Tag Archives: testimony

Spiritual Investment

IMG_0639Someone once told me I was wasting my achievements of Bachelors and Masters degree by being a stay at home mom. They also said I went from riches to rags.

Yes, it may have looked that way when I chose to leave my $113k/yr job to stay home to be a full time wife and mother.

IMG_8801I’ve worked as a military officer leading over 100 troops with multi-million dollar contracts, I was involved in national security projects working at the pentagon, provided leadership for security of Air Force One at Andrews AFB, and served as a successful consultant and leadership/executive coach in the D.C. Area for three of the 15 executive departments of the U.S. Cabinet…and yet…the most challenging and rewarding calling to me is being a wife and mama.

I went from combat boots, to high heels, to bare feet. I say ‘bare feet’ because the calling of motherhood is on holy ground–I finally understood the importance of a mother.

The truth is I went from rags TO riches. I went from my filthy rags of my own self-sufficiency and dependency to God’s glorious riches!!

The world can’t appreciate the spiritual investment of what God is doing in and through us as mamas. Sometimes we doubt it too.

But stand firm in the convictions God has given you...

Happy Mother’s Day!

**Disclaimer** This is not written to invoke condemnation on moms that work outside the home.   A mother’s work is never done, and is always full time.IMG_7984

I remember what it’s like to be a full time mama serving in the military, knowing at any time I could be deployed. It’s not easy. 

I remember what it’s like to be a full time mama that works full time outside the home. It’s not easy.

I remember what it’s like to be a full time mama that stays home full time. It’s not easy.

I know what it’s like to be a full time mama that home schools. It’s not easy.

I know what it’s like to be a full time homeschooling mama with a part time job. It’s not easy.

The calling of every mother is sacred and holy.

This is the story of God’s grace in my life.

I just needed a season of purification to learn to put my priorities in place and I was exclusively working in the home, but recently have had a part time job, and next month I will be working in a director’s position for a Company where I get to encourage other mothers. This is the path and good works God has for me. Follow the convictions God has given YOU and be at peace.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Philippians 4:13

To read more about my conversion and the testimony of the grace of God in my life click here

“I will extol You, my God, O King,
And I will bless Your name forever and ever.
Every day I will bless You,
And I will praise Your name forever and ever.
Great is the LORD, and highly to be praised,
And His greatness is unsearchable.
One generation shall praise Your works to another,
And shall declare Your mighty acts.
Psalm 145:1-4


{His}Story: Faith, Repentance, Joy…{Final Bite}

 

This post is the final part of ‘bite size’ portions of my testimony. If you would like to start from the beginning you can read:

Downsized. {A Bitesize Testimony} (Part 1); Building Facades & Chasing Mirages (Part 2); An Eternal Invitation (Part 3); A Christian Mary Poppins (Part 4)

***

Seven years ago today God was pleased to reveal Himself to me through His Word–His Son Jesus Christ.

I had asked God:

What does Anna have that I don’t? I talk to you God. I want what she has with you!

One month goes by and that’s when I ‘hear’ Him. It was not an audible voice. He spoke toimage my heart and He spoke through His Word….

He wakes me up at 2am on February 12, 2009 and I feel this prompting to get my Bible and journal and go to the guest room of our home. He speaks to my heart:

Arcelia, you want to know what Anna has that you don’t? I want you to go through the Ten commandments and don’t move on to the next one until you perfected the first”

I didn’t even know where to find the Ten Commandments but looking in the concordance I find it in Exodus 20

You shall have no other gods before Me…”

I respond.

I don’t have any other gods before you…then His Holy Spirit takes me to Deuteronomy 6:4-9

“Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

I tell God, “I do love You! I do love You with all my heart, soul and might and Anna is ‘diligently’ teaching my children Your word. She knows the Bible better than I do. Besides, this is the Old Testament anyway, what did Jesus say?”

Then I see what Jesus said about the greatest commandment in Matthew 22:37-40 as He quotes the Old Testament:

“ ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

My heart drops…I say again, I DO love you God!! Then it was as if He spoke to my heart these words:

Arcelia, you are passionate about your job, you are passionate about serving in the Church, you were passionate about the military, you were passionate about creative memories….what about Me?”

God through His Holy Spirit began to convict me of all of the idols in my life.

I see for the first time. I did have other gods.

But I wanted to love God with all my heart mind soul and strength but how? How can I ‘perfect’ that? I wept and cried out to God. I cried because I was frustrated, how can I love? What was love? I read 1 Corinthians 13.

I saw my inability to love God the way He was asking me. I saw my sinful state in contrast to His holiness and I wept. That’s when I began to understand the good news:

I can’t perfect anything.  That’s why Jesus died on the cross for our sins, He is the perfect sacrifice. He is the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. It is through Jesus Christ I have access to God the Father.

I was broken, my heart soft, repentant and ready to place my faith in Jesus Christ and receive the gift of salvation.

I sorrowfully cried because I finally understood! I understood I was a sinner, disobedient, unwilling and unable to obey God in my own strength. I asked for forgiveness for my sins and had a change of heart and saw my need for Jesus Christ. There and then I loved Him
as never before.

I didn’t get ‘it’ I got ‘Him’, His Holy Spirit and a new undivided heart devoted to God. Just as it is written in Ezekiel 11:19-20:

“And I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them. And I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances and do them. Then they will be My people, and I shall be their God.”

It was the beginning of my walk of faith with God.  I told God I am His and I would go anywhere He wanted me to go, do whatever He asked and I would talk to whoever He wanted me to talk to. It was more than just believing in Him, I told Him I would follow Him all the days of my life. I committed my life to Him. 

That was the day I breathed my last and began my life of surrender to God.

A life of a Christian is not perfect nor is it about DOING things for God but BEING in Christ.

A life of a Christian is not about religion but a reconciliation of relationships that begins with God through Jesus Christ and extends to others ( A reconciled Mom and daughter).

A life of a Christian is not without trials and tribulations but there is a blessed assurance and peace that comes from trusting and knowing God.

Eternal life is not about dying and living forever, rather eternal life is meant for NOW.  Jesus said, “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”

The more you know Him the more you love Him.

***This is my testimony of how God chose to reveal Himself to me. It was a process, a drawing.

It’s not the same for everyone, and not everyone ‘knows’ the ‘exact date’ of their conversion. God is so personal and knows our hearts. The only thing that is the same for all is: repentance towards God, and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

I realize it’s not how you BEGIN that counts…it’s how you end.  I know my salvation is not based on works, but in the finished works of Jesus Christ alone, however I want to run this race of faith well so that I may be found a faithful steward of everything God has given me, beginning with my faith and family.

God is the same, yesterday, today and forever….May God reveal Himself to you today if you do not yet ‘know’ Him. I pray you say, “no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world.” John 4:42

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The family God entrusted me 2009 {three months after my conversion}

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The family God entrusted me (2015)

“Glory in His holy name;
Let the heart of those who seek the Lord be glad.
Seek the Lord and His strength;
Seek His face continually.”  1 Chronicles 16:10-11

 

“This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior Jesus, all the day long…”

 

 


It’s Not about Education…but Sanctification

Deuteronomy 6:4-9
With eyes wide open and gasps the women say almost in unison,

“Oh I can NEVER do that…you must be a very patient and organized person…” 

The temptation to broaden my shoulders and receive the compliment subsides with the realization of the opportunity to share the truth of my weaknesses and Christ’s power.  These women were referring to my conviction to homeschool.

I have fought the desire to write about homeschooling because I see how this subject can divide and stir others to conviction, and some to condemnation if they don’t remember they are in Christ.

Let me begin by saying as Christians we are on our own personal journey with Jesus, and that’s what distinguishes Christianity from any other ‘religion’. Ours is not a legalistic following of rules but rather a grace-filled living relationship with God through Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit.  Daily we have access to the Wonderful Counselor. Only God knows our heart and yieldedness to Him, and only He knows the plans He has for us and our family so it’s best to get our convictions from His Holy Spirit and not other people.  I write to encourage and share God’s story, our testimony…

I first felt a conviction to stay home with my children in 2009 when God’s Word was illuminated in my heart as I read:

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

At the time we lived a double-minded life, building façades and chasing mirages, seeking the things of the world and the things of God at the same time. I was more committed to life in the corporate secular world than the seeking a relationship with God.

When I read the verse ‘teach these to your children‘ I contended with God ‘reminding’ Him of my insecurities as a mother, let alone one that can teach them things about God.  At the time we had a Jesus loving Nanny for the children and she was teaching them to love God and love others, I felt it was sufficient to delegate this responsibility.

Eventually we partly yielded as a family and downsized to one income and a smaller home.  At the time my children were 2 and 4 and I had NEVER stayed home with them longer than the 4-6 weeks of maternity leave when they were born.  This was a huge adjustment for us to say the least.  After a few weeks alone with my children I had repented of all the ‘gossip’ and defiling words I said about all of ‘those stay at home moms’ and I was looking forward for the big yellow bus to come and take my son to kindergarten when the conviction came yet again…this time I was reading John 17:6-7.  For context, this is Jesus praying to the Father about the disciples He was given. I dared to ask that day,

LORD who do you give me to manifest Your name?

He answered, and I cried.  He already gave me two–my children.  I immediately wrote their names in my Bible praying someday their names will be in His book.

Since it was Eve that was deceived by the serpent in the garden I went to my husband and asked him to pray about ‘something’ I felt God calling us to do.

What is it?” He asked bluntly.

I held my breath cringed and clenched my teeth and barely managed to say, “homeschool our children…”

Without hesitation or surprise my husband said, “I have already been praying for three months and I’ve already researched curriculum.”

So began our ‘homeschooling’ adventure.

Let me be painfully transparent: This ‘adventure’ is HARD for me.

I am not naturally patient or kind. I do get jealous when I see other kids (especially younger) more advanced than my children, and yet I do brag to make myself feel better when my kids can do something no one else can.  I can be arrogant, and act unbecomingly. I have sought my own agenda many times, and I’ve been easily provoked to anger or giving up, and I have kept many records of my children’s wrongs. Yes, this ‘adventure’ has been a refining crucible daily revealing my need for my Savior Jesus Christ.

I remember one ‘spicy’ day when I was a ball on the floor weeping and asking God, “Why? Why am I doing this?” His gentle peace washed over me and I heard Him speak to my heart,

until Christ is formed in you…”

I look up in the Bible and see Galatians 4:19:

My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you--”

Context: This is Paul writing to the Galatians but this was a reminder to me. At first I thought, “Yes, of course, until Christ is formed in my children…” but God said,

My daughter, until Christ is formed in you, for that is my will and purpose.”  That’s when I heard,

It’s not about education, but sanctification.” Jesus is LORD

 

We no longer call it home-education’ we call it ‘home-sanctification.’  God is the Principal, the Teacher, the Head-Master and we are all His students.  This has helped me renew my mind and gain an understanding of the purpose of our lessons:

We learn our ABC’s to learn to read
We learn to read so we can learn to Read the Bible, God’s Holy Word
We learn to Write to capture and record stones of memorial of God’s faithfulness
We learn Grammar to communicate the Gospel to others
We learn Math to be good stewards of time, talent, money and resources
We learn History to learn about the faithfulness of God and consequences of sin

We learn Biology to learn about God’s creation

We learn Geography to pray for the lost to be found and strength for the missionaries

That’s it.  These are the basics of what we are learning in our household–we can’t handle extracurricular studies outside of these subjects right now.  I’m learning to be OK with that and not strive to drag my children where I want them to be or where I see other kids.  I’m learning to be like Jesus and to meet them where they are at.

I’m learning to yield myself to His Spirit so He can lead and guide us into all Truth daily.  I’m learning the greatest ‘lesson planning’ is done on our knees after confession, repentance, cleansing and revival in our hearts.  I’m learning that when I boast and share my weaknesses with my children and others, the power of Christ is manifested in me and God is glorified.

Our family’s vision is Jesus Christ. Our most important desire for our children is that they know and love God with all their hearts soul, mind, and strength and love their neighbors as themselves. This does not mean we do not care about education, we do! We acknowledge we must be good stewards with the minds God has given us, and keep our perspective heavenward remembering “knowledge puffs up, but love edifies,” and we must remember what God delights in as shared in Jeremiah 9:23-23.

This is my holy conviction written on a stone of remembrance for those days when I will forget why I am doing this….for sanctification, not education: May Christ be formed in me…

“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.1 Thessalonians 5:23


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