When Fathers Fail You

“Father to the fatherless, defender of widows— this is God, whose dwelling is holy.” Psalms 68:5

I believe that God always makes a way to take care of you and looking back, I can always see the people He brought into my life to guard me and to guide me. 

My dad went to jail when I was really little. Probably younger than a year or right around that time, I’m not really sure when or why because we don’t speak of it, I just know that it happened and my memories of him are pictures of my mom taking me to see him in jail. We would drive a few hours to see him, arrive at 7:00AM to spend a few hours there. The officers would call him over the system and we’d have to wait for him to be called and come out. And this continued for the next few years, but because he was an immigrant, he was deported to Colombia and our communication over the years has been little to non existent. 

I’m sure growing up without a father was a root of a lot of the problems I faced as a young girl and a teenager. I was boy crazy lol and so insecure – placed my identity in my looks, my hair, my popularity. 

At 7 years old, I had a step dad and for the next 10 years, he would shape my identity. At first, he was my entire world! I had never had a dad and I was just so excited to be able to wear the daddy’s princess shirts (because I’ve never been able to) and to have someone to dance with at my Quinceanera or at my wedding. He would buy me toys, take us to the movies, plan my birthday parties, take us out of town, and so much more. 

But then something shifted, something I didn’t understand when I was younger but now don’t blame him for. He was in his 20’s taking care of two kids who weren’t his and had life happening, just like we 20 year olds do. He became angry, aggressive, and controlling- with my entire family. 

I was constantly grounded (because of my mouth – I never hold back lol) for things like mismatching my socks or a girl in my school writing on my arm. I would get my phone taken away for months for turning it in at 9:01 instead of 9:00PM. I felt like he was more affectionate towards my brother because my brother was always the calm, peaceful, good one and I was the one who brought trouble, talked back, fought in school.

I would get notes from the front office letting me know not to ride the bus because he was going to pick me up and I would be terrified the rest of the day, full of anxiety. I knew I had probably done something wrong and was going to get in trouble for it. Sometimes the car rides were a trip to get ice cream and other times, it was lectures and unreasonable anger. This created “waves” that would later follow me into my 20’s. Waves are the idea that I am simply tossed to and fro in life, with no control and no preparation, hence my need to control everything. There is always uncertainty with waves. And even though everything is going so well, something bad WILL come. Because with my step dad- something bad was always coming. 

This continued through middle school and finally ended my 8th grade year when my parents finally split and he never came back. 

Towards the end of his time with us, they would fight, he would leave and I would be so relieved for the next few weeks, secretly hoping he was gone for good. 

And although my heart was hurting when he left because I was fatherless again and  because my mom was hurting, I can’t tell you how relieved I was when it was finally set. I was finally able to be normal. To be a young girl. To be my wild loud self. 

And to think that I once thought that normal was being a daddy’s girl but at this point felt normal was not having a dad. I was glad he was leaving so I could be a normal teenager and have a normal family. 

After this season, I enjoyed life with the occasional teenager rebellion and drama. I felt like I had finally gotten my mom back and was able to confide in her because my step dad wasn’t controlling everything. 

IMG_9690

Then I turned 15 and started attending a youth group. Through this youth group, the youth pastor became a spiritual father, a father figure, a best friend and literally my entire world again. 

And again, for the next 10 years, this man would shape me and make me mostly who I am today. 

At first, everything seemed great. The “my dear’s” affirmed me and the texts and involvement in my life meant the world. At first I would ask bible questions and ask about theology because I was so hungry to know more. Then I would ask about relationships and life. And eventually I began to share every secret from my past to my present and of things to come. I shared my dreams, my failures, my heart and to me, I thought maybe this is what a father was like. He would take me home after services and would pay for my food, invite me to all the family events. I would celebrate him on Father’s day and honor him with a gift. 

Eventually, the verbal & emotional, spiritual abuse began. I would get shamed and called out in public. Things like “shut up and sit down” or “stop acting like a freaking child” and even being told I was acting skanky or that I needed to get my crap together to be used by God was what I would constantly hear. These may not seem like much but I don’t believe anyone should be spoken to this way, blood or not. 

And it wasn’t always this way. But one day, I woke up, 10 years in, and don’t really know how I allowed someone speak these words over my life when I am a strong girl, never afraid to defend myself. 

I realized over a year ago that the feeling both my step dad and this new father figure made me feel was all too similar, too familiar. 

And that’s when I began battling my connection to him. It feels almost easier for someone to walk out and never come back versus having to find courage to leave and then constant strength to not return when life feels like it’s falling apart. 

You see, I learned to depend so much on him that whenever something would go wrong, I knew he could fix it, no matter how bad I had messed up. 

And although the way I was spoken to and treated was not okay, I am thankful today. 

He taught me to be strong, to show up no matter how I felt, to find beauty in my brokenness and developed me into the woman I am today. 

And I was dreading today. Because father’s day is never easy for me. I am reminded that I am fatherless, that I only have one parent, that I have had one father walk out and 2 figures who failed me. 

But it’s never about that, never about what someone does to you, but rather how you react and what you do with it. 

I have chosen to forgive and to continue forgiving. It’s not easy. Some days I feel like I hate them and other days I want to cry because I miss him so much. And other times I want him to fix everything and just go back to “normal”. 

What I choose to stand on is that nothing surprises the Lord. He sends humans to take care of us and in their humanity, they don’t get it right but at least they made an effort. 

The Lord is the perfect father and I can finally view him that way. I woke up this morning and instead of feeling abandoned, I felt a sweet love entangling me. And the first words I whispered were “Happy Father’s Day my sweet God” 

He knows my pain, my anger, my deepest sorrow. And I don’t have to explain that in this moment. All I have to do is respond to His faithfulness and know that He is good, and He truly is. 

IMG_9692

Maybe you have a dad and a mom. And maybe you can’t relate. But maybe there’s someone who failed you, abandoned you. Or someone you need to forgive. I want you to know it’s a choice. One to make DAILY! I have to remind myself daily to let the hurt go, forgive the words spoken over me, and to let go of those who walked out. Some days are easier than others but day by day, I make the choice.

Whatever you are facing today, know that God is good. He is faithful, he has your back and He always makes a way to take care of you, even when you don’t understand. Humans fail us all the time, just as we fail other humans too. 

But the best thing about Jesus, is that He makes everything good. He covers us and allows a blessing to come out of the most painful moments in life. 

A special father’s day to those who have stood in my life as one. I still honor you from a distance and choose to do it because the word of God tells me to honor and because of His grace in my own life.

Happy father’s day to my mom. I love you. Thank you for everything always. You are the best mom and dad we could’ve ever had. 

And lastly, Happy Father’s Day my sweet God. Thank you for never failing me. Never walking away and for always loving me. You are my very favorite ever and I don’t know what I would do without you. A father to the fatherless. A father to me. 

Forever dancing in His love, 

Leslie Tatiana 

Bloom with Grace

WELL, if you know anything about me, it’s that when I don’t write, I’m avoiding a process.

I thought that maybe if I pretended I was over it, didn’t care, then it wouldn’t hurt.

And man am I wrong again.

But then it’s beautiful because I get to pour out these random words, make them into sentences, and bring freedom to myself and to someone else.

It’s only February.

And my word for this year, restoration, has felt more like TURMOIL!

But when I take a step back outside of my emotions, I realize just how much restoration has been happening. I promise I’ll write an update next week on the things that have been in the process of restoration but for now, lets get real and dirty.

I sit here typing as tears form in the corners of my eyes, and I can’t even fully tell you why. Partly because I don’t even know…….  and partly because maybe I do, but for the sake of the drama-less community of DYL and the Holy Spirit always being like girl calm down, I generalize.

I am angry. I feel lost. I feel free. I feel stuck. I feel opportunity rising. I feel depression around the corner. I could punch a hole in a wall. I could crawl into my bed and not come out until Sunday night. I could be the life of the party and talk your head off.

I don’t share this for you to be concerned about me, or for you to pity me.

I am stronger than I know, and I always figure it out.

But what dilemma to feel so many different things all at once!

I left a place I called home and people I called family in October (which I’ve mentioned in previous blogs) and I never would’ve imagined that my entire being would be shaken by this. Silly I know. But it did.

My routine of life as I had known it abruptly changed. I had to make an attempt at new friends. I had to find a new home to attend on Sundays, at a new time, with strange faces. I had to really decide what LESLIE believed in. And I had to be vulnerable.

Which I have been, in building friendships, in trusting where the Lord was leading me.

But I am still hurting. The carpet was snatched from under my feet, and I fell hard and when I looked up, it was me who had done the pulling, without warning.

Like girl, can I get a schedule, an explanation, a 10 page research essay next time before these life-altering decisions happen?!? LOL

I can 100% stand by my decision to leave, but I wish I would’ve prepared myself for the heartache that I was about to walk into.

It’s heartache for many reasons but mostly because I forced myself out of my comfort zone and things I wasn’t expecting to change, changed.

I was complaining to myself today about the weather. It’s been raining and chilly again, when just last week, the sun was shining (80 degrees bright) and the wind was just right. I woke up two nights ago because there were loud thunderstorms at 3:00AM and the showers have been making an appearance on and off for 48 hours now.

Copy of Copy of AmiralCourbet 2

It’s that rain that sprinkles and doesn’t fully come down, the one where you can’t turn on your wipers, but you also can’t turn them off. The one that stops when you grab your umbrella but starts as soon as you start a conversation with the friendly stranger in the parking lot. It’s a rain you cannot predict… or trust.

And you know what that reminds me off? My emotions right now.

I cannot trust what they are feeling, because tomorrow, I might be laughing and loving my freedom, while last night I was sad and overwhelmed with this process.

But when you embrace the rain, let it fall on your windshield a few seconds longer before turning on the wipers, when you don’t get angry that your blowdried hair is going to frizz but instead you allow the waves and the curls to do their thing, when you don’t get mad that you cannot wear your suede boots but instead you pull out your shoes that have a little character and a little history to them, the rain suddenly doesn’t suck as much anymore right? Somehow NOW you can trust it. And what’s even better is that in May, the flowers will bloom. The one’s that died in our cold winter were replaced by new seeds, and these random days of rains are bringing that life, allowing the seeds to develop, to grow roots, to be planted, and then to be enjoyed in the summer on the hottest and brightest of Texas days.

See, I’m going to choose to embrace my emotions, to embrace the pain that I feel, the anxiety I feel when I walk into a new group of people to introduce myself, the awkwardness I feel when I share my heart with strangers only to find we do have things in common. Embracing though closely related is not trusting. I am not placing my hope in the wild emotions, but rather in the seed that has been planted; which is the Word of God in my life.

Copy of Copy of AmiralCourbet

The Lord has promised many things to me and my heart, both through His Word, but also through His presence. And I know that these showers of emotions and processes are bringing life to those seeds I am planting and have previously planted. And as I continue to be faithful and obedient, the flowers will bloom. I will bloom. My heart will bloom.

And you will too.

If it’s a hard season for you, if you are not where you thought you would be, if you are in the middle of a thunderstorm, if you are in the best season of your life, know that you are PLANTING seeds that will turn into beautiful flowers, or trees, if that’s more of your liking 🙂 The Lord has ALSO promised you many things.

I can’t tell you enough that the Lord is faithful. And if you don’t believe in that, the simple law of reaping and sowing is seen in every situation. You are sowing into your future, into your next season…. and you WILL reap the benefits of it. Both you and I will.

Embracing and Blooming and Dancing in His Love,

Leslie Tatiana ❤

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Hold Her Arms Up

It’s hard to believe that everyone has difficult seasons and that sometimes, life is not at all how you planned or hoped it would be. Everyone goes through it.

How do you react when it happens to you?

How do you react when it happens to someone else?

These last few months have been difficult for me. Which is why I haven’t written in a few weeks. It has been hard to find beauty in my mess, mostly because I was avoiding anything God related and anything life related. I wanted to live in my own world that didn’t include people, rules, words, expectations, responsibilities, anything at all. I always get to a specific door, where on the other side my destiny and my ministry await, but I get too scared to walk through so I stand at the window, looking in at what I could have and who I could be. 

And today, I am finally at the crossroads where it’s time to make a decision.

I am either in. or I am out.

And both have consequences and sacrifices, but I have chosen to stay in the fight and be in.

Walking out this season, I have realized that I haven’t been myself. These last few weeks, maybe I was grumpy, or moody, or irresponsible, or rebellious, or aggressive, or restless, or anxious, or unsure, or sad, or mad, or confused.

And maybe all of them all at once.

And then, as I recollect, refocus, relight the fire… I have a glimpse of grace. Grace is when God chooses to take me back and love me anyway. Grace is God allowing me to feel His love and His presence, letting His word take my heart, my mind, and my thoughts captive so that my eyes can lock with His.

Grace is…. Him & I once more.

And then I think to myself…… wow, do I even do that for me?

And one step further, do I do that for others?

The answer is no. I judge myself and hold myself to a standard, which is not wrong, but it’s exhausting when I have my eyes on my own strength and not what He can do. I take myself out of the fight because I didn’t get it right the first time…… but what if this is the 10th time and I am still not getting it right? His strength, not mine.

And then to those around me…. I expect them to walk without failure, to be kind, to be present, to be available, to love me, to support me, to protect me. Yet, I haven’t quite figured out how to do all those things for myself, much less for others.

So here’s an apology. To myself, to you, and to God, I am sorry I haven’t extended grace and I am sorry that I have expected too much out of you. I get it. It is inevitable to make mistakes and miss the mark because we are humans.

Forgive me for not extending grace to you and to our battles. Each person fights their battles and feels like they’re drowning so I am sorry if I haven’t made that process easier for you.

And to God, my sweet sweet Jesus… Forgive me for taking this life for granted. For taking so long to lift my hands to worship and for standing outside the window, watching, instead of turning the knob and stepping in by faith. Fear has gotten the best of me and I dropped my eyes to look at the road, rather than keeping them locked with your gaze.

I also ask that if you have friends around you in difficult seasons, that you hold them up and show them the same grace we have received.

The Bible says in Exodus 17:10-12

So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset.

Aaron and Hur held Moses’ hands up because if they went down for any reason, the battle would be lost. This is the same act we should do for each other. You never know when someone might be on their last ounce of strength and when they need you to simply hold their arms up until the morning comes.

Don’t be so quick to judge when your people are not themselves. Life can be tough so let’s hold the arms up and win the battle as we stand right next to them.

Forever Dancing In His Love,

Leslie Tatiana

 

Processed with VSCO with t1 preset

Processed with VSCO with t1 preset

Processed with VSCO with t1 preset

Processed with VSCO with t1 preset

Embrace the Mess

MAY 1ST YALL!

If you know anything about me- May 1st is my favorite along with May 30th, my birthday.  Since my 18th birthday, birthdays have been a huge deal for me, both good and bad. I’m not kidding when I tell you that God always does something crazy in my life as my birthday comes up. I have learned so many lessons as each year passes and sometimes, I make them more difficult because…. HELLO?! Human. And other times, I simply ride the waves and accept the lesson. Nonetheless, I am in the middle of learning something now, and it’s no coincidence that my birthday is in 29 days.

I have been so overwhelmed with my mess. I look at the people around me, friendships, church family, social media, etc. and I think to myself “why can’t I be more like them? why am I such a mess?”

I am tired of trying to change myself to match others.

I know that life isn’t supposed to be all tears, all drama, all indecisive, but the truth is that is where I am, and that has to be okay because it’s temporary. It’s so hard to admit that you are not 100% okay and that you are still a little broken, still a little confused, still a little mess. But then why would I need God? The whole process of healing, of forgiving, of moving on, of letting go, of growing doesn’t happen over night. That’s why it’s called a PROCESS.

I was thinking all day yesterday about who I wanted to be this year, what I wanted to accomplish, what I wanted to let go of, what I wanted 23 to be about.

And I realized it’s so easy to try and change everything I hate about myself in 4 weeks, key word, TRY. But let’s be real…. I’m gonna be exhausted, still the same girl, and only bitter that I wasted my entire month. So instead, I am going to accept who I am, where I am at, and just focus on each day that passes, as I look to my goals. People around me are always challenging me, making me better, and correcting me so that I am the best me I can be. This isn’t a bad thing. But it is easy to get wrapped up in trying to be the best leader tomorrow, the ministry director at 3:00pm, pastor at 3:01pm. And I always want to speed up the process and just get it done already, but then I am reminded there is beauty is the whole thing, not just the destination.

So here are the things I struggle with. Filtered and controlled, they serve a purpose but regardless, I will choose to love myself where I am today.

  1. I talk too much…. But this is such a gift because I will always have something to talk about & not be afraid to get on a mic and talk away. I am almost positive that others wish they could talk as easily as it comes to me.
  2. I’m too intense…. but you will always know where I am, you will never have to doubt what I am feeling or where I stand because I will be very clear. I am passionate about everything I do and what a great way to live life, passionately.
  3. I love too hard….. When did this become a bad thing?!
  4. I can’t make up my mind about anything….. I am so creative and such a quick learner, I can have a million options on anything and what a beautiful thing to never be stuck.
  5. I am too sensitive…. Which I am thankful for today because after everything life has thrown, what a beautiful reminder that my heart has not grown cold and hard.

These are just a few of the things on my heart. I’m sure there is more but instead of looking for more reasons to change myself, I choose to embrace where I am today and what I want to accomplish this year of 23. I cannot tell you how excited I am for this new year. It’s the middle of other huge ages like 21 and 25, but God can move, stretch, and grow anytime He desires.

IMG_1019

I will embrace who I am this year. I will embrace my calling, the love God has for me. I will embrace my dreams, my friendships, my seasons, the waves, and run hard after who I was created to be. My life can be messy, chaotic, adventurous, all at once but I choose to embrace the mess.

Romans 10:10-11 says With your whole being you embrace God setting things right, and then you say it, right out loud: “God has set everything right between him and me!” Scripture reassures us, “No one who trusts God like this – heart and soul – will ever regret it.”” (MSG)

I don’t know if you are having a birthday this month, but I do know that you too may struggle with accepting who you are, just like I do. I want to remind you that it is by grace, by faith you are saved. We embrace everything God is when we believe that He has the power to save us, and that fact continues as we grow and as He guides us to be who we are created to be. Change your perspective and allow those things you hate about yourself to be the very things that launch you into your destiny!

Just like scripture reminds us, no one who trusts God, heart and soul, will ever regret it.

Embrace the mess as you dance in His love.

xx,

Leslie Tatiana

Processed with VSCO with t1 presetProcessed with VSCO with t1 presetProcessed with VSCO with t1 presetProcessed with VSCO with t1 preset

| Wedges: JustFab (similar) | Jeans: Abercrombie & Fitch (similar) |

| Blouse: Forever 21 (similar) | Necklace & Shades: Charming Charlie |

Hi 2017

Hi 2017, I can’t lie and I say that I am not scared that you are here. I show the world that I am ready, excited, determined and though these things are half true…. I am more afraid, more paralyzed than anything. I don’t want you to be like previous years.

I don’t want to sass my way through the year, control freak it, continue in my same cycles of running away from God, coming back a prodigal daughter and then doing it all over again until….. Happy 2018! I don’t want to disobey, cause my heart more ache than God intended, walk away angry, and then come back humbled and on my knees in repentance when I realize it was all me and I can’t fix it alone.

It is true to me that a new year symbolizes a spiritual shift. New beginnings often do that.But what matters most is the weeks, months, seasons that follow that new beginning. Will I choose to hide His word in my heart for the dark seasons? Will I follow wisdom’s instruction, hold my tongue, look for guidance, and seek peace in every decision? Or will I be tossed to and fro by the waves? Will I choose to be a victim to life?

I want to believe that I will strengthen and develop a better character. That I will be consistent and show up when I am needed. That I will love without expecting a return and that I will focus on the kingdom and not on the things that satisfy my flesh.

There are many questions, many habits to break, much to do, but I will choose to set my eyes on Jesus. The beautiful thing is that I don’t have to do this alone. I decide to go to the one who knows my heart and then He responds by guiding me and keeping my world together.

I have many goals to accomplish and much I’d like to change, but my best bet is sticking with Jesus, learning from Him, and becoming more like Him.

A week late because I am human and I am working on my habits (lol)

but happy new year ❤

If you are like me, planning, freaking out, controlling life, but so desperate for His presence and to please Him, then keep your eyes on Him.

He molds, he changes, He knows.

And there is nothing that brings me more peace than having someone 100% on my team and 100% with His love for me.

I am so excited for this year and I pray that you are too. It’s a process and there is nothing better than dancing in His love as we figure it out.
Get to know me a little better this year by subscribing to my youtube channel! My first video is officially up as promised and it’s a whole lot of facts about me and random dancing because HELLO, dancing in His love is what I do 😉

First VLOG! About me | Dancing In His Love

fullsizerender-9

5 Lessons of 2016

I could lie and tell you that I’ve been busy, that I’ve been great, and that I haven’t had time to write, but then that wouldn’t be truth.

Truth is I have days where I don’t want to write. Because it overwhelms me, having to make sure content is good enough to relate to and interesting enough to even read, but I have to remind myself that this is not the purpose behind my writing. Or sometimes I simply don’t want to share what I’m going through because I haven’t quite found the sunshine in it. It’s good to take a break and refocus.

I write because it allows me to get my thoughts together and to reflect on whatever situation I am currently in whether it’s one I am enjoying or one I am struggling through. And I share because I know someone somewhere can relate and feel my support.

I’ve been thinking a lot about 2016. life

Obviously it’s coming to an end and it’s natural for us to think “oh crap” or even “ugh finally”. 

We began the year with so many goals, dreams, with a high hope. I remember my word for this year was FREEDOM.

I can’t tell you how true that has been. Both in a positive and negative way.

I have found a freedom to simply be… myself. I grew so tired of trying to please loved ones and of always trying to do what was expected of me. Here are a few things I found freedom in.

  1. I dropped out of school a year ago. I only have 7 classes left to finish my psychology degree but I am in no rush. I HATE school, and I rarely use the word. I just cannot understand the system, learning “all” there is to know about a subject only to work for someone else and not ever work to your full potential or for your actual dreams. And do not even get me started on those ridiculous school loans that I’ll be paying even after my death!!!! I will eventually finish because I only have a little ways to go, but it’s not in my plans any time soon. I lovelovelove psychology, I just don’t like the system I am forced to adapt to. 
  2. I finally quit my job of three years, went into apartment leasing, hated it so much I cried at the end of each day, quit that, and went into another salon, which I love so much. I got so much crap about not staying at a job and switching so much and yes it affected me financially, but I am at such peace and so happy, i ain’t even mad. I only work a few hours a week so it gives me time to myself and to pursue my dreams. There is nothing more I’d like to say here 😉
  3. I started choosing my friends carefully, by my own terms and not anyone else’s. I also stopped listening to advice on relationships from people who aren’t dating and started making decisions on what was best for me. I have the sweetest friendships right now, even though it’s not people I talk to every single day. They have their lives, dreams, responsibilities and that’s okay. 
  4. I started taking more risks, which in a sense may seem “bad” but I think it has helped me gain new perspectives and it has grown me as a woman, as a person. And I don’t regret it. I don’t regret going to my first bar, going on random dates, bonfires at 2AM, random road trips alone, and so on. 
  5. I discovered so many unhealthy cycles I constantly go through caused by things in my childhood and though it isn’t something I am actively seeking to heal in this moment, I found so much freedom in understanding that my cycles had a trigger, a reason behind them and I am not just a broken wandering soul.

As I look back on my year, I am thankful for how much I have developed mentally & emotionally.

I am so excited it’s December! This is by far my favorite month of the year (besides May). Everything is bright and merry and full of love. Texas has been ridiculously cold and though I am a lover of my hot hot summers, I have been actually enjoying the weather. Full of cuddles, blankets, hoodies, heaters, long lazy days of Gilmore Girls with my sister, and so much more ❤️

My advice these next few weeks would be for you to reflect on 2016. Think about the lessons you learned and what you LOVED about this year, but don’t ignore the battles and those situations you hated. There are habits you can carry into this year because they support your dreams, and unfortunately others that will be the death of you. You are in charge of your success, of achieving your dreams. How you end this year WILL determine how 2017 begins.

You don’t have to settle for anything other than amazing!

Let’s chase our dreams together. I, too, am preparing for this new year.

Here’s to ending 2016 with a bang!

XX Leslie Tatiana

An Apology on Behalf of America 

I want to apologize to you on behalf of America. You were brought here to have a life, a chance at your dreams, in hopes that this place would be better than where your parents brought you from.
In most ways, you are safer and have a greater chance at making something of yourself. But I am sorry for the racism you are facing.
I’m sorry that you aren’t being treated as a human with a heart and a God given purpose.

Regardless of your legal status, I want you to know you matter. Despite the news, the election, and social media- you matter & you have a purpose, a unique calling that will change our world. There are people who will only be reached by you and what you carry. You carry such a potential that I’m not even sure you realize what a weapon you can be against hate.

I want you to know you matter to me. Some of you are family, best friends, people I love. You have brought such joy to my life and have changed me for the better. In my toughest seasons, you have been there to hold my hand and now I return the gesture.

I am sorry as a Colombian that I was born here and you weren’t and that somehow makes me better- it doesn’t. I am just as immersed in my culture as you are, I celebrate Christmas on the 24th, I eat buñuelos and pan con queso for breakfast & I wish my grandma was here instead of in Colombia.

I also don’t want to simplify your feelings. I don’t know what it feels like to not have a license or to not have the security of a job. And though most of you have a work permit, I cannot imagine what it feels like to be stuck… not able to leave because you won’t be “let” back in. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be called an alien and to have jokes with “la migra”.

You are just as much an American as me because most of you have been here since before potty training days and only know this land to be your home.

You bring culture and diversity to this nation. You bring hope and you inspire many who came with nothing, that they too can belong and make something of themselves.

Don’t give up and don’t back down. Do not be intimidated, many of us stand with you and choose to defend you.

Always remember that He brought you here for a reason, & He will be faithful to carry out your purpose here.

Your hope isn’t rooted in a leader or a status or a nation, your hope is rooted in love, in faith, in the fact that you are unique and special, that you are not forgotten, that you are not just simply a number- but that you breathe, your heart beats, and again you matter.

Be better. Do not stoop down and create more hatred. Let people have opinions and let them choose. Don’t give them a reason to talk and definitely do not let yourself be disrespected.

I’m on your team. 

Leslie

The struggle of “Not worthy”

Total honest moment.

It’s 12:54 AM & I suddenly have the desire to write…. When I have been avoiding it for 2 weeks.

TMI…   maybe it’s my monthly friend that has me in a mood and emotions all over the place and confused thoughts and rambling and the desire to do nothing at all…. (sorry to the fellas, but come on ladies!?)

So I’ve been avoiding blogging because I suddenly felt like I wasn’t good enough… like the words that came to my heart were pointless and that because I don’t have it together, I should just keep to myself

and that’s so unfair to myself, to God, and to this whole process of life.

How unfair to think that my experiences don’t mean much… that my heart doesn’t matter, that fighting through the rubble won’t bless anyone else? A little selfish too.

So now I am here, 1:00 AM in the morning, crying and processing my thoughts.

How many times have we walked away from big dreams and desires because we didn’t feel up for it? How many ideas have we pushed aside because our mess is too real?

fullsizerender-4

Look ya’ll… I’m such a mess. I have a big heart that loves and wants to be loved. I desire nothing more than to build people up, to be accepted, and to love deeply. I cry at least once a day, for dead animals on the street, because someone cancelled on me, because God whispers, because I realize I am not who I was but I also have a long way to go…. Literally CRY LOL

I laugh at the most ridiculous things…. And it makes me so happy.

I hate putting gas in my car and at least once a week, I end up on 0 miles on a freeway…. In Houston traffic!!!! LOL not joking. I spend way too much money on food and not enough saving.

So far I sound just like you right? So why do I feel so unworthy to share my experiences?

Lets get more honest here.

I don’t have it all together… I still struggle with forgiving. I am angry at my step dad who is not even my step dad anymore and no one knows this. I struggle with sin. I talk too much and don’t listen enough. I barely sleep. I don’t take care of my health.

Butpicsart-3 Leslie…. Cut yourself some slack. You’re 22 and you’re doing the best you can.
And it is the whole vision of Dancing In Your Love: to sort through my mess, discover His secrets, and to encourage others as I learn.

Can I tell you the same today??

Cut yourself some slack. Be kind to your heart. Take care of yourself. Life isn’t always sunshine and that is okay. It will get better and before you know it, those things you’re working at will work themselves out.

Take a deep breath and conquer your day. 

Don’t give up on your crazy, wild dreams just because you see your mess. That’s the process of it all. You were made to do great things and a little fire is necessary to shape and to mold you so you can be the greatest YOU.

For once, be on your team. Be your own #1 fan.

We can do this together. It’s Friday & we made it to the WEEKEND!!

Here’s to difficult days, that sometimes we bring on ourselves.

Thankful for a God who is patient through it all… the one who makes us worthy.

Dancing in His love,

xx Leslie Tatiana

I think I am finally clean

Life has a funny way of happening.

It chooses its victims and its victors, and simply happens.

In life’s toughest seasons, I have found that worship is the key to getting up and regaining strength. Worship is not only just singing to God, but also a state of being, the confidence that God is good, faithful, full of grace, and that He has your world in His hands.

I recently went through a difficult break up in my life, which was caused by many different factors, but nonetheless it hurt. I was thrown into a season that I later prolonged, causing it to last and hurt way longer than God probably wanted for me. My life suddenly became meaningless, dry, empty. The joy and passion for life I once had was no longer evident. I did not want to be around people, around anything that was stable because I was angry, at myself, at the guy, and at God. Looking back at my actions, my attitude, my perspective, I have learned a few things that would have changed the duration of my desert.

1. Embracing

The very first thing I didn’t do was accept. I refused to believe that my world had taken a drastic change. I tried to continue doing the same things I did when I was in the relationship, including hanging out with the same group that was connected to us, keeping communication with his family, eating at the same places, driving by the same streets. Literally nothing changed. Except the appearance together on social media. This made it difficult for me, and I’m sure him as well, to allow a death to happen so that healing could begin. Instead, we kept rolling around in the ashes of what was left, hoping to rebuild something that was long overdue to end.

I accepted my desert and my brokenness a year later, and everything that came with that; pain, friendships ending, new habits, new hangout places. This allowed me to accept my feelings. I was angry, mad, broken, confused, a little relieved actually. The lack of acknowledgement the year before didn’t leave room for these feelings and caused me to live in a lie, not ever dealing with the actual emptiness. After taking it in, my entire outlook of my season was transformed, and most importantly I was able to worship, to look for God, to seek help with sincerity, a new sense of clarity. I was now aware of the condition of my heart and spirit; I could care for myself better.

2. Enduring

The second important thing to do in every season is endure, hold on. After accepting and acknowledging, you have to fight to endure whatever comes your way. This may look different depending on your personality and your season, but this happens by gaining understanding, a new perspective. Some seasons require more time alone, while others require us to be surrounded by loved ones, learning to interact with other souls. Sometimes you need to study the Word, other times a lot of worship and time of prayer will help. Each season will be different but part of embracing it and not having to relearn the lessons years later, is knowing what your season is all about.

I endured my season by soaking in on His presence. Being in His presence was so important for me because I felt as though my heart was a shattered mess and I had no idea where to begin. I felt as though I had to pick up the pieces alone, buy some super glue, and put it all together alone. My identity had been placed in the relationship and when that ended, I no longer knew who Leslie was. Worship allowed me to hear the Lord’s sweet voice again, to hear life, to experience a love so sweet and not be afraid to be broken again. His presence was a safe place for me these last few months and as I embraced the brokenness and loneliness, I learned what I needed to heal and gained a sense of direction. Somedays I spent hours alone, writing, reading, thinking, crying to worship… and Adele songs (not a joke lol) and other weeks I spent all 7 days with my girls. I had to be connected to God and be constantly checking in on my heart to know exactly what I needed that day. Being in His presence didn’t make the pain go away, my friends didn’t distract me enough to forget what had died, but these two things did make the season more bearable.

I didn’t blend.

I didn’t make this brokenness my identity. I did not allow someone walking away from my life to define who I was. The season could have easily made me bitter, angry, hateful, but I chose to allow God to remind me who I was. I did not allow the pain to blend in with my deepest desires, to control my heart. We allow situations/people to intertwine themselves into our identity and we give them more rights than they deserve. Although we are shaped by our environment, we are not defined by them and this is so important to remember in seasons of growth. How careful a season is handled determines how you end it, if you pass the test, and if you have to repeat later in life.

3. Guarding

I don’t know about you, but seasons make me vulnerable. I feel like suddenly I have no idea what is going on inside of me or around me. I know now that seasons are meant to grow you. To teach you something, but in the middle of it, I tend to get overwhelmed and a little lost. I wish I could sit in class, learn all about the season, and then test over it. But most of the time, I don’t even realize it’s a test, until I am annoyed and frustrated and throwing fits to God.

And then I’m like oh SHOOT!!!! This is a test!!!

And I buckle down and try to pass it lol just like college.

One of the most important pieces to the seasons puzzle, is guarding.

Guarding your heart, mind, entire being- with everything that is within you.

When I first entered my season after the break up, I did not guard anything. I cried wherever, I spoke to many people about how I felt- and got millions of responses, some bashing the guy, some making me feel like crap, others making me miss what we had, others making me glad I was out. But none of them were actually me, no one understood because I was the one in the relationship, I dealt with the fights, with the decisions, with the memories. No one knew exactly how good or how bad it was because they weren’t us.

The opinions affected me a lot and literally had me back and forth, running in circles. Depending on who was giving their opinion that day, I was hopeful, expecting to fix the relationship, to heal what was broken, and to fight for what we had. Other days, I was angry, I hated him, I felt abandoned and betrayed, I hated him for giving up, for walking away.

I would also listen to songs, look at pictures, reread birthday cards, text messages, to remind myself of promises made and then I’d see my current state and this would send me into deep depressing days. I would be having a great day but I CHOSE to take myself to this hole every single time.

After awhile, I grew tired of hurting and fighting myself.

Instead of being my #1 protector, I was the biggest bully to my fragile and vulnerable heart.

My heart would trust me by allowing me to feel and I would take advantage and make it 10583034x worse. I stopped listening to Adele, Taylor Swift and any songs that reminded me of what was. I stopped watching romantic movies and I stopped pinning wedding things on pinterest. I stayed away from anything that would negatively affect me including people. People who had strong opinions about the breakup no longer had place in my life, and it sucked. I let go of many friendships because they were so connected to that time in my life but my heart became more important to me.

This is SO important. You are your own advocate, the best friend your heart longs for. You connect your spirit and heart to Jesus and you CHOOSE to thrive in whatever season you are in. So ultimately, it is YOUR duty to guard your season, most importantly guard your heart. You can no longer have an open door and allow songs, opinions, movies etc., around you but now your main focus should be to successfully pass this season and learn what you need to learn.

I guarded my mind so much, I would only listen to worship, read healing/life speaking books, hang out with people who had my heart as a priority.

And I don’t apologize for that.

I had spent so many years trying to submit to someone else, trying to be someone else so that I would be loved, trying to please man and be perfect. Let me tell you, the first chance I had to take care of myself and “do me” I ran and took it!

4. Growing

Like I ranted before, seasons are about taking care of yourself. About learning of you and of Him. If handled correctly, they take you to the next level in life, making the vision of your life and your creator clearer.

This is something that is to be kept in the front-line, in a place where it can be constantly looked at and remembered. These trials all are different, some last months, some years, and it can be easy to forget what the real purpose is. Although the heartbreak I endured was one of the worsts I have ever experienced, I chose to grow from it. Doing the first 3 things set me up to thrive. I did not allow the circumstance to make me a victim but instead held so close to Jesus that my identity began to change and I began to see purpose in my pain.

I love love love what 1 Peter 1:6 says:

“So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold- though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.”

What more do we need?! The trials cause our faith to be tested and if handled correctly, our faith will grow! If our faith grows, we will see Him in His glory, more clearly. Locking eyes with my King is more than enough for me to persevere through seasons of all kinds.

Come hell, come high water, come valleys, mountains, deserts, sunshine….

I am His and He is mine, forever.

Crazy that when the above picture was taken, a year ago, I was broken, faking my way through the pain. The pieces of my heart were too shattered and I had no idea where to begin. Thankful I fought my way through that season, and that I stand today.

Praying for you today. Whatever season you are in, CHOOSE to stay in the fight. Embrace, endure, guard, and grow from your trials.

Be truly glad friends, there is wonderful joy ahead.

From glory to glory we go,
All while dancing in His love.

The Test of the Thought Pt. 1

Let’s take it back to last week.

Monday was terrible. I went to work and by 4:30 I was so stressed- I cried, hid in the bathroom and walked around aimlessly until 5:30 CLOCK OUT TIME!!!

Tuesday…. By 10:00 AM I was ready to walk out because I couldn’t handle the stress and the environment anymore. I’ve recently become someone who doesn’t tolerate anything that does not bless me or anything that takes my peace away. I spent way too many years submitting to people, environments, and habits that I couldn’t stand and in the end, was in deeper mess than if i would’ve had enough self-worth to walk away. And that’s what I did Tuesday. I went to lunch around 12 and never came back to work.I spent the day walking into salons and leaving my resume and now I have a new job, in the field that I love- beauty industry!

Then later that week, my name was involved in a “he said she said story” and words were placed in my mouth that I never said. It took away my peace. I’ve worked so hard these last few months to get rid of everything that did not bless my life and the enemy took advantage of it.  But I chose to stay silent and allow God himself to fight for me. I talked to God over and over, complained and cried because I am not one to stay quiet and allow disrespect, I am a fighter (lol)- and the only thing I heard back from the Lord was Exodus 14:14 “the Lord will fight for you: you need only be still.” And I had no defense back to this, I simply submitted and did as told.

This night I also went to a spanish church service on the other side of town and one thing that stood out to me was my thought process during this event. I was in the midst of it, singing spanish worship songs, listening to a pastor preach in spanish, surrounded by spanish speaking people and I suddenly missed my life a few years back- because there was no pressure to be better, to step out in faith and serve Him leaving everything behind. I thought I had my life together, planned from school to marriage to ministry and friendships. And this is when I knew something was wrong. Though the message and the pastor himself blessed me and confirmed something I had been praying earlier, the enemy was up to something because I wanted to go back to my old life, a time in which I had every detail of my life planned and I was the one in control, playing God.

Besides me, I knew a couple of people in our leadership were dealing with attacks as well. With finances, relationships, insecurities, thoughts, exhaustion, all sorts of things. I know that we don’t get spiritual enough these days to say”attacks” (which we should) but i will get spiritual today and just call the enemy out.

It’s not a coincidence that all of this happened in one week, especially the things in my life considering i’m on a “no drama” type of attitude and I am nipping things as soon as they happen.

But then came Sunday.

& setting up that morning felt different. And though we couldn’t grasp what God had in store a few hours later, we could smell Him cooking while we cleaned Numbers and got ready.

Service was set to start at 6:00 PM…. By 5:50, the front doors of the club were packed. It was awkwardly packed, people kept staring at me so I could open the doors and let them in. The atmosphere was alive and people we’re excited, though there was no room to stand – ready to worship God and celebrate Revive.

From the moment the doors opened, all 14 rows were packed. I put out an extra row “just in case” and went to sit at the front. 1 minute later, Pastor Eddie came over to me and told me there was no room to sit and all chairs needed to be put out. We ended up being so packed out with 140 chairs that we had to ask leaders and Dream Team Members to give up seats and sit on the side bleachers! How GOOD is GOD?!

The worship team was on fire- nothing more to say here. I have been led by each one into worship but last night was different. Each person was on another level and another realm. Alive and electric- dancing, singing, shouting, hands lifted and eyes on the King.

14555828_10157528137720228_2130859327_n

Jabin Chavez at Revive!? Seriously?!!!! How in the world did we manage that? God did it. And I loved what one of my pastors said “it is God’s way of saying I got y’all.” He killed the word and messed us up, stirred up a hunger and a revival that WE are the church- when God sees a city, He sends His church. He saw Montrose & He sent Revive.

14519923_280451065687581_6458229646316439787_n

So going back to the beginning, we all went through hell this past week and though we didn’t broadcast it, it was a very difficult week. & there was a moment in Jabin’s message that brought everything together. He explained how the devil does not know the plans God has for us but he knows the potential, and because of that potential, he attacks. Jabin does not know what our church has been through in its short year of life and neither do some of you, but he very specifically pointed out that through the attacks, through the haters, through the mess, through the Red Sea- God promised to be with us.

 

Last night, I saw dead spirits and souls coming back to life. I saw new faces in awe of a REAL God. I saw parents encouraged and proud, finally understanding why their child is ALL about Revive. I saw youth catch a vision, a hope for their future. And what impacted me the most, I saw my pastors and the team of leaders get a glimpse of the potential we have together and a picture of what God can do in Montrose. It gave life, hope, strength.

The tears have been worth it Revive. Crossing over and leaving a familiar land to an unknown and unwelcoming one. Losing people, losing loves, friends, family. Having to drive 40+ minutes to set up for 2 hours, worship, and tear down for 1 hour. Being criticized, forgotten, and undervalued.

ALL of this was worth it last night- because so many souls came alive, friendships and families were strengthened. We were injected with the vision to run for another year, to build His kingdom and love the broken.

 

Thank you to each one of you who celebrated with us. We love you dearly, we are honored, and we cannot wait for the next 100 years!

 

Happy Birthday Revive!

Here’s to building a legacy with Kingdom Carriers, all for His glory!

14462894_512978005565773_2398559984698096924_n14572934_512978058899101_1153108265944063387_n14581515_513116598885247_5634529326950577941_nunnamed

img_6829img_6826img_6827

img_6828

image1img_6851