About this Blog

The purpose of this blog is to encourage your personal, daily walk with Jesus Christ, by seeing Him through the eyes of Mark Rodriguez. Updates will be made regularly so please subscribe. Most posts are taken from Mark's private journals or written by his mother unless otherwise noted.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Happy Birthday



Happy Birthday!  I love celebrating your birth every year, even though the world tries to hide You.  Father, thank you so much for sacrificing your heavenly throne and being born as a baby.  Your sacrifice shows how much you love us.  If you were willing to come into this broken, dark world to save us, you must really care for us.  Thank you...


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Our Wish for You this Christmas

Our “Different Kind of Christmas” Wish

Within days of Mark’s death, I started dreading the holidays.  How on earth would I find any desire to celebrate anything, ever again, without the boy who first made me a mommy? Without seeing him loping through my kitchen stealing donut holes, and hugging me with his rough beard scratching my face?  Without his gentle, “Oh, Mama, relax” All the traditions, laughter, memories we have shared are now finite. There will be no more on this earth with him.  This creates a physical pain that should stop my heart, but somehow doesn’t.  There are days when my bed calls me to escape into sleep where I can pretend none of this ever happened.  Sometimes I answer that call and hope to wake up and find out this was a mistake, it wasn’t really him in the car.

I’m not going to lie.  Some days we are just going through the motions, like shadows of the family we used to be.  We crawl in bed together and weep without speaking.  We forget things and snap at each other.  We lose ourselves in reading, and projects and games…anything to keep us from thinking about the tragedy that has hit us like a meteorite and has left a huge hole in our hearts. 

But some days we do actually laugh, connect and sometimes even dance.  And as we have somehow breathed through the summer, start of School (what would have been Mark’s senior year), Daniel and Maria’s birthdays, we have learned a new rhythm.  It is a rhythm of dependence on God for our very breath.  And in these moments, we look at each other with sad, but hopeful, bloodshot eyes and know we will be okay.  God is breathing into us a New Song.  It is in a minor key, for now, but it is a new beautiful song nonetheless. 

So, like it or not the holidays are here.  And oddly, I have found myself enjoying preparing for Christmas.  I had a twinge of guilt about that.  Not because Mark would mind…oh no…he would demand I celebrate.  But more because a newly grieving Mother is supposed to suffer through Christmas, right? Isn’t that what we hear?  “The holidays are so hard.  You just have to get through them.”  It is very normal to hear that the tree doesn’t get put up for years or it is just too painful to decorate.  I get it, I really do.  When I pulled out the stocking I made for Markie as a baby, it wrecked me.   I dread the moment when I call the kids to sit on the steps for our traditional Christmas morning picture.  No words can describe the panic and pit in my stomach I feel when I think about that.  And, as I continue to share where I am, please know that I am only speaking for myself in this moment and may very well crawl in a hole on Christmas day.  And I don’t judge anyone who does.  This is an unbearable pain and you just have to do what you have to do sometimes to make it to the next minute.

But here is the deal…Christmas is not about Mark.   It is no more about Mark than it is about Santa.  It is about Jesus, a God-person.  It is His birthday, and I would no more not acknowledge his birthday than I would not acknowledge Will or Daniel or Maria’s birthdays.  And this year, the meaning is even deeper and more special because I am so aware that because of God’s love for me He sent his Son to die for me.  Sure, He knew how it would all end, but He still had to watch what He most loved die a painful death, and then overcome the power of the grave!  Of course, He is God, but does that lessen the pain?  Or maybe because He is the perfect Father, it actually increases the pain? If Grief is the cost of Love, wouldn’t the Ultimate Love Grieve the Hardest?  The ultimate sacrifice made because of love…wow.   Because of this, I can be in relationship with God and one day be reunited with my Mark for all eternity as we worship God together.  

So this Christmas, I refuse to celebrate Fake Christmas.  Putting wreaths on my windows makes me want to cuss.  Not an act of worship.  I’m not doing it.  (Think about it, would you want someone cussing while making your birthday cake?) I might not feel like going to parties, or baking cookies and that is okay.  But I am going to do things that say, “I love you, Jesus.”  I am going to connect with my son, Mark, in heaven because Christ lives in me and Christ lives in Mark.   I am going to treasure memories, and offer my tears to God as a liquid gift this Christmas.  I am going to accept His Gift of Jesus as I breathe in and out.  Yes, Christmas will be hard.  But I refuse to “just get through it.”  Life is too short for that.  I believe that God has special gifts for those of us who have an empty seat or seats at our table this year.  Let’s invite Jesus to fill that empty space and watch for what He has for us…whether through tears or laughter.  So…this year, I might not wish you a Merry Christmas, but I can wholeheartedly wish you a Hope-Full Christmas. 

God is Super Good.

Leigh Ellen

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Perfect Picture of Imperfection

Psalm 8

...Look at how often my plans falter, how much I screw up. I am the perfect picture of imperfection. Yet you, this One who never fails, who has done it all perfectly from the beginning, whose glory is displayed all around me, love me.  And you have given me power and authority.  It's funny, because it's like, "Are you sure you want my screwed up self to be a crucial part of your master plan? Do you really want to count on me to continue a design that's thousands of years old? That doesn't seem very smart to trust me with that." Yet, you do.  You've given me skills and gifts to carry out your will.  Thank goodness I have your Spirit within me, or this would go very poorly.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Prayer for Passion

Summer 2010 (13 years old)

Be my Guide and Lord

You've done so much for me.  Yet, unfortunately, I continue to sin.  I need a guide, someone who will be my Lord and Passion.  Mr. McAdoo asked us what our passion was, and you might not be mine.  I want you as my passion, though.  I want to honestly be able to say, without a doubt, that I love you first and foremost.  Make that happen please.  

I love you, 

Friday, December 12, 2014


undated but Summer 2010 (Mark was 13 years old)


Dear God, 

This week's devotion theme was kind of based on needing you.  Without you I'd be nothing.  Without you there is no everlasting life.  But since I have you, I know I"ll be with you in Heaven someday.  Until then, I can amass more followers to be with you.  Please give me strength for his.


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Strong in the Storm

7/22/13 (Nicaragua dia cuatro)

Morning prayer
--Teach me to worship you in new ways

  You won’t relent…

Set me as a seal upon your heart
As a seal upon your arm,
For love is strong as death
Jealousy is fierce as the grave.
It’s flashes are flashes of fire,
The very flame of the Lord.
Many waters cannot quench love,
Neither can floods drown it.

Song 8:6-7a

--Nothing quenches God’s love for me
--True love—patient, kind, selfless, enduring
--My love for God is meant to be constant, strong in the storm
 --Lord, give me the faith to follow this calling wherever it may lead...
--Thank you for your faithfulness
You won't relent by Misty Edwards 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

"God is Super Good" Ornament Benefits NCS Nicaragua Mission Trip

Norfolk Christian Schools is taking a group of students to Nicaragua this Summer on a Missions Trip.  To help the students raise money for this trip, these ornaments have been custom made and are on sale for $20.  Contact Leigh Ellen Rodriguez at lerbeach@gmail.com.  All profits will go towards the NCS Missions trip.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Defining Principles

From 7-19-13

It’s time for me to put the principles I preach in practice. 
Bravery over safety, Blind Faith,  Uncircumstantial Joy

Friday, November 7, 2014

You Stoop Down




You have opened my eyes to your glory.  I can get wrapped up in joy merely by walking down a path at sunset.  I have seen your beauty, your complexity, your infiniteness.

What amazes me is that, despite how beautiful you are, you love me.  While I am dirty and cursed and sick, you stoop down to cleanse, bless, and heal me.  You have made me into one of the beautiful things I admire.  Therefore, my sole purpose is to proclaim your greatness and worship your glory.  Open my mouth and allow me not to keep my wonder for you in my eyes, but also in my voice. 

You are beauty and grace.


Tuesday, November 4, 2014



We live in a world of changing and unchanging circumstances, but I believe that God has given each of us the ability to be joyful in everything. What areas of my life am I always complaining or grumbling about? I can change them.

Then Mark applied the above to a specific situation.  
1.  He asked God to show him what "had him so bummed"
2.  He wrote down the specific situation
3.  He admitted he had been complaining and grumbling
4.  He acknowledged that the situation was not within his control to change and that God had put him in it
5.  He thanked God for the good things in the situation 
6.  He asked for what he wanted and told God what he hoped would change
7.  He then prayed for other people related to the situation
8.  He asked for what he needed if the situation didn't change


Monday, November 3, 2014



When the veil broke, it wasn’t just that we could now have a relationship with God.  To Him, finally, He could have a relationship with us.


I am my beloved’s,
And his desire is for me

Song 7:10

--He loves me and longs for me
--I am a treasure to him
--I want to have that beautiful connection with him I see in people like Misty Edwards*
--I want to be so caught up in his love that everyone can see it
--I desire a real, romantic, relationship with God


--I desire an intimate love with you
--I’m opening the door, please come in
--I am your garden
--Come in, PLEASE
--Change me! Overwhelm me with your love
--I want to live a life of passion for you

*Mark admired the intimate relationship that Misty Edwards has with Jesus Christ. 

To Listen to Misty Edwards' "Garden" click here
To Listen to Misty Edwards' "You Won't Relent" click here 

Friday, October 31, 2014



I have blotted out your transgressions
Like a cloud
And your sins like
Return to me, for I have redeemed you.
Sing, O heavens,
For the Lord has done it;
Shout, O depths of the
Break forth into singing,
O mountains,
O Forest, and every tree in it!
Isaiah 44:22-23a

--Thank you for seeing my sins, forgiving me, and wanting me anyway
--I love that you’re so incredible that all Creation shouts your name
--If the trees and the mountains do it, why aren’t we??
--Trees can’t even see, but all your wonders are laid out in front of us and we still hide your word.
--We let embarrassment, persecution, and fear of losing our reputation silence our vision and our voice of an all-consuming God
--I pray for more than a revival, I pray for a revolution
--I pray we would cast off the chains of wanting to fit in and not offend anybody, and we would begin to proclaim your name loudly.
--I pray for the strength and wisdom to start leading people in this revolution
--Put my focus off of me and onto you.
--I pray for the gift of learning languages quickly, so that I may share this revolution with other parts of the world.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Ask for the Gift



My generation, at least much of it, is full of hopelessness, fear, negativity, and yearning.  We cling to the shadows thought they are the source of our blindness.  We chain ourselves tighter as we search for liberation.  Because of this seemingly endless cycle, the Color Life fades grayer and grayer.

Father, you’ve given me a gift; the gift to see.  I get swept up in your light and love to the point of giddiness.  You have shown me the value of peace and joy, and taught me that I have nothing to complain about.  This is a very, very powerful gift.  I cannot be comfortable keeping it to myself, I must share it with the world. 

May your love and your spirit be a fuel for my eyes that never goes out.  Take over and touch the world through me.


Monday, October 27, 2014



You have taken the time to search and know me.  You know me far better than I do, or even than my best friends do.  You know who I am now and who I’ll grow to be.

So there is no need to worry.

Something I’ve been working on lately is learning to give all I have to you.  I used to worry so much about my future, thinking about how everything I do could help or hurt my plan for what I want to be.  But I’ve learned not to have a plan for my life, Lord.  Life is so complex that I wouldn’t know how to get there and would end up angry and disappointed.  But you, Lord, know the way, and you know the destination.

Help me to release any worry or stress I have, Lord.  Part of Faith is believing ridiculously in you.  Help me to let go of my plan and trust yours, even if I don’t know it. 


Friday, October 24, 2014

Open My Eyes




You are magnificent.  The stars and sky truly proclaim the works of your hands.  So many people take stuff like that for granted, but you have shown me how beautiful it is. 

In your wonders, in your works, I find peace.  I see your glorious creation and it shows how much you truly care about me. 

Open my eyes, Father.  There’s so much that I miss on a daily basis because of how I let myself get consumed with school and [learning] Spanish and guitar and photography, and so much more!  Those things are not worth your grace. 

Thank you, Lord,


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Light vs Darkess




You are light.  This world is filled with darkness and negativity, but you have provided a way that I can be joyful, thankful, and content.  However, the ignorance of our world really saddens me....  It is real; there ARE children being manipulated and mutilated, stolen and forced to do terrible acts.  Why must people be so apathetic to decry a powerful cause so they don’t actually have to get up and DO something in this world?  It’s awful Lord; the world is so lacking in compassion and brotherly love. 

Help me to be someone who burns away the darkness of their negativity with light.  We have so much to be thankful for.  While some people devote their lives in hatred of something.  

Darkness will not be my default.


NOTE: Mark had been watching documentaries about human trafficking and mistreatment of women and children around the world. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Most Fulfilling Life

May 28, 2014


Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion;
Shout, O Israel!
Rejoice and exult with all your heart,
O daughter of Jerusalem!
Zephaniah 3:14

Teach me to love, God.  Teach me how to show people they’re valued and how to bless them.  Give me your eyes of perfect love so that I may see what you see and feel what you feel toward those around me 

Humble me, Father.  If I have a selfish perspective God, break it.  The most fulfilling life is a life of loving you and others so much that I don’t have time to be self-centered. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Longing for Light


2,000 years ago you died so that I may be free from sin as your child.  And that’s what I am, a free child of you.  You have given me strength, zeal, passion, joy, peace, love for the service of you.  My sin is not failing, and does not make me a failure.  It just means I’ve still got some human in me.  The holiest, most righteous person still sins; I am not evil for sinning.

I live in a beautiful world.  It is broken and permeated with sin, but it is also ablaze with your beauty and glory.  That doesn’t mean it’s a failure, it just means it needs to be cleansed.  The same goes for me.  I may have darkness in me (as a result of my mortality) but I am ablaze with your Holy Spirit as well.  Someday, all that darkness will be gone. 

I can’t let that hold me back, though.  I may be mortal, but so is everyone around me, and they’re longing for light.  And I must show it to them.


Monday, October 20, 2014

I'm In

May 22, 2014

O Love of God, teach me to love! Teach me to see those around me as masterful, beautiful creations with bits of you in them.  Show me how to put others before myself. 

For the sake of Christ, then,
I am content with weaknesses,
Insults, hardships, persecutions,
And calamities.
For when I am weak,
Then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:10

“Think of how much suffering it’s taken for him to earn that kind of faith” *

Let me suffer for your sake, God.  If that’s what it takes to fall more in love with you, I’m in.  

*Note: Mark's Mom said this regarding one of the boys in Nicaragua who had faith in God when others disappointed him.  

Friday, October 17, 2014

Wild Joy

May 29th, 2014


Was hit by the realization last night that I don’t really view myself as God’s child very well.  I think pretty low of myself, and though we’re called to be humble, I’m realizing the way I’ve been thinking has actually been kinda selfish.  I’ve been so caught up in the idea that I’m weak and unworthy of God’s love that I’ve forgotten to fully live in the light of what He’s done for me.  Yes, I’m a sinner, and it’s important to acknowledge that.  But I’m also beloved to the creator of the earth, sky and sea.  That’s cause to live with wild joy! I don’t need to live in shame of my sin anymore.  My cage door’s been unlocked and I can live in joy of my freedom.  I’m not filthy.  I’m white as snow...

...I love how in Psalm 107, both people dealing with tough circumstances and those who’ve blatantly denied you are quickly met with grace when they cry out.  You show no partiality. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Remind me


I seek you and I find you, for why would you hide yourself from me? No, you are constantly seeking me; when I feel far from you it’s my fault, not yours.  God, fill my cup.  Open my eyes to the blessings around me.  You have given me far, far more than I have ever deserved.  Thank you that you forgive even though I sin time and time again.  Remind me of your beauty and grace that are far more fulfilling than any amount of earthly pleasure.

I love you,

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

I Give You my Life


Oh Lord,

What a sacrifice you gave 2,000 years ago.  All for us, all for me.  You felt the pain that I deserved so that I no longer had to pay the price for my sin.  Lord, I will never be able to express fully the gratefulness a sacrifice like that is due.  So I give you my life, Lord, that you may use it to tell the world of what you’ve done for us.  That I may be a beacon of light and hope to those seeking a Savior.  Thank you for bearing the shame that I deserved.  I love you.


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

All of Me



Oh how I await the day I’m face to face with you.  The day that I am no longer tempted, that I no longer sin.  The day that I’m all I’m meant to be.  But even though I long for that day, Lord, I pray for the understanding that I have a purpose here.  And that purpose is to worship you and proclaim your name to all the nations.  God, I can do that now.  I can do that tomorrow as I worship you in chapel.  I pray that you would create me into the person who is out of their mind for you.  You deserve all of me Lord, remind me of that. 


Monday, October 13, 2014


May 8th, 2014


The steadfast love of the Lord

Never ceases;

His mercies never come to an end;

They are new every


Great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23

God thunders wondrously with his


He does great things

That we cannot


Job 37:5

I want to love deliberately.  Selfless love makes incredible things happen.

You are so at work, so prevalent, and we ignore it.  We sit down and fold our hands out of tradition, not recognizing that we’re in the presence of God.  Open my own eyes, God.  I will be grateful for how much of a miracle it is to step into your presence.