Monday, December 17, 2012

In the Face of Tragedy and the Holidays, Let us Fiercely Love!

It's the Monday morning after the tragic events of last Friday in Connecticut. As a Mom, and a human being in this world, this event has effected me, as I'm sure it has all of you in varying degrees. It makes me feel physically ill, thinking about it makes me feel like I could vomit and cry at the same time, but it also makes me so thankful for what I have. Friday afternoon I was all the more grateful that I was able to pick up my little boy from preschool, and now on Monday I am trusting that he will be safe when I drop him back off at school today.

God has blessed me with incredible positivity and the ability to see the brighter side of things. In this post I am hoping to empower you and fill you with hope. No matter what God is always good!

There are so many thoughts and emotions we experience after a tragedy like this. We can be all over the place, from feeling sick with sadness, fearing the world, feeling completely helpless, feeling such sorrow for all those families whose lives will never be the same, and feeling powerless and having no control. It can make you never want to leave the house or take your children anywhere!

So what do we do in this situation?
Well first, we weep. It is such a sad situation, and as members of the human race, and the body of Christ, together we can weep.  

Luke 19:41-42 NLT - 
But as he came closer to Jerusalem and saw the city ahead, he began to weep. "How I wish today that you of all people would understand the way to peace. But now it is too late and peace is hidden from your eyes."

John 11:35 NLT - 
Then Jesus wept.

Next, we pray, we pray and we keep praying!

We pray that God's love and peace will cover all those Moms, Dads, Brothers, Sisters, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Sons, Daughters, Teachers, School Administrators, School Employees, EMTs, Police Officers, Doctors, Nurses, Hospital Workers, Funeral Directors, Pastors, Friends, and everyone else who needs prayer. Let us pray for them and continue to pray for them. Let us pray for an outpouring of Gods love like nothing we have ever seen.

Matthew 5:4 NIV -
"Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted."

We pray that God will strengthen our faith, and let us see some of the miracles that are happening right now, and in the coming days. Let us pray that God will use us in ways to help those in need.

Genesis 50:20 HCSB
You planned evil against me, but God planned it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

Let's not forget that there is a spiritual war going on, and we are caught in the middle of it. The enemy wants to hurt us, tear us apart from each other, and leave us feeling hopeless. Friday's tragedy was an incredible act of evil, and the pain that is left may never fully heal on this side of heaven. So what do we do to combat such evil?

We FIERCELY LOVE!! In the face of this tragedy and the holidays, let us see what is truly important. If there are relationships in your life that need healing, make it right, extend love and chop down those roots of bitterness that have been growing for years. Love yourself - whatever inside you that needs healing, open up yourself completely and let God transform you. While God is in control, we are not helpless, and we can choose to love no matter what!

If you read Revelations, you know that in the end, Love Wins! So in the face of tragedy and terrible human suffering, let us not be defeated, but empowered even more to choose to fiercely love God and each other like we have never loved before.

Matthew 22:37 HCSB
He said to him, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second if like it; Love your neighbor as yourself"

And I will conclude with my favorite verse that always brings me comfort

Matthew 28:20 HCSB
"And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age"

Thank you for taking the time to read this and pray with me. It is pretty amazing to think about how we are all uniting in prayer right now.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Good Enough is Actually Enough!

I haven't blogged in a long time, but lately I have been inspired, so here I go :)

I am so very human, just like all of you. I am a recovering perfectionist, and I admit I have looked for validation in all the wrong places. I have compared myself and my life to others, only to feel defeated, and I have judged myself based on the ideals of this world. I have struggled with depression and anxiety most of my life, and yes I have lost it a time or two. But I wouldn't change a thing because it's all been a part of me and shaped me to be who I am right this second. And I have reached a new place within myself, a place of peace that is new and wonderful.

I came to realize this the other day when I was at the gym. As a gym regular, you get to know the other regulars. I came in to the gym, and as I was starting my workout, another lady was finishing up hers. I had never seen her before but she appeared to be working out with the kind of intensity that I workout.Then I had a brief dialogue with one of the regulars that went something like this.

Guy at the gym: "Hey, how are ya? Looks like you may have had some competition in here."
Me: "Yeah I saw her, she looked like she was working out pretty hard. But the only competition I have is with myself"

After this I had a revelation....

No, I am not in competition with myself. For the first time in my life I am at peace and balance within myself. It's no longer me vs. my issues or me vs. my body. Wow, there is such freedom in this!

For as far back as I can remember, in my mind there's always been a battle going on. And the enemy makes us think that we need to strive for that perfection, be stronger, be better, in order to win our own personal battles. But what I have come to experience and learn is that, it's letting go, letting yourself off the hook, surrendering yourself, all of yourself (even your faults) to Jesus and realizing that the battle is not yours to fight. I could get into the whole topic of spiritual warfare right now, but that could be a whole book in and of itself.

So now, I am simply and joyfully on the journey forth with Jesus. Yes there is plenty of stuff in me to work on, as we are always a work in progress - but it's no longer a battle, struggle or fight.

I was listening to a devotional cd the other day and the woman was talking about the story of Mary and Martha, and the idea of good enough. The basics of the story is (and feel free to correct me or comment below,)  Jesus has come over, Martha is frantically cooking up a great big meal, and Mary is by Jesus's side taking in all He has to say. Martha comes in and is upset that Mary is not helping her - and Jesus comments that one dish would have been good enough.

Martha was too busy worrying about making this great big meal, that she was missing precious time with Jesus. And Jesus says that one dish would have been good enough. Mary knew that the most important thing at that moment was to be with Jesus.

How many times do we get so wrapped up in over achieving, over -doing, or reaching our ideas of perfection, when much less is good enough? And how often does our focus on such things take our energy away from what is most important?

I have been getting so much out of this story - as this idea of good enough speaks to many aspects of my life.

So today I invite you to take yourself off the hook, let it go, stop putting energy into your "issues" and focus your energy on what is most important. Stop seeking external achievements and things to validate ourselves.

You are good enough - because you were made by God, and He doesn't make mistakes. And He is with you, waiting to be your strength, waiting to partner with you in His creation. He loves you because of who you are, you are His.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due!

Happy Monday Everyone!

I just wanted to take a few minutes to say Thank You and share with you what has helped me so much in the past few months.

First and foremost, Thank You God! :) I know He is doing a great work in me, and here's some of the ways He has helped me:
  • My amazing husband, Lucas!
    • He has stuck with me and supported me through thick and thin and continues to show me what love really is!
  • Wednesday Morning Women's Bible Study at Olympia Lacey Church of God
    • This is a wonderful group of ladies, we are all different ages, different stages in life, coming together to get to know our Lord a little better each week.
  • "Duty or Delight? Knowing Where You Stand with God" by Tammie Head
    • This was my first Bible Study and WOW!
    • Tammie takes you through a process where you get to know God on a much more personal level so you can delight in being his child!
    • This book gave me so much strength through His Word that I was able to face so many things in myself that needed to change. I admit, I was in denial about a lot of things that were effecting me negatively. It wasn't until I was able to really face them, that I could finally be free of them.
  • "A Women's Heart, God's Dwelling Place" by Beth Moore
    • We are doing this one right now and again WOW!
    • I will comment more on this once we are finished and it's really sunk in :)
Both of these books can be found online in numerous places - but here's a link for ya

  • Scott Abel
    • I hired Scott to be my coach a few months ago, and I wish I would have hired him a couple years ago!
    • I will post more on my whole Figure experience, but after 4 competitions I had run myself into the ground and needed some expert help.
    • "The Other Side of the Mirror" was the first book of Scott's that I read. Serously, everyone who has ever dieted and definitely competed needs to read this book. I had never before read a book that so clearly wrote in black and white how I was thinking! Where "Duty or Delight?" gave me the strength, "The Other Side of the Mirror" gave me the ability to see. The two worked so perfectly together as I read them both at the same time.
    • "Your Truth is Calling, Connecting the Dots to Self-Awareness" - the next book of Scott's that I'm currently reading. If you are ready to move forward, this is a great book to read. I felt like I was going in circles for a long time and this book, along with "The Other Side of the Mirror" has helped me break out of that and like I said before, move forward!
Here's Scott's website

So Thank You, Thank You, Thank You God, Lucas, Wednesday Morning Women's Bible Study, Tammie Head, Beth Moore and last but certainly not least, Scott Abel!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Love Wins, everytime!

God is love. We have all probably heard/read this before, and for some of us, this has greater meaning than others. As I grow in my faith and study His Word, I have been so blessed in this journey of getting to know our Father. I have realized that the more I get to know Him, the more I know about love; how He loves us, fiercly loves us to such incredible depth, it's hard to comprehend.

When I look back on all the mistakes I've made, and all the resulting suffering and misery  - if I were to sum it all up into one core problem it would be this; I wasn't loving myself because I was believing in lies.

It's kinda hard to grasp that the Almighty Creator loves us when we don't love ourselves! You all probably know me as a super-positive person, which I am. However I have struggled with some pretty destructive thought patterns, and put up walls around my heart just like the rest of us. Over the past few months I've experienced a tremendous amount of personal growth, He has literally lit up my world! And I want to share some of that with you.

Signs and Symptoms of not loving yourself:

1. You're not a happy joyful person on the inside.
2. You have this crazy need to search and search for whatever it is that will bring you peace.
3. You keep making the same mistakes over and over again.
4. You have attached your self worth to external things - for example:
  • I will be happy when I lose this extra weight
  • As soon as I achieve                 everything will fall into place and be ok
  • I just need to get                under control and then I can deal with the rest of my life
5. You have tunnel vision - so focused on what is "wrong" that it takes up all your energy
6. You make decisions that you know are not good for you.
7. You believe somehow that you are the exception, that you can tolerate and maybe even deserve a great amount of suffering.
8. You are physically ill
9. You are exhausted - mentally, physically and emotionally.
10. You would never give someone you love the advise you secretly give yourself.

These were some of my inner tortures, if you will. Praise the Lord, that I have freedom from them now! We are always a work in progress, and my goal today in sharing what was once my ugly side is to reach out to you so you know YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

The more I came out of this darkness the more I realized I was not alone. The enemy likes to trick us into thinking that we are alone in our sufferings, that we are somehow unworthy. I felt so isolated and bound by all of these things -- but I know now that was all an illusion. God had me in his hands the whole time - I was just so distracted with all the "smoke and mirrors" that I couldn't see straight!

I've also learned something else about the enemy - he speaks to us as if we are speaking to ourselves in first person. That voice in your head that sounds like you, that says things like, "I don't really deserve to be happy" -- that is not your voice, that is not what God thinks about you, it is a lie, choose not to believe it!

One of the greatest "breakthrough" moments I had was through Luke 10:1-20 - I will leave you with the best part :)

17 The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”
18 He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. 20 However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

Do you know what this means?! This means that in the name of Jesus Christ, we can cast out evil...literally. After all, evil has already been overcome, and God has already won! We don't have to fight with those negative thoughts or temptations - we don't have to listen to them and in fact

One of the greatest prayers I made that impacted my life so significatly and immediately was something like this, "Jesus Christ, in Your Heavenly Name, I banish all evil from my mind, body and spirit - evil has no place here, this is the residence of the Holy Spirit! Amen!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Welcome to my Blog!

Hello and Welcome! I've been thinking about starting a blog for some time now, and today was the day to finally do it! I enjoy writing and expressing my thoughts and feelings - and I hope you will enjoy reading them. I will be writing on various topics from God, to being a Wife and Mommy, to being an Army Wife, to our son Bear, to fitness, dieting & competing, to arts and classical music and who knows what else! My goal here is to my completely transparent and real about who I am, the many mistakes I've made, the valuable lessons learned, and the amazing life God has blessed me with.

This is what I wrote on my website at the beginning of this year, and I'd like to share that with you here.

"My baby Bear just turned 3 years old! I couldn't be a prouder Momma and I love that little guy more than words can say. On this day I think back to when he was born and how it became very real how precious life is. Time stopped for those first few minutes and we didn't know if he would open his eyes and take his first breath. And praise the Lord, the EMTs got there in time and he is here today.
I remember later being completely exhausted and even when he was crying, it was music to my ears, I was so thankful."

"That day gave me such perspective on life, and how blessed we really are, and how grateful we need to be. So that is my New Year's Resolution this year -- to always keep things in perspective, see the bigger picture, and be grateful. I am blessed beyond what I deserve, and that is the amazing grace and mercy of our God!"

In keeping with my New Year's Resolution, I have been praying for those things; to keep things in perspective, see the bigger picture and be grateful -- and the Lord is always faithful in answering prayers. In the past few weeks He has helped me with all of those things and then some. I will be using this theme in many of my future blogs.Taking a moment to step out of your tiny little world and see things on a grander scale does wonders! It helps you see what is truly important and how much you really have.