In Loving Memory of Brianna Escobedo 9/15/98-5/22/13

Bullying others, it was your game.
All for fun, not intended for pain.

But the words cut deep, they caused me strife
And because of it all I took my own life.

I now know I should have stood up for myself,
But I couldn’t escape my own living hell.

So you continue to hurt others with your stupid lies,
Not seeing the pain in those gut wrenching cries.

I wish I had asked why being mean was your way,
Then maybe I could have put an end to your bullying days.

But since I gave up, you still cause others pain
And I pray taking my life wasn’t all in vain.

I beg you to think before you are cruel
And always remember the golden rule.

Treat others the way you want to be treated
and instead of tearing them down,
provide love and support which is desperately needed.

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Forgive Me Father, For I Have Sinned

Over the years, God has been speaking to me very subtly. His voice would start as a soft whisper and over time it would magnify into a loud roar if I didn’t catch on in a timely fashion. Most of the time I caught on at the whisper stage, but then there were times that I needed to hear Him yell to get the point.

I had just purchased the car of my dreams and had been toying with the idea of a personalized license plate. I wanted something that would be a testimony to others. After brainstorming for a couple of days, I thought “I’m His” would be perfect. I procrastinated a little too long and the dealer plates arrived. I placed them on the trunk of my car to install and got sidetracked with the kids. Later that day I went to the grocery store. It wasn’t until I arrived back home that I realized the plates were left on the car and were now gone. I drove my route hoping to find them on the road somewhere between my house and the store, but no luck. So I ordered replacements. Two weeks later my plates arrived and I opened them to see 850 HYS. My heart stopped. Was this for real? I thought I was seeing things. At that moment I knew God had something very important he wanted to share with me. I went straight to my bible in search of verse 50 in chapter 8.

Before I tell you what I found, you need to know what was going on at that moment in my life. I was married to a man with a sexual addiction. In my brokenness, I had justified certain behaviors of my own. The lines between right and wrong had turned from black and white to grey in our household. After years of pain, instead of relying solely on God to comfort me, I found comfort in things that never gave me what I was longing for. I turned to friends for ungodly advice, spent countless hours easing my pain with shopping, and even turned to another man to meet my needs for emotional support.

I found three verses in the entire bible with a chapter 8, verse 50. All three of them hit my like a ton of bricks. 1 Kings 8:50 says, “Forgive your people who have sinned against you. Forgive all the offenses they have committed against you.” The moment I read the verse, I realized my pain and agony had not subsided because I had unforgiveness and fear in my heart. I had forgiven myself but I was holding captive the forgiveness towards my spouse because I didn’t want to get hurt again. Luke 8:50 says, “Don’t be afraid, just believe.” This verse was God’s way of telling me to trust Him and believe that He had a plan for me and that He would meet all of my needs. John 8:50 says, “I am not seeking glory for myself; but there is one who seeks it, and he is the judge.” Through this verse, He revealed that He is the judge, not me.

God took something he placed in my heart and used it to teach me a very valuable lesson that day. Healing will never take place the way God intended for it to until we forgive others the way He forgives us, trust Him and believe His promises, and let Him be the judge of those who disobey.

If you find yourself in pain, whether it is the result of your own sin or the sin of someone else, know that God is right there waiting for you to give it all to Him. He is the only one that can heal and restore what Satan has tried to destroy.

 

Put On the Armor of God

Lord,

Help me put on the belt of truth today filtering everything the world tells me through the light of Your Word. Remind me with the breastplate of righteousness that I cannot achieve goodness by the things I do or don’t do. You were the perfect sacrifice and I stand forgiven because of my hope in you. Help my feet carry your message of peace to a hurting world. Let me encourage those around me with the story of your gospel and son, Jesus Christ. Give me strength to carry my shield of faith. I am a part of a community of faith and we all stand together against the attacks of Satan. Cover my mind with the helmet of salvation. Help me think on things that honor you and give me discernment to do what is right and best. Arm me with your sword and hide your scripture in my heart. Your words, not mine, are powerful and effective. i pray all of this in the name of Jesus Christ, who was the perfect sacrifice to overcome death and give me eternal life.

Amen.

Heaven Sent

While I was married to my ex, before our third child was conceived, I was driving behind a truck that had the name Tryston on the back window where the driver sat. I loved the name and felt that one day I would have a son and that is what I wanted to name him. When I got pregnant with Shaylie, I knew God was giving me a son. At my sonogram appointment, the nurse said it was a girl and I was so sad. I chose to believe she read it wrong and had two more sonograms done because I wanted to know for sure. They all said the same thing. 100% girl. I got over my sadness, but still wanted a little boy. Then my life fell apart. I had totally forgotten all about the name and lost all hope of ever having a little boy. Then I met Trey. It wasn’t until he proposed that God reminded me of what he put on my heart the day I saw that name on the back of that truck. I never imagined it would happen in this fashion, but He did follow through on His promise! Today Tryston, my step-son or as I like to refer to as my bonus son, celebrates his 11th birthday and God reminds me every year on this day that His ways are not my ways and His plans are not always the way I think things would turn out, but His are always better than my biggest, wildest dreams!

If you find yourself with dreams that haven’t turned out the way you wanted, give it all to God. He put those dreams in your heart for a reason and He will bring them to life in His timing. They just might be packaged a little differently than you envisioned! Tryston may not be my biological son, but I love him no less. God whispered to me that day in the car and shared a piece of His plan for me. I look forward to the day when I am standing at the feet of Jesus and He reveals every detail from His perspective. Until then, I feel so blessed that God gives us glimpses of His heart and dreams for our lives.

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Thank You God!

Dear God,

I want to take time to remember all the things you have done for me through the years. Oh there are so many things. You have carried me through dark valleys of the shadow of death. You have rejoiced with me on the mountaintops. You have held my hand and helped me take a leap into unknown waters. You have applied healing balm to my hurts and warm sunshine on my soul. You have given me precious friends whom have stood the test of time…and more. You have given me a loving family to grow with and be with. You have increased my territory spiritually. You have picked me up when I have stumbled and nearly hit the ground. You have provided for me when I did not know where my provisions would come from. You have surrounded me with prayers and support from the family of God in time of need. You have shown me miracles and blessed my soul. You have given me the desires of my heart — desires that are in line with Your will and word. You have given me the privilege of helping advance Your Kingdom through gifts, talents, and resources You have entrusted to me. You have always been patient with me. You have felt my cries, laughed at my silliness, and gently guided me back onto the right path. You have loved me with an everlasting love. I could go on and on. God, I am thankful for You and all You have done and all You will do in my life. I love you and appreciate You and want to shout, “How great is my God!”

With loving gratitude, in Your sweet and holy name,
Amen.

Being Patient During the Wait

Patience — the will or ability to wait or endure without complaint; the state of endurance under difficult circumstances, persevering in the face of delay or provocation without acting on annoyance/anger in a negative way; or exhibiting forbearance when under strain, especially when faced with long-term difficulties.

Growing up I learned early on that patience was a virtue, but I never really knew the true definition. So because my version was a little skewed, I saw myself as a patient person. What I would soon learn was that the kind of patience I had was for day to day trials, not long-term waiting.

After my divorce I “dated dumb”, as I like to refer to it. Out of my pain, I choose people that were very unhealthy and I quickly discovered that if I wanted my second marriage to be healthier than my first, I had to make wiser choices. So I waited for God to place someone in my life. Not long after, I met a man and a few months into our relationship, marriage was being discussed. We dated for almost a year and had an amazing relationship. We attended church together, prayed together, and he was my best friend. He was everything I had prayed for since I was a little girl. But all those dreams were put on hold when he decided he needed some time to figure out what he really wanted. So my wait began. I knew God was in control, so I respected my boyfriends’ decision and stepped away to let him have the time he needed to make the best choice for him. I was patient for about four weeks and then I got angry. As days turned into weeks and weeks into months with no word from him, I realized patience was an area I needed to work on. I reminded myself daily that God had a plan and tried to meditate on His promises. That mindset would last a few days and then I was back to feeling sad and wondering why it was taking so long for God to give me what I thought was His plan for my life. Somewhere on this roller coster ride of trusting God and feeling sorry for myself, I realized that my lack of patience was due to the fact that I was waiting on the outcome I wanted. Never did I imagine that God had a different plan in store for me.

One day I had stayed in bed all afternoon because I had made myself physically ill. While I was laying there feeling sad and praying for God to take the pain away, I heard a crash that came from my bathroom. I walked in to find a framed, full length mirror face down on the cold tile floor. I very carefully turned it over, careful not to cut myself. The glass was shattered in hundreds of pieces. Great, I thought, seven years of bad luck. Just what I needed, more trials and heartache. Needless to say, that day turned out to be a depressing one.

It wasn’t until a few days later that God came through loud and clear. After the mirror had fallen and shattered, I placed it under a chaise lounge in my room. One day as I was cleaning, I decided it was time to throw it away. As a slide it out from under the lounge, I was reminded of all the pain in my life. With tears welling up in my eyes, I stood up and noticed something I hadn’t noticed before. Not a single piece was out of place. With blurred vision, I saw the most beautiful arrangement of broken glass. It looked like a firework with the center as the point of impact, bursting from there into a starburst effect. I was in awe of the beauty that came from an old, broken mirror. What God revealed next pierced my heart. He softly whispered that the mirror represented my life. Like the mirror, I was completely broken, but He promised me if I stayed focused on Him, He would take all the broken pieces of my life and put them back together to create a beautiful masterpiece.

On that cold winter day, my Heavenly Father revealed His heart and began the process of putting mine back together again. He taught me that patience is waiting on His timing, not my own. Through my brokenness, God made something more beautiful and more magnificent than anything I could have ever dreamed of.

So if you find yourself questioning God, wondering when He is going to come through for you, know that His timing is always perfect. Meditate on His word and through His teaching, He will use your heartache to mold you into the man or woman you were created to be.