I Am Supposed To Be Here

I opened my YouVersion Bible app this morning, as I normally do to read our devotional before we go our separate ways. I saw the verse of the day and of course, like so many others, it’s one of my favorites. “You created every part of me; you put me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because you are to be feared; all you do is strange and wonderful. I know it with all my heart.” ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭139:13-14‬ ‭GNB‬‬ (If you were unsure, GNB means Good News Bible.)

Well, this verse rings a bell with me because of my story. The way I tell it: I wasn’t supposed to be here, but God…

You see, my mother didn’t expect to have another child at the time that she learned she was pregnant with me, her third. She had an IUD (intrauterine device) which was in place to prevent pregnancy. So while she was gaining a little weight and my father was encouraging her to workout with military exercise, she didn’t think it was due to pregnancy.

When my mother finally had a checkup, and the doctor shared news, he added something more that she didn’t expect. Because of how the device was implanted, the doctor mentioned that it would be dangerous for my mother to carry through with the pregnancy. She would be high risk and could possibly lose the child, or her own life. He said she would have to terminate the pregnancy. So the excitement of a new life was shattered before it even sank in. What was she to do? She didn’t believe in abortion. But she had two children who needed their mother. Would it be worth the risk? Maybe she and my father would be able to plan a child later on in life without the risk? A decision had to be made.

Reluctantly my mother went to her follow through appointment. It was a different Doctor that saw her this time. He checked vitals, belly, etc. Then he asked if she was sure this is what she wanted to do. She looked up at him, confused. “What do you mean am I sure I want to do this? I don’t really have a choice. If I continue with this pregnancy I either lose my child or leave my children without a mother, or both.”

The doctor was just as stunned as she was and even infuriated. “What doctor told you this?! Better yet, don’t even tell me because I’d have his license revoked so quick… You and your child will be just fine. Enjoy your pregnancy and take care of yourself.”

I guess this is the point when the excitement of a new life could sink in. She shared the news with family immediately. Throughout the pregnancy my mother was thinking of names. She already had a unique taste in identity with my sister, Betsy, and my brother, Benny. No they’re not nicknames or shortened versions of Elizabeth and Benjamin. It’s a Philly pride thing I guess…Betsy (Ross) Ben (Franklin). Get it? 😉

Anyway, her third child hadn’t arrived yet but already had a story to tell. Maybe Josephine after my dad (Jose)? Or Faith because of the faith in God that everyone and everything would be alright? Or Joy because she was so joyful she could carry through with her pregnancy?

My mother chose “Grace”. Unmerited divine favor. Unmerited means undeserving. Divine means from God. Favor means gift. You see, even though she was excited and happy, most of all she felt humbled. Why did God bless her with another child? Why was she deserving of that chance to walk away from the doctor’s office with no harm done to her baby or herself?

I, on the other hand, marveled at my name growing up. “Mami why couldn’t I have a Spanish name, like Carmen or Maria.” “My name doesn’t show I’m Puerto Rican.” “No one else has my name.” “My name is an old lady name.” Mind you, I was born in the 80s. I had every question and objection as to why I should have been named differently.

But God had a way of opening my eyes. I graduated high school in June 2000. I received a daily devotional for graduates and the verse right inside the cover read: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29:11‬ ‭NIV‬‬ There I was, 17 years old, and it made sense that God had His plans for me since I was in my mother’s womb.

I’ll go on another time to tell more, and if you’ve read some of my past posts you see that I share how my life is full of grace. I mean that is the title of my blog after all.  I just think it’s amazing how God reminds us of who He is and who we are in Him.

For the past few months my fellow entrepreneurs have been joining in on morning motivation calls and this morning’s theme was about being enough. Our affirmations were:

  • I am enough.
  • I was built for this.
  • I am equipped for where I am and where I am going.
  • I am supposed to be here.

I know all this to be true because God tells me so. 🙂 He formed me in my mother’s womb. I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

No matter what you’re going through in life, remind yourself today, you are supposed to be here.

God bless!
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If I Were President

Today’s Election Day in the United States has been the talk of the last several weeks and months, as with every other. Many people are seeking change, holding on to the hope of improved conditions, and most of all positive leadership.

If I were President of the United States…yes, I am a woman, and no a woman has not been elected into office yet…but  never say never! 😉  My first act in office as President would be to celebrate women.

Most women do not realize their worth. Especially for this election, it was said repeatedly that women voters would be the deciding factors. The influence of a woman in her own home, and in her community is something to be taken seriously. Unfortunately society only adds to the lack of female recognition by offering women less pay than their male counterparts.

Without women, children would not grow up dreaming of some day being president, and many organizations would not be run effectively. It takes a women to nurture, encourage and spark the belief of better days. The strength of a woman is beyond physical, though she is made to endure labor and childbirth. A woman’s strength rests in her heart and soul.

Women naturally put others before themselves. She is not selfish, but selfless in many ways. It is this very nature that blinds her from the greatness she is. In celebrating women, I would bring recognition to women everywhere: mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, from all walks of life, from every profession and career field.

All to share how important each individual woman is in her home, in her workplace, in her community, in her church, school, everywhere.

What would be your first act if you were President?

Liberty and a Smile

Tomorrow is election day in the United States, where citizens will either give our current President, Barack Obama, a second term in office, or give Governor Mitt Romney a chance at his first term in office. While many are still undecided, we all at least have the privilege to practice our freedom to vote.

In watching this presidential race, there are several important issues that are concern for everyone. These include: unemployment, education, taxes, economic conditions, healthcare and more. Regardless of political affiliation, Democrat, Republican or other, opefully everyone who can, will get to the polls to make sure their voices are heard.

I have kept an eye on the women involved in the presidential race. Current First Lady, Michelle Obama, and Mrs. Romney are both influential in their fashion and style sense. I also notice that as supportive women, they always wear the most beautiful accessory a woman naturally has: a radiant smile.

As we take part in yet another historical moment in our time, let’s be thankful for the liberties we have. Share a smile with someone, regardless of whether or not you know them. It may just make their day.


Words to Live By

I enjoy reading. It’s like food for my mind. Because I’ve read such a wide genre of books, there are several authors, styles and words that leave an impression.

However, the most influential in my personal life has been and continues to be God’s Word, the Holy Bible. While I have bookmarked so many favorite verses of scripture, one that I apply every day is found in Ecclesiastes 3:1. It says

To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.

Because of life experiences, especially the loss of my daughter, I am learning that God’s plans are beyond my understanding. This quote helps me remember that everything happens according to God’s timing, and according to His will.

So I put my trust, my life, in His hands daily. And I live out the current season of my life the way He would have it be.

The Power of Prayer

I started October with a focused approach on my priorities. The autumn season is known for bringing forth a warm beauty in nature, despite the drop in temperatures: flowers and foliage transforming color before our very eyes, masterpiece horizons on the canvas of sky as the sun rises and sets, the fragrance of cinnamon and pumpkin wafting through the air as traditional comfort foods are lovingly prepared in homes everywhere. Along with that comes the reality of another year coming to a close. Whether you started the year with certain expectations or goals, this is the time many re-evaluate how far they’ve come and how close they are to their desired result.

I wanted to firmly strengthen my spiritual foundation, keeping in my mind the special words my grandmother has always lovingly shared with me (translated from Spanish): Keep God first in all you do. Pray about everything. Worry about nothing.
My grandmother’s life has always shown me that God will bless abundantly when He is given His proper place in our lives. I remember as a teenager, a dear pastor speaking on how we prioritize our relationship with God. To sum it up, his words still ring clear in my mind “He is either Lord of all, or He is not Lord at all.”

As a wife, mother and aspiring business woman, I am constantly seeking ways I can be my best: an appreciative and understanding wife, a loving and nurturing mother, a woman who uses her work to allow God to work through her, serving others and leaving a positive influence. I wanted a change for the better and decided the way to do that was to improve my prayer experience. I reached out to friends, family and acquaintances, maybe 40+ in all, by email and text message to seek special petitions if they had any. I received a response from about 10, with general concerns as well as health and family requests.

To begin my journey, I listed all the special requests from these responses, and I listed petitions from church prayer sessions, and finally I listed my own prayer concerns. Starting my days early in the morning, I would take quiet time, before the family rising and life interrupting, to read a daily scripture and express my heart, wrapping my family, friends and associates in the power of intercessory prayer. If you haven’t know what starting a busy day in peace feels like, this is an experience you must try.

I consider myself to be an easy-going person overall, but the closeness I felt to my heavenly father seemed to fill me with a peace that nothing could shake. God’s promises are proven over and over, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” http://bible.us/Phil4.6.NIV

When life knocks you down to your knees, you are in the perfect position to pray. Leave it all at Jesus’ feet. Only He can speak stars into existence and calm the winds with His voice. When you feel your problems are towering over you, take a stand and tell your problems how big God is.

On your knees… get set… Pray!