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