lifting heavy weights

Where Satan encumbers, Christ emancipates.

The words of Hebrews 12:1 I reminds me of this truth by urging us to, “…lay aside every weight and the sin which clings so closely and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith…

Did you catch the part that said, “laying aside every weight”? I find it interesting to think about the fact that it’s impossible to carry a weight that we have not first willingly picked up.

I believe Satan’s tactics have not changed since the beginning of time. He was there in the garden tempting Adam and Eve to take on the heavy knowledge of evil and he is at it today luring us to shoulder burdens that we were never meant to carry.

Proverbs 12:25 says, “Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.

Well here’s a good word: God is standing in the gap offering us a better way. He says, “Come to Me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest…” Matthew 11:28-30

He is not a god of striving, but the Lord of Peace. His best for you will never result in anxiety or stress. When you feel anxious, step back and evaluate the posture of your heart.

Focus–yes.
Passion–yes.
Purpose–yes.
But not stressful striving.

Lay all of that down.
Surrender it.
Surrender yourself fully and there you will find His hand holding you firmly.

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

sardine stability

While visiting the Monterey Bay Aquarium this week, we had the opportunity to observe a feeding in the “deep sea” display. As the woman at the mic explained details of the sea creatures before us, I was immediately impressed by the defense tactics displayed by the sardines.

UNITY IS PARAMOUNT

Living in a habitat of deep open water, void of obvious hiding spots and without the advantage of size to aid in their protection, sardines rely fully on one simple strategy: unity. Moving as a cohesive unit, the motion of their silvery bodies make it difficult for prey to hone in on one specific target. The only hope for successful prey is to attack the group head on. If the enemy fish can get the group to scatter it will create vulnerably and most likely, lunch.

My mind could see a strong correlation to the body of Christ. As believers, unity is paramount to our mission. So much so that it was among the very last things that Jesus Himself prayed for in the night of his betrayal (see John 17). Why would the topic of unity be at the forefront of His mind in a time of such impending pain? I believe He understood that the battle He was about to face in order to free us from the shackles of sin and death would need to be proclaimed throughout the waiting world by people like you and me.

BICKERING BELIEVERS

If the enemy (who seeks to steal, kill and destroy) can first create division, he can sabotage our role to play in this important mission. A fragmented message delivered through bickering believers carries little weight. This message of Christ’s hope holds the weight of the world in its balance.

GARDEN PRAYER

Below are a few snippets of the prayer that Jesus prayed in the garden immediately proceeding his arrest which led to his crucifixion. Notice His longing for us to experience the same kind of unity as He experienced with His one Father in heaven! May we prayerfully desire this same kind of unity in our marriages, homes, community as well as our local and global body of believers. Jesus make us one even as you and Your Father are one!

…that they may be one even as We are.” John 17:11b

“…keep them from the evil one.” John 17:15b

“I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.” John 17:20-23 (emphasis mine)

The more we travel, the more our hearts long to see this unity lived out in and through us and the greater body of Christ.


Tomorrow we will leave central California and head to Arizona. This Sunday I will begin my 5-day fitness instructor training.  To say that I am excited to experience the unity of purpose and heart of the group I will be training with would be an understatement. I would love to ask for your prayers as I enter into this space. I’ll soon be sharing specific ways you can be praying for me as well as a way for you to live stream some of the instructor training events directly so stay tuned for those details!

 

our Heavenly Father is not a Grandpa

Our Heavenly Father is not a grandpa and there is no Jr. Holy Spirit. Our children have the same access to God’s heart as we do.” The words rolled off her tongue and the truth sank deep into my heart during a recent discussion with an Instagram-turned-real-life-friend. I’d been sharing a crossroads decision our family was facing and her wise question, honed from real-life experience was, “Have you prayed about this as a family?” Although we had brought the decision to the Lord as the family in a general sense, as she asked the question I knew she was simultaneously giving me the answer—God was waiting to reveal His heart for our future through our children.

AT A CROSSROADS

Our crossroads decision dates back over a year ago when our family served at Gleanings for the Hungry in Dinuba, California. If you’ve not yet read my post or seen Trent’s video about this location, I encourage you to click over and do that now (or watch the video below).

Serving at Gleanings has continued to be a highlight for our family, so much so that we are making plans to return in the next month to serve again. This Youth With A Mission (YWAM) base serves a dual purpose.

  1. It’s a hub for California’s fruitful central valley creating a streamlined opportunity for what would be unused produce allowing it instead become usable dried fruit and soup mixes to be distributed to those in need through local, on-the-ground missionaries around the world.
  2. It’s a Discipleship Training School (DTS) with students of all ages participating in three months of specific, focused training in areas of Biblical Discipleship followed by two months of overseas outreach.

During our initial stay in 2017, we talked with several students attending the DTS program. Over and over the story was the same: God was transforming the hearts of the students and doing amazing things in their lives.

After Trent and I talked with a family attending the DTS and learned that there are specific Discipleship Training Schools geared toward families and that these families followed up their training with a two-month international outreach, God lit a fire in our hearts to explore this option more. Continue reading “our Heavenly Father is not a Grandpa”

self-sufficiency < deeper dependence

This week a friend encouraged me that in a time of prayer for our family she felt like God gave her the word “digital journaling”. She believed God wanted to encourage us to be willing to be raw and open about what He is doing in and through us.

I received that word and am here to say that God is working, helping me to identify areas that need to be more closely focused on His face and asking me to set aside some good things for His best things. Conceptually it sounds amazing and holy and pure and right. In reality, it’s not so easy.

OBEDIENCE OVER UNDERSTANDING

Recently our family attended The Send in Orlando, Florida. Perhaps I will write in more detail about the event itself in the future, but for the purpose of today’s topic, I’ll hone in on a specific aspect that was encouraged by one of the speakers—an invitation to enter into a 40 day fast.

As I prayerfully reflected on what might be the best thing for me to fast from, the answer that rose up in my heart was a little unexpected: fast from social media and step back from building my health coaching business. Immediately, I recognized the time that this could free up for focused prayer and study in God’s word as well as pouring more into those closest to me. However, the subsequent wave of thoughts has required more soul searching.

If I step away from my business for 40 days:
-I’ll lose traction and my consistent investment of time will crumble.
-The women I work with may feel abandoned.
-What will be left when I return? Continue reading “self-sufficiency < deeper dependence"

i am an attempted murderer

When I was 6 years old I was so jealous of another girl’s beauty that first I cut off her hair and then I tried to kill her.

Yes, you read that right.

No, it is not an exaggeration.

Friends, this is why I was a little scared terrified to start sharing the lies I’ve believed but whatever, i’m doing this because of a request from God, not to win your approval so let’s proceed. (Quick disclaimer: if you are jumping in on my blog for the very first time, you might want to head on back to this post to quickly bring yourself up to speed.)

Photo: My younger brother and I

PLAYING SECOND FIDDLE

Her name was Charlie. Her parents were going through a bit of a rough spot so my parents offered to let her stay at our house for a bit. I didn’t know Charlie very well but it didn’t take me long to decide that I didn’t like her. I don’t recall Charlie directly doing anything to make me not like her. What she did do was redirect my parents attention off of me and on to her. I stood back and saw my mom and dad fussing over her, attending to her needs, talking about how cute she was and all kinds of revolting things. I didn’t really get it because Charlie had just barely arrived and I’d be there like, forever, so what in the world would make my parents suddenly change sides like that?

Clearly, my perspective as an adult shines a laser beam of clarity on the situation. In an effort to make Charlie feel comfortable in what must have been a potentially sad or scary situation, my parents went above and beyond to shower her with welcome. My 6 year old self did not understand this. What I did know was that suddenly I was playing second fiddle to the new North Star. In my feeble attempt to rationalize their behavior I scrutinized the situation. What I saw was illuminating. Charlie was in fact very pretty and she possessed the most remarkable blond, curly hair that I’d ever seen. As I reflected on my own appearance, it was painfully clear that my straight brown hair could never compare. The lie stealthily slipped in: the pretty girls get all the attention.

Continue reading “i am an attempted murderer”