Nourish

IMG_8619Some years I begin with the thought of a single word. A word I dedicate myself to owning, to seeking out it’s meaning for my life, and to sharing with others. Today my word came to me. My word for 2016 is Nourish.

Nourish: verb 1) provide with the food or other substances necessary for growth, health, and good condition
2) keep (a feeling or belief) in one’s mind, typically for a long time.

Nourish. My body and growing baby well through sound diet and exercise in order to be healthy through the pregnancy and delivery.

Nourish. My mind by finishing my degree so I can turn my focus on the greater things God is calling me to.

Nourish. My spirit through regular time in the word and through fellowship with those around me so that when the day comes I can pour these things into my child’s spirit so that they may love our Savior in the same way.

Nourish. My relationships by regularly making it a point to invest in others.

Nourish. My marriage by continually seeking my husband’s heart and pouring into him the love God shed’s on me.

Nourish. My church by actively seeking ways to help our family’s raise up their children in the way that the Lord has called them to and working to make the family ministry what God has called it to be.

Nourish.

Your Word Is True: Truth Challenge

  
For the first time since The Journey Church began student ministry 2 years ago, we have embarked on the journey of using one curriculum for the full year. We chose “Your Word Is True” by Children Desiring God for a few reasons but the biggest one for me was that I saw a need in our students generation on discerning what is truth is. It’s been 2 weeks and I already can tell it’s going to be a great year. 

This past week though the lesson called me to realize the importance of memorizing the word regularly. Many of us can recite a verse or two but after our formative years of Sunday school I feel we loose the framework of hiding Gods word in our heart. Which is why I made the decision that this year our student ministry would undertake  a Truth Challenge. 

Our Truth Challenge is simple: memorize one verse a week. Thadd and myself are doing the same verses with the students. We’ve told the students that the end of the year, which ever students have memorized all of the verses would be treated to a special event. A celebration of a years growth of understanding but my prayer is even greater than their physical reward. My prayer is that these students would begin to be changed by the word. That they would become so close to the word that their actions would no longer be based on things of this world but by His word. That we would grow a generation so encouraged by each other to be in the word that they realize they have brothers and sisters in Christ who are leaning in and on them for support. Just this past Sunday night as we announced the challenge we heard our middle and high guys make the deal that those who didn’t memorize the verse couldn’t have a dum-dum from our dum-dum tree (fact: I love that even our teens enjoy this element in our home. )

  

My hope is that throughout this challenge that hearts and minds would be changed. That teens would learn to love the word and seek it as their source of truth now and for the rest of their life. That they would grow in confidence in sharing their faith with others. So here’s to a Truth Challenge- may they truth challenge us to grow and seek His face daily despite all of life’s demands. 

When We Need Each Other

It was just a typical bench day. But at the same time it wasn’t. It was AMRAP day. The day I tested my training to see if my numbers were improving. I worked my way up to the last set, started the video camera, and went for it. Then this happened:

  
This was rep 8 of 105#. But it was also the rep when I realized I needed someone. I needed a spotter. In a room of men and a gym where I knew at least 5 people by name at that point my pride said I got it. The video proves I didn’t. The bar hit chest and on the press I couldn’t get it up. I knew there was no lock out. So I dumped a side and got the bar to the bottom rung. I racked my weights and went and hid in the ladies locker room hoping no one caught my defeat. 

But in that moment I learned a valuable lesson: we all need someone. 

Whether it’s a spotter behind the bench for safety, a friend across the lunch table to help process life, a spouse to hold you when life has exhausted you, or a hand to pray with when life is hard- each moment echoes that  man was not created to be alone. 

We are called to live in community. To join in corporate worship not for the sake of numbers on a roster but because when we come together we:

“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭27:17‬ ‭ESV‬‬

AND

“For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!‭‭”Ecclesiastes‬ ‭4:10‬ ‭ESV‬‬

We sharpen, lift up, encourage, and help one another not for our name sake but His. 

So today, join together with someone. Take a moment for a heart check with that friend who you’ve noticed hasn’t smiled as much lately. Grab a friend to workout together for safety and support. Take coffee to a mom who’s at home with the kids this week. Call the friend in another state to see how you can pray for them. Join together to remember it’s better there instead of being alone. 

Weighing In On The Journey

August 27th. My progress update day. What started in 2012 and was updated in 2013 and 2014, suddenly found a stop this year. Why? What kept me from sharing unlike the years before?

The visible changes. Those were what stopped me. The changes in the picture from last year to this year don’t show progress towards a “skinner” me. No they in fact reveal some weight gain.

wlyr3

Yes in 2015 I gained some weight. A number of variables played a role in that but to be honest, I believe my journey towards health is shifting. It took a chat with a dear friend of mine yesterday that opened my eyes. See in 2015 there was progress. It’s just not progress you would outwardly see. In the year between Aug 27 2014 and Aug 27 2015 I competed in my first federational powerlifting meet. I set the USPA  GA state record in my squat and as well as meet total. I had a 45 lb pr in my deadlift. Since then I’ve seen my lifts only increase. In that time frame I also got engaged and married. In that time frame I also feel in love with RPM and am now headed to training in hopes of being an instructor. In that time frame I let go of some disordered eating habits. I still have bad days, but don’t we all. In that time frame I had probably one of the biggest achievements of them all, and it’s one you’d never see from the outside., I stopped taking diet pills. I had become addicted to them. Now though, just like in the beginning, I want my efforts and hard work to get the credit for this journey.

I don’t know where my journey is headed right now. I’m no longer fixated on a number on the scale or my clothes. What once were tools to measure success and define me, now no longer apply. My journey is health. My journey is athleticism. My journey is inspiring others to make small daily changes that would result in lifelong habits. When I started this journey, I didn’t know where the journey would lead me. It’s had it’s bumps and bruises, it’s had its detours, but at the end of the day it’s ultimately had the life God’s called me to at its foundation. This journey would be nothing without the cause of my Savior. I’m working on being a vessel He can use for as long as He’s called me to. That’s my new destination.

So here’s to the journey that’s now 4 years old. May the hard days be evident of His strength and the good days be an echoing of His grace. May my actions never cease to glorify Him and may the journey always reflect the love He shed on me.

Good Wife Life

IMG_0188-1

We’re going on being married for 5 weeks and already I’ve questioned it.

Am I being a good wife?

I’m greeted with compliments from friends at the gym reassuring me that I am, but there are the moments when you doubt it.

Like at 6am when the alarm sounds, you walk to turn it off, then curl back into bed as you watch your husband wake to shower to start his day. 6am is not the norm for you. He knows that now. But before him? No 6am was only a hopeful alarm time. No your norm was more like alarms at 6:45, 7:00, 7:15, 7:30, then finally waking at 7:45 to roll out of bed, stumble to your car, and try to gain consciousness when you reached the gym.

No 6am is new.

So with sleep still in your eyes, you stumble downstairs to once again be greeted with new.
Make coffee. Pack lunch. Pour cereal and juice. Count out vitamins ( enough now for two of you.)

You’ve learned he likes his coffee strong, sweet, and slightly tan. As you stir in the creamer you think of how his coffee often reflects you- strong, sweet, and slightly tan.

IMG_0317-1

You say a prayer of gratitude that your husband is a man who is ok with eating the same thing each morning because while you said you’d make grits and eggs for breakfast one day this week, you really meant the idea of grits and eggs sounded nice one day this week.

He slips downstairs, reaches around to hug you from behind and you breathe in the freshness of his morning scent. Axe. It’s always been Axe and yet this fragrance now is home. It calms and awakens.

IMG_0386-1

You set out breakfast as he pulls out his bible. Again, your thankful for this moment. The moment that so often can be easy to push aside when the mornings get busy. You curl beside him under the blanket, pull out your bible, and you both silently commune with your Father as you prepare your hearts for the day.

He leaves for work with a kiss. Then the question strikes again.

Did you do enough to be a good wife?

It’s taken me 5 weeks to battle that question. Most mornings look like what I described above but there are those where I’m exhausted. Where I don’t feel good. He lets me linger in the bed, he packs his own lunch, makes his own breakfast, and I stumble down the stairs as he leaves. If my worth as a wife was wrapped in the motions of my morning, then I would be nothing.

Yet, it’s not the works I do that are the foundation of our marriage, but the word of God.

See, at the end of the day, if I forgot this was the week to change the sheets or if I missed taking the recycling down or I didn’t write a note on his lunch napkin or I forgot that we ran out of chips and he’s left with pretzels left from our wedding, we are still married. My works don’t save it. My works can make it healthy as we manage a home and our bodies but they ultimately don’t determine if our marriage will work out. No, our commitment to the covenant we joined with Christ on July 18th, that’s the foundation for our marriage.

IMG_0877-1

So today, if you find yourself facing a list from the world of ” 15 things you can do to be a good wife” take a moment to remember it’s not your works that make your marriage. Its your love for your Savior and your husband that do.

Suck It In

I see you there. In the morning your the first thing I see. In the midst of the hip track in BodyFlow, you are there. In the pain of mountain climbers, I feel you push your way above the band of my shorts. I try to hid you with my compression shorts but it doesn’t matter. I still see you there. I have since I was little and no matter how much I try, I can never suck you in.

  Dear Gut- that little pouch of skin that drops above my shorts, you are a piece of my journey and one that no matter how much I want to hid, you still find ways to make yourself known.

I once hated you so much that I would wrap you in Saran Wrap with lotions underneath in hopes that it would make you “more tone” and drop a few inches. It didn’t. To me, you were the sign that I still wasn’t healthy. I wasn’t healthy because you weren’t flat. I wasn’t desired because you were still there. I couldn’t inspire others because you still jiggled. 

Yet I’ve come to learn and love something. My body. Which includes you. 

You’re  the softness that catches me when I drop in my hovers. You’re a reminder of my journey. You don’t define my health, you define how far I’ve come. And even if your never flat and you still jiggle in class, I will still love you because I love me. 
This post was inspired by a dear friend this morning in the gym when we shared our stomachs and fears of them never being flat. Ladies all around I want to encourage you to love you for you. Yes become a healthy you.  But do it while loving you. While making healthy choices that lead to a better and stronger life for you and your family. We are created in the image of God- which means we are all beautiful. Be a beautiful you in whatever way that means because by doing so, you represent God and his handiwork. Today and everyday- love you. 

Joining the Tribe

Last year one of my customers invited me to try classes at BodyPlex during their launch week. So I dragged my friend Abbie along, we skipped our morning runs and for two days that week we tried Pump and RPM. I enjoyed the classes and loved the instructors, but brushed it off and joined the gym across the street. 

A few months later was launch again. This time the customer, who was an instructor, invited me to just be there and represent my store. Only problem was I got the date wrong and showed up the week after launch. Then in February of this year, I was invited again. This time I verified the date and everything. That first Super Saturday still sticks out in my mind. The energy, the passion, and the dedication of the staff just flowed that day. I set up my booth and engaged in some of the classes. This time I was hooked. I knew I wanted to be at the Plex. Outside of the classes, the big benefit was two squat racks which meant I could train all of my lifts there unlike at the gym I was a member of at that time. So that Super Saturday I joined the Plex, but I also joined something deeper. 

I joined the Tribe. 

See, since then I’ve engaged more and more with the classes. I’ve fallen in love with the Les Mills programs. So much so that I have some of the class playlists saved on YouTube and can do many of the tracks at home from memory. I’ve built relationships with people who now are on the fitness journey with me. The instructors now know me by name and know my goals and are willing to help push me towards them. 

We sweat together. We complete one more rep together. We laugh, cry, celebrate, pray, and rejoice together. I look at my Facebook feed now and know that there are 30+ Plex members who are apart of the tribe with me. They challenge me to be a better me. A stronger me. A me who recognizes that I’m beautiful. A me who is capable of fitness. 

I used to say I wasn’t one for group fitness, I liked the solo life in the gym. But now,I’m so thankful for that one instructor who invited me and then kept challenging me to go further. These past few months have been a blessing and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.