The Tirado 5, hours after Jackson was born.

Then and Now {Praise Him}

Have you ever looked back to the worst moment in your whole entire life and then looked around you at your present life? Can you see an immense difference between the two moments in time? This morning, as I was holding my son, I did just that. As I attempted to count my blessings, I found that I could not, for they are far too numerous. That realization caused me to stop everything I was doing (other than breastfeeding) and just praise God for His mercy and grace. He delivered me from what once felt like the pits of Hell. I cannot even begin to fathom how different the world would be without my kids. You see, the worst moment in my life is the moment I was pronounced dead at age 16 during a suicide attempt. I had totally given up on life because I figured that everyone who mattered had already given up on me. I was wrong. God had not given up.

At age 16, there was no way that I could even begin to fathom that my life would work out to what it is right now. I married my high school sweetheart. We have been together now nearly 20 years. We have two beautiful daughters and a very handsome infant son. I survived military life (which almost killed both of us) and I have spent years teaching Sunday school, working with kids – including special needs children. I’ve traveled to and lived in several different states and I’ve met people from all over the world. I have a great life, despite our struggles. None of this would’ve happened had God given up on me.

1997

Anthony and I in 1997, shortly after we became a couple and not too long before my suicide attempt that nearly took my life.

You see, when we’re at our worst moments and we don’t even have the strength to call on God or to acknowledge His existence, He’s still there anyway, saving us from the Enemy. He knows we have a purpose long before we know we do.

I did not call on God that day until the bitter end. I called on Him to bring me Home – to Heaven. He said “later” and sent me back to the World. Initially, I was outraged by the outcome of a failed suicide attempt. Now, I am praising Him for it. I cannot imagine a better life than the one He has given me.

 To all who mourn in Israel he will give: beauty for ashes; joy instead of mourning; praise instead of heaviness. For God has planted them like strong and graceful oaks for his own glory.

Isaiah 61::3 TLB

The Tirado 5, hours after Jackson was born.

The Tirado 5

You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings.

Psalm 23:5 NLT

Let’s Pray: Lord, we thank You for the blessings You’ve bestowed upon us. We have experienced such intense moments of weakness that we could not even call out to You, but You in Your infinite Mercy came to our rescue anyway. You have replaced our mourning with joy and songs of Praise. All Honor and Glory rightly belongs to you, O Lord. How we love Your ways! In Jesus’ Name we Praise You. Amen.

How has God come to your rescue in moments of weakness? Has your life turned out better than you ever thought it could? In what ways?

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Romans 12:2a, Psalm 27:10

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Precious girls, sharing God’s love

 

It is likely that the world will tell us that we are trash to be discarded. We will be told that we are worthless, and we are despicable to look at, but as God’s children, we need to remember that this is not true! To Christ, we are Treasure worth dying for!

Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. 

Romans 12:2a

There are so many of us who have had rough lives, hard childhoods we are still recovering from and parents who have abused and discarded us. We must remember that God is our Father and He will never leave us.

I have a second verse for you, Brothers and Sisters. This verse has carried me through life for more than ten years, and it’s been an immense blessing to me. I share with you, in the hopes that God will use it to touch your soul and bring you nearer to Him as you read it.

For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me in.

Psalm 27:10

Brothers and Sisters, you are not alone. You have a purpose. A painful childhood can and will be redeemed by the powerful God that created you. You are not trash, but Treasure! You are already won! I love you. God loves you. Dry your tears and pray now. You are not alone. You are never, even in your darkest moments, alone.

Heavenly Father, I lift up hurting souls to You tonight. You are the great Physician and Healer, and You are also the Great Comforter and Father to all, especially the Fatherless and Motherless. You see our tears, You hear our cries, You know our pain. We are not alone. We thank You for Your infinite love and wisdom, that even when we do not understand what it is that You are doing, You still lead us, in our doubts, in our pain, in our stumbles. You love us even when it seems no one else does. You raise us up and care for us. Thank You, God. Thank You. In Jesus Name we pray and Praise Your Holy Name. Amen.

 

 

Armor of Light

Desires of the Heart

Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:4 NIV

 

I’ve been thinking about this verse a lot. I have it framed, sitting in my kitchen window sill. My greatest desire is  to raise up a family that honors God above self, ambition and the world. I’ve joked for years about wanting to be June Cleaver, but there’s so much more to my desire than the outward image of who the TV personality of June Cleaver is. I want a family that doesn’t break apart at the seams when trouble comes, but pulls others in (in good times and bad) and starts sewing them into the tapestry as well, making something more beautiful than any of us ever would’ve imagined.

I want to do more than just have this vague idea of being better than my parents were. Revenge never solved anything, nor does anger. Our parents are human and they make mistakes too. God knows their struggles and He’s offering grace to each of our parents, and to us, no matter how screwed up we are. To simply say we want to better than our parents is a cop-out, I’m discovering. Harsh, hard to hear, hard to say, to recognize and admit, but true all the same.

Sometimes, due to PTSD, I really struggle with maturity in all areas of my life, but the place I feel the struggle the most is in my spiritual life. Pray for me, please?

Lately, God has been deepening my understanding of what Jesus meant when He said (in Matthew 10:38, 39) that we have to” die to live in Christ”. We have to set our foolishness and our desires aside so that we can raise good, God-fearing kids. And that can hurt our hearts as it rips us away from our own selfish ambitions. It reshapes our priorities and places a new purpose, new desires in our hearts. Kids are our future, and if we’re not standing up for them and fighting for them and praying for them and loving them…who is? Who is influencing our kids and shaping the desires of their hearts?

What about you? What do you want? What are your desires of the heart? What are you struggling with? Share in the comments below.

Love,

Mandy

Armor Of Light

Armor of Light

 

 

Halloween 2013

Remembering To Be Thankful

Trick-Or-Treat

We’re in the middle of a move, and I’m overwhelmed by all of the changes surrounding me. There are so many things to be thankful for – so many blessings! I don’t want to forget any of them. Here are some of the most recent ones that have come to mind:

I am thankful for…

  • The way our new home smells. The first house plant taken in was sweet basil and the entire house smells like basil. I love it!
  • The physical strength of my husband. I am not physically feeling my best after losing yet another baby, so my husband is doing most of the heavy lifting for me.
  • That Jesus is near. I feel frantic and stressed out, but I don’t have to focus on that! Jesus is near and I can rest in Him.
  • My mom. She’s taken the girls several times this week so that I can get some housework and packing done.
  • Theresa, my 6 year old who still lets me hug and kiss her and hold her close.
  • The friends who care and want to hear about another pregnancy loss.
  • Psalm 23. It seems I am always gleaning something from this Heavenly Truth.
  • Quiet moments when I am able to cry and take my pain to Jesus.
  • Jesus understands this pain.
  • Transparent bloggers who share not only their own struggles, but the poignant Truths of healing, love and hope.
  • My dog, Rosie Grace and her love of bouncy balls
  • My 4 year old Chelsea who has a very interesting sense of style. Somehow she makes purple, green, orange and neon pink work!
  • That my husband took the girls trick-or-treating so that I could have some quiet time at home this year.
Benefits

The Many Benefits of Praying Without Ceasing – Part 1

Pray without ceasing

1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NASB)

Recently, Anthony and I had a quick discussion about praying without ceasing, especially in relation to times of trial, but this applies to all times in life. There is never a time in our lives when consistent and continual prayer is not beneficial. Afterall, you would not take a sentry away from his post for extended periods of time, especially if there were precious jewels behind the door he is guarding, would you? Then why would you remove the first and most easily accessed line of defense from your own life?

Praying without ceasing can be defined in many ways, eliciting different responses from each person. For me, praying without ceasing is defined as praying as often as I need to, even if it means praying every two to three minutes. It means giving thanks for blessings as well as intercessing for others, asking forgiveness, and praying for supplication.

When I sat down this morning to brainstorm the benefits of praying without ceasing, I found the list to be long, and wrought with hope! For example, in considering my own sinfulness, I reflected on the importance of the timing and consistency of prayer in regards to sin. First I considered the implications of sin transforming from mere inward thought to an outward action, and then onto the logical sequence from a singular action all the way to an actual lifestyle wrought with sin, seemingly devoid of hope. Is there still a reason to pray without ceasing when all you’re living for is a series of sinful actions that lead to your own ruin, both outwardly and inwardly? The answer is a simple and emphatic yes! There is always hope, because there is always Jesus, and He died for the very sin you are considering right now. The one that tears at your soul, destroys relationships and makes you want to run and hide. God has already overcome that sin! You can stop and pray right now! In fact, you can pray for those who have already died, as a result of engaging in sinful activity, because God has not only overcome sin, but death as well! So there is no reason to ever resolve to give in to sin, or to death. There is always hope and you can be reminded and strengthened of this vital truth through prayer! Pray without ceasing, especially in regards to sin.

Next on my brainstorming list, were the emotional benefits of praying without ceasing. When you are sad, lonely, discouraged, or frightened, God is always near you and it is simple to reminded of this through prayer. I have often heard timely promptings of the Holy Spirit just when I am most depleted of positivity and energy. As a mom, I am tasked with the same or similar things each day and this can wear me down spiritually, emotionally and physically, when I am not pouring Truth into the situation.  I do not like washing the same dishes every day, but it is necessary in order to eat a meal with my famiy. I do not like to correct certain behaviors each day. I want them to be gone the first time, but just as it can take a gardener years to finely prune a prosperous fruit tree, so it may take time to finely prune my daughters and myself of unwanted sin, and on the list goes. Prayer helps to fill me with hope, encouragement and Truth. What I am doing makes a difference, not only to myself, but to others as well.

What are some of the benefits you have found from praying without ceasing? How has it impacted your life and your ability to pour Truth into situations that aren’t so positive? Share in the comments! And come back next week for more on this subject!

In Christ,

Mandy Tirado

Scriptures that work for you – Confessions of Faith

Praying the Scriptures Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, I just have to share this website. It has been an absolute blessing from God in my life as I struggle with healing, pain, trauma, raising two small children alone and missing my military man. My husband (said military man) has deployed 6 times in 6 years and home about 28 months of that time and no, not in a row. Yet I know God and more importantly, He knows and LOVES me! When I don’t know the words to say to Him, I visit this webpage and while I speak with Him, I am reminded of His deep and lasting love for me. This site is an amazing resource for praying the scriptures, singing hymns of praise, reaffirming your faith and even to guide you to share your faith. Look around. I am certain that everyone will find something to encourage and edify themselves or someone they know. In grace and peace I leave you…till next time. In Christ’s love, Amanda