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The Season of Hagar

“So Abraham rose early in the morning and took bread and a skin of water and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, along with the child, and sent her away. And she departed and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba. When the water in the skin was gone, she put the child under one of the bushes. Then she went and sat down opposite him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot, for she said, “Let me not look on the death of the child.” And as she sat opposite him, she lifted up her voice and wept. And God heard the voice of the boy, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. Up! Lift up the boy, and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make him into a great nation.” Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. And she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink.” Genesis 21:15-19

This year I obeyed God’s voice and by faith I left an Egypt behind. I fled a slavery that not only I have been bound to for a long time, but generations of my family. When God’s people fled the slavery of Egypt, they had for generations been abused, mistreated and enslaved. However, in order to flee slavery it meant fleeing into the desert, into the wilderness. When Hagar was thrust into the desert with her son she was cast out. We can enter into a desert either by necessity to leave a situation or because we have been rejected and cast out. Either way we find ourselves in a time in our life when we need food, we need water, we need something to wear, we need a safe place to sleep. We need. We need the basic necessities of life. Earlier, when Hagar was pregnant with her son she had fled Sarai because of Sarai’s harsh treatment of her, but it was not yet time for her to leave so God told her to go back. However, the first time Hagar was in the desert was when she met El Roi, The God Who Sees. He sees you. He sees you in the desert. El Roi is in the desert. He can help you.

I recently attended a women’s coffee connection at church and one of the women at my table’s discussion was talking about how she was studying Genesis with her church and how they had focused on hospitality. In ancient times it wasn’t like today. There weren’t gas stations or credit cards, there wasn’t an Amazon or even cars with paved roads. In ancient times hospitality was not just a nice Christian kindness, it was literally about survival. Hospitality and community become a necessary part of survival in the desert.

I have needed the hospitatlity of believers and my local community like never before as a single mom. It takes time to build a new life and as I desperately am working hard at trying to follow God’s lead for laying the foundations and building the walls of my new life I am realizing how my son and I are not going to survive this desert season without help. Somedays I really do feel like Hagar. I am so thankful God delivered me out of Egypt. I am so thankful to no longer be a slave, but I do get weary and I do get discouraged and at times extremely worried about how I am going to make it through the desert. How can my son and I make it to the promised land? Somedays it feels a lot harder being in the desert than other days. On the days when I feel weary and tired, on the days where I feel like I just don’t know how we are going to make it financially, like I’ve poured myself out to the max and things are still not working. On those days I have to remember all that God has done for me and give thanks. Like when the Israelites went three days without water after God’s amazing deliverance at the Red Sea. They went three days without water only to find bitter water. It wasn’t until afterward that God brought them to Elim, where 12 springs of water were waiting for them in the desert. Going those “three days” and finding “bitter water” can feel debilitating and terrifying…but we have to have faith in the God who has proven Himself faithful over and over again. God knew where the 12 springs of water were and he was leading them to those springs. We have to have faith.

“Then they came to Elim where there were twelve springs of water and seventy date palms, and they camped there beside the waters. Exodus 15:27

What was one of the mistakes that God’s people continually made in the desert? Grumbling. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 tells us that we have divinely spiritual weapons for the destruction of strongholds. One of those weapons is the weapon of thanksgiving. When we find ourselves in a desert place where it seems like we might not make it, thanksgiving can demolish the strongholds that would keep us trapped in that desert. God doesn’t want us to stay in the desert, if we heed His voice and follow Him then He will get us to the promised land. But, it is really important to give thanks instead of grumbling in the desert. Grumbling in the desert can actually cause us to stay there longer!

Personally, it is hard for me to ask for help. I hate to be an inconvenience or a burden, I don’t want to make people angry or annoyed. However, I am realizing that if I don’t ask for help, we are not going to make it through our desert because there will be times when we’ve “gone three days” and we are in need. Sometimes God will provide for us Himself, other times He will use people. Either way God has prepared a place for my son and I in the desert. He will never tell you to flee an Egypt without preparing the way for you first. If you were cast out, God knew you would be and He prepares the way ahead of time for those that love Him (Romans 8:28).

I cannot even begin to list the number of ways and people that God has sent into the life of my son to prepare the way, and in remarkable “God ways” that just testify to His glory and honor. Like the place we fled to, the day I called to tell her we were coming was the very day after her roommate told her she was moving on. Perfect timing happens when God is writing our story. Or the bed I got just this week for my son, a solid wood, hand-made sleigh style toddler bed. I needed one for my son and someone “happened” to ask if anyone needed a toddler bed. Really? Things like that don’t just happen. God is with us.

What it comes down to for each of us is are we really going to rely on El Roi or are we going to go back to Egypt. When the Israelites saw Pharaoh and his armies chasing after them they cried out “…it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness”. In other words “it would have been better to be in my comfort zone, preserve my pride, have more money, all of my Christmas decorations, my beloved possessions and…be mistreated and abused…than to die in the wilderness trying to get away”*. What was Moses’ response?

Do not fear. Stand by. See the salvation of the LORD.

If we choose to continue to follow Jesus to the promised land then it is going to be on His terms and sometimes that means being humbled and accepting something you would never have accepted in Egypt, and other times means being so incredibly blessed that you feel like a queen or a king in the desert!

When we are in need we can cry out to El Roi and stand on precedence in scripture and boldly come before that throne of grace.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6”

I think it is important to notate that a person can make a really big difference in our lives even if they only help us one time for our whole life, that was their role that God sent them to play in our lives, that is it. Other people will have much larger roles that last for a longer season or even for a lifetime. However, every single one of them was part of God’s plan in your life to give you a hope and a future as Jeremiah 29:11 talks about. We also get to be a part of other people’s lives, whether it is just for one time or for a lot of times. God gives us a hope and a future, if we surrender to Him and trust Him He will help us.

“You will bring them and plant them in the mountain of Your inheritance. The place O LORD, which You have made for Your dwelling, The sanctuary, O LORD, which Your hands have established.” Exodus 14:17

References and Notes:
*Pharaohs don’t typically just let their people go. The most dangerous time for a woman (not sure for a man) fleeing an abusive relationship is when she leaves. If she is lured back by her abuser’s remorse and sorrow or by the wealth and comfort of Egypt the manipulation and control and the abuse for both a woman or a man is likely to get even worse because the abuser realizes that their prey could get brave enough to leave. It is important to have a plan and to work with a professional or the domestic abuse hotline if at all possible. The Lord is our Deliver but we have to take steps of faith, He meets us there.

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Jubilee is Coming

In 2014 God gave me a model for how to effectively teach the Bible to both teenagers and kids at once. I would write a Bible study to go with the weekend’s church-wide topic and then the teenagers would do the study and then apply what they learned by writing a puppet skit and performing it. It was a great way to help make sure the teenagers understood what they had learned as we carefully tried to make sure that the scripts honored God’s revealed truth through scripture. It was also a great way for the kids to learn on Sunday because puppets are an extremely fun and effective module for children to learn through. In January 2016, as I was working on a Bible Study about communion the Lord helped me see something in scripture that I had never seen before. He showed me how the season of singleness, when we are waiting for God to match us with our spouse, can be a picture of how we are waiting for our heavenly Bridegroom. We are waiting for Jesus to come back to earth. We aren’t just waiting for Him, we are longing for His return and we desire Him, as David wrote in the Psalms, as the deer pants after the water we pant for Christ. Whether we are a teenager or an adult, if we are experiencing this thirst for our spouse from God’s will for our lives then we can actually be an example or use our longing for our future spouse on earth to help us teach about the longing for Jesus, our Bridegroom. I remember how excited I was for this new revelation and wishing I had realized this when I was a teenager because I could have used my singleness for God’s glory in that capacity. I was in a marriage covenant and never imagined that I would ever be single again, or at least for a very long time. I thought the opportunity for this witness had passed so here I was excitedly telling teenagers about how awesome it was that they could use their time of singleness as they wait for their future spouse to bring glory to God. Here is the excerpt from the study:

Isaiah 61:10 side-note: Just as the bridegroom and bride are pure while waiting for the marriage covenant, so are we, the church to actively abide in purity/ righteousness while waiting for our bridegroom (the second coming of Christ). Just as the bride/bridegroom are pure in their bodies, God makes us, our souls, a pure, brand-new creation through the imputed righteousness of Christ when we are saved. God adorns, or spiritually clothes us, in His beautiful righteousness. Purity is beautiful, the purity of Christ protects us from God’s wrath and it also is revealed through us as a light to the world as we are transformed to bear His fruit. (To view the whole study check it out here: CommunionPart2 (2)).

Fast forward 3 years and here I am, single, and God has taken me up on how excited I was about how my life as a single could be used to show and teach others how we are all waiting for the Bridegroom’s return. For the return of Jesus.

I mentioned a few weeks ago in my blog “Remember How Beautiful You Are” that God has called me into a new covenant with Him to be a eunuch for 7 years for His kingdom and His glory. He has also called me to allow this season of my life to be a picture of how, just as I long for my future bridegroom, I also long for THE Bridegroom, for Jesus.

In 2013 God promised me that I would have a daughter named Jubilee someday. She has yet to be born and I believe her name also has to do with pointing toward the second coming of Christ….when “lands” that Jesus has purchased will be returned to Him, the rightful owner (us, His children and our physical lands and nations we represent).

I was recently listening to an old playlist of worship music on my computer, “Did You Feel the Mountains Tremble” by Hillsong came up and I noticed the lyrics at one point say:

“And here we see that God, you’re moving
A time of jubilee is coming
When young and old return to Jesus
Fling wide you heavenly gates
Prepare the way of the risen Lord”

A part of waiting for for Jesus is to prepare the way for Him under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. He will do things and lead us in ways that we might not even realize is all about preparing us for Himself. In fact, if we submit to the written will of God’s plan for our lives then that means He began working in our lives before we even existed because he wrote about us before we even lived one day. I personally believe this means even our first day in utero after conception. Psalm 139:16 says that before we even lived one day that God had written and ordained all of our days — we must submit to His story for our lives. 

How can we prepare the way for the return of Jesus? By fulfilling the great commission. When young and old return to Jesus we are paving the way for His return. In fact the Bible says that Jesus will not return until every tongue and nation has heard the gospel. When young and old return to Jesus it creates jubilee, lost souls are being returned to their rightful owner, to Christ their creator! Jubilee prepares the way for the risen Lord, for Jesus.

I just learned in church this past weekend that there are 3 billion people in the world that have never heard the gospel or the name of Jesus at all…these are referred to as the unreached. The passion of Christ is to come for his bride, His bride must be prepared and made ready for her King, for Jesus to come for her.

Are you ready for Jesus to come back? What are we doing to prepare the way for His return?

One organization that I highly recommend getting involved with for this mission is “Teach to Transform“. It is headquartered in Louisville, KY and focuses on sending medical, agriculture and other professionals out into the mission field to teach basic skills to local Christians and empower them to then use these skills to gain access to sharing the gospel within their own culture. This has led to exponential growth as local Christians across the globe have been able to bring the gospel to unreached communities simply by being able to deliver babies or take blood pressure for example. This prevents burn-out for missionaries as well as preventing reliance on western culture. The locals know their culture, their language and dialects, they know so much more and when they are empowered they can bring the gospel in powerful ways. I attended a dinner recently for this organization and was blown away by the numbers of people their model is reaching as well as how fast it is growing and reaching the unreached populations which are their focus.

Let’s prepare the way for our Bridegroom. A time of Jubilee is coming!



References:

Teach to Transform

Chef Ferdinand from FaithAK Videos on Vimeo.

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The Detour

I had an appointment two hours away this week and as I was checking the map that morning I saw that there was an hour delay. Thankfully I was able to leave an hour early with no issue and when I got to the detour we were out in the country, I mean like barns and farms, at some points for quite awhile. It was a beautiful autumn morning. Getting off the highway, got me into the trees with all of their beautiful colors. At first I was so preoccupied with my thoughts about the destination, not literally for that day, but for my life as I’m focusing on what is to come next after this season of transition in my life and I was missing all of the beauty around me. I pulled up to a stop light and the road to my right descended down a hill with awesome orange, yellow and red colors bathed in the bright morning sun as it rose  from that same direction in the east. I realized how I was missing the beauty because I was focusing on the destination. I thought about how I had left the highway and was going to drive an extra hour in the country, but I was still going to get to my appointment on time. In fact I got to my appointment literally right on time…We have divine appointments that God has written into our books (see Psalm 139:16, yes we each have a book He took the time to write as He thought about us in His love before we were conceived). He is not only the Author but also the Matchmaker and He has appointments set up for us with our husband or our wife, with our friends, even with our children for when they will be conceived and born. He is the ultimate appointment maker and keeper…but that doesn’t mean we will be continually buzzing along a highway from one divine appointment to another. Instead we will have unexpected detours that His grace has planned for and we will find ourselves driving out in the country.

Some parts of the detour yesterday morning were bathed in sunlight, but other parts were covered in a dense fog where I could not see very far in front of me. The detour signs were kind of far between, and there were a few times I felt a bit nervous, wondering if I had lost my way. I had never driven that way before and I do not fully trust my GPS. I just had to keep on driving in faith that I had followed the path that the last detour sign had pointed out and that I had not missed a new detour sign telling me to turn to the right or to the left. I had to resist the temptation at one point to not take another path at a V in the road, because it seemed to me that the person in front of me that turned that way had been part of the detour “group” of cars. I decided to not follow them and I am glad I didn’t, as eventually the next detour sign came up again, encouraging and reassuring me that I was on the right path.

Some parts of this “drive” we call life will be us taking detours off of the highway. Detours can be bathed in marvelous beauty, while other parts will be covered in a thick fog. We will have to walk by faith and remember the instructions our Shepherd gave us because sometimes we not see or hear from Him for a moment when we feel lost in a dense fog. We will have to stay focused on the path right here, right now, right in front of us so we don’t get lost, so we don’t lose focus, or our way. Other sheep on the trail may need to take a right or a left, but we need to stay where we are walking or running along at the pace God has decided is best for us and on the path that He has designated for us, not that other driver ahead of us. The Lord will speak to us when we need to turn to the right or the left, but until that time we need to keep on the path He placed us on and watch for Him or listen for Him to direct and lead us at those perfect times, whether it be a time of fog or sunlight.

Eventually I made it back to the highway and I was off buzzing along again at a fast speed, straight ahead to my important appointment and like I said, I made it on time. Just like there are times for detours in life there are times to get on the highway and step on the gas, go, go, go, onward into our destiny. We can endanger ourselves and others during our “highway” times in life if we try to stay “in  our country pace” on the highway. When we are on the highway we need to keep up.

My dad is a former ultra-marathoner. That means He would run 120 mile races. When he would do an ultra-marathon he could not literally run the entirety at once. He would have to stop, eat, sleep, and recharge. The Bible talks about us running the race until we get to heaven. We have to stay fit for the race – and interestingly enough, for a truly long distance race like life that means part of staying fit is stopping to rest, stopping to eat, taking it slow, but at other times giving it our all and actually running.

Our Shepherd will help us. He leads us to green pastures and still waters, but also through the valleys and up and over the mountains. It is an ultra-marathon, but He is with us.

I will have to trust God that He will help everyone He wants me to meet up with to make it to our divine appointments on time and in the meantime I will enjoy the drive along the way to my destiny, whether it is belting out praise and worship songs along the highway, gripping the wheel in the fog…or marveling for a moment at the beauty along sunlit country trails.

Life is beautiful and the drive is part of our story, it is part of my destiny too.

What about all of the detours that were not what God wanted for my life, the ones caused by my sin or by sins of others against me, or just the grief and sorrows of life? Well I just have to remember that my destiny as a daughter of God is ultimately to be part of the Bride of Christ and He can take the most broken, the most horrible, the most appalling things in my life and He can heal me, He can bind me up, He can protect me and redeem me. He can restore me and sustain me even when things don’t make sense. My Shepherd is with me and someday I will see Him face to beautiful face as He has adorned me and prepared me for Himself with His love. Even when the detours don’t make sense, even when we are in the deep darkness of the shadow of death God is with us, leading us to Himself.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2

“And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.” Isaiah 30:21

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Remember How Beautiful You Are

I want to be beautiful…for my future husband and for God. So when God called me this year into being a eunuch for Him for seven years I have been really struggling with something…with my desire to be beautiful for my husband. I will have lost all of my “most beautiful years” according to the world’s standard of beauty and aging before I even marry the man that the Lord has destined for me to marry….and my heart is truly broken over this loss of my “most beautiful years”. I am asking the Lord for me to still be so beautiful for my husband when I become his and for me to not follow the “normal” aging process of this day and age. When the Lord decides it is time for my husband and I to become one I want to just take my husband’s breathe away! I want to be a gift for my husband. A gift of beauty not only in my mind and heart but with my body too! I feel like this desire for our husband as women, to be beautiful for them, is from God. Marriage is a supposed to be a picture of Christ and the church. We are waiting for our Bridegroom (Jesus) to return and in the meantime God is sanctifying us or making us beautiful. My deep desire to be beautiful for my husband I feel like is a picture of this as well.

When I first voiced my brokenness over this to God, months ago, He brought me to 1 Peter 3 which talks about true beauty being in the conduct of a wife rather than her appearance:

“Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands.” I Peter 3:3-5

No matter how hard I fight it someday I will not be as physically beautiful as I am today, although I will be doing everything within my might to preserve my physical beauty for my husband for as long as I can! However, true beauty is most certainly in the heart. I could be breathtaking externally and repulsive internally. I want to first and foremost be beautiful in my heart which is a beauty that will never fade.

Still, as I struggle with my heart’s desire to be physically beautiful as well God has been telling me something. He has been telling me I am beautiful! My heart so deeply desires to be beautiful for my husband, but right now I do not have a husband…but I do have God and He is my stand-in husband during this time of singleness. Several times in the Old Testament God refers to Himself as being a husband to His people. Whether you are single or not, if you have a relationship with God, rest assured He wants to have a tender, intimate relationship with you and He wants to make you beautiful with His Spirit and with His word.

I will rejoice greatly in the LORD, My soul will exult in my God; For He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” Isaiah 61:10

God telling me I am beautiful has been restorative because for the last few years I have felt anything but beautiful. I have felt violated and stripped. I literally felt physically ugly. Finding out how fungus overgrowth had led to a body that was not fertile made me feel so gross physically inside too, that plus the extremely limited diet which led to hypothyroidism and fatigue, limited time for self-care and more things than I’d like to remember…I just felt ugly. I felt gross…and I felt stripped. The journey had revealed to me how I couldn’t eat bread, I couldn’t eat potatoes, I couldn’t eat sugar without breaking out in acne, experience extremely painful periods and not being able to have babies. My cultural heritage felt stripped away as I had to accept the fact that I might never eat a tamale ever again, or indulge in a sopapilla. I felt like the last part of my culture was being stripped away as I had left home years ago and no longer was physically present where mariachi music can be found on the airways or where I hear my dad speaking in Spanish even though I don’t really understand much of what he is saying to me. I just felt stripped. I had stopped wearing makeup because I didn’t want to get anything into my body that could somehow affect my son’s milk since he was so extremely sensitive. I stopped wearing my contacts because I was up around the clock pumping and making food from scratch. I just stopped…I stopped feeling beautiful. I was feverishly fighting for my son and beauty didn’t really have a place in my life. Other emotionally draining situations in my life further destroyed any sense of beauty that I had left. I felt like nothing but God was left for me to stand on, He was my Rock and my Fortress, but I felt stripped of everything but my Rock and I felt like there was no hope or reason for ever trying to be beautiful physically ever again.

Have you ever felt that way?

Our God can restore what has been taken from You. He can restore our sense of beauty. Zephaniah 3:17 says that God sings over us with loud singing and quiets us with His love. Let Him quiet you today with His love and let Him tell you that you are beautiful. We must receive this from Him. We can either keep our walls of lies up saying there is no reason to even try to be beautiful anymore or we can listen to our Bridegroom’s love song.

“The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. Zephaniah 3:17

Recently a friend came over for lunch and on the way she bought the cutest little bouquet of flowers for me with a note that read “Just a reminder of how beautiful you are!”. This was so encouraging. Just like God sings over us with His love we can “sing” over one another with compliments of love too. I have been ministered to with compliments recently and it has been amazing how restorative they are. Compliments from friends, from fellow church members and even from complete strangers! Yesterday at Goodwill I was at the checkout and the cashier told me how beautiful my hair was. This was so nice of her, and timely because I had seen a picture of a friend’s daughter on Facebook whose hair had been professionally done and really was so beautiful. I had started to feel like my naturally wavy hair wasn’t all that great and then this cashier just genuinely told me what she was thinking in her mind. I think we need to start doing more of that. If we think another lady’s hair or face or outfit or whatever looks nice, tell her! I think we assume that since we can see how beautiful she is that she must be aware of it herself, but this is not always true!

I recently went on a trip to Alaska. several people took the time to tell me how beautiful I am and a  week later as I sat on my therapist’s couch my therapist told me how beautiful I am and I could tell she was heart-felt in her expression as well. As I went to the car after therapy that day I sat there for a moment and thanked God for these people who took a moment to tell me how beautiful I am. As I drove away from my therapist’s work that day, feeling beautifully encouraged and beautifully restored a song came on the Christian radio station saying “you are beautiful” over and over again. I felt like God was telling me He finds me to be beautiful too, just like that man at church and just like my therapist. I paused and I took a picture at the stop light, but I’m not going to share that picture here because that picture, that specific moment was between me and God. I don’t have to tell people which picture of me that was. I don’t have to herald it as proof of the moment. God and I have intimate moments, where He can tell me I am beautiful and it means the world to me but that moment doesn’t belong to the world. It belongs to me and Him.

I have actually felt convicted about this as I have take a few selfies where I felt I looked extra-beautiful in that moment and then posted them as my public profile picture. I just felt like in particular a few of these photos were so beautiful that they needed to belong only for the eyes of my future husband and for God so I actually went back recently and deleted the photos I felt this way about.

I started this blog out posting about how I want to be beautiful for two men – for God (Yes, I know He is technically not a man) and for my husband (who I will not be joined with for some time)…but I don’t want to just be beautiful for them I want to honor them. I want to honor them with my beauty and to steward the measure of beauty that God has entrusted to me in a way that honors my husband and honors my God. Even though my husband is not my husband right now, he is still my husband, just not yet…and I can still honor him with how I steward my beauty right now. Someday when I am married I will be able to unleash my beauty upon my husband during those intimate moments that do not belong to the world, but until that day comes I need to tend to it in a way that is holy and pure. Will I sometimes miss the mark as I make the decision to post a photo and later regret it, probably, but I will be trying my best to be holy, pure and honorable while at the same time contending for my beauty by doing all that I can to be beautiful for my husband when we are made one, and for my God both now and forever.

In the end any beauty we have is a gift from God and for God and His glory. May He be glorified and honored in any measure of beauty that He gives me grace to have. Honestly, I feel like God wants to help me to be beautiful for my husband too! I feel like He wants me to honor Him and my husband by taking care of the gift of beauty that God has entrusted me with. We each have been given a measure of a variety of things and we are called to be stewards of that measure. Do things happen that are beyond our control? Absolutely. Do we live in a fallen world? Absolutely. But to not take care of what God has given us with excellence is to treat lightly that which was a gift from the Lord Himself.

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27
“Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you, Whom you have received [as a Gift] from God? You are not your own, You were bought with a price [purchased with a preciousness and paid for, made His own]. So then, honor God and bring glory to Him in your body.”
I Corinthians 6:19-20 AMPC

So beautiful, remember Whose glorious and gorgeous image you bear today and let Him beautify your heart, your mind and your body for His glory…Remember how beautiful you are!

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Have More Fun

What is one of the best medicines to reduce stress? Having more fun.

God recently took extreme measures to council me in this area. I have recently felt the need to be a “super mom times ten million” given some life circumstances that have left me as a single mom who would love to be able to stay at home with my son still*, but also am having to face the reality of provision for my son and I. God refers to Himself several times throughout scripture as being a “Husband to his people”. I have sought for Him to be as a Husband for me to help me provide for my son while also making my son’s life and well being as blessed and as healthy as possible. Unfortunately I was allowing myself to let the pressure for provision to override everything else. If I am staying at home with my son, but am putting all that pressure on myself we are not going to win at this thing called life. I cannot do it all myself. I need God’s help and I also need the help of my community (not as in financial assistance, but as in me relying on help, for example God has provided someone who can watch my son and who is willing to let me pay her with things such as Well Beyond healthy chocolate that I already own). Throughout this time I have been hearing God talk to me about the importance of having fun and the importance of cultivating relationships, but I wasn’t really practicing it. While I could hear him I just felt too overwhelmed with my health coach certifications, my online teaching, my to-do list for getting my sourdough business going and just life in general which is a lot when taking care of a toddler (that alone feels like a full time job sometimes)! I also found myself neglecting friendships God has provided for me, neglecting fun time and play dates as I was trying to do too much at once.

Building takes time, I can’t build a new life over night. I have to surrender to the process, the time it takes to build. To lay the foundation and to lay one brick at time. If I focus just on my to-do list then the most important parts of life get missed. My relationships with my family, my son, my friends, myself and with God. A big part of having relationships is having fun. So what were those extreme measures God took to get through to me? Well He stopped just talking to me and took action. I ended up in a position where I had a plane ticket to Albuquerque, New Mexico for some appointments…and they all got cancelled at the last minute. I had not paid insurance for the ticket. I was really tempted to pay the $200 transfer fee but the Lord had brought me to a verse about a time of refreshing in the wilderness. When I read it I had thought, hmmm, I’m getting ready to go to the wilderness (NM is most certainly a wilderness compared to where I am — at least in the valleys!). Because of that verse I got on the plane. I ended up landing in NM on grandparents day. I got a rental, drove over 3 hours from the airport to where my family lives (which I would not have originally gone down to see them with the appointments) and I got to see my grandma on grandparents day! What a huge blessing! I got to have fun with my family and visit with them and tell them I love them. It was a beautiful time. What did we do? We had fun! Everyone piled into cars at the last minute and we drove out for a beautiful sunset evening of play. It was so beautiful and it was so fun at the same time!

It was such a tender gesture of love from God. He also gave me the desire of my heart for a fresh fig (which I hadn’t had in 12 years). He showed me how important it is in His eyes for me to see my family and to cultivate relationships with them. I hadn’t seen my grandma in over 3 years! He ministered to me during this stressful time in my life by letting me just have fun for an evening with my family.

When I got on the plane I thought I was going to have to pay for the plane ticket since the appointments were cancelled late Friday. After I got back from my quick trip, later that week I got a call from the non-profit that was going to reimburse my travel and they said that although it was a bit of a gray area, that because I did not have control over the last minute cancellation that they were still going to reimburse the cost of my ticket!! ❤ God gave me a free flight home!!!! He is so good.

Before I knew that I would be reimbursed the Lord spoke to me. I drove over 3 hours and 24 hours later I drove over 3 hours again, plus the money. But, He counseled me that it was worth the time and the high price for me to let myself have fun and to cultivate important relationships in my life. God also laid on my heart that He is willing to pay a high price to express His love toward me. Just as man buys a woman a ring to secure her to himself as a wife, Jesus paid the highest price to secure me as His own on the cross. Even beyond the initial price though, God loves to lavishly love on us with gifts like this gift I had to see my family and to have fun with them. Not only is He willing to pay a high price for us, but He is also willing to go through the high  effort required to love on us, to go through any “inconvenience” like driving 3 1/2 hours when there is an airport only 90 minutes away. It says in the Song of Solomon that God is willing to leap over mountains to get to us.

“Listen! My beloved! Look! Here he comes, leaping across the mountains, bounding over the hills.” Song of Solomon 2:8

Having fun is not just important for sustaining and growing our relationships with important people in our lives, but fun is important for our physical health as well. Physically, mentally and spiritually we are blessed when we have more fun. As a health coach I focus on how we can achieve health optimally in all three areas of our life. I believe we cannot really be healthy unless we are focusing on all of these areas and that they are deeply intertwined with one another. As a Christian health Coach I also believe that all three of these areas have to come under authority and balance with the Holy Spirit.

There are many physical health benefits to having fun and laughing. Dr. Sears recommends you “incorporate laughter into your daily exercise routine” (1) because the scientific evidence for how having more fun positivity impacts your body is so overwhelming. For example laughter has been scientifically proven to help bodies recover from chronic disease, to rewire brains with “happy” pathways, to relax you, and to give your body an inner workout. (1)

We don’t stop playing because we grow old;
we grow old because we stop playing.
George Bernard Shaw

Want a resource to help you have more fun? Check out Mandy Arioto’s (current MOPS CEO) “Have More Fun Challenge” and get an email for 5 days with a challenge for incorporating more fun into your life today.


Cultivating and honoring relationships is an important part of life and health, fun is a way God created for us to do that. Another important part of life is honoring our relationships with family and friends. Even after they have passed. Not only did I get to visit my living grandmother, but I also got to honor my deceased grandparents for grandparents day. My paternal grandmother taught me a lot about honoring those that have gone before us. She lost a son to SIDS when he was just 8 months old. For my grandmother Memorial Day wasn’t as much about the military members that had lost their lives (although they deserve honor too) but more about her baby she had lost so many years before. She brought me one time when I was a girl to visit his grave on Memorial Day and to place an arrangement at his grave. Her heart was the heart of a mother, her baby was always her baby. When my grandfather passed she would regularly wash his headstone and pull weeds from around his grave. I felt it was only appropriate for me to do the same for her on grandparents day. I love you my grandma, I will never forget you either…Just like your son was always in your heart, you will always be in mine!

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In the process of pulling the weeds that become tumbleweeds at my grandparents resting place.


* Some would think it is foolish that I am trying to be a stay at home mom and make a sustainable income but what I am doing is contending for my destiny. I have known since I was a little girl that I am supposed to be a wife and a mother. My heart has always been to be a mother, at home with my children, intentionally raising them to be men and women of God. I am fighting for my destiny and I am seeking God to help me to do that. I have faith that He will. For more on contending for our destinies read my blog post called “Bagworms“.

Naomi is incredibly blessed to be the mother of a precious lively two-year old boy and to be an adopted daughter of the Lord. She is a certified health coach with a passion for how real food, real light and really addressing the body, the mind and the spirit can lead to lasting transformation. She has personally found that the holistic approach to health plays a critical role for helping her to live a victorious life. She can help you by providing you with tools for success to reach your own health goals, to encourage you and to keep you accountable, as you move toward and lead a vibrant, healthy life! Reach out to her today for a free coaching consult and to get 10% off our first coaching session, just mention “Proclaim His Whisper” to her for your discount!

The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment

Sources

  1. https://www.drsearswellnessinstitute.org/healthy-living/healthy-tips/family-stress/laughter-heals/?fbclid=IwAR1uwRnHA2Y15DMSKOm4hhwIO6L166wkdYWTYZK6yaVdJ3vit-ydIhJXTNoWe don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.
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Peace

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

Today I am thankful for God’s gift of peace to me. As His daughter HIS Peace is part of my heritage. It is part of what Christ won for me on the cross. HIS peace is a peace that passes all understanding. When I spend time with Him and become one with Him through the Holy Spirit His peace ministers to me even when life whirls around me.

Recently I took my eyes off of my Beloved and let the pressures of this world get to me. I felt stressed out and overwhelmed. I even began to feel like it was physically hard to breathe! Stress literally makes our blood vessels constrict and makes it harder for oxygen to freely flow throughout our body!

The Lord rescued me from myself, caught my gaze again and Has me safely wrapped up in His arms again. He is so Big and Mighty. He is Our Beloved. He is our peace in the midst of the storm. Lean on Him, release everything to Him. Delight in Him. He gave so much so You could be His and so He could be Your peace.

#GiveThanksWithAGratefulHeart

The Great Wrestler

You are the Great Wrestler Oh Lord, You wrestle with the sinner’s soul. You don’t grow weary, You don’t give up, Your passion, Your might, Your fury are incredible. Who can stand against You? What weapon of darkness can prevail against You? You wear victory like a crown and by Your touch we are healed. The souls You have secured rejoice, the mighty waters roar, the earth trembles, the heavens declare, Who is Mighty like our God, Who but He is worthy of our praise? Majestic King, Mighty Warrior, Prince of Peace. You reconcile your enemies unto yourself with the blood of Your Son. You call us up from the dead, You place a new heart within us and Your glory upon us. Praise Him together, clap your hands, break forth in song. Worship Him all you nations, shout His name, Victory has come, VICTORY HAS COME!