5 Honest Questions And Answers On How To Cultivate Our Friendships

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These are my sisters, Monica and Olga. To me, they’re Mimi and Tata. Not pictured is our crazy/fun big brother, Fernando. Or as we like to call him, Chico. I love the unique friendships I have with each one of them. This post goes out to my #1s: Mimi, Tata, and Chico ❤

Friendships are difficult to nurture and cultivate. In all honesty, the area in my life that I’m constantly thinking about, trying to make better, and evaluating is the area of friendship.

Today, on #NationalBestFriendDay, I’m just going to share questions I’ve had myself (and even googled lol) about friendship and what I believe God’s truth tells us about them. Alrighty, here it goes…

1. Should I “break up” with a toxic friend?

I guess it depends what we consider toxic. Personally, I believe someone is toxic when they steer you in the wrong direction. When you feel like you have to compromise who you are around them. I also believe toxic friends are people considered “frienemies”. Also known as people who act nice but behind closed doors hurt their friends (gossip, slander, rival, covet, envy, etc) or use them for selfish ambition (See James 3:16).

I’ve come to the conclusion, that YES, I should break up with these people. If they lead me away from Jesus, if I feel comfortable doing the wrong stuff around them, if there’s clear indication that they’re envious or deceitful, then it’s time to “break up”.

When I think of what Jesus came to earth to give us–freedom, abundance, life–none of the above things equal that.

Which leads perfectly to…

2. How do I deal with comparison, competition, and jealousy amongst my friends?

Keeping the last question in mind, sometimes they’re just going through their own struggles in life. We live in a world that tells us we need to keep up, we need to be better, we need to have it all.

I’ve come to terms with the reality that only God knows people’s true intentions. So if I’m on the receiving end of comparison or competition or jealousy and this person is a good friend and is simply going through a personal struggle, I will give them the benefit of the doubt. I will try to find out what’s going on in their life. I won’t make assumptions.

And if I’m the one feeling all these ugly emotions, I will work diligently to repent, give them up to God and ask Him to help me celebrate my friends. I will ask for His joy. I will ask Him to protect my heart and friendships. I learned this important lesson from our struggle with infertility and seeing loads of my friends become moms. Believing that God will work ALL things together for my good (see Romans 8:28), has helped me understand that who I am, what I have, and what I do, right at this moment, is enough.

3. Friends, best friends, close friends, what is the difference?! And why is it such a big deal?

I think we’re called to love everyone. No, we won’t have intimate relationships with everyone. And some relationships change with time. I truly want to avoid putting people in categories. I do it all the time and it’s just not healthy. If you’re my friend and I’m yours there’s no further validation needed. I will be there for you. I will love you. I will be there for the good and bad. We’re called to love our neighbor. Regardless of how close or not we are to them. (See John 13:34).

4. Why is this person pushing me away?

I’ve noticed that the people I push away or avoid are always the people that bring the most wisdom and value to my life. They are the ones that give me tough love. They are the people who give it to me how it is. They are the people who aren’t afraid to call me out and stretch me.

Why are we so weird? I heard this great line in a movie the other day. The lead character said, “when you see certain people, you just can’t pretend anymore. Because they know you. The real you. And maybe that’s why you avoided seeing them for so long”.

I’ve totally been there. And I’ve also been the neglected friend. Both sides suck. And can really damage a relationship. BUT, it’s never too late to make things right. As children of God, we are called to be reconcilers. Not grudge keepers. (See Ephesians 4:32. Also here’s a great passage to determine HOW to do reconcile the right way: Matthew 18: 15-17).

5. Why am I being rejected and left out?

When this thought pops into my head, I’ll be honest, I’ll let it linger and linger and linger. But every time I bring this to God he reminds me that those thoughts are lies. I am NOT rejected or left out. He has already picked me, made me worthy, accepted me, and I am loved by Him (See Ephesians 1:4-6).

In bringing this to God, I usually feel the Holy Spirit ask me why I so desperately need to be accepted and recognized by people? It’s good to feel loved and known by others. But it shouldn’t be something we depend on.

We won’t always be friends with the people we think we “should” be friends with. We won’t always be accepted by people. We won’t always “mesh” with the group of people we long to connect with. But we can rest assured that God knows who we need in our lives. And He is directing our steps towards the right people (See Proverbs 16:9).

Well, that’s all for now

That was a lot, actually. And if you got to this point, THANK YOU SO MUCH for reading all of it. And I hope you’re encouraged. And since today is #nationalbestfriendday, why don’t you send this to ALL your friends. Or simply let them know you care.

P.S. Go to my Instagram Story today and enjoy some free sharable templates I created. I’ll also add them to my highlights just in case you miss them. They’re meant for you and your friends to connect and have fun together. ENJOY 🙂

The Styld by Grace Summer Ready Sale

Styldbygrace_JoyMugThis summer loving girl is so ready for sunshine, long days, and sunkissed skin! To kick-off the summer and this long Memorial Day weekend (PTL!), the Styld by Grace shop will be running a HUGE SUMMER BLOWOUT.

Here are the savings you can look forward to starting today, May 24th and ending May 31st:

👚 Tees 40% Off
☕️ Mugs 30% Off
📜 Prints 20% Off
👛 Canvas bags 20% Off

No coupon needed 😉

Styld by Grace goods are so versatile and affordable. You can get something for your recent grad, a bride, or a new homeowner.

My Top 3 fave items are the Joy Mug, the Beautiful In Every Way Canvas Bag, and the Take Heart Print.

Will you be taking advantage of the sale? Let me know what you’ll be adding to your cart 🙂 I’ll be sure to pack your order with lots of care and love ❤

5 Facts About Infertility Everyone Needs To Know

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If you’ve been following the discussion around #NIAW, then you must have read the many stories of people going through this struggle.

The stories are so important to bring awareness. I also believe that hard facts and statistics can make this medical issue (because it is a medical issue) less taboo and easier to talk about.

Not only that but maybe more people will advocate and work to get better medical coverage for it.

Here are 5 important facts/statistics you need to know about infertility:

1. The CDC lists infertility as not being able to get pregnant (conceive) after one year (or longer) of unprotected sex. In my opinion, if something is listed by the CDC as an illness, then it needs to be seen and known as a medical issue. Therefore, the necessary work needs to be done to bring awareness, get funding for research, and people who are diagnosed with infertility should be able to seek reliable treatment and reasonable coverage.

The next time you talk to someone struggling with infertility, remember it’s not always as simple as “letting go” or “not stressing about it”. It could be an issue they are battling medically. Which can be very draining emotionally and physically.

2. Infertility is actually very common. 1 in 8 couples struggles with infertility. You may very easily know someone who is battling infertility. 6% of women aged 15 to 44 are unable to get pregnant after one year of trying to conceive. It could be your sister, your brother, your aunt, your coworker, or your friend on Instagram. I’m amazed at the number of people that I know personally that have been diagnosed with infertility. Just in my family, there are 3 people who are struggling with it.

I’m much more aware of what to say, what to bring up, what to keep to myself, and what questions not to ask at this point. But I think we should all start rethinking the questions and suggestions we give others about family planning. It’s too common and too sensitive to ignore.

3. Men struggle with infertility as well. This isn’t just something that happens to women. Or to people of a certain age group. Or people who waited “too long”. As I mentioned earlier this week in our personal infertility story, my husband was diagnosed with infertility. We are in our late 20s and we try to have a healthy lifestyle. Yet, here we are. This issue touches all kinds of people. Again, it’s important to be aware and be sensitive with our words, suggestions, and assumptions.

4. Infertility can be treated with medicine, surgery, intrauterine insemination, or assisted reproductive technology. And sometimes a combination of these methods are used. BUT…

5. Only 15 states have infertility insurance laws. But that doesn’t mean that it is mandatory for insurances to cover infertility treatments. It’s up to the employer to decide what kind of coverage they’ll provide.

Being that it is a common medical condition, it saddens me that many people don’t get medical attention because they can’t afford it. And if they do, they are using their life savings for it. 

We are so thankful that our current insurance covers the majority of the infertility treatments we need. But that’s not the case for everyone.

Be reminded when meeting or speaking to someone with infertility that they might be carrying a major financial burden. Not only is it draining emotionally and physically, but also financially.

Encouragement for people struggling with infertility: call your insurance before you cross off any type of treatment. Your insurance might cover what you need and you may not even know it. This was the BEST advice I received.

There’s hope in the middle of all this:

I’ve learned so much during this season. I’ve learned to be empathetic. I now understand what it is to grieve. I now understand what it feels like to get a bad report from a doctor. I now understand why these things matter. I now can be there for people going through similar experiences. IT’S NOT ALL BAD. Even though it feels like it.

One thing I also now know is that my God has the power to overcome ALL these facts. Facts, reports, and statistics are great. They inform us and move us to action. But God’s power, sovereignty, and goodness can contend with these things and win every time.

He truly has the final say. He provides the resources. He provides exactly what we need and when we need it. In Him, we live, breathe, and move. He is the one orchestrating a miracle in motion.

Please share this with someone. Let’s help bring awareness and hope.

With love & appreciation,
Theresa

References:
https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/infertility/index.htm https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/infertility/publichealth.htm

Quote credit for “Miracle in Motion” to @richwilkersonjr and his amazing sermon series Miracle in Motion. Which you should definitely check out 🔥

Hand lettered & Faith-filled Mobile Wallpapers

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Words are powerful. And when you’re going through a valley season, they are especially powerful. Words can defeat you or encourage you. And one word of encouragement can really change your day. At least that’s what I’ve experienced while struggling with infertility.

Whether the encouragement came from a friend, a blog, or God’s word, they have been pillars of my mental and spiritual health.

The artworks I created, which can be downloaded for free below, are some of the words that have helped and continue to help me stay hopeful, faith-filled, and give me permission to go through every emotion I’m feeling.

I hope they encourage you and give you strength. Share them with others who need them too.

Download the wallpapers by clicking on the wallpaper. Then, right-click if you’re on a desktop or long press if you’re on a mobile device.


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Note: quotes come from different sources that I’ve seen on the web. They are not original quotes. 

Hope After My Husband’s Infertility Diagnosis

NIAW_Husbands_Infertility_Diagnosis_ImageIn recognition of National Infertility Awareness week, I’d like to give honor where honor is due. To my husband, Edward, who was diagnosed with infertility almost a year ago.

He is a rock. He is strong. He is resilient. He is faithful. He is steadfast. He is hopeful. How he’s been able to see the silver lining in all of this is beyond me. But he has no idea how God has used him to increase my faith.

This past weekend, I took a three-hour drive all by myself to attend one of my closest friend’s baby shower. Edward had to work and couldn’t take off. And honestly, I was looking forward to the time alone.

I needed the open road, no distractions. During this alone time, I started telling God how I felt about all this infertility stuff. How I didn’t understand why He couldn’t just heal Edward. How I didn’t understand why Edward. This guy, who has a pure heart, all the intention in the world to take care of his family, can’t have kids easily. WHY?!

The resounding question: WHY?!

I truly felt (kinda still feel) angry for Edward. Yet he is completely full of faith and hope. Despite hearing the worse news any person who desires children can hear, he believes wholeheartedly that God will keep His promise to us.

I’m the one who questions. He’s the one who continually trusts. Anxious versus peaceful. That’s how I’d describe our personalities. It works. And somehow God knew we needed each other.

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In that moment of asking God, He quieted my questions with “I knew this would happen, Theresa. I had Edward in mind. I knew he’d meet you. I knew you’d be angry. And he’d be at peace. I knew he would need the fight you bring. And you’d need the calm he brings. I didn’t bring illness to his life. I brought you to him. His helper. The person who would be able to go through this with him”.

What a revelation! I can’t help but cry as I write this. You see, Edward may have been born with infertility issues or it could’ve developed with time. Who knows. But, what I do know is that God didn’t cause this. In fact, before Edward was born, He knew how and when He’d bring about the miracle. And if God chose me to be the vessel to bring about the miracle, then I humbly accept the call.

Now more than ever, I believe that God isn’t in the business of causing pain or affliction. He’s in the business of restoring, providing and giving life. He joins people together and provides the resources needed. Not every miracle looks the same. But it doesn’t make it less of a miracle.

I want to encourage you and let you know that God knows the need, the desire, and the intention, of our hearts. And He will always show up when those things are aligned with His perfect will. Your miracle, our miracle is in the works. He knows. He is working on it. And He may be using you as the vessel for that miracle.

With all my love and appreciation,
Theresa

P.S. I’ll be blogging each day this week in honor of National Infertility Awareness Week. (Did you know it affects 1 in 8 people?!) Some of the posts will be about what’s next in our personal infertility journey, free artwork to encourage those struggling with infertility, and important facts about infertility. Hope you stay tuned!