My Health & Fitness Journey
I gave birth to my son in October 2014.
Within the first few weeks of mommy-hood, I began to experience behavior and emotions that did not seem normal, although my doctor said as long as I didn’t want to harm myself or my baby, I was fine.
But I did not feel fine.
My little bundle of joy barely slept or took naps during the day for me, so I was absolutely exhausted, living off of caffeine and sugar just to function. When he would actually fall asleep, all I could do was stare up at the ceiling, unable to shut my body down to get rest. I was suffering continuously with anxiety attacks to the point of hyperventilation because I didn’t like who I was becoming. I felt out of control and miserable.
Being a woman of prayer, there was no way I could be a victim of postpartum depression, right?
I’m a Christian and I know that Jesus died so that I could walk in TOTAL freedom from all sin, sickness, and disease, I thought.
I would pray and pray and pray for God to heal me. I felt like this was a spiritual battle and I was totally losing. My spirit felt utterly depleted.
As the months went by, the anxiety and emotional outbursts somewhat seemed to fade, but then I started experiencing even more random physical symptoms such as oral thrush, ringing in my ears, heartburn, swelling in my throat, restless legs, and insomnia.
It was obvious that my body didn’t have what it needed to fight off these symptoms, and medication to just quiet the symptoms and not eliminate the root cause, for me, was a last resort. Out of curiosity and desperation, I began researching what was physically going on in my body. This was the unhealthiest I had ever felt in my whole life and the heaviest I had ever weighed, so I knew that I needed to make some serious changes, especially regarding my eating habits and stress triggers. I believe in prayer, but sometimes there is more going on in the natural realm that we can have control over, with God’s wisdom and provision.
I realized that this battle going on inside of me and all around me could not be compartmentalized. This wasn’t just spiritual, emotional, mental, or physical. In other words, I wasn’t just spiritually, emotionally, mentally, or physically unhealthy; It was absolutely everything combined! Knowing that the Creator of the Universe created me spirit, soul, and body, I couldn’t just focus on the wellness and wholeness of one area. All of me needed healing, and I was ready to partner with the Lord to see restoration unfold.
Like I said, God created us body, soul, and I spirit:
- We are a spirit
- We possess a soul
- We live in a body
This means that we are a tri-part being.
We discover this truth in 1 Thessalonians 5:
Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24, ESV).
God cares about our whole being, and all of it connects together. How we take care of ourselves, affects our overall health. We have to take responsibility in all three areas: spirit, soul, and body, and trust that God will strengthen us and give us the wisdom on how to take each step along this journey to see total wholeness.
In Summer 2015, I began my health and fitness journey. I began juicing fruits and veggies in the morning and making sure I was getting the proper nutrients from REAL food and taking supplements when necessary. I cut out sugar and processed foods, began drinking only water and occasionally herbal teas, and slowly but surely my addiction to sugary caffeine drinks was completely gone.
I started working out regularly at home and lifting weights through Beach Body‘s workout programs and other helpful exercises. Before I knew it, the number on the scale (which isn’t always the problem, but for me it was) was dropping and I was fitting into clothes that were sizes smaller than even my pre-baby clothes! If that wasn’t awesome enough, my anxiety and panic attacks disappeared, along with those weird physical symptoms like oral thrush and ringing in my ears.
I still am not where I want to be completely regarding my overall health and wellness, but I am definitely headed in the right direction! I finally feel like I’m glorifying God in my body!
Also, check out this other great resource for more tips on health and wellness! Remember, to take care of the body God gave you!
Bearing Lasting Fruit
December 14, 2017
“You did not choose Me, but I chose you. I appointed you that you should go out and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you” (John 15:16).
In the Spring through the Fall seasons, my husband and I enjoy spending our Saturday mornings taking our son to the local farmer’s market. The whole family truly does try our best to incorporate fruit and veggies in our diet, and this farmer’s market gives us ample options to pack our fridge with fresh produce. During the winter months, the market is closed, so thankfully, we can still purchase our produce at the local grocery store, but the taste of the fruit and veggies at this farmer’s market is just a little fresher in my opinion. Needless to say, I eagerly await the Springtime to get back to our beloved farmer’s market trips.
In John 15, Jesus tells us how he longs for us to bear spiritual fruit. But what happens to our fruit production when we reach a seemingly spiritually barren place, a “winter” season? We will all face “winter” seasons in our lives, but we should never want to stay there or make it a continuous cycle. Difficult seasons in life can actually be a time of growth and maturity in the Lord. In the natural, trees’ roots actually grow down deeper into the earth in the winter time.
If we don’t stay rooted and grounded in God (who is love), we lose our sustaining life and are prone to depression. Instead of yielded to depression, we need to allow our roots in Jesus grow deeper and deeper. We use those times of trial to draw closer to the Lord and drink deep of His goodness and faithfulness. During these dark times, the enemy wants you to dry up and rot- physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. We must remain connected to our life-source, Jesus, the Vine.
Over the course of my life, I have experienced some pretty harsh winter seasons.
Thankfully, I had established a solid “root-system” in the Lord and also surrounded myself with some mighty “oaks” of righteous people. If we are isolated during these times, and are not taking in the proper nutrients from God’s Word, we are in trouble. Being around other trees or fruit bearers is crucial to sustain spiritual health. Their root systems can get “nutrients” to us and their fruit can “feed” us when we are struggling to hang onto the Vine.
No matter our circumstances, we must allow our fruit to ripen or mature, and even when it may seem hopeless, if you are abiding in Jesus, the Vine, you will see abundance once again. Be grateful for the little fruit you do have, but don’t stay there, let the Vine-dresser care for you. He chose you and longs for you to bear fruit, just continue to abide in Him!
Thank You, Lord, for remaining with me through all seasons of my life, even the difficult ones. Help me to continue to abide in the Vine, Christ Jesus, so that I can bear lasting fruit all for Your glory!
Deeper Walk: Galatians 5:22-23
Guest Post- 5 Bible Verses When You Feel Stressed
July 31, 2017
A few weeks ago, Marcus from Psysci.co, reached out to me and asked if he would be able to share some encouragement on emilyrosemassey.com for my readers, especially regarding his expertise in psychology. He decided to write a blog about 5 Bible verses when you are feeling stressed out. Please welcome Marcus!
Whether you consider yourself to be religious or not, Bible verses hold basic humanistic truths that apply to various situations. The following Bible verses are especially comforting in times of stress and remind us that being anxious and worrying about things will do nothing to put you in a better state mentally, physically or spiritually.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” [Philippians 4:6-7, ESV]
This verse is a constant reminder that the peace of God is freely accessible to everyone and can be so easily obtained through a simple prayer devoting your worries to God. To let your requests be made known to God through thanksgiving is a way to humble yourself and realize that God is bigger than any stressful situation that you might be going through. Keeping a gratitude journal is also a great exercise to help you reflect on the things in your life for which you are thankful.
“Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.” [Psalm 55:22, ESV]
By casting your burden on the Lord, you are transferring anxiety, stress and worry from the shoulders of a mere mortal to the hand of God that can hold an infinite amount of burdens without beckoning under the weight.
“When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near to the broken-hearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all.” [Psalm 34:17-19, ESV]
The righteous are afflicted – this notion is not uncommon to the world in which we live. In fact, it forms the basis of every good versus evil battle that is represented in the movies we watch, the books we read, the conversations we have and even the relationships we form with those around us. Heartbreak, affliction, sadness, hurt and other stress-inducing emotions are impartial in the sense that everyone will experience these at some point throughout their lives. This Bible verse offers a glimmer of hope and the promise of the ultimate hero to save us when we are in distress, all through God’s great grace and mercy.
“Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” [Isaiah 40:30-31, ESV]
Often, a state of distress and worry will urge an unhealthy desire to intervene in situations out of our own strength with disastrous results. Patience is a virtue for a reason and by devoting time to praying and hearing God’s voice and His desire for you to be peaceful and achieve success in whatever you do, you are sure to be renewed in spirit. God’s divine intervention is on His perfect timing, not yours – distract yourself from stress by doing exercise, meditating or doing something that you enjoy and trust that God will bring you a new sense of calm.
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” [Matthew 6:34, ESV]
This last Bible verse speaks directly to the crux of stressful situations. There will always be something to worry about but by worrying, you are not adding a single moment to your life – in fact, you’re doing the opposite! The articles found here, here and here detail the effects of stress and worry on both your physical and mental states of health. Focus on one thing at a time to avoid reaching a point of breakdown and take time in your day to address the problems that continually cause stress and anxiety. Be confident in your ability to overcome and remind yourself of these inspiring Bible verses whenever you are stressed.
About the Author: Marcus has a degree in psychology, a master’s degree in health psychology and has worked within the NHS as well as private organisations. Marcus started psysci a psychology and science blog in order to disseminate research into bitesize, meaningful and helpful resources.
Guest Post- The Connection Between Insomnia And Depression
July 5, 2017
Sarah from sleepydeep.com reached out to me a few weeks ago asking if she would be able to submit a guest blog post for emilyrosemassey.com regarding sleeping problems and depression. Since I have experiences with these issues and have shared a lot on my blog how insomnia and depression has affected my life, I was extremely excited to have Sarah share! Please welcome Sarah!
The Connection Between Insomnia And Depression
We all have had sleepless nights. We’ve all had dips in our emotional state. Insomnia and depression are different from your run of the mill all-nighter or post break up blues. They are actual psychological disorders. You may have heard that a symptom of depression is sleeping a lot, and you heard that correctly. But did you realize that there is actually a correlation between insomnia and depression?
Insomnia is a serious sleep disorder that negatively affects your life. WebMD defines insomnia as: “a sleep disorder that is characterized by difficulty falling and/or staying asleep.” A study performed by the University of North Texas on the Epidemiology of insomnia, depression, and anxiety found that people with insomnia are 10x more likely to develop depression.
When you have insomnia, you might feel tired but are unable to settle down and go to sleep. Trying to sleep when you want to, but can’t, can be mind-numbingly frustrating. I personally believe it’s best to just get out of bed and do something else. You aren’t doing yourself any favors by lying in bed in the dark anyway. You might as well get up and drink some tea or read an uplifting book. Try to do a relaxing activity to get your mind off how badly you need to rest before you have to get up early the next morning.
The Vicious Cycle of Insomnia and Depression
Insomnia and depression can become a vicious cycle that is hard to break out of; each causing the effects of the other to worsen. To say that a lack of sleep can have negative effects on your mood is barely scratching the surface. Not to mention that when you have a mood disorder such as depression, this in turn, can have a negative effects on your natural sleeping rhythm.
Feeling down for a prolonged period of time can have detrimental effects on all of your daily activities. An unfortunate symptom of depression causes us to have racing negative thoughts. These are bombarding us constantly at night while we’re trying to lay down and fall asleep. Even though we’re exhausted this can severely inhibit our sleeping patterns.
Racing Thoughts Make For An Uncomfortable Bed
I know that when I went through a bout of depression a few years ago, I began to procrastinate going to bed at night. I dreaded the thought of being trapped alone with these racing thoughts in the dark quiet of my room. I would distract myself with television or play games and surf the web on my tablet before bed. The blue light emitted from these devices causes your brain to halt the process of producing melatonin, the hormone that tells your mind and body it is time to sleep.
Poor Sleep = Poor Performance
Insomnia may cause you to sleep late and miss out on the morning time; which can be a great time of day to sit in quiet meditation or a quick morning workout to get your endorphins pumping. It’s hard to feel good about yourself if you don’t get out of bed until 12 noon every day. If you are waking up too late and missing work or your appointments, this can add to the list of frustrations and grievances you have with yourself, contributing to this self-sabotaging cycle of insomnia and depression.
REM Sleep Promotes Optimal Mental Health
At night, we go through different stages of sleep, it has become common knowledge that when we dream, we are in our deepest stage of REM sleep (rapid eye movement). Anecdotally, it is believed that dreaming can help our subconscious mind deal with our daily reality, helping us to sort through some of our depression without us having to do anything at all, but simply go to sleep.
In a research study on Depression and sleep: pathophysiology and treatment, doctors found that REM sleep helps to increase your brain’s functional release of serotonin and other “feel-good” hormones. Anti-depressants are thought to work by inhibiting your brain’s serotonin reuptake receptors. So, if you can regulate your serotonin levels by getting quality deep sleep, then all the better, right?
This Too, Shall Pass
Although both depression and insomnia are serious disorders of the mind, it is helpful to note that it won’t last forever. However you choose to deal with your depression, make sure you have someone to talk to. Even if it’s just a supportive internet forum, sharing your thoughts and feelings in a safe environment makes a huge difference. If this advice seems cliché that is because clichés, like sarcasm, have a ring of truth to them.
Disclaimer – I am not saying that if you cure your insomnia, your symptoms of depression will automatically be cured. Please make sure you always talk with your physician and therapist about new decisions, and never stop taking your medication without speaking to your doctor first.
Have you ever battled with depression or insomnia? Did you ever correlate the two together or did you, like me, believe these were separate entities? Do you think that this information will help you to manage your emotional state going forward, making high quality rest a priority?
Red Nose Day: An Opportunity to Lend to the Lord
May 23, 2017
One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the Lord,
And He will repay him for his [l]good deed (Proverbs 19:17, NASB).
Like I talked about in my last post, Red Nose Day is quickly approaching! This campaign is such a great opportunity as believers to support a cause that is so near to the Lord’s heart, as we find in Proverbs 19, being gracious and lending a hand to the poor and needy, not for our name’s sake but for His.
The organization behind Red Nose Day is Comic Relief Inc. Although Comic Relief is not a faith-based organization, plenty of faith-based and Christian organizations are partnering with them, longing to do their part to see child poverty erased. Comic Relief’s strategy to make this goal a reality is to provide grants to organizations that keep children healthy, safe and educated in the USA and around the world such as Save the Children, Boys & Girls Club, and Children’s Health Fund.
I had the privilege of chatting with Comic Relief’s Vice President of Grants and Philanthropy in the United States, Rick Scott, last week. I was able to hear a little more about his journey with the organization, which started in the UK over 20 years ago, and his mission to see Red Nose Day expand in the US.
Since Red Nose Day launched in the US in 2015, they have seen growth in the involvement and awareness by at least 60%. In Comic Relief Inc.’s first two years in the United States, they have raised over $60 million. Globally, Red Nose Day has raised over $1 billion since its launch in the UK in 1988! I love seeing that kind of money put to a great cause such as helping children!
Between the funds of the red noses that you can purchase at Walgreens or Duane Reade and the donations and grants of organizations, Comic Relief is seeing more and more people, both regular Joe’s and major influential people such as Bill Gates, join the cause behind Red Nose Day.
One of the reasons I believe Comic Relief’s clever idea behind Red Nose Day is catching momentum around the world is the mere fact that comedy is a universal language. Everyone smiles and laughs, no matter what age you are, what part of the world you are from, or how much money you have in your pocket.
“When you put on a red nose, you get a reaction (a laugh) and people want to know more,” Scott said.
You put on this red nose, the walls come down, and we can now start a conversation about the heartbeat behind “the nose,” helping children trapped in poverty.
And since we are all created in the image of God, I don’t think many can escape the great tug on your heart when you see someone in need, especially a child.
So will you join me in bringing awareness- whether that is promoting this great organization so that those who are able to give, find the perfect place for their money, or if you don’t have thousands of dollars at your disposal that you are able to donate, consider at least buying a red nose at your local Walgreens or Duaine Reade?
Consider it a loan to the Lord. It will not go unnoticed to Him.
And most importantly, don’t forget to tune in on Thursday May 25 at 8/7c for a night of Red Nose Day — only on NBC.
Here Comes the Sun
March 28, 2017
I have decided to say “No!” to depression. Not to sound too…well, depressing, but since December, I have felt its noose slowly begin to tighten around my neck, and I was passively allowing it.
I believe it was a combination of the effects of stress and bad eating choices, winter blues, extended sleep deprivation, and just lies bombarding me from the enemy. I was also in the midst of working Christmas retail chaos for the first time in my life, so I guess you could say I was a tad overwhelmed and a little disappointed with the lack of creative outlet in my life.
But the clouds are parting and I’m beginning to experience the sun again!
I have felt in my spirit for quite some time that I am approaching transition into new territory. Like I wrote in my last post, I have been holding onto that hope with all of my might. I have been in survival mode for far too long, and I am ready for my life to thrive again. And not just for me but for the sake of those God has entrusted to me and who He is now sending my way.
The Bible verse that has been on my heart lately comes from Isaiah 60:1:
For your light has come!
And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you (NKJV).
This verse is displayed in my son’s room because it is one of my favorites found in the book of Isaiah.
What it says to me is that there is an action required for me to see the glory of the Lord rise upon me and that is I MUST ARISE! I can’t just sit there passively and let the devil continue to beat me up with his stinkin’ lies! I must rise up! I must stand up and most importantly, stand upon God’s truth and promises!
*Edit 4/4/2017- Shortly after I wrote the words above, a decision was unexpectedly made for me regarding my current evening schedule. God pretty much closed a door for me in an area of my life that was causing strife, stress, and strain in my marriage. Ha! How about that alliteration for ya?!
What seemed like something the Lord had asked me to do for quite some time, turned out to be a very short season for me in the end. Eight months later (8 symbolizes “new beginnings” in the Bible), I’m finding myself facing another “new beginning” in my life. Suddenly all this unnecessary weight I was carrying has been lifted off of my shoulders, and even though I could sense God’s grace carrying me through this last season, I still feel lighter in some way.
And now that my physical circumstances have rearranged to help alleviate stress and tension, I know that I still must hold onto hope and stand upon God’s truth because the enemy isn’t going to stop his dumb tactics to steal my peace and joy. This new change will require trusting God in a greater way regarding our physical needs because it has taken some of the control out of our hands and we have no choice but to trust that God will provide no matter what.
I just love how God cares about all aspects of our life instead of just our spiritual health. He will move on our behalf so that we can experience the life Jesus died for us to have. The more we look to Him to fulfill and satisfy, the more we discover how great a Father He is to us. He never disappoints!
Even if you can’t see it, He is working behind the scenes always. Even if you don’t feel the sunshine just yet, know that the clouds are going to part. Hold on! Stand up! Trust and believe!
Holding Onto Hope
March 17, 2017
“Hold onto hope!” were some of the last few words I wrote in my journal as I reflected over my current circumstances.
I had no idea how much the word “hope” would become even more tangible to me as it has bubbled up inside of me these last few weeks while Paul and I have been discussing our future.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV).
Now, I understand that many Bible scholars and Bible thumpers HATE when people quote this particular verse to apply it towards any given circumstance in life. Many agree that it is widely taken out of context.
I understand that the Lord is talking to Israel through His prophet Jeremiah in this passage, and I also understand that the Israelites would have to endure seventy years of captivity in Babylon before they began to see God’s promise of a great future come to pass.
But does that mean that God’s plans towards us are not good or that we should not remain hopeful of a glorious future ahead?
Of course not!
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28, NKJV).
God’s character has not changed and He loves us just as He loves His chosen people, Israel.
Yet, we definitely need to remember that our definition of good and God’s definition of good could be two completely different things and those plans could possibly involve some suffering and challenges on our way to that glorious future.
And the Lord knows Paul and I have endured some of those challenges and suffering over the last few years that have tested our faith and shaken our hope in the Lord’s promises to us, especially as it concerns our desire for debt freedom- a dream we have had since very early on in our marriage, which has always been accompanied by very limited time together from all of the jobs we have had to take on to see that dream become a reality.
Although those difficult and sometimes painful experiences seem to have loomed over our heads these last two years, they have most definitely become more intensified these last six months or so.
Our son Isaiah has always seemed to have sleeping issues since he was born, but in late September until early February, he was waking up every single night (no exaggeration), multiple times, into the early morning hours. This just so happened to be around the same time I started my new part-time job in retail where for almost three months (well over 20 hours a week) I wouldn’t get home until close to one o’clock in the morning (thanks to those lovely extended holiday hours). All I wanted to do was sleep during the day, and I dreaded having to do it all over again that night, not to mention hating all the time I was missing out on with my family and friends on the weekends as well.
I didn’t know how quickly this would all catch up to me- my health definitely took a turn for the worse, which was difficult for me to experience since I was in the best shape of my life after working out for an entire year straight, eating clean, and taking supplements. But in December, I began experiencing severe bloating, fatigue, and issues with my menstrual cycle that culminated in a chemical pregnancy, which is a type of early miscarriage, because my hormones were extremely imbalanced from all of the added stress. I was having panic attacks in the middle of the night and arguments increased between Paul and I because of the sleep deprivation and utter exhaustion from dealing with a child who would inconsolably scream for hours through the night. Did I mention we live in an apartment complex? I’m sure our neighbors just adore us. 🙂
But thanks be to God…and to friends who have been praying for us continually!
We have seen great improvement in Isaiah’s sleep and in my health this last month! I have had no choice but to hold onto hope. I have had no choice but to fight to hold onto my peace and joy and to fight for my marriage.
I’ve held onto it all with a death-grip, really.
I refuse to sink. I refuse to let the enemy win because frankly, he’s a loser and has already lost the battle.
My Jesus has already won the war!
I know this sounds kinda cheesy, but it has such a deep truth:
I don’t know what my future holds, but I know Who holds my future.
God does.I will hold onto the hope that God is holding onto me. Click To Tweet
Whatever you are facing today, know that God is holding you. He’s got this and He’s not going to let you down. His thoughts and ways are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9) and His plans are greater than you could ever ask, think, or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).
HOLD ONTO HOPE IN JESUS TODAY, FRIEND! He is your anchor and won’t let you sink!
I’m holding on to hope
I’m holding on to grace
I’m fully letting go
I’m surrendered to Your ways
The anchor for my soul
Father You will never change
I love You, I love You
–From “Anchor” by Bethel Music
So, where have I been lately?
November 8, 2016
I know. What a great question, right?
I haven’t let so much time pass in between blog posts in years. I’m not a huge fan of seeing just one post written per month, but honestly, there really isn’t much I am able to do about that right now, in the current season I am in.
As I look through my blog posts over the last two years, especially after becoming a (stay-at-home) mom, I found myself saying “I haven’t had much mental clarity or energy” to actually get words out.
I thought that would be a hurdle I would eventually get over once my son wasn’t a newborn anymore, or when he started sleeping through the night (which is STILL an issue on and off, month after month) , or when I was finished nursing, or maybe when he was able to walk and didn’t have to be carried everywhere, or…
…well, what I found was that my “hurdles list” started to never end as my son got older.
Ad he just so happened to have turned two years old a few weeks ago on October 11th.
So, here I am, two years into this “mom-thing,” and I have come to a conclusion regarding this whole lack-of-mental-clarity-and-energy-thing:
Being a mom is hard.
I know there might be young moms out there whose child(ren) sleep(s) so well all the time, lays down for naps like clock-work without a struggle or wrestling match, do(es) not attempt to climb every piece of furniture in the entire house or knock lamps over repeatedly for sport or pull the flat screen TV down onto the floor multiple times even after getting hurt or dismantle every picture frame on shelves that you didn’t think they could reach yet or throw their entire body weight into the baby gate to craftily escape, enoy(s) car rides or trips to the grocery store and do(es) not mind one bit being buckled in a car-seat or a cart or even conveniently bundled up close to your chest in a baby carrier so you can be hands-free and perhaps be somewhat productive for a couple hours, and may even sit still and calmly while you have coffee or lunch with a friend just to indulge in a little adult conversation and take a break from listening to Baby Einstein, Barney, or Toy Story for the Ten ba-jillionith time.
If you cannot tell, my child LOVES doing or not doing all of those things and quite consistently, might I add.
I, of course, say all of that in fun, but in all honesty, my son is such an intensely strong-willed and energetic boy. I know I am utterly blessed to have such a healthy, strong, and smart little boy in my life, who is honestly such a sweetheart and loves his mama something fierce, but this mama gets tired some days…
…well, most days.
And for the last two months, I have also added a part-time job to the mix in the evenings and weekends, so I probably shouldn’t be too hard on myself for not staying on top of my blogging game.
With all of that said, I have noticed how much I have needed an outlet to express myself and perhaps externally process the stress and tension created from all of this constant demand for mental and physical stamina.
This constant go, go, go and lack of uninterrupted sleep for two years straight has had an effect on my health, and I now have to pay close attention to what I am fueling my body with to make sure I am getting the proper nutrients for these taxing days. I’m very thankful for the revelation about the importance of my health and fitness and for the wisdom God has given me to learn how to take care of my body and soul, and most importantly, my spirit.
I am also grateful that I’m definitely not where I used to be regarding my health and fitness, but it is an ongoing journey that has become a lifestyle that I plan on continuing for the rest of my days here on earth. He created us body, soul, and spirit and all of us matters to Him.
I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if it was not for the grace of God I don’t think I would be able to manage the overwhelming amount of stress that I encounter on a day to day basis.
Seriously, I don’t know what people do without Jesus.
That is Who I choose to lean on when the days get long and the road gets rough, and that will never change.
And that’s where I have been and where I am at right now.
I need Jesus. Every hour I need Jesus.
Father, I take this moment to lift up those super-mommas out there who, like me, are feeling a bit overwhelmed. I pray that they can sense Your nearness, that Your peace would surround them, and that Your all-sufficient grace will carry them through each demanding day ahead. In Jesus’ name. Amen and Amen.
Spiritual Unity: Studying the Bible with Your Spouse
July 26, 2016
I have been a Christian for almost fifteen years and my husband has been a Christian for over twenty years. In December, we will have been married for seven years.
Throughout the many years of wedded bliss, I have always longed for the days when Paul and I would enjoy deep times of Bible study and prayer. Although we don’t pray together as often as I would like to, we still do pray together about important issues that rise up in our marriage and we both find it important to cover our son in prayer consistently.
One thing that we never really ever took the time to cultivate in our marriage is studying God’s Word together.
Sure, we listen to sermons together and discuss scripture, and maybe even read our own Bibles while laying next to each other in bed, but we have never had a Bible study together as a married couple.
Until last night.
I don’t know why it took us so long to actually sit down and do it. I could make a list of reasons why I think we just didn’t have the time to and some of them would be really logical reasons, but they would be excuses nonetheless.
Instead of wondering why we waited to enjoy this beautiful area of marriage, I’m going to be so utterly grateful that we have started the journey together.
I could sense the Father’s pleasure as He looked down upon us last night as we read scripture that truly seemed as fresh as it did the first time we laid our eyes on the words on the pages of the Holy Book.
It must have been such a wonderful sight- two of His children who have been made one through the beauty of marriage longing to seek Truth together and their eyes becoming illuminated with revelation straight from heaven!
I guess I tell you all of this, not to make it sound like we are perfect or have it all together, but to encourage you to fight for this absolutely amazing honor within your marriage! I can almost guarantee that the enemy does not want you to read the Bible with your spouse. He will throw every distraction and obstacle your way so that you never make this a priority in your life together as a couple.
It is so utterly important for you to seek God’s Word on your own spiritual journey for yourself, but how much more crucial is it to see your spiritual health be strengthened as a couple since you and your spouse have been unified as one:
But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female.’[a] 7 ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, 8 and the two shall become one flesh’; [b] so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9 Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate (Mark 10:6-9, NKJV).
Knowing that you and your spouse has been made a team in this life, reading and studying the scriptures is also like spiritually preparing and exercising for those moments when the devil will inevitably send attacks your way. Instead of the enemy trying to advance towards you individually, trying to find weakness if your armor, he won’t be able to withstand two children of God with two swords of the Spirit ready to cut down his lies! You both have the Word of Truth sown into your hearts because you have taken the time to meditate and discuss out loud so you’ve gained wisdom and understanding of God’s great and precious promises. The devil doesn’t stand a chance against you both! And with Jesus in the middle of your marriage, he is severely out-numbered!
I know life can get busy and if you have children, there never seems to be enough hours in the day! But I urge you, make the time to study God’s Word together! I’m so excited to see what God is going to do in my marriage now that Paul and I have decided to incorporate this into our life together. Just like the day we said “I do,” the spiritual union we are continue to build seeking God’s Truth will be a beautiful reminder to Him that His children say “yes” to a life pursuing Him together every single day!
Father, I lift up marriages to You today, asking that You would give these precious men and women a fresh hunger for seeking Your truth- both individually and as a couple. If they have never tried studying the Bible together, I pray they start today. Reveal to them just how incredible the experience of gaining wisdom and understanding of Your Word really is and how much it will strengthen their walk with You as a couple. I pray marriages will become divorce-proof and will stand so mighty against the fiery darts of the enemy! In Jesus’ name, Amen!
God Can Use Empty Cups: Part 1
May 11, 2016
This summer marks eight years that I came back to the Lord after being a prodigal daughter for many years, believing in God, but living as if He didn’t exist.
In the course of those eight years, I have grown so much in my spiritual walk that it’s sometimes hard to remember myself before that divine encounter with God on 4th of July weekend in 2008.
As time has gone by, I’ve learned to recognize the ebb and flow of what a journey with the Lord looks like. In the natural, God created Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall and I believe, if we pay attention to what God is doing in and around us closely enough, we will be able to discover what spiritual season we may be in.
In fact, I believe it is important to be attentive to what our current season in life is because I think God has specific directions depending on the demands that particular season brings or what is ahead for us when it’s time for transition.
I also believe we need to get honest with ourselves, honest with God, and honest with each other when things aren’t going so great.Not every season in life is going to be refreshing April showers, May flowers, or Harvest Time! Click To Tweet
For instance, what do you do when you you find yourself spiritually dry or weak? In a barren, winter season?
Admitting weakness has never been my strong-suit, but it always seems to be a lesson God brings me back to time and time again.
One of these days, I’m hoping to pass that test so I never have to take it again, but I don’t think I will as long as I’m in this earth-suit!
I believe that’s one of the main reason Paul tells us that he chooses to “die daily” (1 Corinthians 15:31) and to take off our “old self” and put on the “new self.”
assuming that you have heard about him [Jesus] and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self,[f] which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:21b-24, ESV).
I believe while we are here on this earth, we must choose to do that every single day.
…sometimes our flesh gets in the way and our spirit man wrestles with those old stinkin’ desires!
And sometimes that wrestling match turns into an all-out brawl and fight to the death!
Days can quickly turn into weeks. Weeks can quickly turn into months. And months can quite possibly turn into years, if we tap out let our own flesh be declared champion over us.
I must have been in denial this time around because I’ve hard-core wrestled with my flesh since my son was born, which was 19 months ago today to be exact.
Learning the ropes as a new mom who battled postpartum depression and anxiety for almost a year and who also very quickly became a stand-in mom to another little boy over this last year, I can say that I have thrown some good punches as I have tried to figure out how to walk with the Lord in motherhood. I have felt God’s grace carry me through this season more than ever before, but today, I’m choosing to be honest.
I’m dry. I’m feeling a little like I’ve been running on empty for awhile. I really hate that I am, but I am.
I’ve allowed loneliness in the midst of chaos and stress to quiet my voice to my Father. Not to say that I wasn’t able to hear His voice or sense His Presence or that I haven’t made great strides in my faith or put forth any effort into nurturing my relationship with the Lord, it seemed that every time I took a few steps forward, something would come along and knock the wind out of my sails and I was right back at square one.
Time management has been very difficult for me: between mom duties, housewife duties, babysitting duties, trying to pursue a potential career as a writer/author/blogger, and then discovering a new fiery passion for health & wellness- too. many. articles. Can’t. stop. researching.
Not to mention, the fact that we sold our house that we hadn’t owned for even two years, moved into an apartment closer to our church home, then left said church home, tried to find our new church home, lost countless friendships, our second car crapped out on us completely, and now trying to form new friendships all while my hubs works 60 plus hours a week so we can get out of debt, I’m stuck at home with no car when I desperately long for conversation so I get sucked into making pseudo-friendships online, and have stress up to my eyeballs from playing referee with two active toddler boys, which had been affecting my health all along but I chose to ignore it and dive into working out and losing weight instead (I’m on the uphill, but there are still some chronic symptoms regarding my oral health and sleeping patterns that are lingering around).
And then my grandpa passes away.
And then I can’t fall asleep the night before the funeral because God tells me that He wants me to share my faith and the truth of the gospel with my (mostly all Catholic and/or unsaved) family. The ENTIRE family. Plus distant friends and family who I have never met before in my life.
What? God, I haven’t read my Bible in weeks. I’ve pressed the “Catch Me Up” button on my “Digging Deeper Daily” one year Bible plan so many times, I’m about 7 months behind on where my original end date was. My prayer life consists of “Help me, Jesus” and just praying I can stay awake. And YOU want to use ME? To be your vessel? Right now?
You can’t pour from an empty cup.
Or can you?
Click to continue reading Part 2