11.28.2016

In A Perfect World | a poem


If I had been the writer of our story, I would’ve planned our meeting differently.

I would have planned it for a different time in my life.  
A time when I wasn’t so skeptical and quick to be a pessimist.  
I would have planned it for a time when I was more hopeful and not so scared to meet someone and develop feelings so quickly for them.  

For you.

In a perfect world, the first person you love is your forever love, the one who will never leave, the one love you will always have in your life till the end of time.  
In a perfect world, your first encounter with love is your best, your favorite, and your only.  
In a perfect world, love would always be a good thing, not something we would ever doubt, not something that causes us to be fearful.

But as many of us know - you included, I think - is that love happens at the most unexpected times.  You don’t even realize what’s happening until after the fact.  
Until after you’ve fallen for someone who, a week, a month or a year ago, was a complete stranger.  
And now they’ve become the most important, significant, special person in your life.  

That’s you in mine.

Do you know how often I’ve wished I could meet someone like you?  
And how often the thought has crossed my mind that I might never have that wish granted to me?  
All those 11:11 wishes were about you.  
Before I even knew you existed.  
You were the one my subconscious only dreamed of.  
And I think all that wishing and hoping and praying somehow brought you to life.  

Or at least I’d like to think it had some sort of effect on your wonderful existence.  

You are wonderful, you know that?

It’s 1:09am as I sit and write this.  
Your face keeps coming to mind. 
I keep replaying some of my favorite memories with you over and over in my brain and I smile to myself.  Not just because I love those memories, but because I’m so happy that even after not very much time has passed since that day you entered my life and exploded it with color, we have already made so many memories.  And I’m in love with them.

In fact, I’m in love with you.

And I’m so lucky to love you.


Thank you for letting me be the one to love you.

11.06.2016

My Tattoos & Their Stories

I've had a lot of readers ask me to share about my tattoos - what I have, where I have them, why I got them.  So here you are.  Finally.  You're welcome.

1.  Forget-me-not flowers
My first tattoo is of my favorite flower, the forget-me-not.  They've been my favorite flower for as long as I can remember.  My grandma has grown them in her garden since I was about 3.  Whenever she'd take me out to pick vegetables or flowers, I would always look for the forget-me-not and pick a little bouquet of them.  They always fit perfectly in my little hands.  Now, they flower itself is about as big as my pinky finger nail.
There is also a German legend about them that says when God made the earth, He was painting each flower certain colors.  The forget-me-not was so small that it thought it'd be overlooked, so it cried out "Forget me not, O LORD!" And God smiled and said, "I never would forget one of my creations. Here is a little touch of leftover blue that I have". So He painted the flower a light sky-blue, and it smiled, thus making the yellow center.  I love that story.  It holds a lot of personal significance to me because of a certain time in my life when I was really struggling with my identity and self-worth.

 2.  Undone
This one was inspired by the song Getting There by my role model and  favorite worship leader, Steffany Gretzinger.  Also this verse:
“Then said I, 'Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips...and for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts'.”
- ‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭6:5‬
3.  Symbols on my left arm stand for "God is infinitely greater than the ups and downs forever."
4.  My zodiac constellation, Aries is on my right wrist.
5.  Spanish tattoo
The tat on my left wrist says "Your will, for Your glory, in Your timing."
My best friend always reminds me to say this, especially during difficult times. She's planning on getting it too but just in English.


6.  This star made of music notes simply represents my love for music and stars in one design.

7.   Innocent Life 
This phrase is written in Elvish font with a cross as the "T" in innocent.  My first name means Innocent.  And my middle name means Life.  So I thought it'd be cool to get a tat that says 'Innocent Life'.  It's not only the meaning of my name but also, a reminder that I am innocent in God's eyes because of Jesus' work on the cross.  It's ironic too cuz the cross hurt the worst while getting done.
The whole tat was kinda painful but when it hurt the worst, I asked my artist "What letter are you on?"  And she said "The cross." And I was like dang..... 
So the whole time I was in the worst pain for that, I just replayed "He endured more than this for me" over and over in my head.  It was really emotional and humbling.


8 & 9.  Trees and Mountains
For quite some time, I've wanted to get a tattoo that represented my beautiful Oregon home.  It is known as the second largest forested state, and I have always been in love with the tall, gorgeous woods I have lived around.  So I thought "Why not get a tattoo of some graceful fir trees?"
And I did.
I've dreamt of getting my beautiful mountains tattooed onto my body journal for almost a year.  So now I have one ankle tattooed with my Oregon home representation, and my other ankle shows my second home in Peru - the Huascaran Mountains, the largest ones in the Andes chain.

10.  The Arrow
Before it can fly, an arrow must be drawn back.  Every inch is harder as it stretches and pulls it taut.  The arrow seems to be moving farther away from the target as it's pulled backwards, but it is the only way it will truly reach its target. 
The arrow is us.  The bow is life.  And the Master Archer is the Giver of life and the Author of our stories, aiming us in His perfect direction.

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And yes, I will be writing an article about my view and convictions on tattoos.  Keep calm and stay tuned.

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11.05.2016

Bible Talk | How To Study the Bible & Recommended Devotionals


What book has led you closer to God?

Favorite or recommended devotional?

How to study the Bible?  The SOAP method?  Or what would you recommend?

What would you say is the best way to study the Bible?  (Or, I mean, what do you do?)

What devotionals would you recommend for someone who wants to begin reserving some quiet time for the LORD every day?


These are all questions that I have received on my ask.fm.

First of all, everyone has different methods for studying the Bible.  Like I've said many times before - your personal relationship with God is your relationship with God to make your own.  It's between Him and you.
Some people study in depth every day, with a study Bible, a concordance, taking tons of notes, highlighting verses as they go.  While others read a couple verses before they get out of bed and meditate on those throughout the day.

There's nothing wrong with either of these.

God never told us how much time we have to make for Him, or when, or how often.  It's not about who does it how and when.  It's about loving Him and meditating on His Word, hiding it in our hearts, and obeying what He has said.

"Your Word have I hidden in my heart that I may not sin against You."
- Psalm 119:11

"Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path."
- Psalm 119:105

"This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it.  For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success."
- Joshua 1:8

"But He answered, 'It is written: man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God."
- Matthew 4:4

I'm a perfectionist.  Always have been.  So when I started really growing in my relationship with God, and realizing my identity in Him, and my love for Him, I strived to have a good solid Bible study time every day.  This is a good goal to have.  But whenever I couldn't, or didn't have as much time as I wanted to, I would get really upset with myself and just give up on my time with Him.
That wasn't the right course of action at all.
I needed to give myself grace and remember that I can't always do things the way I want to.  Sometimes I won't be able to have a two-hour devotional time, but I can have two minutes.  And in those two minutes, I should ask God to show me everything He wants me to take away from whatever passage I am reading.

Like I said, I used to have a good solid Bible study time set apart every day.  I would get out my devotional journal, my prayer journal, my Bible, my highlighter pens, my worship music, my day-to-day devotional and I would shut my phone off and just read and write for as long as I wanted to.
But now, guess what I do?
I wake up in the morning, turn onto my side, open my Bible and read as many chapters as I want/can before having to get up and start my day.  No highlighter pens, no journals, [sometimes] no music.  I've simplified.  Because right now, in my walk to Jesus, that's what He wants me to do and how He wants me to spend time with Him.  Before, I was stressing out too much about having it all together and making notes and highlighting verses and making my journals look pretty, and then when I couldn't do that, I would just slack in my Bible time because I "didn't have time for everything".  I didn't have time to make it perfect.
And He was like "Raquel, you just need to want to spend time with Me.  And I will meet you there."
(It was also a lesson on being less of a perfectionist too, that's for sure.)

So my greatest recommendation, as far as how to study the Bible, is to seek Him and ask Him how He wants to spend time with you.  You may be at a time of your walk with Him where He wants you to really study and make a window of time in your day to take notes and mark certain verses and look up words in a concordance.  Sometimes that's a really good diving board to growing a solid relationship foundation with Him.
But for others, He may just want some one on one quiet time with you.  Just you, Him, and the Word open in your lap.
Every relationship is different.  Every time spent together is different, based on the relationship.  Just like going on dates.  Sometimes you're feeling like being wild and crazy and dancing at a concert till 2am.  But other days, you just want a quiet dinner at home, snuggling and watching a movie.  Both are good times, both are fun, you learn things about each other during both scenarios.  But most importantly, you're together.  And that's all that matters.

Your times with God are your dates with Him.  He loves you and wants to have a relationship with your soul - the one He created and put in you.  Figure out the best way to grow and love Him back.  He'll show you.

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Recommended devotionals:

  • Come Away, My Beloved | Frances Roberts
  • Pearl of Great Price | Joni Eareckson Tada
  • Valley of Vision
  • My Daily Pursuit | A.W. Tower
  • Experiencing God Day by Day | Henry T. Blackaby & Richard Blackaby
  • Then Sings My Soul | Robert Morgan
  • To Live Is Christ, To Die Is Gain | Matt Chandler