Meditation and Faith

FeaturedMeditation and Faith

My God is the God of miracles.

I repeated over and over again last night a motto or a mantra that kept me from allowing any idle thought from taking over. “My God is the the God of miracles” I repeated, then began to pray.

“You are the God of Elijah. You provided food and water in his time of need. You provided shield from the scorching sun for Jonah, even in his disobedience. These are your people, before your salvation came to us. So how much more for your daughter, will you give unto me in my time of need. I love and desire you. I cry out to you. You are my provider. . .”

I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11

Even when the night brings its anxiety and depression. I call out for strength. I find myself in tears some nights when my days are filled with love and excitement. I feel alone sometimes. I learned that is okay to feel because the truth still stands. The truth is I am never alone. I cannot allow this lie to over take my darkest hour. No one person will ever fulfill my thirst for love because it must continually be quenched with the constant. In my inconsistent lifestyle, I have a savior. He calls me his own before any name change from Ramos to Payne, I was branded with Jesus’ name across my heart, across my forehead. I walk in His likeness even when I do not feel it. Truth is not found in the seen. It is found in the unseen.

For too long, I have sat on my dreams and goals. I believed the fear of failure was greater than what God had planned for my life. Like Peter walking out on the water but soon sinking, I took my faith to the next level just to see the waves in my life overtake my faith. Thankfully, like Peter, I was caught by none other than the Savior of the world.

Today, I urge you to find out what seems to be keeping you from the greatest that God has for you. It might be unwanted debt, fear of failure, sickness, or a stronghold like pornography or cheating. Yeah, it just got real guys. I know we all face our giants. I am not perfect either. I can tell you I am facing/have faced some of those things listed. Guess what? My God is always greater than whatever you are facing. Victory is just around the corner. It is time to claim your it!


Good Enough

FeaturedGood Enough

Three years ago I had a very passionate roommate. She studied theology with an emphasis on missions and outreach. She had a heart for victims of human-trafficking. I found her love for Jesus contagious. I began to seek God much more than I could have ever imagined. I want to believe I did the same for her. I see her now on social media, occasionally. I know she is doing what God has planned for her, like I am where I need to be in this season. I say where God wants me to be without a doubt, but my faith is not at any great length this week. In fact, you can say it is about the size of a mustard seed.

Have you seen the size of a mustard seed? Those seeds are pretty small. These past few week have had me running circles around doubt and fear. I made the mistake in allowing those who do not believe in Jesus Christ to influence my worldview. I began to believe that there was something to fear in this season of my life. It was my mistake but after a long and early morning, I found myself once again in front of this laptop with my fingers gliding across this keyboard in order to give you the gift I always wish to give to you, my reader. The gift of joy and warmth. This is where I wish to find you. I want you and me to have this meeting as often as you want to encounter my blog.

I love to dream. I love giving myself room to ponder endless possibilities of how any special event will go. It allows me to be creative. Sometime though, my thoughts and desires overwhelm me. Sometimes I find myself waking up on a day like any other day in anxiety and grief.

Today, I do not believe I am good enough to be writing to people with words of encouragement when I have yet to be encouraged. That is the truth in how I feel, but I know I am not dictated by my feelings. Well, after a long morning of tears and sobbing I realize that I cannot be moved by how I feel.

I have been surrounded by loved ones who have reminded me that everything will work out. I guess that is true. I know I have a loving husband. I know I have an encouraging family. I know I have friends out there who genuinely pray for me and check-in on me often. I know this because I love my husband dearly, I love my family, and I do my best to keep my friends in my prayers. Every once in a while, I find myself in a good conversation with a friend or two. I am reminded that I am loved and sometimes even then I do not believe I am, once again, good enough for my life. The greatest truth in this is that I am good enough. I am so loved. I am beautiful especially when I do not see it. I am smart even when I cannot think straight. I am enough.

Hear My Heartbeat

FeaturedHear My Heartbeat

Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?” I said, “Here I am. Send me.” Isaiah 6:8


I see myself in the midst of darkness with my eyes closed and my heart beating. There are ripples of light coming from my chest. They are reaching streets and highways filled with people in their cars and pedestrians alike. Before today, I would maybe share this with a handful of people, if anyone at all. But I also promised myself to share from the heart. This image was the only gift I could give you. It is to remind you to have compassion for all people.

I was reminded of the song “Hear My Heart” by Andy Mineo today while listening to a podcast by Zoe Church out in Los Angeles, California. Friends, I want you to hear my heartbeat for my city.

For too long, I have been excusing the sight of half empty churches on Sundays. I know I have friends out here in San Diego. They are finding countless reasons to do what, they feel, is more important than pursuing the life God has planned for them. I hear excuses like, I need to live my testimony first or I am just not there right now, maybe when I am a little bit older but not now. 

In a culture and a city where we are offered thousands of other activities to do instead of being in a positive environment, I stand in a room with a capacity to hold forty to fifty people but only twelve are standing before me. I am tired of blaming everyone but myself for the lack of Christianity in my city. I see now I am the solution to this problem, and if you are reading this and saying to yourself, “Yeah, Norma I totally agree with you” allow yourself to be informed that you too are the solution as well. You are here to be the high-tower projecting light into the darkness.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34

Today, we live among those who are hurt and in fear. Sometimes, I find myself overwhelmed with grief for the body of Christ. I hear some people say that prayer is not enough, we need action, but prayer is the action we make for it is only through Him that we will find truth. We activate our faith which guides us to speak and do what is righteous before God.

When were we deemed the holy crusaders of today, burning down villages and churches in the name of the Lord? Honor is not about choosing a blue stripe or a black flag; if you place those symbols before your faith, then you are the problem.

I am no super hero. I have no super powers. Honestly, I wish I had super speed, but that is a topic for another day. I am a human being. I am almost twenty-three and guess what? I do not have all the answers. I know that I do not know it all. What a shock right?

That image I described before, is not the way I see myself. Heck, I am sure it is not the way any person sees me. Today, I hope you have a desire to hear what your heart is beating for. Is it wanting to make your city a better place? Do you have a pulse of compassion? What happens when no one knows what God can give? Will you put your pride aside and stand to be the solution to a desert city in desperate need of water. Will you be at the well asking for drink?


A Letter to My Past Self

FeaturedA Letter to My Past Self

Dear twenty-year-old Norma,

Your smile is contagious, never forget that. You are better than you feel. The papers will pile up, but I promise you education is power, so pursue it relentlessly. Be happy to make new friends. It is always a good idea to laugh along and smile back at people. Do not run away from your problems. It is when you approach them head on that you will find your victory, every time. Enjoy where you are no matter what. You do not know when you will have your last conversation with someone you consider a best friend. It is more than okay to move on.

Dear younger Norma, do not run in front of that car. If they walk away from you, it is not always to hurt you. Growth is healthful. Like a sunflower blossoms in the summer and a tulip in the spring, people have their own seasons too. Every time you see someone receive what you have been asking for, rejoice with them. It is only preparing you for your next blessing.

Enjoy the company of those you feel might not be worth your time. They are worth your time. Remember to love with God’s love and help with His heart. Hug with intention. Use your words with piercingly loving precision. It has not failed yet.

Forget that five year plan you made at seventeen. Allow God to guide you first. Allow Him to show you what His plan is for you and follow that. Stay focused. Remember to love no matter the situation. Love is rewarding. Teaching fiercely does not mean anything if you do not correct in love. Tolerance is not love, remember this too.

Dear second semester of sophomore year Norma, yes, you loved him at eighteen, but nothing like you will love him at twenty-two. I will let you know about twenty-three, but I am sure it will be so much greater. Be patient with your dreams. Do not lose them. Dreams are hope and inspiration. They are the vehicle to your destination. Faith is your fuel. Love is the motion.

Do not underestimate yourself. You have more to offer than you feel like you ever had. Remember to always give God every problem. Give God permission to dig deep into the foundation of your being, daily. Allow Him to pour himself into you. Doing so brings your gunk to the surface and that is okay. This is why it is always important for His love to be overflowing. True love is without void and is always forgiving.

Norma, forgive others daily until you know you are healed. Know that you are not enough by yourself and that is okay. Do not expect yourself to be perfect for another person, we all face adversity. Be sensitive to those in need of a hug or a smile.

It is okay to be happy without a smile plastered on your face. A smile can also be an excellent self-reminder of how happy you really are.

With best regards,

Norma Payne



Anticipation of Advent

Anticipation of Advent

Twinkling light trimmings across buildings and houses.

I watch movies and hear songs sung.

Party here dinner there.

Red lipstick, high heels, and dresses.

I cannot sing without a jingle bell 

Say rock, say rock.

With a O Holy Night

And Away in a Manger.

Christmas this. Christmas that.

Trees, bells, garland, and Santa.

‘Twas the night before the night before

The whole world wishes good

World Peace and good will toward men.

No wonder we call it

The most wonderful time of the year.

What it Takes to be Mighty

What it Takes to be Mighty

They call her little or small but she knows

Even the smallest wolf in the wolf pack 

Howls at the moon and the sky

They do not know her size

It is the strength in her heart that resounds

She calls for her wants and her needs

The wilderness bows to their knees.

She is mighty.

The world is vast.

There are many faces, many minds

Many minds with billions of voices.

Her heart overflows with passion and unrest.

Not everyone hears her.

She speaks anyway

For she is mighty.

There is nothing she calls to her name

No wealth, no land.

Nothing but a working body and health.

Her mind is intact.

She is free.

No one can touch her dreams.

She knows who holds the world.

She is mighty.

My Life Painted Red

My Life Painted Red

La vie en rose for the spring, I love you.

Autumn amber settles my soul from September to late October.

Paint my life red now

My sweet sweet December rouge.

I want to melt in all of your love

I see colors of gray and blue.

Fight the wind and fog, I just want to see you.

Bring your colors of warmth and rage.

I want your passion and readiness.

Give me strength to carry on.

I want to love indefinitely and relentlessly.

Inspire me. Embrace me.

Your smile both brings joy and fear.

I shake from excitement and love.

I am a little all over the place.

But my love is devoted.

So take my love wholly.

In any avenue and fashion.

Paint my life red.

December Arrival: Birthday Post

December Arrival: Birthday Post

Good morning Once Twentied readers.

The day is Friday, the second of December in the year two thousand and sixteen. If you are living in sunny Southern California, the weather is somewhere between forty-eight and fifty-two degrees (Fahrenheit of course) with clear skies. Low winds are expected throughout the day with mild cloud coverage. If you live elsewhere, too bad. It is the perfect day to visit the sunny side of the golden state. Today is a good day. It is December.We have arrived.

Twenty-three years ago I rushed into this world with my ever signature dramatic style. I have been rolling in the mercy, grace, and glory ever since. It is my birthday and I know it is always important to celebrate because I was born with purpose. I was created to change the world. I have arrived for this appointed time to effect change in this world. Do you know what else? You are meant to change your world as well. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. If you doubt what I say, I know someone adores you. I know God does. And if you are special to Him, then you are special to me.

Today is our day, because this is the day the Lord has made and we will rejoice, and guess what? I sure as heck, will be glad in it. Do you want to know why I know this? The Bible told me so.

Last month I toiled my soul for new words of inspiration and found nothing. My heart was void of all things I wanted to say. I felt gray. Thanksgiving was great but today is different. Today I declare the real reason for this season (inner church kid self-five), Christmas time is here.

I listen to Christmas music from mid-September to Boxing Day. I spend those months working on Christmas plays. I am an aspiring playwright. Today my play will be produced at my local church. Someday I might hit Broadway. I dream of one of my plays being performed at  Brooklyn Tabernacle’s Christmas production someday.

The Christmas season was meant to invoke the anticipation of the Savior coming to earth. This is advent. The King of kings is coming and His party is going to be lit. The birthday boy will be the talk of the town, because when he shows up, angels will sing and wise men from the east will arrive from their long journey with gifts. I heard there might be a DJ by the name of Drummer Boy.

Jesus is so cool. He is so hipster, he was born in a manger with hay in a barn before it was popular to have an outdoor barn type of reception or event. His arrival was perfect. Jesus is perfect. He came to earth, so humble. He was born to a young girl who loved God and became a servant to Him. She carried the Son of God. She loved him like her own son, knowing He would always be God’s first.

I know this season might be a little lonely for some people. I have my moments too. You are not alone. You are never too far from love either. I encourage you to find a good advent devotional this month. Follow it everyday. Learn what it is like to anticipate something more than a gift from Santa. I promise the gifts God brings are way cooler and a lot more useful.