Dissecting PRAISE! Part 1

If you asked me a few years ago what praise & worship meant, even being a PK (pastor’s kid) and growing up singing in the church, I would have simply said “Well it’s when we come together in church to sing praises to God and thank Him for all He’s done and all He is.”

In a way, that is good right….but oh how much more there is! I feel God has me a journey right now showing me more and more what it truly looks like to praise Him, WHY we praise Him and what can happen THROUGH PRAISE! So let me share two stories with you that were a big part of what helped me change my perspective on this…

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Last year I had the privilege of going to Haiti for the first time. I knew from other’s experiences and hearing about missions trips my whole life, that I would leave CHANGED and it would have a big impact on me. I knew, I prepared for it and yet God still blew me away more than I ever imagined. Throughout the week, we were in a little tent village called “Village of Grace” and their tents were within a foot or two of each other and held multiple family members in what we would only put 1-2 people in for a night out camping. They were built with whatever materials they could find and they were hotter than anything I’ve ever stepped into in my entire life. Their floor was the dirt ground. Rats would come in, there were no doors for safety and when it rained, they all were soaked. ย By time we got there, MANY of their houses had been built and many left to go! When I say house, think of an american shed! Yet these people were so thankful, in tears over their new house because it had a floor, it had one window and it had a door with a lock!

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They had a church recently built in their village but it needed pews! So I was part of a small group of people who stayed in/near the church the whole week and built pew after pew after pew! I learned so many lessons through that! However, I want to share with you about one thing that has probably been one of IF NOT the most powerful and beautiful times of worship I’ve had yet on this earth! Throughout the days I would sing while working because well that’s what I do. I had taught the kids a few songs already and they already had them memorized and followed me around daily singing them! My mouth hurt so bad every night when we went back because of all the singing ๐Ÿ˜‰ Well, one day we were waiting on the pews to dry before we did another coat of stain I believe. If not that, it was something about the pews that we were waiting on, I just can’t quite remember what. There were a few of us girls from the group in the church and a few of the haitians from the village including what I would call their worship leader because I remember seeing her leading the people in song from a megaphone on Sunday at church. ย I decided to start singing some of the hymns and songs I remembered they sang in church on Sunday. Songs like Nothing but the Blood, How Great thou Art etc, you know all the classics! What happened next brings tears to my eyes every time I think about it!

The haitians sitting in the pews all of a sudden looked up at me when I started singing and they got a big smile on their faces as they knew the song by the melody even though they couldn’t understand my words. Then they started singing along with me and the other girls in our group. They were singing “what can wash away my sin, nothing but the blood of Jesus” in Creole while we were singing it in English. The smiles on all of our faces showed the joy of the Lord in that moment. It was incredible! To hear two different languages singing at the same time but in the same melody with the same song TO THE SAME GOD was well…there are no words to truly describe it! We went on from there and just fell into worship together. This little group of us and the haitians were probably 10 total at most! They would start singing a song and I would then listen for the melody and figure it out and start singing and then I would pick one and they would listen for the melody and then start singing along. As I closed my eyes, I had such a sweet glimpse of what it will be like one day when every nation, tribe and tongue will be before Jesus worshipping Him and it won’t matter what color our skin is, where we were born, how much money we have or how much food is in our belly or what we look like. All that will matter is JESUS and in that moment, in Haiti, in that little tent village church, all that mattered to us was Jesus! JESUS was who we all had in common! It was such a beautiful site when I opened my eyes every so often while worshipping and I would see them worshipping, eyes closed or hands raised. I remember towards the end, I was so lost in worship I didn’t even know what had happened but I remember opening my eyes and seeing almost, if not, every window (they had probably 10-30 windows in this church because that is the only way air got in) covered with haitian eyes peeping through watching us sing. You see the church in the village is on the corner of the street so people walking by to the market or wherever heard us and stopped and just stood there looking through the windows at us. I don’t know what they thought, but I do hope they could see that all that mattered to us that day and in that moment was JESUS!

I have so much on my heart I want to share about this that I am going to break it up probably into 3 parts! So stay tuned ๐Ÿ˜‰ After sharing the other story, I will then explain what I learned through both of these stories and the other things God is showing me!

Today’s reflection…

 

I don’t know about you but I absolutely LOVE reading the words Jesus says in the bible. I’ve grown up my whole life reading Matthew, Mark, Luke & John BUT I think I grew to know those books so much that I skipped them for awhile in my reading. Oh how silly of me right because we all know the bible is living and active! How crazy awesome is that! So recently, the past month or so, I felt like I should start reading Matthew so I started and boy am I glad I did. God made it SO FRESH to me as if I were a little kid in a candy store and I couldn’t get enough. Each day as I read the words of Jesus and reflect on His love, His “style” or the way He showed that love and the words He shared I am left in awe!

Today I was reading in Chapter 9 of Matthew and two parts REALLY stood out to me and I wanted to share them with you! Verses 10-13 talks about a time when Jesus was sitting at a table eating dinner and various tax collectors and sinners came and dined with him. Well the Pharisees were having a fit and were pretty much flipping out about this and saying “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” So….you know what Jesus said…. (I love this btw) “Those who are well don’t need a doctor, but the sick do. Go and learn what this means. I desire mercy and not sacrifice. For I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

WOW!

I LOVE that! I think we are kind of naturally brought up as christians to feel like we have to stick with each other and only be around people that are safe, or comfortable or speak christianese ๐Ÿ˜‰ and anyone maybe a famous christian who God has given a platform to, starts to use that platform to reach out to sinners and people in the secular part of their world, we start to judge and wonder if they are going away from their faith when really they are doing what Jesus called them to do! I’m struck so hard by this because my human nature doesn’t automatically think to do this but JESUS DID THIS and so I want to do it too! I want to surround myself more with unbelievers than believers because they don’t know about Him and His love the way I do and I want them to! This is one of those things where I think I am going to have to pray daily for God to give me eyes that see things from an eternal perspective and not a day-to-day one!

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Ok…so the second big thing that stuck out to me was this in verse 37! When Jesus had went to some villages and towns and was healing many of their sick, he saw the crowds and FELT COMPASSION for them because they were weary and worn. He said this to His disciples and this stuck with me “The harvest is ABUNDANT, but the workers are FEW. THerefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.”

WOW AGAIN!

That verse spoke to me in a way I can’t quite share fully yet but Jim and I are specifically praying about something that we feel God is calling us to do next and this verse was exactly what I needed to hear this morning! Isn’t it so amazing when God does that! GUYS…..this verse is saying there are SOOOOOOO many people out there in our neighborhood, our town, our state, our country, our world….that DON’T KNOW HIM! Do you know what else this verse is saying….there are not NEAR ENOUGH of believers out there willing to get out of their comfort zone, give it all to God and say WHAT NOW…WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO and actually share His love with those people! I am guilty of doing this most of my life but I don’t want that anymore! Why die on this earth and leave to go to eternity when you could have the chance to bring so many others with you and share the love of Jesus first. I want to leave that kind of legacy! I don’t want to leave a legacy of just being a good mom and wife (although that’s great) or that there is nothing else to my name after that. I want to a leave a legacy that I gave it all to Jesus and said “Here I am, send me wherever” and that I was known for HIS LOVE and making His love known to the world! What do you want to be known for? What do you want your legacy to be?

Much Love!

106 days to go!

My focus and primary reason why I want to get healthy is because I want to honor God in ALL I do and my eating has been a huge hinderance to that for a long time. I also feel like what Jim and I feel God is calling us to do next, requires me to be in good health so part of my obedience to God because of my love for Him and even more so, because of His love for me, I NEED to do this! So as the last blog post shared, I’m not even weighing myself and I’m not counting calories. This is more of a heart issue for me!

HOWEVER, goals and certain rewards are definitely fun along the way! So I decided to make a fun chart to hang on the wall in the LIVINGROOM! Yep, I said the livingroom! It may not look pretty but I see it several times a day and it is a constant reminder of my goals! So in August we are going to Alaska with Jim’s family and it’s been one of my top 5 places to go and so of course I am ecstatic about it! I want to do a lot of nature things including hiking, kayaking & more and so I want to be in much better shape than I am now! I have about 3 1/2 months until we go and so I made a chart that said 106 days until Alaska and my goal is to go those 106 days without added/processed sugar and gluten! Sugar causes such inflammation and issues in my body and even though I love it, it truly doesn’t love me and so I am going to mark off each day that I go without added/processed sugar! Gluten is something I’m not doing just because it’s trendy or “in” right now ๐Ÿ˜‰ but I actually got tested and have a sensitivity to it! I feel so much better when I don’t eat it and so I’m going to go those 3 1/2 months without it as well! I want to see how my skin looks and feels and how I feel after doing this for 106 days! I’m curious! Plus the bonus is I will be well on my way to a healthier me inside & out and I can enjoy those hikes more!

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I’ve gone without sugar and gluten before! I’ve done it for the most part of 3 months before and I remember how much better I felt! It was during a flare I had 2 years ago with my digestive/autoimmune issues! I’m looking forward to not having the cravings anymore as well, which I know will take a bit of time!

So here’s hoping come August 2nd I will be able to show you all the chart with all the X’s crossed through each day and I can say I officially made it 106 days without added/processed sugar and gluten! DO YOU HAVE ANY FAVORITE DISHES that are sugar/gluten free that you’d love to share? Share them below!!!

One month in!

So it’s been officially a month come tomorrow since I started on this journey of honoring God with what I eat and trying to get healthy! The first week and a half didn’t go as well because Jim was in Haiti and I stayed with my parents and I didn’t plan well but alas I kept going! It’s been about 2 weeks since I’ve really been working hard at it! Things are going well and day by day I am breaking free from these chains that have held me in bondage with food! I know I have the victory in Christ already so day by day I remind myself of that, I keep close to Him and press on! I decided early on that I was NOT going to use the scale. You see in the past, I would get excited when I saw loss and then kind of let go a bit and say “Oh I can handle this little bit of treating myself b/c I’ve done great, look at my results” but then it would make me fall back in and start the vicious cycle all over again OR I’d see a no loss or even a gain and get so discouraged I’d just give up and cheat. So I decided this time, it is more about a heart issue with me and honoring God with my food and body than it is what I weigh so I have not stepped on the scale once, not even the first day! I decided this journey is about SO MUCH MORE THAN A NUMBER!ย So I am basing this on how my clothes feel, how I feel, my energy levels, my puffiness in face going down and most of all my mindset and heart behind each choice.

This past weekend I did GREAT for a weekend but I did do a bit more than I normally would during the week. Weekends are hard right? You are with family, you are having fun, the weather was great…so it made me happy and I am an emotional eater! When I’m happy…LET’S celebrate and eat ;), when I’m sad, let’s be sad and eat to cheer us up, when I’m bored, hey let’s eat to give us something to do. haha. It’s sad but at least I know I’m like that! I was so proud of myself because we went out to Panera with my niece and her friend but I got their fresh grilled chicken salad and an apple! GO ME! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Then the boys wanted to go to Menchies and so instead of totally depriving myself since (it was the weekend and I hadn’t had a treat yet). I decided to test my portion control (something I also struggle with) and so I got the smallest amount of frozen yogurt I’ve EVER gotten in my life and it was just one plain flavor with a small amount of sprinkles for color ๐Ÿ˜‰ It was probably just a few bites but it was so worth it to me. I savored every bite!

Fast forward to the rest of the weekend….THAT SUGAR….came back to bite me in the butt! It introduced those cravings again. I need…no I MUST learn to control having a treat every so often and then getting back to normal healthy eating and ignoring those cravings until they go away again. This is a journey and that is one of the things I am so determined to overcome and be able to achieve because before I was always an all or nothing person! I still ate healthy for the most part but I ate a few cereal bars yesterday and woke up this morning and was going to eat another cereal bar and then get fast food for lunch saying oh it’s just once and i’ll be good again tomorrow. Then (I know it was God) stopped me and made me realize this is how it always happened before and I’d say it would be just one day but it would turn into another and another. So by God’s amazing grace and strength, I decided not to eat that cereal bar and realize I CANNOT eat those b/c of the sugar and carbs and how they keep those cravings in me. I decided to eat very healthy for lunch and GUESS WHAT Y’ALL when I overcame that temptation, my mindset totally changed and I’m back strong again!!!! How amazing is that…GOD is so good! (On a side note I want to make my own healthy cereal bars for my son who is obsessed with them so I won’t be tempted by the store bought ones anymore)

So overall, I am doing great and making better choices each day! We are eating things like spaghetti squash spaghetti with low sugar natural sauce and lean beef, turkey chili, chicken and veggies, turkey italian sausage and veggies, tacos with fresh salsa, wrapped in lettuce etc! I would LOVE more simple ideas like that as I am not a cook so if you have any you’d like to share please do in the comments! I put my pants on the other day and realized it was much easier buttoning them WOOT WOOT! That was an awesome feeling! I am slowly starting to notice my face puffiness (i gain and lose first in my face always) getting less! So day by day…I give this to Him and I keep going! Thanks for walking this journey with me!

April (3)

One word that means so much!

Obedience! Honestly, when you first look at that word, it’s not the most popular word right ๐Ÿ˜‰ Depending on how someone grew up, may also change the way they feel when they see this word. When I first realized God may be working on my heart about this certain word, I was hesitant because I knew in my heart there were areas that definitely needed to work on with the whole obedience thing! I am so grateful that we have an amazing God that see’s deep inside of us, see’s all of us, knows how we work, think, feel, react and respond. He ever so gently through the past few years worked on my heart about obedience. He didn’t have too, I didn’t deserve that but that’s how much He loves me! Honestly, I didn’t even quite get the full scoop of it until more recently and I’m sure I have a long ways to go with it as well!

There are a few areas in my life He is teaching me obedience! One of those areas is FEAR. I have always been a person who worries but I believe it was escalated when we lost our 5 precious ones through 1st trimester miscarriage and then delivered Annabelle our sweet baby girl who was stillborn. Since then, I have struggled with it and God has helped me so much but I do have a ways to go with it. I know it doesn’t seem right off the bat that fear and obedience would go together but somehow at least for me, they do! Here recently He is showing me that through my obedience to Him and remembering WHO He is, His promises in His word and how I can trust Him…He is turning my fear into faith. He is reminding me as I obey Him more by getting to know Him more, spending more time with Him, that truly His perfect love DOES cast out fear.

To take it a step further, He is now showing me that through obeying Him, no matter how scary or unknown the journey ahead may be. No matter what He calls our family to do, as I walk by FAITH and not by sight…I have NOTHING to fear because well…His word says it so many times and so clearly…HE WILL BE WITH US WHEREVER WE GO! Joshua 1:9, He actually commands us to be strong and courageous and to not be AFRAID! How awesome is that!ย 17390387_10212252024433243_3346426277672262454_o

I love how He knows our weaknesses and the areas that we haven’t fully given to Him yet and doesn’t give up on us with those areas! I love how He is growing me in Obedience but not just in one area but how it all comes together for one thing! Let me explain…

So my main areas of obedience I believe He is working on me in is letting go of FEAR, trusting Him for our FUTURE and what we feel He is calling us to do, & getting HEALTHY so that I can do more for His kingdom! HOWEVER….I am LOVING how through my study and time with Him, He is showing that ALL of these things come back around to one thing….WORSHIP!ย However, not in the way we automatically assume. We are not just talking about when we go to church and sing y’all, we are talking about how in all we do, living our lives as worship to Him! In the book I’m reading called “How to Worship a King” By Zach Neese, he shares this “The internal expression of worship is LOVE and the outward expression of worship is OBEDIENCE.” He goes on to say, “The cross motivates both our internal and external expressions of worship. Worship is a response to what Jesus did for us on the cross.” WOW! How awesome is that!

So the main thing He is showing my heart is that the more I get to know Him, the more I seek Him, study His word etc….the more I will want to obey Him in all areas of my life and I do that BECAUSE I LOVE HIM! This becomes my act of worship to Him in ALL I do! My LOVE for Him makes me want to then OBEY Him in all areas of my life more simply because I WANT to do these things. This is WORSHIP! โค

I’ll leave you with a few lines from one of my favorite songs.

“You split the sea so I could walk right through it.ย My fears were drowned in perfect love.ย You rescued meย and I will stand and sing,ย I am a child of God…I’m no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God.” – No longer slaves by Jonathan & Melissa Helser

My heart…

So…last week was kind of rough eating wise! My husband was in Haiti for 9 days so for 6 of those, we went and stayed with my parents because well, I’m a big chicken ๐Ÿ˜‰ Well, I didn’t plan well enough and so I ended up not eating like I wanted to last week but you know what, I’m not beating myself up over it because that is what I did in the past. Now I am looking ahead, I know I have the victory over this already, in Christ and so I know on this journey there will be moments like that but the overall theme I want this journey to health to be is that I don’t give up, that I think about the big picture and my WHY of why I need and am wanting to do this! So this week has been much better and I am thankful for that! I think my body is going through a detox, but I figured since I was addicted to sugar so it will take some time!

So I look forward to when I can run again, when I can do all sorts of things without running out of breath, without being in so much pain due to health issues, inflammation & food allergies. When I got to my best health before I got pregnant with Micaiah I felt like I could do anything. The energy was tremendous and I wasn’t in pain and I slept great! I remember that and I aim to get back to that! This is me the day I found out I was pregnant with Micaiah. 479925_4886907888005_54531668_n4 years later and over 100 lbs more now, I’ve yo yo’d a thousand times or at least it’s felt that way. I’ve almost given up thinking I just will never get that mindset again but you know what, God isn’t finished with me yet and especially with what Jim and I feel God is calling us to do next in our life, I know I need to get healthy!

I want to honor God in all I do and one area I’ve failed is when it comes to food and taking care of my body which is a “temple” so to speak because the Holy Spirit lives inside of me now! I have failed so much that I wonder why He doesn’t give up on me but He reminds me of His grace. I am thankful He can look inside my heart and see my dark, see my sin, see my failures and yet because of what Jesus did on the cross, when He looks at me now, He sees the righteousness of His son! I know by honoring Him by having a healthy relationship with food and taking care of my body He’s given me, I will get to know Him more and then be able to make Him known more to the world and that is my heart’s desire! I know without a shadow of a doubt my food addiction is mainly a spiritual one but I know even more than that, that my God is stronger than ANYTHING and the same power that rose Jesus from the dead LIVES IN ME and since He lives in me, then I just need to walk in that boldness and confidence everyday and pray that He keeps me aware more of His presence and I can only imagine the impact and effect that will have on the way I eat!

So my friends, if you are walking this journey with me and struggling in certain areas as well, feel free to share in the comments below and I will commit to praying for you! If you are already on a healthy journey then I kindly ask for you to be a prayer warrior for me and pray for my journey! Thank you all so much!

April (3)

health vs. business

What seems so odd to me is how all the practices, mindsets etc and hard work I put into my business, I don’t do the same for my health? Why is that?

I was thinking about how in my business (I work for a children’s publishing company where I get to work from home as an educational consultant) I strive to keep my mindset positive. I focus on making sure my mindset is strong and I view myself as someone who CAN and WILL do this task/goal set ahead of me. I make sure my mindset is set on growth and changing no matter how many hurdles get in my way. I look at something that may have went bad or not as good as I hoped and I learn from it, I move on and I focus on the future events I have knowing those will be better!

I also continually set goals for myself in my business. I set a goal and then I set out and make a plan to accomplish it. I break it down into little steps and prep it all out. Once I achieve that goal I don’t stay there, I set a new one. If I don’t get the goal, I don’t let it defeat me to the point that I give up. I just reach for a new goal knowing that even though I didn’t reach the previous one, by me trying, it still helped further my business.

I continually train myself by reading books for my position in my field (mainly leadership books), I go to trainings or hold trainings for myself and my team. This is to keep my mind fresh, focused and excited about what I’m doing!

I don’t dwell on the negative in my business. I don’t dwell on the things that go bad. Instead, I dust it off and move on knowing better things are ahead. I wake up and plan for the day to be even better than the next. I focus on moving forward instead of staying where I’m at just because of a set back.

WHY IN THE WORLD CAN I NOT FIGURE OUT HOW TO DO THIS FOR MY HEALTH? HELLO APRIL! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Like seriously though, it bugs me that I can be so focused in my business, set goals and achieve them and keep a strong mindset but I cannot when it comes to my health! This is something I need to dive into more, pray about and figure out why!

Maybe I just need to start treating my health like my business. Maybe I need to wake up each day and think ok what would I do for my business if it was in poor condition or just in general, what am I doing to keep my business doing well? Then I need to apply those questions to my health! I need to not only set a goal but I need to break it down into steps and prep for it! I need to focus on the GOOD I do for my health instead of the negative. I need to focus on the future, preventing disease, better quality of life, doing more things with my family and for my God instead of focusing on the negative and day to day hardships of missing certain foods. If I have a rough day, I need to jump right over the hurdle and be ok with it like I am with my business and MOVE ON instead of letting it completely derail me!

So today I am going to be talking with God about this and I am going to really sit down and figure out my goals, my plans, my steps and my prep for this! If I can do this with my business, I WILL do this for my health!

April (3)

Ground Zero…

makingexcusesburnszerocalories_0I only can only go UP from here! I posted this quote below because well that is what I’ve been doing for the past 4 years! When we got pregnant with Micaiah I was in prime health, feeling great and in the best shape of my adult life. However, I gained over 100 lbs with the medicines/shots and pregnancy in general during those 9 months. Since delivering him I have yoyo’d probably several times each year, which has been very frustrating. We now have baby #3 and Micaiah is 4 so no more excuses for this momma. I can’t say it’s baby weight anymore because that baby is a 4 year old now ๐Ÿ˜‰ I can’t make any more excuses, even if they are legit reasons for health issues or struggles such as PCOS, Asthma, family genetic etc. EXCUSES STOP HERE! I am the only one who can change the course of my health and if I want to make sure and stop the chain of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and more that I get from my family, I have to start NOW and it has to become a way of life for me! A friend who I look up to for health/fitness and who is a momma of all boys as well told me that “A BODY AT REST WANTS TO STAY AT REST BUT A BODY IN MOTION WANTS TO STAY IN MOTION” so she makes sure to never go more than 3 days without working out. I just LOVED that tip and it really stuck with me! She gave me the advice of breaking a habit takes 22 days so you have to commit to changing your mentality of not doing a diet but just making these good life changes and working out for 22 days and then hopefully it will start to become more of a second nature type of thing! So that is what I am going to do!

After I get off here, I am going to spend some time with Jesus, start homeschool and then WORKOUT! I actually have several amazing DVD workout programs for home already that I just haven’t used in a LONG time and I’m excited to start them back up and this time not stop! So i’ll be switching back and forth between these below! What has been your best mindset tip or thing you’ve done with keeping a healthy and fit/active lifestyle?

April (3)

Here goes nothing!

Hello!Y’all I am so excited! It’s been almost 4 years since I last blogged! You may not know this but I had another blog…in another lifetime ๐Ÿ˜‰ ok well it feels like another lifetime! I actually use to blog a lot and I loved it, it was such a therapeutic outlet for me! So, 1 home based business and 3 children later, I finally have decided it’s time for me to start again! I even started with a fresh new blog woot woot because well so much has happened since our last blog that it felt like the right thing to do!

To be honest, you are going to see a TON of fitness/health posts at least at first because I am on a journey to health and being more fit so that I can do more things for my God and my family! I think blogging about it will be great accountability for me, a great outlet for me and who knows, I may just inspire someone along the way to do the same!

So feel free to follow me! I plan on blogging randomly about random things as I live this life, learning as I go, loving fiercely and leaning on my great amazing God for all that I need!

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