Thursday, February 28, 2013


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My husband gifted me with an Iphone this month. I must admit, I wasn't very fond of it and saw no use for it. A couple of weeks later, I cannot believe how I've lived without a smartphone for 31 years. 

I literally only sit at the computer to write in this little blog. Everything else I do through that neat little thingamagiga. Check emails, read Bible plans, connect on facebook, send messages to my friends, read's all so...easy.

But one of the highlights has been accessing instagram. I simply love it. Maybe it is the photo major in me. Maybe bad grammar drives me away from facebook too often. Maybe I'm just a firm believer of an image really being worth more than a thousand words.

So I decided to spend the month of March posting instagram images with a Psalm reference for each day. First of all, because  I believe I need to get a break from writing. This blog is a form of therapy and I feel like I've been spilling so many beans lately and thinking faster than I type, that I really just need to process some things. And give it some time. Accept God's timing. Stop pushing it. 

Secondly, because I just really like instagram and want to enjoy it. That's all. Join me tomorrow, won't ya?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

All Praise Him

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I am a superficial praiser.

There, I said it.

When things are going well, I am all about praising Jesus in public. When Hillsong comes out on my Ipod, there is no traffic that can damper my mood and stop me from singing. When I get a chorus stuck in my head I will chant it over and over again, for hours Our God, is an awesome God, He reigns, from Heaven above with wisdom, power and love, our God is an awesome God.

But when things don't go well....
When I forget to turn on the radio...
When I am just *too busy*....

I grow silent. I let the silence consume me. And silence doesn't stay alone for long. Soon, worry comes. Fear comes. Anxiety comes. And the more they take over my mind and my heart, the further I drift from praising.

The other day, my Message Remix: Solo devotional included singing and dancing a worship song to God. As I sat alone in my living room at 6am, while my husband slept upstairs, my first thoughts were you have got to be kidding me.

Just like that. It actually scared me, how much praise had gone down in my priority list. The guilt came and the do I really have to questioning began. Couldn't I just read, think, pray and live today's devotional skipping that part?

I am sure I could. But seeing my Ipod, which was always with my husband, on the kitchen counter made me compromise. So I chose an upbeat song and started singing to this song. Turns out I cannot just sing to it, and pretty soon, I was accompanied by my dogs who surely thought I was crazy in dancing and jumping on the living room floor.

And you know what? It felt good. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Running on empty

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There are times in which I am ready to throw in the towel. I am done, I learned my lesson, let's move on.  But it turns out that God's timing is not like mine. Not at all....

So as I sit and pray and go about my day with a mentality that is just waiting for deliverance, it's easy to overlook God's sustaining love. 

I could rationalize that I want this for His Glory. To spend more time in His Word. To connect to sister bloggers around the world. To focus on His praise. And I honestly have plans for all that, as soon as I get a bit more of downtime, I'll increase my God-time. I'll focus more on my husband. I'll take better care of my house. I'd do all these things, if only I had more time.

But it turns out I don't need more time. I need a shift in perspective. I need to be made aware of what I truly need:

His grace is enough.

When I am reminded of that, like Paul, I get a second wind. I can iron clothes on a Sunday morning. I can find time for God during my lunch hour. I can prepare a slow cooked meal for my husband even though it means I need to get up extra early. I learn again what it is to serve wholeheartedly.

Except for the gym. That grace I am still struggling with....but I guess that makes me human. 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

(in)courage community groups

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Right now I am a non-active part of a group. I've been struggling with my schedule, with extra job pressure and physical demands which make me come home at night ready to shower and go to bed, and even struggling with credit card issues of my amazon account. So instead of being able to tell you about my book club, which I am so happy to be a part of and honestly can't believe I am a member of a book club (!), I get to tell you only about the groups themselves.

Just because I haven't gotten my life organized enough to take part, doesn't mean you can't. (in)courage is an awesome community of women, and if you have any small thoughts about maybe possibly liking it just a bit, I promise you will.

Check them out! There are plenty of groups to choose from!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Three strikes and you're out!

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Lysa TerKeurst's Made to Crave book made quite an impression on me. And although I felt that most of it would be food related, I learned a lesson during my quitting process that shocked me. Her reflection on how the enemy works was spot on, and I was once again thankful for having the knowledge to fight this battle.

If you got the impression yesterday that my quitting kerfuffle was a simple one, make no mistake, my friend. It was a long time coming, and it involved countless tears and many moments in which I sat on the floor with my head on my hands asking God why was he making me go thorough this. So let me tell you some more:

Lysa's book is fabulous, and it really changed my relationship with food. But the pivotal part that I took from it was her explanation of sin based on 1 John 2:15-16

For everything in the world- the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does - comes not from the Father but from the world

She breaks down all three points brought up here, and if you want to read through them, I really suggest you get the book, because I won't give someone else's milk for free. But let me tell you how satan attempted to get me to back down from my God-given direction:

The boasting of what he has or does

The initial reaction of one of my employers when I said I quit, was something I had been waiting a whole year to hear. Please don't. We need you. We won't find someone like you. This school is lost without you.

The whole time I was thinking you're right about that. Until I remembered Lysa's words. Ouch. I fought that attack the only way I knew how, humbling myself. I made an enormous list of all my shortcomings for the job. I detailed how my lack of experience had made me second guess myself and my staff. I described how I was horrible at bossing people, and had no people management skills. And then I began to paint a picture of what a true fantastic coordinator would be, and how I was miles away from that. 

Lust of the eyes

The next step was for her to play hardball with me. What do you want? Anything, we'll get. More staff. More money. A different job description. Think it through, and come back to me, we'll meet whatever your needs are.

That's below the belt for me. I am someone who truly struggles with sense of security, and as soon as she started talking, salary figures and extra vacation time started popping in my head. It was ugly, really. For a split second, I was ready to take full advantage of what I "deserved". Which is why I had to stand my ground and just answer it's not about that. Over, and over again. 

Cravings of the sinful man

The last attack was the worst, and it made me feel like Eve in the garden. I was resolute that my only craving could be to honor God, and it was done, I had finally made my decision. When my boss called me an hour later to insist yet again on the other two issues and saw I was still firm, she appealed to my Christian values. You have to put yourself in our shoes, you are abandoning us. That cannot be the right thing to do.

And that one actually got me thinking. Should I hold off until June? Should I commit to staying until we found a replacement, no matter how long it took? Was I misinterpreting God's plan for my life? I could hear it clearly.... 

Did God really say....?

Which is why I am so sure that this was the right thing to do. The more I feel attacked, the more I am certain this is for the glory of God!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Big news

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So yesterday I gave you some background info, without actually divulging what is going on. Tricky, aren't I? But if you know me at all or managed to pay attention to what I was sharing, you can probably guess what happened.

In the last couple of weeks I've been realising how I still haven't had the guts to just do it. Quit. Trust the Lord completely. Act crazy, in the name of His promises. So on Friday, after a few incentives from everywhere - circunstances, husband, problems at work - I did.

According to Brazilian work laws, the company can ask an employee to work a 30 days notice, which the employee is not forced to fulfill. I really, really, really didn't want to do it, but I was reminded by a good friend of mine that this is the Christian thing to do.

Which means that officially, as of March 8th I'll be unemployed. And completely comfortable with it. 

The funny thing? Last year my husband had a salary plus commission. He had a wide range of possible salaries, but always between specific figures. About a month ago, he quit his job to work with a friend - for commission fees only. Which means that if he sells nothing in a month, he gets nothing in that month. 

Somehow, instead of freaking out, I am completely at peace. I know all comes through the Lord anyway, and my salary means nothing compared to all that he can do to provide for us. I don't have anything firm yet, and am not actively looking for it, which seems to baffle people. That's ok. Like I said, a year ago I didn't get it either.

Monday, February 11, 2013

A misstep for His Glory

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On Friday I promised I had news coming. I have been accused of writing cryptic messages on the blog due to my lack of divulging of actual events, but I guess that is how it is when you are bursting to split your guts online before you actually tell those involved. 

Before I do tell you what happened, let me give you some background info:

At the end of 2011, when I left my previous job, I had a specific direction from God: stay at home for a while and have a baby. 

Yeah, that's not what you want to hear when you know that your husband's income won't cover all your monthly costs. So my scary-cat self left the job and got myself into another one. Trusting God with salvation comes easier to me than trusting Him with my monthly bills. Crazy, isn't it?

I got myself into a job that was clearly against the odds. I signed my contract in a bakery, because the school wasn't ready. I worked the first week from home because there was no internet connection. I started the school year as the only teaching staff, with three students. I gave up a substantial percentage of my former salary, along with benefits. I was trading safety for...well, for crazy!

But I did it as a small step towards trusting God. If having no income was too much, having less income seemed to be a compromise. When everyone kept telling me to think it through, I knew God would keep cool in control. And above all, I knew this would not be easy, it would be a job that God would use tremendously in order to make me trust Him.

There, I met some people who changed me. I learned a lot about Early Education. I got a job in which, for the first time in a long time, I felt extremely challenged, and over my head. I came accross situations of pure disbelief, and of having to stand my ground in order to keep my Christian values. I cried -over and over again - for things that were unfair, and which I could probably sue my employers for.

Through it all, I needed Jesus more than ever, on a regular basis. It was a mistep taken in pure disobedience, but it made me connect with God more than ever. It showed me that when we go against God's direction out of fear, He does not only strike a lightning bolt at your head. He comforts you and guides you. He reminds you that He is always there, and still in control. And that no matter what choices I make, He loves and cares for me more than I could ever understand. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Weekend links

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Last night I did a lot of reading, and catching up on my blogloving roll. I was getting better from being sick, and since I had spent most of the day sleeping, insomnia started setting it. Here is some of the best stuff I came accross:

Desiring God had a podcast on why safety is a myth. It was just what I needed to hear.

Amanda Medlin wrote about the type of fan she is.

Saved sister talked about fear. Oh boy.

And (in)courage shared about missing the curve. 

I see a pattern on my reading list...I feel like I am about to step out of my confort zone and touch some creepy water creatures. More about that on Monday. 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Taking a sick day from work

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I saw it coming. I started feeling achy and restless. My throat started closing in and my breathing getting shorter. My head got to the point of constant sinus pain and pressure. And yet, all I wanted was to make it to the weekend. We have 3 days off work for carnival next week, and I just wanted to get through our first week of school being ok.

I absolutely hate missing work. I look down at people who ask for time off, specially working in a school. I've worked at places that gave us 14 weeks (not kidding, weeks) off work a year, and every so often, someone would ask to come in late for some medical exams, or for getting a passport made. All I could think was get your life together, and start planning ahead!

By late afternoon yesterday I had been running around and feeling all sticky and sweaty - yet another joy about working with preschoolers and kindergarten kids. I was feeling so gross I didn't realise that the weather had taken a toll for the worst and people around me were wearing sweaters.

On my ride home I could already feel the ache in my throat, the sinus pressure, and the knot of my stomach at the thought of missing work. How could they possibly survive a day without me?

By 5am I realised I could not possibly wake up and go to work. Not only was I feeling horrible, I wasn't about to spread whatever I had to my staff and children. The guilt went on.

By 10 I was considering taking a shower and dragging myself to work. I was not better, the fever raged on, but it just consumed me. The guilt.

When my fever went down around 2pm, I considered making the trip one last time. Until I felt God speak.


When I was truly able to rest, no wonder I got much better 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

One step at a time

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For me, waiting on confirmations is hard. I could totally live with a coin toss decision for everything. God, if you want me to do this, it will be heads. If I should not get involved, tails. 

But life is not like that. And I am very thankful that Jesus is so gracious with me, taking me one baby step at a time.

I've had some things happened that needed my choice, intention, and God's confirmation. It took patience, it took tears, it took some a lot of whining on my spoiled part. But it came, and that was that.

Last week was a busy one, with a lot of life-changing moments. I was pushed against the wall and had choices to make, and sides to choose. So I prayed, and God lead me to three possible scenarios. I even wrote them down.

If scenario A happens, this is what I do.
If scenario B happens, I will do this other thing.
If scenario C happens, I will take that other stand.

On Sunday scenario A came. On Tuesday scenario B. And on Thursday, scenario C.

Now what?

I must admit that my first impulse was to think God is giving me the choice. Let me think about what I want. 

Until God prompted me to think it through. Really?

When I accepted that God does have a plan, which is better and perfect, and it's coming through, something unbelievable happened. A fourth situation presented itself. 

Now I know I am just not ready yet to see the whole picture. Which is ok with me. We'll go one step at a time.

Monday, February 4, 2013

First day of school

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Today is the first day of school, and because of the Brazilian school calendar, the first day of the school year.  For the first time in about six years, I don't have a class of my own. My current job is related to coordination, focusing on teacher training, admissions and all sorts of backstage stuff that I never knew had to happen before.

First days are always emotional. Kids and parents show separation anxiety. Some are just so excited about a new class that they can barely make it. Kids and teachers get that knot in their stomach about the great unknown that is the year that is about to come.

For me, 2013 is a year full of unknowns. We have big dreams and big promises, on pretty much all aspects of life. So I have two options:

I could foster the knot in the stomach that comes and goes and rationalize that I do, indeed have reasons to fret.

Or I can be at peace. Simple as that. It is a choice. 

Every day, at every moment, every doubt, every change, we are faced with the decision. How do you often choose?

Sunday, February 3, 2013

No weapon

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The Superbowl is about to start, and although I don't know who will win, and don't have an emotional attachment to either teams, I cannot help but love Ray Lewis' approach to how the Ravens got to the Superbowl:

If only we could glorify God after our biggest feats like he did! What a lesson to all football fans Ray Lewis!