Learning to Dream Again.

I am a dreamer.  I love to sit, think and just dream of the many things I want to do.  Dream of experiences in my life that are bigger than me.  Dream about enjoying life to the fullest.  Dream about my kids and how their lives will unfold.

But on that Monday night in October 2013 my world changed completely.

My dreams died. 

My ability to dream died. 

My desire to dream died.

For months I felt dead. Dreaming was is a huge part of my DNA and I couldn’t muster up the energy to dream, even about my little baby girl that was coming into the world. It was hard, really hard. I often found myself at a loss for words because I wanted to just spill all the dreams I had known but I knew all of those dreams were dead.

For months I tried to dream. I went back to what I knew, my old dreams, the old safe places and tried to dream again.

I was stuck. 

In my heart I wanted nothing more than to sit and dream.  Not just for me but for what God has for me. Dreams for my kids. Dreams for my future. Dreams for ministry. Yet, I knew in order for me to dream again I had to allow my heart to be available again.

I had to be available {def: ready for use} for my Jesus to start to spark those dreams into the places that had died. I knew I couldn’t allow him into those places if I was still wounded. So I began to allow Him to heal my heart, the place where my dreams began.

As months and months and months went by I worked, prayed, sought Godly wisdom, studied the Word and then prayed more and more.  I started to realized my heart was changing. The heart that was worn, beaten, broken, dead and not able to dream was slowly starting to heal.  This heart was starting to see life different.

So I took a risk…. I started to dream again. This time my dreams were different. I started to dream from my heart.  A heart that was hard after my Heavenly Father’s love.  A heart was after His heart. A heart that wanted to please Him first. I knew these dreams would be different, they were not mine, they were His. I knew these would be safe dreams for His future for my life.

I’m starting to see my dreams come true.

One by one. 

The dreams of my heart.  The ones that He has given me.  It’s a slow process and one I will continue to walk through the rest of my life but a beautiful one when you choose to dream the dreams your Heavenly Father has for you.

A dream... now a reality. I bought a house!

A dream… now a reality. I bought a house!

For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it. I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. Isaiah 43:19

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Learning To Be A Single Mom.

IMG_20141031_175829872Single Mom…. Ahhhh – I hate despise that phrase.  I struggled with the word SINGLE until I was married at 27 years old. Try going to Bridal  Bible College and not having one date your entire college career, never mind getting married. The old saying was “ring by spring or your money back”.  Well neither of those things came true for me.

Entering ministry as a single woman in the 90’s was frowned upon. I remember sending my resume to churches who said they only wanted males or married people to apply just so I could call them to follow up and tell them I was a SINGLE WHITE FEMALE! {lol…}

Here I am 17 years later {eek, I’m old} and I’m single again expect this time with MOM attached to the end. Single + mom + ministry is NOT something you see everyday.

Just learning to accept being a single mom has been a challenge for me.  A friend recently told me (in love) that maybe I need to accept the fact that I am a single mom. What? Accept that I’m alone, exhausted, lonely, tired, drained, angry because I have to do this by myself? Needless to say I did not want to hear that. Single has always been filled with negative definitions in my mind.

I hated the fact that I rarely dated and was single till I was 27.  Single meant I was lonely. When I was single I didn’t feel like I fit into the “married” world where I lived. Single meant I wasn’t able to experience what married people were experiencing. {yeap… that’s what I’m talking about}. Being single just felt bad to me.

When my friend told me to accept being a single mom all of those same feelings rushed back into my heart. Lonely, out of place, sad, scared…..

Learning Accepting how to be a single mom is hard. It’s hard to accept that you’re it. When your babies are sick in the middle of the night it’s on you. When you’re so sick you’ve passed out on the bathroom floor… it’s on you. When your ready to leave to take one to school and the other one poops her pants… it’s on you.

YOU ARE IT.       

And that’s okay. 

Being a single mom isn’t a curse. It’s actually a blessing. I’m learning how great my influence is on my children. When the late nights come (and they are often right now) I have the privilege to wake up and soothe my crying babies. When one of my babies gets the stomach bug and doesn’t make it to the bathroom… I’m thankful that I’m there to clean it up (while gagging of course). When my kids have questions, I’m first one they ask. When it’s time for bed, I get to read and pray with them. For just those things I am blessed. {#blessedmamma}

It’s exhausting, overwhelming, the most taxing thing you will ever do but boy is it the most rewarding thing you’ll experience.

Single mamma, I don’t know what kind of week you’ve come from or you’re walking into. I don’t know how many late nights you’ve had. I don’t know how stressed you are about your finances or what your relationship is like with your children’s father.

Yet, I do know that accepting the privilege to be a single mom is a choice. It’s a choice to see God’s beauty, love and grace in the most precious, life giving and energy zapping living little people that call us “mommy”.

This is a rough road we are on filled with pot holes, bumps, bends and probably a wreck or two but accept the calling God has placed on you to be the {single} mommy to your children. IMG_20150111_192019918

Proverbs 31 (MSG)

 When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say, and she always says it kindly.  She keeps an eye on everyone in her household, and keeps them all busy and productive. Her children respect and bless her.

My Fear of Intimacy

f8736643ebc1f310f36b0e420951f96769d03fd7943a95231ea07b784c93bf9fIntimacy. A word that has been distorted by the world. It’s been used and played out in perverted, sexual ways. A word that God meant for our freedom yet I found myself in bondage to it.

I remember when my husband (soon to be ex-husband) shared his concerns with my lack of intimacy. I didn’t completely understand the depth of what he meant. Yet, as I started to evaluate my life it was true.

I had been hurt.

I had been disappointed.

I had been crippled by others reactions and/or interactions with me. 

To look at me you would never realized the deep things I struggled with because on the outside I was open, raw and what I thought was authentic. Always vulnerable and willing to share myself, my downfalls, celebrations and things I had learned in my life.

This was different.

I knew my fear of intimacy was not about where I was going but where I had been. My past, my desire for approval and my hidden weaknesses.

This past Sunday at church, our pastor spoke about this. (Listen Here). He spoke about the shepherds and their fear of intimacy. Intimacy he said can also be said as “in to me see”. Afraid of allowing people to get close to us.

Over the last year and half I’ve been working hard on choosing to be intimate. With this choice comes a risk. The risk of getting hurt. The risk of revealing that I don’t have it all together as much as it may seem. The risk of no one approving of me, my choices or my intentions.

Wow – big stuff. {sigh}

But I made this choice because we are not called to walk alone. We are not supposed to do life alone. God brings us friends to help carry the load. To walk closely beside us. To allow us an experience what his true intimacy is for our lives.

At times it’s been painful to be intimate because I open myself up… completely for others to see and experience. I’m learning to do this carefully and with the right people who will guide and guard me while encouraging me to grow in the areas where I’m weak.

I can honestly say allowing intimacy into my life has brought a new level of freedom. It has brought a depth to my relationship with God that I cannot describe and has opened my eyes not only to my pain but the pain others are experiencing.

I hope you find someone to be intimate with, not just a spouse (although that is good and important) but someone (of the same sex) who can help to carry your load as you walk through this life.

 Life is about relationships the rest is just details.  – Gary Smalley

 Blessings Friend!

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. 10 If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. 11 Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? 12 A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Power of GIRLfriends.

IMG_20141116_115358960This past weekend I was given a chance to travel with some of my girlfriends to Arizona.  This trip has been in the works for over five months and as the days drew closer the anticipation of our time together was more than any of us could stand.  We were Voxing daily on what we were wearing, jokes, special secrets we didn’t know about one another. I felt like a little girl again getting to spend the weekend with my bff!

We met before sunrise on Thursday morning and started our weekend. When we arrived in Phoenix I was the first one to throw off my boots, roll up my jeans and put my sandals on. I think that was my first sign of freedom for the weekend.  After we got our rental van and headed to the house the music was blaring, laughter… lots of laughter, conversation and of course snacks! I knew this was going to be a special memory filled weekend.

See girls, growing up and much into my twenty’s and thirties I didn’t really care for “girlfriends”. I was more of a guys girl.  I was blunt, straight forward and very to the point.  I didn’t care for the cattiness or drama that girls seemed to bring with them. So, I hung with guys and usually one girl here or there and I was okay with that.

It wasn’t until a few years ago when I realized that I was missing something.  I had a void in my life that my husband, kids or work could not fill. This void was not about my relationship with Jesus but my lack of relationships with girlfriends.  I had pushed girls out of my life so much that I really didn’t have any.  I found myself longing for friendships that were meaningful, fun, yet challenging.

I had no idea where to look for them.  How could I find a girlfriend (never mind a few of them) to be a “real” friend. Someone to listen to me, give me advice and help me see a different side of things when I just couldn’t.

Through this journey I realized I stopped looking.

I stopped being vulnerable.

I stopped allowing myself to be a friend.

Ouch! It wasn’t them… it was me. I was so full of expectation I wouldn’t allow myself to anticipate how fulfilling a GIRL friendship could be. Over the last few years God has totally brought me some of the best girlfriends.

These girls have helped me pack, unpack, clean my house.  They have brought meals to my family. Walked me through the birth of my baby girl, cared and loved on my son.  They have given endless words of encouragement, Biblical truth and love. They have held me accountable and challenged me on things that in the end have made me a better person. These girlfriends have been a part of my healing.

I know the struggle of feeling alone.  I know the deep desire for friendship. It’s real, it’s often painful.  Yet, when God brings those friendship that are truly gifts from him there is nothing more beautiful.

“As iron sharpeners iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” Proverbs 27:17

I’m praying for you if you’re struggling with finding a girlfriend. I know the struggle, friend. 

I. GAVE. UP.

I. GAVE. UP.  I did, I threw in the towel and just gave up. But…

I didn’t did have a choice.

This is where I found myself.  Hopeless at a crossroads of which way to go. I stood for what seemed like years and looked at both roads trying to figure out which way would be the better path to choose?

Featured imageIf I went to the right I was sure I would feel better because I would get everything out I needed to.  Express all emotions.  Lay it out on the table for all to see and hear.  Bear my feelings, pain, rage so raw and open you would just know it and hear it!

Turning left seemed logical.  Keeping peace.  Guarding my words.  Going with the flow.  Not really showing how I truly felt or the pain I was really in. Pretending I was happy.  Playing make believe in this world I was living.  Putting a fictitious smile on my face. Living in false realities seemed so much easier than living in my real reality.

I was so confused. I didn’t know which way to go. 

So I GAVE UP. 

I thought I would feel so lost, alone, desperate when I gave up. Don’t kid yourself. I had have many days of desperation.  Many days of insuppressible fear, sadness, anger and anguish.  But I had more peace than I knew what to do with. (Well, not really, I knew what to do with it).

When I gave up my ways, my directions and my desires I found myself wanting to know more of God’s ways, directions and desires.  Wasn’t his ways, directions and desires better for me anyway?

As much as I knew that I often find myself back at that crossroads wanting to make that sharp right or sharp left again just to GET IT ALL OUT!  Shout it from the roof tops, I’m GOING RIGHT! Yet, I know those roads don’t lead me the way my God wants me to go.

So everyday I have to remind myself that I. GAVE. UP.

I stopped trying to find my own way and knew God’s way is perfect. 

God’s way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection. Psalm 18:30 

I gave up my directions for my life and choose to embrace the way he was leading me.

The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring. Isaiah 58:11

I continue to surrender my desires to the Lord knowing that he knows whats best for me.

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

So in the end I found I really wasn’t giving anything up. I was actually gaining a whole lot!

“So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world”   1 Peter 1:6-7

Tears.

You’ve kept track of my every toss and turn through the sleepless nights.  Each tear entered in your ledger, each ache written in your book. Psalm 56:9 (msg)

It has been over a year.  A year and 2 weeks to be exact when my world ended…. for a while. It was a Monday night when I was told my marriage was over. The weeks and months to follow were the hardest emotional roller coaster I have ever been on.  Having no idea it would ever end.

October, November and December (and the many months that followed) were the longest months of my life filled with deep sorrow, pure heartache and tears that seemed to never end.  I wonder how I could cry so much. I would think everything was okay then I could burst into tears, uncontrollable tears.  I cried so much I began to learn what the temperature and texture of my tears meant.

tearsAt times I could cry very warm, almost hot tears. These warm tears would rush down my cheeks and I often found myself collapsed on the floor crying. These tears were the hardest to cry.  As I’ve laid crying I began to learn what these tears represented. This was the literal feeling of someone pulling my heart from my chest.  These tears were the death of things in my life.  The dying of dreams, relationships, memories, hopes.  Each time I cried those warm heart broken tears I hoped that would be the last time I would experience them. But, it wasn’t.

There are the tears that were followed with screams of anger and rage.  The times I would drive in my car and pound my steering wheel with all I had and banging my dash board hoping I wouldn’t break anything.  I would scream so loud and long over and over again till my throat hurt because the tears weren’t enough to help me through the pain I was experiencing.  Oh I knew if those tears could talk they would be screaming four letter words. I knew I was screaming them at times.

My favorite tears were the ones that were of sorrow. Sorrow for the mistakes I made, sorrow for the life my children were now given not by choice. Sorrow because this isn’t fair.  The tears that God would gently remind me that life isn’t fair.  Tears that allowed me to surrender my will, my kids, my life, myself to my Lord.

There was no other way.  This road I am walking is unmanageable without the Lord. These tears are worthless without God’s promises of redemption, grace and forgiveness.

See I didn’t stay in my tears. I didn’t allow my sorrow and pain to define me. I refused to let my choices or those that I had no control over define my future or who I was going to become. So I surrendered…. willingly.

This is where my journey of finding grace began.

“He has made everything beautiful in it’s time.” Ecclesiastes 3:11

His Promises and My Faith

Hello Friends….

With some new (temporary) responsibilities at work I am unable to write weekly.  I have to say I miss it.  I long for the days to return that I’m able to sit behind the computer and let my fingers type the words, phrases and ideas that swirl around in my brain.  

Until I can get back to blogging regularly I’m hoping to write little bits here and there. I read this verse today, then the whole chapter, studied it and was challenged.  Maybe you will be too.  

Hebrews 11:1

“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.”

jess birthday

Flash back to 1985!

I turned 37 years old a few months ago {eek}.  I love birthday’s.  I love celebrating.  I love cake.  I love presents. I love making my birthday a week long celebration. The anticipation of my birthday never gets old.

Growing up my parents would always have special signs, balloons and presents waiting for me as I woke up on my birthday morning.   The anticipation of what I knew to expect and the element of surprise were woven into each birthday.

My faith is like that – anticipation and surprise.

The anticipation that God is faithful and he is who he says he is.

The surprise of not knowing what exactly will come or when it will come.

Faith is the confidence based on past experience that God’s new and fresh surprises will surely be ours.

He will do what he says he will do.

Believe that God will fulfill his promises even if we don’t see those materializing.  That is true faith.  My hearts desire is to always see these things come true yet trusting God that I may never see the fullness of where my faith will take me.

Reading this reminded me that holding to the promises that God has spoke to me doesn’t mean I will see each one come true.  My faith in God’s promises is that… faith is  “he will do what he says he will do.”

I had faith each birthday as a child that cards, signs and balloons would be waiting for me on my birthday.  I knew those things would be hung, blown up and given to me.  I also had a variety of surprises through the years.

Faith is not just what you know but what you trust.  

Additional Thoughts: 

  • Read Hebrews 11 and take notes on how faith was lived out in many lives throughout the Bible. 
  • What promises has God spoken to you?  Have you lost faith in the promises he has made? 
  • Sit quietly in God’s presence and allow him to reassure you that he will do what he has promised you. 

O.K. in Silence…

Atlantic-Ocean-Sunrise

S  I  L  E  N  C  E.

If there is anything that makes me extremely uncomfortable it’s those awkward moments of – silence.  You know what I’m talking about; when you’re in a conversation and everyone just stops talking or you meet someone and suddenly realize you have nothing else to say.  Silence is deadly*, or at least that is how the old saying goes.

Or is it? Silence is more than just the awkward moment when everyone stops talking.  Silence is not getting the answers I want when I want.  Silence is not understanding why I don’t have answers to my questions.  Silence is being still in the presence of God just sitting and waiting for him to speak to me.

I am learning that silence is not just about hearing, it’s about knowing.  In the silent moments I experience it goes beyond noise or answers.  It’s being okay with not knowing  – just trusting.

Learning to trust during the silent times of my life can often be the most difficult.

I want answers.  I want to trust what I don’t understand and I don’t understand what I can not hear.

Lately God is teaching me to be okay in the silence.  

The answers are not always mine to hear.  

Not always mine to know.

Not always mine to comprehend.  

This is where trust comes in.

What it really boils down to is that I’m uncomfortable with trust not silence.  I have to trust the silence.  Trust the unknown.  Trust the quietness of  not having control over the next steps.

How strong is my faith and relationship in God that I’m okay in the silent times?

Even in the silence (awkward or not) I’m going to trust that the answers I’m looking for are in Him.  The voice I’m longing to hear is His.  The stillness is an opportunity for me to sit at my Father’s feet and lean into him just as the little girl that I am.

Extra Thoughts: 

  • What answers are you looking for in your life?
  • What areas of your life today do you need to “be okay” in the silence?
  • How can your silent times help you to learn to trust on God?
  • In what area is God specifically asking you to trust him in the silence?

* FYI: The real saying is “Silence is Golden”… 

Faithful Readers… I’ve recently taken on some extra responsibility at my job.  My desire is to continue to write as time allows.  Thank you for reading and following me through “The Journey”.  – Jess – 

Thirsty Thursday…. James 4:7

thirsty thursdayThirsty Thursday…I get thirsty! I love to drink ice cold, almost frozen water.  I also love those new Coke machines – the choices are endless! I not only crave refreshing drink but diving into the Word of God.  During Thirsty Thursday’s I want to share my insights, thoughts, and findings with you.  I would love for you to share your findings with me too! Welcome to Thirsty Thursday! 

This week’s THIRSTY THURSDAY will be a vlog.. A vlog is a video journal: enjoy!

James 4:7 NIV

Submit yourselves to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 

When the Superhero Dies

For My Girlfriends…

This blog has been churning in my head for days and nights.  Not sure if you can relate.

wallpaper_supergirl04CONFESSION:  I’ve grown up with this desire to be Supergirl.  In my eyes Supergirl had it all!  Alluring looks, six pack stomach, plump breasts and not to mention sexy red hot knee boots.  The thought of having as much superpower as Superman but the capturing looks of Supergirl is enticing.

Honestly, I didn’t know who Supergirl was until I met my husband.  I had never read a comic book or watched comic type cartoons.  I did however have this innate desire to conquer all, finish strong and look great while doing it.

This desire came to a halt as I drove to work one morning chatting with my husband.  What started as a peaceful conversation ended in an explosion of words.

The Supergirl in me felt like I had encountered the worst kryptonite ever.  The kryptonite slowly crawled into my heart seeping up into my  mouth only to erupt like a volcano of projectile vomit.

Our conversation ended abruptly, I was in shock.  What did I say?  How did I allow those things to come out of my mouth?

The Supergirl inside of me died that day.

I realized that I couldn’t do it anymore.  I couldn’t keep up this “super” persona.  The dishes, laundry, cleaning, working, writing, mentoring, lawn, friends, family, bills…. it was too much and everything had pilled up.

As much as I thought I wanted to be Supergirl – I didn’t.

I didn’t want to do it all.  

I didn’t want to be it all.

I just want to be me, Jess Vega the daughter God desires me to be.

That day I realized that accepting help is okay.  I realized that I don’t have to prove to anyone that I’m “super” at anything but what God calls me to be.

His daughter.

Adam’s wife.

Antonio’s mom.

Allowing my husband to see that this six pack well… it’s more like a small keg.  These plump breasts well…  are just droopy.  Those red hot sexy knee boots… I still love them!

Girlfriends… we need help.  None of us are Supergirl (no matter how much you work out).  God designed your marriage to be a partnership – working together for one common goal – your family.

I was reminded a very important lesson that day.

My words can hurt.

My actions can hurt even more.

It’s my choice how I choose to live my life.

I love my husband, our family and each day God gives us together.  Today, I choose to use words that are uplifting, encouraging and loving.  I choose to show actions that will bring honor, love and respect to the one whom I said “for better or worse”.

“May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”   Psalm 19:14 NIV