Thy will be done.

Genesis 6:22  So Noah did everything exactly as God had commanded him.

I came across this verse this morning during my quiet time. It’s a story I’ve heard repeatedly, but until this morning, I’d never paid much attention to verse 22.

Notice that it doesn’t say “So after questioning God and grumbling about having to build a giant ark, Noah did as God commanded.”

It simply states he did EXACTLY as God had commanded.

God gives us all “arks” to build and cultivate in life. May we allow ourselves to have a spirit of submission to His will- simply doing as we’re commanded and not telling God how we think it could be done differently.

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Embracing EVERY season.

1920251_478253072275356_461408553_nIf I’m being honest, I feel as though I’ve been in this “Single Mom” season of my life for far too long. I’m beyond ready for it to be over.

My heart aches to find a husband and I want so badly for Matt to have a Dad to help grow him into the young man God has called him to be.

Even in my MANY years of not living my life for God, in being completely disobedient to His Word and His desires for me, His hand has never left me.

The problem with the “Christian walk” lies when we, as sinners, think that once we start living “right” again, God should, in return, open up the floodgates and bless us with everything we desire. And when that doesn’t happen, we get upset. We lose faith. We lose hope. We essentially give up, get mad and think “God, I’m doing all of the things I’m supposed to…I’m going to church, I’m praying, I’m reading my Bible, I’m tithing, why can’t you do this for me?”

That’s not how God works, y’all.

Yes, He does bless us when we follow His path instead of our own. He rejoices when we make good choices and when we connect with Him. But that doesn’t mean He should transform Himself into a genie and begin granting  wishes or desires. Why? Because we don’t always know the full realm of our wants and desires. God sees the complete picture…He gets the aerial view while all we have is a ground view of what’s right in front of us.

Some seasons are more easily embraced than others. Throughout this process, I must continue to remind myself of how thankful I am to God for unanswered prayers. There are countless prayers that I’ve tossed up to Heaven, begging God to make happen, but He didn’t…and guess what? It was for MY good.

James 1: 2-4 says “Whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but pure joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.”

Scripture tells us not to try to get out of any trial or situation prematurely, because it’s after we’ve through the refining process that we come out shining the brightest.

God, you are just as good today as you were yesterday and as you will be tomorrow. Your love is never changing. Allow me to find absolute contentment in You and nothing else.

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You wanna do WHAT??

Marathon

 

“Never. EVER!” Those were my immediate thoughts when my co-worker, Sheldon, sauntered into my cubicle on Monday (July 7th) and told me he had a proposition for me. What he did next was something I didn’t see coming…he handed me a sheet of paper…but not just ANY sheet of paper…it was a…

DALLAS. MARATHON. TRAINING. SHEET.

Yeah, you heard right. Marathon training. “Never. EVER!” was my first thought…”Umm…I need to pray!” was my second.

I mean, is he crazy? Look at me! Yes, I’m a runner…but I don’t have a typical runner’s body…And let’s be real…my longest distance thus far is 4.5 miles; nowhere near a half marathon, much less a full! I don’t ENJOY running….in fact there are only two things that I like about it:

1. The 1st quarter mile. I get started and think “Ooooo yeah, this feels so good! Get it, girl! We could do this ALLLLLL day!” But most days, that doesn’t last past the first 1/2 mile.

2. When it’s over. I will admit that there is nothing more satisfying than finishing a run…pushing through your desire to quit: conquering your body and your mind and running it out.

I suppose reason 2 is why I’m even considering this crazy idea.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a challenge. I love pushing myself to see what I’m capable of. But this is a whole notha’  level, man. Whole. Notha’. Level. 

At this point (Wednesday, July 9th), this is what I’ve decided…

I’m going to move forward with the training schedule until either body or spirit break. I’m not going to make the commitment monetarily just yet, but I’m going to see how far I can get. I may end up only being able to do the half marathon, and for that, I would be proud.

At this point, I’m feeling pretty weak. I haven’t been running much the past couple of weeks, so I feel like I’ve lost some of my stamina and I have to learn how to let my mind control my body. I found this quote Tuesday night and it is absolutely my goal for this journey, no matter how far I eventually make it:

“Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired in the morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired.”
– George S. Patton, U.S. Army General

This is my battle and only time will tell.

Y’all say a prayer for me, please.

-LA

Week 1:

Day 1: Monday: July 7th

Distance: 2 miles- ran during my lunch break…it was a hot, sweaty, humid mess.

Time: 22:59

Day 2: Tuesday, July 8th

Weight Training: Squats, push-ups, planks, dumbbell rows, ab circuits, etc.

Did this outside….it was SO hot. I probably lost 2 pounds in sweat alone.

Day 3: Wednesday, July 9th

I woke up at 5 a.m. to go run. I was supposed to do 3 miles, but after I got going, I decided to do 2. Although it was much cooler (73 degrees) temperature-wise, it was still humid as all get out. My legs were tired from the squats on Tuesday, therefore I decided to do Thursday’s distance today and will do 3 miles on tomorrow. It should all even out just fine. I’m scared about Saturday’s distance…it’s FIVE miles. My longest to date and I’m slightly terrified. I’ve already decided that I may have to drive somewhere, run 2.5 miles away from my car, and then run the 2.5 back…I have a feeling that may help.

Day 4: Thursday, July 10th

Woke up at 5 a.m. to go run. Today was MUCH better. I ran a mile longer than yesterday and it felt good. Hot, sticky and humid…but good. Distance: 3 miles Time: 36:06

Day 5: Friday, July 11th

REST DAY! Woot!

Day 6: Saturday July 12th
Today was the day that I attempted 5 miles. I failed. It was hot and miserable…but I was pushing through. I made it to 3.26 miles and turned around to start the last 1.75 and started having heart palpitations. This is something I struggle with from time to time, but they are so sporadic, I don’t know that anything can be done about them. Next Saturday’s run is supposed to be 3 miles, so I’m just going to attempt my 5-mile run again instead. Distance: 3.26 miles Time: 37:36

Week one…DONE, son!

 

 

 

 

 

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Learning to love who you are

This is one of the devotionals I wrote earlier this year. I thought it was worth sharing again.

Jeremiah 1:5 (MSG)

Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you: A prophet to the nations— that’s what I had in mind for you.

 

I want to talk about learning to love who you are, JUST as you are right now. No, I’m not talking about loving the future you, the one that is 5 or 100 pounds from now, I’m talking about the you that is sitting in this room at this very moment.

Let me break it down for a minute…if we were to each stand in front of the mirror right now, we could probably find at least a dozen or more things we would want to change about ourselves. Our stomach, nose, eyebrows, hips, skin, shoe size…the list goes on and on! But you know what?

 God loves you JUST the way you are right now.

Zephaniah 3:17 tells us that He takes great delight in us…so much so that He rejoices over us with joyful songs! Seriously, how much better does it get? The Creator of all the earth takes delight with ME? Oh yes He does, sisters!

While we may not have the bodies that we would prefer, we do have the bodies that God gave us; and those bodies are the direct result of the decisions that WE have made. Is He happy with the way that I have chosen to take care of my body? I can’t imagine so. In fact, I’ve done a really poor job in that department. But does that make God love me any less? Absolutely not. This is where God’s grace comes into play in our lives.

Because Jesus died for our sins on the cross, those who have accepted Him can never be separated from His glory. However, this doesn’t give us a free pass to do whatever we want. Actually, it is because of His sacrifice, we should want to be better and do better.

Usually, it is just as we start to realize this truth……along comes the devil with his manipulations & temptations:

“It’s just food…You’ve had a rough day….You deserve it!…It’s your birthday…Splurge a little!….What’s one more cookie?” Next thing you know, you’ve packed on 50 extra pounds and you’re a food addict.

I want to be clear: God isn’t asking for us to be perfect, but He does ask that we honor Him with our bodies.

God knew exactly who you would be…what you would do, how you would act, what you would look like before we were born and He still chose to put you here! We are beautiful creations of God, and when we insult ourselves, in turn, we are insulting our Creator. He wants us to be boldly confident in our beauty, not hide in shame.

Today, no matter how we actually feel, let’s try to look at ourselves from God’s perspective. After all, we owe it to ourselves and to our Father.

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My first “real” blog. Progress….and rough days.

Today was “one of those days”. Pretty much crappy all around. Work is slower than we’d all like, sales are down, everyone seems to be saying no.

On top of that, Matt started football a few weeks back. His team can’t win for losing. That boy has the worst luck with losing teams. Tonight, I saw him give up on the field. It broke my heart, and if I’m being honest, really frustrated me. This kid of mine has so much potential- he has an athlete’s body. A body most kids his age would kill for. He’s tall, lean, muscular as all get out, pretty much perfect.

It frustrates me as a parent because I know how much better he could do. I wanted him to quit playing like he was scared and find his “Beast Mode” on the field.

Problem is, I can’t really blame him. I feel like giving up on my journey too. I am tired of being a single parent, I’m absolutely EXHAUSTED with being overweight, and I’m fed up with running from God.

My tough weeks turn into tough months, which turn into even tougher years. The weight of everything I carry on a daily basis…well, it’s rather draining.

Losing my Dad back in June took its toll on my body. I don’t think I’ve fully recovered just yet. In case you didn’t know, grieving is EXHAUSTING. Have I gotten better since June? Absolutely. Day-to-day life is easier, but it’s not the same- and here’s the kicker- it never will be. My old “normal” is no longer my new “normal.” My new “normal” feels empty…and cold.

When I think about my Dad- my REAL Dad- not the guy who was here and deteriorating the last few months of his life- it takes everything I can not to break down. I miss that dude. He was cool as hell. A total hippie rebel, amazing musician, and a die-hard Hog fan. How I will ever make it through football season without him is beyond me.

It is by God’s grace alone that I haven’t gained back every pound I lost at the beginning of my journey. I have an amazing trainer. His name is Ben. This is man, who I know without a shadow of a doubt, God used and divinely placed in my life at just the right moment- he has been there for me every step of the way since we started training in April. If it wasn’t for this guy, his prayers, his workouts, his encouragement, I don’t know what would have happened to my body when my Dad passed.

Granted, I did backpedal (and have continued to do so every so often- i.e. Doing great all week, making progress- only to blow it on the weekend), but I have steadily continued to lose both weight and inches (my clothes tell me so- the scale isn’t always so friendly). In addition, I am so much stronger physically than I was at the beginning of the year. I’m hanging with the big kids at the gym. I’m doin’ work, son.

At this point, I’ve lost around 35 pounds. That’s like a 3-year-old kid, people. It’s a big deal- a huge accomplishment.

Here are my updated “progress” pictures.

photo

image

But even with great progress on the scale, it’s days like these that make me want to give up. Is all this “sacrifice” worth it? I give so much time, energy and thought into working out, eating healthfully, planning meals, etc.

I swear, I’ve eaten more greek yogurt and string cheese the past few months than I EVER have all the years of my life combined. Is it REALLY worth it?

The answer is…YES! 1,000 times YES! I slept a solid 8 hours last night. I also had 3 cups of coffee today. THREE. Yet, I feel worse than I do when I wake up to go train with Ben at 4 a.m. after only getting 3-4 hours of sleep. Why? Because I haven’t worked out since Friday.

God created exercise for a reason, people! It makes you feel G-O-O-D! Does it suck to put forth that effort? You betcha. But guess what happens after a few weeks of making exercise a habit? You start to CRAVE it.

It’s the same way with God’s Word. When you make it a habit, you crave that closeness. The Bible tells us that when we draw near to God, He draws near to us. (James 4:8).

In recent months, I’ve had a very difficult time finding the desire to dig into God’s Word. I don’t even feel like I know how to pray anymore. I struggle to keep my composure during church services….so much so, that I don’t even want to go to church. I mean, let’s be real- who in their right mind wants to be the lady sobbing uncontrollably in the church rows? Anyone? Anyone???? Yeah, didn’t think so.

I want to distract myself from the reality of where I’m at in my life. I’m literally in a place of limbo. I don’t know which way to go- up, down, left or right. I don’t know what I want to do with the rest of this year, much less the rest of my life. I don’t know who Matt and I will spend the rest of our lives  with…if anyone. (I think I especially struggle with that one on tough days. What I wouldn’t have given to have a male figure around today to help me take on the role of sideline parent on ANOTHER losing day)

It’s days like these that I realize I can’t do everything on my own. I have an amazing heavenly Father and so does Matt! We don’t have to rely on our own strength…we can borrow and draw from His strength- the most powerful  in all of the universe!

What I have learned from this blog today?

1. I’m a little rusty with my writing.

2. I reallllllly miss writing. It is so therapeutic.

3. I ramble from subject to subject (My Mom can sure attest to this)

4. And last (and most important)- Give those battles to God, LA!

 

-LA

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Me, before.

Me, before.

This is a photo of me from September 2012. I was on my first mission trip. I’m on the far left.

And here is the most unflattering side view of all time....on that same trip to Haiti- September 2012.

And here is the most unflattering side view of all time….on that same trip to Haiti.