Tag Archives: Life

Another Form of Worship: Stepping Out and Loving People

As my feet hit the pavement my mind immediately began to relax. With my worship music in my ears I couldn’t help but think that maybe my runs are a way to worship God. It’s a way for me to drown out the world and focus on Him. It’s literally a way to run the race set before me. 

As the sidewalk turns my eyes lock on an older woman in what looked to be her late forties using a walker. Her face showed pain and just ahead of her was a little girl riding a bike with tricycle wheels. As hard as the woman tried, she just couldn’t keep up so on my way back around the trail I saw her up ahead, sitting on the bench while the little girl she is with burned the rest of her energy. 

As my feet began to continue past the lady my heart said something completely opposite and honestly, kind of scary. “Go pray with her”, that little voice inside me whispered. As excuses began to play over and over in my head about how random and offensive that might be to the woman, another thought drowned them out.

“What if I don’t?” What if all that woman needed was a little bit of socializing and prayer to feel better and I let myself bail because I was too scared. What if I refused to do something God has clearly told me to do?

That moment I realized, that I wasn’t thinking of the woman in need. I was only being selfish and thinking of me. 

I immediately stopped and turned around. With my head down, I awkwardly walked to the woman and introduced myself.

I’m going to ask you something a little weird,” I said. “Is there anything you would like me to pray for?

With a shocked look on her face, the woman answered with an abrupt, “Yes” and she began telling me about the painful situation she is currently going through.

It turns out this brave woman’s back has gotten so bad that no doctors will work on it. From observation I could tell that the woman was trying her hardest to be there for her granddaughter, but with the recent conversations she has had with many doctors, and an extreme amount of pain, Trish didn’t know if that was possible.

After our conversation and prayer, I left but as I was running back home I realized that Trish wasn’t the only one that got something out of our conversation.

Run the Race of Endurance

{These graphics are free for you to enjoy}

You see, When God speaks sometimes what He asks is a little scary to us. My situation with that woman made me realize why that is.

We think,

What if I fail?

What if I’m offensive?

What if what God said, really isn’t what I should be doing?

Do you see the correlation with all of those thought’s?

It’s the letter “I” 

In the midst of stepping out it’s easy to forget that it’s not all about us. Matthew 6:27 says it best by asking all of us if our worries add a single moment to our life..

It doesn’t… Instead worrying takes away time we could be using to benefit the kingdom of God.

Jesus commanded us to tend His sheep (John 21:17) and on that run I realized that one of the ways I can worship God is by putting aside the doubt, doing what He asks of me, and loving those in need.

~ Lovelle ❤

Jesus is Our Gluten

I wouldn’t be surprised if I were nicknamed “The Queen of Carbs” because, out of all of the types of foods I consume, foods that are rich in carbs make up the majority. Not long ago I had to change my diet for health reasons and the result was taking gluten out of my diet which pretty much eliminated all breads and anything with flour in it.

Gluten is an ingredient found in wheat and what it does is even more interesting. You see, gluten puts the “fluff” in bread. This ingredient helps the food keep it’s shape and represents sort of a glue, which helps hold the food together.

Needless to say, giving up brownies and bread was not easy. Gluten is in all the good food! One day as I was watching my husband eat a really good looking homemade waffle (I must admit I was a little jealous) God whispered a powerful statement in my heart…

Bread of Life

{These graphics are free for you to enjoy}

It’s easy for me to crave carbs and gluten, but am I really craving what’s important? I’ll be honest here and say there are days when I pick up my Bible out of habit. There are times when I go to church because “it’s the right thing to do.” As ashamed as I am to admit it, quite a few sermons go in one ear and out the other. I want to crave God as much as I crave gluten.

When Jesus made that powerful statement in John 6:35 He meant so much more than simply never being hungry or thirsty. He was saying that HE ALONE is the one who shapes us. He is the glue that holds us together and it is only through Him that we can truly live.

As cheesy as this sounds, Jesus is our gluten. God needs to be a part of everything I do and I need to crave him more than I crave anything else. Yes, I love carbs but there is also something even better that I can crave and digest without getting fat and that is God.

Unlike gluten that tends to shape my thighs and stomach through unhealthy foods, God shapes my spirit and mind. Every day He molds me more into the woman he designed me to be.

~ Lovelle ❤

Six Ways to Live a Healthy Life Inside and Out

6 Ways to liveA HealthyLifestyleInside

As I stated in my previous post, I have always struggled with respecting and honoring my body. I used to be overweight, and this caused me to disregard the importance of a healthy lifestyle. I was wrong because I didn’t take care of the body I was given. Since then, I have lost eighty pounds and although I take care of my body’s health, I find myself disrespecting my body through my words and thoughts.

That’s where the Bible comes in. It turns out my friends were struggling with the same thing so after looking through scripture we have found six ways to live a healthy lifestyle inside and out.

1. Physical exercise

 So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing.  I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.
~ 1 Corinthians 9:26-27

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is so important because it displays the care we feel for our Creator’s work. Running was one of the ways I got in shape, and this verse is one of my favorites. Exercise takes discipline. I have to make myself get off the couch and work out. I have to commit to do it on a regular basis. 

2. Eating Healthy-

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him.  Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
~ Romans 12:1-2

Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself.
~ 1 Corinthians 6:19

Lisa TerKeurst explains the importance in an amazing way in her book Made to Crave. Her outlook is that we were all made to crave. Sometimes there are things we shouldn’t crave though and for me, it’s food. One of the ways I can give my body to God is by eating healthy. This means not eating when I am hungry and avoiding a lot of junk I don’t necessarily want or need. Eating chocolate once in a while is not a bad thing by any means but food and cravings shouldn’t control you.

3. Studying your word-

Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.
~ 1 Timothy 4:8

My friends and I are big believers on the importance of exercise. We also know that sometimes, exercise can aid our Spiritual discipline. Striving to live a Godly life is a workout and discipline of it’s own. Just like exercise, reading our Bible and praying should be done on a regular basis.

4. Kind words to yourself-

Oh, don’t worry; we wouldn’t dare say that we are as wonderful as these other men who tell you how important they are! But they are only comparing themselves with each other, using themselves as the standard of measurement. How ignorant!
~ 2 Corinthians 10:12

As I stated in my previous post, one of my biggest struggles is comparing myself to others. If I don’t fit the mold I see in others, I tend to knock myself down through comments like, “you’re fat” or “you need to work out more” and this is wrong. I may or may not need to work out more but that is based on staying healthy and honoring God with what I do with my body that he has given me. It’s not based on trying to fit the mold of others.

5. Keeping your security in heaven

We can make our own plans, but the Lord gives the right answer.
~Proverbs 16:1

No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
~Proverbs 16:24

As poor college kids, my friends and I know how hard it is to keep finances and other worldly items from becoming our security and we know the consequences of that. This life has no certainty. The only thing that stays the same is God and he will take care of us.

6. Kind words to others-

Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.
~Ephesians 4:29

Kind words are like honey— sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.
~Proverbs 16:24

A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.
~Matthew 22:39

Let’s be honest, girls can be pretty hateful and that hate often occurs through words. Little whispers of gossip and slander are not kind or necessary and hateful words to someone’s face aren’t either. You can never take back what is said. I don’t know a single person that hasn’t been really hurt by hurtful statements. The Bible says that this is wrong so it shouldn’t be done.

There are a lot of things that my friends and I want to improve on this year. We believe every day holds a chance for growth. We know that these six basic principles will help aid us in the process of our personal refinement. We hope these can help you too!

What are some ways that help aid you in living a healthy lifestyle inside and out?

~ Lovelle, Karley, and Cathy ❤

My New Years Resolution: 6 Ways to Live a Healthy Life Inside and Out

I step on the scale and hold my breath as the machine I dread so much decides my fate. I hope to actually see a change in my weight this week. All I want is to finally see positive results.

But to my dismay, the numbers are not what I want to see. I step off, only to get back on for a second time. Scales are always off the first time, right?

As the inanimate object that seems to have so much control over my life loads, I find myself saying a silent prayer:

“Dear Jesus, I want to lose weight. I’m sick of my curves and extra flab. I want to feel pretty. Please help?”

After what feels like forever, the number is finally revealed. It is exactly the same. It is not what I want to see. Those ugly red numbers are like a flashing light, taunting me. Every time I see them, a voice inside me screams, “You are fat! Not good enough!” and frankly, I’m sick of it.

I’m done looking in the mirror and seeing negative things. I’m fed up with working out regularly, only to put myself down. I need to appreciate my body. I am sick of degrading the body God designed, and looking to the world for acceptance.

This year, my New Year’s resolution is not to lose weight. My resolution is to respect my body and honor it. My body was paid for with a price. It is not my own, so from here on out, my body will represent its creator: God (1 Corinthians 6:20).

Even though the magazines and television shows tell us that we are not good enough, God says that you are wonderful and loved. He knit us together with his delicate hands and crafted us with a purpose (Psalm 139:13).

Ignore the lies the world feeds you and look up, because your creator is staring down at you with the most adoring eyes. You don’t have to change.

made

{These graphics are free for you to enjoy}

Respecting and honoring your body is easier said than done, so after a heartfelt conversation with my fabulous friends, we came up with a guide to help you walk the talk. To help you kick-start your year, next week I will discuss Six ways to live a healthy life inside and out. Stay tuned because you don’t want to miss this!

What My Wedding Meant to Me

On January 3rd, 2015 I experienced my wedding day and it was something I will hold close to my heart forever. You see, I come from a family of mostly shotgun weddings. Abstinence was non-existent and elegance was foreign. So as I looked at myself in the mirror with my white dress, make up, and well-designed hair I just couldn’t seem to look away.

Feel Pretty

Lovelle, do you feel pretty?” my bridesmaid Lindsey asked me.

Yes” I said in amazement. “Yes, I really do.

My wedding symbolized so much more than marrying the man of my dreams. My wedding symbolized the redemption of a horrible past and God’s unfailing love. 

My white dress symbolized purity, a concept that was hard to accept because I was sexually abused. God really showed me the meaning of the verse in 2nd Corinthians 5:17. He says that those who find Christ are a new creation. Their old life is gone. They are made new…

My husband symbolized a broken cycle and true love with a person God chose specifically for me. As both of our families joined together and prayed around a corner (to keep from seeing each other before the wedding) I couldn’t be happier because even before we said “I do” we were able to start our new life off with a focus on God.

Family Prayer

I think one of my favorite memories though was the father daughter dance. It wasn’t even two years ago that I was without parents. I remember being on my knees praying to God. All I wanted was to be loved.

I never thought it was possible, but God answered my prayers by giving me two amazing parents and I can honestly say they are better than even my wildest dreams.

They were worth every bit of abuse.

They were worth the long journey of pain.

They were worth the confusion and every horrible situation I faced.

Father Dance

Its funny to me that the one thing that I thought I would never have in my wedding, God proved to be so. As I took my Dad’s hand and danced to our song I began thanking the Lord for the many gifts He had given me. When the song ended I grabbed my Mom and we all began to cry. We cried because we knew that this wedding wasn’t about us. It was about God, His ability to answer even the craziest of our hearts’ desires, and His ability to redeem.

In the past, I never really understood the significance of a wedding but now I do. It was the best day of my life and it was so full of joy. I want to relive this moment for the rest of my life.

My marriage was a celebration to God for everything that He has done. It was His love that saved me and it was His strength that sustained me. This wedding was proof that everything that was taken from me, God, in his love, redeemed.

~Lovelle ❤

My Lesson From a Homeless Woman

She pushes a shopping on the sidewalk of a busy road with a torn jacket that doesn’t look very insulated in the thirty degree weather. Written all over her face is sadness.

You don’t have to look very long to see that this woman has had a hard life. 

Suddenly, her face lights up and she looks down at a little dog in the front of her worn out shopping cart with a smile. As I observe the situation I see the dog with a nice collar dressed a pretty sweater and the dog is wagging her tail with excitement.

Unlike all the people in the cars driving by, who didn’t even glance at the woman for a second, the dog looked at the woman with adoration and love.

As the light turned green, we continued on our way, and the woman disappeared behind the miles ahead of me but what I had witnessed in those couple of minutes taught me something.

Just like that dog, I want to look at people with the love and adoration. I want my life to be the hands and feet of Jesus and I want to do whatever I can to tend for his sheep.

Beauty in everyone

{These graphics are free for you to enjoy}

That may mean giving a simple smile to a woman who was obviously ignored or possibly even donating some of my clothes to those who go without.

It could be opening up my heart, having a shoulder to cry on, and an ear that will just sit in silence and listen.

It’s funny to me that you could see that beautiful woman lived without so much, but when she smiled, you could see peace and contentment.

Contentment is learned not earned, and you could see that is how that woman lived her life.

Never disregard your surroundings because sometimes those who are counted as nothing, can provide us with the most important lessons.

God Will Sustain

She opens her Kindle and reads a passage from a devotional. Once she is finished she grasps one of my hands and signals for my dad to join in. He comes and stands beside me. In unison they bow their heads and begin to pray.

First my mom, and then my dad. Their soft and gentle words fill my ears with peace and contentment.

These past few weeks I’ve seen my mom and dad go through so much. I’ve seen them experience loss, pain, and stress. Despite every situation they encounter,  I see them walk through it with grace and beauty.

In every situation that is encountered, they take time to step back, process, and look to God the maker of heaven and earth.

Sustained

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That moment with my parents is something I will never forget because I learned a very valuable lesson.

Through their example, I learned what endurance really means.

Endurance is being brave enough to express your emotions. It is admitting that you are weak because we can’t get through this life on our own.

Only through God can we succeed.

Endurance means digging into your word, even when your emotions say “no”.

It’s bowing your head and surrendering your day to God because ultimately, he is the one in control.

The world says endurance is doing it on your own, but the bible tells us endurance is through God. His power is shown through our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Endurance is not about us, It’s about Him. Remember that you are enduring when you fix your eyes on him.

It’s Okay to Not Be Okay

I’m sitting on the couch in my yoga pants curled up in a blanket. I can’t seem to find the energy to move and I don’t want to. 

I’m depressed and aggravated. I feel like i’m in a fog, unable to see what’s ahead. The plan for my life has become so uncertain.

I’m upset that I don’t know what to do and that in the midst of all of the changes in my life, I’m not reacting the way I should be.

It’s easy for me to tell myself that God knows the plans he has for me, but believing it is another story.

I know the phrase very well. It’s embedded in my mind.

That phrase is everywhere I go.

I can see it in the bible. The verse is so popular that it’s branded on millions of coffee cups and T-shirts all over the world.

 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
~Jeremiah 29:11

God may know my plans, but that doesn’t give me peace.

I’m angry at myself because I should be happy and free from stress. I should be rejoicing in my situation because God loves me enough to be in charge of my life.

That’s how Christians are supposed to react right?

It's Okay

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Sometimes peace isn’t in God’s plans. If you continue reading past verse 11 in Jeremiah you will find a powerful statement that makes that scripture completely different than the one that is seen by the world.

 In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.”
~Jeremiah 29:12-14

Being in a bad mood doesn’t make me a bad person. It makes me human and it’s completely normal. In fact, God expects it and he promises to end the fear that holds me captive as long as I listen and search for him with all my heart.

When I look to him, I will find him.

I don’t have to be aggravated anymore for being uncertain of my future.

It’s okay to hide under the covers and run away from the world when life gets overwhelming.

The world may tell me otherwise, but it’s okay to be aggravated at God because no matter what he knows my feelings. My father loves it when I’m transparent.

Peace of mind is not of this world (John 14:27). It’s a gift from God and sometimes, it takes a little bit of seeking God to find it.

As you walk through this day I encourage you to remember that God sees and knows your feelings.

It’s okay to not be okay.

It’s okay to be fearful.

It’s okay to be confused and depressed.

It’s in the Heavenly Father that you can find rest.

He sees you where you are right here and right now. He sees you in your yoga pants, depressed without a smile.

He is in the midst of the fog calling out your name. He promises to guide you, and it doesn’t matter what your reaction or mood is in the situation, He still loves you the same.