Author Archives: Christina

About Christina

Blessings to all that are viewing this. My name is Christina Cruz-Mendez. I am a Pastor at Mission United International Church in Yonkers, NY working along side my husband Juan A. Mendez Jr. Senior Pastor. We have been together for 27 years with 2 children that God has blessed us with. Makes us the family of four - "JusChrist4". I have been a Christian and active in ministry for about 19 years now. Through all the rocky and smooth roads in life I am eternally grateful that God has brought me this far in life to share with the world what He is doing in me, through me and for me.

Connections Are Built on TRUST

kelly-sikkema-4le7k9XVYjE-unsplash

WOW! Another great week of Women’s Wednesday –thank you to Pastor Yeskeila Rivera from EIM Church that shared such a great word for us to ponder on.

Connections are built on TRUST!

Text of what we are reviewing:
“Craving Connections 30 Day Challenges for Real-Life Engagement”
By (in)courage community.

We have been diving in week after week and here are the highlights below.

“And finally He said to me, “My grace is enough to cover and sustain you. My power is made perfect in weakness.” So ask me about my thorn, inquire about my weaknesses, and I will gladly go on and on—I would rather stake my claim in these and have the power of the Anointed One at home within me.”
2 Corinthians 12:9 [VOICE Translation]

It is okay to not be okay –it is okay to be tired sometimes.  There are weakness misconceptions and we can be using it as a means to build us.

As a pastor there is no room for weakness –not sharing.  This has been our experience.

But we need to be okay with being able to share on a platform that is safe and one that is build of trust.  The biggest lie that we can tell ourselves is that we are always “okay” or “fine” when the reality is we can be experiencing something completely out of the ordinary where we need that avenue to release.

There is a term called “Mind Traps” where we stay stuck in that false belief.  Take the should statements out that appear as a list of rules of how people should behave. I should act like this.  I should be farther than I am at today.  I should respond this way.  I should be a better this or that….

That paralyzes you.  It limits you.  It imprisons you.  It keeps you in a state like “I’m not good enough.”

God’s word doesn’t tell us that we should.  It says that we are –we ARE a children of God! Tear those false thoughts down in the “should” realm. God is our Father and we can be open and transparent with Him.  We can be open and transparent with others.  That is what this challenge to connection is all about.  Since God is relational He wants us to be able to connect and work well with us.  That is what love is all about.

Listen –being weak is NOT a weakness.  God is expecting us to trust Him –we end up overthinking things and over analyzing.  We start to say what people are thinking –we jump to conclusions — we have polarized thinking {black or white/yes or no}.  The mind has a tendency to flow to worst case scenario rather then the best case! Another MIND TRAP!  The mess in the minds where it becomes a personalization.

This leveling of the burdens –sense of freedom and support mechanism that we should use is to allow ourselves to open up when and where we need to.  That safe place.  Among safe people. With your brothers and sisters in Christ.  In a mature group of grounded individuals –that’s where.

We become burnt out because we want to be –that is not how we have to be or the way God designed us to be.  We need those outlets –YES God comes first and is our source.  But He has given us the power also in relationships.  It’s a beautiful thing.  Friendships are powerful!

We are not meant to carry it alone.  We weren’t created to be alone –it is about building connections, building relationships and leaving a legacy.

The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
Genesis 2:18 [NIV Translation]

The risk is with love — we can’t love halfheartedly.  We love with our whole heart.  That is a part of it.  Connections are built on TRUST!

We cannot be afraid of people’s perception of us. We don’t need to pretend.  As Apostle Paul stated…

That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:10

Do we create environments that force people to keep their masks on???

Remember: God is concerned with your feelings!
Busola Adun — Women’s Wednesday 5/20/20 recap

We need to create and find that safe place.  Not everyone knows your thought process, so be willing to talk it through.  As you mature, you find those people that you will connect with.  As Jesus found three out of Peter, James & John –you will find yours as well.

BUILD MEANINGFUL RELATIONSHIPS because we all need relationships!


Couples Connect

Here is an excerpt used for an opening honest conversation:

“She’s a poetry book.
You must read every letter,
and digest every word.
Every part of her paints
a part of a bigger picture.
You can’t love her,
if you do not intend on
reading every page
and learning how to
comprehend every piece of her.”
― Pierre Alex Jeanty,
Book “HER”

What a way to set off a conversation — using a poem to describe us women.  Where men are literal and women are like that poem. There are three main kinds of poetry: narrative, dramatic and lyrical.  Can this describe us as women? Bottom line is that we can see that BOTH men and women have many layers and pages that we have to read through carefully and with love.

What does love look like in a marriage?  Truly understanding each other, supporting and loving unconditionally.  We walk at a common pace.  We don’t just “fall in love“, we grow in love, we are rooted in love.  We look for opportunities where we can compromise and get on the same page.

To get on the same page, we have to be willing to read every page.  Understand a person’s background, upbringing, seasons of life.  It is a different person dating that we are taking more notice of.  We can’t always use the same strategy.  We learn to love through loudness.  

We don’t stay stuck to routine, when we know that opposites do attract.  We never stop learning about each other.  We get to know more about the person when we live with them day in and day out.  Some times it can be simple and other times it can get very complicated –that is what relationship is about.  Giving 100/100 not a concept of 50/50.  

What if their 100 is your 50?  Be willing to go the extra mile — be willing even if they are not willing.  Learn how to listen.  Learn how to SEE each other.  Sometimes there can be those walls where you never shared that with anyone or that you haven’t been able to but in marriage –there goes the platform for all of that growth and experimentation.  We learn a lot through seasons, pain, loss, trials, triumphs, tragedies and more.  We have to know when to be vulnerable and lean into the emotion to express what we are going through.  That’s okay!

What’s the worst that could happen really when we share?  Be willing to have those “healthy hiccups” in those honest conversations that take you to another level. 

There is a radical acceptance, a fear sometimes that we wont be able to manage those emotions.  What do you do when you are in that dark place –that dark moment where an experience provoked you to have to make that radical decision. Guards go up and the moment we feel like there is an issue we quit at the task at hand. 

We can become jaded off of past relationships –that is something we must hash out and deal with separately and internally.  “When you marry Goliath!”  Change the perspective because the marriage relationship is not the place where should just be a basis of yielding a return.  There will be moments where you will have to give more and then more and then the most!  

Are there unrealistic expectations that we have had –did we expect to be coddled?  We have to grow into that place of maturity and growing HURTS! Like a midget it is stated that because of their size they experience actual deep pain in their body when they grow.

What did you envision walking into this relationship?  There can be a disconnect.  There can be tantrums not age appropriate that we respond with.  There can be fights and battles that were so unnecessary.  We need to grow into being an adult and actually take that time to invest in SELF so that we can be better to those that God has placed for us to have these unions.  

Let’s move past all this and get better at being BETTER for the One that assigned us our one.  

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church—for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”
Ephesians 5:21-31 NIV

New for JUNE, many thanks to the contributors on the pilot — Couples Connect… so stay tuned for more. 

With Love,

Christina


What Does Friendship Look Like?

We have been talking a lot about collaboration –togetherness –relationships and growth.

With that we take into account our friendships.  The ones that really help us to get to the next level and excel in every area.

We had an awesome Women’s Wednesday on Zoom (catch it here) where we shared with Minister Cristina Bonilla ❤ Here are some major GREAT highlights from that session:

  • God will place people in your life so that you can grow.
  • Kindness is giving your best self without promise or return.
  • Fear is what cripples us from moving ahead.
  • Am I going to allow this fear to cripple me?
  • We need to understand the power of relationships.
  • God calls us to connect with others.
  • Friends that will take you through seasons of life.
  • Friends are to fuel your spirit.
  • Friends will sharpen you; edify you; grow you.
  • Be willing to carry you through those seasons.
  • Don’t lose the priceless gift of friendship.
  • Don’t compare your friendship(s) to anyone else.
  • We need honest conversations that become healthy relationships.
  • We need to know how to fight for friendships.
  • Look at the result of why you are that friend.
  • We need to know what does friendship look like and teach the next generation.
  • Not everyone is “covenant”  –this takes time –this takes maturity –this takes prayer.
  • Understand the pinnacle moments in a person’s life.
  • Did that person fuel you or cripple you?
  • It is not fair to expect all things –different friends give you different things.

Here are a few resources that help us when it comes to company, friendships and the right type of relationships.  Starting with the Bible. This is what the word says…

Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”
1 Corinthians 15:33

I am a friend to anyone who fears you— anyone who obeys your commandments.
Psalm 119:63

Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.
Proverbs 13:20

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.
Proverbs 17:17

One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Proverbs 18:24

Here are some other hits from a book “Already Amazing” by Holley Gerth that covers topics of relationships. Just take the time to reflect on these things… pray on these things… and ask God to lead you on a path that will be filled with healthy relationships.  In His Name.  

 


BIG PLANS

aaron-burden-2bg1jPty490-unsplashSo I got these BIG plans for the upcoming weekend and that is truly to try and NOT be online.  Seriously! I love working remote but I definitely want to spend some time away from this bright light screen for a bit.  Sitting here as early as 8 am until 7 pm most nights can take its toll and then have to jump on for other meetings and stuff for ministry.  That is just a whole lot of activity and a need for a little bit of an escape.

We work online.

We pray online.

We meet online….

Everything is online … The “god of this age” is at war here –blinding our eyes from the natural things of this life.  Not that technology is all that bad of course we need it and can reach across continents all over the globe.  But here all day online is a bit much.  I  am ready to walk away for a much needed break.

I want to go outside and walk.  I hope to read a non-electronic book.  I will plan on writing in my journal. Catching up with folks not by screen, audio will work!

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Matthew 11:28 MSG

Who would have know that staying at home and working at home would have been even more intense then getting up and out into the office. It is not like we are here doing nothing, but we are connecting everyday remotely even more so to keep abreast, stay in touch, strategize, continue to plan and execute an abundance of tasks.

It is a lot! I am ready to walk away for a bit! How about you??? You will not be able to catch me online this big holiday weekend… because this big plan of mine for the weekend is to STAY OFFLINE! Let’s see if that works for the most part.  That is the goal.

Before we would gear up, pack our bags and set sail for the start of the summer.  Now we are just as uncertain and wait to hear better news for a cure to this pandemic. God have mercy on us all.

The big plans now are to find a rest for a bombarded mind.  Let’s try to stay away from the mental falls and be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

Enjoy the long extended weekend all.

With Love,

Christina ❤