Pink Roses, Jesus & Coffee
Welcome to Pink Roses, Jesus & Coffee!
As an emerging new Author, Sandra invites you to pour a cup of coffee and dive into this blog space! Always within arm's reach of her favorite pink roses, she will share devotionals, words of encouragement and her personal experiences with Jesus!
All material copyright pending 2019
|Posted on September 11, 2019 at 2:45 PM||comments (2)|
Today, as I was working at the church, I found myself in the main sanctuary (walking through) and the Lord called to my spirit , 'Sit with Me?' Of course, I did.
As I knelt at the altar, a chill came upon me (the AC was NOT on) and I immediately flipped around to instead, SIT with Him (as He asked...) right on the altar steps and began to look around me. I looked at the clock and whispered to myself, "I'll be quick; I have a great deal to complete today." Hmmmm....funny how I try to restrict myself....(catch it somebody!)
Well, as I sat still, I began to focus on what I WAS hearing, which was only the passing traffic. Outside of the hum of passersby, it was silent. I listened- intently. I then found myself whispering to Him some deep truths about my current season and asking Him for advise and above all, peace. I sat silent for a few more minutes, then started to sing...very low. In my spirit, I felt "Don't harness your praise", so.....I BELTED a song unto Him. Now, for those few of you that know me, I really do NOT have a great singing voice (although I love karaoke), but without fear, without hesitation and with reckless abandon, I SANG, girlfriend! The open acoustics in the sanctuary helped usher a melody, I'm sure, but all my heart wanted to do was SING to Him! And, that I did!
Weeping, I finished my 'concert' and whispered 'Amen'. I was only in there for about 15 minutes, but received a recharge (both spiritually and physically) that is still carrying me! My mind goes to: Psalm 84:10 - "Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked." as in that short 15 minute break, there was NO place I would rather be as time, for me, stood still!
I encourage you, Sis, to go 'Sit with Him' for a few minutes right now...still yourself. Focus on Him. Listen to that small voice within you and FEEL His presence. Whether it is your car, the garage, the closet, the bathtub, the laundry room....go! Go and sit. You'll be glad you did!
I love you!- Pastor S.
|Posted on July 9, 2019 at 7:40 PM||comments (0)|
Recently, one of our pups ripped almost all the stuffing out of one of the many toys we bought him, making the floor of my home office look as if it had snowed in July! He gets bored, wants more attention and finds the endless supply of stuffing fascinating! Little is he aware that when he is not looking, we just simply replace all that had been lost in the last 'snowstorm'. Either way, it keeps him entertained and we have come to realize that we can waste far more energy telling him 'NO!' (only to be ignored anyway), then to simply just let him have his fun and try to rebuild his toy.
Aside from the obvious wear and tear to the toy's fabric, the hole that he creates gets bigger and bigger with each playtime and at some point, we have to determine if we should just call it a loss and toss the thing or grab a sewing kit and try to repair it. Since we love our adorable pup, we seldom just give up on the toy, believing in our hearts that somehow it will emotionally scar him. (Yes, I said it - Emotionally scar him! Insert giggle here!) So, that leaves us with dragging out the sewing kit that I have had for over 25 years, matching as close as we can to the color of thread and settle in somewhere out of sight to sew the gaping wound quickly. Securely, but quickly!
This toy is one that he sleeps with at times, so it does have a special place in his heart. (Go ahead, giggle again.... I’ll wait...) Anyway, it is shaped like a half-moon, about 24" in length and used to belong to my late Mom. So, I guess it has a special place in my heart too. Watching him tote around this stuffed moon makes him exceptionally cute, ok? Seeing him snuggle with it, well, you guessed it- EVEN CUTER!
Anyway, the moon is torn, we have ‘snow’ all over the floor and almost a two-decade old sewing kit is sprawled out on the dining room table. As my sweet hubby threaded the needle and began the delicate surgery on the toy, I began riffling through the contents of the sewing kit. The department store stamp on the needle package must have been back from the late 70's and there were dozens of little bags with random buttons and small bundles of matching thread inside. I decided that the unkept mess in the sewing kit was quite the oxymoron as we were, after all, sewing together something that has left its share of litter throughout the WHOLE house! So, I grabbed a small jar and began dumping the random buttons inside, one by one.
As I did that, I began to recognize that many of these buttons were from a time past. I had one, for instance, from a black/white, double-breasted, high-shoulder business jacket that I just adored! This was back in early 90's! Then, there was one from an ivory, long-sleeved, chiffon blouse with gold tone buttons. These buttons had a unique filigree pattern on them. That blouse was a blouse my mother gave me back in the 90's as well. Seeing that button brought me back to a time that I was a single mom and working a job over 45 hours a week to make ends meet. My son and I made the most of our time together back then as I struggled to give him the life I knew he deserved. The blouse was a gift for my new job that would help me spend even more time with him. Back then, it was best to lean more to a conservative style in business, so my mother insisted that I wear something this delicate. (Oh, how I wish I could find something even remotely as delicate now!)
A big red button, one with red thread still laced up in the middle fell towards me the fastest. I caught it and let it slide back to the group of other buttons. The jacket that housed this button for years was one of a series of jackets that I had when I ran a small call center back in my hometown in the late 90's. Times were certainly different then. I was married to my second husband, filing for divorce since the marriage was a big mistake for both of us and I was in the planning stages of moving across the state. I had given up on Jesus during that season and lived a very dark lifestyle. I knew that with time, I would find my way out of that area and begin again. The very thought of that life made me cringe.
As I dug deeper into the buttons, I began to think of how several of them looked familiar. Others, though, I had not a clue where they came from! Snaps, small barrel-type buttons, cloth-covered, gold tone, silver tone and many more. Just old buttons, I thought. The reminiscing and traveling back in my memory of a life once lived made me sad. Suddenly, I felt the Spirit of God say that these buttons all represent stages of my life where, much like we are doing right now, God quickly, but securely placed back together for me! Wow! Yes, He had sewn in strength, perseverance, kindness, protection, mercy, resiliency and a great love. He diligently stood by me while I tore up the inner parts of my life and scattered them across the floor! My mess was there for Him to come along and place the pieces back together. Although I was a single mom, he gave me a Mom and Dad to help me through that season, many times placing food on my table when it was necessary. I had a desire for a career and although the path He chose for me wasn't one in the secular world in the long run, I learned a GREAT deal and now am in a position where I can leverage those skills to foster growth within the Kingdom of God!
Like my pup, I had life to live. I had dreams, aspirations, a wild spirit that wanted to have fun, but also a gentle soul that unfortunately did end up scarred. But unlike this toy, my wounds are not just sewn together until the next time I am pulled apart by life; they, instead are healed by the saving grace of Jesus. Sure, there are still battle scars deep on the inside, but outwardly, hopefully all you can see is a woman dying each day to her flesh and walking in the restorative power of a loving, faithful God! I don't have any buttons that need replacing and quite frankly, there may never be a need to use these old buttons. But I will keep them stored up in an old button jar as a reminder that God carried me through 5 decades of SELF, never gave up on me, puts me back together often and lovingly restores what was broken – one simple thread of grace at a time!
The moon gets handed back to the pup and with an innocent joy, he grabs it gently and runs off. We smile at him and commit to not remember that this may have been the tenth time we have sewn something back together this year for him! Instead, much like God does, we only see our silly pup and our hearts swell with love all over again! Forgiveness is never ending, unconditional and has no memory. Aren’t we all to be as joyful? Our Heavenly Father loves us with that same level of forgiveness, hands us back our lives once He puts it back together and watches us run off in abandon!
Funny how just some old buttons made me remember just how MUCH I am loved, accepted and that I am His! Thank You Holy Spirit!
|Posted on April 26, 2019 at 7:50 PM||comments (0)|
You, Jesus, are the tear stain on the page I was reading when you met me that day.
You are the offshore wind to the mounting waves.
You are the jagged edge of my heart that reminds me to feel through it.
You are the builder to my forever home.
You allow sight to overturn the blindess I sometimes endure.
You fulfill my desires for peace, even among the chaos in my own mind.
You direct my hand to mend the very thing I carelessly break.
You allow Love to push through the most unlikely places.
You summon the right words at the right time, to the right person and they often know its You.
You are the raindrop on my sunglasses lens.
You are the delicate baby wren at the river's edge and the seagull flying overhead.
You are the softest pedal on a rose from a random bush.
You allow the water's reach to stop just before it touches me. Its very rhythm you orchestrate.
You surrender the sun to the horizon and set before me stars to illuminate my night.
You beckon the clouds to part and stopped the heavy raindrops at my request.
You allowed the sun to warm my skin while others were still running for cover.
You bring forth a distant memory in order to remind me You were there. And You saw everything.
You envelop me in light, commune with me in song and visit me in my dreams.
You take my very breath away and then, return it instantly.
How can I not try to count all the ways You go out of your way to love me?
You walked with me even today and caught my tears during that song.
You even connected me to a girl named Yellow and her sweet smile reminded me of You.
I love You.
How can I not?
Afterall, it's You, Jesus.
|Posted on April 9, 2019 at 9:30 PM||comments (0)|
|Posted on March 26, 2019 at 12:45 AM||comments (0)|
Recently, I had the distinct pleasure of facilitating a study on the book of Job. Albeit a devastating story about loss, unbelievable despair, and physical as well as emotional suffering, it is also one of a surprising joy. From the vantage point of the bible study Author, both irrepressible and undeniable joy is born from such a darkened season of this faithful servant's life.
As this story unfolds, the litany of 'advice' given to this Godly brother of mine (and yours) was maddening. Although Scripture points us to the possibility of any of these critics' claims as being plausible, it also shows us what an imagination an untamed tongue has and the ability it has of hurting someone deeply. We also see that regardless of the faithful heart of this servant, a steady and consistent God still demands a contrite and repentant heart, sometimes at a greater cost than the servant himself could imagine! Praying a dangerous prayer for the Lord to search our innermost heart, break us from what may be keeping us from a closer walk with Him and lastly, to declare for Him to hear us, save us and even, in some cases, send us, makes this unimaginable story of pain and anguish turn itself into a testament of perseverance, loyalty and FAITH!
Bowing to an omnipotent God places me as close as I can be (for now) to my dear brother and his unquenchable desire to understand the ‘why’ behind what happened. His story of long suffering and patience was marked as a pivotal era in the Bible while lending an acknowledgment of the sovereignty of our Creator. A beautiful waltz between questioning, demanding, declaring and even rejoicing dances across Scripture, while introducing us to a unique dynamic of God’s character. That after such an acquaintance, you can’t help but extol His amazing attention to detail!
So, as I marvel at His incredible artistry, His omnipotence, His grace and sculpting Hand, I tried to capture a description of the night’s sky.
(Dedicated to my dear brother Job)
“Enveloping the sky with bits of light only to harken a deeper stare, He gently veils the heavens. And in a distant dream am I to remove its curtain but only for a moment to reveal shadows of my certain destiny. He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. (Psalm147:4) Dancing wisps of far away clouds form a symphony of images across the night sky... all seemingly placed there for my enjoyment.
In that same window exist a vastness too grand for my mind’s eye to behold; so instead, I quickly surrender to the stillness of what I am able to behold and rest quietly on the promises of what's yet to come…”
In Jesus' name, Selah.
|Posted on January 2, 2019 at 9:30 PM||comments (0)|
From an early age, I remember the smell of coffee filling the room every morning! Often, the very aroma of it beat the alarm clock in helping me out of bed. My family is Puerto Rican and I am not sure if you can relate to this or not, but coffee in our household was as staple as AIR! Instead of having it be a forbidden vice, it was passively encouraged. Of course, Mom put more 'leche' (milk) in it than cafe, but nevertheless, the very feel of the mug in my hand at an early age soon became a fond childhood memory. Dipping my toast in it is still a favorite pastime and the hotter the cup, the better! Lord, I can still hear my Dad slurping it repeatedly until it cooled off just enough for him to guzzle it down. That man was tough as nails, but truth be known (aside from Jesus) I believe a strong cup of Spanish coffee was his secret. The higher the 'octane', the faster things happened! And that was better for everybody!
And so, it is still true today...
Here I am, 40+ years later, still madly in love with the glorious elixir and incorporate it into every occasion I can. Granted, I have a cut off from drinking it at night, but I drink it daily. I love my half and half, flavored creamers, real sugar cubes and even an occasional whipped topping. Not too sweet, but please don't rip the lining off my tongue with a rogue bitterness! I even hold a secret from my youth in how I really like it; by the color of the back of my hand. If the coffee with creamer is a shade darker than the back of my hand, I will be looking for something to lighten it up. That little habit came from my Dad, too. I used to make his coffee for him and how he taught me that I have added enough milk is when it matched the back of my hand. Cute, huh?
Throughout this blog, I will be sharing a few tidbits of my life experiences along with revelation that God gives me. Some of the stories or anecdotes may be silly or they may come from a place of deep wounds, but either way, they are from my heart. The purpose of a blog now in my life- yes, even after just releasing my first book- is two-fold. One, to share with this ministry's audience, the heart of its foundation- to help usher in the transformation of hearts and minds to become more receptive to the calling of God and His perfect will for your life! Two, to inspire you to keep pushing through the journey He has you on; to not just simply endure, but to thrive within the throws of what life deals you! My dream is to one day meet some of you and have an opportunity to look you in the eye while you tell me how God has ministered to you through something that you read here. It could be through something profound like recalling the time Jesus saved me from taking my own life to maybe something like sharing a memory about having coffee with my Dad.
That's the God I serve, Sister. He meets me where I am and through either a vivid picture in my mind, a familiar aroma of a Columbian roast or a still whisper in the middle of the night, He reminds me of His unfailing adoration for His precious daughter! He assures me that He is here in this moment and He was also there at the kitchen table watching me dip my toast. He has never left me, and He has never left you, Beloved! Through all the stories of perseverance and hope-building, He has brought you here for some reason. Stay open to receiving His instruction and basking in His presence as He aligns things for your good. Don't run ahead of Him; just patiently wait.
And while you are waiting for His voice, if you’d like, have a cup of coffee! (Hey, while you are at it, dip your toast; you can thank me later for that.)
Blessings and I will post again very soon! Love, Sandra
*Photo Credit: Playalinda Photo
|Posted on December 26, 2018 at 11:35 AM||comments (2)|
"Jesus is the Reason for the Season" we say every Christmas and its not to say that gifts, stockings, pot lucks, funny sweaters and fuzzy socks don't excite us during the holiday season, but when we focus on what is most important, people of faith quickly point towards family, memory-making and of course, our King Jesus!
He has all the splendor, all the might, all the majesty of a King and for His sacrifice, we adore Him! If you are like me, regardless of the date on the calendar or the nip in the air, He is on the forefront of my mind and dwells within the corridors of my heart. His love for me is tangible; I see it all around me and know that no matter how I feel or what I experience, nothing will ever change that simple fact that He loves me! Truth is, from where I stand, there are numerous examples of His love for me. From giving me the very air I breathe, waking me up this morning, the constant manna He supplies my family to the instant smile that comes across my grandson's face when he sees me, I am surrounded by proof of His love. His Word showers me with promise, hope, revelation, vision, assurance and a consistent character that binds the fabric of my soul. Honestly, sis, His Word, His Son, His Sacrifice, His Spirit and His Story offer me so much REASON to believe how God loves me and how Jesus had me on His mind that fateful day.
But, no matter how much this FACT is sewn into my heart, what keeps me with a repentant, broken and contrite heart is asking myself this..."Sandra, how are you showing Him today that YOU love Him back?" Listen, guilt and condemnation are not of God and that is not what I am preachin' here, but what I am raising is a question of consistency, authenticity, and a fervent yearning for His presence. Enlisting the Spirit of God to aide in my every step, every decision and every word keeps me grounded in Him and through this practice, I am sure to edify Him in all I do. BUT when I fall short- WHICH I DO- sometimes it is because I am not willing to acknowledge His supremacy in my life. At these times, it is through my own power, my own intellect and my own self-will that I find myself operating. Inevitably, I will fail. Inevitably, I will shrink back. Inevitably, I will miss the mark and even disappoint others. It is when I see only my own reflection and my own fingerprints, I suppress the very Spirit of God within me!
Jesus is and always will be MY reason to worship. Him through my thoughts, my actions, my beliefs, my words and my dedication towards pointing others to Him! But, sister, I work at this. It doesn't come easy as I war against my flesh constantly. I war against convenience. I war against my own comfort. I war against the path of least resistance. I war against my laziness. I war against my presumptions, my assumptions and my own fear. It's WORK! If I were to leave it all up to me and my own muscle, well, you would not be reading this right now....
But there stands King Jesus; tucked into my corner and without a thought of ever leaving me or forsaking me- Faithful, Honorable, Loving and Kind. Merciful, Gracious and Magnificent. He sustains me. His strength is made known in my weakness and I want everything I place my hands on, mind to or effort towards to resonate His touch. I want my life (my crop, my harvest, my fruit) to be a reflection of His love! I desire for my efforts to be driven by not my need to 'accomplish', but instead originating from a deep cistern of grace He has abundantly furnished me and continuously fills .... only after I have allowed it to run dry!
King Jesus.... He is MY Reason! Blessings, Sandra
|Posted on December 19, 2018 at 3:25 PM||comments (0)|
So, can I begin by just saying that God is incredible with His timing, His communication and His desire for His Daughters to be fruitful in their gifting? He is relentlessly consistent in all these areas and although I surrender to His authority over my life, my stubbornness probably gives Him a giggle or two from time to time!
Here I am, literally still reeling from the excitement of publishing my first book and began to feel a tug at my spirit to not only write another book, but also to begin a blog again! (Seriously, Lord?) Needless to say, my moment of disobedience came to a crashing halt when He sent me inspiration in the only way He can do it; by having a sister of mine give me a coffee cup for Christmas. Yes, that's my Heavenly Father! So, the picture for this blog has the cup in it and of course, I am never far from pink roses (or coffee), so....there you have it! The Blog has a name and it's Pink Roses, Jesus and Coffee! Three of my favorite things.
But for now, let's talk Pink Roses...
My dad used to love to garden! I found out about his passion when he moved to Tennessee when I was six. He began several gardens and it was not until I became a little older did I realize that it was not just a seasonal hobby, but he developed a sincere admiration to watching things grow he had planted and nurtured. (Just like our Heavenly Father does!) He proudly earned a green thumb and graduated his garden from just season vegetables to beautiful flowers. Flowers of all varieties! He began with mums, then I recall seeing heather, lavender, hibiscus and eventually roses. Ah, these roses, he took extra care of; always pruning, talking to them and even singing to them! I used to think that he was off his rocker singing to them, but here I sit 50 years young and can tell you that I not only sing to my own plants, but I also pray over them! (The things a parent will do )
Daddy loved pink roses. He associated them with little girls (to which he had 3 himself) and told me that he felt they were the most feminine. It never mattered where I saw pink roses from that period on, I began to feel the same way! (That is the main reason, by the way, why I use pink roses at all my ministry events.) About a decade later, my mom took up gardening and guess what she planted first? Yes, you guessed it; PINK roses! My mother actually loved all roses and I seemed to be surrounded by roses all the time when I was little. I close my eyes and see kitchen curtains, bed linens and even her trademark apron she donned every time she baked a cake; all simply detailed with miniature pink roses.
It has taken me years to catch the connection, but I believe that maybe somehow God was setting me up to not only born an affection for the flower, but perhaps to allow it to become a symbol of this blessed relationship I once had with my parents. And maybe He wishes to remind me that He has always been with me, carefully lining my path with these pink beauties, too! Only He knows, but as I write this first entry, I feel the Spirit telling me that our Heavenly Father is that purposeful in His pursuit of you, too! He 'signals' each of us with things, with impromptu conversations, divine meetings, old songs, etc. and waits patiently, as only a loving Parent would, until we catch up.
See, He is always speaking- always trying to communicate with His children. I have watched Him answer a heart's fervent prayer right before my eyes as I listen to a trusted mentor speak. I have even recently experienced a gentle whisper in my spirit that told me to 'Step forward, Daughter' while I attended a healing gathering. He has urged me to grab the hands of a complete stranger at the exact second that they almost fell forward onto the pavement and gently help them to their car. He has brought words into my speech that I do not remember saying to only relay a confirmation for someone in the audience. A confirmation of a life changing decision they just made...A decision to live!
His gentle whispers, much like the pink roses were for me, are all around us, Sister! He has laid petals at your beautiful feet every moment of your life. Waiting for you to recognize Him. Waiting for you to realize there are Pink Roses Galore! Listen for His voice, Daughter and await the beautiful fragrance His presence brings... Bless you, Sandra