Welcome to Our Blog
Grab a cup of coffee and dive in. We pray that you find hope and truth in these posts. This blog is written from three perspectives.
His. Hers. Theirs.
His. Hers. Theirs.
e As you may have seen, this blog has gone silent for a few months. That wasn't our goal, we launched this blog with every intention of sharing the continuation of our story. However, as with most of us - life, parenting, marriage, work demands, and many health issues got in the way.
Health issues for both Adam and I (Raquel) have continued. Some are small victories and others have continued to shine in our life as miracles. Life issues have continued (parenting, marriage, finance, life balance) in our life during the last year. God continues to work on molding Adam and I into the children he wants us to be. We are forever in the potter's hands; sometimes reluctantly molded (usually me) and sometimes eager servants ready to pursue God's heart (usually Adam).
During the last few years, I have decided to implement a Word of the Year. Our Blended Family ministry (who's been such a force in our life as you already know) introduced this to us over 4 years ago. At the start of 2019, I felt a pull in my heart to focus on Self-Care as my word. Boy was I underestimating what this meant for me.
Let me tell you a bit about my relationship with the word self-care. For years, I was a single momma - so I learned to put myself and my needs on the back burner while I sacrificed everything I needed to in order to give my child (now one of 3) the basics that she needed. At the time, it may have been a necessary sacrifice. However, it was never meant to be a life-long lifestyle. Why would I not deserve doctor's appointments, haircuts, skincare, self-time, and general self-care? I have no idea where in my heart I decided to feel guilty about this. Small thoughts like "we can use this for the kids or for Adam" crept into my heart and created such a lack in my self-care that it's created a snowball of health issues. Nothing life threatening, just mostly decreased quality of life. My hurdles have never been close to what Adam has overcome (through God's help). Furthermore, as the primary bread winner (financially, not spiritually because we know it all comes from God) - I've put so much pressure on myself for work performance. I want to be trusted and respected an an leader who strives for excellence. I give plenty of grace to my employees, allowing them to balance work and life. Encouraging them to put their families and personal life first yet failing to do so as their leader. Failing to walk the walk and leading by example. Many of these times, I decided to take on extra work in an effort to protect them during an extremely busy season. Good for team morale, bad for the leader.
I felt prompted again this summer to keep focusing on my health. During mid June I made the decision, in the spirit of following through with my self-care focus this year, to take care an ongoing sinus problem with surgery. Midyear was the most beneficial time for me due to two reasons a) it would be the "slowest" time during my company's calendar year and b) my deductible had been met so it would be the cheapest time to our pocketbook. Ever the saver, I jumped in. The surgery recovery time was provided to me and I thought that surely within a week (as the doc mentioned) I would feel a bit better. That, was not the case. You see, I decided to work during my time off for surgery recovery - thinking of what was best for the team and my company (not about me). And so, I hit a wall after week one - when my body just couldn't recover fast enough. How could it? I was sleeping 2-4 hours a night and restless during the day. I have NO IDEA how to rest. I've been running for 38 yrs (okay, exaggeration - maybe more like 30 :).
A quick search of the word "rest" in bible.com garners over 30 results. Why, would God mention this if it wasn't important.
"28 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” - Matthew 11:28-30
As an immigrant child - I was running/striving and performing to prove myself to others starting at the tender age of 7, to learn English, outperform my peers in class, and please my teacher. I set my mind on these things and ultimately - I accomplished all three. I learned that hard work can yield excellence. However, I didn't not yield to the lessons of my grandma and mother - "All good and perfect things come from God" - they would say (paraphrasing James 1:17). God gifted me with the ability to learn new languages, cultures, and assimilate quickly. That wasn't due to my own works - it was a gift from Above. And so, I continued on with this mindset for many years.
While I now understand the scripture well, my heart and mind wrestle (as Lysa Terkeurst explains in her book) about my faith. My mind understands that I need to rest; and that everything good and perfect is from God. I need not try to orchestrate it on my own but my stubborn heart is attempts to organize, forecast, and orchestrate regardless.
Yet God is a good Father, and let allows me to learn the lessons that I need to. Through this delayed surgery recovery, I've learned a new lessons:
So I returned to work about a week later than I expected. My first week back was chaotic for me. Though I worked with better boundaries, the tugs from all too many priorities were exhausting that first week back. I had a fabulous team retreat that I will never forget; I saw God's grace all day then and am still excited about all the good things he's doing with my team. But by day 4 of a four-tens work week, I was done. Still anxious and frustrated at so much of what's going on in my immediate world.
You see - while I've been fighting my wee little surgery recovery and workaholic battle - there was another one in parallel, yet larger. My husband had just begun to get over shingles, which spiked his blood pressure to the point that his already retinopathy-suffering eyes required emergency blood pressure. HIs recovery is still happening. However, he faces his challenge with a much bigger doze of patience, grace, poise and joy than I do mine. God uses my husband's suffering to remind me of how much I still need to grow. Adam is a beautiful example of an awesome faith.
And so, on day 4 - I park my car in my work parking lot. Exhausted from the battle. After praying about my day, I decide to text the one soul who knows me almost as much as Adam. I'm going on to my BFF about the unfairness of it all (my insomnia, recovery, work stress, my poor husband, our ongoing challenges). And I pause to think about how in heaven, I'll be able to sit with Jesus, maybe have some tea. So I reply to my BFF's kind, encouraging note by telling her about this daydream of tea with Jesus. In her response, she replies:
"When I was a little girl, for some reason, I was really QUITE concerned about whether God would let me have bologna and cheese sandwiches in Heaven. Although I don't eat bologna anymore, I'm still curious to find out if bologna sandwiches will exist in Heaven."
My heart felt so filled with joy that I began to laugh out loud uncontrollably; a hearty laughter that came from my gut, my soul. God definitely sent my BFF with a deep purpose of a lifelong friendship. It's been nearly 16 years now, and I can say she's had the most impact on my life of any other non-relative relationship. Her sweet memory was all I needed to reset all that anxiety into joy. Once again, God used this powerful friendship to bring me Joy - and most importantly peace.
" 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." - Philippians 4: 6 - 9
I would much rather wonder and dream about bologna sandwiches in heaven than waste any time being anxious about today. The jury is still out about the sandwiches. I'm so looking forward to our discovery when I see Lindy in heaven. Because I know, this friendship is eternal.
Raquel Gonzales (Kels) - Raquel is a 38-year-old wife of an amazing man, and mother of three beautiful blended teenagers (Elijah 20, Lulu 18, Abby 16). She has thrived in a creative career for over 11 years. Her passion is to empower others by the lessons learned in her own life and challenges through transparency and honest conversations. As a creative soul, she loves to write, design, create and publish. She hopes to please God in doing his work by leveraging the talents he gave her. This blog is but one of those digital artisan crafts. She hope it pleases Him.