Something Good

Wilderness

[Andrea] Many of you know the valley I’ve walked through in the past few months. You have seen my brokenness. You have walked alongside me in my despair, and have spoken Truth into my life. More than once, you’ve charged me with these words, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)

As I press onward–as I walk out of my wilderness and into the Light–I have been intentional in my time of meditation. I have chosen to be still; to be present. I have allowed my heavenly Father to cover me in Truth, in love, and in grace. Oh, the immense peace that comes in accepting these things from Him! I have been blessedly overwhelmed.

In the midst of this glory, however, I have been made painfully aware of my lack of faith rooted in Truth. We serve a God that is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. Am I not but a mere human with a feeble mind? I find myself wondering, if God were to have laid out another path for me–if He had chosen the even more difficult path–could I still proclaim, “blessed be Your name”?

We are not promised good things in this life. We are promised suffering. (1 Peter 4) So why is it that we, as Christ-followers, name our God as “faithful” only when our prayers are answered in our favor? What shall we call Him when we experience real suffering? When our marriage is falling apart, we suffer the loss of a child, our home is foreclosed on, or we receive the diagnosis we prayed so hard against? Is our God any less faithful in those moments?

“Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.” Romans 8:28 (The Message)

I found my peace in this Scripture. This is Truth, friends. We can rest in this, for our God works all of these things–good, bad, and desperately miserable–into good for those who serve Him. We are not promised a life of ease and stability. We are promised absolute guidance, companionship, and peace in our Heavenly Father. We are promised grace for the moment.

Finding a place of intentional rest…

OverCommit

For those of you who know me well, you may dub me the “Queen of Overcommitment”. It’s a weakness that I have struggled with for many years. I am a “striver”. I want to donate every spare ounce of my money and time, and then some. It wasn’t until recently that I came to realize that my continuous overcommitment was, in fact, a sin.

Lysa TerKeurst of Proverbs 31 Ministries shared on her Facebook yesterday:

“Before saying yes to one more thing on my schedule today, I should ask myself…

Am I trying to prove something?

Am I trying to impress someone?

Have I thought through the cost of saying yes?

I always try to keep this thought in mind: just because I can do something doesn’t mean I should do it.”

In first Corinthians, Paul shares, “Everything is permissible”–but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”–but not everything is constructive.

Understand here that while certain things may be permissible to us as Christ followers, the same things may not be beneficial. For instance, I believe that alcohol consumption in moderation is permissible to us as Christians. However, if I were to ever find myself in a position where drinking alcohol would bring temptation to an alcoholic or taint my testimony in the eyes of someone with me, I should refrain.

In the same way, I have come to believe and understand that just because I can do something, doesn’t mean I should. As Lysa shared, it is vital that I first evaluate my heart before “saying yes to one more thing on my schedule”. By doing so, we can rest assured that our motives are pure, and that our eagerness to serve is born out of a desire to further the Kingdom rather than for self-gratification.

As I look back to my commitments (both fulfilled and broken) over the past year, I wonder how many times I would have saved myself and my family from heartache had I simply searched my heart before committing to a project or a donation. I wonder how much of God’s plan I’ve missed because I was too busy focusing on doing what was “right” in the eyes of the Church or in the eyes of my family. I wonder how much more effective I would have been if I added a little self-care into my schedule, and allowed myself the rest my body, mind and soul have longed for.

In Matthew 11:28, Jesus himself calls us to a place of rest. He beckons, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” If my heart is filled with all the reckless abandon of one living in the freedom of the Cross, I will seek out not what is permissible, but that which is beneficial. I will not make a competition out of volunteer work, gifts, donations, tithing, time spent in prayer or fasting or meditation. I will focus on living in the grace granted me by faith, and let go of the striving. I will bask in the full love and acceptance of my Father in Heaven. And I will learn intentionally what it is to rest.

Friends, let’s find a place of intentional rest this week.

Free Yoga…At a Cost

Intention

Holy Yoga is my ministry, and I LOVE IT. I love bending and stretching and twisting my body. I love spending time with my Jesus.

This, among other reasons, is why I chose to undergo the intensive process of becoming a Registered Holy Yoga Instructor (R-HYI).

Over the past six months, I’ve undergone over 225 hours of training in yoga, anatomy, and Bible study. I attended a week long retreat where I spent long hours stretching and worshiping Jesus with my beloved Sisters. I went through being broken, and experienced healing like never before in my life.

My husband and I have invested upwards of $3,000 to make this “dream” of mine a reality. (Have I mentioned how much I love him recently?) Ultimately, we are not financially wealthy. But we know that God has called me to Holy Yoga, and through this, He will provide. We may not have all of our wants, but our most basic needs will be met in His beautiful and perfect way.

After completing the initial training, I was further blessed with the opportunity to join in the Holy Yoga Therapy Program. This program is designed to train up Holy Yoga Instructors with a heart for bringing healing and hope through a ministry in yoga. Our passion is to reach those who are broken–physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I could not be more excited to be on this journey of grace and learning with so many incredible women!

As I move forward in training, I am also blessed to begin my first semester of teaching. Already, I have five classes scheduled for the fall, including both Kids’ and Adult Holy Yoga classes. I am still looking to find locations in Mishawaka and Granger to fill 3-4 more slots.

In all of this, I am determined to never “charge” for any Holy Yoga class in Michiana. Here’s the catch: I pay rent for the facility, premiums for yoga insurance, and tuition for continuing education to ensure that I can serve all of my students to the very best of my ability.

All of my Holy Yoga classes are free-of-charge. But please understand that I provide them at a cost. Not everyone will be called to give financially every week. That’s acceptable and it’s Biblical.

Can I ask one favor of you? As you attend classes this fall, will you take the time before each class to pray over any donation you feel led to give? Pray that the Lord provides just enough to meet our needs, and pray that I am wise to use each dollar according to His good an perfect will.

Thank you for lifting me up, Friends. I cannot wait to see you in just a few short weeks! Until then, inhale grace, exhale gratitude.

Romans 15:13 (MSG)

“Oh! May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!”

“Yoga is not for the flexible…”

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Do you not have a “yoga body”? Are you overweight, struggling will illness or disease, or are you “past your prime”?

It has been completely astonishing to me that so many people find such a wide variety of excuses as to why the can’t “do yoga”. Since beginning my journey in instructor training, I’ve had friends, family and even strangers comment that there is no way their body could ever get into that position. These people must not understand much at all about yoga.

Do any of you know what Multiple Sclerosis (M.S.) is? Not really? I can break it down for you in layman’s terms. M.S. is an auto-immune disease that affects the central nervous system. “Sclerosis” means scars, so essentially, people with M.S. have multiple scars on the tissue of their central nervous system. This includes all parts of the brain and spinal cord.

So what does this do? That’s a great question! Individuals living with Multiple Sclerosis suffer from a wide range of symptoms. Think for a moment on how much of your daily life relies on the proper functioning of your central nervous system. Your brain and spinal cord receive all of the information from your muscles, joints and skin, as well as your nose, mouth, ears and eyes. In turn, your brain and spinal cord process this information and send out signals to the rest of the body, controlling both voluntary and involuntary muscle function.

For those living with M.S., these signals are oftentimes interrupted or transmitted incorrectly due to the scarring and damage. Symptoms vary widely, but potentially include, muscle spasms, seizures, dizziness, lack of coordination, difficulty walking, abnormal sensations, cognitive difficulty or confusion, blurred or double vision (or loss thereof), muscle weakness or numbness, tremors, speech impediments and more. No two M.S. sufferers experience the same symptoms or progression, but one may experience all symptoms at various points in time.

Even in times of remission, over 90% of those living with M.S. suffer from chronic and extreme fatigue. As their brains have to work twice as hard to complete simple tasks, energy is used up quickly and inefficiently.

There is currently no cure for M.S., and it is a traditionally progressive disease.

I was first diagnosed with M.S. when I was 19 years old, just a month after my honeymoon. I am a certified Holy Yoga instructor, with 225 hours of training.

And I can do this.

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What’s your excuse?

1 Chronicles 16:11 Seek the LORD and his strength;  seek his presence continually!”

For more info on M.S., please visit http://mssociety.ca/en/pdf/livingWell.pdf.