Forgiving Yourself is OK!

Have you ever done something that you are still holding on to?

Do you keep replaying it over and over in your mind, and keep asking yourself why?

Why did I do that? or How could I have done that? fullsizeoutput_9be

My favorite one was, “I can not believe I did that.”

We are make mistakes. No one is perfect.

I have said and done some really mean and horrible things, but thank you Lord for helping me to change and to see things in a different light.

One of the best things about a mistake is that it helps you change and learn from it. Without mistakes, you wouldn’t know what works and what doesn’t. You wouldn’t see the growth in yourself without mistakes. Trial and error, you are learning constantly.

We grow as individuals from mistakes. The hardest part about a mistake is we tend to let them dwell and fester until it takes over our thought process and sits on our hearts. We have to teach our minds to think of a mistake as just that, a mistake, learn from it, forgive yourself, and move on.

I  wonder why we forgive others so easily, but we don’t forgive ourselves as fast. It’s a mistake not a life sentence.

I didn’t always use to be a forgiver. I would hold grudges and quit speaking to people.  Then I realized something, I could have been hurting someone else by doing these things and also, I am taking away what God has for me. I’m going to miss my blessing focusing on hurt feelings and grudges.

I missed my best friend Misty’s wedding due to hurt feelings and holding a grudge. Thank you God we are still friends today. Throwing away 30 plus years of friendship would have been worse and I thank God everyday for her continued loyal friendship.

We tend to miss our blessings when we hold grudges. We are so focused on the grudge or trying to figure out how to get even, we can’t see what God has for us.

When we as humans operate on feelings, we tend to make it extremely worse than it actually is. When we put feelings in the way of the actual offense, we will think something and automatically think this is right, let me continue to act this way. I can not stress enough, we as humans can not operate on hurt feelings. IMG_1127

Forgiving someone can be a challenge, but remember that forgiveness is for you not for the other person. When we don’t forgive and keep holding on to the hurt, we are holding ourselves hostage to the pain and hurt and this is what holds back all your blessings and growth.

God wants to see you happy and living life to the fullest, not hurt or upset or dwelling on grudges.

We have to train our minds that a mistake is not a prison sentence. We are to learn from them and move on. If we hurt someone, apologize and move forward. You can not change the past, but you can learn from it an grow.

Forgiving yourself and others is also part of self care. Forgiving breaks any negative thoughts you may have or negative feelings you may be holding onto.

REMEMBER, A NEGATIVE MIND WILL NOT PRODUCE A POSITIVE LIFE! 

I encourage everyone to commit 14 days to forgiveness. Whether is be forgiving yourself or forgiving someone else. Read the Bible and find 14 scriptures on forgiveness and study each one daily. Keep a daily journal of your progress and see how much your life and attitude changes when you truly forgive yourself and others and move on to the life God has for you.

Blessings.

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Go to Your Room

As a child, we were punished and sent to our room, and don’t come out until you’re told to.

Now that I am older, I realized that maybe going to my room isn’t a bad thing at all.

When I “go to my room” it’s to spend time with the Lord. I use the alone time to get back in communication with God and to recharge my spirit.

The world has so many ups and downs. Life pulls us in all directions. From family to work to friends, financial problems and maybe bad relationships, spending alone time in your rom with God can make all the difference.

I am currently working on a bible study to share with the world and I use this time to get my thoughts together. I need direction, and who better to go to than to God.

I think the alone time you spend with God makes life a lot easier to deal with. Having God constantly on your side makes life easier.

Life is hard, but with God you’re never alone and you don’t have to go through life alone.

Try it, take time out each day to “go to your room” and read God’s word. It will refresh and renew your mind.

Blessings.

Seeing the Best in Everything

Have you checked your attitude this morning?

My favorite one is, have you checked your face?

Those two questions are what I ask myself before walking out the door. Your attitude is determined by how you think and how the rest of your day will go. It’s the outlook on what your life represents.

I can fake my attitude however my face not so much.

I can sound like two totally different people, “nice Crystal” and “you get on my nerves Crystal” lol, but my facial expressions are so hard to hide. Im praying on it though.

In the past I have had the worst attitude about life. I hated how things would go my way or how things would turn out.

The truth is, it’s all about how you see life.

When you see something that you like, you are happy, enlightened, and you’re smiling, but if it doesn’t go your way, what is your reaction?

I call those unpleasant thoughts, venting, rants, negative comments….adult tantrums.

I have learned that adult tantrums absolutely help nothing. They actually make things worse and they block your blessings. I can remember not liking someones attitude and it completely gave me a not so pleasant attitude. How that person saw things instantly rubbed off on me and then my attitude continued to go down from there. I am not blaming that person, it was my fault, I let it happen. It was a choice I made.

Having your thoughts and attitude in check with God, not only helps you realize how blessed you are, it doesn’t allow the devil to come in and take over. Focus on GOD.

Remember these couple things:

  1. Focus on your blessings. It may not be in the package you wanted it in, however the blessings is still there and you should embrace every blessing God gives you.
  2. Continue to pray continuously about your short comings. What better person to talk to than God. He knows you, he created you and he doesn’t make mistakes. Know that he loves you and want the absolute best for you.

I use to find it very hard to see my blessings and to be happy with whatever situation I was in. I couldn’t understand it then but I sure do now. I look back not to look at my faults, but to look how far God has brought me.

He knows we make mistakes, he knows we are not perfect, he knows we need him, but we have to trust him completely with whatever season we are in. The good, bad and the ugly.

As you go on with your day, try to pay attention to your attitude but also focus on your blessings. Don’t allow a bad situation to ruin your positive, godly, attitude.

Blessings.

 

Happy Birthday to my Son

Today, 15 years ago, at 6:32am, God allowed me to be a mom. He gave me a 9lb 6oz 21 1/2 inch long baby boy.

At that time, I didn’t feel like it was a blessing at all. One reason was because I didn’t want children, but in a marriage you compromise and you just what you have to do to make things work.

So the journey began.

After what seemed like forever, my son was here, and I was amazed. I kept telling my husband at that time, don’t leave him, don’t let him leave your sight. Stay with him.

If anyone has ever had a c-section, you know they show you your baby and then take the baby for weight, measurements and then to the nursery so the doctor can continue the surgery.

So once I woke up, I remember seeing my mom and she asked me if I was ok and she reminded me, “you have a responsibility now” Geez, was she right.

At the time I was 22 and married for a couple years.

Well life happens, things become more expensive, and it becomes hard. Immaturity can really kill a relationship. That’s exactly what happened.

DIVORCED.

So now my son has to deal with separated parents, 2 homes and other things that come with having divorced parents. I think at one point I even thought I have failed him some how.

I can not tell you how proud I am of my son Andre.

He is such a strong kid, well now, young man. He continues to impress me with his outlook on life and how he sees life as more of a challenge that he can defeat.

He tries so hard to be the person he wants to be and doesn’t allow what others say about him to hold him back.

Now if you knew the kind of mom I have turned out to be, you would see why. I didn’t always see things like this, but THANK YOU GOD Andre does.

Earlier I said that I did not want any children. God had other plans for me. I look at Andre and continue to thank God for blessing me with such a great gift. How dare I think I have better plans than God?

As I have watched Andre grow these last 15 years, I can tell two things about him just by looking at him:

  1. He looks just like his dad. Unfortunately I did not have the stronger gene in the relationship.IMG_2145
  2. His smile will make you smile. That’s my baby.

This young man has taught me so much about myself and how to be a better mom. I tell my mom how in the world did she do it with four children, this one is a handful. LOL!

I know I was truly blessed when God allowed me to take care of Andre. He was an easy baby, and continues to be an easy going young man. I think I am the one that makes it harder. I try not to worry about him, however that’s what moms do. He takes life one day at a time and he is so funny. Ask my sisters.

When I look at him, I know God really did bless me with him. If I could just control that teenage mouth. LOL!

To watch this baby boy grow into a very smart, strong minded young man is proof that God makes no mistakes, and has great intentions for every situation.

I know he will have difficulties a head of him, but I also know he has the determination to get through anything life throws at him. He continues to keep God first and he has developed an attitude of I can instead of I can’t.

Andre Rivera, I love you so much son! Happy Birthday! Always believe in yourself. Trust you instincts and keep asking God for guidance.

 

Morning Prayer

How do you start your morning?

When your eyes open, what do you do first?

Grab your phone? Go make coffee?

Every morning when I open my eyes, I say “Thank you”

I am so thankful that God allowed me to wake up, which means I have a purpose for today. Someone needs me!

When I awake, I used to just get up and go on about my day, not really thinking much of anything, I would do my daily routine, coffee, read, hair, make up and out the door.

Over the years my routine has changed a lot.

Life happens and you realize how much more you need Jesus in your life. I have learned the no matter what the day may bring,  I have Jesus right there beside me to guide me through my day.

And you know what I have found, my day is more productive, my attitude is far better than it used to be and I have the patience with people I never have had before.

I am more peaceful and worry free. That’s right, worry free.

No, I am not rich, nor do I have a lot, however, I have learned to accept what God has blessed me with and I know what I have is a true blessing. I have learned that material things can always be replaced, but the Love I have for God and how he Loves me is a bond that can not be broken.

By starting each day talking with God, and asking him what he would like me to do for him today makes a world of difference.

Allowing God to work in your life from the start of the day, until you lay your head down at night, will open so much more for yourself and your relationship with God.

Today, before you even reach for your phone, talk with God and ask him what he would like for you to do today.

Blessings.

 

Tis the Season to Forgive

Forgiveness, what is forgiveness?

Forgiveness defines as: (noun) the action or process of forgiving or being forgiven 

I used to have a very hard time with forgiveness. I felt so entitled of my feelings, that I felt others didn’t matter and I should never have to forgive anyone unless I feel like it. Look at the immaturity, but I also look at my progress and see growth.

I’ve learned the importance of forgiveness and why I should continue to forgive others not matter how hard it may be at times.

Never underestimate the power of forgiveness. When we don’t forgive others, we aren’t hurting them, we our hindering ourselves from true joy and receiving the blessings God has for us.

Of course I use Jesus as my example, he forgave us over and over and over and he even died for us, why can’t I be so quick to forgive? Why must I continue to question the situation instead of forgive and move on? WWJD? (what would Jesus do?)

I have learned not forgiving someone, doesn’t hurt the person who hurt you, it actually hurts you. You have to forgive people for your health, you peace of mind, and for your over all out look on life.

Let Jesus be the example. He gave his life for you to be forgiven. He knew we would fail him but yet he still forgave us.

Easier said than done right?

PRAY! PRAY! PRAY!

Prayer and constant communication with Jesus can help you with forgiveness, I mean who better to learn from than Jesus himself.

Talking with Jesus daily will get you through any situation and know that he is with you along the way and will help with healing and forgiveness.

I think too often we allow our pride and emotions to take over and the thought of forgiving someone is to far fetched, but keep in mind what the Bible says about forgiveness:

Matthew 6:15 “But if you do not forgive others of their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” NIV

I keep that bible verse close to me because I too one day would want my Father to forgive me. The gift of forgiveness is worth more than any amount of money or material possession.

If someone hurt your feelings….forgive.

If someone wronged you in someway….forgive.

If someone lied on you….forgive.

Your relationship didn’t work out…..forgive.

This holiday season, give the gift of forgiveness.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year.

Blessings.

 

10 day Fast from Negative Thinking

So beginning tomorrow, I am starting a 10 day fast from negative thinking. For me this is such a big deal because it is so easy to think of negative over positive. I haven’t quite understood why though?

I try to do this before Thanksgiving because it puts me in such a better mood. I’m not one of those people who dread the holidays. I love the holidays! Family and friends gathering together. I love to give so I do a lot more giving this time a year.

I was the absolute worst thinker. I trained my brain to see my problems not my blessings, and man was that a difficult habit to break. Constantly reminding yourself of how to focus on the bad luck or the bad turn out, that takes a toll on your emotions, your thoughts, and your decision making. Although at the time I didn’t see that. Feeling sorry for myself seemed much easier to do at the time.

Now don’t get me wrong, I believe everything happens the way God intends it to, but I also believe that I have a choice on how I respond to it. I would always respond negatively whether it was in my favor or not. Yeah, what a horrible way to be.

Now I have a grasp on my thoughts and words, and I have a stronger relationship with God and this has what has continued to help me change my thinking to seeing the good in everything.

Here are some quick tip on how I prepare for my 10 days.

  • Prayer. I pray more than I usually do. I stay in contact with God through out the day and when something negative comes to mind, I quickly pray it away. This is my way of staying ready.
  • Journaling. This is one of the best journaling books I have come across. It promotes positive thinking and shows you what you should focus on. I enjoy journaling because it gives me a chance to reflect on what I’ve done.
  • Documentation. You have to document the bad and the good. The most effective way to be sure this works is to document it all. Note what negative or not so pleasant thought that crossed your mind, and what you did to get rid of it.
  • Exercise. I put in a little more exercise to push myself to a better me. I find that when I am healthy and feel great, it is much easier to think positive. I am currently training for a half marathon so the exercise this time is definitely there.
  • List my blessings. Make a list of all your blessings, and when you feel your self getting to a point where your thoughts aren’t going in a positive way, pull that list our and remind yourself of how blessed you truly are.

I hope a few of you will try this 10 day challenge and let me know how it helped you. I also encourage you all to go past the 10 days as well. Positive over negative is always the best way to go.

Blessings.

 

5 Must to do’s to Start My Day

Good morning,

This morning I thought I’d share the 5 things I do to start my day. The day starts when you open your eyes and you start to think, so here is what I do to get my day going and get the positive juices flowing.

  1. Start with a thank you. I thank God every morning for waking me up. I know that seems like a given, but God allows you to wake up so why not thank him for it. I used to not do this, but when I began to realize how much I need God in my life, saying Thank You is the least I could do each morning.
  2. Ask God what he wants you to do today. I ask God what will you have me do? Or God, what or who can I help today? I do that so that I keep my eyes open to the things going on around me. I believe God gives you opportunities to help someone everyday. He assigns people to come through our life each day to help and I don’t want to miss that moment.
  3. Read my morning devotion. I am a big reader, so I read a morning devotion to get my day started. Plus I also have a few apps that I use as well to get the daily devotions sent to me.
  4. Make your bed. I make my bed because I don’t like coming home from  work and it’s a mess. If I don’t make the bed, it feels like I don’t have enough time in my day. Crazy right, but I hate coming home and its not done. My son always ask why, because its not like you’re not going to mess it up again. I like order and this helps with that.
  5. Pray before walking out the door. I pray for my son before he leaves for school and I pray for myself and my day. I ask God to watch my steps and my mouth. I pray for clarity, judgement, my thinking and my work.

You notice I didn’t add coffee, well that always a must and I really enjoy a cup or two every morning.

Hope you have a wonderful day.

Blessings.

My Favorite Christian Books

I have been asked a lot of questions on what helps me keep God first. My reply is I pray and I put God before everything. YES EVERYTHING!

Now a couple years ago I could not say that. I chose to follow my selfish ways and did what I thought was best for me and not what God wanted for me.

Yes I make mistakes, yes I have set back, and yes there are days that I have difficulty being nice and patient with others.

But what really helped was meditation and keeping God at the front of every single thing I did. I took myself out of the picture and allowed God to have his way instead of me. I always tell people 2 things 1) God is not going to ask you about me. Which means is that I am held accountable for what I do in life, not what others do. 2) You have to get out of your own way in order for God to have his way. Meaning you have to do things God is asking you to do rather that doing what you think you need to be doing.

I had the absolute hardest time trusting God with my life. I continued to go down my own road and make decisions based on my feelings or greed or just plain felt I deserved it. And that got me absolutely NO WHERE! So how could I possibly go wrong with allowing God to lead me, I mean I was making poor decisions and I didn’t like how I was doing it.

Ok so the reason for the post, I’ve always enjoyed reading so this is a list of books that I have read that helped me get back on track to God and trusting him with my life.

  1. The Bible – now I know what you’re thinking, well yeah the Bible, but this bible is very special to me. It’s a parallel bible with the New International Version on the left side and The Message form on the right side. The message form is completely regular English for a better understanding. I have a hard time understanding the verbiage used, however this helps me without having to look else where.
  2. The Purpose Driven Life  – this is a 40 day bible study that gives you an idea of what God really wants you to do in life and how to accomplish them. I like this book because it adapts to the person reading the book. It’s a very good read and I highly recommend this book if you’re having difficulty figuring out what God wants you to do.
  3. Living Beyond Your Feelings – this book really opened my eyes on what not to do with your feelings. I used to make long term decisions based on short term feelings and it has always been a disaster. This book explains why it’s so important to know and rely on God and not man; to make decisions rationally and not emotionally.
  4. Change Your Words Change Your Life – this books is geared towards how you speak things into existence. We have to be careful what we say, the more negative we speak, the more we see our burdens not our blessings, and that allows the devil a foothold on us.
  5. Power Words – this book shows focus on our words. What we say can change your life. I sometimes have the hardest time believing that I deserve the best and what God has for me is for me, however after reading how words can effect your every day blessings, I knew I had to change the words I said or how negatively I spoke.
  6. Wisdom for Women  – this is a 365 day devotional that I completed last year but I still keep this book next to my bed for reflection. It helps remind me that I can do anything through Christ. I have highlighted several passages to refer back to when I’m having not so great days.
  7. Battlefield of the Mind – we are what we think, so if you think you can’t, you’re right. This book really goes into detail how important it is to focus and direct our thoughts on what God wants and how God gives us everything we need. I felt like I was having a hard time thinking so negatively all the time. I know it seems like we don’t but have you ever talked yourself out of something you really wanted. I have done this so many times, I began to believe I didn’t deserve it. This book helped me to get my thoughts on track with what God wants and to focus on what I have instead of what I have not.
  8. Listen Love Repeat – this book shows you what real love is. “Love thy neighbor.” It gives examples on how to love one another as God loves you. I did a bible study with Proverbs 31 ministry and it helped me to realize the importance of listening and loving one another.
  9. The Best Yes – the is a self help book based on making decisions based on God and what is best for you. I enjoy reading books that encourage me to put God first and it helps with my decision making life. This book helped me to understand that a “no” is an answered prayer too.

Please leave any book recommendations in the comments. I am always looking forward to reading material that helps me get closer to God and becoming a better person.

Blessings.

31 Days of Scripture

“If you are feeling inpatient, irritable, bitter, forgetful, disorganized, & disconnected from God, it’s time to tend to your soul– Grab your Bible, Get alone with God” – Courtney Joseph

I came across this the other day and knew that it was speaking to me. With life, it can be hard to just keep going and going, however you have to tend to yourself before others. What good is it to not care for yourself? Have you ever tried to care for others when you haven’t cared for yourself? It very hard to spread the love of God if you’re on empty.

I have put together 31 Days of Scriptures for anyone who could use a refuel on their self, as well as grow deeper in God. I’ve learned that if I continue to put God first, he will help take care of me.

So I have taken 31 topics to focus and pray on each day. Start on what ever day you choose, however, the sooner the better. Remember to mark your calendars for the next 31 days with the time to meet with God. Make this extremely intentional.

(the Bible translation is New Living Translation)

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Day 1: Hope – Psalm 39:7 And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you.

Day 2: ForgivenessLuke 17:4 Even if that person wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, you must forgive.”

Day 3: Love1 John 4:9 God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him.

Day 4: PatienceColossians 1:11 We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy

Day 5: Sickness Psalm 30:2 O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you restored my health.

Day 6: HealthIsaiah 38:16 Lord, your discipline is good, for it leads to life and health. You restore my health and allow me to live!

Day 7: MoneyPsalms 112:5 Good comes to those who lend money generously and conduct their business fairly.

Day 8: EnvyEcclesiastes 4:4  Then I observed that most people are motivated to success because they envy their neighbors. But this, too, is meaningless—like chasing the wind.

Day 9: GreedProverbs 28:25 Greed causes fighting; trusting the Lord leads to prosperity.

Day 10: JealousyProverbs 14:30 A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body; jealousy is like cancer in the bones.

Day 11: Your wordsJames 4:11 Don’t speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters. If you criticize and judge each other, then you are criticizing and judging God’s law. But your job is to obey the law, not to judge whether it applies to you.

Day 12: FriendshipsRomans 5:10 – For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son.

Day 13:  Understanding – Proverbs 2:2 Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding.

Day 14: ThoughtsEphesians 4:23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.

Day 15: Husband/Wife1 Corinthians 7:4 The wife gives authority over her body to her husband, and the husband gives authority over his body to his wife.

Day 16: Relationships2 John 1:9 Anyone who wanders away from this teaching has no relationship with God. But anyone who remains in the teaching of Christ has a relationship with both the Father and the Son.

Day 17: ParentsProverbs 15:20 Sensible children bring joy to their father; foolish children despise their mother.

Day 18: Children – Colossians 3:20 Children, always obey your parents, for this pleases the Lord.

Day 19: KindnessProverbs 11:17 Your kindness will reward you, but your cruelty will destroy you.

Day 20: Lust2 Timothy 2:22 Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.

Day 21: DeceitProverbs 12:20 Deceit fills hearts that are plotting evil; joy fills hearts that are planning peace!

Day 22: OccupationEphesians 6:7 Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.

Day 23: SiblingsPsalms 103:17 But the love of the Lord remains forever with those who fear him. His salvation extends to the children’s children

Day 24: Your churchRomans 14:19 So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up.

Day 25: Priest/Preachers2 Timothy 1:11 And God chose me to be a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of this Good News.

Day 26: GovernmentRomans 13:7 Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority.

Day 27: NeighborsPsalms 101:5 I will not tolerate people who slander their neighbors. I will not endure conceit and pride.

Day 28: Pets –  Genesis 1:25 God made all sorts of wild animals, livestock, and small animals, each able to produce offspring of the same kind. And God saw that it was good.

Day 29: LifeJohn 6:48 Yes, I am the bread of life!

Day 30:  Blessings – Dueteronomy 28:2 “Look, today I am giving you the choice between a blessing and a curse!

Day 31: Humble – James 4:7 So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

As a recommendation, you may want to keep a journal when you’re praying for the next 31 days. Write all your thoughts , desires, short comings, accomplishments down so that you can reflect on your journal at the end of your 31 days. To see how far you have come and what you have worked on in these 31 days is a sign that God is still working and helping you.

These days of scripture are to help with your every day life and accomplishing anything you put your mind to. I try to do this 3 times a year. This gives me the chance to really focus on what is important to me and what I need to improve on and how much I have grown . I also like to do this because it has brings me closer to God.

Hope you enjoy the 31 days of scripture.

God bless.