Aside

Warfare & wonders

“Spiritual warfare for the Christian is about truth and falsehood, love and hate, good and evil, and the integrity of God’s Word. These aspects are experienced in the realms of the world, the flesh, the devil and his devil spirits. Our weapons of warfare are found in the Wisdom of Christ: God’s Word & Holy Spirit”

Oh fellow brethren, how the Lord is teaching me about this lately….

I continue to pray & ask him to guide my every step and hold me closely. How fickle I am & quick to get so distracted by the “good” things of this world…

Here is a song that hits home for me lately:

“The wide gate looks so beautiful but destruction is its end
Go against the stream, my friend
and stand where angels fear to tread…

At Your feet I lay my crowns
With my tears I sow into those who will one day
Know the glory of the narrow road”

Even though life is still as crazy as ever, I do pray continuously for more of Him in every aspect of my life & am overjoyed by His presence…

On a lighter note: here are some more recent photo’s I was able to capture… ((feeling so blessed lately & kissed by God))

“The Planning committee”
My friend Mikey turned 27 last Friday. These are some of my closest friends here in Fort Collins. We planned the very successful festivity (pinata & all!!).
Ryan Reddy was in town for a night last Tuesday as well!!!! Him and Kyle (far left) came over, I took them to my favorite sushi place here in town and we met up with Michael (far right) for a beer. I was sooo happy!!! Such a pleasant evening to say the least.
And yes, of course I left Colorado for a quick second =) Thank God for Spring break!!
My darling Brooke Knight, ladies & gentlemen!
It was SO good to finally spend TIME with her! It had been more than 2 years since I last saw her…
The first day in the city was a lil’ rainy~ but I didn’t mind. =)
We got a sunny day!!
My first broadway show, too!
Ellis Island” was my favorite site in the city. Hands down.
Than there was James.
Brooke met James more than two years ago in Texas. Needless to say, they are one of the most GENUINE couples i’ve ever had the privilege of being around. He is kind. He is gentle. And he loves Brooke so unconditionally.  I love them together. I was so blessed to be able to hang out with them all weekend…
St. Patties day was INSANE in the city!! We were so desperate for green beer….
We just decided to make some ourselves. =) So good!!
My darling Brooke is so cute!
I love her & am so grateful for her!
And than there is STAR! I met Star close to two years ago (feels like forever ago) in a very rough season of my life. I was still adjusting to life in college & living here on my own. God sent me Star because he knew I needed her! She loves Jesus sooo much!
Trish (far left), Renee (left of star), and Star all moved to Colorado in faith because God was calling them here. Renee & Star are both finishing grad school here at CSU, and Trish and her family work and live life here in the community. They all call each other “sister” when addressing one another. I love it.
They inspire me to love Jesus…
:::Thanking God for the people in my life!:::
Psalm 34:8
Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

Good-bye, safehouse.

 Tonight is a sad night for me. It’s my last shift at Crossroads Safehouse. A place where I’ve witnessed some of the most hearbreaking things imaginable, and a place where I’ve learned to love & believe in humanity.

For those of you that don’t know, I started working here at the women’s shelter back in September, 2011. I was hired on as a part-time relief staff. As a “newbie”, I didn’t know one thing about domestic violance. I just knew: it happened. What I didn’t realized was: just how OFTEN it happened!!! Story after story, I am amazed at just how many women I meet (i.e. work, school, friends) that are experiencing domestic violence!! Sadly, not enough people realize this.  I started doing intakes and having one on one’s with women on a daily (and nightly) basis and was blown away with stories about these experiences. One’s I’ve only ever heard and seen on television and/or horror movies.  How on earth could I have been so ignorant?? My heart began to stir…. how could it be this bad, Lord?

I was in for the zip-line of my life… putting my helmet on and tightening my harnace, I was ready to jump & let God have me. As scared as it seemed, I knew I had a purpose here.

As you can see, I was clueless about everything. By that I mean: why a woman would be with such a monstrous man to begin with? Why she stayed for so long? How could she keep her children in such a tormenting environment? And the question that boggles most people that have never dealt with domestic violence…, WHY ON EARTH would SHE EVER consider GOING BACK???

:::I was what most people like to call: Judgemental. :::

This April, I turn 26.  My sole passion in life has always been for humanity; in social work, we call it self-actualization. The ability for man to reach his/her full-potential in this (earthly)  life. As a follower of Christ, the desire for man to experience life to it’s  fullness (oneness with Christ and all the heavenly benefits), I make it a priority to recognize God’s work in every person’s life.  This means being able to connect with women the way Christ would- in love, in grace, and with the utmost respect; seeing each person as God does.

When I first started almost two years ago, I didn’t really understand what I was doing here-given that I had never dealt with domestic violence on a personal level. I grew up in an extremely happy home; we didn’t have a lot, but back than… we didn’t know that. My mom (having superhuman powers) gave us everything we needed to have a satisfying childhood; carefree and blissfully, we lived life as best we could. As undeserving as my brother and I were, God took care of us, one mama miracle@ a time.

Being here at the shelter on a weekly basis has done more than just humble me. I’ve learned that I can’t truly “help” anyone. The only thing I can do is be available. Women that come in and out of this place aren’t looking for someone to tell them how to better their lives or seek to be miraculously changed by our advocacy. No, they just need a smile, someone that will just listen, someone that isn’t afraid of them or thier situation. After all, at the end of the day: these are real people we’re dealing with; women are some of the easiest people to work when you’ve learned that we’re all built the same. We like to be complimented, to recieve special attention and be to listened to when all of Hell let’s loose. We often don’t want someone to try and figure us out or try to “fix” us. We just one someone & anyone to love on us when life sucks, whatever that looks like for each woman.

Tonight I found out one of my favorite residents moves out in the morning. She only speaks spanish. I was sad, but happy to know that she was able to get into an apartment with her two younger boys. God knows she was praying for a miracle since day#1. She confessed she didn’t fall asleep until 5 a.m. today because she couldn’t believe that she was accepted for housing; she was so excited.

Knocking on her door tonight, my heart sank as I watched her fold her clothes and bag her things. Both boy’s sleeping with arms & legs stretched out from underneath their fleece blankets. I explained that I was here all night in case she needed anything and that she didn’t have to worry about cleaning and that we do that regardless (best part of my job- NOT!, LOL). As I stood leaning on her bed, she reached over and told me she had something for me. Being a little taken back, I wondered what on earth she was referring to? She reached into her closet and pulled out a medium-sized black purse with gorgeous zebra print. It was perfect (and i’m sooo picky with purses, too!!) She thanked me for how I’ve helped her. I literally didn’t know what to say to her? I stood amazed… after all, it was technially “my job” to help her, right? Yet, I knew it was God confirming in my heart that he was pleased with me. It was as if daddy was giving me a piece of chocolate, just because.  I gave her a hug and thanked her. I knew I would never forget this moment.

Being here tonight, I think about the million’s of crises calls, interactions (good and bad), DRAMA (we are women, after all, haha), and beautiful faces that I’ve had the opportunity to come across. I am overwhelmed by God’s graciousness in my life. The endless memories of His goodness will never leave my heart; praying for specific things for these women & seeing Him work… and learning to trust Him and His ability to be victorious when I don’t always understand.

I am blessed today. Blessed to be called a child of the LIVING GOD, and to know that He is not finished with me, or with each woman that comes through our door.  He is active and WILLING… and more than capable to continue to work as long as I make myself available to Him.

1:51 a.m. It’s quiet. The women have all gone to sleep & I’m still waiting for a couple to check in. Meanwhile, I stay up sipping on my tea & wondering how on earth I will adjust to not being here anymore. It’s not that God needs me here to accomplish His purpose in each woman’s life. I know that…, however, I can’t help but to feel so protective & jealous for thier lives, that they grow in thier knowledge that they are strong, beautiful and capable of doing anything; no man can take away thier confidence once it is retained. My strongest prayer is that they are able to discover how loved they are, and that they would tap into a greater power outside the walls of our advocacy offices.

::May God be blessed and glorified::

Forever & ever.

1:59 a.m. & nessa is heading to bed, BLESSED.

XOXO

Shoot the owl.

Good evening (or morning depending on when you read this)!!

Welp! The start of a new semester is upon us [students] & I am thrilled for a new start. My roommate has been gone all of break & she FINALLY came home today!! Hurray!! It felt sooo good to come home & watch the Lakers game with her!!

**sidenote: I miss this man in yellow & purple! Can I get an AMEN!?!?

  ANYWAYYYz… as I was saying. It feels nice to have another body around….. & especially the one I get to live with! =) She is the most generous & fun-loving girl. Like I mentioned in my last post… it’s all about enjoying & EMBRACING the single years…. being a girl is JUST fun.

Here are some photo’s I wanted to post (from x-mas break) since I don’t have facebook anymore (I seemed to have fallen in love with twitter…you can find me there!).

My friend Justina, Felisha & I had a very impromtu date at Lucky’s! I love this bar because it’s very country & they always have a live band in the back.

This is one of my favorite scarf’s. I like it because it’s thin, yet keeps me warm. I’m not that big into the massive wool one’s that are just itchy & uncomfortable.

As you can see… I did A LOT OF THIS!! =/eek! The night owl was quite busy most nights…

My friend Ryan & his roommates invited me to come play over break. They are just wholesome, authentic, and fun guys! I love meeting new people!

I kept my apartment clean for the most part! Thank you very much!

Like father, like daughter. I was just a little excited to see that dad & I decided to sport the same color this day… =) We (my brothers & I) thankfully got to spend a lot of time with him over break.

My friend Abel & I had a class together TWO summers ago! We never talked in the entire 8-weeks of class (and there were only 11 of us!). We ended up having class again a couple semesters later & became GREAT friends! He’s from Nigeria & one of the most smartest & easy-going people I’ve had the privilege of knowing. He just graduated last month! So happy for him!

Most of my time was well spent with good friends and a cold glass of beer.

My baby brother Daniel came and stayed with me for about a week, too! Him & I have similar personalities (and food interests), so it was anything but hard to enjoy every minute with him!

MMMMM!!! My friend Daniel just graduated & moved to DC recently. This was our last “hoorah” at it… mexican food & marg’s! My kinda day!

Good time spent with mom & grandma! It’s been SO nice having the place to myself… lot’s of cooking & people gathering. Mom & I taught grandma how to play monopoly… ohhhh grandma!!

Mikey (my bestie) & I didn’t talk for well over two weeks (VERY LONG TIME!!) and this was our first night out, FINALLY! I love him!!

I made a trip down to Denver one weekend to visit my old roommate Sara. We made dinner, drank wine, caught up on life, fell asleep late, woke up early, went shopping ALL DAY, and made more food! I love her apartment!!

Me & the girls out for marg’s. Another eventful, fun-filled night out!

And of course, LOT’S of time spent RELAXING on my awesome couch!! The bachelor FINALLY started back up again on ABC!!! I’m so addicted to this show!!

This is my beautiful home where I spend most of my time. Lot’s of snow in Colorado this break, too!! I LOVE IT!!!!

And of course, good time spent in the Word. I can admit that I am horrible at studying scripture…, however, the more I spend time meditating on it, the more God reminds me of his beautiful promises & just how many I [we] have yet to receive! I am so thankful He’s in my life. Where would I be without Him?

Where would we be without people? It is through others that we experience GOD. And God’s love is manifested as we choose others above ourselves.

This next year I pray that I learn to LOVE deeper than the last… & to trust God more in every area of my life.

Classes start tomorrow! Whoop whoop! I’m excited to meet people & build upon the relationships in my life right now. There is nothing more gratifying than making the most of the opportunity God gives us…. I am praying for LOTS of it this semester! And well.. since school is now in session… THE NIGHT OWL is being put down. I am determined to become a morning person this semester, God help me!! LOL, please pray for me!!

:::: thanks for looking and listening::::

God’s best to you today!!

XOXO

Poem of the day:

Song of the day:

“Furthermore, BECAUSE OF CHRIST, we have received an inheritance from God, for HE CHOSE us from the beginning, and all things happen JUST AS HE DECIDED long ago.”

Eph 1:11

A girls world (in a semester).

WOW.

 

I have NOT been faithful to my blog AT all this semester. =( **For the record, I did write this awesome long entry for the New Year, however, somehow thought I had saved it & when I came back to it… it was gone. Lame, but oh well!!

 

However, after reading through y’alls entries tonight, I felt inspired.

 

To begin, aside from a crazy school & work schedule… this was by far my most favorite semester in Fort Collins. I will briefly re-cap the most memorable points…

1. I got home from my summer in Washington to discover that my one of my closests friends for three years now had suddenly become very attractive to me. The annoying & playful things about him  that used to drive me crazy were replaced with the classic butterflies. Needless to say, I confessed my love to him mid-August & his very honest & unreciprocated feelings finally allowed this girl to move on (come December).  Luckily, we are still very close & there is nothing more theraputic than allowing someone else to see you at your most vulnerable points. Love is so vulnerable!! I love it! Since than, I have gone on multiple dates & hung out with some of coolest guys around. Through it all, I’ve learned that DATING… my friends, is NOT MY THING. Knowing what you’re looking for in a partner is something to cherish. I’ve learned that I DON’T want someone who doesn’t put God first in their lives, who thinks too much about money, who doesn’t give priority to thier family, and who is led my thier emotions. I also learned that I don’t do long distance. Until than, I focus my energy on being everything God created me to be-not men. **Phew!! took me just a lil’ while… but hey! Better late than never!#SINGLE&PROUD

2. Your life is like a tree! The bible even talks about it. Why hang out with people who are sucking the life out of your tree? FIND the people that are going to grow you & water you (i.e. invest time into you, pray for you, love you unconditionally… ect) and seriously CUT away the one’s whose weeds are just all up in your tree!  I finally came to the conclusion that NOT everyone is forever. Because I am known to be a little naive at times, I know for certain that I hold onto people like nobody’s business! I water the “weeds” hoping they will come back to life & be useful to me someday. We all know that weeds just keep coming back, and not to make the lawn any prettier. This semester, I was able to cultivate some pretty good friendships as well as prune away some not so good one’s. Letting go is never easy, however, holding onto people that don’t want to be held onto is not in any way life-giving to your tree.

3. There is nothing more beautiful than time well wasted. Okay, so i must admit- I work A LOT. I have been known to work 50-60 hours while going to school full-time. This semester I tried very hard to make boundaries for myself. Work & play are both something I value. I am a very hard worker, however, because my love languange is quality time… I like to give my time to people. I finally said NO to work..& welcomed more time doing nothing with the people I love.

4. On the note of people: I must say… each person just wants to talk and be listened to. This revelation really hit home these last few months as I dug deeper into my classes (Social Work major). It’s obviously not rocket science, however, why do people pay so much $$ for therpists?? Because they WANT TO TALK & BE LISTENED TO!!!! You don’t know how many times I have had phone coversations or interactions with people at work after asking them how they are doing where they just said…. “ahh, thanks for listening. I feel so much better.” I didn’t solve thier problems or promise them anything… I just listened. 

5. I have been involved in a Parkison’s Support Group in which I have had the opportunity to spend two-hours/week with my friend ___ (can’t disclose her name). She is a little over 60 & has the most beautiful relationship with God. Every week, since September, we go the gym, have lunch, shop or do whatever. In this time, my passion for the elderly has grown so much stronger & I am so excited that God has put this woman on my path. People still look at us funny because of our age disparity…., but I just smile. The best times this semester have been with her & learning from her…..

6. Cooking!! I love to cook! FINALLY! I thought being a latina woman was all about cooking growing up… & was starting to feel outside of myself for not doing it enough. Long behold, it’s not just cooking that Latin woman are so crazy about… but FAMILY. It’s all about accomodating the people in your life to make them feel as special as possible. Because my roommate is NEVER home, I got into the habit of making dinner & inviting people over. Through this time, I have been able to not only learn how to cook GOOD meals… but build closer relationships.I’m addicted.

7. My favorite number. =) At this point… it’s a little after 2 a.m. & by body is saying NO MORE! lol… and so, I am done ranting about my very busy, yet awesome semester. I have two more weeks left of winter break… and two more semesters left of my undergrad after THIS SPRING. PRAISE JESUS!

Thoughts of travel are brewing in my mind for the summer…. & am praying for an opportunity to work overseas… but until than… I’LL WORK harder on updating! =)

 

**lots of love!!

::V::

 

Loving God

Recognizing that the heart is the wellspring of our being, our deepest innermost self, we understand that the entire core of what we are and all our energy must be devoted to the LOVING GOD

-R. Kent Hughes

I should be doing stat’s homework, but I snuck away for a little bit to pray. So much to pray about this morning, desperately asking Jesus to open my heart that I may be obedient to his voice, in every area of my life.

The last few days, He is has been speaking to my heart about drawing closer & not worrying so much about the little things that seem so big to me. The life of a disciple (& control freak) is not easy, but HIS LOVE is sooo welcoming & refreshing as we day-by-day surrender to his grace. It is through grace we are even saved… so why not cling to every ounce of it as we struggle through life’s hardships? So my prayer this morning is that I would just cling to Him, letting go of the things I have no control of. He is a faithful father…  and he never grows weary. 

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’

Mark 12:30

Eat chocolate!

Classes started today.

I cannot say how relieved I am to just keep trekkin’… very thankful for progress.

Progress. Something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately.

Someone once said… “Don’t fear change, fear no progress.” Although I don’t necessarily feel like my life is being swept by change… I do feel the need to keep moving… in even the smallest of things.

Leaving Washington was extremely difficult for me. I feared coming back to Fort Collins & becoming complacent again. My heart was finally so available to God… I feared losing sight of Him again in the hustle & bustle of my life here in Colorado. The challenge has always been for me to keep God in the center… and what that even looks like for me? Most Christians would agree it doesn’t look “one certain” way… it’s more of the faith we have in Him that matters most.

Being back in Colorado has been pleasantly amazing. Although I cried a lot my first day back… I just started praying. I didn’t even know what to pray… it was more of me begging God to help me through this adjustment of being back. I felt a weight come off my shoulder that day… like everything was going to be okay.

I didn’t feel afraid anymore. I felt God empowering me in that moment.

The thing about God is that He is always available. I forget that as a child of the King, I have access to the throne ALL-OF-THE-TIME!! In the small things… in the big things. He wants IN-ON-EVERYTHING!!!

Progress isn’t so much “accomplishing” something. It’s more like just “moving” forward…. or crawling if you’re like me.  I have not yet reached the point where I feel like I trust God in every area of my life… but I know that I have become more inclined to allow him into more parts… little by little…

and this, my friends, is progress for me.

The important thing to remember: God welcomes his children with arms wide open. Nothing is too big or too small…. as children, we must learn to run to Him as often as possible….

He just makes everything better. Kinda like chocolate… =)

So eat chocolate!!

The Northwest has my heart

Oh Lordie Lord!!

This is by far the longest I’ve gone w/out blogging in awhile (sorry).

I don’t even know where to start?

It’s Tuesday evening. A little before 8 o’clock. I’m expecting a call from a good friend tonight & anticipate a very long-overdue conversation. These one’s are always good.

Meanwhile, I have 4 more days left here in Washington. My heart is broken. There is so much I could share (in depth) in regards to what God has done this summer, however, I will spare the details for for the sake of time. Lets just say, there is really nothing better than just having an expecting heart towards Him. He knows what we need, when we need it & exactly how we need it. I feel blessed to have spent the summer here– and although many things were so different than what I had expected…, His ways are perfect.♥

I met the greatest people imaginable this summer & cannot quite wrap my head around the idea of possibly never seeing them again? I always think it’s awkward saying good-byes. What do you say? “See you soon?” I hate good-byes.

I have, however, been able to take advantage of my time here in the Northwest. Portland has been my second home on the weekends for all of July & now into August. God totally blessed me! I have been able to re-connect with old friends from teenamania (even some I never hung out with @TM??). There really is nothing compared to spending time with the saints. Truly.

I have been encouraged to continue to trust Christ in going home next week. For the most part (not all, lol)  I feel confident that He will guide me. I don’t NEED to know everything (control freak speaking).

I am looking forward to spending 19 hours in the car with my brother Shane. There is literally not a better time than now. Time to talk and process is most necessary after two months of detoxing my mind. And plus, Shaney is the wisest lil’ 24 year old there is. Thank God for that!! I have a cute new apartment waiting for me and am excited to decorate & make it home =) Classes start the 24th– and once again… begins the crazy life of a working-student.

**Thank you Jesus for loving us so much. Be the King of our hearts.

–Nessa

obedience

God is extremely meticulous. He is all about the details. Far more than you’ll ever be. He has everything already figured out. Every pitfall and possibility accounted for. Every detour arranged to get you to your final destination.”

An excerpt from this blog entry by Steven Furtick I read today hits home for me today.

My sincere prayer this morning was that God would give me vision for the next year@CSU. I have kicked & nagged at him since day 1 in regards to being there…, feeling like I have NO IDEA why I am there (aside from getting an education). Yes, school is VERY important– but not knowing WHY you’re there isn’t exactly the most reassuring feeling when spending HOURS upon HOURS a week in this arena of life.

The Lord spoke very clearly in saying… “Vanessa, you are a control freak. Please just trust me?” LOL…. He is very gentle of course…, but in all seriousness– it’s true. I have been begging him for the details in my life. Now… where’s the fun in that?? BAM! REVELATION!

Either way, I might not feel like things are adding up in my head when it comes to this season of my life@CSU…, but I do know that HE IS FAITHFUL to His Word…. that He has a plan for to prosper me… to take care of me.

I feel blessed to be on this journey… the narrow road … may we be found ready.

**amen**

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