growth

A Valuable Run: Making Family Devotionals a Reality

There are tons of good ideas that are never put into practice.  Many different factors can be the cause.  Ones that I’ve experienced personally are: lack of direction, self-doubt, and good intentions. The last one listed may throw you for a loop, because there is a lot of good that can come from good intentions.  But as I’m discussing in the book I’m writing, good intentions by itself can cause much harm and damage.  There needs to be more than a good intention if we’re going to actually accomplish something of value, as we’ll see in this post.

There’s a lot to learn from runners.  Some of which was illustrated for me this past Friday during Jaron’s first cross-country meet.  Before the official run, the team got familiar with the track.  They both walked and ran the course, giving them a mental approach in how to tackle it for the run.

I, myself, have never been in an official “run,” unless my treadmill programs and occasional outside run with Brandon count for anything.  But my experience with physical exertion led me to pick up on a few things that relate to our family morning devotionals.

For years I had the desire to have a consistent time for family devotionals. (Key word here is consistent.  We’d find the time here and there, but it was more there than here if you know what I mean).

Countless families have spoke of their family devotional time over the years, but it hit me when we were in….are you ready for it?....dun dun dunnn…..you guessed it—small group!  I told ya we’d make it back for another treasured nugget from attending small group, or life group or Sunday school or whatever we may call it-- or as my high school geometry teacher would put it, “whatever floats your boat.”  (I just loved that lady!)

Years and years ago, in our small group class, our friend Dayna shared how her family had their own little service in their living room one night a week growing up.  They got into the Word of God, they had worship, they shared needs and they prayed.  How incredible is that?!  Sign me up!  We're going to do that with our family!

Only we didn't.

Through the years I kept thinking it'd pan out.  I envisioned the season Brandon was out of engineering school-- then we'd be home together in the evenings and could have what Dayna's family had.  Well, before we knew it, we had another baby, then I was in nursing school-- rarely home for quality family time.  We juggled.  We juggled goals, educations and careers.  We juggled dance recitals, horse riding lessons, soccer practice, basketball practice, baseball practice, birthday parties and school activities and yes, church activities too.

The opportunity for consistent family devotionals was not happening.  Nope.  An open door of time never presented.  So a couple of years ago we created one.

We had to let go of what we thought family devotional time should look like.  We evaluated what would work for our family and we did it.

This is how it looks in our house. At 7:45am we grab our Bibles, sit at either the table or in the living room, read a small bit and pray.

Why is this so important? While we may have a solid daily quiet time with the Lord, we can’t assume our kids will. Think of how long it took for you to get to the place of such commitment. When it comes to establishing a daily devotional time, we need to realize that our kids may need some spiritual spoon-feeding. In their concrete thinking ways, they don’t even know to tell you they’re spiritually hungry. Just assume they are and feed them…daily.

What do we pray? The Word of God is alive and active so we pray what we read over our children each morning.  We pray for the challenges they may face, for the opportunities they may have to show love and kindness, we pray for their teachers, friends and fellow classmates.  This is also the time we pray as a family for the needs of others-- from lost dogs to friends with cancer, we bring it in the morning.

Let me tell you.  Once the commitment is made, everything, I mean everything will come in opposition to that time.  There are mornings we haven't moved as efficiently, or maybe are trying to multi-task too much.  Our allotted fifteen minutes dwindles.  So here's a couple different things we've done.

We set the timer. If we only have seven minutes, we set the timer so we are sure to leave on time and we take the seven minutes. Other times we don’t even have that, so we grab our Bibles and read a little in the car and pray on the way.  Occasionally, we’ve had to condense it even more, grabbing just one scripture to discuss and having prayer.

Friends, the Lord knows our hearts.  So many times we can't give Him what we think we should so we end up giving nothing.  Just give something.  Start somewhere.  Who knows, maybe it'll end up looking like what Dayna's family had, but you'll never know until you start.

So how in the world does this relate to a runner?

Well--

#1 Have a Game Plan.  Remember how Jaron got to familiarize himself with his course before he ran it?  That gave him a game plan of how to approach it and how to pace himself.  We need a game plan for our family devotional time.  Explore what would be the best approach for you.  Carve out what time you can.  This is going to look different for so many of us.  Develop a plan.  God will honor it.

#2 Let Others Motivate You.  When Jaron ran Friday, the other runners helped him improve his time!  He said he passed seven people during the run.  With each person he passed he wondered if he could pass another.  It was his motivation to keep going and it resulted in improvement.  That's what Dayna did for our family.  While we've not developed a time reflective of the one she had growing up, we did develop one.  If it weren't for her sharing so specifically and so personally what it meant to her growing up, I don't know that we'd have hung on to the intention for so long.  We finally made something happen.  And remember, something is better than nothing. Maybe my children will further build upon what we’re doing now and do even more for their family devotional time with their kids!

#3 Just Do It (I'm not sure it's even legal for me to say that-- so for the sake of covering my fanny- let's just tip our hat to Nike right about now). This is where we get back to the good intentions. We need more than mere good intention.  We need commitment. When we’re committed, we’ve resolved to do something.  If it’s a commitment then it’s strong, determined and unwavering. Sometimes we look at the course and think it’s too difficult; possibly too many hills and too far to the finish line. But once you are going you realize how doable it is and how great it feels each time you finish. There’s only a feeling of accomplishment after a good run. It never feels wasted. It feels good. The same goes with those family devotions. Just start the run!

Psalm 92:2 NLT It is good to proclaim Your unfailing love in the morning, Your faithfulness in the evening,

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Control Freak

Getting in the car with my mom I must be prepared for one thing, the possibility she may honk her horn. And I don't mean a little "toot-toot." I mean, lay-on-the-horn, blaring-loud-for-all-to-hear kind of honk. It doesn't end there. Whatever ability she has to demonstrate her displeasure on the outside of the car is only a glimmer compared to her expressions on the inside of the car. And my Mom is a nice person! However, she gets all riled up on the road. Inconsiderate people who pull out in front of her causing her to slam on her brakes. Distracted drivers, talking, or yes, even texting away on their phones. Rushed workers ignorning the lane closure signs to squeeze in at the last possible moment. It infuriates her. When she rides with me she'll identify every moment I should utilize my horn. My neglection of such an opportunity produces much discussion as she'll inform me that I need to let them know what they did so they won't do it again. There's where her hope is. It's not an angry, difficult, short little lady. It's a woman who intends to help people out, highlight the error of their driving, so they can do it better the next time.

My take is different. Number one, I wonder if the person who pulled out in front of me, or cut me off, may be a mother who has a screaming baby in the car, a tired toddler and an argumentative child. Believe me, that causes some distractions and enough stress without being honked at. Or possibly, it's a nurse who lives forty-five minutes from the hospital and got called-in before she had a shower or a trace of make-up on her face. It happens. Secondly, and most importantly for me is, I don't care. I don't care about honking at someone and getting all worked up over them, because I have no relational connection, nor any ounce of influence on them to change anything. If a driver is flat-out rude, they're going to be flat-out rude whether I blast my horn or not. It's just not worth the aggravation to me.

Now don't misunderstand me. I do get worked up. I do get riled to the point of feeling steam come out my ears. Okay, not quite steam, but you get the picture. Flaming mad. Like Anger on Disney's Inside Out or Donald Duck when he's "had it up to here!" (Yes, that's what he sometimes says, although it almost requires a translator to comprehend his lines.)

I tend to get all upset with things I think I have control over. Emphasis given to the word, "think." It's like a quantitative study. I have variables in an experiment. The independent variable is manipulated to produce the dependent variable. Since my lab puppy, sweet little Ruby Sue, is turning one this weekend, let's consider dog food. The type of dog food is an independent variable because it's something I can change (or manipulate), and the results I get are the dependent variables like her weight, her likability to the food, and maybe her coat being more shiny.

If I have no influence on the outcome, I don't get too engaged. It's that whole, "it is what it is" kind of situation; “que sera, sera, whatever will be, will be.”

But let me share with you where I do get hung up. It's again, in those areas I think I have control.

My parents were told, on more than one occassion, during my years of rehabiliation from my burn injury that I may develop an addiction to narcotics. I'll share more about the topic when the book project pieces together, but for now, let me focus on this subject of control. Although I desire to be as out-of-it as possible when I'm recovering from surgeries, I'm quite eager to stop taking the medication when I no longer need it, because I don't feel in control when I'm in a fog. Too much of my childhood was out of my control. As an adult, I'm overwhelmed with gratitude for the care I received. Absolutley overwhelmed. I'm living a life today because of the care I received. Nevertheless, I remember as a child wanting control over the situations I had absolutley none.

Memories of being restrained, with my arms braced out to my side, unable to move. Memories of a tube down my throat breathing for me, but occluding my ability to communicate. Screaming for help when those precious nurses were tearing bandages off my raw body. Fighting against amazing physical therapists as they ripped scar tissue to stretch my contractured body.

Yes, I have control issues.

I also have a good, good Father who loves me as I am, but desires me to grow in Him. Just as He provides opportunities to make the impatient patient and the prideful humble; He's given me many opportunities to release control and grow in trust.

A reoccurring theme for 2015 was trust. As I felt challenged in 2014 to rest, 2015 was about trust. Here's a bit of what I journaled toward the end of the year...

As I’ve sought the Lord, as He’s challenged me to trust Him, using situations to strengthen my trust muscle, I can see the control shatter. I needed to be here and He was preparing the time for me. I needed to grow in the quality, in this characteristic.

‘Do you trust God?’ Yes, I’ve always trusted God. However, do I trust God when I have no control, no influence over the outcome, when I have nothing to contribute, or even manipulate?  Not in a bad manipulate-evil-devising way, but in a manipulate as, take it in my own hands and change what it needs, or what I think it needs to be, to form it and mold it on my own. Do I trust God even then?

Oh, how I thought He was teaching me through the writing to trust Him. Oh, how I thought He was teaching me through the speaking to trust Him. Oh, how I thought my obedience to step away from full-time nursing was trusting Him, or being given our website was trusting Him- but, those situations were PREPARING me for the biggest trust exercise the Lord could have set before me….

I know where my desire to control comes from. It's fear. I wanted control when I was little because I was scared. Not much has changed. I still to this day fight fear. The fear is a bit different, but I fight nevertheless. But again, God is so loving and kind towards me. His Word says, "perfect love casts out fear" (I John 4:18). Which means I don't have to be in control. I just need to trust in Him.

Therefore, as you're stepping into your dreams, visions and goals for 2016, be aware of the vision killers we've discussed the last few weeks: feeling overwhelmed, making assumptions, and fear.

Fear has no place. You serve a great God! And the same power that raised Jesus from the grave lives in you (Romans 8:11).  Remember that fact, and exercise that muscle to trust in the face of any fear this year!

Isaiah 30:15 ESV For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and REST you shall be saved; in quietness and in TRUST shall be your strength.” But you were unwilling,

This was one of the verses I've stood on, encompassing the Lord's challenge for me to rest in 2014 and to trust in 2015. But unlike the people of Israel, may we be willing.

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I'm Fine

I walk around like everything is fine, but deep down, inside my shoe, my sock is sliding off.” This message caught my eye when posted by a friend on social media. Of course, my heart was moved when I read the first half thinking, “she’s going through something.” Upon completing the sentence I truly laughed out loud understanding the sentiment exactly. It happens to me with a certain pair of boots. I must wear long socks, otherwise, there’s no inconspicuous swipe-it-with-my-index-finger type of retrieval maneuver. No, I must take the boot off entirely to fetch the sock that is nearly off my foot, scrunched up down around my toes. Irritatingly uncomfortable, I must say.

Nevertheless, we wear it well. We stroll around cool and casual without the slightest indication something is not right. We don’t let on something is out of place. We don’t expose our sock is driving us nuts!

The reality is, all of us are walking around with our sock sliding off at one point or another. All of us.

Why do we act so casual? Why do we walk along without the slightest indication something is wrong?

I’m sure you realize we’re not talking about socks at this point.

A short time ago, someone contacted me about a woman who needed a bit of encouragement in a trial she was facing. The trial was similar to one I had experienced before, but one I’ve not shared with many. We met for a visit. As I listened to her pour out her heart, mine broke at the memory of going through what she was enduring presently. The Lord stirred me to share with her the testimony.

Sharing the testimony was timely and effective. While it brought the intended comfort and encouragement to her, it was apparent that it came unexpectedly.

We all walk through things others may never imagine.  However, it is wise to demonstrate prudence in sharing the storms we face. For one, some who do not have the same insight, do not understand, and our sharing can render us vulnerable to attacks. We must listen to the Holy Spirit in seeking counsel.

Secondly, we don’t want to magnify the storm. Personally, I’m not a sweep-it-under-the-rug kind of girl. I’ve been a fighter my entire life. It’s why I’m alive today. And it’s not something one can switch on and off. While I was commended for my spirit to fight as a little girl, as an adult now, it can make some people uncomfortable. Although I’m geared for conflict resolution, wisdom is essential to know the difference between progressing toward resolution and merely magnifying. We must know when our speech is magnifying the problem or resolving the problem.

Third, if we haven’t taken it to the Lord, we must not take it to another. As much as I’m a people person, as much as I crave and truly need the interaction of others, no one on this planet has everything I need. Speaking to the Lord and allowing Him to guide who we need for godly counsel is exercising complete trust in Him. And as a result, removes vulnerability to attacks and provides dimension to what we’re facing.

I share this for you to be encouraged. Our tests aren’t the focus. We wait for divine intervention and share the testimony in His timing.

So what’s so encouraging about that?!

It’s that everyone has a sock sliding off!  Whether they're talking about it or not.

Thinking back to last week’s post, in addition to feeling overwhelmed, what is another vision killer to reaching our goals?

It’s assumptions.

We assume that everyone else has a sock nicely in place not causing an ounce of irritation or aggravation. We may even have toxic thoughts like, “So-and-so has it all together. They’re so strong in their walk with God and here I am dealing with this garbage. I could never be the kind of person or Christian so-and-so is. I’m just sick of trying.”

First of all, we must all stop trying so hard and find rest in His power at work within us. II Corinthians 12:9-10 NIV “But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Secondly, know that assumptions are a tactic the enemy utilizes not only in our church, but in our homes. There is a lot of defeat, and potential disappointment, which can come from assuming the comfort of another’s walk. We walk through trials strong and confident, because our trust in God. It doesn’t mean everything is fine and dandy. We’re all walking through stuff at some point.

Remember, we all have a pesky sock sliding off every now then.

We’re not always fine.

Allow me to close with a passage by Lysa Terkeurst. These words spoke encouragement and healing into my storm of 2015. I pray it blesses you in pursuing your goals for 2016.

Humility and wisdom are a package deal. And often people who have the most wisdom have experienced the most humility. Or sometimes even the most humiliation. A wisdom like none other can arise from those hard places that bring us low.

When I’m going through stuff that makes it hard to make good decisions, I want to turn to people who have been through some stuff. And not just people who went through hard times, but those who came out on the other side carrying some wisdom from which I can learn. Real wisdom- wisdom that’s been unearthed in the messy, untidy, mud-puddle places of life. When this kind of wisdom sits in the heart of a person who is vulnerable enough to drop their pride and share what they know- that’s a gift I desperately need when going through some stuff.

Lysa Terkeurst The Best Yes -pages 209-210

*in reference to: James 3:13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. and Proverbs 11:2 When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.

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Casting Crowns sing a beautiful song on the subject titled "Stained Glass Masquerade" ~ you can listen to it on the following link ~  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7U--p31vIY

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Just Forget It

When we built our house in 2001, we chose to complete the room over the garage. It has served several purposes over the years. At first, it was somewhat of an office, with our inherited-from-my-parents, thirty-year-old, rinky-dink desk where our computer set along with our printer. We also kept our first set of living room furniture up there; two recliners and a sofa to relax along with our treadmill and weights to exercise. As the kids continued coming along, the area transitioned into a much-needed playroom. In such time, the playroom has been forfeited to become a bedroom, giving each child their own space. Stay in one place long enough and you’ll see the scenery change time and time again. Something similar happens to us in our walk with the Lord. We develop and change as He uses us for His effectiveness.

That’s one reason we make goals for each New Year, isn’t it? We want to be a little different than we were the year before. We want to demonstrate growth in our character and spiritual maturity. Not that we weren’t fabulous and wonderful last year, but God’s picture of fabulous and wonderful may look a little different for us this year. Remember the office turned playroom turned bedroom? Same wonderful room. Different fabulous function.

Let’s talk about those goals. In nursing, we make goals each and every shift. Those goals are specific and measurable. For instance, if our goal is improved gas exchange, we will measure the outcome based on three “as evidenced by,” like decreased work of breathing, improved blood gases, and decreased need for supplemental oxygen. This approach to setting goals can definitely be beneficial for our personal lives as well.

Stepping into the New Year, each individual person in our home set the following goals for themselves:

Educational Physical Spiritual Financial- a giving goal, a saving goal and a purchasing goal

These goals, and how we measure the goal, looks different for each of us, from the six-year-old, to the nine-year-old, to the twelve-year-old, to the nearly fifteen-year-old, on up to the mom and dad. Nevertheless, we each have our goals written out with our game plan to attain them for one another to see.

Here are a couple benefits to writing them:

--keeps us on track --keeps us accountable

Our Pastor use to say, “If you aim for nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” Proverbs 29:18 informs us having vision, divine guidance, and revelation keeps us disciplined, in return, bringing wisdom, joy, and happiness. *see translations: NLT, NIV, ESV, KJV

So, if we understand the benefit of setting goals and having vision, why do we have such difficulty following through with our goals?

I suppose there are more reasons than one blog post could contain, at least there are for me. But if I may share a piece of my heart with you today, as we dive into that question, and continue on with the topic again in another post (because again, that question is too deep for one post).

Maybe you identify with lack of focus; lack of self-discipline; a negative mind-set. Those are all detrimental to achieving goals. Another vision killer is feeling overwhelmed. The task seems too big, you don’t know where to begin, you feel ill-equipped for the dream. So what happens, you may be familiar with the phrase, “just forget it!

I’ve seen it. Remember the playroom? The space provided such fun and creativity, such joy and a level of carelessness….for a time. It’d all come crashing in when I’d holler, “It’s time to pick up!” I believe the kids wanted to pick up and put things away in an admirably orderly fashion, however, when every toy is on the floor, they just didn’t know where to start. It’s that whole, “how do you eat an elephant?” kind of question (which by the way, always grosses me out, I mean, who would even think about eating an elephant?).

You know how to pick up a crazy mess of a playroom, just like you know the answer to that icky elephant question. One toy at a time. (Or one bite at a time, if you choose to go that route).

I wrote down some crazy big dreams this year. And let me tell you, they scare me. I’m so afraid of failing or disappointing (my family, my Lord, and really myself too) that I almost didn’t even want to write them down. But it’s one toy at a time. And if I get close, it’ll be that much closer and I’ll be that much more of who He wants me to be than I was on 12/31/2015, because by writing them down I’m exercising obedience and trust in Him. Aim for something with me, even if you don’t hit the target, you’ll get closer than you were before.

That room over the garage is close to a studio apartment for the kiddo who calls it, “my room.” The other kids have vision for the room too though; a vision that includes a ping-pong or pool table when the room is one day vacated. That growing-closer-by-the-year event is one Dad and I don’t want to envision yet.   Nevertheless, whatever the future holds, we’ll have a room over the garage, and it’ll be used. It’ll be the same room with a potentially different use, effectively illustrating our heart’s desire for the Lord to continue doing the same with us.

Hebrews 13:21 NLT may He equip you with all you need for doing His will. May He produce in you,through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to Him. All glory to Him forever and ever! Amen.

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Inspiring Change

“I can’t feel my legs! I can’t feel my legs!”  It was Olaf’s sentiments after falling down a mountain on a pillow of snow, although we know they weren’t his legs.  It was also my sentiments after cracking down on these few extra winter pounds.  I’m not talking major body transformation.  I’m talking about a little more than the treadmill routine after those snow days that the kids and I ate cookie dough and then warm-right-out-of-the-oven cookies, or those brownie’s for Sunday night’s Once Upon a Time, and that little dish of ice cream before bed some evenings. Oh how quickly those habits make the jeans a little snug! From my experiences of battling with the scale, I resorted to giving myself a weight range. It’s my healthy place. I set a four-pound fluctuation zone. This allows me some room to enjoy my little indulgences. And it keeps that dreaded basic bathroom piece out of the equation….the mirror. We can’t always trust the reflection we see there. I remember; those days when I was burying my insecurities and fears in a banana split and then hugging the toilet till I had purged all remaining content. Having this distorted perception that if I could be thin enough, I’d compensate for the ugliness of the scars.

How ever did I overcome that darkness? The most important component to my healing was my greater desperation for God. Every time I lay in the floor cramping from an overdose of laxatives or my throat burning from vomiting every nutritious item, or contending the voices of what I’d allow myself to eat after denying myself reasonable food; I would cry out to God. I asked so many questions. And in every moment I knew He was with me. Then I had some mentors, who I will share in a future post, speaking His Word, praying with me and helping me to redirect into a healthy lifestyle. Finally, I got professional help. Yes, I write that with a little humor, but in all seriousness, it was an imperative element to my road of healing.

For these reasons, it is important for me to be mindful not to go under, nor to go over that four-pound weight range. It can be my slippery slope, which takes me back to the challenge, “How thin can I get?” And this isn’t about a number; it’s about being healthy.

And this is why I want to introduce a woman dear to my heart. She is the face behind www.heathersblessedjourney.com. If it weren’t for her, I don’t know if I’d have ever had the courage to get off the ground in this endeavor of writing.

I met Rhonda Lawes in August 2010. I wasn’t sure we’d know each other very long. I was in her Pharmacology class at The University of Oklahoma. Each day I prayed God would provide for me to be successful. Her class was by far the most challenging I have ever taken.

When reviewing our results after our first exam, I didn’t anticipate the highest grade, but with the notes I had taken and the amount of time I had studied, I expected a decent grade. You can imagine my disbelief when I saw a “72.” Professor Lawes didn’t know me well, but she read me like a book. I was barely holding the tears back. She encouraged, “Remember, this is the first test you’ve ever taken in nursing school. It’s different. Don’t judge your success on this first test.” Because of my grade, I was required to have a one-on-one meeting with her. The result of that meeting was a broader view, a different approach and ultimately a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

I took away far more than a nursing degree. I stepped away with a woman who would become my mentor and my friend.

Shortly before graduation, Rhonda spoke into me with one question, “Have you ever thought about starting a blog?” I brushed it off almost as quickly as she asked. She nudged, “Well, pray about it. Take a few months to write and see what you come up with.”

Nine months later she came to my house and introduced me to this new world of reaching people by setting up www.heathersblessedjourney.com.

Rhonda was instrumental in my transformation from student to nurse. But she didn’t stop there. She continues still, investing into my life, challenging and sharpening me in areas I thought were incidental, but she identified as God given gifts, speaking and writing.

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To watch her is to be impressed. She’s one of the most brilliant people, a published writer, a passionate professor, and still a learner, continuing on in her own studies to attain her doctorate degree. She’s even more compassionate. To know her is to love her as she genuinely cares and connects with students, patients and the numerous audiences she presents to. Not to mention, her outgoing personality, which blows all other characteristics out of the water. People love to be around her!

There’s so much to Rhonda Lawes.

Her latest journey touches my heart and inspires me to be a better me. And it’s not only her success that’s so inspiring, but that it’s another avenue for her to help others.

Rhonda had a similar battle with the scale. Some people would put our experiences in different categories, but they’re not. Both come from a place of desperation. Both are crying for help. Rhonda gathered the courage and changed her life.

“I’ll give this one more try. If this doesn’t work I’m just going to buy a bigger coffin. I can’t take one more failure,” were the words she shared with me after she set out on her journey. The example of strength was given the day she walked into the gym and hired a trainer. She had a ruthless pursuit for change, not just in the physical form but beneath the surface, desiring mental training too.

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Talk about brave! This woman faced every insecurity, every potential for failure, every ounce of doubt, every instance of comparison, and she did it again and again and again!

Less than a year down the road, my amazing friend has dropped over ten sizes. She’s broke through the walls, like the one she hit nine months in at 100 pounds lost. Her training is lifestyle now. Real change; down a total of 130 pounds since she started. In the process of transforming her look into a picture of health and strength, her spirit has grown even stronger!

Every chance I get to spend with Rhonda Lawes leaves me feeling sharpened spiritually and intellectually.

I am inspired by her discipline, courage, strength and compassion, and I pray you are too!

I Timothy 4:8 NIV 

For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

Lawes.Headshot

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Loose Gravel

Fences. Excavators. Dirt work. It’s a common scene in our small community. It’s a scene of construction. A new elementary school is being built on our main street. There is also construction at the school’s band room and field house. Even our church is undergoing renovation, with remodeling to our foyer and sanctuary. Flexibility and patience are essential in this season dealing with the by-products of projects, the traffic congestion, the disruption to routine, the displacement of gatherings. Throw predictability to the curb. This is a season of change. With change comes growth. So bring on those bulldozers, pull out those sledgehammers, let’s revel the opportunity!

That’s easier to say when we see physical buildings going up. It’s more exciting when the evidence is right before our eyes. Not so much enthusiasm when it’s intangible growth in construction.

Wait. What?

You’re with me. You know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s the drive home. You’re on smooth surfaces. Cruising along down the predictable road before you. You’re in total control of that wheel. You’ve got security steering the vehicle exactly where you want it to go. And before you know it, you hit loose gravel. IMG_2107

What is completely unexpected catches us and produces instantaneous emotion. Fear. Vulnerability. Insecurity. Doubt. Confusion.

And that is what many of us experience in our flesh when God is calling us out of the familiar and into the unknown. We want things to make sense. We long to measure sensibility. We desire to weigh out the practical. However, sometimes our steps of obedience are scary, or seem foolish, because we don’t know the plan, because we’re not in control.

When God starts a project, sometimes we’re going to have some inconveniences. Our routine may be a little disrupted. We may seem a bit displaced. There may be some detours and traffic jams. We might even hit loose gravel. Put patience, faith and flexibility to practice.  We were never in control of this to begin with. And making improvements sometimes start with making a big mess first.

Remember, we’ve got one amazing Foreman on the site. He’s coordinating each and every detail.

And when life hits loose gravel, relinquish control; He has the wheel.

Habakkuk 3:19 (NLT) The Sovereign Lord is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights.

Isaiah 33:6 (NLT) In that day he will be your sure foundation, providing a rich store of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge. The fear of the Lord will be your treasure.

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