Thursday, May 9, 2013

Stressed-Less Living - Melanie's Blog - Focusing on God not Circumstances (Melanie S)



This blog was originally written to address those working to become 'healthy' in body, mind,and spirit;  by giving up bad habits and creating good habits.  The God Habit, The Healthy Habit, and the list goes on.

However, As I read Melanie's blog today, I couldn't help but think about how this relates to our Proverbs 31 study, Stressed-Less Living by Tracie Miles. Sounds like Melanie is feeling just like me, stress affects every area of our lives, including the making and breaking of habits.  Tracie talks in Chapter 5 about how it affects our health and wellness.  We are learning so much about stress and how to handle it.  Once again Melanie's post resonates the fact that we are so prone to react to life's circumstances - we take our focus off of our Heavenly Father and put it on our circumstances "stressors", which causes a domino affect. The results - we begin to self sabotage ourselves - pick up bad habits - focus on life's happenings instead of our Heavenly Father.  How do your prayers look over areas you are struggling with?   Are you asking God to change your circumstances? or are you praying He will change your heart so you will reach out and find peace in Him?  Are you focused on Him or every issue in your life preventing no room for Him?  Are your life circumstances driving you - or is God's Word?

Read Melanie's awesome blog below.  Pay special attention to the end when she talks about Peter being able to walk on water, UNTIL he took his focus off Jesus ~ WOW. 

Melanie's Blog:

Oh my, every topic I have written on is an area I struggle with – an area that I need help in.   God is good and He wants the best for you and me!  How exciting!!
OK, so we know that a habit is developed by repetition.  A bad habit is broken when we stop doing something over a period of time.  In this chapter, Joyce Meyer tells us to focus our attention on one habit at a time.   We cannot try to develop multiple habits and make drastic changes all at one time – it just won’t work.   Joyce gave us some examples in this chapter.   One thing that has helped me drink my water is carrying a gallon jug of water to work with me and filling my water bottle from it.  By seeing exactly how much water I drink helps me make sure I get in the recommended amount of water daily.  Another thing that helps me is when I buy snacks in bulk, I have to go ahead and break them down into single serving baggies.  Otherwise I am too tempted to have more than a serving.  If I want more, I have to make the decision to go get another baggie.  It makes me stop & think or I could say that it makes me “re-focus”.

She also suggests putting reminders around the house.  These need to be positive reminders.   Oh how many times, when starting a new diet or exercise plan, have I sabotaged myself by negatively focusing on the things I can’t eat or can’t do.  Focus on the positive…the healthy choices you are making, the way you feel after completing your exercise plan, the positive changes happening in your body, the new dress you have chosen for your reward, etc.
You might decide to create a “vision board” for your new habit to help serve as a reminder of your goal.   Check out http://www.proverbs31.org/everyday-life/how-create-spiritual-vision-board-2012-10/ for more information.

Jesus calls us to fix (focus) our eyes upon Him.
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, 2 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

Keeping our focus on Jesus will give us strength to persevere.  As our key verse, Philippians 4:13 reminds us – We can do ALL things in Christ who strengthens us.


In Matthew 14:28-36, Peter walked on water by faith until he took his eyes off Jesus.   He allowed doubt to take his focus away.   Where is your focus today?  Are you focused on Jesus or focused on the difficulties of life?    Keep your eyes on Jesus and let Him guide you to victory!!
Father God, thank you for each lady working on tackling her temple – mind, body & spirit.   Help us to let go of all the things that hinders us and the sin that entangles us so that we can run with perseverance the race You have marked out for us.   Let us keep our eyes on Jesus, to follow your example so that we can become the women You desire us to be.  As new habits are developed and bad habits broken, let us rejoice and thank you for the blessings You provide as we know none of it is possible without You.   Thank you for loving us so.  In Jesus name, Amen

What have you found helps you stay focused on the new habit you are developing?   Share with us below.
May God bless you abundantly!

Love & big hugs until next time,
Melanie

Stressed-Less Living ~ Matters of the Heart

 
Peace is not a matter of life or circumstances; it's a matter of the heart.   ~Tracie Miles


Have you noticed the pattern of our lives?  Each life tells it's own story.  I sat in a circle with some wonderful Jesus girls this week and we took each other down the paths that were our lives.  As you can imagine we all had one thing in common.  Not a single story was without circumstances that affected us emotionally ~ that affected our hearts. 

This week in our Stressed-Less bible study we met Hannah.  Hannah was the barren wife of Elkanah, but she was not his only wife. Elkanah was also married to Peninnah who had multiple children.  The family lives in the book of 1st Samuel which carries us through the trials and tribulations Hannah faced.  She was barren, Peninnah was not. The marriage alone was difficult, although acceptable in biblical times ~ can you imagine sharing your husband?  To make things even more difficult, Peninnah taunted Hannah constantly.  This was not a marriage 'made in heaven'  or was it?

I grew up in a great neighborhood with girlfriends to play with.  I have some awesome memories of amateur concerts in my basement singing along side of Captain and Tennille, Barbara Streisand, Elton John, The Beetles  (it was the 70's what can I say!).  Beside our house was a long open grassy field that hosted many of the neighborhood football games, and hanging on the power lines were chestnuts connected by twine that had been thrown up around the lines.  We played kick the can after dark, our one street light being 'home' base.  The Bills stadium was close enough that we could ride bikes to it and did.  I remember watching OJ Simpson (in better days) during open practice times through a chain link fence. Even today I feel all warm inside as I remember those times.

Unfortunately,  the pattern of our lives is that each life comes with circumstances ~ mine was no exception.  My family was a bit on the dysfunctional side - well, maybe a lot on the dysfunctional side.  We had daily circumstances that eventually led to divorce after 19 years, my father struggled with alcohol, and I lost my mother in a car accident at 12 years old.  I was moved 750 miles away to another state, and my 'big' brother stayed behind to continue his life in the only place we had ever known.  That separation was devastating.  I didn't realize how much until I became an adult and knew I had missed out on a relationship with my brother. Not to mention, I would never bond with my niece and nephews.  It was yet another tragic loss.  With the move I  met with a culture I didn't know, and started with yet another set of life's circumstances ~ a pattern ~ just in another time and another place.

I now know we serve a powerful and mighty God. A God that can change any and every circumstance that arises if he chooses to.  How many of us went through life (and maybe still do) crying out to God to take away the circumstances, to change them, or just MAKE THEM STOP? I used to.  If I'm honest I still do at times.  Tracie teaches us in this chapter that God is not interested in changing circumstances, He is interested in changing US through those circumstances. WOW. 

As a result of our circumstances, we have stories to tell. We have testimonies of redemption. REDEMPTION!  The turmoil of our past or  the circumstances of our future do not have to not set the bar for how we live our lives today.  Our heavenly father is begging us to come to Him for all things. His heart breaks when we are blind to His grace and mercy.  A grace and mercy that can forever set us free from the bondage caused by circumstances. When we open our hearts to Him and reach out to Him for all things we will come to know peace and joy.  We will have the ability to face circumstances in a whole new light.  A powerful and never-ending light. The light of our Heavenly Father.   He is a Father looking to change our hearts, not our circumstances.

~ Dear God, today I reach out to all that are suffering today as a result of circumstances.  I pray Father that their hearts be softened and that they reach for your light in the midst of whatever they may be facing.  We know you are the answer Father.  The ultimate and only solution to every situation. We thank you Father for being our Rock. We thank you for the opportunity for everlasting life in a place we can only imagine, with You.  Thank you for each person here that has a story to tell, a story you planned.  Thank you for Tracie, for sharing her heart with us and opening our eyes to ways through you we can battle the stress that we face every day while living on this earth. We love you Father. We worship you. It is in your Holy and Most precious name we pray.  Amen

If you don't know our Heavenly Father as your light, reach out today. Right now. Ask Him to come into your heart, to change your heart. Ask Him to forgive your sins. and let today be the day of a new beginning.  A beginning with a Father that is always there, always with us and regardless of our circumstances can fill us with peace and joy. FREE - there is no price to pay.  He already paid this price for us when he died on that heavy dreadful cross, yet a cross that signifies promises of everlasting life with Him in a place we can only imagine.  

In His Precious Light I Stand,

<3 Kelley











Thursday, April 25, 2013



 
To my Favorite Jesus Girls, Family, Friends:

My heart is bursting! Approximately four years ago I entered into a glorious and precious relationship with Jesus Christ.  It is a relationship that cannot be justified with words and continues to intensify with every breath He gives me. 

Today as I write this, I don't know what the future holds.  I do know that my heart is on fire for Him.  There is an urgency in my being that I cannot explain.  It is mighty and powerful ~ it is insatiable.  It is desire.  

In a herculean attempt to absorb everything possible and to quench my thirst for this new found knowledge of the King, I have read a massive number of books.  My book shelves overflow in never-ending waves. The days of James Patterson have gone. Yet Today, it is still not enough!  I continue to read, I lead online bible studies, I blog, I work closely with the recovery community, I participate in local and international missions but the desire just grows stronger with each passing day!   It has been my prayer for the past year that God mold me and make me.  That He guide me and direct me.  That He make clear to me why my cup runneth over, but I continue to thirst.  Night after night my prayer comes from Isaiah 64:8:


But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand. 

God has been molding me with his potter's hands.  Molding me into a model of His own creation, a creation with work to be done for His kingdom. Our relationship has changed - He has taken me from his newborn child into His disciple and I'm bursting with the need to take this story and share it with the world.  My heart is swollen and my brain on overload with the desire to plant seeds ~ to change lives. To step out in the name of my Father in ministry.

I have a story to tell, much like each of us. It doesn't include sexual abuse, or drug addiction, but the story of death that left a young, precious child of God lost and feeling abandoned, struggling to find a purpose and place in this big world, a struggle that lasted years.  A struggle that was part of God's Amazing Grace, His plan - but a plan misunderstood.
 

Our children are hurting. Tragedies continue day after day in their lives. Drugs to conquer pain, promiscuity to feel loved, children with a fear so deep they can't speak and go through life mute.  Tragedies that ultimately lead them astray, away from the narrow road to a pathway of destruction.

Our Heavenly Father SAVES!  The knowledge of Him, His love, His Word brings freedom.  It provides light to the lost, empowers the weak, and gives voice to the muted one.   I stand saved today.  Saved by the Mercy and Grace he so graciously blankets upon us every day of our lives and He has shown me purpose. 

Last year at this time I felt led to join Proverbs 31 Ministries for a Writer/Speaker conference in Charlotte.  However, as time passed, I no longer felt the path was meant for me.  His work with me was still in progress.  This year, I am as sure as I can possibly be that I am meant to be there - for the Writer's Track.  I prayed and prayed - almost waiting too long to say "OK GOD, I GOT IT!  I hear you"!  This conference provides the education and knowledge I need to take my journey to the next level. To learn how to put my story on paper and then how to share it with the young people of the world. God has been working on my heart fast and furiously - the pressure building within my heart and soul - quite explosive.  I have work to be done in response.

I cannot do this on my own.  I would be honored and humbled if you would consider praying for me as I begin the next steps.  Pray that God will continue to show me His desired direction, and that everything I do on this journey will only bring him glory. He is my Rock. He gave me life.  He continues to mold me every day.  It is for Him I live. 

In order for me to attend this conference, there is a financial goal that must be reached.  I would like to ask you to pray that if this is where I am supposed to be that God will allow the financial need to be met. This conference provides 3 days of classes with authors, publishers, and speakers. A chance to learn HOW to put my story on paper in a form that will catch the eye of the struggling young girl or boy and lead them to Jesus with just a seed.  With Faith.  Today I have drawn a circle around this financial need. 

In Mark Batterson's book 'The Circle Maker', Mark talks about Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears.  Of circling them as Joshua led his men at Jericho, seven times around the city.
  
On the seventh day, they got up at daybreak and marched around the city seven times in the same manner, except that on that day they circled the city seven times. The seventh time around, when the priests sounded the trumpet blast, Joshua commanded the army, “Shout! For the Lord has given you the city!  Joshua 6:15-16
 
May 6th I will be in the Proverbs 31 office.  I will walk the grounds and pray while I am there. Although the conference is not held there, many of the authors, speakers, and the Online Bible study team is on staff there.  It is the knowledge of this team that will help me in taking the next step in my journey.

If you would like to help me take this next step and be a part of an answered prayer, donations are accepted.  The Conference and Hotel Package is going to cost $1005 total.  This includes a double occupancy room, food, and class materials Thursday - Saturday.  There is no dollar amount too small. Every dime will go to bring Him glory and help me to share the gospel with others.  It is tax deductible.

In God's Precious Love,  Kelley Murphy

**To donate please mail checks to me at:

Kelley B. Murphy
6872 E Peach Road
Ridgeway, SC 29130
  
Private Message me on FB if you prefer to make donation via debit or credit card  'Kelley Blair Murphy'

Note:  Proverbs 31 is no longer able to accept direct donations due to the large volume.


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Stressed-Less Living ~ What is the REAL problem?

"Don't be afraid, for I am with you.  Don't be discouraged, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you.  I will hold you up with my victorious right hand"  Isaiah 41:10 (NLT)
 
Today's blog is in conjunction with a bible study I am participating in through Proverbs 31 Ministries.  Together we are studying the book 'Stressed-Less' Living by Tracie Miles. 

Perfect book for me right?  Another book on how to live stress free - how many of these do we read or scan in our lifetime.  We're truly out to find a remedy to living a 'stressed-less' life. But, is there really such a thing?

Tracie describes stress like this: 'a never ending cycle of emotions'  - a vicious cycle!  Like being on a merry-go-round that never stops, leaving you feeling trapped in a blur of colorful horses with wide-eyed, evil looks on their faces'   - AH HA!


That's it!  We go around and around and around and it truly has become the norm for us.  We continue spinning out of control, those evil-eyed horses looking us straight in the eyes - however, we can't seem to find any way off the 'ride of life'.  Every day something else is added to our already overloaded plate and it grows and grows until it's towering high above us with nowhere to go but into a downward spiral, crashing at our feet as we become unable to do one more thing  (or so we think).  The truth is, the vicious cycle doesn't stop when that tower crashes to the ground - it's just at that time we have a melt-down - cry, reach out to God, lick our wounds, address our emotions and pick ourselves back up for more of the same.  BUT, for me, this is normal!   I am the full time employee of a large company doing stressful work, co-owner of our family business (payroll, taxes, paperwork-truly the job of 1 person full time), wife, mother, grandmother, maid, psychologist, laundromat attendant, Sunday school teacher, volunteer ministry worker,  and this season it's college advisor/financial aid preparer as well - you name it - I have the title and the duties to go along with it. So, pay somebody to help, right?  WRONG - who can afford that?  yet... I'm TIRED!  Exhausted!  How many others have I described today?  As I sit here and type this, I honestly cannot think of one thing that I can hand off to someone (that they will take without substantial pay!).    If I don't do it, it won't get done.  Well then........  the crazy person in my head will not allow something to go undone - especially if that means implications later...truth is, I have enough to do, no way I want to deal with more later.....is this wrong?


So, there it is - the REAL issue - this is MY way of life.  This is MY normal.  This is all I know - what I feel I'm expected to carry out.    I see no end in sight.  Do I need to make changes?  Likely. However, I've spent all week in my head working through how this might ever be possible - I have no resolution.   I was taught if you have an issue, make sure you come to the table with a resolution.  For this I have none.

Tracie says:  'Willpower comes when there is sufficient information to signify that a change is crucial.  The  motivation to change can come from Matthew 19:26'  - all things are possible with God.

I know it is within Him I will find an answer and that I may not even realize the work being done behind the scenes, but that eventually things will begin slowing down - life won't be like riding a spinning top - and it will be due to my Father in Heaven who has me, even when I feel far, far away.  Like our previous study - its necessary to Let Go and Let God.  To immerse in His word and find comfort and peace daily in our sometimes unmanageable worlds. 

Read Psalm 16 today. Find your peace.

'Lord you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure.   The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.  I will praise the Lord who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.  I keep my eyes always on the Lord.  With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body will also rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay.  You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand'...... Psalm 16:5-11


Today my prayer for me, and for each of you is that we seek guidance from the ONE who can provide for our every need.  Allow him to be your portion and fill your cup with a remedy not even money can buy!

~ Until the next Chapter!   Find a few minutes of Stressed-Less living today!

<3   Kelley


















Wednesday, March 27, 2013

40 Days in The Wilderness - To fast or not to fast.....

 

 Though the fig tree should not blossom, And there be no fruit on the vines, Though the Yield of the olive should fail, And the fields produce no food, Though the flock should be cut off from the fold, And there be no cattle in the stalls, Yet I will exalt n the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. 

Habakkuk 3:17-18

My devotion this morning was centered around my food addiction - what can I do to get in the right frame of mind - to put God over food and really make happen what needs to happen. In another book I'm reading, the first chapter is about fasting - about choosing 7 foods and eating only those 7 foods for 4 weeks....so in my bible time today I was led to Deuteronomy 8: In my NIV bible it is titled "Do not forget the Lord". 8:2 Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. 3 He humbled you causing you hunger and then fed you with manna - to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.

In a book by John Piper, John says: 'The son of God began his earthly ministry with a 40 day fast. This should give us pause. Especially if we - who are not God - have moved into ministry heedless of the battle we may have to fight.....can we really face the superhuman hazards of life and ministry without walking with Jesus through the wilderness of fasting? ...I think we must walk there to learn from him. He was the son of God, and we are not, but he did say "As the Father has sent me, I also send you" John 20:21. - wow, wow, wow!   And Charles Spurgeon said:  'If he who was the light of the world fought for his fire with fasting, is there something to be learned here for our flickering wicks?'

For me, a fast is in order. I'm taking the challenge fasting by choosing 7 foods for the next 40 days. As I fast I plan on spending every morning in prayer not focusing on ME and my needs - but in focusing on what Jesus went thru for me. It doesn't seem enough to just pray for deliverance from this issue - I think God truly wants me to focus on his gifts to me - what all He has done for me - because, living in the flesh I'm not getting it. Perhaps if I fast and pray and reflect as he did 40 days in the wilderness, I will not only become closer to Him but will stop making food such a huge part of my life -that I will use it for fuel instead of pleasure - and get a small feeling of what His shoes felt like. - I will let you know what 7 foods I choose and you can help me stay accountable on my walk! 
Maybe a fast of some sort may be what you need as well. John Piper has a great book out - 'Hunger for God' - there he talks about fasting and why we need it periodically. A fast is simply giving up something you LOVE - something that will not be comfortable to give up - something that will send you to The Word instead of the refrigerator - maybe that's the diet soda you have been drinking, or sugar - maybe it's the flavored creamer you are using many times a day - A fast does not mean you have to go without eating - see Daniel's fast in the bible - tailor your fast, but remember - it must be uncomfortable, any attempt to walk in the shoes of Jesus is going to be just that.
Thanks for letting me share my morning devotion! And how appropriate that I read another devotion this morning that reiterated loud and clear that I need to get out of the flesh and into The Word -I need to quit messing around and start surrendering all to Him, I need to Let Go and Let God. Praising God for perfect words and perfect timing.  
 
 
 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Let It Go - Ego and All


A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart.  
What you say flows from what is in your heart
Luke 6:45

As some of you may know, I am participating in an online bible study that is reading 'Let it Go' by Karen Ehman.  The last two chapters (6 & 7) of the book have sure shed some not so great light on me! Challenging me to decipher all aspects of my family life - leaning towards, I am just not perfect (does that surprise you!? I am sure not).
In this last chapter I determined I really have a BIG, BIG ego!  Yes, I have an ego. I went through life thinking that was truly a man thing - ha, I was mistaken.  I think mine might be just as big if not bigger than my husbands! (all written in love guys!)   Karen says, Lets face it, women who have control of the clock are viewed as confident and capable, especially by their slower sisters who often struggle to stay true to task' - 'Control of the Clock' - that's me! I'm up at the crack of dawn, hitting the gym - feeding my dogs - getting Blair's turkey bacon cooked, and am prepared to hit my home office around 8:00 am!  I am GREAT at controlling the clock! ~or ladies,  am I just great at attempting to control it  (for not just myself but everyone else in my home as well)....  and wait a minute, it says we are "VIEWED" as confident and capable - it certainly doesn't mean we are ~ or always are.   I love when someone says "Hey Kelley, how in the world do you do all you do!?" - it boosts my ego a little more each time. I feel good walking into a room "in my egg" for everyone to know who I am.  Unfortunately, this confident capable person that thinks she's doing so much and getting so much accomplished is truly sinking....YES sinking.  I run around 'barking' orders to my family, getting all uptight when I'm a little behind schedule - or when someone doesn't do something that fits into my picture perfect plan....the truth is it's time to (pg 140) 'step off the treadmill long enough to evaluate - to determine whether the problem lies in the speed at which I've cranked the machine or how high I  have set the incline'  I already know the answer.  Do you?
"A soft answer turns away wrath, / but a harsh word stirs up anger" 
(Proverbs 15:1 (ESV
-----that being said, Karen says, 'the spirit reminds me to find my identify in Christ, not in a facade of capability and certainly not in others opinions of me'. Oh how difficult this is for an approval-addict'   Yes, I know that I am an Approval Addict. Can you see yourself in any of the following? I do ~ and reading them on paper doesn't give me a warm and fuzzy - makes me feel LESS THAN the perfect I strive for - puts a little tiny hole in my own personal EGO balloon. Check the list out:
~ You consider yourself a people pleaser
~ You are overly responsible and take on the responsibilities of others
~ You say "yes" when you know you should say "no"
~ You strive to be like "X" teacher/person
~ You depend on others' approval to determine your self-worth
~ You fear rejection or conflict
~ Even when you are doing well, it's not enough
~ If you do something that someone else doesn't approve of, you feel guilt or stress

How did you do?  So, we've already determined I have an ego, I'm an Approval Addict, can it possibly get any worse?

Karen says, 'Being on time and on task gives us a feeling of authority. We're calling the plays, determining the direction of the day. We feel powerful and important when we are at the helm as as the 'Master of our Destinies"Authority makes us feel powerful and important and it feels good!  It does me, but maybe that's me.  My pastor would say "You all are probably too spiritual for authority to make you feel powerful and important" -in his teasing way. Somehow, I'm thinking the truth in this isn't going to do anything but create more tirades internally and with our families.  We are making our lives all about what makes us feel good - taking on more than we should to please others (giving us more of an emotional 'boost', a euphoria).  Watch out ladies, none of this, NONE sounds like it could possibly bring glory to God.  Where is HE in all of this?
If I am spending my life looking for approval from others, boosting my ego by doing whatever I can to appear confident, capable and TOGETHER (isn't that it ladies, we want to look as if we have it all together?) and I'm not consulting my Heavenly Father for guidance in all I do, then I'm not bringing Him glory and that, my friends, breaks my heart.
Karen quoted Missionary Amy Carmichael  - "If a sudden jar can cause me to speak an impatient, unloving word, then I know nothing of Calvary love. For a cup of brimful of sweet water cannot spill even one drop of bitter water, however it is suddenly jolted" - DEFINITELY POWERFUL words to think about ladies!!!!! We need to write this on an index card and post it many places around our houses, offices, cars, etc.    I have many, many sudden jars in my life - 98% self-inflicted as I trudge forward doing what makes me feel good, what boosts my ego - not necessarily what brings glory to Him.  I want to get to the place where with any 'sudden jar' the only words that come out of my mouth are those given to me by my Heavenly Father.

What if we stepped off the treadmill of life long enough to do a little evaluation, deciding whether the problem lies in the speed at which we've cracked the machine's dial and the incline we have set for the climb???
If our minds and bodies are full of a million things going on for all the wrong reasons - for 'feel good' reasons, if we are snapping at our children or our spouses, if we're doing things that cause the outside world to think we walk on water (and we like it), that we have it together perfectly, then we need to re-evaluate our priorities and the reasons we are doing what we are doing.  Our hearts cannot possibly be full of the loving, sweet things our family deserves, we cannot possibly speak from the heart.  If there is one thing I have found through this study it is that I am full of weaknesses that cause me to lash out at those closest to me when things don't go m way or people aren't doing what I think they should be doing.
 'What you say flows from what is in your heart (Luke 6:45 NLT) 
 May we Jesus-lovin' women choose to hesitate before we hurl.  Rather than feisty, may we be friendly instead.  (Karen Ehman)
Here's some awesome wisdom from Karen:
Learning to walk the fine line between controlling and conscientious is a constant yet sanctifying struggle.  It will keep you going to God for direction.  It will find you asking for forgiveness for the times you blow it (there will be many).  It will force you out of a stance of selfishness and into a posture of grace. You'll become skilled at putting others before yourself, adept at deference, familiar with compromise, and willing to yield your rights.  You'll stop hovering over your home and start hallowing it - to God's glory, not your own.
Prayer for Today
 Dear God:
Thank you for Karen, for sharing her awesome wisdom and heart with us throughout this study.  Thank you for each woman participating that struggles, like me, with EGO issues - with the need to please people, with the need to fill their lives up with so many things that they can't possibly do all of them - leaving them frustrated, ill-tempered, and quick to lash out at their families and those closest to them.  Forgive us for our weaknesses, for desires of the flesh. Please show us the way Father to become the mothers and wives that will bring only honor and glory to you through all we do. Bless each sweet sister in this study, all of our leaders and the P31 team.  It is our prayer that with this study we will grow closer to you, each other, and that our lives will change as we begin to put you first in our lives - making sure the glory is yours!  We love you Father. Amen















Thursday, February 14, 2013

Managing our Marriages

'Controlling things is a strength and carried to an extreme becomes a weakness' - Karen Ehman



 Happy Valentines Day!  

Praying you are blessed with Love and more Love on this special day!

I am having a wonderful time participating in an on-line bible study with Proverbs 31 Ministries. We are reading together a book by Karen Ehman, Let it Go.  (Something we all struggle with, day in and day out!).  It is especially fitting this week as we study a chapter titled "Managing Your Man".   Ya know with Valentines Day and Love and relationships - perfect timing right!?  Pffffftttttt - not for everyone!  Tough chapter for couples that are both followers of Christ, but even more difficult for couples where ONE is a follower of Christ and one is a only believer, choosing not to be a follower; but that is story for another blog!

 I thought this chapter would be a no brainer for me - I am married to a believer, but not a follower....I attend church alone, life groups alone..he knows very few of my church friends nor does he know my association with my P31 girls, or other areas (he does think my pastor is cool! so that's a positive!).....scary thing is, if I died today I would really need my friends to dive in to make sure all the right "stuff" was done for my funeral (CELEBRATION!) and all the right people were there! Lord knows I don't want any sad organ music and quiet in the church at my funeral!  (but that's another topic!).  I love the man dearly, been married 20 years - but it can be pretty darned rocky at times - couples like us just don't see things in the same light. Don't feel bad for these odd-ball couples like us (and there are many!) God has a purpose and it will become known - meanwhile, just when you pray at night - pray for those that aren't equally yoked and of the same spirit...God transforms and if you will just Let it Go - He's got it!

Let's talk about the behavior of the  Christ Follower (ME!)- they are always right!  Right?  I read Karen's words about throwing "flesh balls"  (definition: words verbally hurled at each other) and how we "wallow in the flesh, stooping down and scooping up a big ole helping of it to hurl our spouses way" - OUCH!  I truly felt like I was hit by HUGE 90 lb. steel ball.  Gotta admit, I've thrown many of my own  flesh balls and truth is, even in the midst of my christian walk right now, I am still guilty (yep, I continue to throw 'em).  Then our author brings our attention back to God, to the Word.  "walk by the spirit" and not "gratifying the desires of the flesh" (Gal 5:15).   (Jesus Slap!) Karen, did you have to go there?  UGH....... BUT.....

 
I know that  I AM ALWAYS RIGHT,  MY WAY IS THE BEST WAY,  I KNOW BEST!  Isn't that the case with most of us women?  (Puuullllease).  As much as we like to think so, NOT.   In our study, Karen says "As a woman you'll desire to be the boss (well I am, right?), but your husband has already been assigned that job description"  Biblically  - OUCH, really?  "He is the leader, by virtue of his office.  Whether he's doing his job or not is up for debate.  One can hold an office or title and refuse to fulfill the duties of that office".- WELL, then.  Isn't that special - so, where does that leave me?   Personally for me, I immediately feel like I have to just accept every decision, every act, everything - the Bible says wives are to submit to your husbands - so he's the boss, we submit. So, what, we're supposed to just give in to our husbands without a fight when we disagree?  We just let him make decisions that WE think don't make any sense?  "BUT God, He's NOT a follower and I am! How can this possibly be the case? Bottom line,  I am right more than he is, hands down" - every try to justify or argue with God....there is no winning with that!

Hang with me!  It's getting good - pretty soon we'll have it all figured out - (or we won't!)!

SO when we get into these 'flesh ball' battles, are they a result of an attempt to manipulate our husband in a situation or because we are attempting to influence a decision their making?  Is there a difference?   Ladies, think about that for a few minutes.  I've concocted many a manipulating scheme or two to 'influence' my husband! (So, which is it?)  But yeah I know - none of you have EVER done that! There's so much from this chapter to share - so stay with me!  'Dr. Juli Slattery author of 'Finding the Hero in Your husband' wrote, 'Wives are called to use their influence to help their husbands - not to manipulate'.....'Influence is overt and clear; however, manipulation can be subtle and deceptive' - WOW!  and double whammy!  Karen says, 'When we twist what could be God glorifying influence and morph it into manipulation, we cross the line and the results are not good' -  Well yep, experienced this first hand a time or two, caused some knock down drag outs - nevermind throwing flesh balls - might as well have been boulders! What does God say?



The Bible Says:
Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is right and fitting and your proper duty in the Lord.  Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter or resentful toward them.  (Col 3:18-19)

In Ephesians 5, Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of the water with the Word.

  ...... if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. (1 Cor 7)

Easy?  nope-If marriage were easy, there would be no divorce - no divorce lawyers - no custody battles over children - no child psychiatrist visits for a child traumatized by parents that are using them as a tool - life would be peaceful, homes peaceful and people would be married for years and years like our grandparents and great grandparents - when divorce was NOT an option very often, if at all.   It is even harder when one spouse is a follower and another not.

Here's what I learned from this chapter:

<3   First and foremost, God's timing is impeccable - always perfect!  Trust in it. (I get it's not easy!)

<3   My husband is the leader of my house; whether he fulfills his duties or not is between him and God
 
<3  Hurling 'Flesh balls'.  There is nothing to gain, it brings no glory to God and only gives us instant gratification that turns into long term pain.  

<3   Manipulation is not of God.  It must play no role in my marriage or my life.  Provide loving influence that only brings glory to  God.

<3   Extreme control becomes total weakness.  

<3   It's all good, if it's all God!

<3   LET IT GO and LET GOD!


Today ladies, think about ways that you can build up your husband!  All of these flesh ball fights and manipulation schemes bring lasting hurt to our husbands.  How can we make today different?

<3  LET GO and LET GOD

<3 Focus on his positive traits. The good things!

<3 Stop attempting to control every situation and decision.  Let him wear the pants in the family like he is meant to.  Provide positive and loving influence only.

<3 Pray over him and his life - let God do His job while we love our husbands and do the job God has laid out for us to do.  TRUST GOD! 

<3  Spend every day finding positive ways you can build your husband up!  As humans, living in the flesh, none of us are perfect - we all need motivation, positive feedback, and all the things that build up our self-esteem and our confidence, that make feel good.  Remember, as the leader of our homes, our husbands have a really BIG tough job.  As Godly wives, do everything you can to make his job easier, to build his self-esteem and confidence, to let him know he is loved. 
 

Prayer

Father God I pray today for every marriage.  For the spouses that are not Christ followers; that their hearts be softened and that they begin to understand that believing in you is one thing, but following you and living out their lives as you instruct is what it's all about. I pray that as wives we trust in You.  That we let it all go and surrender to you ,  that we can move forward without having to control every situation and that in doing so we will eliminate the fights that take place within our marriage as a result of this need to control.  I pray we will all spend more time in Your Word, absorbing what we need to build up our spouses and grow closer to them instead of participating in and allowing gaps to grow bigger and bigger.  Allow us to remember the love we had for our spouses when we first met - allow us to remember the reasons we married them - allow us to feel those strong connections to them again now, through you.  Most of all may we relinquish them and our marriages to you right now and TRUST you in all things.  We love you Father.  We worship and praise you. It's in your Holy and most precious name we pray.  Amen

GOOD STUFF!  Check it out!

http://melissataylor.org/2013/02/13/chapter-4-managing-your-man/

Memory Verse:  http://pinterest.com/pin/221520875393810446/

Chapter 3:  http://pinterest.com/pin/221520875393810451/

Chapter 3http://pinterest.com/pin/221520875393810455/

Chapter 4http://pinterest.com/pin/221520875393810461/

Chapter 4http://pinterest.com/pin/221520875393810466/


 










              

 










Thursday, February 7, 2013

Words - Quantity or Quality?


 

This week I was hit 'upside the head' (as I've heard some southerners say) and God told me it was time to get back to my Proverbs 31 Ministries Online Bible study group!  I know His plan is for me to grow further in my relationship with HIM as well as encourage, support, and share with those that are there for the same reason - all to grow in our relationships with Him.

I have not done a good job of keeping up my blog because I felt it had to be BIG, had to be a ton of words - ha, I was wrong.  It's all about the seed that is planted with the words written - that means, could be 5 words, could be 10 words or 50 words.  It's the quality of those words that makes the difference.  You never know the affect your words may have on another!

Today in our Proverbs31 Study - by the way, we are reading and studying 'Let It Go' by Karen Ehman - is blog hopping day.  I have been assigned 5 blogs to read and comment on today AND in addition to that in my Let it Go on-line study group, I had a couple of Jesus  Girls share their blogs!  What I found was - it truly isn't the number of words on a blog, or paper - or facebook - it's the quality of what's within those words!     

Sharing is important.  The encouragement and support you could bring another is what it's all about.  However you choose to use your words, write each one with a plan to plant a seed ~  Your words may be the only words someone reads or hears today - make them count!

 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Attitude - Where is yours getting you?



Ah, if it were only that easy, huh!? 


“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.” ~Thomas Jefferson



So, here we go again - we all KNOW it's a mind game, yet we continue to do the same thing over and over again - the clear definition of INSANITY.    We know what we are supposed to do, we have the tools at our fingertips - yet we keep playing this game with ourselves.....we are unable to take charge of our minds so we week after week, day after day - we play this ridiculous game.  It's total WARFARE within our minds.  I've been knee deep in the fight myself so I know first hand what the real deal is.

I've been doing quite well with my working out and eating habits!  My mindset has been GREAT!  I've been working at it regularly and made my mind up....this issue with food is NOT going to beat me.  I WILL reach my goal. Are you feeling the POWER in my words!?  The issue is, how do we all get that POWER!  Better yet, I want to be able to wave a magic wand and give it to you - but I can't.  You gotta want it bad enough and you gotta find your internal fight to save what you are allowing to be destroyed.

This weekend was awesome!  I went down to Myrtle Beach Friday night - rode the huge SkyWheel (Ferris Wheel) overlooking the world (well, not the world, but you know what I mean!) - got up Saturday morning and went roller skating!  Skated 2 hours - felt muscles in my calves I haven't felt for ages - and truly thought my left hip was going to pop out of my side....but battled it! My mind was set that I was going to get some good exercise in while I was there. - Then, we were going to a live Nativity Christmas program at a church there and needed to grab dinner.  In looking for a place to eat near the church, we found a really neat pizza place....did you catch that PIZZA?  (a little justification is that there wasn't much in the little town) The entire pizza parlor had christian band posters all around it, each napkin holder on the table had scriptures on the side- it was very cool! AND, my mind was SET.  I was going to eat my pizza in moderation and all would be GREAT.   HA!  Who am I trying to fool!?   I ate 3 pieces of pizza in the restaurant and 1 late that night.  Can you say FAILURE!?   4 large, thick pieces of pizza!  No moderation in sight.  I am sure we all realize there was salad on that menu!  Being from up north - I love a good pizza and THIS was a good pizza!  So, why didn't I just order salad?  Plain and simple - I didn't want rabbit food - I wanted pizza.

After all the  'warfare'  that went on in my mind up to that point, you would have thought I would have had no problem doing what I knew was the right thing to do. So, what's up with not being able to handle myself in a food situation?? 

What was my mind telling me?  "It's okay, you didn't eat much today",  "You'll jump right back on tomorrow",  "Pizza isn't that bad".. ....anything I possibly could to justify the fact that I ate that much pizza!

What could I have done differently?  Where do we go wrong?  It's all in the mind - - - - we need to learn how to renew our minds and do what is right for our bodies, do what brings Glory to God.  Heck, the scary thing is - we cannot do it for Him, we cannot do it for us - so where does it end?  What gives us the empowerment, the push to want to do it?

For me, its true, the pizza night came and went and I was still able to eat properly and keep my mind in order  the next day - after I beat myself up pretty bad- I am still 'on the wagon'.  The night wasn't a disaster like it has been in the past.  I have control.  You too have got to dig deep and find this place...this place where you can have a little more than normal one day and be able to pick up the pieces the next day.  I promise when you see that scale move after a week or two of diligent exercise and eating right - you will not want to damage it in any way.  I have lost 42 lbs. and do not want to mess that up in any way, shape, or form.  It's amazing what that will do to your mindset. I will tell you that falling off that wagon after losing the initial 102 lbs. 4 years ago and gaining that weight back pretty well put me in the ground mentally. The hardest thing in the world was to make it happen again; in having the confidence, the mindset, the empowerment to do it. 

BUT, I did it.  You can do it.  It's very hard to do it for someone/something we cannot see.  This higher power of ours - Jesus Christ.  I know, however that HE is my rock. He is my STRENGTH. I prayed and prayed for God to deliver me from food and to just take this desire to eat from me.  AND he has but not before I truly put in my 100 percent.  It's not going to be handed to us - it's going to take hard work and prayer - because our Jesus is like that.  It's about making us better - spiritually.  About growing in our relationship with Him.  Scripture says: 

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.   Romans 12:2

Positive Word Minsitries says:  'Renewing the mind is the replacement of our old values with the attitudes, beliefs, and concepts of God as revealed in His Word'.. 

'Satan's primary attack will be against the mind of the believer. The mind is the only territory over which you have complete control. You determine what you think about; you determine what you do'  - Also Positive Word Ministries.

Think about that!  Make Changes.  Start with a 3 day fast - a Daniel Fast of sorts.  It will bring control to your mind when joined together with prayer.  It will show you a sense of  "I CAN DO THIS" and bring you closer to the Father while you do it.

ACTION:   What are you going to do different today, this minute, right now?  Let us know.  Find an Accountability Partner and USE THEM! 


PRAYER:  Father God, lifting each person up to you today.  Asking that you will work in their minds today - that they will truly become Empowered through you. That they regain control over their minds and begin treating their temple as Your Word instructs.  Thank you Father for being the ever powerful, the creator of each of us, creator of this universe.  Thank you for the blessings that are abundant in each of our lives.  I pray father that you will work in our hearts so that for you we can do anything and everything to bring glory to you.  I ask these things in your Holy and Most Precious Name.  Amen.























That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus.  You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:20-24

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Endorphines - God's Gift of Well Being!


Good Morning!!! It certainly has been awhile since I have blogged and just as long since we were supposed to start our book "Younger Next Year".   Quite simply, life keeps on going even when we can't seem to keep up! Circumstances change from day to day - it's difficult to truly plan those 'optional', non-required activities.  As a note, we are going to read this book together!

Personally my life has been crazy.  You know - Many, many uncontrollable circumstances that keep us from the things we want to do most - and adding layers and layers of additional stress.   Funny thing is, all I have wanted to do for the past week is EXERCISE!~  It's true!  I want to be working every part of my body - sweating profusely - beating bags and training hard.  SERIOUSLY, it has been a huge craving for me this week!  Of course, I was able to hit the gym Friday, Saturday, Monday and then poof - I have not been able to get back in! Amazingly enough my eyes were opened (WIDE) and I was able to see the affect being in the gym has on my eating habits, my mental alertness, and my ability to function as I need to.  It's then that 
I'm not so happy, attitude is way down, and I truly, truly miss the feeling I have when I'm in the gym  I leave the gym renewed and in a position to take on the world.

Last Friday and Saturday I was the only one that showed up for the beginner Muay Thai class (yes, my exercise of choice!).  Love it!  Love the punching, the kicking - learning about Muay thai and working on technique while I have the ability to get a major physical work out in.  This being said I had 2 solid hours with our awesome trainer.  I started the week out in BIG ways!  It's amazing what that did for my "psych'ee".  As the week progressed, without the opportunity to be in the gym, the stressors that presented themselves stole every ounce of the POWER and STAMINA that was stored so neatly in the vault of my being.  I didn't like the weakness I then saw in me - I much preferred that person I was on Monday!  They say endorphines make a world of difference in our lives and I believe it!

What are they? -

Endorphins ("endogenous morphine") are endogenous opioid peptides that function as neurotransmitters.[1] They are produced by the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus in vertebrates during exercise,[2] excitement, pain, they resemble the opiates in their abilities to produce analgesia and a feeling of well-being.

OK guys, for my Jesus girls, Endorphines are God given!  They are not mixed in a bottle - you can't buy them.  HOWEVER, we can produce them naturally if we get off our butts!

It's winter - it's cold (in most places for most of us) - exercise is not fun in the cold - some can't afford gyms or don't want to grace a gym with their presence right now....excuse after excuse after excuse.  If we already know that any kind of exercise is going to produce these awesome endorphines - why in the world would we not want to produce them!

They give us a feeling of WELL BEING! So, although exercise is one of the major component for our weight loss- look what it generates for our every day lives!   The feeling of well being - this is by design - God's design!  Not mans. 

Today as I head to my morning Muay Thai class, I want to leave you with this.  Find YOUR means for exercise; for generating endorphines.  Watch what this does to your attitude, to your feeling of well being, to your feelings of self-worth.   Leslie Sansone's DVDs are awesome, walk right in your living room along with some upbeat peeps looking for the same things you are - no need to hit the cold outside.  Find a gym class in your area.  Kickboxing is awesome - similar to what I do and you will love watching yourself grow into a better feeling much happier person.

Forget the scale for now - forget even the strict diet for now - I promise if you will increase your exercise and do something for 30 minutes daily, you will see a life change.  You won't want to fill your body with stuff that will just bring back down the awesome goodness you've been putting in it.

A couple of words of wisdom I'd like to share with you today are:

The best way to win a war is without a battle. The best way to a naturally thin life is one that doesn't require a daily dose of weight loss motivation as a cure for dieting.

Let's try another approach - a natural, God-Given dose of life - that comes in the form of Endorphines.  This one costs NOTHING.  I do suggest finding your niche - find what is fun to you and run with it!!!!  If that means running in the yard playing soccer with your kids for 30 minutes - DO IT!  Mine is Muay Thai - it has to be what you love and can't feel like WORK.  You will find tho, I promise, you want to do more and more and train harder and harder.  The feelings created by natural endorphines are addictive! 

And Remember,

Hebrews 12:11: "All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness."

Disciple is a necessity in life - for everything we do.  the rewards are tremendous!   Take accountability to change your life this week - get moving!!


Dear God,
I pray this week that we will get our endorphines flowing - that we will experience feelings of well-being like we never have before and we thank you for this natural medicine - created by your design for just this purpose.  Help us to use it to better ourselves and rebuild, repair, or main our temples.  All to bring glory to you.   Amen.

1 Cor 6:19-20   - Daily Reminder!

Love today and Always, Kelley




The best way to win a war is without a battle. The best way to a naturally thin life is one that doesn't require a daily dose of weight loss motivation as a cure for dieting.

Must Read Books!

  • A Confident Heart, Renee Swope
  • An Untroubled Heart, Micca Campbell
  • Crazy Love, Frances Chan
  • Fit for My King, Sheri Rose Shepherd
  • Made to Crave, Lysa TerKeurst
  • Radical, David Platt
  • Winning Him without Words, Lynn Donovan & Dineen Miller