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The road was treacherous! I re-staged this picture as proof that we made it! 

 During my last visit to New York city I took the opportunity to re-stage this picture. The scenery has changed. The famous Sam Ash Music store has now changed location and also gone, are a couple of other historical stores we visited back in 2009. It has been a six year journey between then and now. The image of my sons walking this street again brings on a flood of emotions. The first time they walked this street they conceived a dream and a vision only God could produce. I wish I could say the journey to this point was easy and smooth but it wasn’t.

They are now taller and stronger. Their talents and gifts have been planted out of the greenhouse and into the field of real life . Their speech has changed, their eyes have matured, and their strut has a different rhythm. Time has surely played its role.

The journey here was a rough one. Along the road we stumbled upon the stones of humanity and weakness. There were mistakes and decisions that were so epic we nearly almost perished in the valley we fell into. But, like the song says, “we found heaven is LOVE  love swept low.” Isaiah 41:10 says “I am your God I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” SURELY,  is the key word! God did not say perhaps, maybe, it depends on ___ (etc. etc.) It says SURELY HE will help us. God’s mercy delivered and rescued us over and over again.

There were thieves and murderers  along the way. I can recall seasons of total pandemonium. There were days that we felt as if all hell had broken loose over us. I looked up to God and literally called to HIM to tell HIM that I could smell hell around me (as if he wasn’t aware). His loving voice said the following— “I am allowing it… It’s time to show the enemy HOW CLOSE I STAND BY… SO THAT THEY KNOW YOU ARE MINE AND I WILL SHELTER YOU.  The Holy spirit pointed to the word “And they shall know that I am the LORD their God” Ex. 29:46. My prayers had always been to divert all wickedness against us, to fight so hard that no evil could come close, but God reminded me of HIS children crossing the Red Sea. He allowed Pharaoh and his army to come dangerously close. So close, that they could feel the ground tremble and quake at the size and power of the enemy’s army and their horses. Right before their eyes, every single oppressor, enemy, abuser, thief and murderer drowned. Sometimes God will allow them to come close so that you will witness their destruction.

At times the journey up the mountain seemed endless. The road was long and seemed to go on forever. We kept climbing, kept going, kept hoping knowing eventually we would reach a resting point. Precious people along the way extended a helping hand, washed our feet, nourished our souls, gave us word, encouraged us and set us on our way. The Lord will surely bless those who have blessed us, just as he promised. (Gen. 12:3) The thieves and murderers along the way showed their face. God taught us to forgive, to press forward and to love anyway. There was no time to stop and seek revenge. God set his heavenly wind to our back and urged us to keep moving.

There was a word I held on to daily. It built a bridge of faith from  the first time I took their picture to now…   Isaiah 43:19 “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not see it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the desert.” —Hold on, read that again and read it slowly…. it says IN THE WILDERNESS…. IN THE DESERT!  Whoa! No wonder! It finally hit me! God shows up in our wilderness and deserts. In our confusion and desolation, in our chaos and our bareness… it is then that HE is glorified! HIS name is exalted in the places where sudden miracles happen. It is here where the Lord breaks down the gates and cuts through the iron bars. (Is. 45:2) In our desert we saw acceptance letters to universities I never dreamed would open a door for my children,  scholarships lined up in to cover the costs, and kingdom people appeared to guide us along. God is definitely doing a new thing. Nothing could be newer than the story HE is writing for these boys.

I can’t tell you how hard I prayed for the storms not to hit us, for evil to keep it’s distance, for chaos to turn away. Yet, I have to say, God allowed it. All along I thought I was protecting my children but little did I know that GOD  wanted to show HIMSELF  to them. It’s one thing, for me and my husband to believe and know that God will come through. I can preach it and say it to my children all day long. It is another thing when GOD decides to walk them through it HIMSELF… As a strong arm in battle, a very present help in times of trouble, they know HIM as Jehova Jireh, Jehova Nissi, and El Shaddai. Their very eyes saw it. They cannot deny that they have seen GOD. The GOD that delivers, rescues, opens doors, destroys the thief, drowns the murderers, and makes a way where there was none.

I pray that as mothers and daughters we continue to fight strong for our homes, for our children and their destinies. Continue to stand on the frontline for our generations. Know and understand that if God does not deviate the storm it is because HE is showing us WHO HE is, and what HE will do! I pray our children will  know GOD personally. We will not settle for a casual relationship with HIM but that they will walk in covenant with HIM.

Blessings in Christ,

Osen

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Pursuing their dreams ruined me forever!


I was waiting for them at the corner of 48th and 6th St. It appeared that they had just checked one off their bucket list. We were visiting New York city with my parents on a “once in a lifetime” trip six years ago. My two boys had just spent the afternoon in the historical music row on 48th street strumming guitars and testing out keyboards in the music stores. I caught this moment through my lens not realizing the power of that particular moment, until now.

Fast forward to their university applications and acceptance letters, this is where I received the terrifying blow! The conversations became real when my children began to say they would pursue dreams I was not able to fund.  They decided to enter through doors I couldn’t  open, follow a path I had never walked, and walk on sidewalks I had never seen. This is where uncertainty slithered in. If I couldn’t grasp a guarantee or see a clear dotted line, I automatically assumed we had detoured. Up until now, all risks and dreams were encouraged as long as they didn’t stretch me too far beyond my abilities nor blur beyond the visible horizon. Neither one of my sons had mercy, though. These two boys took God to His word and proceeded to tread through unknown territory. They knew we couldn’t make it happen, but GOD could. They were aggressive to follow their dreams. Little did they know they would ruin me forever.

Let me share what I found ruined in the aftermath… these are the things that will no longer return to their previous state. God destroyed these strongholds in me and I am forever glad he did.

  1. My eyes were ruined: My eyes could no longer be trusted. As we proceeded to redeem what the enemy tried to steal generations ago, I learned I had to trust God with all my heart. I could not longer walk by sight but walk by faith. Every day!!! There were those days when nothing around me appeared to support God’s plans, but I know my GOD is “the one that calls the  things that do not yet exist as though they already do.” Romans 4:17
  2. My mind was ruined: God ordered a funeral for my traditions and old way of thinking. Whether I wanted to or not, I had to roll the stone over the sepulcher where my thoughts, fears, and old patterns of thinking were laid. God had to rid me of these elements. They were a threat that could blur and hinder the agenda for His Kingdom and he ordered me to renew my mind. Romans 12:2. My old way of doing things, solving problems, and traditions were no longer fit for the new place He was taking us to.
  3. My hands were given a new assignment: The very same hands that carried and fed these boys were now told to change jobs. God said, “Lift up your hands and praise me…I will no longer need your hands on this one… I got this.” This was so new and so raw to me! I knew I had to let go and let GOD! It had been easy with other things, other projects, other petitions, but these were my boys! God pointed me to Jochebed, Moses’ mom. She let go of the basket in the crocodile infested waters. God pried her fingers loose from the vessel and whispered in her ear, “I got this.” She had to let go and so did I.

My prayer for you as a friend, sister, and mother is that you allow yourself, your children and your spouse to dream beyond their boundaries. Maybe God will stir you up a bit or a lot like he did me. Nevertheless, let God align you and them with His vision, His projects, and His agenda. He’s got this!

In a few short days, my oldest will be returning to Cornell University in upstate New York and my younger son will be starting at New York University in the very city we thought we were just visiting and passing through. This small town mom that grew up on the border and became the first to graduate from high school, never expected God to take them that high.  I get chills when I look at this picture taken years ago while they were in middle school. I had no idea what God was stirring up and sowing in their hearts. I like to think that I captured that very moment.

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Let your gaze reflect the splendor and majesty of the LION that walks beside you!

As women we are invited to live in the majesty and splendor of the LION’s presence. Jesus is the Lion of Judah who conquered death and gave us victory. His power and strength is transmitted unto us and we are entrusted to pass it on to our children. Imagine that! We are trusted with heaven’s splendor, majesty and strength. The LION trusts  the Lioness with his seed and his heirs. It is up to us to ensure HIS legacy is passed on to the next generation. We are to reflect his majesty and power as heirs to HIS kingdom. Yes, we are heirs to God’s kingdom! (Romans 8:17)

The gaze of the lioness reflects the strength and majesty of the LION that walks beside her. In this journey we will face challenges, thieves, dark valleys, and challenging winds but know that the LION walks beside us. Every lesser beast trembles in the presence of the LION. Although the attacks of the enemy may draw near you, your household, or  your children, fear not for the LION of JUDAH has overcome (Rev. 5:5). No weapon formed against you, your spouse, your children, and your destiny will prosper. (Isaiah 54:7). I am convinced there is no better place to raise our children and build our households than under the watchful eye of the LION (Psalm 127:7). Personally, I have had the devil at my heels (story for a later post) but I know that God allowed it only to show him he has overstepped into HIS territory and to remind him who is in charge of my story. Once the LION roars. the enemy flees. As for me, I choose to walk in the company of a LION! Jesus the LION of Judah!

#runthegoodrace, #spiritualwarfare

“Hell” runs! They appear more often than I would like to admit!!!

I have been running for twelve years now. Athletic running, that is. If you live here in Texas you know that summer runs can be excruciating and ruthlessly hot. A few years ago I had an insane urge to go for a run in the middle of July close to 11 in the morning. By then, it was close to 100 degrees already. For some crazy reason, I took off. Needless to say, the heat beat me to a pulp. I swore I was going insane and I vowed to never do it again. Funny thing is that the next day I had a crazy psychotic urge to do it again. Before I knew it, I ran the suicide run for a week straight. Those who found out lectured me and warned me about everything. I was told my brain would cook, I would go crazy (the real kind), that I would get a blood disease, and every possible crazy theory that people could think of.
One day, God spoke to me and said, “I am training you to run through the tough spots in life, what you can conquer in the natural you will conquer in the spiritual”. Whoa! The sunny spots on the road are the toughest, especially the ones towards the end of your run.  It is tough to discipline the mind on a hot run. The pain in your body has to be ignored if I wanted to get home quick. There is no room for leisure stops to rest, your thoughts of quitting must be silenced, even if you can’t breath, you run and you keep moving. Before I knew it my mind and body were trained to withstand the heat, to take the beating, and to keep running to make it home. I started with my two older boys. They joined me on my “hell” runs not knowing what to expect. Before they knew it, they were also training for life. The image I inserted is an actual “fire alley” at the last leg of our trail. We usually huddle in the shady spot before, we catch our breath, I set my “beat song on my playlist”, set our eyes on the other side and we GO! Don’t focus on the pain in the fiery trials, don’t lick your wounds, silence the voice that tells you to quit, make sure you look out for stumbling stones, yes,  it hurts, but whatever you do don’t even stop.~~~ “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” Isaiah 43:2.
No, I no longer do “hell” runs, but I know I am able to do it. As for my children, I made sure they know what it feels like to push through the pain, to ignore the voices that tell them they can’t do it, to ignore the distractions, keep your eyes on the target on Jesus!
“Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!”
Hebrews 12:2 the Message

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Dream Past the Storms

“Don’t calculate the size of your dreams by the circumstances and atmosphere you are in.” Teaching our children to pursue their dreams in spite of the obstacles is not an easy task. It is essential that they dream past the storms, push past the walls, climb over the obstacles. God’s plan over our children’s life is not dependent on how ideal we can line up the circumstances for HIM. God will not be deterred by crisis such as illness, divorce, poverty, rejection, nor abuse. As a matter of fact it is chaotic circumstances where God shows up and activates us into HIS plan. Moses was born in a slave camp with a death order over him. His parents were slaves and didn’t know any other way of life. Every male birthed in his time was murdered. Yet, Moses lived. God had whispered into the ear of woman to hide the child. God fulfilled the promise over Moses’ life. He was educated in the best schools on the planet at the expense of Pharaoh, he wrote the first five books of the bible and later liberated an entire nation. God will fulfill his plans over the lives of our children no matter how dark and chaotic it may appear to be today. When they ask “How will I know this is God’s plan  or mine?”, remember this~~~ If you can measure it, calculate it, fund it, and map it… then it’s you. If it’s unobtainable, beyond your resources, and no one around you has done it, then it is GOD!! Keep believing, remind our children that HE holds them in the palm of HIS hands. Keep pushing, the promises will come to be!

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Greetings seasoned parents!  This is a resting spot for parents who are raising adolescents, teens, and college aged children. By now you know that life as you planned it didnt turn out as “you planned it.” Find encouragement, strength, and spiritual oxygen to overcome the obstacles in the “parenting journey”. Let’s raise children against the grain and in the ways of the Lord. 

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