When obedience to God includes running shoes and weights

It was the last session of the fall Bible study. God and I had been wrestling with a few things for the past couple months and while I kept saying, “I’ll be obedient to where God guides”, I really had made my mind up. However, that week’s homework had me in Nehemiah. Both Ezra and Nehemiah made lasting impacts on the lives of God’s people. It stirred something in my heart, but not enough to make any big changes. This quote in the last chapter of the Bible study stood out to me though:

“You cannot experience personal revival in your relationship with Jesus Christ and do nothing! If you truly have awaked, opened your eyes, tended your heart, bent your knees, and said yes, then it naturally follow that you must move your feet!” I Saw the Lord, p. 155

When Obedience to God Includes Running Shoes and Weights : The Better Mom

Anne Graham Lotz was tying up the chapter we had read for the week, “Move Your Feet!” from the book, “I saw the Lord” during our last DVD session. You know the typical courtroom scene when the closing arguments are being displayed…well, that’s what I feel like God was doing with this DVD. He was giving me His closing arguments–and man–was He good!

» ”PAY ATTENTION: What need has grabbed your heart?”

Burden is the first step to vision. Step through the open door.

“Well, God, I know you’ve given me a passion and desire to help women with their health, but there’s no way you mean this for RIGHT NOW! Those women that open their hearts about eating disorders, food addictions, and exhaustion -I’m sure they would tell that to anyone. And those open doors you’ve been swinging open in front of me over the last 2 months–I’m sure it’s just coincidence.”

» “PUT on the clothes for the call. How has God equipped you to serve Him?”

When it gets hard, doesn’t mean I’m not in God’s will. Don’t look at what you had before He calls you to do it. Obey with the smallest thing.

“The 7 years of teaching aerobics and pilates were certainly convenient, along with the many years before that of unofficial training of many friends. But now–a blog? I have no idea how to do a blog! I mean, I love Facebook and all–but seriously–a blog? Did you forget that I have an 18 month old and a 4 year old?”

» ”Putting your faith into practice”

What does God want to accomplish through you? Obedience unlocks heaven. HE equips you.

*tears* Uncontrollable. OK, God. I get it. I will walk forward in obedience and faith, but let it be known–I’M SCARED TO DEATH!

MoveYourFeet

A copy of my notes from that session.

♥♥♥

This was my experience in the fall of 2010 as God was preparing my heart to open up my blog, Peak313. Never did I think that walking in obedience and leaving an impact on those in my generation  would have included running shoes and weights! God took a passion, burden, and talent of mine and has used it to bring glory to His name and good to His people. I’ve found that many women–and especially young mamas–struggle with their health and not just in context of losing weight, getting rid of muffin-top, and making time for exercise, but also how to work that into every day life while keeping an eternal perspective. It is an honor each day to help women live in GRACE and not GUILT in regards to their health—something I can only do via the Spirit of the Lord!

My blog has been such a ride in my faith and I’m convinced that He gave it to me not only to use my gifts for those who may need encouraged, but also to take me deeper into my walk with Him! So when God was ending that Bible study saying, “Move your feet!”, little did I know that it was the beginning of a long race ahead! To Him be the glory!

Blessings,

Clare, Peak313.com

This post is a part of our “Who We Are” Series. For all posts visit,

“Who We Are: The Stories Behind TBM Writers”

Who We Are at The Better Mom

More T-Shirt Designs!! (for you and your hubby!)

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Note: When your tee/tees come in the mail take a picture of yourself wearing your tee and tag The Better Mom on Facebook (@thebettermom) , Instagram (@ruthschwenk), or Twitter (@thebettermom) and hashtag #momtees!

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Woohoo! Don’t you just love these?? We can’t wait to see you or your hubby in one of these tees so be sure to tag us!

Blessings,

Ruth Schwenk

How Image Has Changed Me

Love Beautiful

I’ve thought a lot about my image this week. I’ve thought how people who are overweight aren’t good enough. People who are thin aren’t good enough. If your house is clean, not good. Messy, not good. It doesn’t matter how you spin it, people will cut you down to make themselves feel better.

Comparison is a wicked thing. It will attack your heart and infect the people around you. It will destroy beauty.

Image has become a precious part of my life since I became a mom. When Vitali was born I said goodbye to regular showering and a decent night’s sleep. Something as easy as eating became complicated. It involved interruptions and bouncing a baby on my hip while I managed to shovel a few bites of nourishment into my body.

When Elias was born I looked my son in the eyes and I fell in love with an image that I was terrified of. I feared how my son would be treated by this world because of his image.

When my daughter was born, I cried at the thought of the expectations she would feel by this world. The perfect image she is supposed to have.

I stand naked and imperfect in front of my husband. Three babies have filled my insides and stretched my skin. Parts of me are torn and broken down. I am not a perfect image. My heart has been rubbed raw as I figure out what image is. My mind filled with a new understanding of what is important.

There is more to life than outward appearance. You’ve heard that before, but do you live it?

The words that roll off of your tongue, are they gracious? What you write about, are you infecting people around you and polluting their thoughts? I know I have, but I don’t want to.

I want to love what is beautiful. I want to live beyond appearance.

“If your life looks like a mess—to them—they whip out a measuring stick and feel confident of their own worthiness. If your life looks like a monument—to them—they whip out a measuring stick—and start cutting you down for their own empowerment.”—Ann Voskamp

Lolly_014Blessings,

Natalie Falls

Learning to Love Yourself Just as God Made You

via Amelia Fletcher Photography

via Amelia Fletcher Photography

I’ve struggled with mirrors my whole life. I’m a former anorexic, and mirrors have been the bane of my existence. And not because I don’t necessarily think I’m pretty, but because I never feel pretty enough. It’s never enough.

But I am learning that my true reflection is not in the glass, but in my eyes, and in how I see myself. I can change my reflection simply by the way I look at myself.

I am learning to thank my body. To treat my body, as Anne Lamott says, like a friend. I am learning to say thank you to my arms for carrying my babies, and thank you to my legs for carrying me, to my hands for making so many suppers, and to my eyes for lighting up every time my child enters a room.

We need to show grace to ourselves.

To take the time to have a bath; to eat nutritiously. When we’re grocery shopping, to stock up on healthy snacks for when we can’t sit down and eat a full meal.

To breathe deeply, and laugh at ourselves. To laugh at the kids. To laugh with our husband, at the kids. If we feel like we’re going to snap, to step outside for a minute and stare at the sky.

The more grace we show ourselves, the more grace we’ll be able to show others.

This time to ourselves will give us the strength to serve: our husband, our children, and our God.

Keep in mind though this space is not always available. And grace can find us in the midst of very hard things and very difficult days. In addition to loving ourselves we are also called to die to ourselves. Because true love is this: laying our life down for another. Philippians 2 talks about taking the nature of a servant and becoming nothing. So grace is a fine balance between taking care of ourselves and dying to ourselves.

In her book, Loving the Little Years, Rachel Jankovic talks about this balance. “Our bodies are tools not treasures,” she says. “You should not spend your days trying to preserve your body in its 18 year old format. Let it be used. By the time you die you want to have a very dinged and dinted body.”

via Amelia Fletcher Photography

via Amelia Fletcher Photography

I was walking down the stairs, at midnight, the boys asleep and Trent in bed reading. I always go around the house picking up things before I head to bed, because I can’t stand to wake to a messy house.

And I was somewhere between the last stair and the floor, when I stepped right into it.

Love.

Like it had been there waiting for me for 33 years.

Just a giant pool of love, and I stopped, and I smiled. And I cried.

Because suddenly I adored the person I was.

This funky, awkward, clumsy artist girl, this introvert who loves people and desperately needs alone time, this girl who laughs loud and fumbles with jokes, who wears vintage clothing and puts off housework because she’d much rather write. I loved her. With all of her childhood baggage and all of her sensitive heart, I loved her.

I still have days when I struggle to even like myself. Days when the voice in my head tells me that no one likes me or I’m not worth it or I’m ugly, that terrible awful voice which haunted me as a child from the ages of nine to 13, but then I remember that Satan is an accuser, and a liar.

I think of those dry bones Elijah saw in the desert—how God breathed new life into them and they rose and became an army. Satan doesn’t want that. He doesn’t want us to become an army, he doesn’t want us to pull our soldier boots on. No, He wants our spirits to stay dry and brittle. He wants us to keep doubting that God could use us, so we are never in fact, useful.

But those things he’s trying to say to us? They’re not true.

Because we’re pretty special.

beautiful broken mess

via Amelia Fletcher Photography

Not because of anything we’ve done, but because of the broken beautiful mess that we are. And the Savior who makes us perfect.

And this friends, is grace.

Blessings,

Emily

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