Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Me, Defined

If I allowed others to define me, I’d be a messed up individual. You name the term, it would be me—trifling, selfish, stubborn, stupid, indecisive, helpless, dirty, nasty, unsuccessful, average, ugly, mean, bitch. I’ve been called them all—and sometimes by those I love the most—and sometimes by those who know me the best. If family, friends and associates label me outside of my name, the labels must be true, right? And if they’re true, I might as well define myself as such and live as such, right?

Wrong. Yet those labels swirled around in my head about myself for YEARS…and the enemy smiled while my spiritual and emotional growth were stifled by my negative self image and negative self talk.

Over the course of the past year, God has allowed me to see myself through His eyes. The latter has shown me that the titles others had given me couldn’t be farther from the truth. I’m God’s child. In Him I’m made perfect. Nothing about Loureva is trifling, or selfish, or dirty, or nasty, or stupid, or ugly. Nowhere in my make-up does the word bitch have a place. It is impossible for me to be anything less than a great parent when my partner is the Almighty Himself. Where I am inadequate, God is enough. And He loves me so much that at a time when I was being very critical of myself, He sent word that he was proud of me…Imagine that.

I thank God for allowing me to see myself through the eyes of truth. Who am I? I am a creative, caring, loving, encouraging, inspiring, intelligent, beautiful, talented, passionate, positive, empathetic, and optimistic spiritual woman. I am a great mother, a loving daughter, a dedicated worker, and a humble student. I speak peace and love. I am a prayer warrior. I am a woman of God. I am BLESSED and HIGHLY FAVORED. I am a child of the King, and that means that I am royalty.

If I allowed others to define me, I’d be a messed up individual. You name the term, it would be me—trifling, selfish, stubborn, stupid, helpless, dirty, nasty, unsuccessful, average, ugly, mediocre mother, mean, bitch. But I’m glad that God is the author of my life’s book. I’m glad that He knows me intimately. He is the one who defines me…and He calls me His beloved child, and He is well pleased with me.

Ephesians 1:4 – 6

1 John 4:17

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Thank You for Your love and affection. Thank You for Your PEACE and protection. Thank You for truth and unspeakable joy. Thank You for allowing me to feel Your presence. Thank You for talking with me every day. Thank You for walking with me every day. Thank You for sustaining me. Thank You for your mercy…and Your forgiveness. Thank You for saving me. Thank You for Your grace. Thank You for CONSTANTLY thinking of me. Thank You for holding me in Your arms and making me comfortable as I REST in You.

Thank You, oh Lord, for being who You are--my Creator, my Father, my King--my EVERYTHING.

Thank You for all the positive energy that flows in, around, and through me. Thank You for confidence. Thank You for creating me in Your image. Thank You for beauty. Thank You for Your divine favor. Thank You for opportunities to grow, and learn, and love. Thank You for my marriage. Thank You for my children. Thank You for my extended family. Thank You for my friends.

Thank You for laughter. Thank you for tender moments. Thank You for allowing me to see good in people. Thank You for your guidance. Thank You for discernment. Thank You for financial blessings. Thank You for showing me who You are (and Whose I am). Thank You for the vision You have given me. Thank You for VICTORY.

Thank You, dear Lord, for being patient with me as I grow into the person You want me to be.

Thank You for a sound mind. Thank You for great health. Thank You for supernatural healing. Thank You for deliverance. Thank you for Your Holy Word. Thank You for Spiritual growth. Thank You for loving me in spite of myself.

Thank you, my Lord, for You are all that I need.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Word on Closure

When God removes a romantic relationship from our lives sometimes it can be quite painful…especially when it is someone we genuinely care about. But what I’ve learned is that He doesn’t make ANY mistakes. He knows what’s best and I have to trust that He is only protecting me from that which I cannot see and preparing me for something better.

When I was 18, there was a guy who I thought was THE ONE. I thought him the most beautiful, intelligent, and talented young man I had ever met. In my mind, he could have talked to any woman he wanted to…and he chose me. And I was honored.

We talked on the phone or hung out almost every day until the one day I didn’t hear from him. I called and there was no answer. The next day I called and still there was no answer. A week later (in the midst of me worrying, crying, and then worrying some more) he called and told me that something traumatic had happened and that he would never be able to return to L.A. My heart sank. I couldn’t understand it. Things were progressing so nicely between us so how could this be happening?

When we hung up the phone that day, life as I had known it had CHANGED forever. I had HUNDREDS of unanswered questions and I can’t begin to express my anguish. My anguish turned to anger—and of course it was directed toward God. How could He allow this to happen? Why did He remove someone I cared so much about? Why hadn’t I been allowed to say goodbye face to face? Why had I given up so much of my heart and myself to someone who had left so soon?

I felt stupid.

It took me years to get over him—and when I say years, I mean THOUSANDS of days of prayer for myself and from others, a WHOLE lot of wallowing in the mud and feasting with swine, buckets full of tears, battling my own insecurities and fears, and a great deal of unnecessary hurt and pain for my loved ones and myself.

In time, however, something amazing happened. I realized that everything that had happened was for my good. (Romans 8:28) I learned that what I thought was just right for me was not at all in line with what God had for me. I learned the importance of loving and demanding the best for myself. I learned the TRUE meaning of love. I also came to understand that everything had to happen the way it did for me to grow into the person that I am. And in the end all I can do is give God the praise for blessing me exceeding abundantly.

You see, the thing about closure is that sometimes it doesn’t come in the time frame or way that we think it should. Sometimes God chooses to close doors for us that we might not have the strength or desire to close for ourselves. And when He does, we have to praise Him even when we don’t understand. We have to know that in time it will all be clear. Instead of trying to force what isn’t meant to be or looking for answers that will never be good enough, we have to trust that God is who He says He is. We have to trust that He is looking out for us and protecting us from that which our finite eyes cannot see. We have to know that He LOVES us and is preparing us for BLESSINGS!

There will be many emotional storms throughout our lives, but there will also be rainbows at the end of them. And the rainbows are there to remind us that God was in control all along.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

On 10/10/10

I woke up feeling GREAT on 10/10/10! The weather was perfect and I was with people I LOVE. I just couldn’t stop thanking God for allowing me to see my 29th birthday and for blessing me as greatly as He has. I was just downright HAPPY and full of His JOY.

I made a quick stop by my parents’ home, and I had been there for about half an hour when I heard rustling at the front door. I peeked out the window and noticed my gorgeous neighbor, Mrs. C.

Mrs. C has been an inspiration to me for many years. She’s a beautiful woman who was a devoted wife and who is a loving mother and grandmother. She “adopted” me 29 years ago. I’m honestly not sure what it was that made her take a liking to me. All I know is that before I could talk, Mrs. C was right there offering support for my mom and LOVING me as if I were her own. As I grew older, she was right there celebrating all my achievements with me and encouraging me when I was disappointed. She is one person who has ALWAYS supported whatever I had going on NO MATTER WHAT.

I was SO happy to see her on my birthday. She literally made my great day even better. I opened the door and gave her a HUGE hug. She told me that she was trying to sneak a card in the mailbox for me. It made me feel special to know that she remembered my birthday ONCE AGAIN. What a treat! Every year for 29 years Mrs. C has given me a card and a dollar for each year I’ve been alive…and every year I am SURPRISED and immensely grateful when I receive it. (I really am.) I get choked up when I think about it.

My Sunday birthday surprise made me think about my strong circle of support. I am so thankful for all the wonderful people God has placed in my life. He has blessed me with people who have loved and encouraged me through all the stages of my life. These people have believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. They have prayed for me during good times and bad. They have been honest with me, they have reprimanded me when I needed it, they have hugged me, they have cried with me, they have supported me, they have connected me with various opportunities, they have been genuinely and unselfishly GOOD to me…and I am eternally grateful.

I love the fact that God knew me intimately before I was formed in my mother’s womb and that He knew exactly what I would need long before I needed it. I am glad that I am His child and that I have divine favor. I am VERY thankful for my strong support system and for having had the opportunity to know and feel LOVE every day of my life. And I bask in that love.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

All the Way to the Top, Baby!

I'm not the type of person who likes to exercise. In fact, if it isn't dancing, or taking a slow 30 minute walk on my lunch break, you usually won't catch me doing it. Why? It has just never been appealing to me...that is until my brother's friend, Kelly (who I happen to admire a great deal), mentioned that she and a few of her lady friends go hiking every weekend. She invited me along. I asked her whether they are "professional hikers" because I didn't want to get out there and embarrass myself, and she assured me I would be just fine. I was finally able to hook up with them yesterday, and let me tell was amazing!

When I first got to the hiking location, I felt VERY overwhelmed. I saw quite a few people walking to the top of a hill that looked like Mount Everest to me. I texted my best friend and my hubby that I didn't think I would be able to do it. I DEFINITELY wanted to quit before I started. I hoped and prayed that Kelly and her crew didn't plan to go ALL the way to the top. The sight of hill tired me out! I had almost finished my entire bottle of water before we even got started.

The ladies were awesome. They had all hiked before, but they were encouraging and told me that the hike--up to the tip top of the hill and back down--would only take about an hour. They assured me that I could do it.

25 minutes later, with aching legs, a pumping heart, and a sweat drenched shirt, I was at the top--overlooking the city of Los Angeles...feeling GREAT! It was exhilarating. The ladies talked and laughed their way up the hill. I was fairly quiet--just trying to breathe!

When they got to the top, an energetic Kelly said, "Ok ladies...down and back up or halfway down and back up?" I thought I was going to pass out. There is NO WAY she just asked that question, I thought. Heck, my only hope was that I would be able to get down the hill and then back to my car. On that note, I bid the ladies farewell. One showed me the "proper" way for a beginner to get down the hill. And then I was on my way.

Heading down, I passed many people and all of them were breathing just as heavily as I was (which made me feel good). I couldn't help but wonder why people would torture themselves this way...and yet I already knew that I would be back again soon. One guy saw the desperation in my eye and told me to be strong. "Only five more steps," he said...There were more like 25 more steps. I couldn't give him my usual friendly response, but I managed to smile.

When I hit the bottom of the hill I didn't look back. I high stepped to the car with the biggest grin on my face. I was VERY proud of myself. I did it...and I can't wait to do it again.

Thanks for the invite, Kelly! :)