The gift of your story

The Truth of our unique personal encounters with the Spirit of God, will speak to the immediate hunger of a person’s spirit more effectively than the eloquent dissertations of doctrine.

When I was younger I wanted to be a social worker. I wanted to help rescue children out of devastating trauma and secure a healthy home & family life for them. Then I discovered that God had given me a gift of writing and a heart – deep ability to articulate emotions and situations. I began writing with a depth of imagery that drew the reader into the moment. I began crafting from a place of persuasion, colorful mystery & romanticism and {I later came to discover} manipulation. These two “gifts” became tainted by a very dark, dismally desperate desire to be rescued and redeemed from my own existence; with an unquenchable thirst to find something to belong to and someone to blame for my chaos.

Ironically, the quiet desperate search for significance pushed me into hiding; far away from the people who promised to “pray for me” as I saw their concern morph into piercing eyes of judgement as if I was the cause of my demise and their righteousness should be my goal.  Anytime Satan comes after our identity it always comes with shame and condemnation.  But when Christ comes calling us by name it’s to redeem us back to our original design.

Shame called my name for most of my life.

It still continues to challenge my existence but it’s rarely bold faced neon signs; it’s hidden under the familiarity of the voices of recognition, memories, and repeat offenses that I haven’t handed to God. See when someone repeats an offense that was either done to us or that we’ve been the instigator; shame has a way of labeling us with the scarlet letter. Do y’all remember that story form High School Literature class?

Hey… can I ask a quick question?

The other day, something really cool happened. I connected with a new sister-friend that I’ve never met or even exchanged Facebook conversations with before.
God brought this unique conversation together over an ‘issue’ that she and I were both seeking His wisdom. This led to a full out “hey can we talk, I can’t wait to get to actually know you” conversation.

The vulnerability of owning our story runs a risk of being found out and that risk could offer the possibility of stones being thrown at us, but what if your willingness to step up to the line offers redemption? (John 8:1-11)

Who in your  ‘circle’ do you not know? Maybe it’s someone you’ve connected with through social-media or work that it’s one of those God-sent relationships but it’s been too scary or risky to truly let them know you?

Are you willing to put down your stones and see that Jesus has actually invited YOU to claim your place as His son/daughter & step to the line?

Conversations with my kids this morning about the realities of this world and their understanding about where they would spend eternity if tomorrow never happened… Sobering to hear their truth and trust in God’s sovereignty. After reading the YouVersion verse of the day it compels me to #keepmovin because #freepeoplefreepeople #iamtheonejesusloves

Acts 20:28-35

So guard yourselves and God’s people. Feed and shepherd God’s flock—his church, purchased with his own blood[h]—over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as leaders.[i] 29 I know that false teachers, like vicious wolves, will come in among you after I leave, not sparing the flock. 30 Even some men from your own group will rise up and distort the truth in order to draw a following. 31 Watch out! Remember the three years I was with you—my constant watch and care over you night and day, and my many tears for you.
32 “And now I entrust you to God and the message of his grace that is able to build you up and give you an inheritance with all those he has set apart for himself.
33 “I have never coveted anyone’s silver or gold or fine clothes. 34 You know that these hands of mine have worked to supply my own needs and even the needs of those who were with me. 35 And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

Where might God be asking you to share the gift of your story? Have you accepted the exchange of shame for redemption? If not, I’d love to chat with you and hear your story. Contact me or comment below

Further study:

Join us for the next Wellness Revelation small group. An opportunity to learn your story, unpack the truth of your identity and lose what weighs you down so you can love God, yourself and others. Click here to register

 

A different kind of strength training

 

Can I invite you into a season to #restandrenew? Wherever you are, start there and see what might happen…

I mean authentic, committed, intentional, serious RESToration to RENEW your spirit soul and body ?

This past month we camped on Hosea 10:12 with our Summer book club bible study  as we dug into the book Uninvited by Lysa Terkeurst and my mind has been blown by the way The Holy Spirit shows us who He is and that His promises never return void!

“I said, ‘Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of love. Plow up the hard ground of your hearts,

for now is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and shower righteousness upon you.’”
‭‭Hosea‬ ‭10:12‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I’ve been sharing on instagram a series called #redefineyourself and I’ll be *re-sharing more here; but if you want more purposeful, individual focus there’s a space at the table right here on my blog waiting with your name on it, I’m inviting you to join me, I just need to know you’ll be sitting there! (leave a comment below)

Next month we’re going back to the basics of finding freedom in our own skin. This will be a study in Galatians. But for now, let’s continue this conversation on redefining yourself.

Friends when we commit to intentional movement, deeper heart & soul work, body nourishing meals and a “this is so good for me” we won’t ever lose.

 

Isn’t it just like God to put us smack dab in the middle of the situation we only talked about but in the back of our minds wondered if it might *ever* happen to us?
Some of you know my story.
Short version, in 2013 I woke up one day in head to toe pain. I couldn’t move. It hurt like an electrical shock for my husband to even touch me, to help me try to move my legs that felt like dead weight. I managed to shuffle to church that morning and made my way to the altar. When I told my pastors wife what was going on and what that it felt like “fire in my bones” she immediately said OH NO, NAME OF JESUS GIRL YOU BETTER OPEN YOUR MOUTH AND SPEAK THE WORD OF GOD. (Jeremiah 20:9 But if I say, “I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.) #WhatABeautifulNameItis
 
For 6 months I stayed under the care of doctors, and neurologists being poked prodded and filled with fire, unable to walk. I laid on the hospital bed with ultrasound needles in the muscles of my hip, thigh, calf, ankle and foot. As the doctor would give me prompts to move the ultrasound which also had brain activity pads attached to my head; registered the response time from the brain cognitive understanding to the translation of actual muscle movement. My brain was very aware of what was being asked of me but my body was delayed in the responsiveness. In the larger muscle the response time was quicker than the smaller muscles. The closer the commands got to my feet, the longer the delay. When it got to my feet, there was no response.
 
The Drs’ diagnosis.
Trauma.
Trauma that had finally surfaced and decided to be dealt with because the other signals that had been sent to my body were ignored. The body is uniquely designed by God to only allow so much “self-preservation” before it recognizes that it was never designed to carry these things (Hebrews 12).  (We’ll be digging more into this next month for our Back To Basics FOCUS be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss this!! )
 
Fast forward, including a lifting of the symptoms, restoration of strength, releasing bitterness, anger, rejection, resentment and years of childhood trauma; the symptoms have returned. At times I sit with God asking Him if He has allowed this as a thorn in my flesh. NEVERTHELESS (I guess I do talk that way) His grace reminds me that He hasn’t brought me into anything that I can’t handle in His power and strength.
 
That rejection you wear is hiding the beauty you carry.
That fear has crippled you and you can’t even see your limp.
That bitter, angry heart of yours has been calloused from feeling the tender mercy of an immeasurable love of the Father.
That abandonment has left you defensive and the walls you’ve built to protect you from being hurt has kept the Father far from reaching you.
You can come out from hiding.
His love covers every fear, all of your shame, every guilt, every wrong done to you, through you or by you.
He is making all things new.
He is making broken, beautiful.
“As you speak,  a hundred billion failures disappear, you lost your life so I could find it here.
If you left behind you, so will I…If you gladly chose surrender, so will I ” Hillsong United
I was talking with a sister-friend this morning about listening for the instructions from God, knowing whether or not we’ve heard Him clearly and how that relates to the way we take care of our bodies…
 
I got to thinking; what if we applied the verse in Galatians 5 (about the fruits of the spirit) to strength training.
 
There are certain muscles we love to train and show off, there are others that we work hard at but they seem to never give us the results we want to see, so we aren’t so quick to display them and then there are those that we all together avoid because they’re either seemingly useless or too difficult to train so we just ignore them.  Then there is the situation of knowing how (understanding what’s required – as in my physical issue) and yet for some reason we are unable to finish the task.
 
So I ask you, which {spiritual }muscles are you currently training, and which ones have you ignored. Which ones are really strong and which ones are weak? What does your current strength training regimen look like? Have you identified your weakness?
 
Just for the sake of jogging our memories; here are the “spiritual” muscles…
 
  • Love
  • Joy
  • Peace
  • Patience
  • Kindness
  • Goodness
  • Self-Control
 
Consider this as your initial assessment with your personal trainer. #getinneractive #redefineyourself
The Christian commitment is not an abstraction. It is a concrete, visible, courageous and formidable way of being in the word – forged by daily choices consistent with inner truth.
A commitment that is not visible in humble service, suffering discipleship and creative love is an illusion.
Jesus Christ is impatient with illusions, and the world has no interest in abstractions. “Everyone who listens to these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a stupid man who built his house on sand” (Matthew 7:26) If we bypass the words of the Great Rabbi, the spiritual life will be nothing more than fantasy. // Brennan Manning Abba’s Child
JOIN US IN AUGUST: OUR BACK TO BASICS GROUP

Crazy how you can make a bold/scary decision and almost immediately you’re faced with the opposition to retract and literally fight to maintain your choice. Yesterday with tear-filled eyes I confessed to one of my mentors that the Holy Spirit revealed to me that I was fighting (shrinking back & withdrawing) the gifts He had placed in me for fear of being seen as too much.

I’ve known what some of the gifts are, and I’ve seen them flourish, but I have also felt the sting of rejection in the midst of using them. And my flesh was crying out loud that I didn’t want that anymore. But y’all it felt like Paul’s thorn because all I kept hearing from the Holy Spirit was GRACE. Like Christ, humbly considering the cup to be removed but in His heart He knew that He was created specifically for the work; NEVERTHELESS, NOT MY WILL BUT YOURS FATHER.

See friends, we want the gifts, we want the sparkle and shine, we even want the fame but when we consider the cost and the potential pain that comes with it, are we willing to be so bold to surrender the words NOT MY WILL, BUT YOURS?

Beloved…
My gift is irrevocable, kindled by the HolySpirit, as a token of my pledge of love to you.

Share this gift, as a testimony of your new identity as my Beloved.

Don’t be ashamed. Let my love catch fire in you. There is no one like. Kindle afresh my gift in you. Fan it into the flame. Be bold. Sparkle bright. You are my Gift. // Whispers of Rest by Bonnie Gray
https://open.spotify.com/track/1ed3wNCecRIp6SugyR0w2J

How to unlearn old habits

Speak

We are afraid of big dreams because we are afraid of ourselves.

We are afraid of greatness because we are afraid of our arrogance.

And yet Jesus said of us, “Whoever believes in me… they will do even greater things than these” (John 14:12)

We need to quit apologizing for using our gifts and start apologizing for NOT using them. – Jennie Allen #Restless

 

So much of our internal battles to care for ourselves; spirit, soul and body; is less about learning new things and so much more about unlearning old habits.

 

Find an opportunity of unlearning

Can we talk about this  sneaky form of competition that’s been lurking around and we seem to just keep living with it?  
It’s called pride.
It’s called I want what she’s got.
It’s called there’s no way I could possibly qualify or be good enough.
It’s called I can’t receive (don’t want to hear) anything from her because she has what I should have and that’s not fair for me to have to humble myself and listen to her.
It’s called satan couldn’t and wasn’t so he wants to see to it that you don’t and aren’t.
It’s called a giant, and it must fall.
Oh friends, we have two options; either agree with the Truth that God; in all of His enoughness; has created us in His image with gifts that are too many to name and therefore it’s not possible for the abundance to run out. OR we fold our arms, stump our feet and throw a pride/pity party in the name of satan’s anthem – aka defeat.
 
FIRST – His perfect love removes all fear. Jealousy, doubt, envy, pride, and rejection are all fear based reactions.  They cause us to either rise up in our own pride and ability and begin to strut our peacock tails or on the reverse we shut down, draw back and turtle.
SECOND – Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 1 Corinthians 13
For the word of the God is living and effective and sharper than any double edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart. Hebrews 4:12
Find a rhythm to move to
Be available to the community God has placed you in. Be your truest self (flaws and all) and this will allow the light of Christ that is in to shine. Even when you think it’s not very bright, the tiniest light breaks darkness; and those who feel like they’re wandering and grasping for hope will find your light; the Light He placed in you. When they find it, be ready with an answer of the hope that keeps you anchored.

 

Find a tribe to help you establish commitments

I teamed up with some of my faith and fitness sisters for a month long challenge called Resolution Recommit. Each week there’s a new theme and throughout the week we’re encouraged with devotionals, workouts, nutrition and meal advise and a sweet little community.

This past week, one of the devotionals included the message of beauty. It struck a chord, well more like a nerve.

Oh yall. It was loaded with permission.

Permission to be you and enjoy the you that God created. She spoke about how much she whole-heartedly just loves fashion and make up and expressing herself through art and music and she’s learned to not apologize for any of that.

Friends, I think sometimes we get tripped up and lost in translation and assume that God says we aren’t to be concerned with the outward appearance but ONLY our inner selves.

But NO. He doesn’t say that.

Jesus DOES remind us that yes we shouldn’t be so impressed with the outside of the cup if/when the inside is filthy but we are also reminded that our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit, where He lives and I’m not sure He would want to live in a beat up dilapidated shack.

We GET TO take care of these bodies. We are HIS BODY, HIS HANDS, HIS FEET, His representation on this earth. I would think it’s worth us considering it a high priority to take care of the body He let us borrow to do His work.

I don’t know about you, but on both sides of the self-care coin was a battle of competition. The one that said I was too much and the other one that says I wasn’t enough.

I’m still allowing God to work out this thing in me as I gut my closets of failed attempts to be someone I’m actually not.

Trends, idols, icons, inspirations, fears, pressures, you name it and they had won over both my heart and my budget and I tried for years to figure out what I was suppose to look like and not draw attention to. I fought the battle of the skinny jeans and the flat abs and the J-Lo booty and well, good genes won and reminded me that some things are suppose to be there and others; well Jesus.

Psalm 19:7-9New Living Translation (NLT)

 The instructions of the Lord are perfect, reviving the soul. The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.  The commandments of the Lord are right, bringing joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are clear, giving insight for living.

Be you tea bag

 

 

The best way to battle the lies of competition – which robs you of pretty much everything in your original design; is to sit with yourself and God and find a community of friends who will speak the truth in love over you. Be available to the community God has placed you in. 1 Peter 5:6 reminds us to be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is on you; he’ll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you.

Be your truest self (flaws and all) and this will allow the light of Christ that is in to shine. Even when you think it’s not very bright, the tiniest light breaks darkness; and those who feel like they’re wandering and grasping for hope will find your light; the Light He placed in you. When they find it, be ready with an answer of the hope that keeps you anchored.

Find the best of you

I hope you’ll consider being a part of our FEBRUARY challenge as we take an active approach toward “lovin’ the best of me and losin’ the rest of me.”

Our anchor ⚓️ verse is Isaiah 61:3 to restore beauty, joy, praise & righteousness!! 💪🏾 

Above all else, guard your heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life (it IS the wellspring of life). (Prov 4:23)

As a woman thinks in her heart so is she (Prov 23:7)

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones (Prov 17:23)

Coming Soon!!! NEW Classes – including an online training FITCAMP community, Our next Weigh Less to Feed More group REGISTER HERE FOR the February Challenge

ANNOUNCEMENT >>>

ccoming soon

Oh friends, this is something God has really been speaking to me and I can’t wait to dive into these truths and restore us back to the place where He designed us! I hope to see you in the February FOCUS!

Speak – Even if your voice is trembling
Please – You’ve been quiet for so long
Believe – It’ll be worth the risk you’re taking

SOURCE: Amanda Cook – The Voyage Lyrics | MetroLyrics

 

Wait for the Lord, be strong, and let your heart take courage Psalm 27:14

Taste & See: Change the ‘why’ in your goals

  
Have you ever noticed you simply cannot stop a woman changed by the love of Jesus?
Run into her and she spills outblessing. Offend her and she proclaims peace. Try to silence her and she will sing a new song to her King. Cut her and she bleeds grace. In Christ, she is contagious, she is bold, she is gracious, she is loving. She is an unstoppable gospel force. She’s the light of the world, for freedom set free.
In Christ, we are told this is who we are, yet if we are honest, it’s hard to be. To be transformed by love is why we train! We train our hearts, minds, souls and bodies by God’s word. Day by day the Holy Spirit changes us more into the likeness of real love; a love that does not run when face to face with fear, nor will it faint in the sun-scorched lands. 
God’s word longs to invade our everything. Will we give Him permission is the question. 
We are people on mission to provide a way for everyone who moves their feet to run headfirst into the love of God. 
If you have yet to try this kind of training, don’t wait one more day. 

Let me introduce you to RevWell TV – an army of worshippers who are standing at your front door, knocking, hoping you will let us in. 

Let us into your home, your office or wherever you find yourself in need of something greater.

Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see—

how good God is.

Blessed are you who run to him.

(Psalm 34:8 The Message)
Train to become a woman changed by the love of Jesus. Get RevWell TV here 

(FULL DISCLOSURE: Image & copy are from promotional materials via RevWellTV; property of Revelation Wellness, the faith THEN fitness ministry I am currently certifying with. HOWEVER every single ounce of me yelling from the rooftops that you need this in your life totally belong to me because I wholeheartedly want to see you keep your heart pumpin and spirit Movin’) 

Keep Movin,

Amia 

(re) Define Yourself: Trending wisdom

If there is anyone in this whole world worth forgiving because you love them so much, shouldn’t it be your own Self? @cedarandsoul

Our trend

 

  

Wisdom, Knowledge & Understanding. 

“Grace only sticks to our imperfections. Those who can’t accept their imperfections can’t accept grace either” – #ScaryClose  Um… Whoa!!! 

So if you haven’t grabbed the YouVersion Scary Close 7 Day devotional yet, you need to!!! 

Let’s get to the root of why we strive & figure out what seeds were planted deep in the inner core of our issues with perfection. 

The ONLY sustainable substantial remedy to this is grace. I never thought I struggled with perfectionism until I realized that I struggled with being imperfect. I didn’t ever want to nor do I ever consider it worth trying to be (or pretend to be) perfect. I’m not suggesting you focus on imperfections, but at the very least recognizing that we are flawed opens the door to receiving Gods perfect Grace. Where we admit our weakness (flaws) He is made strong.

Wisdoms Trend

Good friend, take to heart what I’m telling you; collect my counsels and guard them with your life. Tune your ears to the world of Wisdom; set your heart on a life of Understanding. That’s right—if you make Insight your priority, and won’t take no for an answer, Searching for it like a prospector panning for gold, like an adventurer on a treasure hunt, Believe me, before you know it Fear-of- GOD will be yours; you’ll have come upon the Knowledge of God. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭2‬:‭1-5‬ MSG)

And here’s why: GOD gives out Wisdom free, is plainspoken in Knowledge and Understanding. He’s a rich mine of Common Sense for those who live well, a personal bodyguard to the candid and sincere. He keeps his eye on all who live honestly, and pays special attention to his loyally committed ones. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭2‬:‭6-8‬ MSG) 

Redefine yourself by tending to trending

Thirsty hearts are those whose longings have been weakened by the touch of God within them. A.W. Tozer

What if we made the decision to change the trend. To create a ripple effect of strength, courage and wisdom? What if we tore off the mask and drop the chains of shame and believed we were called to a greater purpose? 

What if we recognized that the new normal looked nothing like what’s expected and our goal was to stand out as a light being used in this world not to expose but to spotlight God’s plan. What if when we took the stage we just said Hi I’m here to introduce the main speaker. What if we cultivated our purpose!! 

  

When your purpose is no greater than yourself it’s easy to rely on just yourself.

When your purpose is bigger than you it will set you apart from the crowd. 

 “Be yourself and remain true to God – when the temptation is to go with the crowd, when your integrity is put to the test, when the rest of the world begs you to become someone else. Be true to yourself and true to God, and He will be glorified.” – John Maxwell {Life and Leadership Lessons From The Bible} 

Leadership Lessons we can learn from Daniel

1. God chooses the purpose before the person!

2. When leaders follow Gods purpose they are given God’s power!

3. On-Purpose leaders do the right thing – not the easy thing! 

Daniel never lost his way because he never lost his why! 

• Do you believe everyone who follows God is set apart by Him, or do you think only certain people are? Explain.

• Scripture says God created us to do good works, which He prepared in advance for us to do. Do you have a sense of the kinds of things God created you to do? If so, what are they?