Sunday, February 21, 2016

One Thing is Needful: Week Eight - Reflections

I can't believe we are already on our last week of this study!  It has been such a joy to walk through this with each of you. 

As I began to reflect back on the study and prepare for this upcoming week, my thoughts went to something I once heard Francis Chan (author of Crazy Love) say.  He says imagine you told your child to go clean their room.  Your child walks away and then returns saying:

I memorized what you said.  I can say it in Greek!  In fact, some of my friends are going to come over tonight and do a little study on what it would look like for me to clean my room.
Yet- they never actually clean the room!  Is that going to work with you?  Are you going to be pleased with that?  No way!  The scenario sounds absurd, yet aren't we often guilty of doing exactly that in our Bible studies? 

Is there a disconnect between our quiet time and our application of God's word in real life?  We can read God's word, study it, memorize, it, look up the Greek meanings and even apply it to hypothetical situations; however, all of this is in vain if we do not DO IT!

But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.  For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:  For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.  But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he begin not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.  (James 1:22-25)

We've looked into God's word and seen who we need to be. We know that He is the key to balancing all the other areas and relationships in our life.  He's not just another area off to the side or the first thing on our to do list to check off.  He's our everything - our ONE thing needful!  Now let's not forget it, or just go our own way, but let's practice it.  (Hopefully, you already are!) 

Let me tell you, just because you are at His feet doesn't mean everything around you is going to change and become easier.  God doesn't promise that everything will be peachy-keen when we surrender to Him.  In fact, contrary to popular belief, He doesn't even promise to not give us more than we can bear.  However, what He does promise is to always be there.  The change isn't going to be on our outside circumstances but on the inside.  It's going to come with our choice we make within the circumstance.

It's all up to us - will we choose the good part?  Will we be Mary sitting at His feet or Martha allowing other distractions to separate us from Christ?  

As we go through this week and reflect on each area of our life, there are three questions we will ask: 
  1. What scripture stood out the most from that week? 
  2. What does sitting at His feet actually look like in that area of our life? 
  3. What do we want to remember most from this week?

Based on these answers, we can form a strategy to carry out His word and be more like Mary.  I'd love to hear your responses as we go throughout this week!  What has God shown you through this study?  What does sitting at His feet actually look like in your day to day life?

Monday, February 15, 2016

One Thing Is Needful: Week Seven - Health

I'm excited to have another guest blogger this week!  Tara is a part of our GMG group and she has a gift for motivating others to lead a healthier lifestyle.  Tara is a Beachbody Coach and when she's not working out with her husband or prepping meals, she's chasing around and loving on two precious little girls!  At her house working out and eating healthy is a family affair.  Today she shares with us her journey of becoming the woman God desires her to be on the inside AND outside!


As women, we seem to always place other’s physical and sometimes spiritual wellbeing, happiness, wholeness, and health above our own. This decision is one that we feel like we are making out of love towards our family and friends yet can direct our path down a tiresome road that will lead to self neglect, low self esteem, a spiritual drought, poor health, and even depression.
It is time we break that cycle! God made you! God wants you to take care of yourself so you can accomplish what no one else can for His kingdom! You are hosting the King of ALL Kings inside your heart! We would spend countless days, weeks, months, even years to prepare our home for a visit from an earthly King. We have a far bigger task than that! Our bodies are the temple of the Lord! He deserves to dwell in a temple made up of physical and spiritual wellbeing, happiness, wholeness, and health!

Just over two years ago, my husband and I began our healthy health and fitness journey. I phrase the description of our journey like I did because I had been on my own journey alone for years...and it was not a healthy one! I had always made health and fitness decisions that were based simply on seeing a certain number on that little black devil in my closet that many other much more lovingly refer to as a scale. My confidence was gained and lost when I felt like the number (which no one except me knew) reflected me being “in shape.”  I grew up with three sisters, all of them taller than me, yet all of them weighed less than I did. I thought my weight should be less than theirs since my height was. I thought I was overweight because the BMI I calculated didn’t take into account my muscle mass. This is where my deepest, darkest secret stemmed from. I became a binge eater. I took caffeine pills. I took laxatives. I dehydrated myself. I did all this because my head was telling me that I was overweight if I weighed more than 125 since I am only 5’2”.

Oh! The times I was sick because of these unhealthy decisions I had made in order to reach that little number I had set in my mind so that I could feel confident! (twice reaching the point of having to have fluids at the hospital) The countless times my personal relationship with my husband was affected because I didn’t feel confident in my own skin! The times I lied to friends and family about why I was not eating when the truth was I had binged on thousands of calories and had chosen to not eat the next day to make up for the binge. The hours I would spend on the treadmill to burn off a certain amount of calories I had consumed. The caffeine pills that caused me to be addicted to caffeine and the laxatives that caused me for a while to become dependent on them because I had abused them as well as my body. The selfish decisions I made in order to become what I had set in my mind to be healthy!

 I hope you are able to see now why I described our journey that started two years ago the way I did with the double use of the word ‘health.’ Daniel and I began our journey working out together at home. Through a company I am now a coach with, I was taught how to eat properly to fuel my body with clean foods and work out with a purpose! I no longer spent exhausting hours running to burn calories. I learned that my body needed more substance to my workout, not necessarily more time.

That leads me to the thought of feeding our souls “clean” food and developing healthy spiritual habits that will make our spiritual life stronger. Everything that we allow our mind to be opened to, our brain to ponder on, and our heart to be changed by is what we are feeding our inner being. Each and everything that we do, as insignificant as it may seem, is moving us towards becoming spiritually stronger, weaker, or complacent.

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8


Clean eating in the physical sense is ‘eschewing processed, packaged convenience foods laden with artificial additives in favor of real, whole foods that are as close to the source of production as possible, so you can live a better, longer life.’ This is honestly much harder to do in the physical sense than it is in the spiritual sense if you ask me and here is why: Though I try to avoid eating processed foods and am teaching my children to eat healthy as well, I do keep some processed food around my house for my girls. (They love their cheese balls and pop tarts...and unfortunately so do I!) These foods are available and convenient. Clean foods take time and effort to prepare. I must take time to prepare for the week ahead by cutting, chopping, baking, grilling, sautéing and portioning or else I will quickly find myself grabbing those convenient foods that aren’t clean.


Our spiritual life should honestly be a little more easily managed. We should be diligent in keeping our entire family fed by clean spiritual foods. Unlike unclean physical food, any amount of unclean spiritual food can be eternally life threatening. As a momma I can’t help but think about that for a time we can protect our children and keep them under our wing with little to no outside influences. I monitor everything about my children from what they watch and read, who they play with, what they hear, and what they wear. I feed their soul clean spiritual food with no tolerance for anything unclean. By protecting and keeping their hearts clean, it keeps me doing the same with mine!

Drifting my focus to the strengthening aspect of our health, exercise. It has become so much a part of Daniel and my lives that it has become something we need, desire, and feel unfocused without. This sure did not happen overnight! There were weeks of dread, sleep deprivation and half-heartedness when we began waking up extra early to get our day started with exercise.
But....then the results started to show! Our efforts were paying off! We both felt better from the inside out. We started to enjoy being sore! We felt invigorated after the strenuous workout.


Daniel and I developed a confidence as well as a stronger connection because of this shared discipline we were now incorporating in our lives. Thirty to forty-five minutes of purposeful hard work first thing in the morning made us stronger and more focused on keeping our body fueled with clean foods throughout the day. We began our day by working hard and did not want to mess up what we had done by eating something that was not good fuel for our body!
When we are focused on WHY we started the journey and celebrate each step it becomes a joyful one!

Oh the comparisons between exercise and spiritual strength! We need to spend time sitting at our Lord’s feet! We need to spend time studying His word to gain knowledge and understanding. We need to spend time in prayer to draw closer to Him. We need to open our hearts to hear our Lord’s voice and seek His guidance for our lives. Yes, those things take effort. It takes effort to be a God-fearing woman. It takes discipline. It takes hard work and perseverance. It takes purposefully directing each step we take in order to arrive at the end result that we want to achieve! We will grow weary along the way but it is so important to remember WHY we are on this journey and WHO is walking with us!
My journey on each of these paths will be lifelong. I hope I never become complacent in where I am and always remember my WHY!  My family is my WHY!  I want to be a confident and healthy wife to my godsent husband.  I want to be a godly example of a healthy and spiritual woman to my girls.  I can do neither of these things without my Lord!

I will leave you with this that I can apply to my spiritual as well as my physical life.

  • Your children are NEVER an excuse but a REASON!
  • Don’t compare yourself to others.
  • Surround yourself with others with the same goals as you.
  • Prioritize by placing things with lifelong and eternal value first.
  • Always remember it will make you a better person...YOU ARE WORTH IT!  

Sunday, February 7, 2016

One Thing is Needful: Week Six - Home

This weekend I was able to have my GMG group over to paint some "One Thing is Needful" signs to put in our homes as a reminder.  There was no better way to wrap up friend week and begin this week on our home!  I am truly so blessed to have these ladies in my life.  They even completely surprised me by bringing gifts! 

I can't believe we are on the last few weeks of this Bible study!  This week we are looking at how sitting at his feet will impact our home...

My first thoughts of my own house were when I was around 12 or 14.  I went with my Dad to look at some land he and my Granddad were considering purchasing.  I got out of the truck and I remember thinking "This would be the prettiest spot for a house!"  I decided right then that I wanted a yellow house with a porch all the way across it built there.  (I'm telling you, I've always been a planner!) 

Fast forward 15 years later and we were about a month away from having our first child and we started building our yellow house right in that same spot!  I'm not sure what we were thinking building a house at the same time we were welcoming a child into the world but somehow we managed!  (Side note:  I actually think it was a blessing in disguise because I was busy preparing for the baby and my husband was building the house so it kept us from arguing about all the little details!)  When our daughter was about 6 months old we moved into the house.  I remember being so relieved that it was built and done!  All those years of dreaming were becoming a reality!  What I didn't realize at the time was that the hard part was only beginning.  The house was built, now it was time to build our home. 

In this verse, I see two things needed to build a good home:  wisdom and then action.  First of all, to build a good house you need to be a wise woman.  Where do we get wisdom? 
"For the Lord giveth wisdom:  out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding."  Proverbs 2:5-6   
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom:  and the knowledge of the holy is understanding."  Probers 9:10 

"If any lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."  James 1:5

From sitting at His feet, of course!  Just like in all other areas of our lives, our relationship with God is key to building a good home.  It begins with a fearful respect of Him.   All the characteristics of wisdom will follow after the fear of God.  All we have to do is ask, then listen and discern through prayer and His Word. 

Then comes the time and work we must put into building our home.  My mind goes to the story of the 3 Little Pigs.  I know we all know the story - The first little pig was in a hurry and built a house of straw quickly and then spent the rest of his time playing and relaxing.  The second little pig also hurried and used only sticks.  Then he used the rest of his time to play and relax.  However, the third little pig used the best building material, bricks, and took some extra time and did it right.  When the big, bad wolf came and huffed and puffed - the first two houses fell.  However, the one that was carefully constructed using the best materials, time and effort- stood firm!  The first two little pigs were quite foolish, the third little pig had wisdom. 

Once we've sought God's wisdom we have the best material.  Now it's the time and work from our very own hands that will determine whether we have a strong home that will withstand outside pressures. 

We live in a world where there's not much time even spent at home, much less quality time.  If we're going to build a home that will withstand the true challenges and Satan himself, then first of all we have to BE at home.  Then secondly, it's going to take some intentional planning and effort on our part while we are there.  It's in the everyday routines, traditions, and celebrations that a home is built. 

I could be like the first two little pigs and allow the television or tech devices to constantly entertain my children, or I could be like the third little pig and spend some time teaching them God's word, reading, or playing games with them.   I could be like the first two little pigs and pick up supper through the drive thru eating it in the car.  Or I could be like that third little pig and put some effort into preparing supper for my family and sitting around the kitchen table.  I could be like the first two little pigs and casually let a special occasion pass by or I could be like that third little pig and create some family traditions that my children will remember and possibly even carry on to the next generations. 

We may be able to get away with shortcuts for awhile, but it will eventually cost us.  Satan will eventually come by and our house of straw and sticks won't be any match for him.  Before we know it we won't even know our spouses anymore.  Our children will be disconnected from us, preferring to be anywhere but home.  Then it will hit us we trained and conditioned them to do just that. 

That's a scary picture but exactly what we see in most houses today.  Instead of a wise women building homes we see more  foolish women tearing them down.  I desire more for my family.  I want our home to be a place where we experience time together.  Where they feel loved and cared for at all times.  I want my family to find everything they need within our home to prepare them for whatever they may face when they go out.   Then I want it to be a place they look forward to returning. 

As we sit at His feet this week, seek wisdom and guidance.  Then as we go throughout the day choose the good part and put that wisdom to use with our own hands!  Whether it's using a calmer voice, playing music, lighting a candle, diffusing oils, or opening up your home to other guests; let's use this week to be more intentional in building our homes, not tearing them down.  Let's be that third little pig and make building strong homes a priority!