Saturday, December 28, 2013

Getting to the Source

I love the acronyms :)
I have noticed a particular set of trends within my circle of friends and family within the last few years.  It amazes me how quickly they seem to catch on.  Word of mouth is powerful if not the most powerful advertising.  I have heard the buzz about several different products from weight loss and weight management, wellness remedies, kitchenware, to organizational tools.  These things aren't bad things in and of themselves.  God calls us to wellness and we should want to be in our best shape to be used of Him.  These products give people a particular result.  Most of them work, some better than others.

 I have been on a long journey to wellness.  I like the sound of that, wellness.  Over the last seven years, I have made steps to a healthier me.  At one point, I lost over 80 pounds for the most part by eating less and exercising more.  That was my motto in the beginning and it still rings true today as long as I follow it.  The last few years have had their bumps along the way with several hundreds of dollars spent on personal training, 10 pound gains here and there, expensive diets, and more.  I learned more about food and how it works with my body, and the more I learned the more I felt responsible to eat healthy (I didn't always do so, and am currently getting out of a funk).

My relationship with food and fitness hit a spiritual note two years ago when I did a book study called Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst.  That is where I came face to face with the fact that I turned to food for comfort and support other than for fuel and not to God.  I didn't quite grasp the importance of that discovery then.  A year later, I was afforded another opportunity to participate in a book study entitled Uncommon Vessels: A Program for Developing Godly Eating Habits by Elyse Fitzpatrick.  This study was good as well, but I personally didn't take full advantage of the accountability afforded me at the time.

In 2014, I plan to get to the Source.  God is my Creator.  He knows me best.  He will provide for me the best way to get out of this cycle of over-indulgence and excess.  He will be able to instill in me the discipline I need to succeed.  He is the Source of strength and endurance that I need to overcome.  I can't do this on my own.  No product will do it completely.  Products can assist in the journey, but they can't cure the problem.  Only God is able to do the curing, and I must be willing to do the work.  He has already provided the victory.  I am not sure what 2014 will bring, but I am sure that whatever I do, it will be for God's glory.

By the way, if we shared Jesus the way we shared the latest trends today, I wonder what would happen?  Word of mouth is a powerful tool, share Jesus and see what happens.

For God's Glory,

Friday, December 27, 2013

GOing into Glory

GO ~ There is so much packed into that tiny little word.  For me it was a more than a command to go and do what God had for me to do for my harvests of kiddos.  It was a broader command to go and share the love of Christ to everyone.  It was a bidding to seek out the opportunities to be a witness to others.

That tiny little word also had a flip side to it with a meaning of "letting go."  This by far was the hardest impact of this word for me.  I can honestly say that I haven't allowed it fully to sink in and do it's work in me.  I have held on to particular things for so long that letting go feels like losing something that is a part of me.  I'm not talking about a coat or a jacket; it's more like losing an organ or body part.  I know in my head that "letting go" would be best for me, but getting that from my head to my heart are two very different things.

As for what I expected my word, Go, to do in my life was to give me a sense of awareness and boldness to share my faith to those around me.  I did that for a while, but relaxed a bit later in the year.  I also expected a sense of spontaneity, so to speak, to go and do rather than plan and plan to do something with no follow through.  This also happened to a certain degree, but there are several times when I still get hung up on the details.

I have now been in a waiting period for the past few months learning to trust God with my everything especially my health and harvests of kiddos.  This is where a lot of the "letting go" has been asked of me.  I am slowly learning to trust and surrender.  I know God's got me, but for some reason it has been difficult for me to let go of control even when my head knows God's plan is better for me.  God is always faithful and gives me exactly what I need.

As I close out 2013 in the next few days with my one word GO, I look with anticipation to 2014 with my one word Glory.  I seek to do everything in 2014 for the "Glory of God."  Whenever I ask "why", I will answer for the glory of God.  I look forward to educating myself on the glory of God and what my actions should reflect to bring Him the honor He so deserves.

For My One Word resources check out myoneword.org for more information.  It will change your life.

Thanks & Happy New Year,

Thursday, October 17, 2013

What's Your "Why"?

I typically don't run across major revelations while watching TV, but this week during the day one workout on the Biggest Loser something clicked.  The trainers were kicking the contestants butts in the gym working them into fits of pain beyond anything they have ever felt.  As Jillian shouted her orders at them, she stated, "Find your 'why' and the 'how' will come."

This struck me like a ton of bricks.  What is my "why" for what I do?  I have had many "whys" during my life.  Why do I eat? Why do I or don't I exercise?  Why do I spend or save money?  My answer to that ominous "why" has had various responses such as my health, to look good, to buy nice things, to go on trips to far off places, and to give to others in need.  These are all good reasons, but there is one that takes ALL of their places.

The only "why" that matters is giving God the glory and thanking Him for the amazing grace He gave us through His Son.  Everything I do is by His grace and plan.  Every breath I take is a God-given gift of grace.  So when the mundane, routine things in life start to drag me down, I can look to my "why" and know that what I do is for his glory.

With God and His glory as my focus the "how" comes nearly naturally.  It won't be easy, but it draws everything into perspective.  It's not about me.  It was never about me, but training my body and soul otherwise is a difficult thing.  

That is when I must engage the Holy Spirit.  When those habits or sins that seek to entangle me and the temptation comes, I must remember my "why" and resist and stay true to the "how" in order to live within God's will for my life.  I must be actively engaged with the Spirit and trusting Him to guide me as to what God's will is for me.

What is your "why"?  What get's you moving?  I hope it is God and His glory, because nothing else will satisfy.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Free to Let GO

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls."
~Matthew 11:28-29

"COME UNTO ME."  This is such a simple yet difficult command to follow.  I have labored diligently for the past month and a half to what some would think would be to no avail.  It was difficult, time consuming work that did often leave me heavy laden at times wondering how I would make it.  The beginning of the end came when I just gave everything up to God in exhaustion.  I was done.  I had had enough, but for some reason I pulled it together to give two more weeks worth and neglected God in the process.  God was working the whole time and brought everything together in his perfect time.

"I WILL GIVE YOU REST."  God promises to give us rest for our weariness if we come.  We must first be willing to come.  In my case, God took the source of the weariness out of my life which allows me to come and get the rest that he promises.

"LEARN OF ME."  This indicates a knowledge or sense of relationship.  God wants me to get to know Him and has given me a wonderful opportunity to do just that.  I pray that I do not squander this time, and that I will learn of His meekness and His heart and find the rest that he promises.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

For a Reason?

I have been recently contemplating God's will or the reasons behind many things that happen to me.  I am a bit boggled when certain things happen, yet they didn't go according to the original plan that they were supposed to go.  For example, I had a couple of doctor appointments a few weeks ago.  I knew when they were.  They were even on my planner (not that I always look at it much).  For some reason, I had it in my mind that my appointment was on Tuesday at 9am, but it was in fact on Wednesday at 9am.  I found it a bit strange that I received a text message about my appointment right before I walked in the door.  I was a whole day early!  They had a no show at 9am, and I was helped just as if I were scheduled for that day.  It makes me wonder what would have happened had I went on the appointed day.  Did someone else need a 9am appointment on Wednesday?  I was helped inspite of my error, and life went on like "normal."

Yesterday, I was thinking about a book that I sent someone hoping he had received it, and I walked into my kitchen and there on the counter was the returned package with the very book.  That answers that question, I thought.  Incomplete address.  Great, "God, is this a test?"  Irony of all ironies, The note inside of the book is written on a sheet of printed out lyrics to the song "Already There" by Casting Crowns.  God is already there.  He knew I mailed a book with an incomplete address and paid postage to send it only to have it returned two to three months later.  God also knew my thoughts about this book and that the book was on my kitchen counter as I thought them.  What is my next move?  Is the book worth sending a second time?  Will I be able to even get the complete address?  Is it worth it?  God is already there.  I believe because of the thoughts that I had at that particular moment leave me with only one choice, to try again.  I did receive the complete address, and I paid postage yet again (it isn't cheap) to get this book sent.  The rest is in God's hands.  He is already there.

Because God is already there, He knows all things and knows how my life will play out.  Does God orchestrate miscalculations for doctor appointments for a reason?  Does God orchestrate mailing mishaps to teach me a lesson in motives and counting the cost?  Does God orchestrate "off-schedule" things for a reason only known to Him for His glory?  It makes me wonder what would have happened had I kept my original appointment.  I wonder what would have happened had I not sent the book again?  I took the risk, and I pray God will bless it.  I definitely know that no matter what happens with the book, the cost is never too high to serve and obey God.  God is already there.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

To Write or not to Write?

To write or not to write...that is the question.  I enjoy the written word.  I enjoy words themselves.  I enjoy reading books because they are made up of words.  I like to write or journal.  It is release for me.  What I have noticed recently is that what I write about is a bit repetitive and there is not much measured growth reflected.

My blog posts deal with some very real and very personal struggles and desires that I have.  The words that I type express the emotion in which they are written.  That can be good and bad.  The emotions in which I type right now is of a tinge of loneliness, disappointment in myself for investing time in a pointless romantic comedy, and avoidance of other more pressing priorities.

As I logged into my blog tonight, I was brought to a previous post, I'm Engaged!. This post reminded me that I am spoken for. I am the Beloved of Christ.  This is the best day ever, for that reminder.  I am already taken. The difficult part comes in the waiting process.  Yes, I am loved.  Yes, He is coming.  Yes, I will be His bride.  But I must be prepared.  What does a prepared bride look like?  A prepared bride is one that doesn't focus just on the wedding day, she focuses on the details of the marriage.  This one will be for an eternity, so I need to be prepared.

As I look over my writings, I realize that I have work to do, but I have no plan of action.  I have never been very good at follow through or application.  I am learning now that I need a plan with measurable goals and GO and do them.  I get too caught up in "planning" plans, and that is where I get stuck.

Back to my question...to write or not to write.  I am beginning to realize that my motive for writing and specific conversation is for my validation, and I put way too much value on the feedback I receive.  This can affect my view of my value.  As of right now, I have to sort out my motive and arrange several priorities to their proper status.  Until then, this will be the last post until I can strike that balance. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Just like Brushing Your Teeth

Have you ever tried to do something that was hard at first, maybe even painful?  I have ventured out on more than one occasion, hit a rough spot here and there, and called it quits.  I've also had really good ideas and never followed through.  

Today I learned that positive changes and habits that we want to create are just like brushing teeth.  Things that need to change aren't necessarily exciting, they may cause discomfort or pain at first, but we must keep "brushing."  When we began to make those first steps, it can be painful at first and uncomfortable.  But we must remember to keep going and push through the pain because it will get better.

So the next time you want to quit or you hit a snag, remember to keep on "brushing," because it will get better.  The more consistent you become the easier it gets and soon enough it will become routine just like brushing your teeth.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Unconditional Love

Wow!  God has shown me so much lately.  Most of it has been difficult to swallow but good.  My latest post was posted out of loneliness and fear, and for that reason I regret posting it.  But God is always faithful and reassures his children of His presence.  He did that with me through a friend, a seminar speaker, and His Word.
I was on a typical "minding OTHER'S knittin'" adventure, when I was gently and firmly at the same time (if that's possible) reminded of who God wanted me to take care of and the sin in my life.  The following day I attended a seminar in which the speaker summarized the whole thing like this:
"Unconditional love is the key to unlock change."
That stuck with me so much personally, and was reiterated that evening in a devotion with the ladies of my church.  In I Corinthians 12, God outlines the various gifts of the Holy Spirit that are given to all believers and at the end of the chapter Paul speaks of "a more excellent way."   This "more excellent way" is love described so eloquently in chapter 13, the Love chapter, as it is often called.  All we do for God and others must be done in love or it is nothing.

A few days later after my previous post, God reminded me in Proverbs 18:22 that I am "to be found."  I have tried to claim this verse many times, but it is so difficult to wait "to be found."  I tend to get caught up in the "finding."  I am always on the lookout, and as I get older it gets harder to stop looking.  God has been so patient with me.  I am so thankful for His patience and unconditional love.  I am doing my best to rest in the magnitude of that thought and embrace the changes that will come from knowing Him and His love.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Simple Days...

What happened to the simple days when you had to actually memorize your best friend's phone number and purposely call them on a phone with a cord with a 10 foot reach?  In today's tech-savvy world, major milestones in friends, or friends of friends' lives are being broadcast to 200+ of their closest friends.

Social media is so intuitive (or we freely give away our "privacy"), that the advertisers have picked up on what we want in life.  I can't tell you how many ads targeted at dating sites or engagement rings I have seen in the last week.  "So I am single, thanks for pointing out the obvious."  Just because I am single doesn't mean I am broken.  Just because I am single doesn't mean I don't have purpose.  God has given me several  harvests of kiddos to pour His love into and teach them how to read and shine the light of Jesus in their lives.  I am grateful for that responsibility.  I have a great family and church family that I can count on no matter what.

These constant reminders of what I lack in life, to be honest, are annoying.  As the glitzy ring catches my eye, my mind can wander to the future.  Then I find myself entering the land of "If Only."  "If only I had husband..."  "If only I was the best teacher... and so on.  This place becomes a very dangerous place to dwell.  As soon as I find myself headed down the path, I quickly send up a prayer and attempt to redirect my thoughts to what I have before me.

My desire to be married and have a family is not wrong, it is just so tough to be reminded by other's happiness or ads that seem to point out that unfulfilled desire in my life.  I am learning slowly that God has a purpose for this season of my life.  My aim is to become holy in body and spirit and serve God without distraction (that is proving harder than I had realized) (I Corinthians 7:34-35).  God also tells me to delight in Him, and He will give me the desires of my heart (Psalm 37:4).  God knows my heart, now I have to trust Him and wait on His timing.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Decisions 2013

I remembered making a list of decisions for 2012 last year at church and discovered my list recently.  My top 5 goals for last year were as follows:
1. Speak in love/Keep God first
2. Teach my students good character by example and skills secondarily
3. Intentionally exercise and eat right
4. Ride a gondola in Venice, Italy
5. Run a 10K or 5K.
We we encouraged to reexamine our list and filter it through John 5:30-"I can of mine own self do nothing: as  I hear, I judge: and my judgement is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of my Father which hath sent me."  My list remained relatively the same, and God showed His will.
I made great progress in my goals for 2012.  I fell in love with God's Word. God showed me some areas to work on in regards to my conversation.  I loved my kiddos and prayed for new harvests of kiddos.  God has given me an abundance.  I began within the last few months to purposefully eat healthy and exercise.  I did run a 5K, I got doused in colored corn starched and had a blast doing so.  That was the largest race with several thousand participants that I had ever run, but it was totally worth it.  I did ride a gondola in Venice, Italy and I believe God orchestrated the whole thing.  I  met two Canadian young men and my one regret was that I didn't share Jesus Christ with them face to face.  However, through the wonderful world of  technology, I did have a chance to share Christ with one of them at great length while he was still on his trip in Europe.  Therefore, I saw my desire to ride a gondola as a seed planting opportunity for God.
Now as I get settled into 2013, and see that God can bring me overseas to plant seeds for him, why can't I do the same in my own neighborhood?  There are opportunities surrounding us everyday.  We just have to GO.  God will give us the words, if we give Him ourselves with a willingness to serve Him.  My decisions for 2013 are similar to before, but they can be summarized in the word, GO.  God commands us to GO and make disciples.  I must GO and be a light to my kiddos, I must GO and speak the love of God to others, I must GO exercise.  It is just that simple.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Best Thing

What is the best thing you have ever done?  I can think of many things that I've done, places I have been, people that I have met that were awesome and amazing.  What was the best thing, you ask?  That would have to be recognizing my sinfulness before a holy and just God.  God was knocking on my heart and gently showing me that He sent Jesus to shed his blood for me and pay for my sins.  I accepted His gift and now know that the blood of Jesus, the Lamb of God, is now applied to the doorposts of my heart.

That has definitely been the best thing in my life so far.  My life has been filled with good things since then.  As I seek to know God more, I have been reminded that the good things of life can overshadow the best things.  God created us to please Him.  In order to please Him and know what is best, we must know Him not perform or do things for Him.  Good things done for the wrong reasons, are bad things.  Check your motives and make the best choice.  God deserves our best.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

It's GO Time!

A new year has arrived.  For me, it is GO time!  I am sick and tired of wasting time planning to do things that I need to do.  I am not throwing planning out the window.  It has it's place, but there is a time where you just need to pick up and GO.
I have accomplished so much--scratch that--God has accomplished so much in and through me in the last couple of months.  These last few months have been difficult to say the least, but I have seen God work the most in my life.  It is such an amazing feeling to GO and do what God has called me to do.
This year I have been called to GO teach my many harvests of children to the best of my ability.
I have also committed to GO the healthy route this year and will be doing a book study on godly eating habits.  I know this won't be easy, but I will go.  This is one of my hardest struggles, and I plan to gain victory over it.
I have been called to GO and share my faith with others, this seems to be the most intimidating thing at times.  I have always cared what people thought of me and been afraid to share my faith.  "If I speak up, they are going to think I'm crazy."  "If I say something about Jesus, they may get angry."  I have purposely avoided putting God into conversations because I didn't want others to think less of me.  Just in the last few month, I have shared my faith directly or indirectly around 80 to 100 times!  Wow!  That is crazy to me!  God is doing a great work in me and giving me the boldness and courage to speak up and go. The wonderful thing about it is that the more I do it, the more I want to do it.  It makes me so excited that I can hardly contain myself.
This year is a year to GO and do what God has commanded me to do.  I must know Him and make Him known.