Twenty- Eight !! OH MY GOODNESS! I AM TWENTY-EIGHT!! When did that happen? It’s hard to believe twenty-eight it is already here! I guess time really does fly when you are having fun or when your world gets flipped upside down a couple of times and back up again! Y’all life is good and worth celebrating. I have kept a journal/diary every year since the second grade and it has been one of the…
Mudpie Plaid Vest| Similar Vest | Leggings | Booties| Beanie Well I guess I can check falling through an attic floor off my list! Last Wednesday was all around a hard day after a pretty emotionally week. I started my day off with plans to be productive and effective, but it did not fully end up that way. My friend, Walker and I met for pedi’s and mani’s early that…
I became obsessed with this Adelyn Rae lace romper the second I laid my eyes on it! It is the perfect romper for a holiday party! The lace on it is soft, comfortable, and the best part is that it is a good length. Ladies, we all know our love for rompers is limited at times because they are often a little too short once we put our hiney into…
As I walk through this season of life Jesus has shown me a love for the Parable of the Good Samaritan like never before.
The Parable of the Good Samaritan is a story that we are all too familiar with. We all would like to think that given the opportunity we would respond like the good samaritan so much so that there is a law named after this parable that protects the person trying to do the right thing. But why is that? Why do we all want to be the good Samaritan?
The parable begins with a lawyer asking Jesus the question, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Then the lawyer went on to say that according to the scriptures, “he shall love the Lord his God with all his heart, soul, strength and mind and your neighbors as yourself.” Jesus said to him, “Do this and you will live.” But the lawyer tried to trick him [Jesus] and asked “Who is my neighbor?” Boy am I glad he asked!
Jesus said, ” A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead” (Luke 10:30). Wait a minute!! Is that not what the devil does to us? He robs our joy, takes all that we have leaving us feeling hopeless, beats us down with the afflictions of this world and just like a thief he departs leaving us half dead (John 10:10). How true is that of believers, we know there is a God who loves us and is for us but yet we let the enemy get the best of us. The enemy beats us down, tackles us with trials and afflictions and leaves us feeling half dead. We walk around like zombies halfway living and not enjoying the fullness of life. John 10:10 says, the thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy, but Jesus came to give us life and have it abundantly. The enemy (the devil) is the robber in this parable.
Now there is some beauty is being half dead and that is that the the enemy cannot fully kill us because we belong to Jesus. So what does the enemy do? He kills us halfway because we give him that much control over our lives. We let him to beat us down and allow him to take our joy and before we know it we find ourselves halfway dead!
As the parable goes on we see a Priest show up on the scene. The priest was a religious man, a jewish rabbi, a guy who knew and studied the scriptures, he read his Torah, the bible. The priest represents the church, the christians of our time. Because he was a priest we can assume he knew the greatest commandment of both the old and new testament and that is to love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself. But what does this priest do? He gives this poor man what I call the “Christian Heisman”, the cold shoulder refusing to help and keeps walking! Excuse me, what?!
Here is someone who professes to know God and yet walks by the man who has been beaten down, robbed and left for halfway dead and is in desperate need of help.
Next, we met the Levite. The levites in the old testament were in charge of the tent, altar and sanctuary of God (Num 18). The church, the building where people came to worship, confess and offer their sacrifice. The Levites knew the way of the Lord. They were chosen, set apart to be a royal priesthood. The levite knew the greatest commandment, “love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and your neighbor as yourself”, but yet he too walked by giving this man the “Christian Heisman” and had nothing to do with him! Again, what?! The levite worked in “ministry” for crying aloud!
Lastly, we meet the Samaritan. The Samaritan people were considered unclean, outcast, so much so that the jews did not associate with them. The Samaritan in this parable is the world, the unchurched, the non-believers, the unstudied, the ones that have not made a commitment to God, but yet he is the one that stops to help the man lying on the ground half dead. He sees a man that has been rob, beaten, and left for half dead and he shows compassion by binding his wounds and pouring oil and wine. Then takes him an inn to be taken care of and covers his medical bills.
When the world responds better than the church there is a problem!
When the world comes to the aid someone who has been hurt and church does not, there is a problem! I know what it’s like to be be halfway dead, to be beaten down and rob. I know what it’s like to be the man in story that is left for half dead. I know the kind of pain that is only there to remind you that you are still alive. When I found out I was pregnant I wanted to die! The joy that I had in Jesus left me. I was covered by fear and shame so much so that I honestly wished I was dead. I jokingly said to a friend, “I wish you would just shoot me!” The sad part was a I really wished she would but by God’s grace she said, ” I will not shoot two people!” I am so thankful for her response because in that moment I knew that life was no longer just about me. There was a precious soul growing inside of me and a Holy Spirit living in me that had greater things to accomplish through me.
I’m going to be bold and say that the priest and the levite knew what to do and yet walked on by and did not bother to help. As believers, we are the priest and the levite in the parable, we are church, we are those who know the scriptures, we are the ones who have made the commitment to follow the God of the bible. We are a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9). We have been given the greatest commandment. To love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength and to love your neighbor as ourself, but when we chose to walk on and not help our wounded we are no different than world who does not know God.
Through my pregnancy I watched the church, a group of believers give me the “Christian Heisman” and want nothing to do with me because my sin did not fit into their box of ministry or their box of christianity. Yes, I was fired from my job, a Christ- Centered School in the West Dallas area for sinning and that was hurtful. I found myself pregnant, alone and jobless, but the most hurtful part was watching Christians exile me from the community because my sin did not fit the kind of imagine they were trying to uphold all while professing grace. The school went as far as to offer me money to keep quiet and disappear (more on that to come because that is a good story!). As the body of Christ I believe it is our job to love our wounded, not kick them while they are down. Jesus said, the world will know who my disciples are by the way the love one another (John 13:35).
As I finished reading through the parable of the good Samaritan I realized that I don’t want to be the samaritan in the story, but rather the priest. But a priest who does the right thing for I have been called to a chosen race, a holy nation, Royal Priesthood, a people for God’s own possession (1 Peter 2:9). I know the God who has called me to love Him and love my neighbor as myself. I pray that if I am ever in that situation that I would reach down and pick my somebody else up and remind them of their purpose and calling.
Thank you for all the love and support I have received since going live! Seriously thank you! Stepping out on faith can be so challenging and a big measure of trust. After all our faith is measured by the steps we take and not by the things we just talk about doing.
The Sweetest Gift Blog was birth out of a season of uncertainty and calling to high for me to deny. As you can see from the sweet pictures above, I’m having a baby! A sweet sweet baby!
I remember the exact moment I found out I was pregnant. I hit my knees and prayed that God would make it go away. I was so lost and unconfused. My heart drilled a hole right into my stomach and I could hardly breath. My prayer was a raw confession of this cannot be, all while being fully aware that God is giver of life. I knew God was the one opens and closes wombs as He pleases (Gen 20:18, 29:31, 30:2). He breathes life into beings (Gen 2:7) and ordains all the days of our lives (Ps 139:13-16, Jer 1:5). I knew these things because I had spent time learning His word, but now I had to live it out.
I informed the guy I was dating and by the end of that night he asked me to have an abortion multiple times. An abortion?! As a servant of Jesus and not man (Gal 1:10) I knew that I could not do that because I knew the God who started that second heartbeat living inside of me, but if I am honest it was tempting because I could hide my sin and move on. Nobody would ever know. I could keep my reputation, my job, and life would go on as normal. The only problem there was that I knew better. King David in the bible tried to cover up his adulterous affair by committing murder (2 Samuel 11). I knew that covering my sin with sin was not an option and it would not end well. I had walked through that journey with one too many friends to know the brokenness that comes from abortion. I’d learned that abortion was something you ever fully move on from.
I confessed all that was going on to a dear friend and she embraced me, loved me and reminded of the goodness of God and the sweet gift that new life is regardless of the circumstances. That began the line of hard conversations that need to be had with the people that I loved the most. I had to tell my parents, best friends, my job and community. Confession is hard. Specially when the enemy wants you to hide in shame, but every time I shared my shortcomings I felt the freedom of Christ.
Today, I am so grateful that God has entrusted this precious baby to me. The parenting journey may be long and hard and I may not always know what to do, but one thing that I know for sure is that I have been called to make disciples and that I know how to do!
Accepting this Sweet Gift did not come easy. It came with a lot of heartache and trial. Never in a million years did I imagine I would become a single mom, be fired from my job, a private Christian School, for falling short of God’s perfect standard for being pregnant and not married, but God in His mercy has made His purpose for me so clear.
My brokenness and sin do not define me. Jesus loved me so much He paid the price for my past, present and future sin. His blood on Calvary has made me white as snow!
And even when there was moment when I did not feel worthy to be loved and He said to me, ” Analy, I love you and you still love me. I make all things good for those who have been called according to My purposes and you are still called! You still have a purpose and I will make all things good.” I will continue to trust my Jesus with the details of what is next in my story. I pray that no matter what is going on in your life you know that you are never too far broken for God to heal and use you! He knows you by name and loves you more than you’ll ever know.
Hey there! My name is Analy Bernal and the Sweetest Gift Blog is a long awaited dream come true for me. For the last five years I have prayed for the opportunity to pursue this dream, but the Lord in His grace kept saying no until August of this year. I knew then if the Lord was with me nobody could be against me.
The Sweetest Gift Blog is truly a place that I want to use to share the sweetest gifts of life. I have learned in my 27 years of life that sometimes gifts don’t come in the form of pretty bows and presents, but instead come as life experiences, trials, or defeats. That does not make them less of a gift it just means we have look for the sweetness in it all!
I remember going off to college almost ten years ago with dreams of making it big in the fashion industry. You know, working with high-end designers, living in the Big City and occasionally getting a phone call from Ralph Lauren just to see how I was doing. But little did I know that in college I would come to know a God who had much bigger plans for me than pretending to be Carrie Bradshaw in the city.
I stumbled upon a church and heard a pastor teach on John 4, the Samaritan woman at the well. She thirst for everything this life had to offer and was left wanting more. In that moment I saw myself as the Samarian woman.
” There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. Therefore the Samaritan woman said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the (sweetest) gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” She said to Him, Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water? You are not greater than our father Jacob, are You, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself and his sons and his cattle?” Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, so I will not be thirsty nor come all the way here to draw.” [John 4: 7-15]
And just like that my heart was changed. I had nothing to offer the God I had just received the SWEETEST GIFT from, but He had the sweetest treasures and promises in stored for me. The GIFT of eternal life through His Son, Jesus Christ, meant that I was His for eternity and neither death, nor life or anything to come could ever separate me from His love (Roman 8:38-39)
Jesus quickly changed my dreams of living big in the big city to becoming a school teacher. The irony there is that I hated kids and they hated me! BUT God can move mountains! 🙂 The five years following graduation I coached Physical Education and middle school athletics. I traded a pair Manolo’s (in my dreams) for a pair of Nikes and baggy (modest is hottest) gym clothes. God has a sense of humor! So hold on tight because there is more plot twist to that story, but I couldn’t possible fit it all in today. Afterall I am just glad you are here!
I heard an old friend say that “change is either God’s redirection or protection”. It might be safe to say that God redirected me out of the classroom and sat behind a super cute gold macbook to start this faith and fashion blog! As we get to know each other better my heart’s prayer and desire is that we would be mutually encouraged by Jesus and sparkle in a fashion forward world!