(re)Defining You: Seeing God In Everything

Like many women, I’d struggled with a flawed perception of myself. My sense of identity and worth were dependent on the wrong things… If I sensed I wasn’t measuring up, I kicked into either withdrawl mode or fix-it mode. – Lysa Terkeurst Made To Crave 

 

My gym, my office, my new sanctuary, my quiet time space. My little blessing this side of heaven!!! I remember when my husband and I were just dating (nearly 18 years ago) and he asked me what I wanted in life. I told him I didn’t want much, just not to live in the ghetto or projects anymore. I told him I just didn’t want to argue about stupid stuff or walk on eggshells afraid to breathe because it might disturb someone or something. I told him I just wanted to know that we wouldn’t have to fear getting our lights turned off or where our next meal was coming from. I told him I wanted to know that whoever I married would accept me for me, love me unconditionally and grow old with me, to work through the hard stuff but love big and laugh and enjoy life to the fullest.

We have this life. This blessed life, modestly amazing, beautiful, full of hope & Christ’s love. We GET TO move everyday – that’s God’s grace. He loves me enough to pull me out of every funk I put myself in – BECAUSE He loves me too much to leave me. I have the freedom to spend time with my kids, literally move to the rhythm of grace touching hearts and souls sharing this God stuff with the world. I GET TO enjoy life. I choose to embrace the valley detours & the mountaintops as transformations!

Setting my #FOCUS to live each day as a broken-made-beautiful vessel; carrying the love & light of Christ as proof that He heard beyond my prayers; that He chose me to be a conduit to connect others to His promise of redemption and reconciliation which is ready to be poured into every soul that will receive it!

My MomSanitySisterhood Word Of The Week is #peace because, Flexible people don’t get bent outta shape.

Define your week by obedience, not by a number on the scale – Made To Crave Making Peace with the Realities Of My Body 

 

Be A Difference Maker.

This morning I heard the new #NeedToBreathe song “Difference Maker” & my heart screamed out with such freedom.

I want to be a difference maker, I don’t wanna just be inspiring. I want to be one of those moving and being not just doing & talking.

When the lights go out & no one sees I want my light to still be on. I don’t want to just thump my bible, quoting scripture I want my life to be a living breathing example that Jesus is alive and He lives in me and my hands are His, my work is His work, my words are breathed on by Him!

I want to be the one defeating death, feeding faith, starving doubt and living the truth that God calls me friend! I will not be one of those who shrinks back (Hebrews 10:39) at the first sign of adversity but I will #shieldup and #BeBrave I just want to speak & live from my heart which hasn’t always been easy for me.

I’ve found so much freedom in Christ recently and it’s like the caged bird is now free! I am a work in progress, clay in the potters hand!

Without comparison I am yielding to the truth of Philippians 2:13 ⚓️ for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, (‭Philippians‬ ‭2‬:‭13-15‬ ESV)

Food can fill our stomachs but never our souls. Possessions can fill our houses but never our hearts. Sex can fill our nights but never our hunger for love. Children can fill our days but never our identities. Jesus wants us to know only He can fill us and truly satisfy us. – Made To Crave Growing Closer To God

 

The formula for doing something different?

Easy -to – do Fitness + Common-Sense Nutrition + Real-Accountability & Support = YOUR BEST/Success.

This particular season I used the PiYo program and plant based protein. The PiYo program prides itself on being a well rounded fitness plan that helps you carve an intensely defined physique—without jumps, without weights, and without straining your joints. Using your body weight, you’ll perform low-impact, high-intensity movements inspired by Pilates and yoga.

The result? Long, lean muscles, a firm backside, and tight, flat, tummy. With PiYo, you’ll work every single muscle to stabilize, stretch, and strengthen every inch of your body. And since Chalene Johnson cranked up the speed and the fun, you’ll burn crazy calories while you’re at it.

Ready to move in the direction of your new focus?

GOD IS IN EVERYTHING CONFERENCE!!! 

Seasons come & seasons go but His word remains!

 

God is in EVERYTHING!!!

Let’s not just talk about let’s move like we believe it! Join me & my sisters at the God In Everything women’s conference as we embrace this truth and anchor our souls!

 

FOCUS: Surrender freedom, find whitespace & define yourself

“Hey soul! It may not feel like it but please believe it, you were made for this—Lean Hard Into Him–DO THE HARD THINGS!!” -Ann Voskamp

You’re my recovery, changing who I was, to who I’m meant to be, you set me free…(Unspoken:Recovery) 20140704-103441-38081931.jpg

Surrender

Be surrendered strong. Because your Savior is strong enough to do anything. Isaiah 40:29– He gives STRENGTH to the weary and increases the power of the weak!! God’s call, done ONLY by God’s Grace, will never run out of God’s strength!!! Praise YOU JESUS that you are so worthy to praise. That your mercy endures. That your grace is sufficient. That your LOVE covers me. That YOU have made ME STRONGER!!! A few weeks ago I found rest & healing in volunteering at a nursing home outreach with my church. I didn’t realize I hadn’t forgiven myself for not being able to visit my mom while she was in a nursing home before either of them passed. I didn’t realize how much I wish I still had time to spend with my mom and my dad. I didn’t realize that I still needed time. Time to laugh with them. Time to cry with them. Time to heal with them. Time to surrender love with them.

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Honoring ‘Papa’ 4.19.14

20140611-085554.jpg   I just needed time.   I needed time to hear words I was searching for and hadn’t heard from them. Specifically from my dad.   I needed to know they needed me. I needed to know that they hadn’t rejected me. I needed to know. But God knew.

He Knows My Name

(Francesca Battistelli) 

Spent today in a conversation
In the mirror face to face with
somebody less than perfect
I wouldn’t choose me first if
I was looking for a champion
In fact I’d understand if
You picked everyone before me
But that’s just not my story
True to who You are
You saw my heart
and made
Something out of nothing 


Stand Tall.

Years of unheard affirmations, a heart that desires to be healed.

A hand that desires to be held.

A daughter that just needed to know her parents are proud of her.

I just needed to know that those echoes whispering “you’re not enough” or “just be quiet” could be replaced.

I needed to know that I wasn’t just wishing to hear him say to me directly  “I love you” ; I needed to know it wasn’t just a hope but it was a certainty.

I needed to know.

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God knew what I needed. He ALWAYS knows what we need exactly when we need it.

I found some of my resolve, recovery & rest in a book I trust and believe God Himself breathed on.

Finding Whitespace

I was chosen to sit on a team of bloggers to review the new book “finding spiritual whitespace: awakening your soul to rest”.

Simply reading the back cover description: “move beyond surviving to a rejuvenating place of soul rest” gives you an idea of the thirst quenching refreshing it offers.

“Have you heard the words I don’t want you (or something similar) thrown at you? Have you felt them smack against your heart, leaving an echo of pain across your soul? Whether it be friendship, a job, good health, an opportunity, a community we tried to enter, a dream, a child we wanted, a man you loved, or parents — aren’t these the words we fear will fall into our ears? These are the words I felt doomed to hear if I didn’t become someone who deserved to be loved and cherished. Inaudible echoes whispering…” (Finding Spiritual Whitespace: whitespace is extravagance)

20140602-123207.jpg Author Bonnie Gray captured the heart of Christ in His desire to breathe new life into weary souls. She explains that we all need spiritual whitespace; in graphic design whitespace is a key element to the aesthetic quality of a composition. The more fine art a composition is, the more whitespace you’ll find. Whitespace is the pace left unmarked. Untouched. Whitespace makes art beautiful. It give the eye a place to rest. Just like beautiful art, our souls need balance and beauty. Finding Spiritual Whitespace

“I’ve carried this uneasy suspicion that I was nothing special and everyone would probably know it if I ever stopped doing and simply was plain old me. The whisper of nothings special sat next to me in my career. Those words whisper to me…as a mom…in friendships that end up as one-way relationships. They hiss at me loudly, because I don’t want to fail.” (finding spiritual whitespace: awakening your soul to rest)

About the Book: Finding Spiritual Whitespace is memoir-driven guidebook for anyone longing to create space in life to draw closer to God, to rest and discover who they can become when rest becomes their heart’s everyday home.

This book chronicles Bonnie’s heartbreaking journey through painful memories, how a childhood dream unexpectedly launched her into a debilitating journey through panic attacks, insomnia and anxiety — and how creating space to feed her soul led her to create a better story for her life, one filled with beauty and meaning.

The book explores how our lives are like God’s artwork, exploring ways to create space for beauty, rest and soul care. Just as beautiful art needs whitespace, we need whitespace. We need rest. Whitespace is not blank space. It breathes beauty.

Who This Book Is For:  

Take the journey to find rest. Uncover your stories.  Make room for you. For God. For Rest.

Using soulfuljournaling prompts for individual reflection or intimate group discussion at the end of each chapter, anyone longing for rest in today’s fast paced and stress-frayed schedules can take the journey to find rest, feed their souls, rejuvenate and make room for beauty, for God and rest.

He calls me chosen, free, forgiven, wanted, child of the King, His forever, held in treasure…

I am loved

My heart needed to know. To know these words. To find the whitespace that proclaims that I am free. That I am known.  This is the day that I’m starting over, on a narrow path, potentially alone, but trusting He is still with me reminding me that I am not alone. I’m asking God to give us courage to risk. To guide us. To give us intuition. To give us wisdom to find people we welcome in. It’s the whitespace of friendship. It doesn’t fix us. It frees us to rest.

Because He knows our name. He is our recovery!

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“You will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 4:7 (NLT)

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“Perfect peace from God isn’t found by forgetting. Peace is ours if we dare to remember our pain and our sorrow, and experience our fears fully with Jesus. Shalom peace from God is a putting back together. Shalom is the movement to recover pieces of a ourselves that have been abandoned, a putting back together of what we’ve left behind, to find Jesus with us in our memories. Shalom peace is now my new place of faith.” – (Bonnie Gray; Finding Spiritual Whitespace)   You keep him in perfect peace {Shalom} whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you – Isaiah 26:3 ESV

Stand Brave

I was feeling bloated and frustrated and I’d like to say I’m about two weeks behind schedule on a few goals I set for myself and probably a few pounds heavier. (I don’t ever get on the scale but my clothes are too tight so there ya go). But I truly believe that God needed to shift and sift a few things in my “TO DO” list, things that He saw would be my benefit and He would still get the glory. Is it just me? Am I the only one that feels heavy(er). Heavy with stuff. All kinda stuff. I feel stuffed.

So then let’s also run the race that is laid out in front of us, since we have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us. Let’s throw off any extra baggage, get rid of the sin that trips us up, (Hebrews 12:1 CEB)

This week can be different even if nothing on the outside changes, if on the inside you let God strengthen you and take over your weaknesses. Move forward in the freedom God has already given you. You are not defined by your weaknesses. – Judah Smith FREEDOM 20140704-105757-39477978.jpg

Define yourself – Live Free

Whitespace signifies importance. In graphic design, whitespace draws the viewer to FOCUS on the images and text that are most important. Whitespace brings an intimacy and immediacy to the page – awakening the foreground and quieting the background.

I Pronounce a breakthrough of blessings over you. An inner strength of confidence to move forward in the direction of the things you’ve delayed out of fear. To boldly be & do what God has placed deep in your heart. Go. He’s given you authority to do great things. 20140704-105755-39475408.jpg   In Jesus name & power let freedom be your focus!

Write your story – a Whitespace Prompt

Find your creative whitespace: When you were little, what did you enjoy doing? What came naturally to you? Enjoy God in inspiring places. Where are places that inspire the artistic you? Outdoors near the beach or mountains? Indoors in front of an easel or a desk? Maybe it’s experiential, clicking behind a camera lens, walking through an art gallery, listening to live music, or observing life from a chair at a cafe? Is it through learning, taking a class you’ve always wanted to explore?   What’s your S.T.O.R.Y.  Join the July Challenge and (re)define yourself. 20140704-105756-39476041.jpg

 Fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you…for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:6-7 ESV)

FOCUS: 25 minutes to FIT

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“Strength doesn’t come from what you can do, it comes from OVERCOMING the the things you once thought you couldn’t!

Gimmie 25 minutes of your day & I promise to whip you into the best shape of your life!

Spirit, Soul & Body inneractive FITCLUB helps you strengthen ALL OF YOU!!!!

Fitness, nutrition, motivation and best of all you’ll feel & look your best!

You ready for summer?

http://youtu.be/Bh56jRIQbHA

Boom! I literally just received a message on facebook from someone who said  this “yup I’m doing your SUMMER SLIMDOWN with T25 cuz I quit smoking which cost me $150 a month. If I could spend that on smoking, we’re using that money to get healthy”…

So let me ask you, is it worth it?

You can afford it…you can’t afford not to do it!

#adjustyourfocus with FOCUS T25!!!

ORDER TODAY, THE SPECIAL ENDS APRIL 30 

Comment below or send me an inbox message so we can get your challenge pack and you’ll be added to a private FOCUS group.

If you currently own FOCUS T25 and you’re not already working with a fitness coach, I’d love to coach you too!

Let’s adjust our FOCUS and #getinneractive (Comment below-if you’re ready!)

GET READY FOR MY SUMMER SLIMDOWN CHALLENGE!!! 

With FOCUS T25  you’ll get high intensity cardio, strength training, core training… we’ll get it done in 25 minutes!

Lose the baby weight and muffin top, get that six-pack, look better, feel better!

Your challenge pack includes Shakeology – your superfood daily nutrition!  THAT’S A $90 SAVINGS!!!!

GO ORDER NOW!!!!! IS IT REALLY WORTH THE WEIGHT????

Join my #SummerSlimdown order today, special ends April 30! Challenge begins May 5! 

 

FOCUS: Meditation & Confession

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Today we’re talking MEDITATION✨ (inspired by @SheReadsTruth ) To meditate:

“to engage in contemplation or reflection; to focus one’s thoughts on: reflect on or ponder over”.

“Researchers now believe that *any* activity that requires focused attention and being in the moment can count as your daily dose of meditation. This includes shifting your focus from what you’re doing, to a moment-by-moment consideration of the larger meaning of the activity in your life” (SOURCE: Natural Health Magazine)

When you give attention to allowing God’s words to be your compass, your coming & going, your ups & downs; He fills your life & passion with His light, this opens the door to allow your work to become an opportunity of meditation giving Him honor in your service. The ultimate goal is for our lives to be an outward demonstration of an inner conviction.

When I dance, it’s in a sense meditation. Even on the days that I’m teaching to huge crowds or presenting at a major health & fitness event I zone out. I know that God has given me this ability & this gift and it’s an honor that He chose me. So each time I get a chance to display what He’s done, it’s my opportunity to show off Him and His awesomeness.

Dancing puts me in my zone. My zone is a personal praise. During one of my Zumba classes we danced to the song Happy by Pharrell. Afterward, a student came to me and asked if it was wrong that she started praising God right in the middle of our dancing & whooping. I laughed and said “nope cuz I got my praise on too”!!!

Meditation is simply ‘thinking on’ something. Doesn’t the scriptures in Philippians 4:8 tell us to think on or think about;

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Philippians 4:8 NIV)

Adjust Your Focus

Stop picking yourself & your life apart. Look back at that passage.

ASSIGNMENT: Recognize and write down the TRUE, NOBLE, RIGHT, PURE, ADMIRABLE, EXCELLENT, PRAISEWORTHY; when you’re making this list, do not listen to the lies! Any thought that sneaks into your mind that makes you feel less than any of those descriptions, throw it in the fire and let it burn!!!!

Keep Your Heart Pumpin & Spirit Movin

⚓️in the Spirit of meditation, reflect on these words.

The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the [whole] person; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure and bright, enlightening the eyes. The [reverent] fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the ordinances of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. (Psalm 19:7-9 AMP) {feel free to read it in another translation if you need a more clear understanding}

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Join the conversation, do you meditate? How does it help you center (inneractive), balance and adjust your focus? >

FOCUS: stretching the resistance

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And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ will restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 1 Peter 5:10

Stretching. It’s probably the simplest resolution to some of the most difficult pains, stiffness and resistant muscles. It so simple that it seems almost too easy to resolve recurring or complicated issues. Stretching a muscle that’s so tight it has locked you to the point of being immobile can be extremely painful but the end result is literally liberating.

If you’ve ever experienced that stinging pain of Sciatica that radiates from your lower back down the side of your hip and through your thigh down to your last three toes, (hence the scowl on my face in the photo) you know that you’re willing to do whatever it takes to get rid of that pain.

Sometimes our lives feel like a tight muscle. A muscle that’s over-worked, strained or potentially bruised. Life gets stiff, it gets stuck and it hurts.

When your life or your heart hurts, your emotions hurt, your thoughts flood you with reminders of why it hurts, the thoughts feed signals from your brain which communicate to your body how it should translate this pain which then interprets this in the way we move!

Suddenly, unexplainable, your body hurts. Friends, fear has a way of crippling us. It get a hold on us that can literally stop you from doing anything.

Can I just be transparent with you for a second.

For the past month I’ve been completely immovable. I woke up one day with a stiff hip. Two days later, I couldn’t walk. We had several tests ran to rule out every auto-immune disease possible. Several tests later, an MRI, neuropathy (nerve) & myopathy (muscle) studies…nothing. Doctors could not explain why every muscle from my waist down had stopped working, the pain radiating through my body was in a crippling spasm (like a constant Charliehorse) and I couldn’t find any relief. After a month of this, they finally diagnosed fibromyalgia; a diagnosis of exclusion – meaning they’ve ruled out everything else and the symptoms are conclusive. That was bittersweet. While we are certainly hoping to find a cause, we certainly didn’t want to hear about something they deemed unfixable. So here’s the truth. BUT GOD.

Has my faith been tested. Oh my Lord you have no idea. Have I considered all of the ‘issues’ linked to this condition. YUP. Have I also considered that nothing is impossible to God. Can I scream loud enough through the open sky so that anyone across the universe can hear me cry out YES LORD!!!!

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My hope is not in finding relief through medication and numerous doctors visits. I’ve found temporary relief in those but I’m not depending on that for the rest of my life. My hope is in the one who created me. He knows what I’m faced with but He also knows that He provides a way of escape. My Pastor just told us yesterday that way of escape is Faith. When life is moving seamlessly God is great. Everyone sings Hallelujah Jesus is awesome. When life allows you to move without missing a beat everyone is smiling. Faith seems brilliant and touchable.

It’s when fear you thought you never had grips you, the broken chains of your guilt and shame from your past try to cling to you; when the failed expectations of a broken heart from as far back as your childhood try to clinch you in a snared trap; that faith is found. It’s right there in the place where you feel weak, stretched, and way out of your comfort zone that you find His grace.

You find His mercy.

You find His peace.

You find His power.

You find His love.

That’s where He found me broken, in places I had no idea were broken. And here, here is where He began this process of remaking me. I’m learning to respect the process.

If you want to change something, you have to be willing to get uncomfortable

My tangled thoughts, frustrations (which is fear); uncertainty (confusion & being double minded); failed expectations…these create a knotted tangled mind which translated into a knotted tangled body.

Toxic thoughts are like poison. They put extreme strain on your body’s systems that can result in everything from patchy memory to severe mental health, immune system problems, heart problems, and digestive problems. Research has determined that 80% of physical, emotional, and mental health issues could be the direct result of your thought lives. – Dr. Caroline Leaf, Who Switched Off My Brain

WE BECOME WHAT WE THINK -PROVERBS 23:7

Stiff. Locked. Paralyzed. by thoughts

Analysis paralysis or paralysis of analysis is an anti-pattern, the state of over-analyzing (or over-thinking) a situation so that a decision or action is never taken, in effect paralyzing the outcome. A decision can be treated as over-complicated, with too many detailed options, so that a choice is never made, rather than try something and change if a major problem arises. A person might be seeking the optimal or “perfect” solution upfront, and fear making any decision which could lead to erroneous results, when on the way to a better solution. -(SOURCE: unknown)

Releasing  or stretching the resistance in your heart, your mind & your emotions will free you of any bondage and release your body to move.

Are there things in your life that feel like resistance?

Resistance
re·sist·ance {riˈzistəns}
noun
1. the refusal to accept or comply with something; the attempt to prevent something by action or argument.
“she put up no resistance to being led away”
synonyms: opposition to, hostility to, refusal to accept ‘resistant to change’

2. the ability not to be affected by something, esp. adversely.

 It’s time to stretch the resistance in our lives. It’s time to allow God to stretch those stinging pains that radiate down the side of our heart and cripple us with fear.

When thoughts begin to clog your mind and try to rob you of your peace or joy (resistance) we need to take those thoughts captive. I mean not just shake our head and mumble a wimpish frustrated plea ‘no no I can’t think that’ but literally the scripture says pull them down whenever they are in direct opposition of what God says. (2 Corinthians 10:5).

Any thoughts you need to take captive? Any thoughts causing resistance in your ability to move forward? Any thoughts causing you to feel paralyzed?

Dr. Leaf offers a four step process to detox your brain.

1. Understand that thoughts are real and have an actual anatomy. They have structure in your brain and occupy space. Thoughts are the same as memories. As information comes in from the five senses, you process it in certain structures of the brain. Thoughts are the results of what you hear and read and see and feel and experience. As you read this, you are growing thoughts that create your attitude and influence your decisions.

2. Increase conscious awareness of your thoughts and how you are feeling. Analyze incoming information and thoughts constantly. Never let a thought roam chaotically and unchecked through your head. Examine every thought and ask: is it good for me?

3. Do something once you have analyzed the thought. Make a conscious decision to actively accept the thought if it is good for you or reject the thought if it is bad for you. Thoughts have as much control as you give them.

4. Build new memories over the old. Accepting or rejecting the thought will change the neural circuitry of your brain. Your brain is growing while you think and you have control over the process.

KEEP MOVIN

Be willing to stretch the resistant side of you.

Be blessed by this ‘stretching video’ God is able!

Heart Pumpin Challenge

Complete your Ab challenge & include one of the Stretching for Flexibility videos in the link.

Stretch the resistance

Spirit Movin

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7 AMP)

 

God is able to do just what He said He would do, He’s gonna fulfill every promise to you. Don’t give up on God cuz He won’t give up on you. He’s able! (Ephesians 3)

Keep your heart pumpin, spirit movin, & get inneractive!

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