What Happens When the Door Closes and you are in the Storm?

This is the post excerpt.

The brainchild of two Registered Nurses, ages 50 plus, who asked the question, “What happens when the door closes and you are in the storm?” After a lengthy discussion, we identified that maturing through the lifespan can be a difficult process for many women. Historically, we have overcome many obstacles; however, for reasons which are not easily identified, we are feeling quite overwhelmed with the present-unexpected life event.

When we perceive that we are overwhelmed; fear, worry, and anxiety escalate at disproportionate levels. As a result, we become spiritually disoriented, and gradually we become fixated on the closed-door. When we begin to communicate with God through prayer, we will realize that God has allowed the door or chapter in our lives to close. He is protecting us as only a Heavenly Father can do. As we draw closer to God, He will allow us to see his wonderful plan for our lives-many open doors.

Who is in your Circle?

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13 NIV

Recently, I joined a Facebook group that focuses on the revival of fervent prayer for women by women. The moderator has recently published a prayer journal along with a bracelet keepsake which identifies the purpose of her ministry. The combination of reading and hearing positive feedback which addresses real-life issues has broadened my perspective on our spiritual and emotional needs as Women of God.

As godly women, we are preparing ourselves for kingdom life and witnessing to others by example; therefore, we must conduct ourselves in a manner that represents Jesus’ character and His ministry when He interacted with others. In addition to striving for our character to align with the Fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5:22,23, it is our responsibility to seek those who are in need of love, compassion, and friendship.

We can begin by identifying who is in our closest circle; whether it is longtime friends, members of our biological and church families, or new acquaintances, reach out to your friends at least once a week.

1. Purchase or make a beautiful journal to list your circle of friends.

2. Set a schedule to communicate by text, phone call, or mail a “thinking of you” card at least once a week.

3. Most importantly, pray fervently for every woman on a daily basis.

We need to create a bond of love by praying, laughing, voicing our concerns, providing a listening ear, sharing relevant knowledge and life experiences which indicate that we care.

We can make a difference in the lives of our friends through sacrificial giving of our time. Remember quality supersedes quantity: take a moment to reach out, that moment may be more important than you could possibly imagine, go ahead, touch someones today!

We can brighten the darkened path that all must travel at some point in life.

Prayer for today: Dear God: You have placed us in the position to minister to others in need. Please help us as we reach out to others to help ease their burdens of life. We thank you for hearing and answering our prayers. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Sonya Johnson Ruiz

The Beauty of a Rose (and our Legacy of Love)

Somewhere along the wayside where honey bees meet

Comes the special fragrance of a rose smelling so sweet

When the morning dew begins to settle

The sun shines forth so it glistens on each petal

What can you compare with the beauty of a rose

Swaying so gently as the cool wind blows

© Esther Johnson 1997

Recently on a road trip to Georgia to visit our family, my Mother received a copy of her poetry that she had written in 1997. Initially she did not remember the poems; however as she read The Beauty of a Rose, her memory sharpened and she began to elaborate on the fact that 1997 was her most productive year as a poet. Much to her surprise, there was a letter from a publishing company in Owings Mills, Maryland that not only acknowledged her poetic talent; but also informed her that one of her poems would be published in their book entitled The Best Poems of 1997.

After reading the last poem, my Mother handed me the binder of her cherished poems and instructed me to carry on her legacy as a writer. As I accepted the responsibility to fulfill her wish, I was overwhelmed with emotion; even so, I am very thankful that God has allowed me to be the recipient of the wonderful gift to convey to others the love He has for his created beings.

The world defines legacy as something tangible–an amount of money or property left to someone in a will. Nonetheless, tangible items lose their value and depreciate so quickly that the receiver loses appreciation of the gift. The intangible gift of love never loses its value; since we were created from God’s love, we have a natural inclination and are born with the ability to love others.

Yes, there is beauty in the rose, however, nothing compares to the bond of love that God intended for family. In fact, God created family for the purpose of loving, supporting, and validating one another. Familial love provides the foundation for us to initiate and sustain healthy relationships based on respect, forgiveness, self-control, structure, discipline, and boundaries.

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Galatians 5:22,23 NLT

When we are obedient to God’s original plan, we have the responsibility to nurture and pass on the legacy of love to subsequent generations.

How are you fulfilling your responsibility to pass on the legacy of love?

Prayer for today: Dear God, We have not acknowledged your great love for us; therefore we are unable to have healthy relationships with our family members or others. Please teach us how to love you, to love others, and to love ourselves. We do not possess the Fruit of the Spirit and we need a spiritual makeover of our character. We ask you to forgive us of our sins. Thank you for hearing and answering our prayer. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Sonya Johnson Ruiz

It takes more!

But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…Joshua 24:15 NIV

There are very few companies that are willing to hire individuals at an entry level position who possess no prior knowledge of the vacant position they are seeking to fill. The investment of time and money involved is considered to be a high risk, especially with the change in the work ethic where loyalty and longevity is dependent on monetary compensation.

The dilemma remains for individuals who are seeking gainful employment or a career change that do not have enough to be considered as a desirable applicant. Even so, there are several viable options: pursuing education by taking a certificate course, matriculation into a degree program, or utilizing your state’s unemployment resources to obtain additional skills. The acquisition of continuing education demonstrates the desire for personal and professional growth which increases your chances in a very competitive and demanding arena–the job market.

It is wonderful that God’s plan for salvation is not dependent upon our skill level; we are able to make the choice to serve God and He accepts us exactly as we are and where we are in our lives. However, there are conditions for spiritual growth once we confess our sins and accept Christ as our personal Savior.

There is a misconception that attending church and hearing sermons, constitutes our part in serving God. Yes, it is important for us to be in the company of believers, but it is not enough! We are required to establish a personal relationship with God by studying the Bible, praying, living by faith and obedience, and most importantly by witnessing to others. We are unable to obtain the spiritual knowledge and wisdom to resolve life’s dilemmas without studying the Word of God or praying for guidance.

When we do our part in serving God, we gain spiritual strength by growing closer to him; it is the formation of that bond that helps us to realize that He will never leave us or forsake us.

Prayer for today: Dear God, Help us to do our part in getting to know you. We realize that we are just doing enough to get by in our spiritual lives. We ask you to forgive us of our sins. Thank you for hearing and answering our prayers. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Sonya Johnson Ruiz

Japanese Gardens

The Power of Nature

The Earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belongs to him. Psalm 24:1 NLT

Yesterday, we started a road trip with a starting point from North Texas to our destination of Georgia. As we crossed the state lines into Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia, the highway divided a great forest of trees ranging from extremely tall (100 feet) with thin trunks standing like soldiers, to plump magnolia’s bursting with fragrant blossoms, and a vast array of evergreens with branches extended to create a lush, breathtaking woodland.

When God created the earth, every flower, herb, and tree had its purpose; to provide all the resources that humanity required to sustain life. We were given trees, and vines bursting with a delicious variety of fruit; herbs that could be eaten for food or used for medicinal purposes; an endless bouquet of flowers; green grass to clothe the ground beneath our feet; clouds that contrasted the blue skies; and the sun, moon, and stars for light. God created a world in six days that even he was pleased with.

As I pondered on the splendor of nature, and the contrast of the hustle of city life, I realize that one of the underlying reasons for many emotional instabilities such as anxiety, depression, and restlessness are due to the stressors of an unhealthy environment.

My childhood in the Northeast came to an abrupt halt when we relocated from New Jersey to the expansive metropolitan area of Houston, Texas. Eventually, I moved to a smaller rural town with a serene atmosphere in Upstate New York. After a couple of years, I became bored and began to desire the fast life again, and in a moment of spontaneity, I moved again, returning to the rapid pace of city life. Fast paced, industrialized, and overcrowded cities bombarded with high levels of noise pollution was certainly not part of the original plan that God has for us.

Believe it or not, I learned a valuable lesson…my desire for a return to the natural way of living is firmly established…and I am in active pursuit of following God’s original plan for our lives. I am determined to rid myself of the obstacles that prevent me from moving forward to the reality of waking up to singing birds, breathing in unpolluted air, wildflowers, and looking upward to view the leafy tops of the soldiers in the woods.

Prayer for today: Dear God, As we make changes to our lifestyle, we ask for your blessing. We desire to live as you have originally planned for us. We pray for knowledge and wisdom to use the resources to live a better life. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Sonya Johnson Ruiz