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 sweetest gifts of life because there is great joy in looking back at the big and little things God has done. I looked at my journal for this year and picked out twenty-seven ups and down of year twenty-seven! Get cozy and celebrate this mess called life with me 🙂 .
- The Lord is at work in the silence
- At the beginning of this year I was walking out of a “dry season”. After returning from Israel I did not hear much from the Lord. It was honestly a pretty scary and sad season. I knew He was there and still in control I just did not know what He was doing. I learned to trust and pursue Him without the instant gratification or that feel good feeling. Jesus taught persistence in Luke 11:1-13.
2. First family vacation to Florida!
- We celebrated Mom’s 55th birthday in Pensacola Beach. My brother Ivan flew in from L.A. then we all made the 11 hour drive together! We don’t do family vacations often so this is extra special and hopefully the beginning of a new tradition.
3. Skydive in Monterey California & road trip down Highway 1
- When I was in my younger 20’s a friend skydived in Monterey Bay, California and said it was the one of the highest places to jump from in the world at 18,000 feet! I knew year twenty-seven was the year to do it, so Sol and I flew to Cali for a four day weekend and did it. We also drove down Highway 1 to L.A. to meet my brother! If you haven’t done it, I say it do it in Monterey Bay! It’s absolutely beautiful! You jump over the ocean!
4. Became an aunt twice this year to sweet baby Myra Hope and Diana Isabel !
- Two of my bestfriends, Hannah and Karen had their first baby this summer. I loved being part of their journey into motherhood and have loved being an aunt to sweet babygirls.
5. Skied at Hidden Valley Resort in Pennsylvania.
- I skied in Pennsylvania! Who does that ?! I wish I could say it was great skiing but it wasn’t. It was pretty awful actually, not because it was not beautiful but because there was little to no snow. Learned I did not like snowmakers at all! They are awful. I hope to never do that again. I could have died!
6. Learn to sprint correctly.
- I have trained like an athlete for years, but this summer at Fuller’s training and Performance I learned how to sprint correctly! I was in the best shape of my life! So that’s the goal for a year from now.
7. Became a member at Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship
- This March I visited OCBF for the first time and by the end of the first service I could not wait to come back. For years I loved listening to Pastor Dr. Tony Evans but had not had the opportunity to visit. He is a phenomenal teacher of God’s word and teaches the bible word by word, which is my favorite. If you are in the Dallas area I highly suggest visiting. He keeps it real y’all!
8. No car Wrecks! Woo Whooo!!
- So funny story! Ha! I have usually get into a car wreck every 2-3 years! But not this year so that is worth celebrating! I promise I’m a good driver (NASCAR quality)…things just happen.
9. Virginia Beach for the first time!
- I honestly was not expecting for summers in Virginia Beach to be that beautiful. Cool ocean water, F-18 Jets flying over the beach every 5 minutes, cotton candy sunsets, and good seafood surpassed my expectations!
10. Book of Esther
- Even when God is not in the scene He is still at work. This year I learned that ” God will cause or allow things to happen that are often in contradictory to what He wants in order to accomplish His ultimate plan”. God uses the good and the bad to make a change. Whether the change be in you or in the world around you God is at work! The book of Esther played a huge role in my life this year. I trust that God put in His kingdom for such a time of this. I like Esther want to be used to magnify His purpose. Nothing escapes the will of God. Nothing.
11. Stood for Life
- Finding out that baby Harmon was on his way was my “rubber meets the road” moment of life. I had to make a decision to walk and trust the God that believe in and stand for life and keep this baby or hide my sin with sin and have an abortion. James 1:22 says “be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourself”. It was time for me to live out what I really believed and that is that God does not make mistakes, He is the giver of life that breathes life into beings and He is fully in control. God knew that at twenty-seven I would find myself scared and this situation. It was no surprise to Him after all He knew and this baby before the creations of the world, psalm 139. Choosing to stand firm, stand for life and stand for Harmon was the best decision I made this year!
- I’ve dreamed of starting a faith and fashion blog for years, but as you know the Lord kept saying no. I never got the green light and knew that without His backing I would fail miserably. This summer that changed when my world changed. In an instant my dreams of creating a fashion blog turned into so much more. The Sweetest gift Blog birthed out of a calling to share God’s grace and redeeming love. None of us are perfect, not even one. We all fall short of God’s glory and perfect plan and in our weakness He is made strong and that’s worth talking about! (can I get an Amen!) I wanted to write about fashion and style and He wanted me to share His goodness because after all He gives us beauty instead of ashes. That beauty was manifested in my life in the form of a baby named Harmon Mayne. It was not in my plans to become a single mom, but I have no doubt that He called me into His kingdom for such a time as this! A time to break through walls and share my weakness to honor my Mighty King!
13. Analy Bernal on Social Media!
- Oh my goodness I never thought I would see the day when I had Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat and Pinterest accounts! I have avoided social media since it came into existence! I said it a million times, ” I am my own distraction, I do not need another!”. Part of sharing my story and sharing it well meant getting on social media. I feel like a grandma learning how to work “the” facebook and twitter, but it’s all part of the journey so I am learning to love it.
14. Fired from a job
- Well that was definitely a first! Being terminated from West Dallas Community School for being becoming a single mom was one of the hardest thing I had to walk through this year. When I found out I was pregnant my biggest fear was telling work and being fired and well that happened. Not only did it happened but it was handled in a way that was not seasoned with grace. I was asked not to return to building for a year or attend any school functions. I was told I would never be considered for rehire, I was asked to turn over all of the labor laws that protected, I was asked to not speak about my reason for termination for a couple of dollars and I was asked to sign my child’s rights over so that he would never pursue a lawsuit against the school. As a believer I knew that sharing my story and all that God was doing and going to do was more important than money so I chose not to sign the severance contract and keep my dignity and freedom. After all it is for freedom that I was set free and I refused to live in bondage to a contract. The day after being unlawfully terminated was perhaps one of the sweetest days because I woke up! My biggest fear was over and behind me. My world did not collapse, I was live and breathing because God’s mercies are truly new every morning!
15. Traveled at least once a month
- Last year on my birthday I set out to travel more! My goal was to go on a trip whether big or small once a month and it happened! A couple of the places I visited this year were, Virginia Beach, Vail colorado, Pittsburgh, Wimberley Texas, Pensacola Florida, Mobile Alabama and so much more! Check out my Instagram for pictures. Traveling restores and excites me about life!
16. Became a Mom
- OH MY GOODNESS!! Becoming a mom is hands down the best thing that happened at twenty-seven! Yes, there is a lot of parts of my story that are not glamorous but the one thing that cannot be denied is that life is a gift and God the creator of the heavens and earth is the giver. Despite of my mess the Lord deemed me worthy of being a mama to a sweet baby. Thank you Jesus!
17. Bedroom make over!
- Do you ever go to Homegoods and just imagine transforming every room in your house? I do! All the time and walk out the store with too many pillows! Early this spring I gave my bedroom a little makeover and turned the raw rustic feel into something chic with a southern charm.
18. Prada’s Cancer
- Oh my sweet Prada bear was diagnosed with skin cancer this year! What a heartbreak! Seating at the vet’s office and hearing the news was a nightmare. It was a matter of seconds before I felt the tears run down my cheeks. Of course, I know all dogs die and go to heaven but the thought of losing my special buddy was hard. Prada came home when I was seventeen years old and I just turned twenty-eight. That’s right! She has been around for over a decade. She has witness many heartaches and victories and in order to celebrate we try to make every day the best day!
19. Sushi for the first time
- Yeah Yeah, not big deal for most people, but I’m not most people! Ha! When I think about eating sushi I think of stranded on a raft in the middle of the ocean and wondering if I would grab a fish and eat it raw. Anybody else have these thoughts? Life of Pi?
I love exploring, sharing new experiences, meeting new people, but trying new foods is that what I am best at. Last year when I lived in Israel I told myself I would try new foods and I did a good job for the most part but when I got back to the states I kind of stop trying new things. But this year I had sushi for the first time in Virginia Beach!
20. Cut 8 inches off my hair
- Every other year I like to donate at least 10 inches of my hair, but this year I failed! I only cut off 8 inches, which was not enough to donate. I was going for the “short long” look! Next year for sure!
21. Another a couple half marathons
- I ran my first half marathon the week before I graduated college in 2012 and decided then that I was going to run at least one a year. This year I ran a couple trying to win a fitbit challenge. Listen, losing does not come easy for me and if that means running 13.1 miles on a friday morning to win a challenge I will do it. Also, when I planned my perfect life I said I would do a half marathon with every pregnancy and somehow I managed to do that at three months!
22. Shared my story with my High School Girls- watched them love Jesus and me through it.
- So for the last six years I have mentored/discipled a group of girls that are now high school sophomores! Having to go to them a say “your small group leader has fallen short” and share the details of my story was equally as hard as it was rewarding. My girls poured the love of Christ over me and baby Harmon. It was so beautiful to watch them live out their faith and extend forgiveness. Ah my heart could explode just thinking about it again. I was so empowered by the grace that fills their hearts.
23. Used the platform I’ve been given to share God’s grace and redeeming love.
- Sometimes things have to get muddier in order for God’s glory to shine brighter! Yes, I’m pregnant out of wedlock, Baby’s dad wanted me to any abortion and I have not heard from him since I said” heck no we won’t go”, I was fired from a christian school for being pregnant and not married, and there has been more than enough reasons to cry and hit my knees out of desperation, BUT GOD who is rich in mercy has given a platform, a vision to share the story that He wrote out for me. A story in which He calls me His daughter and has made me white as snow. I have shared my story with multiple people and in front of different crowds and what has come out of that only God could have orchestrated. FREEDOM is worth the tears! (more to come on that)
24. Faith isn’t Faith until it’s the only thing you have left to hold on to.
- Baby Harmon Mayne is named after my favorite guy, Hank Harmon. A man who loves Jesus and me so much! Hank has said for years, “Faith isn’t faith until it’s the only thing you left to hold on to.” I thought I understood that before this year, but faith was the only thing I left to hold on to when I saw my circumstances. They were messy, are still messy, but faith leads you to hope in the unseen (Romans 8:24).
25. Refused to give up
- Consistency separates winners from wannabe’s
Diligence makes the difference between all time greats and one hit wonders
For the race is not given to the swift or to the strong
But to the one who endures, to the end
So pick yourself up
Shake your past off
Put one foot in front of the other
And do it again
Do it again Analy, do it again! When giving up and failure is not an option you push through and knock walls down and keep on keeping on. I learned at twenty-seven that consistency and perseverance separates you from the weak of heart.
26. Grew closer to my cousins & Love for my girlfriends
- A friend loves at all times [Proverbs 17:17] I have known for years that the kind of girlfriends that I have are one in a million, but this year they outdid themselves. They celebrated by victories and griefed my defeats next to me. I am extremely thankful for sisterhood that runs deeper than blood. There is a new song by Reba called, “God and my Girlfriends” and could not be more point.
God and my girlfriends They're always there when I'm feeling down, always around, lifting me up I love how they know me, forgive me, and show me Again and again, I can depend On God on and my girlfriends
27. I accidently taste coffee for the first time ever!
- So I’ve never had coffee before because my mom told me it would stunt my growth. Standing at 4”10 today I think it’s safe to say she mom was wrong. Anyways, I ordered a Peppermint hot Chocolate at Starbucks but it tasted burnt so I took it back only to find out it had “mocha” in it?! I had no idea what mocha was, but apparently it’s a shot of espresso! It’s safe to say I won’t be having coffee again anytime soon because it was disgusting!
Sweet Sweet Twenty- Eight!
The adventures that you hold only Jesus knows! I have no idea what is coming my way this year, but a couple of thing are certain and that is that God is good and faithful and sweet baby Harmon has been prayed for. I will choose to continue to fight this year and live life to the fullest. The enemy comes to kill, steal and destroy and I just ain’t got time for that because my Jesus came to give me life and give to me abundantly!
Amen and Amen