Finding Strength – PART 1

I can do all thingsIn the world of fitness and sports, one of the most popular verses of all time is “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” – Philippians 4:13. It’s on running apparel, on motivational trinkets, bracelets, necklaces, water bottles, workout clothes, bumper stickers and in motivational memes. Everyone loves to hear they can do all things “with a little help from a friend” – but this isn’t a Beatles song about just “getting by” in life, it’s a verse about living with purpose, having confidence that God will help us accomplish His will in our life.

Today, I woke up with that verse on my mind. I started to think of how often it is used as a source of empowerment to get a job done – how it is used to further OUR will, and OUR own personal goals. This made me want to look at the verses around verse 13 to get more insight – and, as I expected, it was full of so much more depth, correction and encouragement. I studied and studied. What started as a simple blog post turned into a 3 hour bible study.

People Need More Strength

you can do itThere are people desperate for encouragement and strength. I felt this text required more than just one blog post, so I decided to do a blog series on it. This will be Part 1. How many parts there will be, I don’t know! I’ll stop sharing when I stop learning! I plan to dig and dig and dig, until I get all the goody out of this one! I hope you are encouraged and enlightened just as I was today. :)

Before I continue, I have to share this story. Pastor Tim Keller was talking about a guy running from a bear. He said, at one point, the guy needed to jump up in a tree to get away from the bear. He explained that it didn’t matter how timid the guy was or how eager he was to leap up and grab a branch. What mattered is what branch he grabbed hold of. No matter how great his grip was, a dead branch wouldn’t hold him.

This is what is driving me to search this verse out even more. We can grab hold of this verse, but if this verse (like the branch) is dead to you, it’s not going to hold you for very long. So, let’s follow this branch to its strong roots and see just how Paul could have so much confidence in this kind of strength.

The Struggle In Our Circumstance

This is the other part of the famous verse. It’s the part that is BEFORE it talks about doing ALL THINGS. It’s the part about the struggle.

11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

To fully understand the context of this verse, we have to look at the circumstance of the person writing it. Paul actually wrote this letter to the Philippian church while he was in a Roman prison, literally in bondage. I doubt many of you are reading this in jail, but we all have our bondages, our rough patches, and our hardships, so you can see this text wasn’t written during a super amazing mountain-top experience. He’s writing this letter in the worst possible situation. Now that you have the context let’s look at the verses again and see what we can learn from it.

As I studied this text, I found SO many lessons. This is only ONE of many – and this by NO means is the most important one. I’m just sharing what I’m learning as I study, and I am especially thinking of all our athletes who are preparing to compete next weekend. They are hungry, grumpy, deprived, tired and weak. So, I start with wanting to encourage people who may relate to this part of the verse.

“I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry”.

The Lesson In Our Weakness

cat-hangryIt’s interesting Paul addresses hunger? I believe our relationship of food epitomizes our bondage to fleshly desires. Everyone can relate to it. We all want to give our flesh what it wants and we all hate it when we have to deny our body of its wants.

Paul is saying he learned to be content whether he was well fed or hungry. That implies there was practice and perseverance, but that’s for Part 2, 3 or 4. What I want to focus on is the attitude of contentment. Remaining in joy when we don’t get our way.

Can we say we have learned to be content when we are hungry? Are we learning to be content with smaller portions and practicing healthier habits, or do we complain non-stop because we have had to give up food we feel we shouldn’t have to give up. Are we fighting the process or are we determined not to let our body dictate our mood or rob us of our joy? It’s food for crying out loud. People have fasted for days and we get grumpy when we haven’t eaten in 2 hours. Really?

Conquering Our Hanger (Hunger + Anger)

hangryFood shouldn’t have that much affect on us. God doesn’t want us to be in bondage to food. It was designed to be a blessing, not a curse. However, it’s our overindulgences that turned it into something it was never created to be. Nothing should have that kind of grip on us. I imagine Paul wasn’t eating very well in prison. I imagine he probably dreamed of his big feast too! While he wasn’t dieting for his health or a smaller waist, he still was probably experiencing hunger pains and feeling unsatisfied by whatever slop they were feeding him – and on THEIR time schedule.

We need to learn (practice required) to be content whether we are drinking water or drinking our favorite beverage. We need to be completely content ordering grilled chicken and broccoli while everyone else orders whatever they want. We need to remind ourselves it is just food, and ironically, what we are eating when we are so-called dieting, is healthy and good (or should be!). Our food choices shouldn’t determine if we have a great time or not. Food will never make us happy. Food is not the answer to stress, depression, anger, PMS or whatever other excuse we have. Food is food, and that’s it. Why do we make it to be so much more than just nourishment and a blessing?

While Paul was able to conquer difficult circumstances, like hunger (and I mean REAL hunger), by looking at everything in light of eternity, I believe we can do the same thing. We must look at the big picture. He kept his eye on the prize, not looking back, but pressing on toward the goal (Philippians 3:13-14). I don’t want to use scripture out of context here, and apply it only to fitness and fitness goals. His goal was much greater than any weight loss goal. His prize was heaven. but I do believe we can learn from his example in every situation – even something as small as a diet.

“but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14

focusPaul was able to stay strong because he kept focused. One of Steve’s things he says to me often is “where’s your joy?” When I’m grouchy, hungry or frustrated, he reminds me that my joy should not waiver. He reminds me that there are more important things than the current circumstance. While I may not be thrilled to hear his loving correction in that moment, I know he’s right – and realize I have to suck it up and get over it. How do I do that? I look at the bigger picture. I look at the reward. I look at my testimony. I try to look at my life as God looks at it. It doesn’t take long to realize every temporary struggle pales in comparison to what really matters. It reminds me there are more important things to focus on. What freedom!!

The first part of becoming stronger is not allowing yourself to focus on your weakness. Don’t give it that much power. The next time you want to have a pity party or you feel weak, stop and decide to change your focus. Ask God what HE wants you to focus on and ask Him to remind you of the big picture (HIS picture), and to give you the strength you need to do His will, not just yours.

Want more strength? Part 2 coming soon!

Got Soymilk?

Silk ShakeWhy Protein?

If you are training hard in the gym, you want to know you are giving your body the fuel it needs to maximize your workouts. That’s why protein is so essential for people who are on a regular workout regimen.

You break your muscles down in the gym, so it’s important you build them back up in the kitchen. What you eat, how much you eat and when you eat are all important components of an effective fitness program.

First, let’s talk about WHAT you eat.

Why Soy Milk?

Most people think of diary and meat when they think of protein. Unfortunately, a lot of people are lactose intolerant. Luckily, there are other great milk alternatives – one of which is soy milk. If you struggle to get enough protein without dairy, Soymilk can help.

– No other dairy-free milk has more protein
– Silk Soymilk has 8 grams of plant-powered protein per serving.
– Silk Soymilk has no cholesterol.
– Silk Soymilk is low in saturated fat.
– Silk Soymilk really tastes good!

You can use soymilk just like any milk. Pour it over your cereal, drink it alone, use it in your protein shakes and replace regular milk with soy milk in your recipes. Other milk alternatives will not give you that extra dose of protein (almond milk only has 1gm of protein in it) – plus there are a lot of other reasons to go Soy.

Silk Brand Features:

– Lactose-free
– Dairy-free
– Cholesterol-free
– No high-fructose corn syrup
– No artificial colors, flavors or preservatives
– Plant-based
– Enrolled in or verified by the Non-GMO Project
– Responsibly produced
– Free of gluten, casein, peanuts, egg and MSG*

Now for the rest of the What, How & When…. What to eat, how to eat it and when to eat it.

Real Protein

proteinIt is best to get the majority of your protein from whole foods. This can be plant-based or animal-based protein. We only should use protein supplements to do just that – supplement what we are lacking. This means, if I’m trying to get 100gms of protein a day and I normally only get 60-75gms of protein from my regular diet, then I need to probably have a 25-30gm protein shake a day to help me reach my goal.

There is more to protein than even what it does for our muscles – it also is a great appetite suppressant! I’ve noticed when my protein is in check, I’m less hungry throughout the day too! I often snack on sliced meat with avocado and tomatoes, cheese and fruit, nuts, beef jerky and egg whites with hot sauce to help satisfy me between meals. All my snacks have protein and a little fat in them to keep me full and energize!

And I can’t forget protein shakes!! That’s the best snack of all!

Shake Time!

Post-Workout Bananas Foster Shake

If you think about food as fuel, you can understand why it’s necessary to refuel your body after you run it out of gas. You need to put fuel back into the muscle’s fuel tanks so it’s refueled and ready to go again. This is where the sugar comes in. Our body has to replace glycogen stores in the muscle cell, so a post workout shake that is higher in carbs is perfect post-workout fuel.

We also need to give our body what it needs to recover from the torture we put our body through. Since we break down the muscle in the workout, protein is another essential substrate needed after your workout. Here is a post workout shake I make at home. Lastly, since fat slows digestion, this is the only time you want to avoid extra fats like peanut butter in your shake. Fast absorption is ideal during this time since you have a window where your body is more susceptible to using all the fuel you put in that empty tank (which is about 30-45 minutes after your workout).

Bananas Foster is a wonderful dessert with bananas, butter, rum and vanilla ice cream. I made my own healthier version and it’s on our smoothie menu at our gym. Here’s one of the recipes for it.

Silk Soy MilkIngredients:
Silk Vanilla Soymilk
1 Cup Ice
Scoop Vanilla Protein Powder
1/2 Banana
1/8 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/3 Teaspoon Rum Extract
1/4 Teaspoon Butter Extract

Night-time Peanut Butter Pie Muscle Recovery Shake

Another great time to get more protein in your diet is right before bed. We do a lot of our healing while we sleep, so it makes perfect sense why we would want to get a good dose of protein before we hit the sack. Our body can use that protein to repair while we snooze. This is also a good time to have fats in your shake since fat slows digestion and will keep us fuller longer, as well as help us absorb more protein while we sleep.

Ingredients
Silk Vanilla Soymilk
1 Scoop Vanilla Protein Powder
1 Tablespoon PB2
1 Teaspoon Peanut Butter
1 Tablespoon Jello Cheesecake Mix (sugar-free)
2 Graham Crackers (put them for the last 5 seconds of blending)

Remember, if you are trying to lose weight, you need to track your calories. A protein shake can easily get up over 300-500 calories if you aren’t careful. Measure your ingredients and be very selective of each ingredient you add to your shake. Keep shakes between 150-200 calories for snacks and 300-350 calories for meal replacements to help you stick to your caloric budget for weight loss. :)

Get More Recipes & Silky Tips

FOLLOW “Fall Back in Love with Soy Pinterest Board

  • Twitter/Instagram Hashtag: #ILoveSilkSoy
  • Facebook Handle: SilkUS
  • Twitter/Pinterest/Instagram Handle: @lovemysilk

CLICK HERE to get a FREE coupon!

 

This conversation is sponsored by Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.

Top 5 Things to Do While Exercising

busyEveryone is strapped on time. We feel constantly rushed and struggle to squeeze all our responsibilities into each day. After cooking, cleaning, working, taking care of kids, taking care of spouses…we are still supposed to find time to take care of ourself to actually workout. How?

Well, I believe most of (if we were honest) waste a lot of valuable time throughout the day. We spend so much time checking facebook, surfing online, dilly-dallying around, running errands and even just sitting there wondering what you were supposed to be doing because you forgot somewhere between the bedroom and kitchen. What if we could reduce this time? What if we could be more productive with our workout time so the extra time that is normally wasted can be used for more important things?

In my latest article for Answers.com, I share 5 ways to make the most of your exercise time. Take a look at my list and feel free to add your suggestions in the comments below.

Build friendships, strengthen your mind, grow spiritually, do online tasks and organize your day – all while you sweat! Click below to learn how. :)

CLICK HERE to get my Top 5 Productive Things to Do While Exercising

 

Recipe Search

Recipe SearchIf you have dieted (or “eaten clean”) for any length of time, you know how easy it is to get tired of your own cooking. We all tend to stick to the same set of meals and go-to snacks just out of ease and habit. Sometimes we just need a fresh idea to spice up our boring healthy life! What if I could give you 10 recipes in exchange one?

I’m on a quest to collect recipes from my readers so I can in turn, give you more recipes to choose from. Since this is my first time doing this, I’m going to leave the cuisine style and meal type wide open. This means this recipe collection has no limits or guidelines when it comes to whether it’s a breakfast, lunch, snack, dessert or dinner. Recipes don’t have to be fancy at all either! Some of our favorite recipes are only 3 or 4 ingredients! They might not even be a recipe, but more of a meal plan, listing ingredients for a perfect meal. The only thing I ask is that you submit healthy, low-calorie meals. If you don’t know the calories, protein, fat and carbs, that’s OK. I can do the homework on that!

CLICK HERE to submit your recipe. (Feel free to submit more than one!) 

What is Your Favorite PfitBlog Recipe?

I will also be adding a few of my favs to the list. Are there any of my recipes you have tried that you think should be on the list? Make your recommendations below in the comment section! Thanks!!

Cardiolicious Butt, Abs & Shoulders Workout

Butt Abs Shoulders WorkoutGet your heart rate up and burn calories while you sculpt your body during this super effective workout. Do each circuit for time to take things up a notch!

Click on the link to see video instruction.

10 Burpees
15 Thrusters (squat & Press)
15 Overhead walking Lunges
X3

10 2-Count Mountain Climbers
15 Shoulder Press
15 Lateral Raises
X3

10 Tuck Jumps
15 Push Ups
15 pull ups or(pull downs
X3

10 Sit Ups
15 Crunches
15 Reverse Crunches
X3

SHARE & FOLLOW

Share on Pinterest
(button below!)

Follow us on Pinterest

Follow Bonnie on Instagram

Follow Steve on Instagram

CLICK HERE for more workouts.

 

It Isn’t Easy

It isn't EasyOne thing I will never tell you is that getting fit and losing weight is easy. It’s not. It’s not easy at all. Is it doable? Yes. Is it worth it? Yes. Is it even easy some days? Yes. But overall, staying disciplined is never easy.

We all can do something hard for an hour, a day or even a week, but to do it day after day for a long period of time – THAT is what is challenging. And, when life gets hard, that’s when we begin to feel sorry for ourselves. I believe that is why it is SO important for fitness professionals to practice what they preach. To experience intense training and strict dieting at times – so we can relate to others.

That is also why I believe God sent us Jesus, to walk the earth with us so we could see God at work in a man’s life consistently in the midst of trials, hunger, poverty, homelessness, pain and even unto death. To have our own role model to follow.

“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14

While we may not understand His ability to heal the sick, or to resist temptations we fall into so easily, we can ALL relate to fear of pain and death. His death allows us to fully understand His love for us. So, the same way we should think of people who may have it worse (they work harder, have more kids, have less time or have a physical limitation) but still press on toward their fitness goals, we should remember the cross when life gets hard, and realize nothing compares to what He’s done for us. We can do so much more, endure so much more, and keep pressing on in light of the cross.

“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12

God never said serving Him would be easy. Scripture never says living right is simple. It’s complicated. It’s difficult – and perfection is impossible, but we are suppose to try – to do our best. And trying to do our best is so worth it …and so is He. He’s worth it.

“Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you.” 1 Samuel 12:24

As we approach Easter, take extra time this week to truly consider what amazing things he has done for you.

Is Your Body Trash or a Treasure?

SAY THANK YOUHave you ever given someone a gift and watched the person trash it or neglect it? I gave a gift to someone a while back, and returned to their house a year later and saw it still in the box unused. Not only did it hurt my feelings, I was sad they weren’t enjoying it. It was an expensive gift and it was a gift they needed and would have loved, but it needed putting together so it remained in the box on the floor.

In many ways, our life is like that. Our body is a gift, yet it needs work to put it together so it works well, and it will also require a lot of maintenance too. No matter what that person may have told me, or how much they tried to convince me they appreciated that gift, there was no way I’d believe them because it was just sitting on the floor collecting dust. Their actions told me exactly how much they valued that gift.

How often do we thank God for our life, yet just sit there and neglect or trash our body? How can we appreciate something without taking care of it or using it how it was intended? That person could have used that gift as a paper weight or a door stop, but that wasn’t what it was made for – and we are made for SO much more than just sitting and eating whatever we want. We are made to function well, and to LIVE with purpose. We can’t have energy to do what we are called to do if we aren’t maintaining our physical body. We can’t expect to be our best when our body isn’t its best.

We are living in a gift – a body.
What are you telling God by how you treat your gift?

“do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Compression Leggings That Make You Look and Feel Amazing

I have been on the prowl for some really cool crazy-fun leggings, but some of the coolest designs have the poorest quality. Some leggings may look great as long as you are not moving, but as soon as you start to workout, you discover problems.

Common complaints with poorly made leggings:

see though leggings  • Leggings aren’t made for performance

  • Thin material doesn’t support the body

  • Material loses color as it’s stretches

  • Material becomes transparent as it stretches

  • Material snags easily

  • Material doesn’t stay put when you move

  • Color fades after washing

  • Material absorbs sweat and odor

Just Live’s leggings give you everything you need:

just live brand   • Compression technology enhances circulation and oxygen flow, reducing muscle recovery time

   • Skintight compression fabric supports your body, giving you a lifted and tone appearance

   • Lightweight vibrant fabric offers designs with color that lasts

   • High-quality fabric is dense in color, even as you bend

   • LIke a second skin, Just Live’s material stays put while you squat, run, lift and stretch

   • Quick dry fabric is breathable, stain resistant material that deters odor, wicks moisture and increases evaporation

   • UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) Protective layer protects your body from the sun’s UV rays.

Fabric Blend: 73% Cationic Polyester Sorbtek and 27% Spandex Available in: Kailani Blue, Tropical Daisy, Rainbow Wave, Abstract Black and Gray Spectrum.JUST LIVE BRAND

JUST LIVE BRANDGet a Pair…or Two!

I should tell you I’m not getting paid to tell you how much I like these leggings. I’m not getting commission or one dollar from writing this post. They were too kind to send me some to try and I just genuinely really LOVED them and wanted to share my find with you. AND, I totally plan on getting more! I asked them if they had any discounts going on, or could offer a discount to you guys, and they told me about this kickstarter campaign they are doing to get in the national market and continue to grow. If you want to buy some leggings, you can support them on kickstarter and get product for a great deal – like these leggings for $60 instead of their normal price of $79.00!! (And trust me, they are worth it!)

To browse their merchandise or shop online visit www.justlive.com

Deal of the Day

They have a lot of cool rewards for pledging but these are my 2 favorites!

Pledge $125 or more and you GET 2 OUTFITS!! and become a true Just Live brand ambassador. This includes:

  • 1 Pair of Power Through Tights
  • 1 Pair of Race Time Capris
  • 2 Just Live Performance T-Shirts
  • Just Live Branded Stickers
  • Personalized Thank You
  • Website Recognition

OR pledge $60 you can get one pair of high-performance “Power Through Tights” in the color of your choice. You will also receive the stickers, email and website recognition. :)

Follow Just Live on social media at @JustLiveBrand. 

See Just Live in Action!

Marriage with More Muscle

boxing couple Many of you have seen changes in our marriage. Since I started sharing bits and pieces of our testimony on my social media, in hopes of encouraging others, I’ve had countless emails requesting help, asking us how “we did it” and wanting direction or prayers. Before I give you the whole story, I want to share WHY we are sharing our mess with the world – because until you can fully understand our testimony, you first have to understand the tests we were going through.

Marriage in the Toilet

Dirty toiletIf you have ever seen a commercial for a cleaner, there is always a ridiculously dirty before photo that looks almost impossible to clean. Everyone knows we really can’t appreciate how “clean” something is until we see just how dirty it once was. The same goes for our marriage. While we had a pretty good marriage for quite a while, neglect allowed dirt to pile up. Like a dirty toilet, you really don’t know just how messed up it is if you just keep a “lid on it”. But, eventually, you have to deal with it, and when you finally lift the lid, you realize you have a filthy mess that appears to be impossible to clean up.

“But, with God, all things are possible” , Matthew 19:26.

Our Marriage Make-over

It All Starts with a BANG!

Steve pfiester shotMany of you saw the posts in mid December in 2013 with news that Steve was a victim of an accidental firearm discharge. He was shot through both legs by a 40 caliber hollow point bullet. What you didn’t know is, this was perfectly orchestrated by God, down to the very second he was shot and what he was doing when he got shot. It was no accident. As soon as Steve realized he was shot, he knew God orchestrated the whole thing.

We had been really struggling the month before he was shot. He told me he didn’t love me anymore and believed in his heart that I would be better off without him, and he believed he would be happier without me. He tried to convince me of just how horrible of a husband he was, as well as how much he didn’t love me, by confessing everything possible. Years of lies, years of seeking his own pleasure as a result of years of unforgiveness and bitterness toward me.

Ironically, everything he perceived I had done to him over the years (neglect him, not love him and reject him), he was now actually doing to me. Granted, while I didn’t reject him or neglect him purposefully, Steve’s feelings of rejection and neglect were very real. I didn’t realize the level of his needs nor how neglected he really felt. I became quite a workaholic, and since I was working “for us” and we were working toward the same goals in many ways, working together, I didn’t realize how much I was neglecting him as my husband. I thought he knew how much I loved him and didn’t realize how much he needed reassurance, respect and intimacy. Bottom line, this wasn’t all his fault. I had a lot to learn, but by the time I realized it, the damage was already done.

The Lies

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9

Steve and Bonnie PfiesterI knew the man I was talking to was not the man I married. Scripture warns us about following our heart and I refused to believe the lies he was telling himself about not loving me. I knew good and well he loved me or he would have never gotten that hurt to begin with. He did indeed love me. He loved me SO much that it hurt him when he thought I didn’t love him the same way he loved me. He just didn’t recognize my love for him because it wasn’t packaged up in something he was familiar with. My love for him was that kind of agape love, the unconditional love. He never experienced unconditional love…until he heard my words that day saying, “I forgive you”.

I remember he looked at me after I spoke those words while I embraced him saying “I don’t understand that (kind of love)”. The truth is, he didn’t confess to save our marriage, he confessed because he thought I would release him and leave him. I wasn’t going to do that. I knew God wasn’t done with us yet. I knew the man that hurt me was just deceived by his own heart and selfishness. I knew for a fact God brought us together to begin with, and I fully believed God wanted to do a miracle in our marriage – not for just our benefit, but for everyone around us. I didn’t care what he had done, because honestly, he hadn’t been the man I married for several years. I knew that man was still there somewhere and I wasn’t giving up on him, because I wasn’t giving up on God.

Hearing the words “I don’t love you” are hard to hear. I had a decision to either believe it and get mad, or not believe it and believe he had not only deceived others, but himself. He needed to believe he didn’t love me in order to leave me. That’s the only way he could leave without guilt. I wasn’t going to give him that pleasure. I wasn’t going to release him, I wasn’t going to make it easy on him, and I was going to fight with all I had.

“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. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” Ephesians 6:13-17

The Search

“Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered. ” Proverbs 28:26

Bible StudyLuckily, despite all of his confusion, he did know he shouldn’t make a final decision without God – so he started seeking, and seeking hard. He read and read and read scripture, looking for direction. He prayed and prayed and prayed, begging for relief and for answers. His first goal was to find peace. He had no peace living the way he had been living. It was making him so miserable that peace was all he really wanted.

The next thing he was searching for was release. He wanted to find somewhere in the Bible where it said it was OK to get divorced, but he kept coming up empty. After going away for a week to seek answers, he knew God wanted him to reconcile. The truth is, in his mind, he felt God’s request was for him to “try” to reconcile. He fully believed all God wanted him to do is try – and he also believed it would never work, but he wanted to be obedient so he could say he at least tried.

He came back thinking he’d get instant peace as he acted in obedience, but he was wrong. He was more miserable than ever. While he might have had obedient actions, he didn’t have an obedient heart – at least not yet. He made it real clear that my track record proved I could never be the woman he needed and that repairing our marriage would be impossible. That’s when I found this scripture and I posted it on the refrigerator:

“I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” Jeremiah 32:27

The Battle

IMG_0185 FXI knew there was no way God would call him to be obedient without blessing his socks off. I knew as Steve continued to seek God’s will, and stay obedient (whether he wanted to or not), God would show off, and he did – but not right away.

A month went by while Steve’s spirit fought against his flesh. What I mean is, his desires of his heart, his selfishness was still at battle with submitting to the Lord and obeying him fully. Because he hadn’t fully surrendered, he remained in turmoil. This scripture explains why Christians can experience such turmoil and conflict in their heart like this.

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.  Galatians 5:16-24

The Operation

Because of his turmoil, he decided he needed to move out to seek peace, thinking he needed “space”. Over a couple of weeks he was in and out, completely torn and confused. He believed he was trying and I knew he was resisting full obedience. Thursday, December 12th, was the day I told him not to come home until he got his act together and I told him he hadn’t fully surrendered to God. Friday, the 13th he was shot.

Most people would have thought that being shot would be his wake up call but it wasn’t’. It wasn’t until 2 days later when I went to the ER because of severe stomach pain. They discovered I had a tumor that appeared to be attached to my ovary. This is when things began to change.

I went in for surgery at midnight. It was supposed to be relatively quick but, while Steve waited with my family in the waiting room, they realized something wasn’t right. Surgery was taking too long. Unbeknownst to them, the gynecologist had to call in a general surgeon because the gynecologist discovered the tumor was not attached to the ovary, but was attached to the appendix, which was out of his surgical field. While Steve waited, emotions flooded him. It was the first time he really thought about losing me forever.

Despite moving out, God threw us in a hospital room together. We both could hardly walk. Both of us lying there “crippled” Steve tells me a story he heard right after he got shot about the straying lamb.

broken lambThe tale is about how a shepherd protects his sheep. When a lamb goes astray, the shepherd would break the lamb’s leg so he wouldn’t be able to run off and get killed. He’d break it in such a way it would heal well but he would have to fully rely on the shepherd to carry him. By the time the lamb healed, he would have gotten so close to his shepherd that he was know him, trust him, recognize his smell and his voice, and he would never leave his side. Steve realize that was what God was doing to us He was breaking us to save us.

As we were sitting in the hospital room together on the day I was to be released, Steve asked me, “what should we do now?” We both agreed it was obvious God didn’t want us to be apart. We didn’t know how God would fix us, but it was time to relax on our shepherd’s shoulders and just trust that he would carry us through this.

“Blessed is the one whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty. For he wounds, but he also binds up; he injures, but his hands also heal. “Job 5:17-18

The Healing

photo copyWe went to my parents house to heal for the rest of the week. My parents were also a picture of God’s unconditional love, as they embraced Steve and saw God was working in him, and in us.

As we healed physically, we worked to get healthy spiritually. We had a LOT of prayer time together, we studied the Word and did every Bible study we could do at church (Calvary Chapel Vero Beach) and took an in-depth marriage study called 2 Becoming 1. We knew the only way we could make good decisions is to make sure we were in God’s will. We had to focus less on us, and more on Him.

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

The Miracle

You + GodSteve realized that he didn’t have a marriage problem, he had a Christ problem. He had fallen away and he quit trusting the Lord several years ago. He trusted him with some things, but he was still holding on to a few things. He realized when things started going wrong is when he had given up on God and started trying to take control of his own life. The more he chased “happiness” the more unhappy he became. And now that he was chasing God, joy and peace flooded us both.

In many ways, like Christ’s resurrection, our marriage was resurrected. Our marriage died on Friday and rose 3 days later, a whole new marriage – a super natural, more powerful marriage. Honestly, we didn’t know what it would look like months down the road but we couldn’t deny God was at work. That’s when we found this scripture and on the tough days we’d remember this scripture and rest in knowing God was at work.

“For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19

5 Steps to a Happier Marriage

God is still in the miracle business. We are proof of that! Here are just a few things we have learned so far.

IMG_8148B FX1. God will deliver us. Steve learned the difference between surrender & deliverance. He came across this text, “God doesn’t want to remove from me the possibility of falling, he wants me to have the freedom to choose not to fall. I have been praying self-righteously all along “please God take it away (so I won’t have to give it up). There was belief in God without surrender, but that belief availed nothing.” That’s when he realized that was what he was doing. At that point (he read this the day before I went to the hospital), he had been telling God “I will do whatever you ask, but…”. God doesn’t like “buts”. Steve was wanting God to do all the work and Steve also had some stipulations. God was saying, “I’ll deliver you, but you have to be willing to surrender all”. As soon as he realized this, he finally surrendered fully and God immediately delivered him.

2. Nothing is wasted. Every hurt, every mistake and every failure could be used for God’s glory. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” Romans 8:28. God wanted to use our mess and turn it into a message. That is why we are sharing our story. We would have NEVER dreamed we’d be so happy, but just like that clean toilet, you’d never really fully appreciate our happiness, unless you knew just how messy we once were. God wants to clean up every marriage and every life. He did it for us, and we are living proof He can do it for you.

3. A happy marriage is a faith-based marriage. Most marriages are based on a 50/50 relationship. I do my 50% and he does his. This is a recipe for disappointment and disaster. No one can ever know if the other person is doing their share, and we always feel like we are doing more than our share. There’s really no way to accurately measure a 50/50 performance based marriage. However, a faith-based marriage is a marriage completely based on faith that God will do HIS share. I no longer put my faith in Steve to make me happy, I put my faith in God and that he will work through Steve and our marriage for His purposes. I no longer do things for Steve to please Steve, but because it’s pleasing to God. As a result, I don’t get disappointed if he doesn’t notice my efforts because I know God does, and Steve can also rest in knowing he is pleasing the Lord even if I seem unappreciative or oblivious to his efforts.

love note4. Marriage requires grace. Steve often says my forgiveness to him was an illustration of Christ’s forgiveness to us. We, like Steve, may not have been deserving of love and forgiveness, but that is a picture of grace. God extends us grace when we mess up and we are to extend each other grace when WE mess up. Sadly, we put too much faith in people. We treat our spouse like a Savior, expecting them to make us happy, fix all our problems and make our life right. That’s too much pressure to put on a person. We are human and we are going to let people down. How can we expect others to extend us grace if we refuse to extend others the same type of grace. The sooner we realize that, the easier marriage is. When Steve told me “if you mess up, it’s OK. I’m not going anywhere”, it was SO freeing to me! What an amazing feeling to know Steve was going to love me, and I was going to love him, even if we fail. That is grace.

5. Marriage was never designed to make us happy. This sounds depressing to someone who is searching for happiness, but God designed marriage to make us holy (pure). How? Easy! Think about it this way. No one knows how to push your buttons like your spouse. When alone, we may never discover the areas of our life and personality that need work. Our spouse is an instrument that God uses to expose our weaknesses and selfishness so that we can grow. If we run every time we don’t get our way, we are not letting God grow us in those areas. Marriage teaches us how to live to serve others, to love unconditionally, to control our tongue, to deny our own selfish desires, to work hard, to persevere and to trust God. There is no greater instrument than your spouse.

Also, our marriage is a picture of our relationship with God. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” (Ephesians 5:25) and “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.” A healthy marriage teaches us just how much God loves us, and how we are to love each other. Ironically, the more you allow God to work in your life, the happier you get. So while marriage wasn’t designed to make us happy, it is a bi-product of a marriage striving for holiness.

I have so much more I’d love to share, but that would fill a book, so I’ll have to stop for now. What I’d like to leave you with is this. We didn’t have to go through what we went through to get where we are now. That was a choice. The same way the Israelites traveled in the wilderness for 40 years to do a trip that should have only taken 11 days, is the same reason it took us 7 years to get through our wilderness – we were not listening to God’s voice. “The Israelis traveled 40 years in the wilderness until the entire nation—that is, the warriors who had departed from Egypt—had perished because they hadn’t listened to the voice of the LORD” , Joshua 5:6. As SOON as we both started listening to God’s voice, the blessings started pouring in.

You Have 2 Choices

shot gun wedding“We have 2 choices when confronted by Christ. We can exhibit our understanding of the truth about sin and willingly give Him control of our lives, letting Him lead us to freedom. Or, we can ask Him to leave, thereby proving our ignorance of this truth and confirming our need for the kind of extreme consequences that are necessary to put us in a posture of readiness for change.” Bob Coy

Some people quickly respond to the Lord when he speaks to us, others have to get shot first. ;) Either way, God will bring you right back to the same place you started, faced with the same questions: Will you accept the truth about your sin and let Him lead you to freedom? Or, do you want to take another lap in the wilderness until he proves your ignorance and just confirms your need for extreme consequences necessary to get you ready for change? We pray you don’t have to learn the hard way like we did, but we do pray whatever your route is, you end on your knees before Jesus because that is the best pace to be – and that’s when all the excitement begins!

Our Testimony

Below is our live testimony we gave to a couples group locally. It goes much more in depth. I hope it really encourages you, touches your heart, and changes your life and marriage – no matter where you are! Please take some time to listen to this with your spouse. Whether you are going through a tough time now, or to prevent you from making some of our same mistakes. I pray it grows you closer to each other and the Lord. <3

I Survived McDonalds: 6 Fast Food Diet Tips

dieting aloneDieting Alone

As Steve tries to do gain weight, I’m trying to lose it as I prepare to lean out for an upcoming job. This is the FIRST time I have ever dieted alone. Every time I’m dieting, we both are dieting – and that makes dieting a LOT easier! Whether we are getting ready for a job, a shoot or a contest, we have always had each other’s support and eat the same foods. While Steve is supportive, there are things I’m facing (like picking him up high calorie food items for him), that make dieting more challenging.

After an hour of cardio on an empty stomach this morning, between weights, Steve asked me to go through McDonalds and get him a few things. As I am in line, I realize just how hungry I am. I realize I am about to drive up to a huge oversize menu to stare at, all while my stomach growls. (Some people like to call this stage “hangry”. This is when you are so hungry you are angry about it. ha!)

McDonald'sSo, I pull in and make his order. First, I have to say, it’s been years since I’ve been through a McDonald’s drive-thru window unless I was with someone else on a road trip. I actually had to ask Siri where the closest McDonald’s was. As I went through the drive-thru, (and I was shocked to discover they had TWO drive through lanes! That was new!) that’s when I notice McDonald’s has calories listed for every item! Wow! I was surprised.

No Excuses

mcdonalds-Egg-White-DelightSo, since I was about to lift weights and I haven’t eaten breakfast, I decided to order something if I could find something under 300 calories. I ordered the Egg White Delight which is the Egg McMuffin made with egg whites (for 250 calories). 250 calories was the perfect amount for breakfast. I didn’t know McDonalds even had such a thing. Then I checked out. Oh my gosh! No wonder so many people are overweight. McDonald’s food is SO CHEAP – and they make it so tempting to “make it a meal” for just a little more!

As I drove off, I have to admit, I actually reached into the bag and grabbed a pinch of Steve’s hashbrowns, but stopped myself before I actually broke off a piece. NO! I’m not going to do it! I’m going to have my Egg White Delight thingy-ma-job and that’s it! The fact is, there really is no excuse not to stay on your diet. There are low-calorie options everywhere and I am deterimined to have the will-power to say no to foods that tempt me (which are definitely hashbrowns, French fries and stuff like that). While fast food is never ideal, you can still stay on track when tempted or in a pinch as long as you use your brain, and not your stomach.

I am thankful for this experience, as I learn how it feels to diet alone, and I can better understand what my clients experience when they are dieting and their spouse is not. Stay tuned for more on what i learn along this journey! Meanwhile, here’s what I’ve learned so far.

6 Tips to Survive the Drive-Thru

oh-you-ordered-a-diet-coke-with-your-supersized-mcdonalds-meal-you-must-be-watching-your-figure1. Decide NOT to get anything ahead of time. Most of the times I have picked something up for Steve, I have decided not to get anything at all before I even get in the car. Making a decision before I’m faced with more choices makes it easier to stay focused and get out of there unscathed.

2. Get an exact order before you go. If you are forced to pick up food for the family, or a friend, ask them for exact details on their order. Don’t let them tell you to just pick something. That would require you READING the menu. Instead, know what you have to order, speak it into the box and get out quick.

3. Don’t look at the menu. Menus are designed to entice you. Whether you are at a fast food restaurant or at a drive through, a dieter reading the menu is like an alcoholic shopping the beer aisle. It’s totally unnecessary and will set you up for failure. Looking at a menu is opening yourself up to temptation. It’s MUCH easier to stay on plan if you never even give the menu a chance to tempt your taste buds.

McDonald's Drive-Thru4. Don’t go hungry. Even if you can have a couple of bites of a bar before you go, you are less likely to order something last minute if your stomach isn’t screaming at you. Never go out to eat starving, and try to avoid drive through windows when you are hungry. Going hungry makes you think with your stomach and not your brain.

5. If you plan on eating yourself, make your decision ahead of time. The best way to stick to your diet plan is to look at a restaurant’s nutritional menu online before you even get to the restaurant. This gives you plenty of chance to compare calories and substrates without the pressure of someone else waiting on you to order. Better yet, make those decisions on a full stomach. For instance, if you know you have to eat out for lunch, make your selection while you eat breakfast, or at last while you are still full.

joker-eat-mcdonalds-ok-eat-clean-freak-out6. Plan ahead. If you know you will be around bad food, the best way to survive is to plan ahead. Packing a lunch or snack is the absolute best way to prevent diet failure. Food is never as tempting on a full stomach.

While some people may choose to make fun of your tupperwared food, you are quietly providing a good example. You are a constant reminder of how they should be eating too. Be proud of your tupperware! It shows discipline, self control, focus and success!!

Whether you are doing this alone, or doing it with your mate, there is someone out there with even more opposition getting results! So don’t feel sorry for yourself. Embrace your decision to stick to your plan, be proud of your commitment and strive toward your goal!! 

 

Older posts «

» Newer posts

%d bloggers like this: