Saturday, July 14, 2012

LIFE LESSON NYC: The Start of a New Beginning

The Start of a New Beginning
by Jennifer Cuevas

“Delight yourself in the Lord,
And he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord;
Trust in him and he will do this…”
Psalm 37:4-5NIV1984

In May of 2011, my dear friend Melissa asked me to serve on the worship team at a Woven Women’s Weekend. I had never really paid much attention to these events. As a single mom of two, I had little time for this type of thing! My life was filled to the brim with a full time job, playing on our church’s praise team, my daughter’s gymnastics competitions, my son’s football and track. Did I mention I was the president of the YMCA Booster Club? Oh, and by the way, there was the cooking, cleaning, laundry, dishes…you get the picture!
Since it was a friend, I said yes, but it was hard to commit to rehearsal times and to the amount of time to actually be at the conference. “I will come and accompany,” I promised. I had learned to draw boundaries where I could. But as time drew nearer, there were choir concerts, year end banquets, school parties and field days. My calendar was full! I was thinking of ways that my anxious heart could get out of going to the Woven Weekend!
Needless to say, when I arrived Friday evening, my heart and mind were elsewhere. I felt guilty even being there, hoping it would end early. But God had other plans. I witnessed incredible stories from other women, women I had seen in church but never really known. One particular story stood out: a horrific tragedy a woman endured with her children. I’m still shocked to think of it. When I see her at church, I pray silently as I watch her worship the Lord.
In addition to meeting some amazing women, I met an interesting character, Dustee, our guest speaker. She shared her Gifted Hands Ministry in NYC and instructed us in a jewelry-making class. She explained how she uses these classes to build self-esteem, a type of therapy to help others.
NYC??!! I have always wanted to live in NYC, so she had my attention! As a single mom, sometimes dreams must be put on hold! But God was calling me to something different...something that had purpose and meaning, and was His work. It just didn’t have a name yet. I was hungry to know more about Gifted Hands. I asked Dustee how she arrived at this place of serving in the city, what her day-to-day life was like. At the end of the conference, we were asked to fill out a response card. On mine, I wrote that I would love to take a trip to the city and see Gifted Hands for myself.
On June 23rd, as I stood in The Lambs Church on Rivington Street, something special stirred within me. I was reminded that just a year ago, I had random thoughts about taking a trip to the city. I reflected on God’s promises and how much He changed me during the past year. I praised Him for teaching me to surrender to His will, for opening doors to make this trip possible. I became extraordinarily grateful for the leadership in my church, for these Woven leaders that allowed me to hang-out with them, even though I am not on their leadership team.
My NYC Life Lesson: Surrender. Gratitude. Praise.
  • Surrender: Surrendering my schedule to serve at the Woven Weekend in 2011 led to a deeper surrender that brought a spiritual change.
  • Gratitude: These changes gave me heartfelt gratitude for the deeper work God was doing to prepare me for this trip and gratitude for how He placed key leaders in my life.
  • Praise: When I filled out that response card, I had no idea God would honor it as a prayer of my heart. I praise Him for how He tremendously answered that unknown prayer and fulfilled my heart’s desire!

“May he give YOU the desires of your heart
And make all your plans succeed…
May the Lord grant all your requests.”
Psalm 20:4-5NIV1984

I discovered this flashback to 1976 NYC
and thought it would be fun to share.
My Life Is In Your Hands by Kathy Troccoli
Excuse the over-dramatization of the 70's! haha
I pray you will truly know how to live life In His Hands!

I'm so blessed to share Jenn with you today. What a genuine person she is! Her heart is made of gold.
Really thankful to have her on our team for this trip. She did all the research for travel, lodging, and touring. I am so thankful God (and Melissa) brought her to that Woven Weekend!
We share a passion for NYC and for the Lord.
Love you Jenn~Cindy
Jennifer Cuevas is the mother of two active teenagers. She enjoys serving by playing percussion and the bongos on the Praise and Worship team at Newark Naz. As part of the church’s small group ministry, she is a member of a long standing life group that serves each other as family in Christ and performs outreach in the community.

Her other passions include traveling domestically (especially to NYC!) and internationally, sharing stories and experiences through photography, and living spontaneously whenever possible. Most recently she has been focused on sharing her journey to a gluten, soy, and grain free lifestyle.

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