Sunday, July 15, 2012

S.P.E.C.I.A.L. Insanity

Recently, my husband and I have begun the Insanity workout (thanks to a friend who gave it to us!). Let me say, it is indeed insane. I have cried most days during the workout and struggle to make it through without multiple breaks - not to mention I'm starving all the time! It is HARD -- even my former college football player of a husband will tell you it's hard. (I'll do my best to keep you posted with our results!)

Most days, I compare in my mind my Insanity workout to the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. at the Ultimate Training Camp. I think to myself, this is the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. at home for non-athletes! The event known as the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. (Spiritual Principles + Exhaustion = Confidence In All Mighty Lord) takes place each summer at Athletes in Action's Ultimate Training Camp (UTC) out in Fort Collins, Colorado. UTC provides an opportunity for collegiate athletes to experience the Gospel through the language of sport.

During the summer of 2011, I had the chance to spend a few weeks helping staff UTC.... what an experience! I witnessed student-athletes working their tails off, pushing themselves beyond their physical limits, and trusting God to be their strength. When I think back to that, remember those who aimed to finish strong, and rest in God's grace while relying on His strength, I am able to not only complete my workout, but use it as a time to worship the Lord! We are called to honor the Lord with our bodies, and love him with all of our strength.... no better way for me to do that right now than through disciplining my body through the Insanity workout! It's near impossible for me, so I depend on the Lord! What a special opportunity.... to workout, worship, and love the Lord with my strength!

--How can you best love God with all your heart, soul, and strength?

"Love the LORD your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your strength." - Deuteronomy 6:5

"I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave..." - 1 Corinthians 9:27

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Olympics: More than Sport

This summer, London will host the 2012 Olympic Games. In about sixteen days, the opening ceremonies will begin and make way for the competition of thirty-six sports!

When I think of the Olympics, I think of highly competitive sport, athletes with pure determination, and a world stage that brings honor to many countries. But, this video shows that there is indeed so much more to it than that. As the "Road to London" becomes more narrow, I wanted to share a video that is both inspiring and moving. Hope you enjoy!

Struggle and Triumph

"Do you know that in a race all runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable." - 1 Corinthians 9:24-26

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Proverbs 31

Many of you may know I absolutely LOVE Beckah Shae. I think she is talented beyond words and steps out of the ordinary to reach the world through music! She writes and sings, while her husband produces. I was first introduced to her music a few years ago when she played a show at a church in Tampa. After her album Destiny came out, I was absolutely sold. Not to mention, she has stuff like this on YouTube!

Ok, on a slightly different note.... Annually, Victoria's Secret does a fashion show that is airs on CBS. In the last year or two, I have seen more on Facebook and Twitter about Proverbs 31 during the show than ever before! How encouraging!! From that, a quote has become popular, "I'd rather be a Proverbs 31 woman than a Victoria's Secret model." I couldn't agree more. And when I stumbled across one of Beckah Shae's "Scripture Snacks" titled Woman, I was reminded of that quote.

"Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised." - Proverbs 31:25, 26, 30

I hope you enjoy and are inspired to live a life as a Proverbs 31 woman... giving glory to God!

(Beckah Shae's Scripture Snack Volume 1 is available for purchase on iTunes)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Take the Initiative

As I've already shared, I don't always come across friendship all that easily. To help grow from a self-wallowing, pouting, pity party thrower into a socially developed person with flourishing friendships, I have decided to take the initiative! Taking the initiative is not always easy - what if your idea is shot down? what if people say no? These are my fears in being the one to take the initiative, but someone has to, right?!

But I don't just want to be the one to suggest a get together or invite someone to an event. I long for more than that. I desire meaningful friendship, community with people who love and care for one another. Unfortunately, all the initiation in the world doesn't promise cultivating that type of relationship. And since being out of college, I have found that authentic community is hard to come by. I want people to ask me deep, heart, "get-to-know-the-real-me" questions and I want to know people in the same way!

That's where I'm stuck. There is no formula to develop these friendships, no set of appropriate questions that lead to especially meaningful conversation... but oh how I wish there was! My generation seems to be stuck in the "this will do until something better comes along" mentality (hence the "maybe" button on Facebook invites!). Whatever happened to bloom where you're planted and seize the day? I don't see many people diving head first into relationships that will foster growth and community. Are we as a culture too guarded? Are we afraid of commitment? Is it our pride that leads us to build walls that don't allow people to see us for who we really are? What is the hold up? We, myself included, are missing out on the community we need -- the type of community that God designed for us! What is holding you back from being the one to take the initiative, to ask the hard questions, or maybe to answer the heart level questions? What is keeping you from knowing people, and being known?

Take the initiative, be real, love people.

"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God..." - 1 John 4:7

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Permissible vs. Beneficial

In the last little while, I have noticed an increase of Christian's who are in a relationship with the Lord, partaking in things that are more permissible than beneficial. I think due to my past/life before Christ, I am extra sensitive to these types of things -- excessive drinking, bar hopping, foul language, immodest dress, inappropriate relationships, etc. However, I don't think I am totally off base here.

How are these things justified? Yes, Jesus ate with the sinners. That's one fair angle. But my angle would be... the light of Christ needs to shine brightly through all of us who are Christians. The light surely will shine brightest in a dark place. But if the dark places are your most frequent places, where is growth happening? where are you being fed? when does the light recharge?

I am absolutely, 100% about reaching people for Christ. And spending time talking with people in bars, that is certainly one way to reach lost people. And no, I am not saying that is a wrong way. I think that is how it all starts for a lot of people, anyway. But when bar hopping, excessive drinking, etc. are the things that we as Christians do for fun, we are dimming the light of Christ and no longer focusing on reaching the lost but more on having a good time. I am all about having a good time. But sadly, many Christians in our society today would call me "boring" because I'd rather play a board game with friends than go grab a 2-for-1 special during happy hour.

This may totally be opening up a can of worms, but it is something that has been heavy on my heart for a long time now. I want to clarify again, I am not against drinking, but it is such a gray area that I think it needs to be done with heavy discernment, sound judgement, and proper motives.

My thoughts/advice and what I try to ask myself before entering into a "gray" area type situation-- Be aware of who is watching you. Seek to be above reproach. Be focused on the cross, not yourself. Aim to please God, not people. What is permissible may not be beneficial. And bottom line, be more concerned with spreading the name and love of Christ than having a "good time."

"I have the right to do anything," you say--but not everything is beneficial." - 1 Corinthians 6:12

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Life has caught up to me. I have been finding myself feeling busy, tired, and overwhelmed recently. One cure, has been coffee! I function throughout the day so much better when I have had a tall glass of iced coffee.... mmmm.... Another, has been relying on the Lord. When I do things -- whether it be a workout, a conversation, or housework -- out of my own strength, I reach a point of not having enough strength to continue any longer. But, when I depend on God for strength, He sustains me through more than I could ever hope or imagine to accomplish on my own!

Earlier this year, I shared about the letters I wrote to my daddy and to a former college roommate of mine. It had been a few months and I had not heard back from my former roommate (who we can call B). Well, a few weeks ago I ran into B at an event. We were civil, but I was not sure why we were acting as though everything was ok. I mean, yeah I had apologized for being selfish, made wrongful assumptions, and prideful, but after that letter of apology I never heard back. So, it just seemed peculiar that everything seemed normal. As we parted ways, we said, "we should get dinner sometime" which, often times translates into, "it was nice seeing you, and to be polite, let's act as though we'll get together in the future but know I have no intention of doing so." Well.........  about a week later, we did get dinner! Tyler and I got dinner with B and her mate =) It was a lovely evening over a lovely dinner. But that's not all.

After dinner, the four of us walked around for a bit. And by bit, I mean a couple of hours! B and I had an extremely healthy, heart level conversation. We both apologized, shared from our hearts, listened to one another, and were vulnerable. This, was not how things had always gone with B. It was a breath of fresh air to finally have her sharing with me and not just listening. We shared how much we value one another and our friendship. All in all, it is a great feeling to know that one of my dearest friends, from my college years, and I have bridged the gap and our friendship has been restored. I thank God for leading me to reach out to her with that letter. And, I thank Him for softening our hearts. We have both grown up so much from how we had left things...

There is no doubt in my mind that God is up to some exciting things.... my relationship with my daddy has been restored, my friendship with B is back on track... I can't wait to see how else God surprises me, blesses me for steps of faith and obedience I have taken, and continues to answer prayers that will bring Him glory!

"Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think, according to the power at work within us..." - Ephesians 3:20