And One More Thing Before You Vote

stocksnap_7z6kmah2w5

Women,

I appeal to you to discover who you really are in Christ. Read the word of God and find out what He says about you. It is critical to your overrall health as a human being. And it is critical to the health of this nation. Yes. That’s right.

Your knowledge of your God ordained identity is the key to a healthy nation.

Did you know that Satan hates women? He literally detests us. So much so that he came to us FIRST in the garden of Eden. He wanted to use Eve to manipulate the man that God gave her. This was the first instance of deception in the Scriptures. The devil is still using his lying ways to rule women today. And those of us who don’t know who we are in Christ are allowing him to do it. (Read Genesis 3.)


The primary thing we Christian women should stand for is truth. Not experiential truth (which is temporal). Not circumstantial truth (which is ever-changing). The truth of who God is and what He says about our role in the earth. Let’s take a look at this truth that stands the test of time.

Acts 10:34- Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.”

Women and men are equal in God’s eyes. There is nothing, eternally speaking, that can elevate the status of a man over a woman (and vice-versa). Believing that in order for a woman to succeed she has to climb over a man to get there is a lie. Believing that God favors men over women because she has been used and abused by a man is a lie. God loves women. And He doesn’t try to convince us of this love through a skewed perspective based upon limited pleasure or pain that this world has inevitably forced upon us.

He convinces us of His unconditional, unbiased love through His words of truth which speak for themselves. In no way ever, does God put women down or speak less of the feminine sex. He also never says that women should use their femininity to wield power around like a magic wand. Both men and women are equally and inherently valuable.

When we know that there is nothing that we can do to make God love us more than a man and there is nothing that we can do to make God love us less than a man, we are untouchable by the enemy of our souls. Ultimately, that’s the point of this whole living on earth thing, right? To submit to God, resist the devil, and then watch him flee? (James 4:7) Shouldn’t our focus be more on submitting and resisting and less on competing and cheating? With other women? With other men? With ourselves?

What if we turned this nation upside down by grabbing hold of who we really are and never letting go of that truth- not even to the highest or most charming bidder? Chaos follows lies. Peace follows truth.

I implore you, before you go to the polls and choose our great country’s next leader, to vote for the person who values truth more than popularity and peace more than likability. Don’t vote based on gender because you feel like it’s high time a woman’s voice is heard. (By the way, women are speaking up in many places and many ways- influence has nothing to do with the size of your platform in the Kingdom of God.) Don’t vote based on your own hurts that have yet to heal in regards to what someone of the opposite sex may have done to you. Open up the good Book and ask God to reveal His healing, comforting love to you so that you can live a life of freedom. The truth sets you free!


Your ability as a woman of God to walk confidently in who He made you hinges on one thing alone: Jesus died for you. He also died for men, too. Let’s see eachother through the lens of Jesus’ sacrifice and let go of offense that is dividing the church (and this country) in two. America is at a crossroads and the only way to choose rightly is to choose truth.

Hebrews 4:12- “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

Photo Credit: Ben White
Advertisements

Why a Weekend in Vegas Doesn’t Appeal to Me

Hey friends! I want to share with you what I am learning over and over again in my life…especially in my #healthyover30 journey.

feelingslie

You look in the mirror and don’t see physical changes so you FEEL discouraged.

You had a bad eating day. Now your tummy aches and you FEEL like a failure.

You worked out extra hard and your body is aching so much that you FEEL overwhelmed.

You got in an argument with your spouse before bed last night and you don’t FEEL like getting up early to run.

You read the magazine article about Gwyneth Paltrow’s kick-a** post baby body and you FEEL defeated.

You see how feelings don’t care about your goals and plans? They want you to give in to their whiny and selfish ways. Here’s the thing: 

Feed Your Feelingsand

You can’t listen to your feelings. They will only leave you high and dry when the next best thing (a.k.a. the newest feeling) comes along. Why do you think I am calling this my #healthyover30 journey and not my #healthyover30 weekend in Vegas? Cause it’s not a short-lived goal. It isn’t something I’m temporarily excited about but only doing until the feelings of fun and anticipation drop me back off at the airport alone. I’m not just choosing to live a healthier lifestyle when it’s convenient or thrilling.

I’m choosing to do this whole foods, exercise daily, love my spirit-soul-body thing forever. No temporary high can give me the results I want. Even the good feelings leave…

Good health brings great feelings but there’s more to it than that. It brings less doctor’s visits and more endurance during trials. It brings more purposeful moments with my children and extra patience with myself. It increases my understanding for others blazing their own health trails and gives me boundaries that keep me focused on living my best life.

Feelings can’t do any of that. So, I’ll keep on lacing up my running shoes. Promise me something? That I’ll see you on the track. 

The Ingredients for a Balanced Life

century theatreaug 19 20178-00 pm

Honesty is very important to me. It’s probably at the top of my list of “Things that Will Keep Me in Your Life.” Without it, there is no point in engaging in relationship with someone. It’s pretty easy to point out the people in the public arena who are dishonest on purpose. A dishonest public life will earn you a bad reputation. (How many celebrities can you think of that have done this?)

More often than not, though, I am seeing something I like to call Personal Dishonesty (PD). It’s the initial spark that ignites the fiery chain reaction of widespread deceit. In essence, PD is telling ourselves a lie and then believing it to the point of acting on it.


PD trends that seem to plague our world:

I am ugly because my body is not like the model on the cover of Cosmopolitan magazine. I will starve myself until I look like her.

I am unimportant because my family doesn’t take the time to listen to me when I speak. I will stop speaking up and hide my feelings from everyone.

I am weak because I cry about everything, including Hallmark commercials. I must suffer from depression and need to take medication for the rest of my life.

I am a failure because I can’t find a good job. I will stop looking and just eat doughnuts and watch Netflix on the couch forever.

I am tainted goods because of what happened to me in my past. I will never get married so why even try to take care of my body and dress nicely?


Did you notice that each of these PD moments start with a thought that inevitably ends with a supporting course of action? It’s not hard to see then how our world has become wrought with external deception.Our scale of honesty is off balance due to false perceptions of ourselves.

We can’t even begin to be honest with those around us if we aren’t first honest with the one looking back at us in the mirror. The devil is called the father of lies for a reason, people. If he can get us to believe one little seemingly insignificant lie about ourselves, he can manipulate us into believing that a life of deception is acceptable. After all, it is the norm these days, right? (Again, take a look at Hollywood.)

Allow me to counter the list of common PD trends with some God-breathed truths. First, a necessary disclaimer: *These truths only turn into actions when we BELIEVE them.*


Counter-cultural truths to apply to our swindled souls:

I am beautiful because God says I am a masterpiece, made by His own hands, breathed into existence by His very breath. He saw His creation (you and me!) and He said, “It is good.” (Ephesians 2:10, Genesis 1)

I am valuable because God says His thoughts toward me are precious and too many to count! He has put His own words in my mouth so that I can speak life and love everywhere I go without fear of what someone else might think. (Psalm 139:17-18, Isaiah 51:16)

I am strong because God created me in His image and He is all powerful and mighty to save. This means I have power and might. In fact, the same power that raised Christ from the dead lives inside of me! (Psalm 147:5, Romans 8:11)

I am victorious because God has given me the ability to endure through hardship and not give up. He says that I am more than a conqueror through the unyielding love of Jesus. (Colossians 1:11, Romans 8:37)

I am made new through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. The old days have been redeemed because of God’s amazing grace. He makes my face shine and never looks on me with shame. (2 Corinthians 5:17, Psalm 34:5)


Let’s start a revolution of honest living! Read the verses referenced above. Pray them out loud until your mind, will, and emotions accept the truth for what it really is–

The ONLY thing that can set you free.

Silence the liesby speaking the TRUTH.

Weekend Health Journal and Tips!

Hey everyone! I promised you that every weekend I would update you on my health journey as I make some better choices. (Here’s the first post in #healthyover30 with that info.)

First of all, I want to share a life-changing video with you! It’s only eight minutes long and is so motivating towards reaching daily goals. The woman speaking is Terri Savelle Foy and she wrote a book that I read a few years ago called “Imagine Big.”

ImagineBig-Book

This book helped me see the importance in writing down my dreams and goals and living my life with a purposeful mindset. I highly recommend it!

Here’s the video from Terri:

I have started doing most of the things she talks about in this video and I seriously have never been so productive in my life. I have more energy and get more done!

Now, let’s talk about my vegetarian diet progression. I have become hooked on the recipes from Happy Herbivore. Take a look at some of the yummy things I have made!

13151002_1713072735584380_390573514_n

These are called Dragon Rolls and they are so simple and full of clean ingredients. I made my own sriracha hummus to drizzle on top! Seriously, good stuff.

13166979_1695604754039386_887504356_n

See that burger? It’s an illusion…there is no meat in that thing. I made it out of black beans and it was TASTY!!! I am feeling a difference, people. Whole foods really do make you feel whole. (I just came up with that right now! lol)

Lastly, I wanted to share a great resource with you. I just finished the book called, “The Brave Body Method.” It’s got so many practical and spiritual tips in it for losing weight and getting on track with eating and fitness. Not only is the book amazing, but the author, Eileen Wilder, has a website with free videos and printables as well. Check it out here!   She will motivate you and help you discover your own unique kind of beauty.

Thank you all for following me on this journey! If you aren’t already, come find me on twitter (@Nspiritandtruth) or instagram (HVheartsong). That way you can see what I’m eating throughout the week.

OH, and one more thing:

BBM15-Zigler

 

Expose Yourself

Value yourself enough to only expose yourself to the good stuff.

Expose means to uncover, to reveal.

What are you exposing yourself to on a regular basis? Are they things that feed your soul and nourish your mind? Or do they deplete you and cast a negative spin on life?

Here are three things that I try to expose myself to as often as I can:

Positive People (godly friends, mentors, workout buddies, accountability partners)

Empowering Reading Material (the Bible, articles from women who are living their best life, leadership books)

Uplifting and Fun Music (K-Love, Bethel Worship, 90’s boy bands-yeah, I said it.)

What do these things uncover or reveal to me?

That I value myself enough to make my spiritual, mental, emotional and physical health a priority. 

If I choose to expose myself to negative people, discouraging resources, and hopeless, draining music, I’m setting myself up for a bad day (or life.)

What about you? Are you paying attention to what you’re being exposed to? What are some things you should probably dismiss from your life because of the unhealthy effects they have on you?

I challenge you to take a good, hard look at the people you allow to speak into your life. Are they lifting you up or stepping on you to get ahead? Go through your bookshelf and toss out the stuff that is only making you wish for a different (fill in the blank). Now there is room to add some encouraging reads to your list. Evaluate your musical tastes. Sad love songs and angry anthems are fine every once in a while but if they are taking up most of the space on your iPod, maybe it’s time to re-evaluate.

Remember, what goes in always comes out. Value yourself enough to only expose yourself to the good stuff.

Cause, baby, YOU’RE WORTH IT.  

A Lesson from the Oak Tree

21009490426_75c04bbeff

The mighty Oak reaches out her limbs as if to say:

Gather ’round everyone! I have a story to tell. Come sit on my branches or climb to the top. Your choice! I can show you the forest and all that it offers. I can keep you safe in my entangled green brush. 

21520266831_709b618d50

She speaks in deep tones as she delivers her truth:

I have lived here for 200 years and have watched the seasons come and go. The birds build their nests in my magnificent shade and learn how to fly under my canopy. The squirrels collect my acorns as they prepare for the limitations of winter. Children run around my trunk playing hide and seek and jump in my rusty orange leaves of fall. 

22735822771_26bd289746

Her mysterious countenance reveals a secret:

When I was planted long ago, I had no idea how large I would become. I’ve grown and grown past my own sight yet I don’t feel overstretched or pulled beyond my ability. My deep roots keep me secure and confident as I expand up and out. The deeper my roots go down into the moist earth, the more leaves I sprout for the critters to eat, the more shade I provide to cover the birds from the rain, the more  secure I am in my majesty and strength. 

21059985262_84db8bc4aa

The mighty Oak laughs as she gives herself away:

NO matter the small beginnings, the changing seasons, or the quaking storms,  

the Sun never forgot to shine on me. 

 

photo credit: Thomasville Georgia ~ The Big Oak Tree ~ Historic Site via photopin (license)
photo credit: Arrival of Autumn via photopin (license)
photo credit: Angel Leads Me On via photopin (license)
photo credit: Paisaje de septiembre via photopin (license)

Weighty Words

21878126926_a97110dd02

My love of words goes way back to when I was a child. I’ve always been a fast talker which was only propelled further by my love of reading. I enjoy words so I use them quite often. On average, they say that women speak about 20,000 words per day.(Language Log) I think it’s safe to say that I surpass that estimate by about 1,000 words.

It’s even been a long running joke in my family (natural born and married into) that noone can understand me when I talk because I say things so quickly that it’s like I have a Speedy Gonzales complex. I don’t even realize I’m doing it. It’s got to be a skill (or burden?) that I was born with because once I start it’s really hard to stop. I’ve had to do a lot of listening to make up for the years of incessant talking.

This morning in prayer God was showing me why I do this. I tend to talk so much because of an underlying fear of not being heard. So I talk and talk in an effort to convince myself that because I said alot I got my point across. That the more I fit into the conversation, the more you really get “me.” I’m afraid of being misunderstood.

But the Bible says in Proverbs 17:28 thatEven a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.”

It’s funny how we think that more words proves knowledge when, in reality, fewer words showcases wisdom. The amount of my words is not what grabs a person’s attention. It’s the weightiness of my words that causes someone to tune in. Basically, the gift of gab is not actually a gift.

I don’t want to just be knowledgeable. I want to be wise.

Armed with my new biblical insight on words, I have decided to challenge myself to only speak if I really do have something to add to the conversation. If I’m chattering non-stop then I’ve fallen prey to the lie that I have to talk to be heard. And I don’t.

My words are always important because God says they are. But in order for others to hear the depth of my heart in the words that I speak, I need to focus on what the Holy Spirit wants me to say. If He wants my point made clear, then He’ll provide the exact amount of words for me to use to get it across.

If He doesn’t provide the words, then they just don’t need to be said. Whew! Ya’ll pray for me! 🙂

 

 

photo credit: I couldn’t afford a horse via photopin (license)

A Time to Reminisce

10052669365_fd088f92be

Who doesn’t enjoy a trip down memory lane from time to time?

I have been in a very sentimental mood for the past 2 weeks for reasons that I talk about here and here.  And my ability to care about keeping up appearances has definitely gone in the trash with my mascara streaked tissues.

It’s healing, this looking back and remembering what used to be. It really is. I’ve gone through so many pictures of my childhood and teenage years that my bed has become an enormous scrapbook of cluttered memories.  I cry and cry at the fact that those remembered times will never be the same again because my view is now distorted by major loss.

But after I cry, after I grieve the “never will be the same agains” of my past, I feel like I can breathe just a little bit easier than I could before the tears fell.

Like I can finally take a full breath without falling down from lightheaded-ness. And then I try to be productive for a few hours before the next wave of “what used to be” crashes in on me.

Ya know what I’m learning about the mourning process? It’s okay to be a fragile mess for a while and I don’t have to apologize for it. 

When I give myself permission to be a basket-case and watch sappy chick flicks that I used to watch with my sister and drink hot tea because it was her favorite pastime and listen to our favorite beach trip songs and read old letters just to see her handwriting and relive years past through Homecoming pictures, then I can begin to heal.

I’m not living in denial of the devastating facts involved in my present reality. I’m just choosing to enjoy the heartwarming truths represented in my past reality a little bit longer.

And as I long for what once was, I become more and more grateful for the lifelong affects my sweet childhood memories will have on me. I am eternally grateful for the tangible things that point to happy times.

So I reminisce with purpose, one could say. Tomorrow will come soon enough and I am even better prepared for what may come as I reflect on the joys of yesterday.

“Memory is a way of holding onto

the things you love,

the things you are,

the things you never want to lose.”

The Wonder Years

 

photo credit: SISTERLY. via photopin (license)

For the Teen Mom

photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/38991082@N05/3596275884">pregnant silhouette</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/">(license)</a>

 

The wind whistles as I wake

to the light of the morning sun.

The rays shine through my window

And I reflect on who I’ve become.

 

In all my years of womanhood

I’ve never felt so scared

I don’t know quite what to do

with my current state of affairs.

 

To say I’m lost for words

is to speak the pregnant truth.

I couldn’t have seen this coming

even if I had read it in the news.

 

My body argues the facts

whether I want to believe them or not.

I guess I’ll have to get used to this.

I guess I’m officially caught.

 

The birds chirp away a song

that soothes my tired soul.

And I lay there beneath the covers

trying hard to forget it all.

 

I sigh and get up out of bed.

My head is foggy from little rest.

The darkness of my past mistakes

is trying to swallow me up yet.

 

Another day is beckoning

But I can’t seem to let anyone in.

What if they knew my secret shame?

What if they can’t see past my condition?

 

My hands start to shake

as I reach for the phone.

If I don’t dial it now

then I’ll be doing this alone.

 

A kind voice gently answers

with a simple “Hello?”

And my words fumble out

In a mesh of unintelligible groans.

 

“I’ll be right over” she says

as the phone drops to the floor.

And I lay there crying until

I hear a knock on the door.

 

“Come in” I feebly call

from my crumpled position.

She sees me in my weakness

and hugs me in contrition.

 

There’s no more hiding for me

as she sees my size.

I can’t ignore her glances down,

her questioning eyes.

 

Before I can utter a defense

for the situation I’m in,

she calmly smiles and says to me,

“I’m so glad that you’re my friend.”

 

We sit there in that moment

letting the silence speak the truth

and for the first time in my little life

I was surprised at what I knew:

 

The days behind me offer a glimpse

Into a life of wandering

But the days I’ve yet to see

Offer me the chance to be set free.

 

I may have made a mistake

I may have gone the wrong way

but the pure love of another

Has awakened me to change.  

 

If fear and condemnation

could make me lay it down

I would’ve left my sin long ago

I wouldn’t have been the talk of the town.

 

But here in this place

where honesty and grace collide

I can see that I’ve been given a gift

I can love the new life growing deep inside.

 

Personal Mission Statement

photo credit: Splash via photopin (license)

I’ve been looking at my foundation lately to make sure it’s not faulty. We all need to assess our values and principles every once in a while to check that they line up with foundational truth. The nitty-gritty of my core beliefs is found in why I’m here and what I’m doing with my time.

So I thought I’d design a personal mission statement as I finish up 2015 and start 2016. I need to start this next year right. Don’t we all?

I’ve picked a quote that sums up my focus for 2016 and then chose 5 “to do/be” statements that follow the theme of that quote. Feel free to follow my example and do this for yourself as well. It’s a great exercise in creativity and focus! Here I go:

“Be like the cliff against which the waves continually break; but it stands firm and tames the fury of the water around it.”
― Marcus Aurelius

  1. To be immovable in my commitment to my family above everything else- even if I really, really want to do it. If it takes away from my time with them (reasonably speaking), then I will choose my husband and kids instead. 
  2. To do only the things that add to my health, my happiness, my creativity, my purpose. I will say yes to the best things and have no guilt on my conscience for saying no if it is only adding “busy-ness” to my schedule. 
  3. To actively pursue relationships and opportunities that support my desire to help others who are struggling, desperate, overlooked, and hopeless. I will go looking for the weak and the wounded and purpose to love them to Jesus by helping them out of their pit. 
  4. To be consistent in my discipline, boundaries, and lessons with my children. I will be creative and thoughtful in my correction but always stay the same so that they can trust my response and be %100 sure of the rules in our household. 
  5. To live in a way that my faith is evident to all. I will choose to pray in the good and the bad times, speak the truth even if it’s hard, and give of myself to others at inconvenient moments if necessary.