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.

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.

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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)

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? 

Heart check: bitter or better

 

 

 

Whatever it looks like, whatever may come I am yours // you crash over me and that’s where you want me to be, I’m going under I’m in over my head // whether I sink or whether I swim, it makes no difference when I’m beautifully in over my head…

When we refuse to live UP to our purpose we are deciding that the plan God has for our lives isn’t worth anything so we chose a different; often times less effective life.

Did you know that you were created to share with the world the beauty, strength, power, love, intelligence & hope of God?

Your life purpose is to bring the light of CHRIST into this world.

Yes, simply, through your life.

That power of potential in you has the ability to do things you couldn’t do on your own even with the best of efforts.

I wonder.

Could we.

JUST FOR TODAY, take the limits off of God & try Him.

What if we decided to take the things that could make us bitter, make us better.

What if we decided to test Him if you wanna call it that.

What if we test Him to see what COULD HAPPEN if we MOVE like we were created to move.

What if we did everything He asked us to do in the next 24 hours.

What’s the worse that could happen? 

You get blessed, or you bless somebody else?

 Ask yourself: Are you displaying in your your life the light that should be shining…as you were created to shine!

Many of us are wearing our struggle for the entire world to see

Heart check: Bitter or Better

Do you even know how much God loves you. He could care less about those mistakes, your mess, those lies. He’s not looking for you to judge you. He’s not looking for you to punish you. He’s looking for you so that He can wrap His arms around you and show you what it’s like to truly be loved without you having to offer anything, without you having to prove anything. With every exposed weakness He offers His strength.


“God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.”

‭‭1 John‬ ‭4:17-18‬ ‭MSG‬‬

There is freedom found when we lay our secrets down at the cross. If we’re honest… It would change our lives, it would set us free, it’s what we need to be. Bring your brokenness and I’ll bring mine, love can heal what hurt divides and mercy’s waiting on the other side…(lyrics: Francesca Battistelli)

“And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.”

Ezekiel 36:26 NLT

Stress cardiomyopathy (also known as 💔 broken heart syndrome) can definitely be life threatening in some cases. Because the syndrome involves severe heart muscle weakness, patients can have congestive heart failure, low blood pressure, shock, and potentially life-threatening heart rhythm abnormalities. The good news is that this condition improves very quickly, so if patients are under the care of physicians familiar with this syndrome, even the most critically ill tend to make a quick and complete recovery. (Source: hopkinsmedicalresearch)

fearless

Fear – less

This week I’m starting a new journey.

This week, I’m walking through a door God opened for me to begin the Revelation Wellness Instructor Training. (RWIT)

I’m scared.

Not in a fearful way.

I’m no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God! You split the sea so I could walk right through it. My fears are drowned in perfect love. You rescued me so I can stand and say I am a child of God

Scared because God has shown me that the desires of my heart are way too big for me to handle but just the right size of blow your mind that He’s all about!

I mean seriously y’all!!!!

God wants to do that for us.

When was the last time you took all of those issues that weigh you down and gave them to God and let Him use them to anchor you?

What might happen if we let God do what He was doing? All the stuff that we think is holding us back might just be Him pulling us back creating a tension that will be used like the tension in an arrow ready to be released into this world for His glory.

Stronger. Better. Happier. Full. Aware.

Let us become more aware of your presence, let us experience the glory of your goodness. Holy Spirit you are welcome here.

 

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Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. 1 Corinthians 10:12-14

An army rising

I sat with the manuals in front of me and decided to flip through them imagining what things will be like on this 12 week adventure. An adventure which culminates in the Spring on a week long retreat with the entire platoon of recruits in Phoenix Arizona.

A flood of emotions took over.

In a matter of seconds I was overwhelmed.

I looked back at 2014 which felt much like bootcamp training. I knew that it was some sort of training God was using for my life but I never imagined that I would be enlisted in this army with Revelation Wellness.

I just sat here with the RWIT manuals in front of me and my hands began to shake! This manual is like a weapon.

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.  We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5

First I found myself slipping into test anxiety and these feelings of ‘oh my gosh how am I going to remember all of this stuff’. Then the noise was quieted by the Holy Spirit reminding me of a verse He gave me years ago and He has been unpacking the depth of it for the past few weeks.

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭61:1-3‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The road you're on

I use to think this verse was reserved for Christ and that there was no way God would be talking about me.
As I’m typing this with tears in my eyes humbled beyond honest comprehensible explanation I know beyond a shadow of a doubt this verse IS talking about me!

The Holy Spirit is our comforter, our helper, our guide and the presence of God living in us!

“What if God in all his grace is radically committed to showing himself strong on behalf of a people who express their need for him so their lives might make of him? When we pray for the Father’s provision, we will find that his provision is good. And the more he provides for us, the more we will trust him as our Father. Our great need is to fall before an almighty Father day and night and to plead for him to show his radical power in and through us, enabling us to accomplish for his glory what we could never imagine in our own strength. And when we do this, we will discover that we were created for a purpose much greater than ourselves, the kind of purpose that can only be accomplished in the power of his Spirit. ” – David Platt Radical

He calmed & confirmed my YES with John 14:10-13
“Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”

‭‭
In our RWIT manual intro it says “if you learn to take the time to peel back the layers of God’s Word, you will far surpass anything this 12-week training course or any other course could equip you with. He WILL speak to you personally, as He has done for our mothers and fathers before us, as you are leading others out of captivity.

Toward the end of 2015 the Holy Spirit kept telling me to ‘prepare the way’ & ‘keep building the ark’. I honestly felt somewhat lost in the understanding of these words. These ‘weapons’ are tools God has placed in my hands to be used for His purpose, preparation and provision.

He eventually started showing me that if I had any intentions of being used,  (effective, seen, heard, noticed) found, I would need to willingly pick up my cross and get lost with him. My one word for this year, FOUND.
Friends this week I begin a new adventure, beautifully in over my head. WE are going on an adventure, I’m taking you with me because we’re all searching for our purpose and the road that leads us there.  I’m gonna get lost, anybody wanna go there with me? My guess is we can’t take a whole lot with us so let’s agree to lay out burdens down!