I surrender it all at the feet of Jesus. I praise God for the valleys and the mountain tops to come. I praise Him for the losses and the gains, the good and the bad, the victories and the failures; I praise Him in advance because God is always God and even in the struggle, He is there.

I pray this is the year of intentional grace. . .

2017, you were a year of many many lessons. God, thank you. Thank you for the wonderful experiences. Thank you for the blessings. Thank you for listening to my hearts cry every morning. Thank you for the closeness in the grief. Thank you for the growing pains. Thank you for showing me me through your eyes; even if it was difficult. Thank you for molding me and refining me. Thank you for the work in process. Thank you for the healing. Thank you for the stretching that made me feel wiggly. Thank you for it all. Thank you for who You are.

I’ve cried much. I’ve learned much. I’ve hurt much. I’ve loved much. I’ve laughed much. I’ve been blessed much. I’ve been loved much. In 2017, I lived much & learned I have so much to learn . . . With my heart full, I share some of my favorite moments with you beloved. . . . .

In 2017, my relationship with my mother has slowly been mended. There has been much healing, much growth, and much love. As much as I don’t want to admit it, I’ve learned I’m very much like her. Through accepting that, I’ve seen how beautiful and wise she really is. Thank you my sweet, kind, and patient mami. Eres mi paño de lágrimas y mi vaso de fuerza.

In 2017, I got even closer with my Sister Sister, if that’s even possible. You are Gods greatest gift to me. Simply, thank you.

In 2017, I learned the value of being present in the moment with those you love. Each time I wanted to hurry through a moment because of everything I had to do, I heard the Holy Spirit whisper to remain still & take it all in. I learned to be intentional with my family who teach me most how to love with the love of Christ.

In 2017, I learned the true meaning of presence. I understood how to love with a hug.

In 2017, I learned when God gives you a position of leadership, it exposes your faults, your weaknesses, your imperfections, and your shortcomings. But where I fell short, God made up the distance. I learned He exposes to heal.

I learned the beginning of what it means to be a leader: it means to call out purpose, influence greatness, kickstart the healing of others, and love unconditionally when its most difficult. Lord, thank you for these amazing children of Yours You have entrusted into my care. I do not take it lightly even when I doubt why.

In 2017, I learned how to truly value friendship & blessings. I was blessed beyond measure with an amazing roommate and beautiful sisters in Christ.

In 2017, I learned why my name means “shining light” because God intentionally created me to shine His light in the darkness but I have to be willing to walk into where it’s darkest. . .

In 2017, I learned to embrace a part of my story & began learning how to live loved. . . Thank you for penning this Lord.

Happy new year beloved💛

Life Planner

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Three years ago, my sister got me my first planner. To be honest, I didn’t know what the hype was but the moment, I opened it up and started planning out my days and decorating each week, I fell in love! I decided to do this post because so many girls always ask me where my planner is from and it always brings me so much joy to let them in on my planner addiction. Fellow planner addicts know you just can’t stay shut about it. 🙂

My very first planner was the Erin Condren one and I thought I would never trade her in. But these planners are on the pricier side ranging from $50-$55 so the following year, I was on the hunt for a functional, pretty, and cheaper planner. This is when I found The happy planner which range from $20-$35. I loved her too! But of course, my inner planner addiction was just searching for something more. Something that was more interactive and christian based. This is when someone told me about The horacio printing planner. This planner has genuinely been my favorite thus far!!!

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When I first got her in the mail, I was obsessed. I fell in love immediately and couldn’t wait to find something, anything, to write in the pages. The planner I got is The lovely planner. It’s hardcover with gold coil binding and opens up to a little message from the creator Polly, which is super cute. But what I love so much about this planner is how interactive it is!

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Before going into the actual week-to-week and month-to-month planning section, there are pages dedicated to exercises of dream planning, a yearly bucket list, a refocus cloud, generosity planning, a heart check, and even a list for your fears. This planner got me thinking about my present spiritual life and how it’s reflecting on my everyday daily life. I was able to sit down and pray through my God-given dreams and goals to visualize how to accomplish them. But what was even greater, is how this planner includes a page where I can write out what is distracting me from putting forth the action to achieve my dreams and goals. I loved how where you list your fears, you can also write out a verse to counteract that fear because the truth is, we need reminders. A professor once told my class that God doesn’t help you remember what you first haven’t forgotten so this planner helps me remember. It doesn’t just help me keep track of classes, appointments, goals, homework, papers, to-do lists, exams, birthdays, and important dates but it helps me remember the things that truly matter; the people I love, the things that influence my spiritual life, the dreams I have, and the things I should do more of. It helps me prioritize and manage my time wisely without overemphasizing my schedule but what God wants me to do with the time He’s given me.

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I love how it also includes monthly praise reports! This is so essential because it helps build a heart of gratitude and praise which is crucial for a healthy christian life. It also has bible verses on each page which is a major plus.

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If there is one thing I love most about this planner is how minimal it is because you can just decorate away to your hearts content. I love stickers, washi tape, and colorful pens so this is great. I get my stickers and notepads from michaels, etsy, and target. I get all of my washi tape from michaels as well.

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If you’re looking for an interactive, christian based, functional, pretty planner then I highly suggest the horacio printing planner! Not to mention that 10% of ALL sales goes towards fighting human trafficking efforts; I mean, how awesome is that!

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I recommend this planner to moms-on-the-go, students, people with super busy schedules, the average 9-5 working girl, and anyone who loves planning! This planner is for everyone 🙂

Holy Vision


“For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” Romans 8:24-25

 

Sometime last year, I decided to completely make over my room. I had no one to help me but I was determined to put in the hard work and get the job done. I went to home depot and bought everything I needed. I bought the paint, paint brushes, the sheetrock, sandpaper, and painters tape. Needless to say, I got started right away. I tore down the walls to my closet, patched up holes in the walls, and prepared the room to be painted. What I thought would have taken a day or two turned into about a month of work. Although I wanted to quit, I had this hope of what my room would eventually look like. I couldn’t see it just yet but I had hope in the hard work I was putting in. I knew that eventually my hopes would become reality. I knew that my vision would become concrete because I hadn’t lost hope. Thankfully, everything turned out exactly how I thought it would. I had a beautiful room and I felt so accomplished. Now every time I walk into my room, I’m reminded that being able to see things before they come to be is so powerful. There is power in seeing things beyond your means.

In 2 Kings 6, we meet a prophet named Elisha and his servant. Now Elisha was a man of God that often got into trouble for speaking the truth. This is exactly what happened in this passage. Elisha is being hunted down by the king of Aram for warning him of an enemy attack. The King hated the fact that Elisha knew things that he didn’t. So he sent his army to seize Elisha. When Elisha’s servant woke up the next morning, he went outside and saw this huge army approaching them! Immediately he was overwhelmed with fear and cried out to Elisha. I can imagine him screaming, “Elisha, do you see this hugongous army? What are we gonna do? They’re gonna kill us!” Of course the servants reaction is normal. His fear is coming from a very real place because there’s a very REAL army approaching them. But Elisha’s reaction is nothing short of amazing. He goes to his servant and says in verse 16, ‘ “Don’t be afraid!” Elisha told him. “For there are more on our side than on theirs!” ‘

How in the world does Elisha know there’s even an army with them? The bible only mentions him and his servant. But Elisha had the greatest gift anyone can have; he had holy vision. Elisha saw the potential possibility in an impossible situation. He didn’t allow his situation to taint his holy vision. In the middle of a battlefield, Elisha saw beyond his circumstances. He saw the possibility of winning an impossible battle because his eyes were not centered on the situation. He had hope that extended his boundaries. In 2 kings 6:17 it says, “Then Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes and let him see!” The Lord opened the young man’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire.” When Elisha prayed for his servant, his patience superseded his servants fear.

We need to learn to see the potential of what people and things could be, instead of trapping them in our belief of their current state. That is having holy vision; hoping for things not seen. Elisha could have easily dismissed his servant, but instead he prayed that he too would have holy vision. Because of this, they were both able to see the great army of God fighting on their behalf. Having holy vision is where the SUPER collides with the natural. Its where impossible situations turn into Gods canvas for His greatest surprises.

When you have hope in things not seen, you see the possibility of something before it comes to be. Just like Elisha, before the battle even began, he saw INTO the future. Because when God allows you to see His army fighting for you, you know the enemy that is against you will NOT win. When you have holy vision, you have INsight into the future because your faith and your hope gives you 40/40 vision. You see things that aren’t YET there. The key word is yet because eventually, Gods proVISION will come to pass.

In Hebrews 11:1, it says, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hope is a very powerful thing. It allows us to have holy vision because we anticipate the arrival of something we want or need. Just like Elisha, we are able to see beyond our resources. Hope is when we wait for healing for our mother with cancer while she’s still going through chemotherapy. Its when we wait for financial stability while still in debt. We have not yet seen these things but we hope that it’ll come to pass because we see the possibility before it even comes. We see the great army before the battle even begins. We see the finances before they even come rolling in. You see the freedom even before you are free. When you have holy vision you see the greatness of God even before you see God himself. But most of all, you believe in God and hope for His almighty power.

Let Us Pray

Father God, I thank you that you are the author of my hope. I thank you that you are the one that gives holy vision when I can’t see beyond my circumstances. So I come before you asking you to infect me with your hope in things unseen; that it would even be contagious to those around me. Help me have a vision like Elisha, that even though I’m surrounded by an impossible situation, I know you are the one that is fighting for me. So I ask that you would give me the vision to see your hand working in my life.

In Jesus’ name, Amen
With love & many Blessings,

Neli