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

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

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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!

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Battle…

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It’s been almost 3 years since my last post.

The picture above captures the reality of the spiritual and personal battle that wreaked havoc on my heart and soul.  The enemy tried to silence my voice.  He whispered and spewed out lies that made me back into a corner and retreat into hiding. I’m sure that many can relate to the everyday warfare we are challenged with as believers.  But, I take comfort and courage in the words of Paul, as he motivates Timothy to fight the good fight of faith:

“But you, Timothy, man of God: Run for your life from all this. Pursue a righteous life—a life of wonder, faith, love, steadiness, courtesy. Run hard and fast in the faith. Seize the eternal life, the life you were called to, the life you so fervently embraced in the presence of so many witnesses.”- 1 Timothy 6:12 (MSG)

Little did I realize that 2016 was going to test the boundaries of my allegiance. In a desperate attempt to find solace, I immersed myself in self-destructive behaviors that lead to further damage.  As time passed, I found myself in a desolate place.  It left me homeless, jobless and questioning God as to my very existence. I was so deep in oppression, that I couldn’t see a way out of my current situation.  This was my breaking point.  As a result, I made the decision to surrender to God knowing that I couldn’t walk anymore without Him.  I learned that it was OK to ask Him for the very things I needed and I didn’t have to carry the heavy load on my own (1 Peter 5:7).

I began to search the scriptures for guidance until I happened to come across the tale of Job.  He was an upright man before God, and then suddenly, he lost it all.  As I study his story, I sensed his pain.  The words jumped out of the page and spilled over into my own cries.  He pleaded his case to God without ever blaming his creator.  How remarkable!

Why? It’s the question that you and I ask when facing a difficult trial. The answer is found in the word of God:

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, [a] against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” – Ephesians 6:12 (NKJV)

There is an enemy out there who hates you (John 10:10).  He will stop at nothing to keep you from fulfilling the plans and purposes of God for your life.  He will try to silence, separate, and distract you.  He wants to keep you in a cease-fire hold. That’s how the adversary works against the children of God. The devil knows that once you align with the Commander-in-Chief, the God of angel’s armies, and gear up for battle, IT’S ON! He has to flee in the mighty name of Jesus! Always know that there is one who is mightier, who is our refuge and line of defense in times of trouble:

“God is our refuge and strength [mighty and impenetrable],
A very present and well-proved help in trouble.” – Psalm 46:1 (AMP)

My fellow comrades in arms, the battle continues and know that it is real.  I now possess a strength and peace in God that not even the devil himself can take away from me.  The Father equips us with not only spiritual fatigues (Ephesians 6:10), but with His word.  It serves as a reminder that He has us in the palm of his hands (Isaiah 49:16).  In short, the Lord is doing great things in my life as we speak (that calls for another story). A new hope and faith springs forth from the depths of my soul, and I smile.  I am standing firm on the word of God, with my battle-armor in place.

Only this time, the devil is on the run.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Wanderer

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Do you see me?

I am not just a face in the crowd, but a child just roaming around lost, who is trying to find my soul in this broken world that I temporarily call my home;

How I long to be in your courts where I find myself with reproach, I am free, I am me, I am the one you created me to be;

Never a question or a doubt that you called me out of darkness and into the light that brightens my days on most dark and dreary nights;

I lose myself between here and there, I hear strange voices everywhere, though I cannot find you anywhere;

Oh! I can’t breathe, I feel no air as I try to catch myself from falling between past and the present times, but no one hears my cries;

Amazing grace, a wretched soul am I, your love is the only one that abides deep within the depths of my heart;

I will keep you there, the keys are safe.  No one is allowed to look and see;

I am the Wanderer, walking this path alone, until the one whom I love calls me home.

 

 

Got SMAD?

How much time are you spending plugging in to the social cyber world?
How much time are you spending plugging in to the social cyber world?

As I surf the internet to find articles to reference for my research paper (which by the way, is due Wednesday!! ARGGGG!), I come across a strange acronym.  The words SMAD appear across the screen, and I had to give it a second look.  I am perplexed at this strange word.  What the heck is a SMAD, and why does it materialize after I type the words “social media” in the Google search box? I immediately click on the article and there it appears in BIG, BOLD letters….Social Media Anxiety Disorder.  Social Media WHAT? OMG! Ok, now I am beginning to get anxious as I read about the symptoms that are clear indicators that I may be suffering from a mental disorder because of my habitual use of Facebook, twitter, Instagram.  Uh, snapshot anybody?

I panic and I run into my co-worker’s office and with alarming concern say, “Hey, guess what?! I exclaim.  She replies, “What?” “I have Social Media Anxiety Disorder!” She gives me a look like I’m crazy, and we begin to laugh out loud from the fact of the new discovery I just made about myself! Little did she realize that I am laughing at her too because I am not the only one with this disorder girlfriend! LOL.  Ok, now on to some serious business, so what is Social Media Anxiety Disorder, and what does it have to do with me, you and the rest of the world?

Apparently, according to an article by Julie Spira, author of “The Rules of Netiquette: How to Mind Your Manners on the Web,” lists 5 symptoms that are warning signs you may have SMAD.  One worth mentioning is #3, “If your cell phone is with you at the dining table and everyone is texting while they’re eating and no one is saying a word, you might have SMAD.”  In other words, if you feel anxious, nervous, or any other type of emotion from SNS you pretty much have been diagnosed friend! How many of you are out with your with your friends either having dinner or just spending time together and they pull out their cell phone to check out the latest Facebook post or Twitter feeds? I remember having a conversation with a dear friend of mine about her habit of checking her device when were hanging out. ” UH, HELLO, not to sound selfish, but is it too much to ask for you to just detach yourself from Instagram for just one moment!”  I was like a child jumping around trying to get her attention because I wanted to play! I was hungry for human contact, if that wasn’t the case, I would have stayed home and spent the rest of my evening on my phone! Face to face contact is so vital to our existence.  Imagine a world where you never see anybody, all senses are lost due to the fact we can’t tear our faces away from our electronics! Sounds like straight out of a Sci-fy movie!

We live in the “Age of information” where everything is available to us at the click, click of a button.  Indeed, with the introduction of smartphones and portable laptops that can fit in our bags, we will never miss out on one moment.  We have to remain plugged in at all times.  We can’t afford to lose out on one given cyber moment! Heaven forbid! Chances are while your out for a stroll or standing in line at the supermarket, you will notice people on their phones as they surf the internet and check out the latest posts on Facebook.  Are we too “absorbed” to even look up and take notice of the person next you? Listen sweetheart, you might have just missed your chance on meeting Prince Charming all because you were so caught up by the latest Facebook post of your Mother’s, sister’s, brother’s, cousin’s, wife who just posted a nasty comment about your Mother’s, aunt’s, daughter’s, niece’s, son.  PHEW! It’s hard to keep up with all the latest and greatest but STOP, and just slowly back away from the device before anyone else gets hurt!

How about taking the time to “stop and smell the roses” or just “care enough to send the very best.”  Believe me, the cyber world will always be there, let’s just hope that it doesn’t make you miss out on some of life’s unplugged moments.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/julie-spira/social-media-anxiety_b_2451439.html