Inspiration for your Perspiration – Memorial Weekend

Memorial Weekend 2013

As this weekend comes and goes please take a minute between your get together, barbeque’s and races to remember what this weekend is all about.  I may have a little more vested interest in this weekend being a military spouse.  But even if I wasn’t,  I know I couldn’t enjoy the freedoms of this country to live the life I live, write the blogs I write, or even run the races I run without the sacrifice of brave men and women who serve and have lost their lives for all of us.

It’s so easy in this country and our lives to take our everyday freedoms for granted.  Just remember freedom is NOT free, someone EARNED it for you, some gave all.

God Bless the men and women who are willing to put their lives down for each of us, not just on Memorial day, but every day.  To all who serve or have served, I thank you and pray that you take refuge in the Lord for he will protect you always.

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Inspiration for your Perspiration – Season of Exasperation May 19, 2013

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“It’s been one of those days (or weeks)” we have all said it.  Sometimes its the small everyday struggles that make life hard.  I’m not talking about life and death situations or serious health issues here, just the stressful daily struggles that just seem to drain the love (or the love for others) right out of you.

Well it’s been one of those days (or several) for me.  Its soooo easy to loose your mind, your patience and your “nice” on a days like this.  I find my kids taking the brunt of my struggles.  It a fine line between discipline and just plain nagging.  I have found myself having to step back quite a few times this week and take a minute to listen to myself.  Now don’t get me wrong they need discipline and guidance, and so do I!  For my guidance, I have done my best to take, at the very least, a few minutes each morning with my devotional.  My goal has been to do it first thing in the morning before breakfast, exercise and before the kids get up.  In other words top priority for the day, my time to hear Him and be guided.  I have been 99% successful this week.  What I need to work on now is putting His guidance into action.

A few weeks ago one of our pastors talked about the role of the Dad in the family.

Ephesians 6:4

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Pastor Eric might as well have changed it to “Darlena…do not exasperate your children….”

Well I was brought to tears right there in church.  (granted this is not the first time, ask my church buddies, I am a crier.)   If there is one place in life I am moved emotionally its at church.  I think probably because I tend to hold my feelings in (except it seems anger and disappointment lately) at home.  Trying to be THE parent during deployment is sometimes very, very hard.  I have two out of three kids that are going thru HUGE changes in their lives right now and a younger one who misses his Dad terribly.  So I kind of turn off my emotional switch as a way to cope.  But by doing that I find myself lacking in the comforting, loving and nurturing of my kids too, not good.  Maybe its just the season we are in, we need more discipline, but I also am trying to find balance to make sure they always know I love them.  Its not easy.

I have found myself using this verse on a regular basis…

Colossians 3:20

Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.
 
Apparently exasperation and desperation go hand in hand?
 
I have been praying for Jesus to show me the right way to lead my family thru discipline and love.  In doing so He has reminded me, yet again, to be more diligent in being the enforcer and the disciplinarian.  Roles that I am not good at naturally.  This has led me to try harder to find a balance between love, respect and discipline.  How?  Well most importantly by turning to God even more each day.  Calling on Him, even saying his name when I catch myself going off the deep end.  There is a way to make my point and a then there is a way to exasperate my children.  I need to work on making my point a bit less exasperating.
 
1 Peter 5:7

      Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
 
I know I can never grasp the fullness of the love he has for me and my family.  And I need to be reminded of how much grace he gives me everyday, so that I in turn can be reminded to show that to others including my children.

Ephesians 3:18-19

New International Version (NIV)

…18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

 
So how do you deal with your daily struggles big or small?
 
As for me I shall continue to pray harder and bring more Jesus into my day instead of letting the world and all my anxiety swallow me whole!

Sunday’s Inspiration for your Perspiration 5/11/2013 – Mothers

Happy Mothers Day to all the Mother’s out there!

Deuteronomy 5:16

Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
Now that I am older with kids of my own I can really appreciate all the things my Mom did for me growing up.  She was the one who dried my tears when I was picked on, the one on the sidelines cheering me at every game she could and the one who was always there to help me up when life knocked me down.
Hindsight really is 20/20 and I didn’t realize then (as most of us with good mother/child relationships don’t) how great she really was when I was growing up.  Thanks Mom, I love you!
I wrote this poem last year for my Mother.  She was diagnosed with the early stages of dementia a few years ago and this was written on a day when I was feeling upset and questioning why this was happening to her.
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Happy Mother’s day to my fellow bloggers / their moms!  Here are a few special women in our lives.
Happy Mother's Day to my Mom. A woman who has lived by example what it means to be a Godly woman and wife. Someone who has taught me the value and joy of serving Christ and others. Thanks Mom, I love you! Erin

Happy Mother’s Day to my Mom. A woman who has lived by example what it means to be a Godly woman and wife. Someone who has taught me the value and joy of serving Christ and others. Thanks Mom, I love you!
Erin

My Mom - Love you know and always - Darlena

My Mom – Love you know and always – Darlena

Clearing Away the Fluff

Via Amanda – Running for Him

I pulled into the Starbucks drive thru and ordered a Venti sized drink. It sat on my counter, occasionally I sipped from it, but ultimately it became cold and my cup ran dry.
So I went to my computer to check my Facebook and play some games, but soon I was bored and I ran out of things to read.
Then, I turned on the TV. and found a show about local restaurants I should eat at and I dreamed of a date night for my Husband and I, the last one wasn’t that long ago, but we already need another.
Next, I tried to dream up some new designs for my business, something that everyone would just love and want to buy, but then I worried that it might not be good enough, so I kept thinking.
Later, I went for a run, hoping it would relieve some stress and I would return home with the best runners high and feel like I was finally back on track with my fitness, but as soon as I walked in the door life met me again and I already was thinking about my next escape.
At the end of my day I finally sat down with my Bible. I opened the page and I began to read and tears streamed down my face. Here in front of me was every promise and encouragement I could ever need. Here I found rest and relief in the words of my Savior, who has told me;
Man does not live on bread alone (Matt.4:4)
 
In all things work as if working for God… (Colossians 3:17)
 
God does not care about the strength of the legs, but about those who put their hope in him (Psalm 147:10-11)
All these distractions were what I thought were getting me through the day, but it wasn’t until I received the truth that my cup ran over with joy. It ran over into the next day , the next year, and eventually it will run over for my whole life.
If everyday I remind myself that the craving for designer coffee, the need to fill time, the pull to integrate into the social scene, the acceptance of others, the tireless efforts of self perfection, are all but a distraction from God pouring His love directly into me. Then, and only then will I realize how short I come and all that I’m missing.
Then will I be able to finally run the race set before me. To wisely discern between the fluff and truly being filled. To walk into every moment of my life ready to serve, ready to testify, ready to be the disciple I was made to be.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…

Hebrews 12:1

Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone for God

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Have you ever had a gnawing feeling that God wanted you to do something?  I have.  And if we are going to be 100% honest, I haven’t always listened or acted upon it.  I’m betting maybe you haven’t always either.  But today I want to tell you about something that happened to me over the past week or so, and this time I listened.

My son has two very good friends, a brother and sister, that lived in our neighborhood until recently.  We are military and with that comes a lot of turnover in the hood.  These kids spent tons of time with my son.  Biking, gaming, playing at the park and just hanging.  When they packed up to move in December by son, and I,  were pretty devastated.  I mean these were the kind of kids you never minded having at your house.  Fun, respectful kids you would be proud to have your kid hang out with, and it broke my heart for my son to see them go.  A few months before they moved we invited them to church.  Our Church, Grace Bible Church in Virginia Beach, has an awesome program for middle school.  Actually infant thru High School.  But it never happened, for one reason or another it was just not the right time in their lives.

But for the past week or so I have been having this gnawing feeling about those two wonderful kids and their Mom and Dad.  Every night when I read “The Purpose Driven Life” and then prayed, these kids just kept popping up in my mind.  This had been happening for a few days when I came to the chapters about sharing your life message and mission.  It wouldn’t go away, it was like God saying…”you need to reach out to them again”  “Now is the time”.  “OK” I finally said to God “I’ll do it.”  “I am going to step out of my comfort zone for You”

So I picked up a pen and wrote my thoughts down that night.   The next morning I wrote a rather long FB message to their Mom relaying my message.  Admittedly I hesitated to hit send….we were friends but this could put an end to that right quick!  I mean they are 100’s of miles away now, cutting ties would be easy for her.  But I took a deep breath, said yes to God and hit send.  I knew in my heart this is what He wanted and that was most important to me.  Trusting, having faith in and knowing that in the end God is what matters most.

Today I am in tears (literally) for I did receive a note back.  It was not only receptive but joyful for me reaching out to the family in this way.  They plan to look for a church and get there soon!  Amen!!  I do NOT take credit for this, for God had put it upon my heart to reach out to them. I immediately stopped raised my hands and gave praise to the Lord who sent me out to do his work.

Is this the end….certainly not!  I hope to help them find a great church and I will definitely continue to pray for them all.  My point is this, sometimes (ok many times) in life God asks us to step out of our comfort zone.  Into a place that surpasses just a “surface” friendship and asks you to form a closer God sanctioned bond with the people around you.  Sometimes it seems easy, and some times it’s not.  But who will you have to answer to in the end?

I would love nothing more than to see these wonderful kids and their family again.  Whenever that is, because our most precious friendships will be those that last for eternity!

Is God asking you to reach out to someone?  Maybe its time you took a better listen.  Will it turn out well every time, not always.  Not all people are receptive, some are offended or it’s just not the right time for them.  But if you NEVER step out, you will never feel the joy that God can give you and the blessings that can be received by all.

Have a wonderful week!

Sunday’s Inspiration for your Perspiration 4/21/2013

Good Sunday everyone!  I hope you have had a wonderful week and kept your eyes on God.  Its been a week with hard news and terrible tragedy.  But we need to remember to look to Him for he is the one true light for our life’s journey.

This week we are posting a wonderful and inspirational fitness journey from Cerissa at Cerissabfit I hope you take a minute to read it.  It’s a wonderful insight on Cerissa taking a minute and stepping back to re-prioritize her life and put God at the center.  Something we ALL need to do at times.  Thanks Cerissa for sharing your story!

Here it is….

My Personal Journey to B. Fit From The Inside Out

I always promised myself I would be transparent about my life. I also promised myself that everything I did in life would be Christ centered. The last few months I’ve begun to feel discomfort with the direction my life has taken and hadn’t been living up to the tagline “My personal journey to B. Fit From the Inside Out”. Most people probably didn’t even know why I choose this as my tagline. And after reading this post you will understand.

Lately, I’ve been getting more recognition for blogging, it’s almost time for me to take my NASM personal training certification, and I have a lot of other wonderful things happening in my life. You would think I would be ecstatic but I was miserable. And a couple of weeks ago I realized why. It was because I was leaving Jesus out of the equation. I really struggled with saying much about Him because I didn’t want to offend anyone or lose any readers, clients, and/or customers. I was even told by someone when I was an Independent Beachbody coach not to mention religion or politics and my business should do fine. And I’m embarrassed to say that was exactly what I did.

So Saturday night I was reading through old posts and came across a post I wrote back in 2011 when I started out  blogging on Blogspot. I was so convicted after reading this post! Because, when I started blogging about my fitness journey I was going to use my blog as a ministry to minister to non-believers and other believers. I realized from reading the post “Inside Outside” how far away I had gotten away from the original ministry God had called me to. Today I decided to repost this old post as a reminder to myself of why I blog. And so you can also get to know me and my relationship with Christ a little better. The programs I used in the original post I no longer use but still highly recommend them. My appearance has drastically changed. I moved around pictures and added two to the orignal post. I corrected some mispelled words and bad grammar :) . But the words of this post are still the same.

If you are subscribed to my blog you already know I’m a very inconsistent blogger. But I encourage my fellow believers to hold me accountable and I will do the same for you. We will do this with an occasion blog series I will start on Wednesdays called “Wednesday’s Spiritual Inside Out Checkin.” So after my long intro here goes the original post…

“The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7)

I have been really silent about my weight loss. Because at first I thought it was going to be another failure. I have never been a slim girl. I was just blessed with a small waist and small chest which helped me not look as large. That all was wonderful in my younger years but as everyone knows as we age we tend to put on weight. The first time I put on weight was in 2005. I was tired of carrying the weight around so in February of 2008 I started working out about 4 hours a day 6 days a week. I ate whatever I wanted but managed to go from about a size 16 to a size 4 and from 200lbs to 145lbs in about 6 months.

February 2009

February 2009

But working out had pretty much become my idol and I planned my days around my workout schedule. So I really didn’t have much of a life. I also had plenty of time to follow this difficult regimen because at the time I was unemployed. Well, August of 2008 I started a job and had a hard time keeping up with my strenuous workout schedule and by the middle of 2009 all my weight had come back plus more. And by 2011 I was weighing in at 216lbs and I was wearing sizes 18 and 20.

September 2011

September 2011

My blood pressure was sky high, my childhood asthma was back, I was very depressed, my anxiety was out of control, I hated looking in the mirror, and food had become an idol in my life. Where in the past I use to plan my life around working out I would now plan my life around my next meal. I was very depressed and felt a void in my life. So this past Christmas 2011 I happened across the YouVersion App on my iPhone. I would read and listen to the Word of God on a daily and I begin to feel that void start to fade away. I started hungering for more so I started back attending church, listening to only gospel and praise & worship music, listening to Christian pastors, reading Christian books, and having regular daily email chats with other brothers and sisters in Christ. This all led to me recommitting my life to Christ.

I begin to reevaluate unhealthy relationships and letting go of many habitual sins and strongholds in my life. I temporarily deactivated my Facebook page and I really took some time to fall in love with Jesus. When Christmas came around I ordered myself a Christian book called Thin Within: A Grace-oriented Approach to Lasting Weight Loss. I had this book years ago but never made it through the first week because it really gets to the root of things and at that point in my life I was weak in my faith and I wasn’t emotionally or spiritually ready to deal with those issues. But years later I was finally at the point where I was ready to deal with my junk and baggage. Around the same time my Mama was trying to find a way that she could lose weight and happened across this free online program called Lord’s Table which is very similar to Thin Within but more in-depth and it last longer. I loved them both so I decided to do both programs since they were so similar. And believe it or not I begin to drop weight not from dieting or tons of exercising. Just by building a healthy relationship with the Lord and eating only when hungry and pushing away from the table when my stomach was comfortably full.

Frebruary 2012

February 2012

I still have my days when I relapse and eat past my comfort level but that’s the good thing about God’s Grace he forgives me when I stumble. I also have a wonderful Lord’s Table mentor who is with me every step of the way and prays for me and my journey on a daily. My Mama and I are each other’s accountability partners and we are very tough on each other but we also build one another up when we mess up. When people mention my weight loss my response is always “God is allowing the changes He is making on the inside of me to show on the outside.” I get many confused looks when I say this but I can’t take credit for any of the weight loss all glory goes to God.

April 2013

April 2013