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

 

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.

How to keep your heart strong

 

Praying.

If you honestly want to condition your heart to be stronger, healthier, agile, it starts with prayer. 

One of the most vigilant threats to heart health is stress and one of the greatest defenses we have against stress is prayer. 

I know it sounds too simple to be an absolute but isn’t that half of our problem, we overcomplicate life…

Friends, if we could just stop trying so hard and being so hard on ourselves making the assumption that we MUST have it all figured out, or worse that we are required to dig ourselves out of the ditch we find ourselves in; we wouldn’t carry the excess weight we drag around. 

Honestly. Ask yourself what’s that one thing you seem to overwhelm yourself with on a daily basis? 

Marriage? 

Kids?

Money?

Your health?

Your career?

Your weight?

Your habits?

Your family?

Your friendships?

Your fears?

Your insecurities?

Your hurts?

Your heart?

I’ve just named a few of the burdens I’ve been trying to carry…what are yours?

What if we decided to make an exchange today and place that one thing in the hand of God and simply allow Him to hold our hand. 

I think that one touch from Him is all it would take. 

I think that one touch would lift those burdens. 

I think that that one touch would remove doubt.

I think that one touch would calm anxiety. 

I think that one touch would shine a bright light on all of darkness. 

I think that one touch would heal our brokenness. 

I think that one touch is the thing I’ll pray over myself, my husband, my children, my family & friends. 

Praying those prayers that sound desperate because sometimes they are. 

Praying those prayers that are persistent because I refuse to quit praying until God takes all that is wrong and makes it right. 

God honors those who defy protocol. God honors the radical prayers. God honors those who pray with audacity and tenacity! 
Diligence & persistence are rewarded! 

You must refuse to quit! 

Psalm 32:7 promises that God surrounds us with songs of deliverance… 

Would you be willing to exchange one thing & pray audacious, chain breaking, overwhelmed by immeasurable grace, prayers today? 

➕ 🎶 (@lauren_daigle O Lord) Though times it seems

Like I’m coming undone

This walk can often feel lonely

No matter what until this race is won

I will stand my ground where hope can be found

I will stand my ground where hope can be found
Oh, O’Lord O’Lord I know You hear my cry

Your love is lifting me above all the lies

No matter what I face this I know in time

You’ll take all that is wrong and make it right

You’ll take all that is wrong and make it right
Whoa… Your strength is found

At the end of my road

Your grace it reaches to the hurting

Still through the tears and the questioning why

I will stand my ground where hope can be found!

I will stand my ground where hope can be found!
Oh, O’Lord O’Lord I know You hear my cry

Your love is lifting me above all the lies

No matter what I face This I know in time

You’ll take all that is wrong and make it right

You’ll take all that is wrong and make it right 
 

Thank you Father for always taking what is wrong & making it right. May we be bold enough to exchange our junk for your grace. In Jesus name Amen. 

How can I pray for you? 

Finding my true north

“…when the presence of God was more real to me than the chair I am sitting on; when the fire in my belly flickered and died; when a storm of desire carried me to places I had never visited…” – Brennan Manning Abba’s Child

Grand Canyon

Sunset over Flagstaff Arizona

Today let’s adjust our focus toward where we’re headed; not toward where we’ve been, not where we intended to be, not where our annual goal/commitment/resolution/push plan/whatever-you-call-that-beginning-of-the-year-idea-list says we were hoping to accomplish.

But let’s seriously pause today and look at the intentional plan of where God needs us to be.

Even if where we are, isn’t at all where we intended to be, God is always there to give us instructions on where we are suppose to go next and what we’re suppose to do when we get there. He’s gracious enough to give us specific instructions and reminds that He’s with us along the journey.

CONFESSION: Sometimes I get frustrated by desperate attempts to separate our physical selves with our spiritual selves. Let me explain. We go about making plans for losing weight, reaching career and financial goals, relationship goals, etc. and we keep these in the neat little ‘to do’ or ‘to want’ box But then over to the right side of the strategy we have an ideal of who we think we need to be to keep our lives together or spiritually grounded. We make diligent efforts to live up to this goal sheet leaning heavily to one side or the other and then ridicule ourselves when life feels out of balance. Why? Why do we do that? (Seriously I’m trying to find the answer so if you find out, help a sistah out)

I’ve heard it repeated that we are spiritual beings living in a physical body, and one cannot function without the other. To feed one, is to feed the other. If then we are feeding our faith by reading scriptures or devotionals, going to church, praying and minding the words we speak or allow to be spoken to us; wouldn’t it make sense that our physical bodies reap those benefits?

The short answer, yes.

The long answer, not if we’re undoing all of those by putting garbage into our bodies, using, abusing or misusing our bodies in ways that might temporarily be pleasurable but in the long term only reap hazardous benefits.

I’m sorry to sound so blunt but seriously how can we make the mistake of believing that we can do whatever we want to our selves (spirit, soul or body) and think there are no consequences to it.

How is it that we assume we can or should only focus on one area of life at a time? What ever happened to do not worry about anything, but in everything with prayer and thanksgiving make your request be made known. (Phillippians 4:6-7)

God doesn’t say, right now let’s just focus on this, then we’ll get to that later.

Actually He says the reverse, He says “hey listen, all of y’all that are workin’ yourself raggedy, tryin’ to figure it all out and having an attitude with everybody because they aren’t giving you the answers you’re looking for and you can’t find satisfaction in the status, the money, the stuff or the friends – you, yeah come here and let me take that load off of you, you were never suppose to be carrying that anyway“. (That would be the Freeman translation of course, that’s the way I hear God speak to me sometimes) #ExtremeWeightLoss

And seriously, I’m not suggesting that I have it figured out (Phillippians 3:12) but I am suggesting that we press forward with the help we’ve been given and as someone said to me “STOP SHOULDING ON OURSELVES”. Grace is so readily available and sufficient that all we need to do is ask.

There’s freedom in grace. Y’all grace is the new strong. No actually grace has always been strength but I think if we see it as our new source of strength we might actually see the scale move away from the place we’ve given it that was actually reserved for God. We’ve allowed that scale to determine our worth. We’ve allowed it to identify us. We’ve allowed it to call us by names that God has never, nor will He ever call us. We’ve allowed that scale access to places and spaces in our hearts and minds that satan has tried so hard to get to but couldn’t until he saw us bite the apple.

What are we doing? Where are we going?

 

“If you don’t know where you are going any road can take you there”
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

WHAT IF, right there – where you are right now is exactly where He needs you? What if?

What if, it’s in the climb?

What if it’s at the bottom of that proverbial mountain?

What if it’s staring down into the bottom of the pit BEFORE you jump in it.

What if it’s at the bottom of the pit, looking up.

What if it’s in the pit.

Noticing.

Waiting.

Recognizing that if God is on your side, who (or what) could possibly be against you? (Romans 8:31)

What if, right where we are; whether we’ve lost the pounds, or not; gotten the job, or not; pressed in really hard putting in the diligent work required to keep that relationship flourishing, or not; whether we’ve finally faced the fear, or not; whether we’ve given up the comparison and people pleasing, or not.

What if, we pause. Open our hands and let go.

What if in the moment we let go, we realize that thing we were holding onto was actually holding us back.

The grudge.

The fear.

The anger.

The regret.

The shame.

The jealousy.

The hatred.

The resentment.

The bitterness.

The extra baggage from our past.

The uncertainty of life.

The desire to want to control it all.

The ‘but what about me God’.

The judgement and nit picking of someone else’s life.

The judgement and nit picking of our own life.

The judgement and nit picking of our body.

The fear of our dreams.

The fear of our talents. You’re really good at that thing God has given you and there is no shame required.

The fear of having goals. And accomplishing them. God brings no sorrow to His blessings.

What if we let go and with that open hand found God’s hand ready and reaching to hold ours, to guide us, to lift us, to help us with the climb.

You’ve circled this mountain long enough, now turn north. Deuteronomy 2:3 

The Climb. – Rascal Flatts

I can almost see it
That dream i’m dreaming but
There’s a voice inside
My head saying
You’ll never reach it
Every step i’m taking
Every move i make feels
Lost with no direction
My faith is shaking
But i , gotta keep trying
Gotta keep my head held
High
There’s always gonna be
Another mountain
I’m always gonna want to
Make it move
Always gonna be an uphill
Battle
Sometimes i’m gonna have
To lose
Ain’t about how fast i get
There
Ain’t about
What’s waiting on
The other side…………
It’s a climb

 

 

Finding Your True North

 

Canyon prayer

How countless are Your works, LORD! In wisdom You have made them all; the earth is full of Your creatures. Psalm 104:24

 

Selfie At The Canyon

 

“True North is the internal compass that guides you successfully through life. It represents who you are as a human being at your deepest level. It is your orienting point – your fixed point in a spinning world – that helps you stay on track as a leader. Your True North is based on what is most important to you, your most cherished values, your passions and motivations, the sources of satisfaction in your life.

Just as a compass points toward a magnetic field, your True North pulls you toward the purpose of your leadership. When you follow your internal compass, your leadership will be authentic, and people will naturally want to associate with you. Although others may guide or influence you, your truth is derived from your life story and only you can determine what it should be. “- Bill George: True North – Discover Your Authentic Leadership
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Reebok Body Is Truth

 

 

 

Oh if God is on my side, who can be against me?

 

 

Have you found your true north? Will you let me help you (Click here to join the Holiday Commitment FOCUS)

Friends, I believe I’ve found mine. I believe it’s still a climb. I believe I’ll get there, and if God is on my side, who can be against me?

No matter where you stand, God is telling you to move.

I’m really excited about this next journey God has me on and I wanted to just give you a blessing with these Reebok Mountain Pants because #ToughIsBeautiful. Tell me, are you ready to take the climb? How is your climb and your tough making you beautiful?

Reebok Mountain Pants

a Rafflecopter giveaway

(Disclosure: this post includes affiliate links that I may be compensated for)

MOVE: Deciding to be brave

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Ok y’all today I just want to talk to you.

It’s the first full week of the new year and I just wanted to ask you a few questions.

What do you do, when you know what to do, but don’t know where to begin?

What do YOU do, when you know where to begin but you don’t know when, where, how or why?

Goals can be scary. Are they not?

What’s that quote say… If your goals don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough!

Dude! Right now, my goals are scaring the buhgeebees outta me!

Do you have any of those? Not the buhgeebees but the big ole scary goals?

How do you work your way through the big ones that scare you?

Shoot, How do you work your way through the ones that might seem too small to be on a goal list? 

How do you make a goal list when you flat out don’t even know where to start?

Goals are goals. Big or small. Personal, spiritual, physical, financial, relational. They are all goals and they all matter or they wouldn’t be burning your heart the way they do.

The other day I sat down with my Power Sheets and became full out overwhelmed by my goals. I’m talkin’ cold sweats, nausea and a pounding headache literally in a matter of seconds; overwhelmed. I knew it was totally fear but I knew it was very real. When I read the first page of assignments asking me to introduce myself (to myself might I add) I thought ok cool I can do this. But it was the sections that made me address these fears that started working up all of this anxiety. For years I dealt with anxiety attacks, only I didn’t really know that’s what they were. Everything from chest pains to seemingly random sweats (I still get those and no they are not age related that stuff is spiritual) even the stomach cramping and issue of pain I suffered through in 2014 are all linked to this anxiety and fear.

Y’all this year is gonna be different!!!

Starting right here!!! I am surrendering my fear. Remember our V.O.W. this is the first step toward setting ourselves up for success. AND surrendering fear to the hand of God that will not leave us out there to fend for ourselves! He fights the battle against fear for us and with us!

This week’s V.O.W. (Verse of the Week)

Deuteronomy 12:28

Be careful to obey all these words that I command you, that it may go well with you and with your children after you forever, when you do what is good and right in the sight of the LORD your God.

Write this verse down. Put it on your car dash board. Repeat after me:

I WILL NOT BECOME OVERWHELMED BY THIS TASK THAT YOU’VE PLACED IN FRONT OF ME

I committed to myself and to y’all that 2015 is the year I “MAKE IT HAPPEN” and I’ve promised that I would document this journey; this is how I’ll hold myself accountable. Speaking of which, accountability has it’s own level of anxiety because that means everybody knows.

What if we fail? What if we don’t reach the goals we actually set? What if we make a declaration that God is going to do something and folks start looking at us sideways when the ground underneath us starts shaking? What if? Well, what if? I’d rather pursue it and watch God reveal His awesomeness than sit back and do nothing, get nothing and become nothing!

Graphic_DeclarationC1

I’m currently reading MAKE IT HAPPEN by Lara Casey and when I say that you NEED to get this book!!! Trust me, your life, your goals, your hearts desires will thank me later! Let’s do this together!

 

 

 

 

 

So now what? This year I’ve decided that I won’t allow myself to become overwhelmed by anything and the ONLY WAY that can happen is to surrender my fear, take the leap and set my intentions and thoughts accordingly.

Y’all can we do things different this year?

Seriously, let’s set our brain to work in small patterns of success. AND, AND when we reach even the smallest progress let’s not hesitate to acknowledge that!!! I promise to be your biggest cheerleader!!!

Let’s take it one week at a time.

Here’s a 7 day challenge to get you on track!

Follow this simple clean eating guide and complete these moves for one minute each.

 

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And you know I couldn’t leave you without giving you a song to rock to! Brave by Moriah Peters!! OH MY GOSH THIS SONG!!! It’s officially my anthem for 2015!!! Alright folks! Let’s set our FOCUS and #MOVE (Acts 17:28)

Have you registered for the FOCUS 2015 challenge? Register here

 

My Anthem for 2015