Didn’t Know I’d Find You Here-Guest Post by Caiti Mondragon

It’s not easy leaving my Dad. The visit part has gotten much easier, and although I hate to say it, pretty routine.  But, leaving? I don’t think that will ever get easier.

This weekend we went to see him and on the way home I had some time to think as everyone else was fast asleep.  I was thinking of the excitement that we all experience when we visit…and then it’s time to leave and so many of the original emotions flood my mind. I get angry wondering why this happened. I get sad and feel sorry for everyone involved. I want to shut down.

I never knew I’d find myself here. I never knew I’d be the daughter of an inmate. I never knew that my kids would know what it’s like to go through security to visit a prison. I never knew I would sit in a room full of families, just like mine, visiting their loved ones. I never knew the hurt that could fill a room. I never knew the pain I would feel to hear my youngest ask why Grandpa never comes to visit us. It hurts. And, although leaving will never get any easier, there is now a peace in my heart. There are many things that I never knew I would experience in my life, but…

What I do know, is God has met me here. Every single feeling, God has felt with me. Every tear I have cried, God has wiped away. Throughout every part of this chapter of my life, He has been there right alongside me as each page has turned. It was in the darkest and saddest point in my life that I felt God more than ever. The part of my life where I found it difficult to get out of bed because I was so sad. The part of my life where I didn’t want to answer the phone because I was embarrassed. The part of my life where I was so afraid of what was going to happen to my family. He was there, and I know that now.

As I was driving and thinking, a song called “Find You Here” came on the radio and I couldn’t help but just cry and be thankful for everything He has done in my life. My Dad being sent to prison was never about me, and I’m not trying to make it be…but, going through this, God has shown me things about myself that I never even knew existed. The part of my life where I realized the importance of grace? Again, he met me there.

So, whatever storm you are going through, He is with you. It might be the last place that you’d ever think He’d be…but He’s there. You just have to look…and listen.

“It’s not the news that any of us hoped that we would hear
It’s not the road we would have chosen, no
The only thing that we can see is darkness up ahead
But You’re asking us to lay our worry down and sing a song instead

And I didn’t know I’d find You here
In the middle of my deepest fear, but
You are drawing near
You are overwhelming me, with peace
So I’ll lift my voice and sing
You’re gonna carry us through everything
You are drawing near
You’re overwhelming all my fears, with peace

You say that I should come to You with everything I need
You’re asking me to thank You even when the pain is deep
You promise that You’ll come and meet us on the road ahead
And no matter what the fear says, You give me a reason to be glad.”

Building A Masterpiece-Guest Post by Houstan Aragon

 

When you hear the word Masterpiece it invokes a certain image to everyone, and that image can be vastly different from person to person. The experts say that when you study something for 6 years you will obtain a Master’s degree in any number of fields in education. According to Webster’s dictionary  a masterpiece/s is a work of outstanding artistry, skill or workmanship–An artist or craftsman’s best piece of work. Well this got me thinking about all the factors that go into a masterpiece; having a Godly gift, patience, perseverance, humility, diligence and discipline for a great period of time while continuing to ever so slightly tweak the process so that the next time it becomes easier.

Thinking of doing all of these principles and how you then begin to apply them to the many facets of life; I believe the bottom line is change. I’m sure that we have all heard that the one thing in life that is constant is change, and as oxy moronic as it sounds, it is absolutely true. If you are not doing at least one thing every day to better yourself from the day before than in essence you are going to fall behind. Which brings me to the beginning of this year of 2018. In lieu of setting another New Year’s Resolution that I will mostly not accomplish, I chose to focus on one word and using that word in all the aspects of my life for the betterment of myself and those around me. The word I chose was Change.

   Recently I feel there has been a lot of transition happening in my life, and I feel like I am not on solid ground as I have been taking on great challenges that have been earned and bestowed upon me. The way I see it, I can either rise to meet those challenges or I can succumb to my fear of doubt, fear of regret, and fear of not being good enough to handle these new and scary responsibilities while knowing all my failures and short comings from my past.

Here are a few things that I have gained from the Lord and His word:

  • The regret of doing or not doing, the failures you’re holding onto: God can take those experiences and teach you wisdom.
  • The pain that cuts you to your core when you feel that you have let yourself or others down and the disappointment that comes with that: God can and will use that you draw you closer and closer to Him.
  • Your life is never too messy for God, as He is our maker. The things in your life you feel ashamed of, how broken you may feel at the ugliest of moments are the exact things that God will use to mold you into precisely who you are meant to be and that is what make you, YOU! It is the parts of a tapestry of those experiences that makes each of us works of art.unnamed

When we bring our messes, mistakes and insecurities to Him and go all in, laying it all down before Him, He can then make us into His perfect masterpiece.

I thank you Heavenly Father, which you have taken my messes and transformed them into such beauty. Doing Your work in our lives with intention, much as a craftsman does to perfect each work into a Masterpiece.

Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a pure Heart, oh God, and renew a steadfast spirit with in me.”

Confession of a Spiritual Gangsta-Guest Post by Mario Aragon

Here is something I’ve learned about being a Christian; it’s not easy.

In fact, God promises it will be hard. The more you try to have a relationship with God, the more the enemy will attack you.

One of the greatest tools the enemy will use is isolation and lies. He will make you feel alone in your struggle and your problems. He will tell you that you are the only one with this problem and no one will care. However, this cannot be farther from the truth. Don’t let your isolation consume you. REACH out, trust in our Heavenly Father.
We at Mosaic are here for you. We are a family and we are going through this crazy life together. Don’t let the lies of the enemy take root in your life because you are loved. You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
Most of all, you are not alone. We all struggle with something.

Let me be vulnerable for a moment: I struggle with anxiety. In fact, as I write this I have read, erased, and retyped it many times. My mind is telling me that no one will care about what I have to say. Every time I step into church or teach kids in kids church I often wonder why God chose me for this.  I’m definitely not qualified for it. I struggle with this but I’m glad I have my Mosaic family there for me. I have a wonderful wife, family, friends, and above all I have a great and mighty God that constantly reminds me that I am worthy and I am not alone.

If you need a friend or someone to talk to know I’m here for you. Most importantly you have God. He is always with you even when you feel the loneliest. Remember you are not alone in your struggles, problems with depression, or whatever. Stay strong and always keep on fighting!

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It Started With a Dream-Guest Post by Jen Orona

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I vaguely remember the conversation. My oldest daughter, 8 at the time, was telling her dad about a dream she had. The rapture had happened, and her WHOLE family was there. She had an uneasiness in her voice, she was torn. It wasn’t just her immediate family; Mom, Dad, and sisters. Her Grandma and Grandpa went to Heaven with her. The way she spoke stuck out to me most. There was questioning in her voice. “Dad, how could that happen? Grandma and Grandpa aren’t saved.” My husband hesitated for a moment to collect his thoughts, his response… something along the lines of the dream being God’s placement upon her heart and we need to continue praying for them because God can do miracles.

We had been praying, our whole marriage, my whole life, desperately wanting my Mom to find Jesus. I had become so jaded with unanswered prayers that I honestly had somewhat lost hope. Nothing I could do would be enough to bring her salvation.  When I began working at 14 to earn my own steady income, I lost hope. When I handed over paychecks because the rent was short, I lost hope. When I agonized through cold showers because, once again the heat was turned off, I lost hope. In those times when I hoped she would become who I wanted her to be, and she didn’t I told myself it was because I wasn’t enough. She must not love me enough to stop her addiction.

It started when I was around 13. My Mom began going to Bingo with my Grandma, harmless, right? Then she went more and more until eventually, if I wanted to see her, I had to go, too. I never would have believed someone if they told me they were addicted to Bingo, but I now know firsthand that if a person has a hole that needs to be filled, they will find SOMETHING to fill it. I got used to the cycle, so did the rest of us.

Bingo turned into Blackhawk. Our relationship deteriorated. I spent as much time away from home as I could. I felt guilty for being away from my little brother, but I wanted so much to be free from it all that I left as soon as I could. I needed to be a part of something important, and I also needed to be far. At 17 I left to the Marine Corps.

My own journey towards salvation was somewhat simple. I was raised Catholic, but my relationship with God truly began as a Junior in high school when I read the “Left Behind” series and navigated my thoughts and questions about God on my own. I went on to foster my new beliefs in a new part of the world and tried to let go.

Things with my Mom got worse while I was away, her problems piled higher and her hole got bigger. I have never begrudged my Mom for being overwhelmed with the pressures of her life. She was dealt a tough hand and struggled with her own feelings of emotional neglect from her parents. At 16 she gave birth to me and raised me as a single mom until she met my Stepdad. He was young too when they met, so together we all were trying to grow up. Now, as a mom myself, I sympathize with her struggles. She did what she thought was her best and gave what she was capable of giving.

My commitment to the Corps was close to over and I had no intentions of living again in Colorado. However, my new husband was determined to be near the Rocky Mountains so, pregnant and newly married, I returned. For seven years, there were consistent ups and downs. My parents adored my children and I saw my Mom share affection with them I didn’t know she was capable of expressing. I heard her say “I love you” freely to them and each time my heart ailed because I wanted it to be directed towards me. My husband and I tried hard to establish boundaries with money, but, just like the addict, the enabler has difficulty saying “No.”

Around the time my daughter had the rapture dream, we were coming off one of the most painful incidents we had been through. I felt so betrayed and damaged that I went through depression. My Mom and I were barely on speaking terms, almost all communication centered around the girls. I had written off all hope but continued to pray out of routine, expecting my prayers to continue to be unanswered. When my daughter shared her dream, I was as befuddled as her, my parents weren’t saved, why did she dream they made it to Heaven?

The circumstances surrounding her finding God moment I reserve for her to share. What I will share is that when my husband contacted me on May 13, 2016 and told me my Mom called him earlier in the day and said she was ready to accept Jesus, my heart stood still. Really? Is it possible? With a tinge of hesitance, I called her and heard her out. For the first time, I said “I love you,” she said it back, and I knew she meant it. The dream my daughter had wasn’t a fluke, it was God’s foreshadowing. When she heard that Grandma was saved, she became so full of emotion she excused herself to another room to cry and praise God, her dream came true. After her grandma’s baptism, she insisted on cake and a party.

My Mom has been coming to Mosaic faithfully since that day. I’ve seen her mature in her relationship with God. Her hole is finally filled and I can now put into perspective that she didn’t withhold love from me, she simply didn’t have love to give. The agape, selfless love that only Jesus shares has persisted and found its place within her heart.

If you’ve taken the time to read through all this- thanks for your patience, I can get kinda wordy. I appreciate the opportunity to share my story, others might be in a similar situation and I hope that my happy ending gives you hope, especially if you’re feeling hopeless. God hears your prayers and can do miracles!