Trust…

This is so true for Daniel and I, especially as we approach our 2 year mark of stepping out of the boat–our comfort zone! God has seen us through SO much in the past 2 years and we stand so much stronger in Him! We both can attest to “He never leaves you and never forsakes you.” There is always a Bigger Plan–trust Him!

Pray For Your Spouse

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A couple weeks back I shared with you all about the importance of praying for our children. But have you considered the same importance over your spouse?  Do you really pray for them or do you pray about them?  Just like with your children, you know them best!  You hear about their day, you hear about their dreams, their wishes, their struggles, their goals–YOU are more than equipped to go to battle on their behalf.
Sure you may pray that he/she has a good day and that their meetings go well or they are protected to and from work–all good prayers but your spouse needs those Big and Bold prayers too.  Today I challenge you to pray for your spouse (after all you more than likely prayed for them to come into your life) not to change them to what you want but what they are created to do and fulfill in this life.

Pray Big and Bold prayers for your Spouse.

I added a few scriptures verses that I believe are helpful in getting started. Look them up and even if you don’t have words to express in prayer, just read these passages over your spouse.

For Protection–Psalm 91-This entire Psalm is amazing to speak over your spouse. It asks the Lord for His protection and deliverance
Prosperity–Jeremiah 29:11 -A great verse to speak life into their future, to remember there is hope
Purpose–Romans 8:28- God works all things out for our good for those who are called according to His purpose
Joy–Nehemiah 8:10 -the Joy of the Lord is our strength.  Pray that simple prayer over your spouse.  So many things happen in a day that can weigh them down, pray that they will be filled with joy
Direction–Proverbs 3:5-6-Our life verse–this verse is our favorite verse! It gives us peace that the Lord is leading and guiding our steps
Love–1 Corinthians 13:4-8–Often called the love chapter of the bible.  Read it and profess it over your relationship, marriage and your spouse.

I can not wait to hear how circumstances will change in your home/life.  Please send me a message of how this commitment to pray for your spouse  has helped he/she and in turn you.  Blessings everyone!

Need someone to pray and believe with you?
 Feel free to leave a comment
or
send me an email:
H2owalkerlife@gmail.com 

Pray for Your Children

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Do you pray for your children? 
I mean really pray for them-not just bless them this day or heal them from this cold or help them at school. While all those are good prayers, I believe that there are prayers where you just go to war on behalf for your kids. You know where it’s not just about the present moment but you end up praying BIG and BOLD prayers for your child.
Think about it for a moment–Who else can pray for them more honestly than you?
You know everything about them already, you’ve watched them grow each day, you know their struggles, their strengths, their weaknesses, their desires, their goals/plans/dreams–you are equipped for battle on their behalf.
Prayer is a big component in our family.  Dan and I know we have three prayer warriors in our home and yes I include our 18 month old.  Before she could say “mama” she knew to say “amen!” These girls have faith and already have experienced the power of faith in their lives.  I remember when our oldest was around 2 1/2 years old and she wanted me to play with her and I would say oh mommy’s “head is hurting, I can’t right now.” She would gently reach out and put her little hand on my head and say, “In Jesus name!”  Then she would turn to me and say “ok, let’s play, you are better now!” See kids learn so much from watching us, don’t they?
Our girls know they can come to us for prayer anytime for anything and we genuinely pray about it. I know I can not be with them 24/7 or even forever–but the prayers I lift up will keep on going before them. You often hear there’s nothing like a mother’s prayer–I believe there’s truth in that. (nothing against father’s but there’s just something very special about a mom/mommy’s prayer)
I encourage praying BIG and BOLD prayers over your children–it will help them, it will sustain them, it will protect them, it will lead them, it will comfort them, it will bring them peace and most importantly it will in turn teach them to pray!

“If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” Matthew 21:22

Need someone to pray and believe with you?
Feel free to leave a comment
or
send me an email:  H2owalkerlife@gmail.com

 

Happy Good Friday

Happy Good Friday Everyone,

What greater love than to lay down your life for someone?

Jesus did!!

He came so that we ALL can live a life free of any sorrow, pain, sickness–the list goes on!

Do you accept His gift?

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My New Gig

img_0632As many of you have probably seen by now I have taken on a new title!  I am very excited and happy to announce that I am the newest contributing columnist to one of the nation’s recognized Latina American parenting and lifestyle sites, Mami of Multiples.  I will be offering advice, tips and resources on family-friendly topics like faith, family and home.  Please head on over and check it out–there are so many helpful resources.

So how did this all happen for me?  Well my story goes back to a couple of years ago when we were still living in VA.  Dan and I were driving to Virginia Beach which is quite a hike for us and trust me when I say, there was always traffic so we would end up talking about everything under the sun. You know those deep convos of sharing where you are in life, your dreams, your desires…well anyway that was what we did to help pass the time on the road.  I clearly remember sharing with him that I felt a bit consumed by the girls.  I didn’t have anything that said “Shivaulie!”  I wanted my own identity. I didn’t just want to be Dan’s wife,  Alyssa and Alaina’s mom at the time, I wanted to reach people and not just in my circle, I wanted to inspire/encourage others.  Now don’t get me wrong, I do love being a wife and a mommy but I knew “Shivaulie” needed her very own outlet too.  He asked me what is one thing that I would love to do but feel like I couldn’t do because it seemed way too big for me? I thought about it and seriously I didn’t even want to say it out loud because I knew he was going to make me accountable for it.  He quietly waited for my answer and I said, ” I would love to write a book one day!” Dan already knew I was going to say that but it’s something else when you hear yourself say it out loud, isn’t it?

We did what we always do, “Commit to the Lord whatever you do and He will establish your plans.” (Proverbs 16:3)  It wasn’t until February of last year that I decided to start blogging.  It didn’t matter to me how many people read it–I was so excited that I was I writing–I had my outlet!  It was an answered prayer. Then the messages came in on how I was that encouragement/inspiration to others through my posts.  Another answered prayer!  Well which brings me back to my recent gig: now a contributing columnist for such a well-known and reputable site, which means I will be reaching all sorts of people from all over the world–not just my circle!  Another answered prayer!

So here’s my question to you:  What is the one thing that you would love to do but feel like you can’t do because it seems too big for you? Say it out loud, hear yourself speak life into it, commit it to the Lord, and work towards it.

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Our Love Story

Dan and I both grew up in the same church but somehow we always seem to miss each other–when he was in the youth group, I wasn’t; when I got to youth group, he was off to college; when he came back, I set out for college!  But little did we know that God had a plan for us.  Skip a few years and our paths finally crossed.

It was the Spring of 1998 and God was working on us, individually.  Dan and a couple of friends went to a church service during the month of April in Pensacola, Florida.  Would you believe that he was praying for his wife?  His prayer was simple–whatever she was going through that the Lord would help her.  He didn’t know at the time that simple prayer, was removing a mountain in my life and preparing my heart to meet him, all while I was away at school in Pennsylvania. This night was our game changer and we didn’t even know it yet!  But God had a plan.

A month later, I came home for the summer and I remember my mom saying to me there was this really great guy that I should meet and how sweet he is and kind and the list went on and on…But how many girls out there really want to hear their mom say, “hey you need to meet this guy because your dad and I really like him?” That was already a non-starter!

A few weeks later, I actually joined the worship team that he lead at our home church and was part of the back up singers. Little did I know this was where the “magic” would take place.  I started to notice how he treated other people, how he encouraged others, I saw his heart that was always ready to give, I saw just how much Jesus meant to him–to me that was the icing on the cake! Even still, I thought–“he was definitely not meant for me”–he was four years older, he already graduated from college and into his career–I was now starting out; he was into working out–let’s just say I simply wasn’t at the time; and for crying out loud, this guy didn’t even listen to hip hop or R&B (that has definitely changed since), so c’mon?

A lot of times we often run from the things we need most in life, don’t we?

Let me say this, Dan and I did meet a few of the “wrong” people before we found each other–It didn’t just happen by the snap of our fingers either.  But I encourage you to stay focused.  Know your worth.  Know what you want in a relationship.  Don’t settle. Trust and pray for that person that will come alongside you to help you not bring you down.  Be proud of who you want to do life with. Think about what will my love story sound like when I tell my kids?

Dan did officially ask me out by the end of that summer and I did actually say yes.  I figured I would stop running from what I already knew in my heart was meant to be. He already was filled with all the characteristics that I always dreamed of to find in a husband and I was already filled with what Dan needed his wife to be. I wish I could share with you all every detail of that evening and every detail of our life together since but we have now been married 16 1/2 years and have 3 beautiful little girls.  As we walk through life together I am so thankful that God had that perfect plan for us.  We definitely love each other more every day that goes by, need each other, support each other, compliment each other’s strengths/weaknesses and most importantly for me–I am still very fascinated by his love for Jesus. 💕

(story written by the wife, I’m sure the husband has a different tale to tell)

 

Blogiversary!

Today’s marks h2owalkerlife 1 year anniversary! Time surely does fly by. Thank you all for supporting and encouraging me this past year as I shared my thoughts/ feelings and my family’s ups and downs with you! What a blessing you all have been to me. I pray that in my writings you find encouragement and your spirits are lifted!
Looking forward to another year filled with even more blessings and great things for h2owalkerlife! 💕

How’s it going?

This very week last year changed the course of our life tremendously.
This was the week, Dan was approached with the decision of a lifetime and as you have read over the last few months it has been quite an adventure! (One Little Yes)
So how is the Feliciano family doing?
I do get lots of texts/emails/messages asking how things are, how the girls are adjusting and so forth.  I figured it’s time for an update.
We are doing great overall!  We have settled in to our new home quite well and getting used to the culture of Florida life. The girls love their new school although it is more challenging they both have stepped up to the plate.  They have made new friends and are excelling in their studies as well.  Alyssa has gotten straight A’s this past quarter and will be in the Spelling Bee representing her school.  Alaina is constantly singing her alphabet, the months of the year, telling us about her science projects, and just loving Preschool.  Aliyah is now 13 months and has four teeth (that she no doubt likes to use on her sisters) and hopefully will be taking her first steps soon as her goal seems to be to keep up with her big sisters!  Dan is busily working his 9-5 and then having to do the church plant as well–his biggest task is to put together a worship team from scratch. So he definitely has his hands full in balancing right now but God is faithful. Me? Well, I’m simply happy.  I am home with Aliyah and that is a huge blessing as we felt it’s definitely worth the sacrifice since we are in a new environment and didn’t want to put her in daycare.  I am also working with the lead pastor’s wife as we have to set up the children’s ministry as well. But I will be honest–I am BUSY!  I don’t know where the time goes during the day.  Before I know it I’m leaving to pick up the girls from school and start our nightly activities.  But let me save that one for another day/another blog entry.

How is life different?  Well for one–us Northern Virginia folks are always rushing around.  So for Dan and I we haven’t really found our rhythm where we find it enjoyable waiting at a traffic light or waiting for service folks to call us back when it’s convenient for them or even getting it straight in our minds that it really is ONLY 15 minutes or less away to our destination. I wouldn’t say grocery or  gas is any cheaper but the fruits and vegetables do taste sweeter.  We are learning the city life in comparison to the suburbs where we grew up. We don’t have the leaves changing but I will say we all take notice of the amazing sunsets that paint the nightly sky.  We do spend more time outdoors, walking on the beach, playground/parks and especially fishing.  In VA, we had no problem eating the fish we caught but fishing here has opened our eyes to a whole different array of colors and types of fish.  So yes we have been catching and releasing, just seems too sad to eat such pretty fish!  We have taken advantage of the Florida residents rates at Disney so any chance we can sneak in a visit to the park we try to. People here are definitely more friendly and we have had to open up more than the usual culture up north would. One of the biggest differences here in St. Pete compared to Northern Virginia are the highways are pretty much empty.  When we first moved, we just couldn’t understand it.  Everyone uses the side streets and everything pretty much intersects one way or the other.  There is no just take I95, I395 or 66!  There are at least three different ways to get the kids to school but watch out the traffic lights will get you!

To sum it all up–our family has gotten closer over these past few months as we do and experience everything new together.  The two older girls share a room currently and they are already trying to convince us that they want that set up permanently (who would have thought) because they love laughing and talking to each other before drifting off to sleep.  To think back to last year at this time that I would be writing about our family living and setting up ministry in Florida seems impossible. But here we are, a year later from when Dan was approached with this opportunity, and that impossible dream is our living miracle each day!
Thank you all for your loving support and your constant prayers.  There is so much to be done in the next few months as we approach the launching of our church, Church By the Bay (CBB) and we covet those prayers as we not only focus on ministry but our family life as well.

Facing the Storm through Rest

9 months

Hi Everyone!  It’s been far too long–I know. But we made it!  We are in St. Pete and enjoying the Florida life as much as we possibly can while setting up our new life here as well. I gotta say I was most amazed at the girls just fitting right in and adjusting to their new environment without any complaints. That was a relief in and of itself.
So we have some catching up to do–a lot has happened in the last 7 months!
Last entry, Dan shared his testimony and how this all began. (See One Little Yes) But that was only the beginning to a whirlwind of events that seemed to rock our boat every single day. I honestly don’t even know where to start and how my words can possibly explain all the emotional ups and downs we have gone through as a family.
It was January 25th and it was our last Sunday at the church that Dan and I grew up in, met, served, and dedicated our children. Our only Pastor we knew our whole lives devoted the entire service to ministering to us, as they chose to send us off as home missionaries to the St. Pete area.  It was truly a blessed time for our family.  We felt encouraged, supported and loved. A moment that Dan and I both continue to cherish dearly. But little did I know there was a storm about to rage.

The waters were getting choppy
Later that evening, we got home and a bit emotionally drained from saying our good byes, I noticed that Aliyah, who was 4 months old at the time, was a bit on the crankier side.  I assumed she was tired from the day’s events.  I put her to bed as usual and she went peacefully to sleep.  The other two girls had gone to bed by then as well and Dan and I were ready to sit and veg a little before bed too.  But strangely enough, Aliyah was up–not crying but rather groaning. I picked her up and just held her for a bit and listened to what sounded like she was in pain.  Dan thought it best to call the doctor sooner than later.  As I called, we began to pray over her tiny body.  She had no symptoms, she was perfectly fine the entire day, no colds, no runny nose, nothing.  I even thought someone had to have picked her up and hurt her shoulders, her arms or something. The next thing we knew we were headed to our urgent care while my siblings watched the other two girls. You know it was one of those feelings, better be safe than sorry.  We got there and she gets checked out but the thing was they couldn’t get her heart rate down. Dan and I looked at each other a bit astonished, after all, we have never gone through any of this with either of the other two girls.  At this moment, he and I were both exhausted from being up and it was around 3:00 am now.  They did an x-ray to check her lungs for pneumonia, hooked her up to increase her oxygen flow, and told us that if her heart rate didn’t slow down, we would be heading to D.C, Children’s Hospital.

The boat began to rock
I found myself sitting in an ambulance for the very first time in my life watching my tiniest baby fighting to breathe as her heart pounded so rapidly in her chest and there was nothing I could do to bring her relief.  I remember her little eyes looking at me so sleepily and I would gently massage her tiny hand as it clung to mine, hoping to bring her comfort in any form that I could. Dan drove our car to Children’s hospital as it was winter and the first snowfall for the season began that evening.  As the ambulance pulled in, Aliyah had drifted off to sleep and I was in a daze as I walked quickly beside the stretcher as it maneuvered each turn ever so sharply to get her to her room quickly.  Dan was just a few minutes behind us and lo and behold our Youth Pastor was with him.  Dan described it best when he said, “it was like seeing an angel standing there waiting for him in the lobby.” (plus she’s pretty tall and has some amazing blond hair) Just to have someone else there with us believing for Aliyah’s healing brought such comfort to two very overwhelmed, exhausted parents.  She suggested Dan go home and get some much needed rest as she stayed back with Aliyah and I.
That was a very, very long day.  Aliyah didn’t get better, in fact she had developed a fever which they didn’t treat and it seemed like one thing after the next. Dan came back and was by our side just praying over our little one.  We decided that evening that we would try to keep somewhat of a normalcy for the other two girls so Dan would come to the hospital after work then leave and be with Alyssa and Alaina and do the nightly routine at home. As he left, I remember saying to him, “she’s fine, she will be just fine, don’t worry.” He wasn’t even gone for an hour and a room full of doctors swept in because her monitors kept going off . Again the pulse and the oxygen levels were not in the normal range.  At this point there still wasn’t a diagnosis.  It was still up in the air whether she even had pneumonia. I sat in the chair, holding her closely as they checked her heart, her lungs, her breathing, her temperature, her everything, it seemed!  I can still hear one of the doctors saying to me, “mom, you are doing great! She will be fine, we just need to figure it out.”  Aliyah didn’t cry, didn’t fuss, it almost seemed like it would take too much energy for that.  She would just look inquisitively at what everyone was doing.

The waves came crashing down
We headed to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. (PICU) I recall just going through the motions.  Our poor baby girl had to get an IV put in with what seemed like the biggest needle for the tiniest little vein and changed into what seemed as an even smaller hospital gown ever. How do they make those things so small?  It was just so heart wrenching to see her go through all this.  Dan was back and came with my dad and brother who came to pray with us but we were not allowed many visitors  in the PICU. There were so many kids in the PICU at that time that the space was separated by a curtain and the parent was given a folding chair to sleep in.  Boy was I happy to be 5 feet tall then!  I was able to snag an extra chair and made it my bed for the next 5 days.  The very next day she was finally diagnosed with RSV–a virus that infects the lungs and breathing passages  But she had also developed bronchiolitis which is an inflammation of the small airways in the lungs. It is a very serious condition for infants and seniors. No meds are administered, just time and how well she adjusts to the breathing machines to aid with the oxygen flow and opening up of her airways.  The end of the week drew closer and we were released to go home that Friday afternoon.  We were so skeptical because it appeared her symptoms were now showing, the coughing, sneezing, fever–she looked like she had the flu. But even still we were discharged with assurance this was all part of it, “it takes time,” we were told.  And we were excited to be home, putting this all behind us and looking forward to recovery.

The boat began to sink
Midnight approached and I see Aliyah lying there in her pack n play beside our bed, struggling to breathe. You know when the doctors ask, “is your child lethargic?”  Well I totally now know what they mean by that–she was so out of it, almost lifeless. Her belly contracting all the way in and her eyes looking up at me helplessly as I already knew from the way she was drawing in her breath what the machine at the hospital would dictate: her low oxygen levels and high heart rate.  We headed for the ER at Children’s once more.  This time our emotions were high.  Everything inside of us wanted to scream.  We were tired, we were frustrated, we trusted the doctors, we can’t help her! As we went through the same song and dance with about 3 doctors to finally get her admitted again, all the what if’s had set in by now.  I can hear our conversation to each other as she finally went to sleep.  See at this point we didn’t have any answers or the picture wasn’t painted for us yet.  We just knew we said Yes to the Lord, we were heading into ministry.  We were just celebrating with our home church right before all this happen–it was an uplifting time. But now, less than one week later our faith was shaken. Were we making the right decision? What if this happened in St. Pete–we don’t have our family there who have been helping us with the older girls? What about insurance? What about money? Is this even a sign to tell us—stay? We were sinking and sinking fast–we couldn’t catch our breath as the water was now rising above our heads. As Dan shared his heart to me, I knew that this situation was only putting fear and doubt into our minds.  It was a real situation, no denying that, but how we climbed out of this sinking boat was going to define our outcome as a family.

The waters calmed, the storm passed
Again our Youth Pastor came and brought us what seemed to be the entire menu at McDonalds! Also our friends Asif and Leaha who we are going into ministry with came and all of us prayed over dear Aliyah. Later that afternoon, Dan and I decided we were going to choose to “rest”.  Sounds crazy? We didn’t have the answers to any of our “what if” questions. Like I said, we didn’t even know what our next step would be to this decision we made.  But what we did know was we were going to keep trusting in the Lord together.  We weren’t going to stand divided but unified in Christ.  We were going to get through this and Aliyah would be stronger and healthier.  We just started professing the good in the situation.  See “rest” for us didn’t mean just throw our hands up and say, “let the chips fall where they may.”  But we “rested” in what we believed in the Bible.  We “rested” in her healing because it was already paid for on the cross.  We weren’t tormenting ourselves with the what ifs. Honestly, as I “rested” I was at more peace, I slept when she slept, I watched as she got stronger and charmed the nurses with her smiles, I even found time to minister to other patients and nurses while we were there.  We believe as we “rested” the Lord was taking care of the details for us.  Sure the boat rocked and seemed to crash over what appeared like 20 foot waves and the storm lasted 10 days for us but when the clouds passed and the sun was shining, our family did not come out  wet, soggy, and hopeless but rather we came out healthier, stronger, at peace, thankful, joyful!

I don’t know the storm you are facing, but I say rest! Let God do the work for you as you trust in His love and  experience His grace.

To Be  Continued…

One Little Yes

 

IMG_5813If you have been checking out my blog you might be wondering when will she address this walking on water, H2owalkerlife bit. Well I am ready to share some pretty amazing things (over time) that has been happening in our family. Most people whether church goers or not have come across the story of Peter walking  on water with Jesus. For those who might not have read or heard this before you can find the story in Matthew 14: 22-23.
Walking on water always equates to the impossibility of a task and the faith it took for Peter to climb out of the boat filled with safety and comfort and being willing to take a step into an element of the unknown.

So where do I start? Dan tells it best…

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Who knew that one little YES would lead to answering a 15 year-long prayer?!
In late summer of 2014, my longtime friend, Asif Shaikh, sent me a copy of the Circle Maker, seemingly out of the blue.  We hadn’t really connected in over 10 years so He had no way of knowing at the time that I was in the midst of a real struggle to discern the will of God for my life.  Over the past 15 years the Lord blessed me with a wonderful family, successful career, nice home, and I was even volunteering as a worship leader at our church. But all that time I knew in my heart that there was a bigger dream, a greater calling from the Lord on my life towards full-time ministry…I just couldn’t see how it could ever happen.  Until one night, out of pure frustration, I admitted to Shivaulie how I wished God would just someway, somehow send someone to flat out offer me a job as a full-time worship pastor!  I felt so ridiculous even hearing myself say it.  But she lovingly reminded me of how things in life just don’t work that way…and she encouraged me to actively seek out different places to serve until I could find the right opportunity…great advice I never followed.  I did, however, follow her advice to plan out a 40 day Circle Maker prayer and fasting marathon leading up to my 40th birthday, hoping that by the end of it, I would hear from the Lord.  Well honestly, my 40th birthday came and went…I didn’t get clear direction, but I did receive a fresh revelation of God’s peace and rest, and a renewed confidence to trust Him to do the impossible. On November 5th, 2014, I said YES to a casual lunch invitation from Asif for us to catch up since he was serving at NCC in DC. (Mark Batterson’s church)  Midway into our lunch Asif leans across the table and flat out asks me if I would be willing to serve as his worship pastor for a new church plant in St. Petersburg, Florida!  I was stunned.  The only response I could muster was…umm, I’ll pray about it.  He didn’t know how I was desperately seeking the Lord for the past 15 years for this opportunity, or how I fasted and prayed for 40 days circling this dream in prayer.  I went home that night and told Shivaulie still stunned that God had heard and directly answered my frustrated prayer.  I thought I had given up on that dream, but really, I had just given it completely to the Lord. After receiving wise spiritual counsel from Shivaulie, my dad and a close friend, I unexpectedly found myself on a plane to St. Pete that very weekend to seek and hear from the Lord in the very place I was being called to serve. I knew that saying YES to this calling would be saying NO to what we had accomplished the last 15 years of our life…leaving behind our immediate family and close friends, our home, our careers, our church and community.  But I quickly realized that the past 15 years spent crying out to God, were the same 15 years God was preparing me, maturing me, and nurturing me for the next season in my life…but now it was up to me to say YES.  After a weekend of fasting and prayer in St. Pete, I knew beyond a doubt that this call was from the Lord and I came home saying YES. Since that one little YES to lunch, and then that one big YES to serve in the new church plant, God has shown Himself in miraculous ways.  (Dan Feliciano)

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This testimony is still unfolding and as Dan, the kids and I embark on this new adventure where we are walking on water with Jesus, I will continue to share with you our lessons learned, our ups AND downs, and it all began with one little YES…!

(TO BE CONTINUED…)

 

 

 

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