All posts by Vanessa Marino

Why Repent?

If Jesus is in me, and God is in Jesus, then God is in me; and if God’s love is in Jesus then it is in me as well. God’s love is always available to us because it lives within us. God wants us to be one with him. And since we are a reflection of that love, we have to do our part. We should make every conscience effort to reflect His love within us. The awesome thing is that God knows we are going to disappoint him at some point or another, yet He still willing gives to us. John 17 reminds us that God is for us and with us.

Now, repentance ties in because without it we cannot be forgiven, and forgiveness is part of God’s very nature. Not repenting is an example of self-righteousness and pride. I know the word repentance is super formal and churchy and can scare some people off, but let’s just break it down: all it means is having sincere regret and remorse. Confess with your mouth your remorse and watch the Lord guide your actions thereafter.

Repenting allows for the emptying of the self and the filling up of the Holy Spirit. If we don’t repent we run the risk of harboring unforgiveness, bitterness, anger within ourselves and thus hindering our ability to be a lamp for God’s light. And we all know this world NEEDS more of God’s light. Luke 3:8 tells us that repentance produces fruit; it is the gateway to your blessing. It allows for Jesus to step in and heal, restore and make you whole in Christ. There is nothing to be ashamed about because your humility fosters favor from the Lord. Amen!

I pray that you find it in your heart to repent and delight in doing so. God so wants to fix you and the things troubling you. We must first remove the hardness in our hearts so that we can then receive Jesus and his peace. I pray you do not become comfortable in your bitterness or anger or pain. I pray that you allow blessing to flow to you. You are worth it.


Isolation or Restoration?

I asked God to speak to me on loneliness. Feeling lonely can take a toll on your emotional and mental sanity. Let’s keep it real, we all want someone to share life with, and when we find ourselves disappointed and in a lone state, it makes it easy to question God’s love for us. I have to laugh at myself because I find myself from time to time yelling at God “where is he?!” and “just give me my husband already!”. And I picture God laughing at me and saying there is still so much you need to learn.

Loneliness is the opportunity to stay in constant communication with the Lord, away from distraction. Some of the lonely seasons of your life are for producing a more genuine and authentic relationship with your Lord and Savior. Scripture tells us often that Jesus withdrew to lonely places to pray. Prayer can be done at any moment, in any place and is much more convenient to do at church or in the presence of other Christians, but it is what you choose to do in secret that moves God. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you (Matthew 6:6). He hears you girl, He sees you. Isolation can be a beautiful place of restoration.

Hearing from God is easier to do when you are alone and quiet. When I read the passages from Mark 1:35-39 I can see why it is so important to take the time to not only pray in peace but to allow yourself space to hear what God has to say. That morning Jesus went out early to pray alone, Simon found Jesus and told him everyone was looking for him. But Jesus told him that they needed to travel to another place to continue preaching and healing. When we allow the chaos and demand of our everyday lives to consume us, we can miss the opportunity to move in a direction God wants us to go. We can stay stuck and essentially miss a blessing. The Lord has greater plans for you, and if you do not take time to just rest in His presence and ask Him what it is He wants you to do next, you can find yourself caught in a grind that bears no fruit.

The very next story in Mark (Mark 1:40-45) describes how God uses loneliness and isolation and privacy as a form of protection. Jesus healed the man with leprosy and asked him not to tell anyone, but the man did and Jesus could no longer enter a town openly. He knew he was being sought after to be killed, so Jesus stayed in lonely places where the people still came to Him for healing. God sometimes will keep you in a remote place to guard you from the things set out in the world that are meant for you to trip over. I know there have been times in my past where I wish I would’ve just stayed put, stayed in the house, enjoying my solitude. There are many things looking back now that I would have loved to have missed, but I was lonely and wanted to fix that loneliness myself. God does not want you to hurt. We need to learn to lean on the Lord and trust Him, even the annoying things He does like keeping us away from certain people, places and things. In the end, it is always for your bettering and growth.

Feeling lonely will not last forever my friend. And of course, I am not saying that we must lock ourselves up and exclude ourselves from the rest of the world. However, I am saying that we need to learn to value the lonely seasons and change our perspective about what those seasons can do for us. I pray that if you are in a state of desolation, you can begin to realize that it is just the beginning of your overflow. The Lord needs a new and empty space to be able to flow into. Pour yourself out and let Him fill you.

You Are Worth It

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The things that are hard to come by are the things most worth the fight. Let’s think of a beautiful rare gem; you can’t just buy one from the corner store. It takes time to find, cut and polish a rarity like that. It takes time, patience and effort to find the perfect gem. Why don’t we treat ourselves and the things we want out of life the same?

In relationships, the wrong people will not put in the necessary work to sustain a worthwhile relationship, and often we find ourselves drained, bitter and angry as a result. That goes for any kind of relationship. In our workplaces, we may fear rejection so we stay put and never apply for that next level position. We have to start viewing ourselves and the things we want (our families, career paths etc.) at a higher standard, like rare gems. We can’t run from something because it is calling us to be stretched and challenged, how would any of us excel or have anything meaningful if we did? Enduring a lack of comfortability for a short time causes longevity and wholeness, while staying comfortable and unchanging will only cause a short time of gratification.


Rushing God never works in your favor, but rather wait on God’s perfect timing so that you can be confident in knowing things are as they should be. Galatians 6:9 tells us to not become weary in doing good, for at the appointed time and if we do not give up we will reap all the good things promised to us. There is a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing (Ecclesiastes 3:5). Scripture paints a vivid picture for us on timing. There is a time for abundant seasons and a time for need, but not having one devalues the other. Good things take time to find and grow and nurture, and good things also need God’s grace to develop in the rougher seasons of our lives. And I am grateful that He is always a God of perfect timing.


While in the process of taking the time needed and waiting up for the right time, we wait patiently. Practicing patience with others will grow you and sharpen you for God’s will for your life. It also allows for you to hear from God. We far too often rush into things, relationships, purchases, without really consulting God first, and we should. But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently (Romans 8:25). We live in a time where the quicker we can get it the better. But then where does that leave us once we do get it? Still feeling empty, unsatisfied, bored. If we take a route of obedience and discipline, the things we are hoping for deep within our hearts will be given. We need to stop being too easily pleased or settling for things we know are of lesser value than we deserve.

When we become covetous about a matter is when we are led to destruction. The greedy bring ruin to their households, but the one who hates bribes will live (Proverbs15:27). We need to start being patient with each other and the Lord. God is not a miracle-issuing drive-thru, you can’t get on your knees and order your deliverance and expect it in your hands two minutes later. Remember, harboring patience is better than holding on to pride.


Effort is defined as a vigorous or determined attempt; strenuous physical or mental exertion. News flash: It’s not going to be easy. Effort requires real work, sometimes strenuous work, and often times, repeated tries. Doing the work necessary to achieve your goal will make you uncomfortable at times, but that isn’t to say that you aren’t doing the right thing. In fact, it is an indicator that you are on your way. Scripture also tells us to make every effort to do what leads to peace and mutual moral improvement (Romans 14:19). God sometimes calls us to not only improve ourselves and situations through hard work, but to improve and lift others as well. You get what you give, so the quality of your effort is so crucial to your revival.

I pray this wakes up a piece of your heart to the goodness of the Lord and His promises for you. He knew your worth before you even knew who He was. He put in the time to create you, practices the patience (still) needed to sustain you and makes all the effort to work through you and to you. I pray that by knowing this about our God you can start to see yourself how God sees you, for the fearfully and wonderfully made princess that you are!





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Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4

Sometimes it is hard to come to terms with the fact that we NEED trials in our life. Yes, we need them, our life would not be the same without them. They are actually little blessings (or big blessings in some cases) disguised as storms.

Think of the trials in your life as weights in the gym. Even though it is hard to do 3 reps of 10 and the weight seems unbearable during that last set and you will be sore and in pain for a couple days after, you know that you will be stronger in the end. Your discipline will produce better health, just like your perseverance through the storms will produce wholeness in the Spirit.

I want to point out 4 things God spoke to me regarding perseverance:

First, trials are tough, painful, annoying, but they are necessary for building you up, for building your faith in God. The enemy wants you to see your struggle as a sign that God has forsaken you and forgotten you. But no way sister! God is allowing the storm to pass through so that He can develop you into the woman He created you to be in accordance to His purpose for your life. That is something to celebrate.

Trials will get heavier as your faith grows. When you are in the gym and you want to build muscle, you gradually increase the weight that you bear, right? God wants you to grow spiritually, so He will use bigger trials, deeper cuts, super rigid personalities to build you and your faith. Try to view that battle you are facing right now as the exact thing that God is using to deliver you. He will use it, He is using it, He has not left you, He has not thrown you away, He will make a way.

Discipline and consistency in the gym is the recipe for the results that you want. You keep waking up and dragging yourself to that 6am spin class, you continue to meal prep even though you really want to throw up at the thought of another asparagus and plain chicken lunch, you continue to just walk past the cookie aisle at the grocery store trying not to cry, but you do it because you have your goal in mind. The end result is so much more deserving and worth it when you stay the course. Hebrews 10:36 explains that perseverance brings forth the promise. It sets you up for doing the will of God, which isn’t always easy. We must persevere so that we can become more familiar with His voice. The more you press on and overcome, the sweeter your reward will be.

Having faith in Christ is being assured that He has overcome. Faith gives us confidence in knowing that we will look more and more like Jesus as we continue our walk. (Hebrews 11:1)

Finally, perseverance delivers you as well as those around you. Your walk inspires others seeking renewal and restoration. When you’ve been at it in the gym for a while and the results are starting to show and you’ve got more energy to share, people become drawn to you. They want to know your secret, they want advice on losing weight, they want to know what your daily routine consists of, so that they can see the same results in their life. Treat your spiritual journey just the same. Persevering through trials and being joyful amid your struggle is a saving grace for not only you, but your sister, your friend, your child. You make a difference, every day.

I pray this brings a new perspective to your sights. I pray that this encourages you to trust in the Lord. He knows the plans He has for you. I know it is not always easy or gratifying at first to hold on and just keep pressing forward, but the promise He holds for you is just on the other side, just a little further, and it is so worth it. You are so worth the wait.



Beauty for Ashes

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And provide for those who grieve in Zion – to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. Isaiah 61:3

Today I was reminded of this beautiful promise, not possible outcome, but promise for my life. He will give me beauty for all my ashes, new life where things were once dead and buried and light in the darkest of places.

It’s easy to get caught up in the areas of our lives where we failed, where there is pain, where things didn’t go the way we were hoping. It’s easy because it’s tangible; that bad experience is all you know. You don’t see the future family, the future finances, the future good that has your name on it. I encourage you to view it! See the goodness you are promised for enduring.

In Isaiah 43:19 scripture says, See I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Letting go of pain sounds easier to do than it really is. I know. And it’s something that happens gradually. But letting go and letting God spring up the new in your life is such a freeing feeling. Giving Him power over your situation allows Him to reward you for your obedience.

I pray today that you allow God to work in you. That you let Him make you brave to let go and see the beauty He has for you amidst all those ashes. 1Timothy 6:11 encourages us to pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness so that we may have favor with our Lord. The favor is yours, but you must give Him the power to work. You got this beautiful!

Just a thought

Today I had the thought that our children help us heal. My daughter will be two in December, and with that has come all the bad things you can associate a toddler with. The terrible two’s have not surpassed her, in fact they’ve come early.

But she is my light. She is my teacher. She holds my heart in her tiny hands. She’s a little piece of universal love I get to partake in the raising up of.

When her father and I moved into this co-parenting situation I initially thought “I’m doomed.” I forecasted a lot of long days and lonely nights. A lot of hardship. And although it has been exactly that, I can’t help but feel the need to thank God for every moment of it. I am growing into a space in my life where she is my biggest influencer and guide. She shows me where I need development. She has brought a lot of thought into my mind, thoughts I wouldn’t even consider had it not been for her life.

Children grow you. Today as I was watching her play and laugh so carelessly and purely, I thought of how blessed I am to have her. She heals me.  What I saw as a huge hurdle I would most definitely fall flat on my face over is actually what has been keeping me going. She gives me reason and passion and drive. I love that I can attribute my wanting to do better to her.

I guess the point I am trying to make is don’t see the hurdles, the past mistakes, the present pains. See the rainbow after your storm, see the future greatness and life partner you have in your child. I feel a little selfish because I have given so much power to the bullshit people in my life lately and have made a lot of my time about my needs. No. Give that beautiful growing child all the power. I want to fuel her light and love. God gifted her to me and I do not want to waste one second of it worried about the things that went wrong.

I pray this gives you new perspective and a new-found joy in even the hardest times of your single momma life. Remember, faith is greater than fear.

Dear Beautiful

You are enough, you are sufficient, you are beautiful. What someone else has spoken over you because of their own insecurity has no foundation in your life. Know that! Receive that!

I know sometimes the ones closest to you are the ones that inflict the most pain. Sometimes it’s in their words, it’s in their actions or it can be in their lack of being there at all for you. I have had/have people in my life do all three, and I’m learning that often times they’re mistreatment comes from a place within themselves that needs treating. Maybe they don’t value themselves, maybe they are struggling with addiction, maybe they are still trying to get over a painful past. I can’t judge their walk but I can choose to redirect my footsteps onto a path that leads away from them. Because intentional or not, disrespect and negative energy can consume and destroy your joy.

I wish I could go back to my 19-year-old self and say brush it off baby, he knows not what he’s doing. His actions don’t make up who you are. His lack of real love does not determine the rest of your relationships. His anger does not mean you are incapable. If you let the rest of your relationships (any relationships) be molded by the first bad one, you are setting yourself up for continual distress.

I say pray. Since you want to love them so bad regardless, do it in prayer. Some things still haunt me from my past but the only thing that gets me through is washing those people in prayer. You can’t fix anyone so just leave it to God. Don’t give power to those afflicting words or actions, just leave it to God and move forward with your beautiful self. You are so worth the progression.

It’s Not About You

The things you are struggling with, conquering, dealing with in your life are not for you. Have you ever thought that maybe you need to go through whatever it is you’ve been going through so that you can save others who may be battling with the same issues? Life and its meaning is so much bigger than just you. You taking back control of your life after drug use is so that you can teach another person how to do the same. Your struggle as a single mom is for inspiring other single parents to keep going. Your 3-job hustle to make ends meet is so that your son will do greater and bigger things in his life. Everything has a purpose, has a function. Your pain is not in vain.

Try, instead of asking God why me, ask him what? What is it you need to learn in this situation, what is it you need to share during this tough time. The struggle develops you and in turn can change someone else. It dawned on me earlier this year that not only am I to be provider and comforter for my baby, but my duty to her is to break the previous dead end cycles. Every generation should elevate a little more each time. My adolescent years had to play out the way they did so that I can do the right thing now for my daughter. It’s not for nothing and it certainly isn’t all about you girl. That’s the beautiful thing though, using your experience to help or heal another person and through that healing yourself. Amen!

I want to leave you with this reminder so that next time you find yourself wrestling with the why’s of your life, you can switch gears and focus your attention on the Spiritual what’s:

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own son, but GAVE him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Romans 8:31-32

Trees Planted by Streams

Trust is the firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something. What a heavy responsibility for the trusted. My ability to trust has run a little dry on more than one occasion and it is frustrating. It can alter your perspective, your ability to care for and love others and even how you feel about yourself, IF YOU LET IT. And we are human, so chances are at some point in your life you HAVE let it. But sisters, the Lord brought me to my laptop today to tell you that He is trustworthy, He is so worthy of your trust.

I know the hurt of misplaced trust all too well, it stings more than a paper cut. I’ve been the betrayed, I’ve been the betrayer, and it isn’t a good feeling no matter how you look at it. For me, what crushes me the most is not the act of cheating or lying or gossip itself, but it is the fact that I am being let down by someone I held such a high standard to. It makes trusting anyone that much harder. And as my life will tell it, I get over the first let down and trust again, just to be crushed yet again. Who we are choosing to trust is important. I’m not saying that you can’t trust anyone or that you shouldn’t try to trust again. Not at all. But what I am saying is that trust placed in the Creator is never misplaced. It is such a delivering feeling when you realize there IS someone you can trust with all things.

But how can you trust something you don’t see? I get it, it is such a weird concept to trust in someone who isn’t tangible in the natural world, who you may not hear yet, especially when you come from such a hurt place. As Christians, we must walk by faith. We take risks for love and money making opportunities, but why is it so hard to take a risk in the name of faith? I’ve seen that when I trust in the Lord with all things, and more recently, a personal relationship, things just fall into place. Doors begin to open. Jeremiah 17:7 says that blessed are those who trust in the Lord and put all their confidence in him. Let Him love you girl!

Bottom line is, there will be bumps, potholes, whole medians in your road, but trusting that God is bigger than your circumstance and being confident in his strength and ability to overcome, because He has already overcome, is key to getting out of your mess. Psalm 56:4 says that since you trust in God and are not afraid, what can mere humans do to you? Don’t get hung up on what they did, what you did, what they said, what had happened. Ground yourself in God’s promises for you and let yourself be restored. I love this next verse:

They will be like a tree planted by the water that send out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green; it has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. Jeremiah 17:8 – 10

Single mommas, my prayer for you today is that you put your complete trust in the Lord. Be a tree planted by Christ so that you never fear the heat of your situation or the dry seasons of your life. Know where your strength and guidance comes from so that you may never fail to bear fruit. Let your leaves always be green because you know the Lord is who is in control. Embrace the spirit of confidence that has been given to you so that you can overcome again, love again, laugh again. Smile, things are going to be just fine.

When It Rains We Grow

We just need to face it. Life is going to at some point throw you curve balls, whether you are prepared for them or not. I still cringe at the thought of not always having rainbows and butterflies but I think the sooner we grasp this the sooner we can excel. I know that I love when things are going right, baby daddy is acting right, my bills are paid, my hair is in a good mood and my daughter is taking her nap right on schedule. But what do we really learn from these perfect situations? In school, isn’t it the new topics we know nothing about that give us the knowledge we need to pass the test? Math was PAINFUL for me in school, but I knew I needed to push through the classes to advance to the next grade.

I was recently watching a sermon from Pastor Micahn Carter and he made such a great point; in the natural world, although it hurts to feel pain, it is necessary to feel pain to know that there is a problem. For example, when we get sick or have an infection it is the sole ability to feel pain and discomfort that allows us to know that something is wrong. Maybe we need to treat our life circumstances with the same sensitivity. Pain and hurtful situations are not from God, but God will use them to grow you and mature you. Look at pain as an indicator of future elevation.

I tend to fight the pain or pretend it isn’t there, which in turn leaves me with greater hurt and a bigger emotional mess to clean. Or when life seems to be crumbling down on me in what feels like every single aspect, finances, career choices, motherhood, I like to throw pity parties and cry myself into oblivion. Well, not today devil! I think we need to make a new pact with pain. Pain does not control your perspective, it prospers it.

I read such a freeing word last week and I want to share it with you. I believe every person, not just single moms, needs to take in this beautiful scripture. Isaiah 55:10-11 reads: As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. I LOVE THAT. Like for real.

The Lord is telling us that just like the rain comes and waters the dirt so that there may be life, flowers, trees, His word too will come and give life to you. What he has set upon your life WILL BE. The rain in your life allows for a season of sowing, a season of reflection and learning. But my beautiful sister, after the rain comes the rainbows. After the rain, we can reap. What the enemy is intending for your destruction, God is using for your purpose.

Single mommas, my prayer for you today is that you learn to embrace the pain and rain of your situation. Learn that this isn’t the end. Rain is necessary for flowers to flourish. God will not leave you or forsake you and He is using the hurt you feel to train you up for something greater. I truly believe this. Jeremiah 29:11 says that His plans for you are to prosper you and give you a hope and a future. Be strong in knowing just that.