Friday, 17 November 2017

Amazing Grace how sweet the sound.

Dear God,

I know it's been a while since I've written. I've been enjoying conversing with you with my very heartbeat every day. It tells you things my mouth could never utter. It's been growing rapidly. Gaining wisdom with every devastating betrayal and every chasm of echoing pain caused by those I've done nothing to. I simply cannot comprehend the why's of it all, so I do the only thing I know how to do and I pray it is enough. I respond with love. For there is no use in asking why or dwelling in the depths of betrayal. You hold all of my tomorrow's and the answer is always you God. Jesus was love, your love, in human form. You sacrificed him for me. Love is the ultimate sacrifice, as Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice. Love unconditional. Thank you for this journey Father. A hard one indeed, but the most rewarding one yet. Amen.

You see it hasn't always been this way for me. The following dialogue has been my year summed up in a few paragraphs.

Love unconditional. To say it's easy would be a lie. It's the hardest thing I've ever had to do. Ask me to move mountains God, and I'll toss them into the sea. Ask me to heal the sick Father, and illness they shall know no more. But ask me to love in the face of evil, betrayal, and gut wrenching pain alas my skin grows clammy from fear, my feet move in hesitation. I'm not sure I heard you correctly. Are you certain God? You must be mistaken. I could be wrong, but did you just ask me to love all of these wretched people? They couldn't possibly deserve to possess such a sacred part of me. Where is your wrath for them God? They have made me, your child, weep tears of anguish. Should they not suffer at your hand? The only true hand of justice? How can I possibly love them when my heart is full of pain? Can't you allow me to tend to my own wounds first?

GOD: It is not about you child. My love is more powerful than the evil that tries to tear you down. My strength is made perfect in your weakness.

Yes, Father I will obey.

In time, as I began to love those that had afflicted me with such sorrow, my own heart began to heal. My feet moved forward with assuredness. My skin felt aglow with life and vigor. My why's became non-existent and turned into, "I see now Father." Not my will, but yours." The more people hurt me, the harder I loved. The harder I loved, the more I could past their malice and into the brokenness. Brokenness just like mine. How alike we all are. They too had the choice in life to choose love or bitterness. They too have sat and wept their why's. I saw it in the way their eyes dared me to prove them right, that I was no different than anyone else that caused them pain. The only difference between them and I was I chose love and freedom and they chose to imprison themselves with the chains of bitterness.

Bitterness is blinding, and only love can restore sight. This much I have learned. If you ask me why I choose to love those we see as undeserving, it's because I've seen it's power, the miracles it performs, the restoration it gives and how it transforms us to our very core. I know because that person used to be me. Always seeking revenge, taking justice into my own hands. Simply because I could not understand the why. I've learned that it's not up to me to understand, it all comes down to obedience. Humble obedience. When God asked me to love, I thought he was going to change those who caused me pain. Instead he ended up changing me. Being on the other side now, I'm glad I stopped asking why and just said Yes, Father I will obey.

We all have a choice to make when people hurt us. I pray you are wise enough to choose love. It will change your life and transform you.
It gives a whole new meaning to the first few bars of amazing grace.

"Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now I'm found. Was blind but now I see."

I see because love restored my sight. The sight that bitterness stole from me.
I see now God, I see.

Friday, 30 June 2017

Reflections on turning 30

Today is the last day in my twenties. And honestly, I'm absolutely ecstatic to turn 30 tomorrow. I had been going back and forth between how I felt about it because I'm not where I thought I would be at 30. But I can definitely see just how far I really have come. (That may or may not be an ironic metaphor to the fact that I literally live an entire continent away now). I wanted to make this blog a good one, one that shows how "wise" I've become and to really justify some of those grey hairs on the top of my head. But in order to do that, I must tell you the driving factor behind my "wisdom" (I put the word wisdom in quotes because I'm only gonna be 30, what in tarnation do I REALLY know about life?)

Today I'm going to dedicate this blog to you my Beloved. The driving force in everything I do and all that I am. You are the reason I celebrate every day. Here's a few things you've taught me about love and how you've changed my very perspective on life itself.

 You've shown me that life isn't about ME, it's about everyone else around us. Those everyday people that we encounter and interact with, God has them in our lives for a specific reason. And more often than not it's the people that hurt us deeper than our hearts can sometimes bear, that need our love the absolute most.
 You've proven to me that love has the amazing power to heal from the inside out until you can no longer contain the flame and light that has engulfed your heart, so you freely radiate it outward and share it with those whose hearts' flame has long since been distinguished by bitterness, pain, guilt, regret, grief, and anger.
 When my hair is all wrong and my face is full of face demons, and my thick thighs that finally make me look like a woman instead of a little girl, but all I see is that I can't fit into my jeans as well as I used to; you take all of that and you give me the courage to look at everything I see as a flaw on my body as something beautiful to you instead.
 You've changed my entire perspective about life, about happiness, about me. I never feel more confident and truly beautiful than when I look at myself through your eyes.
 You help me to cherish the little moments. You are the reason behind this blog's name, and the very center of every single entry. You are always a part of my daily thoughts and activities, and I look for those given moments that you plant in my heart to make an impact.
 You never let me leave the house or go about my day without giving me the peace of mind that I am enough. Maybe not to everyone around me, but to you. To say that I am not enough, would be to say you are not enough to fill my heart with enoughness. (don't know if that's a word, but it is today)
And if I am anything less than enough in someone's heart, then I must fill the rest of their hearts with the love you've shared with me until LOVE becomes enough...not until I become enough.
 I love that you notice my love for bright colors and when I bought some plain white socks, you told me I had to wear my colorful socks over them because it's not "me" to wear something so void of color.
I love that you can look at me and read my thoughts and I can look at you and see the response in your face if I'm thinking anything negative.
 You really do give the best hugs.
 You have the heart of a servant. And it's contagious.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------   You're grounded and stand firm in who you are at all times. I've never in all of my life, and I mean never, have I met anyone who knew who they were and not betray themselves in the throes of pain and hard times. (you inspire me to grow in this area) People fill their lives with alcohol, the latest trends, social media, affairs, lust, dishonesty, and deceit because they are not firmly planted and their roots are not strong enough to hold them down when storms pass their way.
Your faith and relationship with God. You always keep him first in your life and in our relationship. I love seeing your face when God does a big work in your heart or when he reveals tiny tidbits of wisdom to your heart. You've helped me to see God as someone who is truly a friend and not this giant judge sitting in the helped me to see it because I see him in you....all the things I listed above about the things you have taught me, they are things that God has been teaching me as well...through you. You've allowed him to use you, and take control of everything in your life. Less of you, more of him. And in turn brought me closer to God.
I've said all of that to say this. I know you've had to watch me struggle internally about turning 30. And thanks to you and all the things above, I'm excited to continue this adventure of love with you. So tomorrow, (Si Dios Quiere) when I wake up, and as I look at my reflection, I'm going to smile and know that I am enough for you, because your love is and always has been enough for me.

After all, you are my mirror.


P.s. this was NOT posted or shared anywhere for the world to see. So if anyone does get to read it besides you (Jose) then they were meant to find love and I hope they get a small glimpse of why I fall in love with you on a daily basis.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Peace be with you.

Peace.What a very fitting word for this year. Where everyone is divided because our feelings got hurt. Where we constantly compare ourselves to people like Kim Kardashian or whatever celebrity we idolize in the present. Plastic surgery is the new beautiful. And our lives can only move forward if at least 50 people liked our current selfie on all forms of social media within the hour it was posted. (or else it gets deleted duh) <---but I digress.

Peace. My Auntie Bobbee once gave me a small candle with the word peace on it, and told me she prayed I would find it and never let it go. And I hope that I can relay that message to you in my post today. I'm not here to talk about politics, but I am here to share a story with you. The story of how I am finding my peace. (note the present progressive form of that sentence). Just for a moment, sit back and close your eyes...just kidding don't close your eyes, how will you know what to do next silly? Dive into your memory and remember the most beautifully perfect day that you have ever had. Got it in your mind? Feel it in your heart? Now hold on to that for just a minute...feel that? That's peace. It's neat to me how as I've gotten older, my definition of peace has changed. When I was younger I thought it was always having a good day and lying down on my pillow at night with a smile on my face. (come on you know you've thought it too, or maybe I watch too many movies...the jury's still out.) 

As I've grown into the adult me and have experienced life outside of my comfort zone; I have found what peace really means and feels like and I've been on a constant quest for it since. Peace is in the little moments that we all take for granted (yes me too, that's why I said note the present progressive form). The every day things we see as mundane, the trials and hard times we suffer through, the injustices we have to endure, they all have a purpose. I remember the first time I ever felt peace. And with it, came all the answers that I sought. Great thing about it? I never had to do a thing. God did it all for me. I'm serious. Ask me about it, I'll tell you, it's pretty amazing. Here's a short story I can tell you about another time I felt peace....

One night I was trying to sleep and I couldn't because of my raging anxiety. So I prayed for God to help me sleep (it works better than zquil, you should try it) I told him all of my anxieties and in the middle of it he said, "be anxious for nothing" and let me tell you it calmed my anxiety right quick in a hurry and I fell asleep in no time at all! I looked it up in my bible the next morning and highlighted that sucker a million times with the bright yellow highlighter (because lets face it, that one really gets your attention) and then outlined it with a pen. God spoke to me and I'll never forget it.  (by the way it's Philippians 4:6 if anyone was wondering). To go about life and be anxious is like saying God is a liar. That his word, the Bible, is nothing but a book of fairytales and rubbish. But if you know the God I know, then you'll know that every word in that book is truer than true and I bet you could tell me several stories of how God has shown you how real he is through the Bible applied in your own life. (by the way, I would LOVE to hear any stories you wish to share with me). 

Wanna know a secret? It wasn't until I found myself in the same miserable situations time after time, that I realized God was still growing me (or trying because I'm what the Mexicans call terca, I know because that's what Jose calls me). I've been in -and will have to go through-  those situations over and over until I found peace in them. Then and only then, did God give me the answers I so impatiently sought. And you know what, I could have saved myself a whole lot of trouble if I just trusted God in the first place. But I also would not have grown as a person if I had not gone through it as many times as I had. 
I'm starting to learn that there really IS a purpose in everything I do. Whether I trust God the first time or I have to go through it a time or two to really grasp it, the end result is the same. To find peace. Wanna really get to the heart of God, it's in the peace. 

So turn off your t.v., put down the magazine with the photo shopped celebrity on the cover, unplug from social media. (as I type this on a website and post it to social media, the irony is not lost on me believe me you). Go outside, sit and listen to the birds talk to each other, pick out shapes in the clouds, watch the sunset in your favorite spot in your hometown ( we all have one), let the day go as it may. Let go of what you can't control, God's will is going to happen regardless of if you fret about it and the million possibilities that could but probably will never happen. Peace is but a small opportunity away. You just have to quiet your soul and let God show you around.  

Peace. Never. Stop. Searching.

Here are a few pictures below of what peace looks like to me.

Friday, 21 April 2017

The Big Issue

Today Jose and I went to Cambridge for a little shopping. Mostly for other people's care packages, but we did splurge a little for some fresh tea and coffee to make at home. As we walked around Cambridge, we noticed more homeless people camped out on the streets than usual. Heartbreaking for sure, but rest in knowing we always give a little something when we see them. We also saw a lot of people selling magazines and tours around know those street vendors. One of the guys was very persistent and wouldn't let us cross the street, he wanted to give us a tour around. After Jose politely told him no thank you, we know our way around Cambridge I've (Jose) lived here for 12 years now; he took the hint and let us cross the street so we could be on our way. Let's be honest...or rather I'll be honest. Those people annoy the tarnation out of me! And I avoid eye contact at all costs. Jose, well being the friendliest man on the face of the planet makes eye contact with EVERYONE and says hello with a warm smile on his face just inviting you in for a heart to heart. And if you're really lucky and stop to conversate with him, he will give you the biggest hug to carry with you for the rest of your day. And that's usually how we end up in those awkward situations with people wanting to sell us everything and not taking no for an answer. I even told Jose, just don't make eye contact. He said, but I'm just saying hi Mamacita.

I'm not sure how to argue against that and since I'm sure I'm now the world's worst person by avoiding eye contact, I just stay quiet and endure those awkward moments. However, there are times when a hello and a smile are all that's needed to make someone's day. (Jose teaches me so much about life, and here's a perfect example)

For those of you living in the UK, when you go out in a city and you see people selling magazines, be sure to pay attention to the names of them. There is one that some sell called The Big Issue (pictures down below) The people that sell them have fallen on hard times and are looking for a hand up for themselves and their families. They buy these magazines for a £1.25 and sell them for £2.50. Some of these people live in shelters, some of them live in low income housing, and some might even live on the streets. Jose and I always buy these magazines when we see anyone selling them. Today was one of those times. Except it was different in a way that broke my heart. When Jose stopped to buy the magazine from the man, the man looked at him and said, "O good I'm not invisible".....on a street FULL of people coming and going as they pleased. Most with arms loaded with shopping bags full of their latest purchases, I realized I was one of those people. I didn't see the man selling the magazines until Jose stopped. I had my blinders on, I contributed to making that man feel invisible. It really melted away my "let's get what we came to get and avoid eye contact with everyone because I don't feel like talking to anyone today" attitude.

I thought of all the times that I've ever felt invisible in a crowd of people. All the times, I wished someone would acknowledge my existence because I have something to offer. It's a terrible feeling, one that I know everyone reading this can relate to. Today changed me. It's pretty ironic this whole day really. I've just recently lost the people I thought were my friends. They have stopped talking to me after I reached out to them for help, but I guess I wasn't "holy" enough for them to make the effort to help me. So for the past month or so, I have felt invisible, and I have been praying to God to send me a friend, or at least someone that I can help asking for nothing in return. Today, my heart was humbled and my eyes have been opened wide. So consumed with my self-pity concerning everyone that hurt me, that I never looked up to see the eyes that needed my smile. God answered my prayer today. And he probably answered it yesterday and the day before too. I just never took the time to stop and look.

The saying is true, If you need a friend, go out and be a friend. If you need love, go out and give love first. I always knew the saying, but I've never actually felt it in my heart as raw as I did today. I once heard a poem that goes a little something like this...

                                    I didn't exist for a moment today, for when we passed you
                                     looked away. Not acknowledging my needs or even my existence.
                                    But in the pain I realized how many times I've avoided eyes that
                                    were reaching out to me.
                                                                                                    -Author Unknown

Life Lesson #3,989,486-LEARNED

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Dressed to Impress

Let me tell you a little story before I begin the actual post. When I was a little girl I was afraid to raise my hands in church during worship. I wanted to, I really did. I was just afraid someone would see me and come up to me after church(as they so often did) and tell me I wasn't worthy enough to lift my hands to God because I had lied that week or I made bad grades on my report card. One day I was in the car with my big sis Sondra. She was my go to when I needed advice and the godliest person I knew back then. I asked her about the whole hand raising thing, really poured out my heart to her. She sat there and said, "well, Melissa, look at it this way." "When we go to church and worship God, he doesn't see our human bodies, he doesn't see what we wear or how many times we lift our hands. He only sees our hearts. And if your heart is right with him and you genuinely worship him with your heart, you don't HAVE to lift your hands. God knows." (do you see why I went to her for advice now?) So from then on and even still today, when I go before God in anything I do, I picture in my mind a clear see through body with a bright red beating heart right in the center and I know that that's the only thing I need to have right. Not my makeup, not my clothes, not even my hair.

Today, I'm going to probably step on some toes and hurt some feelings. Please know that it's not my intention in any way, and this post is not pointing fingers. In fact, I am just as guilty of doing these things I'm about to talk about. I just realized how "normal" it was for me and now that I don't do it, it seems so vain and I wonder how did I not ever see what I was doing.

As most of you know, today is Easter. The beloved holiday where we celebrate the ressurection of Jesus! I know, I'm pretty excited too. I laid in bed this morning and I thanked God for sending his son to die for me so that I can be worthy to enter heaven even after all the things I've done and no doubt will most certainly do in just one day's time. Then I opened up facebook and instagram for my quick morning scroll to make sure no one died and to catch up on any big happenings in the world...because let's face it, social media is a dumping ground for all of our garbage (definitely guilty of this). And the first thing I saw was a picture of a sweet couple headed to church with their little one, the husband had his bible in his hand and the caption read, "I tried to get us to match a little today"..."aww how sweet they look", I thought. Keep scrolling, I see another picture of another family all matching for easter service at church, with the caption, "We would have all matched today, but (kids name's) bowtie didn't come in on time. Darn you amazon." "Such a cute family anyway" I thought. More scrolling, more pictures of matching families headed to church to celebrate this amazing day. It was really a cuteness overload on social media.

So I shut down my facebook, came in the kitchen and made my breakfast and tea all the while reminiscing on past easter's growing up. My favorite thing about Easter, (after I got too old to hunt easter eggs) was going dress shopping and buying that one colorful spring dress that would get me so many compliments from my friends and the adults at church. (because what girl doesn't love shopping for clothes and then receiving compliments for them? I know I do) But then I also got to thinking how I'm not going to a church house this morning to celebrate, and I haven't been in a very long time. Instead I am wearing one of Jose's giant hoodies, in the biggest pair of sweatpants I own, and my hair is in absolute disarray at the top of my head. If someone saw me right now, they would say "Melissa, you look rough." But what if I did walk down to the church up the road from me just the way I am? Pretty sure I would be sent packing right quick in a hurry.

I don't mean to sound condescending, but why do we dress up all matchy matchy for Easter? The last time I checked, Jesus didn't care what we looked like on the outside right? I mean unless things have changed, I have been away from mainstream christian thinking for over 5 years now. <----sarcasm---->

I kind of feel like Easter has become a holiday of vanity. I mean, that's the message we portray when we have to match for church right? Why else would we do it, if not for the compliments of "how cute" "I love your dress" etc. In doing so, we take the focus off of why we really celebrate Easter and we bring it to ourselves. What ever happened to come as you are? When did we start leaving the house making sure our makeup and hair were perfect before we made sure our hearts were right before God? (again so so guilty of this!) Jesus didn't die on the cross dressed in his fanciest suit and tie, nor did he ressurect dressed to the nines. He was naked on the cross. His body and soul bared to the world for everyone to see and mock. He was vulnerable and bloody, not dressed to impress. No other image has ever brought me to my knees in humility, no other face has ever made me feel so worthy of being loved. No other scarred hand has ever reached out to me in my darkest hour and made me feel so whole. It takes all my easter dresses and hours upon hours that I spent in front of my mirror making myself up to perfection, and puts them to shame.

Today as I sit in my living room and I spend time with God, in the mess that I am, God only sees my heart. There will be no pictures of Jose and I in our sunday best posted on facebook, no easter egg hunts to participate in (although, chocolate WILL be consumed at some point today if it hasn't been already...I'll never tell). Just me, raw and real, coming as I am to love on my Jesus and to bare my soul to him as he did for me. Maybe instead of dressing to impress this easter, we can make sure we match our lives to that of Jesus. Starting with the inside, heartbeat to heartbeat.

Happy Easter Everyone. Be blessed today. xoxo

Monday, 23 January 2017

A Reason to March

So much comes in and so very little comes out.  I try to get my brain to start connecting with my mouth.  I have a voice too you know and now I've got something to say, if you've got a weak stomach for honesty,  then nows the time to look away.

Turn your heads from the truth as it screams from the homeless man's eyes, though he fought for your freedom, you got the better deal from life. Today, homeless soldier, I March for you.

Deafen your ears to the cries of the unborn babies that never had a chance, you felt your life was more important so you took a pill and  passed it quietly  with just some minor cramps. Today, aborted children, I March for you.

Close your eyes to the women in the city standing under the red lights, not caring if they were kidnapped as you look for the perfect one to give you a good time. Today, sex trafficked victim, I March for you.

Clench your fists tight at the drug addict needing a hand of grace, they get high to escape their torment, it helps to numb the pain.  Today, struggling drug addict, I March for you.

Keep your head down as you pass them, their cries for help reflected on their faces, your problems are much more important, but a simple smile is all it would have give them hope, to save their life. Today, Suicide victims and everyone with depression, I March for you.

You see my point is pretty simple, our bodies were made for a purpose, but not in the way you'd ever see, because in the end it's not about anyone else its always been about me, me, me.

You have arms to be extended to those who need your hope, you have feet to walk beside them when life gets to be too tough for them to cope. You have a shoulder for them to lean on and maybe shed a few tears, you have eyes that can see their suffering as their pleas fall on deaf ears.

You have a voice that can be heard, and it's not because of your gender or your race,  but because you want to use your whole body as it was created to finally make a change.  Change of perspective, change of heart and change of mind.

You March for equal rights but turn your head away from those three feet from you with a cardboard sign begging for a warm place to stay.

So tell me who is the real oppressor now?
Today, marching oppressors, I March for them.

-Melissa Garcia

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Why Me Lord?

Why me Lord? What have I ever done, to deserve even one, of the blessings I've known?

That's the song my daddy used to sing in church when I was a little girl. It was my favorite song to hear him sing because he put so much heart into it and often times, he would finish it with tears rolling down his cheeks.
It is also, the song that I sang on my way home from my walk today.
I have been struggling lately trying to fight for what's right and to make sure justice is the outcome as a result of my best warrior like efforts. All of my life I've tried to fight for the right thing even if it meant standing alone. And all of my efforts to do the right thing have only backfired and I was the one left wondering what I did wrong.

Funny thing about doing what is right. There are less and less people in the world that want to do what's right because it isn't easy and as I've learned, the outcome is not always what we want. The thing I've been fighting for, the outcome wasn't what I wanted and the right decision was not made. Simply because people cannot be bothered with the truth of things and are inconvenienced by my pain. So under the rug it was swept, and I ended up being the one who was punished while the wrong doer was promoted.

I came home from work this morning feeling rather defeated and dumb. This afternoon, I decided to go for a walk instead of sitting in the house and wallowing in my emotions. I talked to God on my walk. I laid it all out on the table. My anger, my anxiety, my doubt, confusion, hurt, pride, and my sadness at the cowardliness of the people that turned a blind eye to my pain. As I was talking to him, I kept asking why me God? Why does this always happen to me? Why do I even bother doing the right thing anymore? Have I not learned my lesson by now? I kind of ran out of things to say at one point and so I just stood there in this big open field with the sunset to my front and not a person to be seen for miles. And I listened.

As I stood there with the wind blowing on my face and my heart full of pride, he said to me, "Why not you?" Uhhh, come again God? I'm sorry but the wind was in my ears and I could have sworn you just said, Why not you...yep, that's what he said. It didn't take me very long to understand what he meant and to realize what a fool I had been this entire time. He's been using me my entire life for a purpose that is far greater than what my tiny mind can comprehend. I stood there for a good minute soaking in God and his truth and I was humbled by his love for me. He entrusted me with his gifts, his passion, his truth, and love to go out and fulfill HIS purpose, not mine. And there I was questioning him, why me?  I should be honored to be chosen to be used by him, instead I was worried about when I, ME, HOLY MELISSA, MELISSA GARCIA WHO SPEAKS THE NAME OF JESUS OUT LOUD AND DEMONS WILL FLEE would see MY justice!

God showed me that it simply does not work that way. And I'm not sure why it has taken me 29 years to get it, but I understand now. I had to relinquish my right to be right. The battle belongs to God, I am but a tiny soldier in his army and he commands my every footstep, my every breath, my very heartbeat. He didn't leave me when I was abandoned at birth, and he's been with me my entire life. He's never left me, nor has he forsaken me.

I walked out to that field today as a victim of injustice asking God why me. Never did I imagine I would be walking home in victory asking God the same question, this time with a completely different meaning. A different perspective is sometimes all we really need.

Tell me Lord, what did I ever do, that was worth love from you or the kindness you've shown. Lord help me Jesus, I've wasted it so help me Jesus, I know what I am. Now that I know I've needed you so help me Jesus, my soul's in your hand.

Why me Lord?