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Finding Your Happily Ever After

“And they lived happily ever after.  The End.”

Every romance novel seems to end with a heroine triumphantly riding off into the sunset with her knight in shining armor.  If only our lives would mimic the classic fairy tales we all grew up reading.  Instead, our perfect rendition of a happily ever after is an evening of watching the latest episode of Game of Thrones! But, seriously, we long for love.  Our hearts were uniquely designed for this purpose.  Our creator is inviting us to join him on a journey of romance that would rival the famous fairy tales of old.

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“My beloved spoke, and said to me:
“Rise up, my love, my fair one,
And come away.” ~ Song of Songs

Long ago, before the foundations of the world…

God looked upon your unformed being and was immediately captivated by you (Psalm 139:16).  It was at that precise moment that God made an eternal vow to love you with an everlasting love.  It is a covenant forged out of the very heart of our creator.  A love so deep, that it would compel him to make the ultimate sacrifice known to mankind.  He would step down from heaven to take on human form and eventually embark on a 3 year mission to romance the hearts of the people.

I always imagined love to be a beautiful tapestry of vivid colors that were woven into the fabrics of our hearts.  Some would describe it as an exhilarating high that sets us free the moment we allow it to penetrate our soul.  To be quite honest, I am no expert when it comes to the affairs of the heart.  My own lackluster in this particular department had left me to piece together what I had read in novels and watched on the big screen.  I wanted so badly to be the damsel in distress.  To experience an undying love that would leave me breathless.  I prayed for someone to rescue me from the seemingly dismal life that had no future, no room for a happy ending.   Why was everyone around me getting engaged, married or starting a relationship? I asked the Lord, “what is left for me? Suddenly, something beautiful began to emerge from the ashes and it all started with an invitation.

He called out to me…

My beloved spoke, and said to me:
“Rise up, my love, my fair one,
And come away.
For lo, the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth;
The time of singing has come,
And the voice of the turtledove
Is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth her green figs,
And the vines with the tender grapes
Give a good smell.
Rise up, my love, my fair one,
And come away! ~ Song of Songs 2:10-13

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I’ve had my heart-broken once too many times. I spent many nights spilling thousands of tears over empty promises that robbed me of my “happily ever after.”  Unbeknownst to me, Jesus was extending a hand towards me.  He wanted to romance me in the way he has always intended for his princesses. He gently reminded me through my pain, that the love he has for me, is unfailing.  

I was placing my heart in the wrong hands.  The bible tells us that we should guard our hearts (Proverbs 4:23).  My search for love and romance had taken me down a wrong path.  I didn’t need to look for love in someone, in fact, I needed to go straight to the source which was Jesus.  When you totally surrender your life to God, he leads you to discover love through his eyes.  I no longer needed the validation of a person’s love to make me feel complete.  The moment I allowed that nugget of truth to take root deep in my heart, I experienced a new level of love for Christ and in Christ like never before.

Beloved, on the evening of this Valentine’s day, I want you to know that your love story is far from being over.  It hasn’t even begun! Open your heart and allow romance to take hold of you as you explore daily doses of God’s immeasurable love for you.

Let the finger of God rewrite your love story!

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Blessings,

~Melissa

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Thoughtful Thursday

Just a Thought: 

Our monthly ritual of gathering together was met with warm hugs, stories and a good dose of laughter.  As we sat in a semi-circle, one friend shared, “You know, we have to be thankful- thankful that we have a job to pay our rent, purchase food, etc.”  She is absolutely right.  How often do we stop and THANK God?

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I am thankful that I was able to open my eyes and see the snow falling;

I am thankful for hearing the words, “I love you Momma” from my little one;

I am thankful for the tender shoulder from a friend that I can lean on;

I am thankful for a Mom whose faith compelled her to always pray for her children;

I am thankful for being able share the good news of Christ to those around me;

I am thankful for the trials, storms and circumstances, because it has only further cemented my foundation in Christ.

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Friends, we all have something to be eternally grateful for.  Let us begin to offer God sacrifices of praise in all things.  If we can grab hold of this kingdom principle and apply it daily in our walk, it will awaken the spirit of Thanksgiving from deep within.  

“Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.”~Hebrews 13:15 (NKJV). 

God Bless!

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There and Back Again, a Wayward’s Tale.

December 2016

I’m sitting in church.  The music is roaring.  A man is singing his heart out to God.  I am moved to tears.  The story was about me.  In fact, it is me.  I break down.

11 Then He said: “A certain man had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood. 13 And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living. ~ Luke 15

The Only Way In

September 2004

I made an unprecedented move that would change the course of my life.

It’s the tale of the wayward child who turned his back on the only family he’d ever known. A biblical story that is all too familiar.  Unlike the prodigal son, I didn’t leave with a trust fund. But, I did inherit a wounded heart and my 8 year-old boy in tow.  And just like him, I ran away believing that starting a new life in a distant land would erase painful memories. A lost childhood. Broken promises. Dead-end opportunities.

Why did he run?

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,
But he who heeds counsel is wise. ~ Proverbs 12:15 

The parable doesn’t go into why he chose to leave in the first place.  We are only left to wonder what drove him to leave home.  Did he have something to prove? Did a fight ensue between himself and his brother? Did he get along with his Father?

The 10 year-old in me was ready to bust out of the joint I called home.  But, I never fathomed that my past would collide with my present in such a way that it nearly annihilated my future. When we’re standing at a crossroad, isn’t it just easy to pick up and go? Or maybe if we snap our fingers and *POOF* everything will disappear.  It was settled, I made up my mind and there wasn’t anyone who was going to stop me.  I was headstrong in my decision.  Stubbornness can cause blindness to the truth.  Often times, we harden our hearts when a friend or loved one extends a word of advice or encouragement.

“Don’t go,” my Mamí pleaded.  “Why do you have to go so far away?

I left with a HUGE chip on my shoulder.  

I was the second oldest of the bunch, but felt neglected emotionally.  I craved for any scrapings of attention from my parents, friends, etc.  Nothing could satisfy my insatiable desire for attention.  I felt unworthy of love and incapable of capturing anyone’s affection. My biological father kicked my mother and I out when I was only a year old.  The seeds of rejection were planted into my young heart, and for rest of my adulthood it wickedly teased and taunted me. My Mom eventually married, but the new man in my life who would raise me as his daughter could never fill the void of emptiness in my heart. Something was missing.

June 2016

I pulled into the paved driveway of my apartment complex.  I had a pit in my stomach.  I was expecting a white envelope with “Tenant Apt. C” to receive me when I arrived at my front door.  I reluctantly let myself out of the car and slowly made my way to the entrance of the building.  I stopped mid-way up the stairs, as I caught sight of the wretched white envelope.  I finished the last few steps and walked over to pick it up.  I unlocked the door and let it slam behind me.  With fingers trembling, I ripped it open, …“This letter is to serve notice that you are being evicted from your apartment and you have 30 days to answer…”  12 years of running led up to this moment.  I had lost it all.  I couldn’t finish reading it.  I felt nauseous.  I picked up my cell phone.

17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, 19 and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.”’ ~ Luke 15

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THE AHA! MOMENT.

The prodigal son had a “AHA!”- moment.  In his own quest to find himself, he actually lost a valuable piece of who he was and who he belonged to.  He allowed the lures and cares of this world to entice him to live outside the will of the father.  It forced him to rise above his present situation and go back to his roots.  I too realized that I left with an inheritance that I neglected for so long.  A spiritual inheritance whose foundation was fortified with faith, hope and love that only comes from Christ.  It wasn’t too late to go back.  Sometimes in life, God needs to bring us back in order for us to move forward.  My healing was going to start where it all began, home.

22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring[a] out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. 23 And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; 24 for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry. ~ Luke 15

December 2016

I wiped the tears as I glanced over at my Mom who was sitting next to me, smiling. There was no need for words.  We sat in awe.  It was that night, that the Lord reminded us of His merciful love for all who are lost.  He is, and always will be waiting with open arms, ready to receive his prodigal children.

The world had stopped for a moment as I heard the gentle voice of the Father whisper –

“Welcome Home Melissa.”

 

 

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Change. Period.

” I want nothing to change, nothing!”

Those were the words uttered from my 8 year-old daughter when the word change slipped into our conversation.  I chuckled.  I paused to let the word marinate my soul.  Change. Let’s be honest, we pray for it, but are we really open to change? As of late, every sermon, teaching, or book has been echoing the same charge.  Do you sense the Lord speaking to you about change? I believe that He is challenging us for 2017.  A call to action.  The time has come for us to follow through on the changes that we have cried out to the Father.

“Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it.” ~ Proverbs 37:5

Change asks you to commit!

One of the areas of my life that I wanted to commit to changing was the fact that I was a serial runner.  When the going got tough, I would run.  At the first sign of any impending doom, I was already secretly plotting a way out.  I lacked the courage to face any person I had conflict with.  I thought everybody was out to get me. It was easier for me to put on my Nike’s and head for the hills.  But, you get to a point in your life, when you have to stop running.  I did it for the last 12 years.  In the words of Forest Gump when he was asked why he stopped running, he responded, “I’m pretty tired… I think I’ll go home now.”  I was tired too.  The moment I asked the Lord to help me, I have sensed peace unlike never before. I can now face and stand against any giant that comes my way because God’s hand is with me.

How do we stay determined and focus to keep the change? 

The word of God teaches us…

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As you say “Yes Lord,” pray and asked that He strengthen you as you embark on the road to change.  Believe me, He will lovingly guide you every step of the way!

Change calls for us to examine the areas of our lives that need tending to.  You are inviting God into your heart to do deep excavating.

Examine me, O Lord, and try me; Test my heart and my mind. ~ Psalm 26:2

We all have areas in our hearts that need some TLC.  It is tainted with old wounds, broken promises, toxic relationships, etc.  Allow yourself to tear off the bandages and expose your wounds to healing.  The enemy will use your afflictions to torment your soul.  He knows your weaknesses and he will come to bring doubt and fear.  He will whisper lies that you will never find complete restoration in Christ.  But, remember what the word of God says,

“Then your light will break out like the dawn, And your healing (restoration, new life) will quickly spring forth; Your righteousness will go before you [leading you to peace and prosperity], The glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.” ~ Isaiah 58:8 (Amp)

Change challenges us to break old habits and create new ones.  It teaches self-discipline.    

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Holding on to old habits never allows for change to occur.  Another word is STUCK.  Sounds familiar? Here’s a thought, bad habits stagnate your growth.  There is no progression.  It’s another strategy that the advesary uses against us.  The moment you accepted Jesus into your life, you closed the door on your past.  You welcomed change into your life.  You said yes to Jesus and yes to a fresh start.  It’s a clean slate which allows us to live a purpose filled life.

It’s never too late for CHANGE!

Friends, as we move forward into the new year, don’t let anything discourage you from the  personal commitments you have declared to God for 2017.  Levi Lusko recently commented, “Be the change that you want to see in the world” (#KeepTheChangeSeries, http://www.freshlife.church).  I believe this statement to be true.  We will have our good days and bad days and our faith will even be tested.  But rest assured, the moment we said yes to the change, is the moment we no longer live but Christ in us which is the hope of glory.

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Only Believe

Believe.  It’s hard to imagine that one little word can hold such weight and power in your hands.  But, what do you do when you find yourself in a position in which you can’t believe for yourself?

Earlier today, I was sitting in my parked car at the local supermarket.  The worship music was blaring in the background, and I began to give thanks to God for what he was doing in the lives of my loved ones.  First, I thanked him for the new job opportunity that He recently blessed my younger brother with.  Secondly,  I thanked Him for my other brother’s new-found relationship when all of a sudden, I heard God speak so clear to me.  “Why can’t you believe that I can do the same for you just as I did for them?” *BOOM* That’s right, I just got served.

cf28858a4c2c511dba8bcd04980cff5a“I assure you and most solemnly say to you, if you have faith [personal trust and confidence in Me] and do not doubt or allow yourself to be drawn in two directions, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen [if God wills it]. 22 And whatever you ask for in prayer, believing, you will receive.” whatever you ask for in prayer, believing, you will receive.”Matthew 21:21-22 (Amp)

Later, I turned my face towards the heavens as the tears were rolling down my rosy red cheeks.  It was a defining moment, and I humbled myself.  I asked God to forgive me for my unbelief.  It never dawned on me that deep down inside, there was a little monster called “doubt” looming in my brain.  How can that be? Me, of all people? Why would I ever doubt God? To be quite honest, it took me aback.  After all, I know His word and His promises for my life.  I have made it a priority to declare them each and every single morning.  Apparently, I was missing the mark.  It was going to take more than a few morning declarations to understand what He was trying to tell me.

A few weeks ago, our senior Pastor challenged us to “Only Believe,” which ibased from the book of Matthew, verses 21 and 22. And so, with great enthusiasm, I joined my fellow brethren, as we shouted out praises to Jesus, standing and believing for the very things that we pray and hope for.  Over the next few weeks, members have shared their miracle stories of how God met their needs.  I sat there, listening intently to every testimony, hanging on every single word because I want it so badly for myself.

One would think that the concept of God being able to do the impossible in any situation would sink into our brain of reasoning.  But, therein lies a problem.  We limit God.  Our limitation is what hinders the hand of God from moving miraculously in our lives.  Our Father knows our very needs and desires even before we speak one word.  But, He is challenging us to go a step further.  God is calling us to step out in faith and BELIEVE for B-I-G-G-E-R things! God loves us all the same, what he can do for others, he can surely do for you and I if we only believe.

The apostle Paul wrote in Philippians, “And my God will liberally supply (fill until full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19 Amp).  The scripture doesn’t say some of our needs, but every need.  How amazing that God doesn’t limit us, He’s not a genie that will only grant us three wishes

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He wants us all, not just me, to believe that He will grant us the desires of our hearts.  He wants to free us, heal us, provide for us, restore us, rebuild us, strengthen us, uphold us, protect us and so much more.  According to biblegateway.com, there are more than 5,000 promises that God has for us! What are your heart’s desires for 2017? If you feel in your heart to share, I would love to hear all about it and partner with you in believing for the impossible.

There is nothing too big nor too small that our God cannot accomplish!

 

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The Handmaiden of Raven Hair

I was recently asked if I would be willing to appear as a guest blogger for a person very near and dear to my heart.  I chuckled at the very request because I am a lover of writing turned inspired novice.  Nevertheless, I accepted the humble invitation and allowed my writing to flow freely and in turn, a love story was born.

Please take a moment and click on the link below.  It will direct to my guest post along with connecting you to a very gifted writer, Jessica Galán.

Below are the links:

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http://www.jessicagalan.net/2017/01/21/the-handmaiden-of-raven-hair-by-melissa-arroyo/

http://www.jessicagalan.net

I hope you enjoy the journey!

~Missy

P.S: Thank you @MalleableHeart for always believing in me! Te quiero mucho hermanita. xoxo

 

 

 

 

 

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Freedom Friday! 

“So if the Son makes you free, then you are unquestionably free.” ~ John 8:36 (Amp) 

Happy Friday! 

You’ve made it through another week. Let us never forget the freedom we have received through Christ Jesus.  Your sins are forgiven and shame is no longer your prison.

The thoughts of the past will try to haunt you, and the enemy of our soul will remind you of past transgressions; but remember what the word of God says. You are free!

It my desire for you that you stand firm on the word and continue to declare freedom in your life. It is one of the many promises of God for his children.  There was a cost to attain this freedom, and it was paid for long ago on Calvary.

Father, we are just in awe of who you are and what you represent for us. As we keep our eyes towards the heaven, from which our help comes from, we know that we have the victory in Christ Jesus. We declare that we are no longer a slave to sin. We are free from sin! We are free from the accusations of the enemy. Our debt was paid because you sent your son Jesus as a ransom.  I pray that we would renew our minds daily with your precious word as we continue to stand firm on your promises. Thank you Lord for the freedom we can experience through you, Amen.

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Wisdom Wednesday

“For with God nothing [is or ever] shall be impossible.” ~ Luke 1:37 (Amp)

How amazing to know that we serve a God of the impossible? There is nothing too great, nor too small that our Father in heaven cannot accomplish!

Believe for that promotion;

Believe for healing in your body;

Believe for restoration of your marriage;

Believe for a financial breakthrough;

Believe for a new job;

Believe for restoration;

Believe for peace;

Believe for joy;

“Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you believe [in Me], you will see the glory of God [the expression of His excellence]?” ~ John 11:40 (Amp)

Lord Jesus, I come before you asking for the impossible. You are a promise keeper and your word never returns back void but fulfills that which you have spoken. I pray in your name that my faith would arise in me as I stand firm on the promises of your word, in Jesus name I pray, Amen.

If you have a special prayer request, please comment below; and I will partner with you in believing for the impossible!

God bless!

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Worship: The Cry of the Spirit Man

“What a beautiful name it is, what a beautiful it is, the name of Jesus Christ, my king…” echoes from the beats pill, as the sounds soothe and saturate my soul.  My heart is calling out to the Father, my spirit man yearning to bathe in the presence of the my heavenly Father.  “But a time is coming and is already here when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit [from the heart, the inner self] and in truth; for the Father seeks such people to be His worshipers” (John 4:23 Amplified).  There is nothing in this world, that can compare to the intensity of an individual who worships the Father in spirit and in truth.  I dare to say, it is a beautiful symphony that is harmoniously composed from the melody of a song inspired by the worshipper to the Father.

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Worship is a deep outpouring of love.  It is the measureless form of human expression to the creator of life.  It is an act of adoration so profound, that it can cause one to wail or even moan.  Thereupon, the person cannot help but to bow, prostrate, or fall on their knees because the presence of God suddenly becomes so tangible (Psalm 149:4).  The Lord of heaven and earth, delights in the praises of His people.  The invitation has been sent and His response? He comes with such unfathomable joy as He enthrones in the center of the heart.

We were created to worship.  Our God is a relational being, and we were created in His very own image and likeness. He formed Adam and Eve with the purpose of having a personal relationship with them.  Take a moment, and just imagine God walking in the garden with Adam by his side.  The Father is engaging with his child.  A smile, a laugh, and an infinite love is surrounding them.  God is enamored with Adam, and Adam of God.  It explains why we long for companionship with others.  God recognized the importance of its need for Adam (Genesis 2:18), and He formed Eve. One of the greatest pleasures of life is spending time in the company of those that we love.  In essence, worship fulfills a deep need for intimacy with God.

Worship is an act of humility.  As we come before the presence of God, it’s a time for laying aside “self” (flesh like desires) and recognizing the greatness and goodness of God. We offer praises of joy and thanks for freeing us from the law of sin and death.  For it is by the blood of Jesus that we are able to enter into His presence.  Let us be mindful that we are the temple of the holy spirit, a dwelling place for Jehovah to reign in our soul.  As it is written in the book of 1 Corinthians chapter 6 verse 19, “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God?”  Worship gives proper place to God by expressing our need of Him.

This is what the Lord says: “Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool.
Could you build me a temple as good as that?
Could you build me such a resting place? – Isaiah 66:1 (NLT)

Worship is vital to the life of every believer.  I can’t begin to express in my own words how essential worship is to us.  In my most difficult times, I’ve turned on the radio, hummed a sweet melody, or belted out loud (perhaps off-key) a song of thanks and praise! The enemy hates when you begin to worship and praise.  The devil knows that there is power in the name that is above all names, the name of Jesus.  It loosens the chains, breaks the shackles and brings deliverance to anyone who calls on God.  Worship is the power cord to help regenerate and sustain our spirit.

All things considered, I can go on listing the reasons why every believer should practice the beautiful art of worship and praise. It’s as personal as your walk with God.  I encourage you to take some time and read the book of Psalms.  It captivates the cry of a soul who is athirst for God. Jesus is seeking those who long to be in His presence. God is looking for open vessels that are willing to invite Him into their temple.  We all long to be lost in the presence of our savior, as He lovingly surrounds us with His cloud of glory.

Do you hear that? Does your soul stir at the still small voice? God is calling out to you.  He is patiently waiting for you to invite Him into your heart and compose a masterpiece.