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

 

Spring blooms start with dirt

brigitte-tohm-64990

Spring has officially sprung and because this month I always focus on doing some season cleaning and decluttering I thought I’d first say that somehow I totally forgot to post last month but a lot happened on other social channels and life so I’ll be unpacking some of that in the next few posts.

This month has already shown me proof that God is creating something beautiful and I get to witness the unveiling, blooming and keeping of His promises.

I’m madly, deeply in love with this months theme at Revelation Wellness. We’re unpacking the message of #gritandhope and y’all the waves of emotions that these two words trigger are nothing short of God-winks; all the God-breathed permission to go, be, do, dream, rise up, recognize where redemption has called me up and take my place.

This morning’s You Version devotional on faith gives me permission to breathe and process where the anxiety of *doing* normally could cause me to freeze and over analyze.

“Putting your faith into action is less about what you do and don’t do and more about what you do and don’t do. Confusing, isn’t it? With faith that surpasses all understanding, you begin to know when to do and when not to do. While it will be different for each of us, what I can say for everyone is: Do have faith in the things God has called you to and don’t have faith where He has not. ” from Faith: fig tree vs. mountain  

So let’s dig into this blooming of grit & hope.

ariel-lustre-232891

 

GRIT & HOPE: These two words cause so much to rise up in me!!!

He’s making diamonds – out of grit & hope!!!

And pearls – it’s the grit inside the oyster that creates the pearl!

READ: (1 Peter 2:5, Joshua 4:6-8, 2 Corinthians 4:8-12, Romans 8, Philippians 4, Philippians 3)

GRIT definition:

1. small, loose particles of stone or sand.
“she had a bit of grit in her eye”

synonyms: sand, dust, dirt;
2. courage and resolve; strength of character.
“he displayed the true grit of the navy pilot”

synonyms: courage, bravery, pluck, mettle, backbone, spirit, strength of character, strength of will, moral fiber, steel, nerve, fortitude, toughness, hardiness, resolve, resolution, determination, tenacity, perseverance, endurance;

Digging into all corners of GRIT & HOPE; feeling like this message was written for me; yesterday the word GROWTH sprouted from my meditation.

Both GRIT & HOPE are a mindset.

Friends we GET TO decide if we will live & be in either a fixed or growth mindset.

I’ve combed through a few verses that link to the definitions of both words but what keeps coming up is Romans 8.

Romans 8:22-28 New Living Translation

For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hopefor it.  But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)

And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.

What is grit to you? What does hope look like?

What if we saw  grit & hope as the dirt God uses to plant seeds. What’s blooming from your grit & hope?

Are we feeding faith or fear: Overcoming Anxiety 

  

Have you ever dealt with anxiety? 

I have. FOR YEARS!!! And here’s where I found the solution! 

And I continue to use it whenever new issues, people, things, and problems try to overwhelm me! 

And yes, you’ll need to continue to ‘work it out’ on a regular basis just like one visit to the gym won’t make you fit, one prayer won’t keep you well! 

  

Surrender 

I started this devotional on the bible app and asked God to help me remove anything that’s a distraction from allowing Him access to my heart, (Psalm 139:23) my life and my mind. I’d love for you to join me. 

The 21 Day Plan – We start TODAY! 

I’m reading the @YouVersion plan ‘Living the Surrendered Life’. Check it out here:

http://bible.com/r/51

No spirit of fear

Friends, Grace covers us and removes every fear, every anxious thought, every regret, every what if, every thought that tries to hold itself higher than the name of Christ, every doubt that says we can’t because we think we are either not enough or too much, every deception & lie that disguises itself as truth and tries to convince us that it’s too late or too soon. Grace is the qualifier. Grace IS the reflection of the cross & the Cross was enough! 

For you, me & her and all the rest of them! 

 
I’ve seen many searching for answers far & wide and I know we’re all searching for answers only you provide and you know just what we need before we say a word. 

➕ And you call me deeper still… (Good Good Father Chris Tomlin) 

““It shall come to pass That before they call, I will answer; And while they are still speaking, I will hear.”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭65:24‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Listen to Search My Heart by Hillsong UNITED on @AppleMusic.

Doing vs Being – Reflection of the Resurrection

   

“Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do.”

– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I might add to this brilliance,  that we must be (willing)  very intentional about not allowing our doing to become our being.

I wonder, if in our doing and our being what we’re reflecting.

I wonder…  are we a reflection of the resurrection.

A reflection of the mystery of the proof of a previously mention victory.

A reflection of the majesty of God’s ability to do far beyond we could ever imagine or think; because after all, His ways ARE higher!

A reflection of the mention of things seemingly random, often misunderstood, blurry, unlikely, impossible, too much and at the same time not enough.

A reflection of the greatness.

A reflection of the sacrifice.

A reflection of the true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, excellent and praise worthy.

A reflection of the courage from a heart that knows it is loved.

A reflection of the wounds.

A reflection of the broken.

A reflection of the made whole.

A reflection of the scars.

A reflection of the healing.

A reflection of the darkest valley.

A reflection of the laying down.

A reflection of the lacking nothing.

A reflection of the refreshing of the soul.

A reflection of the guidance on the right path.

A reflection of His name sake.

A reflection of no fear of evil.

A reflection of His presence, with us.

A reflection of His comfort.

A reflection of His story.

A reflection of His glory.

 

Reflection of the Resurrection: Doing what we’re becoming

Someone recently asked me how I got into the fitness industry. This came on the heels of a question in our Revelation Wellness training that asked “what truth have you believed that God revealed was actually a lie”… After I had my first child during college, I remember someone hinting that I would “end up just like my mother”… I’ve watched God bring this truth to the light of TRUTH from a space where Satan tried to use my “doing and being” against me and cause it to become the very thing He uses to reflect the resurrection!!!! (Romans 8)

The short story.

After suffering through an emotionally draining pregnancy & post partum depression (with my 3rd child) a woman named Kristine Bowman invited me to an aerobics class at a church. My 3 kids were just babies. (I had a chance to share the full testimony in an interview on the Faithful Wellness Podcast ) It’s been 13 years since that initial invitation to the aerobics class and my kids are now teenagers and one of them is a man-child… Y’all I’m still walking this road and I’m still doing & being who God is calling me to be!!! Glory be to God that He called me (qualified) in the middle of my (everyday) doing because He saw who He was calling me to be!

HE QUALIFIES THE CALLED

There’s a group of people that we are each designed to reach and we can either continue on that journey being our best selves; just a willing vessel;  serving and BEING fulfilled (not in our own strength but with whatever God fills us with) or we can hustle hard in hopes of DOING what’s ‘qualified’ and yet still not quite enough.

I think I’ll stick with being, and let God continue with the doing (in me)!

Some of you know I’m in the middle of a certification called Revelation Wellness; it’s a Christ centered faith THEN fitness counseling & wellness program that allows me to offer the fitness classes I’m already teaching in addition to a program called Weigh Less To Feed More.

The certification is a whole person approach to the dilemma many of the diets, programs and ’30 day whatever-the-quick-fix’ have created; the results on the outside are there but the person on the inside is still hurting and broken.

img_3541.jpg

 

The training so far has been a beautiful tapestry of humility & service.

My training will finish in May at a one week retreat in Arizona with nearly 40 other ‘platoon recruits’. I’ve met some beautiful souls who are all uncovering the Truth of our reflection of the resurrection; I love that they call us platoons, it’s a nod to being enlisted in an army; a sisterhood/brotherhood trained to fight the battle for our wholeness. Friends if you’re in or near Ohio, you can experience a taste of this beautiful faith THEN fitness mission at Jesus At The Core.

DOING: the reflecting

“Don’t mistake activity with achievement.”
John Wooden

I recently launched a class called F.I.T. (inspired by the AFAA fitness model of Frequency Intensity and Time) but we’ve taken a deeper core conditioning approach and allowed God access to the purpose of our movement and our 3 target goals are FOCUS, INTENTION and TIME.  In 1 hour we set our spirit, soul and body on a mission to get FIT!

  • FOCUS: STRENGTH – A river can cut through rock not because of its power but its persistence
  • INTENTION: DISCIPLINE – No discipline feels good at first
  • TIME: NOW – because…

 

 

To catch a glimpse of the FIT class check us out on facebook

 

BEING: distractions & moving with(IN) fluence

 

  

It’s really easy for distraction to sneak in. Seriously y’all it’s REALLY sneaky. It comes in when the “DOING BECOMES OUR BEING”. Let me explain this.

DISCLAIMER: I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first took hold of me (Philippians 3:12)

Y’all, whether our doing is for our own self gratification, or our own subconscious checklist of the unspoken character of the “Good Christian” or it’s our ‘good thing’ that we do; when we become consumed with the getting-it-done it becomes who we are. It’s a slow fade. I’ve been meditating on Philippians 4:8 lately and realized that God could very well call us to a place of service and it’s where He needs us during that season but the service itself is not who we are, we are servants. God could call us to a place of humility & surrender and yet, still the surrendering is not who we are, we are still a servant, only now we are a humbled surrendered servant, standing and waiting for our instruction. In the doing and the waiting; our being is not defined by what we do; our being is our identity and to define ourselves by what we do would be to say that if the “doing” was to cease, then we would no longer be. Can I back track to that whisper someone dropped on me when I had my son, the one that hinted that I’d becoming just like my mom. That wasn’t a term of endearment, it was intended to imply that I was throwing away ‘my potential/future’ because I had gotten pregnant before marriage. I spent much of my college life and early adult hood trying to prove them wrong, and in my doing, I lost my being.

It wasn’t until I came to a place of surrender; admitting that I tried so hard to figure out who I was and failed miserably trying to un-do/hear/speak that which had been done/heard/spoken into my life that I began understanding that my being (Psalm 139) defines my doing (ability & potential) & the deceptive web became untangled.

It took me nearly 30 years to figure this out. Every year that my daughter has a birthday, I kinda celebrate my new found purpose. Friends God is calling us to the surrender. It’s in the surrender that we find ourselves FIT (focus, intention and time) for the calling (doing).

Friends He calls you His BELOVED. BE LOVED. This is where we find our being. This is where we find ourselves the reflection of the resurrection.

 

Wrapped in your calling

 

God can do more in our surrender than we could ever try to do in a lifetime of control  – Unknown

 

$5 Books at Family Christian

(Full disclosure: this post includes affiliate links I will receive a commission from purchases made through this link)

(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?