Everything!

I almost skipped over watching this video but something told me to watch it. I am so glad I did, and I encourage you to watch it as it truly is beautiful.

Journey with God

I cry every time as this is simply too beautiful and touching for words! God bless and may you know God is always there with you, covering and sheltering you! All my love ❤

The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. ~ Psalm 18:2

But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. ~ Thessalonians 3:4

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Waiting to See Results

Do you ever decide to start something new, get pumped up about it, then give up after seeing little to no results?

I know I do, more often than I’d like! Especially when it comes to diet and exercise. Two weeks ago, I decided to start making an effort to eat a well-balanced diet and exercise for 30-45 minutes 5 times a week. I did really well the first week but this week, not so much.

Having a healthy lifestyle makes a huge difference on how we feel.

When I visited Branon the Sunday before last, I chose to stray away from that to drink some soda and eat some other sugary food. It honestly surprised me that indulging in sugary food made me feel sick after eating healthy for just a week.

I downloaded a nifty app for my kindle called myfitnesspal. I’m sure I’m way behind the game and people already know about it, but here are a few reasons I like it:

  • You tell it information such as your weight, height, goals, and activity level to determine your net calorie intake.
  • You enter your exercise activities and it calculates the amount of calories burned.
  • It adds your calories burned to your amount of allowed calories per day giving you the net calorie amount.
  • As you enter foods and activities, it tells you how many calories you have left for the day.
  • You can track your measurements and weight and view your progress.
  • It’s accessible online.

Keeping track of your progress increases your chances of achieving your desired results because you keep yourself accountable. God has been teaching me some important principles that I need to really understand and apply in my life. In order to succeed in all of them, I need to remain accountable in some way.

Exercise releases endorphins, benefiting us with positive moods and decreased stress! According to Web MD, “These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain.”

When you first start working out and exercising, it takes a lot of work to get in shape. It’s hard to push through the initial pain to develop endurance. In my experience, it takes at least a month of hard work before results start to show.

I lose motivation time and time again after not seeing results quickly. When I chose to press on, the results become visible to myself first, then eventually to others.

The Lord revealed to me that this applies to our relationship with him as well.

We desire to know God more intimately, to receive more understanding and revelation, so we devote ourselves to spending more time in the word or in prayer.

When we don’t see the results we expected as soon as we want, we get discouraged and get distracted by the things the world offers.

When it comes to our relationship with our Abba, we should never give up.

We must choose to remain strong in our faith, knowing confidently that God is moving things in the unseen realm. Galatians 6:9 tells us, “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.”

I talked in a recent post about how powerful God’s spoken word is, so I wanted to give you 7 promises to speak. I think you will find encouragement in them as you to continue seek growth in your relationship with God.

  1. Hebrews 1:11, Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (KJV)
  2. Jeremiah 29:13, And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. (NKJV)
  3. James 4:8, Come close to God and He will come close to you. [Recognize that you are] sinners, get your soiled hands clean; [realize that you have been disloyal] wavering individuals with divided interests, and purify your hearts [of your spiritual adultery]. (AMP)
  4. 2 Chronicles 16:9(a), The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. (NLT)
  5. Isaiah 40:31, 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. (ESV)
  6. Psalm 16:11, You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. (NIV)
  7. Ephesians 3:17, Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. (NLT)

As you commit to spending time with the Lord, you should notice a change in your perspective, even if it takes a while for others to notice the change in your attitude.

vision

I actually started writing this almost a week ago and had planned on posting it that day. I ended up visiting my friend, Kaleigh, who was stuck in the hospital since her water broke prematurely. She actually had a c-section yesterday and her baby was born at 32 weeks. They both are doing great, but everyone please keep her and baby Izabella in your prayers!

I realized that when I start a post to share with you what God’s been teaching me, I end up getting distracted from the very things I’ve been learning.

This discourages me from posting since I have not successfully applied what I’m learning to my life. In fact, I constantly have to push through the lies that are constantly tossed around in my head, especially this one lately: You don’t have it together so you need to stop writing for a while.

I just want to say to you that I’m guilty of losing motivation to post when the point of my blog currently is to share my victories and struggles with you. There are no victories without struggles.

The truth is, I’ll never have it together on my own. The Holy Spirit, however, will not leave me to accomplish God’s will for my life alone. He is my constant companion, my guide in the darkness. Together, we will overcome the obstacles in my path.

My promise to everyone is that I will not give up. I may fall, but I will get back up. I will push through all the pain in my life to reach the promises God has for me. I know He is working behind the scenes to bring all the pieces into place to start this organization. Thank you, friends, for being part of my journey.

Developing the Heart of a Servant

Don’t you think the sound of a baby laughing is so heartwarming? Especially when they are your own!

As I write this, Isaac is cracking up chasing around one of our dogs in his walker! I had to snap a picture.

Happy Boy in his walker!

Happy boy in his walker!

Yesterday, he was not so happy. I had to make use of my unpaid time off work,  so I took Branon to the doctor since he needed to go over a week ago. I baked Branon some blueberry/chocolate chip muffins, his favorite, from scratch for breakfast. I found the recipe for bluebery muffins here, and just substituted some of the blueberries with chocolate chips.

The doctor visit unfortunately meant spending time sitting in a waiting room. Isaac, of course, wanted to be able to freely move around so this was not his favorite part of the day. He didn’t care if he disturbed the other people in the waiting room though, and made lots of racket playing with his toys. I had to bring something to keep him occupied; he does NOT sit still for more than about 3 minutes.

People seemed to enjoy watching him though. One guy sat with his girlfriend and kept talking to him. I heard him tell her, “This has been a great hour because of him.” I love that people are blessed through Isaac.

Isaac also met a cute little almost 3 year old. Immediately upon seeing her, he crawled quickly over to her. She was drawing, aka scribbling, on paper and he snatched the paper from her. I told him that was rude and gave the paper back. Luckily, she wasn’t terribly offended.

The reason I had the day (rather, the last 3 days) off work is because when I took Isaac to his wellness checkup on Wednesday, I found out he has an upper respiratory infection. To his dismay, the poor guy left the focus office with a breathing machine and prescription for antibiotics. He does not cooperate particularly well with sitting still for the breathing treatments.

The doctor said he was slightly contagious til he was on antibiotics for a full 48 hours, mainly if he gets close to your face. Which, he does get in the other babies face at day care. I dropped him off one morning and he crawled up to the other baby girl and gave her a kiss.

Isn’t my boy such a sweetheart? And a flirt. Which makes it so important for me to model to Isaac the fruit of having a life giving relationship with God!

I want to be sure to fulfill my responsibility of well rooting Isaac in biblical truth so he learns how to treat and serve others because of his love for Jesus.

I have no doubt after Branon completes the program that he will be such an incredible teacher to Isaac.

Let me give you guys an exciting update on his progress. I’ve seen an improvement in Branon’s attitude in the last week and a half!! I’m so thankful for this. Isn’t it so awesome to see the answer to your prayers in action?

Branon spends three days a week working at lost sheep ministries. Apparently they have something to do, somehow (Branon didn’t know the details), with helping people with addiction get into treatment.

He told me today that he had an opportunity to share part of his testimony to a woman who, along with her significant other, was using drugs. The man was going to treatment in Mississippi, but she did not want to be in treatment at all, partially because of her 2 kids.

He shared part of his story and how God is working on his life with the woman and her grandmother. He told the woman that it was a small sacrifice to make to be a part of her children’s life, then went back inside to work. Later he came out and the grandmother told him that something he said encouraged the woman to fill out an application to get treatment!

How awesome is that? Give God the glory!

As of recently, when he isn’t there, he works in the kitchen. He told me that he noticed a theme throughout the positions God placed him in lately: a servant’s heart.

He gets to move to first phase, which comes after orientation, hopefully this weekend! Which means we will get to talk on the phone for 15 minutes a day! He also changes counselors, and he found out today that his counselor is going to be the actual program director.

His current counselor thought they would be a good fit. I know God arranged it, and I can’t wait to see what comes through this.

I just can’t tell you how much seeing improvement in Branon lifts my spirit. God is so wonderful!

I know God wants to use our testimonies to reach other people; when he led us to each other and gave us a heart for full time ministry, he knew this part of our journey lay ahead. He patiently allowed everything to happen in order to perfect our characters, fill us with humility, and allow his glory to be displayed through us as servants of the Lord.

I feel so unworthy of this honor, but our Abba gives amazing gifts to his children because of his unfailing love.

I’m so excited to reach what God has planned for us at the end of Branon’s time there! I know he has something extraordinary awaiting! He just wants us to each develop the heart of a servant before he can entrust us with more.

I also wanted to let you guys know that God is stirring up some ideas for me to grow this into an actual website for Awakening Hearts Foundation that I can’t wait to share with you as I get them more organized. I value your opinions, and I’d love for you to comment to let me know what you would like to see on this blog as God expands it!

The Power of Speaking Truth

I hope everyone had a lovely thanksgiving holiday! God blessed us with a 24 hour pass for Branon and I to spend our anniversary together Wednesday night and, of course, Thanksgiving Day.

Branon and I celebrated our 2nd year of marriage at Kabuki for dinner and saw Catching Fire at the movie theater. Thursday, we just hung out at the house for the most part. We romped around the living room with Isaac, played some Super Mario Galaxy on the Wii, and ate lunch. Those 24 hours flew by, but I am so appreciative of the opportunity God gave me to just hang out with Branon.

For our anniversary, I wanted to make Branon something I thought he would appreciate while he is away from us. I always like to make him stuff because I would rather give him something I put a lot of thought into than something I bought. Thank goodness for pinterest, always there to give me ideas!

I made him a little book out of a deck of cards with 52 reasons why I love him last year. This year, I wrote some bible verses and quotes on blank index cards, matted them on colorful card stock, and printed some pictures. I wrote a letter for 12 different “open when… ______” envelopes to go along with the different pictures, quotes, and bible verses.

Anniversary Present

It’s cool because last Sunday True Purpose Ministries dedicated their new location to the Lord at their church service, and a few people gave their testimonies. One lady talked about how Satan wants us to believe his lies and accusations. He uses seemingly unchangeable circumstances to cause us to doubt God’s goodness.

The danger in this comes from allowing those lies to become truth to us.

We have to fight the lies with the truth in God’s word; it’s the only offensive weapon in Ephesians 6:13-17,

13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

We can’t just stop with believing it though. To take it even further and really overcome the lies, we need to speak the truth. Proverbs 18:21 says, “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

That’s why it’s so important for us to stop Satan’s lies when they are thoughts, before we speak death over our lives. 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

The Saturday before thanksgiving, I watched the last Beth Moore video in the series with my small group. She talked about another time we have an opportunity to speak truth: when others negatively impact us.

When others insult us or do something that upsets us, rather than responding the way we naturally want to, we should be full of pity and compassion for those people.We should speak blessings instead, speak truth to them in love. We also can pray truth over them in our prayer life.

Only speak words that make souls stronger.

This Sunday, I attended church at RIO Revolution; True Purpose Ministries alternates between hosting church on campus one Sunday and taking the guys to RIO Revolution the next.

This week the pastor talked about 2 different acceptable offerings to God, with the focus on the second. First is the living offering.

God desires for us to be truly alive: passionate, enthusiastic, and on fire for him!

Satan desires the opposite, and that is why he desperately tries to stop us from reaching that point however he can.

That leads to the second offering. We don’t enjoy it, but it is so necessary for our walk with God: a refined offering. God wants us to reflect his image, and he puts us in the fire in order for that to happen. He purifies us in our trials.

I learned that when a silversmith makes silver, there are 99% impurities in the rock and only 1% silver. The rock must be crushed and sifted through in order to get that 1% silver.

Before the process is complete, however, the silversmith must place the silver in the fire and let it sit there until he can see his image reflected in it.

Prayers are always heard, maybe a bit delayed, but are always heard.

I love how God gives us so many analogies to better understand him, yet we never will fully grasp his awesomeness until we reach our eternal inheritance.

If we learn to embrace and appreciate the trials God places us in to perfect our character, and speak truth daily as we encounter the attacks of the enemy, I believe we will find ourselves in a place we didn’t imagine possible.

Have you noticed how much you grow through the difficulties you face in life? Do you have Jesus to walk along with you, the Holy Spirit to guide you?

My heart breaks for those who don’t understand the joy and peace they truly are missing out on from having a relationship with God. I like how the message says it in Hebrews 6:18-20,

18-20 We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go. It’s an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God where Jesus, running on ahead of us, has taken up his permanent post as high priest for us, in the order of Melchizedek.

Does life instantly get better when you make him Lord of your life? No. In fact, Jesus promises that earth gives us problems in John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Like Jesus promises, I find peace in him. I know he knows what I need, and I trust that whatever circumstance comes my way will be used by God to bring glory to his name. Besides, my life is not my own. It’s ALL about him.

He blesses me more than I can ever imagine through Isaac. Let me share some cute videos I was able to capture of him 🙂

This first one is rotated if you click to watch it on youtube, I don’t know why it wouldn’t update here.

Isn’t my little man awesome for taking those steps in the second video!?