Posted in Faith, Love

3 Ways to Live Loved

Living loved is not the result of having people in your life that love you or accept you. Living loved is not a feeling based on how others choose to love you. To live loved goes way beyond the kind words and actions you receive from others.

The moment we start to depend on other people’s words and actions to live loved, is when we have lost complete sight of what living loved is all about.

The root and foundation of living loved is anchored in three critical areas of our lives:

  1. Our identity

  2. Our purpose

  3. Our faith

Throughout my years of being a Christian, I have learned that life does not get easier, nor free of negativity and hurt. Living the Christian life has nothing to do with us, and everything to do with Christ, which is why the word Christian has the word Christ in it.

Being a Christian means you are no longer living for you but for Christ. As Christians, our plans, agenda, goals, and desires no longer matter. Rather it is God’s plan and desire to use us in whatever way He sees fit to accomplish His bigger plans for humanity.

That means being fully present in the season you’re currently in. Whether you’re a full time mom caring and loving on your kids, teaching them in the way of the Lord, or being a waitress/waiter serving the person or family in the restaurant you work at. No matter what season of life you find yourself in, there is a purpose for you and the people you encounter during that season of your life.

Don’t be discouraged, and don’t be afraid. The fact your dreams and goals will no longer matter, does not mean you won’t have new dreams and goals. God is so divine that He replaces our own selfish plans and desires with His plans and desires for our lives. Ultimately, for the salvation of many lives.

Had I not given up on my own plans and agenda for my life, I would not be typing this blog right now. I would probably be practicing medicine on someone somewhere. Can you picture me as a doctor? What about a pediatric doctor?

Yeah… I’m glad my plans did not unfold the way I thought they should. Almost a year ago, God showed me I was living from a place of discontentment. The sad truth is that I had absolutely no idea I was living this way! God has a way of bringing to our attention the places of our lives that don’t please or honor Him.

For me, it was through a friendship I was holding on to with the hopes of being more than just friends. I was so caught up with the thought of just friends that I lost the significance of having him as a friend. Why wasn’t I content with being just friends?

So what if our friendship never got passed the friend zone?

Would I be OK with that? Obviously, I wasn’t.

Deep down I was not content, which is why I wasn’t OK with just being friends.

What does living loved look like?

Have you ever wondered or questioned that?

I hadn’t until I realized I was living from a place of discontentment.

After attempting to seek answers from this guy pertaining our relationship, I didn’t get the answer I hoped for. So I made the decision to stop being his friend. Was I being selfish and self-centered? I was definitely making the situation about ME rather than allowing God to have His way with our friendship.

After carefully considering the question, “Why wasn’t I content with being just friends?” The reason was, my lack of trust in God and His sovereignty. Rather than focusing on God’s truth during this time, I was so caught up focusing on my fleeting emotions.

Discontentment only brings frustration, anger, negative self-talk, and worry. Friend, we were not created to live a life of discontentment. We were created to live loved in spite of our circumstances.

3 Ways to Live Loved

  1. Live Loved by Knowing and Understanding Your Identity in Christ

Our true identity is not found in what people say about us or how they treat us. Our true identity is found in Christ and Christ alone! People may identify you based on your race, your job or career, your outward appearance, or even based on your past.

God, however, He identifies you as His son/daughter. He identifies you as the bearer of His own image! (Genesis 1:26)

  1. Live Loved by knowing and Understanding You Have Purpose

Each of us have a purpose to fulfill here on earth. If you don’t know what your purpose is yet, I encourage you to seek after it. Discovering your purpose will require you to be intentional about it.

You can volunteer at a church, school, or nonprofit organization to name a few places. Ask yourself what interests you and try it out. Taking these steps of action can help you discover your God given purpose.

Discovering our purpose is powerful! Once we know what our purpose is, we live with an understanding that we were created for more. No matter what life throws at us, knowing our purpose will encourage us to keep going and to not dwell in life’s circumstances.

  1. Live Loved by Knowing and Understanding His Best Is In Store No Matter What

Yahweh God is good and faithful! His character is based on the foundation of pure love. His love, grace, and mercy never falter. The storms of life can’t stop God from being faithful to us. It’s in those difficult and challenging moments where God wants to pull us close and grow our intimacy with Him.

To live loved means knowing and understanding the foundation from which love comes from.

“But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”

– 1 John 4:8

The Bible tells us that love comes from God. We can’t live loved if we don’t know the source of love, and we can’t show love without first living loved.

Friend, let’s be intentional about living loved, and that starts with seeking the giver of it – Yahweh, God.

“We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.”

– 1 John 4:16

Question: What Bible verse speaks to you the most about love and why?

Posted in Life

3 Ways To Open Your Heart Instead Of Presents This Christmas

 

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What’s your definition of Christmas? What does Christmas mean to you?

For most of us, Christmas means spending quality time with family and loved ones. For others, Christmas means buying gifts and hosting the biggest parties. In the case of most children, Christmas is a day they get to open presents and take pictures with Santa.

So really, what is the true meaning of Christmas?

If you grew up in Church, you know by memory the famous verse found in John 3:16,

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

When was the last time you heard or read this verse for yourself and actually pondered it?

It had been a while for me. But after recently reading it over and over again, I was reminded of its value and significance. God did not only love you and me. He didn’t just love the Christian or the goody two shoes.

God loved the world! And still loves the whole world!

But what does that mean?

It means He loves everyone. From race to race, religion to religion, culture to culture, God loves the people of the world! And He doesn’t just love us. He SO loves us! There is emphasis in his love for us all.

As an outpouring of His great love for each and every single one of us, God did not spare His one and only Son from coming into the world and dying a death He did not deserve. On the contrary, God gave his ONE and ONLY Son so that whoever BELIEVES in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

God’s desire is for us to have an eternal life with Him in heaven. He does not want us to suffer a spiritual death. Sending Jesus to die on the cross for our sins was the only way to prevent us from dying a spiritual death and give us the opportunity to live in relationship with Him as our Father and Friend.

The gift of God’s love and salvation is ours for the taking. All we have to do is surrender our lives to Him as our Savior and open up our hearts to Him to receive the love He is forever pouring out on us.

Here are 3 ways in which we can open our hearts instead of presents this Christmas:

  1. Be Intentional

During the holiday season, it’s easy to go through the motions of shopping and striving to get the best gifts, the best outfits, and the best everything else. We have this urge to impress when we should have the urge to be intentional.

If we’re not careful, we can easily forget to be intentional about the true meaning of the holidays, which is to thank God for his Son Jesus and to intentionally love and appreciate our family and loved ones.

It is a mindful decision that we make each day to open up our hearts to give and receive love. Instead of focusing on the hustle and bustle this Christmas, focus on the true reason for the season: God’s outpouring of love on us through the gift of salvation through His Son.

  1. Humble Yourself

Christmas is not about receiving gifts or opening presents. Christmas is about giving and sharing the love of Christ with others through our hospitality. Rather than expecting gifts from people or high-class service, we should humble ourselves by freely giving with no expectations.

Humbling ourselves will open our hearts to remember the true meaning of Christmas. We would not be where we are without God’s unconditional love. We are humbled by His gifts of love, joy, peace, and purpose in our lives that we have done nothing to deserve. When we open our hearts in humility, we begin to overflow in the goodness of God’s love.

It is only from a place of humility that we can truly receive all that God has for us, and it is from that place that we also freely give to others.

  1. Show Gratitude

A grateful state of mind is good, but greater is the showcasing of gratitude. Christmas is an opportunity for us to show gratitude to others and to God. Showing gratitude for what we have (and even for what we don’t have) opens our heart to receiving the fullness of joy, peace and love that comes only through Jesus. We can show gratitude for all God has done in our lives by being a blessing to others just as He has so blessed us.

My hope and prayer is that we would learn to open our hearts throughout the year, and not just during the holidays. Jesus is the reason for the season. He is the reason for every season of life we find ourselves in. It’s through the varying seasons of life that God opens our hearts to make us more like Him.

Take time to open your heart before opening presents this Christmas.

Praying for a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year to you and your family! I know God has many blessings in store.

Let’s chat: In what way listed above can you open your heart this holiday season? (comment below)

 

Posted in Life

Are You Ready To Embrace Your Journey?

Hi friends!

Guess what?!

I recently embarked on a health and fitness journey! It may seem a little weird that I did such a thing, but let me explain why. Oftentimes we associate health and fitness with outward appearance. However, health and fitness has more to do with your inner self than with your outer self.

You may look at me and quickly assume I’m a healthy and fit person because of my outward appearance. And although outward appearance is a good indicator of physical health and fitness, one’s outward appearance is not always an accurate indicator of emotional and spiritual health and fitness.

Our overall well-being involves good health and fitness in our physical, emotional and spiritual self. We can fool people by the way we look, but we can’t fool them for long periods of time once they truly get to know us intimately.

When I started this journey, a few friends asked me why I did it. They probably thought I didn’t need to because I look good physically. On one occasion, I got asked if I was trying to lose weight because I was eating carrots.

These questions from people are all valid and normal to ask. However, I quickly realized people have a huge misconception of what health and fitness should look like.

Honestly, although my physical health looks good, my emotional and spiritual health weren’t measuring up to my outward appearance. About 2 months ago, I was really struggling emotionally and spiritually. I was going through some personal things that made me question my purpose, my future and my faith.

My circumstances weren’t matching society’s expectation for a twenty-something millennial. And neither were they meeting my parent’s or other people’s expectations of my educational background.

For a long time I was ashamed and embarrassed to answer people’s question, “What are you doing with your life?” or “Where are you working?” “What are you doing with your degree?”

Every time I met new people, I dreaded this question. I hoped with every fiber of my being that they wouldn’t ask that question because I didn’t want to deal with the feelings of shame and embarrassment.

The fact of not having that dream and desire of my heart fulfilled, strongly discouraged me. I felt so purposeless and like a failure at life. I had to do something to remind myself that if I set my mind and am willing to stay focused and consistent, no matter the distractions or temptations, I could do it!

This is why I chose to join beach body and become a coach! My motivation for joining a workout program was not to get skinnier and “prettier.” My motivation for joining was to prove to myself that if I could get through this workout program without giving up halfway or giving in to life’s distractions and temptations, I too can get through anything life throws at me including any attacks on my emotional and spiritual health.

Best of all, becoming a beach body coach has given me the opportunity to do what I love- empowering and encouraging women as well as young girls to embrace their journey by knowing their identity in Christ.

I want to be there for you! Rooting for you in every season of your life! I want to remind you of your why and encourage you that your journey in life may look different from everyone around you, but you don’t have to hate it, you can embrace it with the end in mind.

I hope my journey empowers you and encourages you to embrace your own journey! If you’re ready and willing to put in the work required to see change in every area of your life, I want to be your coach and mentor! Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns. I’m here to empower you to embrace your journey!

Let’s embrace our own journey together,

Crystal

 

Posted in Faith

A Letter From God

My beloved daughter,

Slow down. Don’t be in such a hurry. Learn to embrace your journey and don’t compare it to someone else’s. Enjoy each day as it comes.

Take time to process your present, to be with Me and to do the things you enjoy.

Breathe deeply every day and come find rest in my presence. I will reveal what’s to come for you. I promise to never leave you nor forsake you. This is my guarantee to you. My desire is to bless you, to make my plans for your life known to you.

Seek me with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your might. I will show you, surprise you and amaze you with my overwhelming love for you.

My thoughts are ALWAYS higher than yours. That’s not a bad thing. That simply means I am in charge of your life, your destiny. Better are my ways even if it means you have to endure temporary pain and turmoil.

When you don’t get what you hope for or expect, keep this in mind. I am sovereign over every aspect of your life.

Let your heart take courage. Be brave, be bold and be strong. Allow yourself to be these three. You are capable.

Let your soul be steadfast. Be still and know I am always up to something good no matter your circumstances. Don’t give up on faith. Believe there is goodness in store for you because there is.

Hold on to Me, your hope. Your triumph is unfolding, let it finish its process. I’m waiting for it to fulfill its purpose in you. I will never fail you.

Give me your praise in every circumstance; in every season praise my holy name. Find your strength in Me, your joy.

Thank Me.

Honor Me.

Believe Me.

Trust Me.

Nothing is as strong and full of joy as Me.

Let my words and truth lead you into my peace, love and joy. Do not forget my great faithfulness. I will finish all I have begun in you. I always begin with the end in mind. Trust me, your ending is beautiful. It’s far beyond your expectations.

Just like I hold the stars and call them each by name, so do I hold you and have called you my beloved daughter.

I will surely keep my promise to you, that you will rise in my victory. You may not have the strength or tenacity to get up and fight, but by Me and through Me you can do all things. Never forget that.

Your Heavenly Father,

God

Listen to Take Courage by Kristene DiMarco. Be encouraged and share the encouragement by sharing this blog.

Posted in Faith

More Than Just A Sister

She’s sunshine mixed with a little hurricane.

She can be sour with the sweetest intentions.

She’s crazy cool (too crazy at times, but I love her for it).

She has a facial expression for every occasion (the “Abby face” is my favorite).

She’s blunt and does not beat around the bush.

She’s full of laughter.

She is my sister Abigail:

Amazing.

Beautiful.

Intelligent.

Good-humored.

Adventurous.

Inspiring.

Loving.

And she is more than just my sister. She is my:

Forever friend.

Running buddy.

Inspiration.

Encourager.

News updater.

Defender.

Growing up, Abby has always been the craziest, funniest sister. You may see us now and think we’ve always been cool with one another or have always had a good sister relationship. However, that is far from the truth. There is no such thing as a perfect sibling relationship. There is always some sort of rivalry or jealousy involved.

My relationship with Abby has grown and become stronger with the passing years. There were seasons of heartache, bitterness, and rage. But despite it all, we found a way to restore and redeem our sister relationship.

Today (October 1st) is her birthday. If you haven’t yet, I highly encourage you to go wish her a happy birthday.

What would my life look like without my sister Abby?

Honestly, my life would be boring and not as adventurous. She brings so much laughter and joy to my life and to the lives of those around her. I LOVE that about her! Sometimes our roles switch and she becomes a big sister to me.

Countless of times she has encouraged me and believed in me when I couldn’t see passed my circumstances. Time and time again she shows up and makes herself available to remind me I am not alone and never will be.

Here are a few pictures of us:

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In this photo, Abby is obviously not happy. She had recently woken up from a nap. Fact, she’s a heavy sleeper.

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In this photo, Abby and I were at either a Quinceanera or wedding. We both wore our pageant dresses for this. We would take turns dancing with our dad and at times we would both dance with him simultaneously.

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As you may have noticed, our mom enjoyed dressing us like twins. People actually thought we were fraternal twins. After all, we’re only 13 months apart. Also, I’m pretty sure our mom made us hug each other in every picture.

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Behind the camera was a weird man trying to make us smile with a teddy bear or other silly things. I guess you can say it worked. We were pretty obedient kids 😉

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When we were younger, our parents would celebrate our birthdays together. In this picture we weren’t as young but we chose to celebrate our birthdays together.

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In this photo both Abby and I volunteered as running buddies for our sorority’s philanthropy of building strong girls through Girls on The Run of Bexar County.

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In this photo, Abby asked me to be one of her bridesmaids. It was a sweet moment that preceded chaos! Being a bridesmaid is HARD WORK! But nonetheless I enjoyed celebrating her every step of the way despite the drama and chaos.

 

Dear sister, I loved you yesterday. I love you still. I always have and I always will.

With endless love,

Your big sister Crystal