Summer Reading List

If there’s anything I love, it’s reading. You can always find me with a book in hand no matter what season. There’s something about reading a good book that genuinely makes me happy! Words are life for me. But because I’ll be starting classes soon, most of my leisure reading time is replaced with have-to-read books for class. So I’m trying to squeeze in as many books of my choosing before August is over! I’ve compiled a little list of 6 books for those avid readers to choose from that are in my own personal library and have blessed me in some way or another.

  1. Kitchen Table Wisdom by Rachel Naomi Remen

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This book reignited my passion for reading! It’s genuinely my top favorite!! It’s a compilation of short personal stories from the author’s experience working with people as a medical doctor and therapist. It is heart-wrenching, raw, honest, and so moving. I cried and laughed my way through this book.

2. The Emotionally Healthy Woman by Geri Scazzero

The Emotionally Healthy Woman: Eight Things You Have to Quit to Change Your Life

I recently read this book and it blessed me tremendously! It isn’t a how to book but more of an introspective book that causes you to go on a journey toward healing and wholeness as a christian woman. It is convicting and empowering!

3. The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson

The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears

This book will forever be my most recommended!! I’ve bought this book about a dozen times and each time I’ve given it to someone in the hopes of it blessing them; it has! Go out and get this book!! It’s incredible and Pastor Mark Batterson is also one of my favorite authors. I’ve read 5 books of his and they never disappoint.

4. I am number 8 by John Gray

I Am Number 8: Overlooked and Undervalued, but Not Forgotten by God

I originally purchased this book with the intention of bringing a study on it for the youth/young adults I teach but God had a different plan. I was so challenged and moved by this book and it was in a way life changing. It spoke into my entire life and made me feel seen, heard, and understood! I genuinely recommend this book no matter what age you are!!

5. The Spirit filled life by Charles Stanley

The Spirit-Filled Life: Discover the Joy of Surrendering to the Holy Spirit

Charles Stanley is a mighty and profound teacher of God’s word and that’s exactly what this book does: it teaches you. It’s so enlightening and fortifying. If you want to go on a journey toward understanding the Holy Spirit and how He works in your life, then this book is definitely for you!

6.  Uninvited by Lysa Terkeurst

Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely

Lysa is such an incredible, witty, and dynamic writer that as I read through these pages, I felt as if she and I were sitting across the table from each other doing life together over a hot cup of coffee. I loved this book so much I taught a series titled “living loved.” I highly recommend this book to any young woman in search of love and acceptance. Lysa will take you on a journey toward seeing yourself the way God sees you!

If you choose to read any one of these books, let me know!! I’d love to talk about it with you 🙂

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The path less traveled

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“Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of ever lasting life.” – Psalm 139:24 NLT

I like to think of myself as a Giants football fan by association.  This means I have no idea who the players are or how the game is actually played but because my sister is a die hard fan, I’m also a Giants supporter. I’m the person asking a thousand questions during a game and yelling “yessss” at the most insignificant times. But nonetheless, I’m a fan by association. If there’s anything I’ve learned with the football season just a month away, is how offense and defense works in a game. To put it simply, the team with the ball is on offense trying to score points while defense is the opposing team trying to stop offense from scoring a touchdown. Which side are you on? 
By definition, offense is that which serves as a hindrance or obstacle.
In Psalm 139:24, the Psalmist David is essentially praying to God and he says God, “point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of ever lasting life.” If you’ve ever been offended by someone then you know how powerful an offense is. They stir up and provoke uncomfortable feelings that can cause someone to shut down, fight back, ignore, or run. But if they aren’t addressed, they will fester and become a hindrance or an obstacle to you. Offenses essentially tell us something is wrong and it needs to be repaired or restored. In the spiritual sense, being on offense, you automatically attract defense which hinders you from scoring spiritual goals. Being on offense you are carrying a burden that was never meant for you to carry. If you are carrying an offense against someone, it needs to be addressed because that offense will serve as a hindrance and an obstacle from you achieving your goals and reaching spiritual maturity. It will stop you from learning very vital lessons about yourself. They will cripple your ability to have healthy friendships and relationships. An offense can be something within you that isn’t allowing you to move forward.
For me, it was something I recently needed to address with someone in my family. This person hurt me in the past and that hurt wasn’t allowing me to have a healthy relationship with them. Every time I prayed, I didn’t feel close to God because there was this issue I wasn’t facing. When I finally addressed it, I was able to see that I too had some things within me that needed work. God was using the facing of that offense to refine me and heal me! When you face your offenses, you clear the pathway toward righteousness. When you do this, there is nothing hindering or obstructing your view.
How offenses hinder us:

  1. Harboring offenses mask how you’re really feeling by giving you a false sense of security.
  2. Offenses cloud your vision.
  3. Offenses stunt communication.
  4. Offenses attract defense which serve as obstacles toward achieving your God-given goals and dreams.
  5. Offenses limit you from having a healthy relationship with the Lord and with loved ones. They make you feel like you’ve been separated from God. This is a lie because there is NOTHING that can separate you from God but offenses can cloud your vision and hinder you from getting full access into wholeness and spiritual victory.
  6. Offenses will weigh you down and make you feel prideful. They will make you feel like you’re carrying a burden greater than yourself but also make you feel as if you’re too proud to surrender to God.
Identifying your offenses requires a willingness to learn about yourself and the truth is, there are some things you won’t like. But it is necessary to know because then you access freedom from your offenses and your vision becomes clear.
How to work through offenses
  1. Ask God to reveal to you what needs work within you and what area of your life needs healing.
  2. Identify any feelings of discomfort toward a particular thing, situation, or person. This is a huge indicator that there is an underlying offense. Once you identify them, surrender them to the Lord.
  3. Explore if there is someone you need to forgive or ask for forgiveness from. Forgiving someone requires strength and courage while asking for forgiveness requires self-awareness and humility. When you do this, you are identifying the very thing that may be offending God within you! God is a God of unity and reconciliation. If there is division in an area of your life, call it out!
  4. Be willing to go on a journey of self-reflection, self-acceptance, and most importantly self-love.
  5. Open a line of communication with yourself by writing out what triggers you emotionally and how you can respond in a healthy way.
Reflection: Is there something offensive within you that you need to address? What is hindering you or serving as an obstacle in your life and stopping you from being whole? In what ways can you work through your offenses?
Let’s explore this together! Email me to my personal email and let’s talk about it. 🙂 My email isNeli.Betancourt@outlook.com 

City Lights

1. Visit the Empire State Building & take a selfie with my city ✔️
Being a born and bred New Yorker, you don’t do the typical touristy things. You don’t ride the elevator to the top of the Empire State Building & you don’t take the next boat leaving for the Statue of Liberty. But I’ve always loved to be a tourist in my own city. So yesterday I got to check off number one from my list of goals. I got to go to the very top of the Empire State Building with my friend & her son & the view was so incredible. Gods mind is so limitless to have been able to give people the knowledge to create such a complex city.

“for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.”‭‭ – 1 Corinthians‬ ‭2:16‬ ‭NIV

So I thought I’d share some of my adventure from last night because I even got to catch the sunset!


How cool is this photo? Has a vintage 1940’s kinda feel. Thank God for filters! Lol

I mean seriously! Do ya’ll see this view?!


“Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” – ‭Matthew‬ ‭6:27‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I think what Jesus is trying to say is to be present in the moment. Let yourself be in the here and now without overwhelming yourself with the possibilities of tomorrow. Sometimes you have to gain a new and different perspective in order to appreciate the view. That’s exactly what I did last night; I was able to not worry about anything and bask in the stillness of the breathtaking views. Because sometimes we are so caught up in the hustle and bustle of day to day life that we forget to just be in the moment.

As always, be encouraged, be blessed, and be empowered! 🙂

Let Him be enough


As I was reading my word this morning: Matthew 19:29 jumped out at me.

It says, ““And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for my sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life.” ”

Jesus is speaking to his disciples about the dangers of hanging on to money, wealth, & possessions more than hanging on to God. It’s easy to say that we’ll give up everything for God but it’s so much harder to actually carry out. It’s hard to let go of every earthly thing to gain all that Christ has to offer. To put it simply, Christ has given us the greatest gift: life; but more importantly eternal life in greatness. But because we love what we can see and grasp, it’s hard to drop the very things that are holding us back from grabbing all of Jesus here on earth. So I started thinking & I asked God to show me that His son dying for me was more than enough. And I wrote out this prayer:

Father God, show me that your son Jesus Christ dying for me on the cross is more than enough; that even if you don’t bless me with another thing, that I would be overjoyed because I have you & because I have a relationship with you, Jesus. – In Jesus’ name, amen.

So my prayer is that we would all learn to ‘Let God be enough’ no matter the circumstance . . .

Mission 24

If you’ve ever watched the “Bucket list” then you’ve probably been inspired to create your own bucket list. Well that’s kinda sorta what I did last year, minus the bucket part lol. After turning 24, I decided to do my own list of things I wanted to accomplish that year. I decided to name my list “Mission 24” . ‘Mission’ because it would be a mission to carry out all the things on my list & ’24’ for my age at the time. I honestly wanted to go for the dangerous & adventurous things like jumping out of a plane but I decided to keep it small & simple. Let’s not get too crazy lol.  I knew I wanted my list to not only be realistic but to ultimately glorify God. So I didn’t want to focus on myself & what I could do for me, but things I could do for others too.

So this was my list:

Mission 24

  1. Hug a homeless person
  2. Mail letters to 12 important people to me
  3. Pray with a stranger
  4. Write a love letter from God anonomously
  5. Tell someone that they are loved
  6. Donate blood
  7. Write bible verses on post-its & put them in random places

It may seem like a pretty simple list but these were all things that I would’ve been either too afraid to do, thought it was silly, or it was way out of my comfort zone. But I remember praying over this list & asking God to take over. I placed it in Gods hands & prayed over it frequently. To put it simply, God answered these prayers in such surprising & beautiful ways; in ways I would’ve never imagined. His answers caused me to step out of my comfort zone & conquer some fears but it’s in those moments that I saw Gods love first hand. If I wouldn’t have put “mission 24” in Gods hands, I wouldn’t have accomplished anything. I used to be one of those people that got super excited to start something & midway I’d give up. I was a giver-upper. I didn’t know how to follow through with anything but when I put it in Gods hands, God showed up and showed off ! I am so blessed to say that I can check off every single thing from my list because God has helped me complete my first mission.

You see, when you put your goals, your dreams, and your missions into the mighty hands of God, you put it into the hands of the one that makes impossibilities possible. You put it into the hands of the one that sees everything beyond 360 degrees. You give it to the one that uses the earth as His footstool. You put it into the hands of the one that can never fail. You put it into the hands of the one God that can turn your finite ideas into infinite realities. Don’t allow your limitations to determine the unlimited power of God. I’ve learned first hand that when you pray through your goals, faith begins to replace fear. Doors that were once closed are now wide open. And in the words of Mark Batterson(my favorite author), God turns your prayers into unimaginable surprises.

So, my point is that you shouldn’t allow your dreams to be buried with you. Put them into the hands of God and watch them be magnified into holy vision. I pray you would dream bigger than I did & join me as I start my “mission 25” . . . 🙂