Are You in a Battle?


Are you in a battle for your health, your life, your encouragement, or your positivity today? Don’t sit around and wait until you have no doubts. You have to choose to believe God’s word. It’s a daily choice. You are never going to live this life without any doubts at all until you are in heaven.


We battle. We battle our minds. We battle our flesh. That is why the Lord tells us to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Him. That’s why we are supposed to be a living sacrifice. Sacrifice that is living continually wants to walk, get up and move up to the altar and take up its own agenda.

We have a battle. There is a raging battle between the flesh and the spirit all the time. To assume you are not going to have any doubts is just deceiving yourself. It’s okay. Just choose to believe God’s word. Put the doubts down. Take the thought captive. Refuse to dwell on them and think about them and think more about God’s promises than you do on
the doubts.

You are not being a hypocrite when you choose to believe God’s word when you are in a fight and you are in the middle of the struggle. You are actually deciding who you really are. “Am I really this person in the flesh who is in the middle of a battle between my doubts and my faith or am I who God says I am?” Do you think the real you is your natural mind, your carnal-mindedness? Or do you think your spirit-man is your real you? You have to decide who the real you is and begin to stand in it.

I know the flesh is powerful. It feels like the real you. The doubts are the real you. But the Bible says you become a new creation. You are born again. You’re now a child of God, an alien in this world. You have crossed over out of death and into life. Who is the real you? You have to decide: “This is the real me.”

The new you on the inside is perfect and has the mind of Christ says 1 Corinthians 2:16. Colossians 3:10 says we have been renewed in the knowledge and the image that created us. 1 John 2:1 says we know all things. It’s not talking about what is in our mind. It’s talking about what is in your spirit. We are just too carnal. We think we are limited by what we know and our knowledge, instead of tapping into the power and the unlimited knowledge of God. When we agree with our thoughts, our own understanding, we limit God from working in our lives and ability to agree with Him.

The new you on the inside is righteous and holy and pure. If you believe the real you has been truly born again, is a new creation, and you are who God says you are, then you are a hypocrite for agreeing with your fleshly doubts. If you consider being a hypocrite is one speaking the word of God and believing you are the righteousness of Christ, then you think the real you is the emotional, physical you and not the spiritual one that has been born again.

It’s time to find out who you are in Christ and change your identity—to have that identity of who you are in Him. Be more true than what you look like, what you feel like, what your emotions say, what has happened to you, and the circumstances around you, so you would truly know who God says you are and agree with that more than anything. It would be greater and larger than anything that comes against you. You would not be faithless in challenges if you would simply believe God.

Encourage Yourself in the Lord

Several years ago, I got an offer to go work for a company in Dallas. I drove down to check everything out. Wow. I couldn’t believe rush hour traffic. Rush hour started at three o’clock and lasted until seven o’clock every evening. That is four hours. Your commute from home to work could easily be ninety minutes to two hours. My friends did it often. They would leave for the office by 6 a.m. so they could beat traffic on the way to the office, and they would come home at seven. I thought about the quality of life, and I turned that job down quickly.

In rush hour, you are never alone. There’s traffic everywhere. Everywhere you look, you see people, and you can wave and smile at people. On the other hand, sometimes if you’re driving at night on a country road, you may not see anyone for an hour.

                                      

Scripture says there is a wide path and a narrow path. I think of it in terms of traffic. The wide path is like rush hour traffic. It’s busy. Most people are on this road, going in the same direction. They’re all on a mission to get somewhere, from here to there, point A to point B. The narrow path is the less-traveled road. The people on it are few and far between. You might be walking all by yourself for a while before you see another person passing by.
I think the narrow path in Christ can feel lonely at times. You can look around and see the busy rush hour traffic, but you don’t jump in and join it. You choose to take a secondary road. It’s like deciding, “I’m getting off of interstate 40 onto this side road. I’m going to take the backwoods route.”
Think about it. When you get off onto those secondary roads, they’re more peaceful and winding. They’re beautiful. But sometimes the rest stop is a backwoods mechanic shop with a filthy bathroom. The towns are few and far between. Sometimes you have to pee in the grass. It can be challenging to take the narrow path of God because it isn’t traveled by as many people.
Christians can fall into the trap of doing things because everyone else is doing them. Sometimes we don’t even think about it or we figure, “It’s okay for this family, so it’s okay for our family.” I see Christians doing this every day. They give their kids wider and wider boundaries. What they are doing is taking them from the narrow path to the wide path. Their children start exposing themselves to entertainment and other influences that may jeopardize their purity. Before you know it, instead of following God, they are following the world.
As Christians, we need to protect the wellspring of life that is our heart and make good choices. I believe Christians should be out front. People should want to be like us. They should be following our way and wanting to make the choices we’re making because our fruit is awesome. We don’t look like the world. We love the world, but we don’t look like the world. We’re in the world but not of the world.
I will tell you right now, making the decision to stay on the narrow path no matter what is lonely at times. You are going to find that your friends on the narrow path are a wide range of ages, say seventy down to twelve. There are so few people that you have to change your perspective of what your friendship circle should look like so you can be close with people who you know are making these choices with you.
I would encourage you to connect, but when you feel lonely, encourage yourself in the Lord. Keep yourself encouraged like David in 1 Samuel 30. Don’t look to anyone else to encourage you. Enjoy their encouragement when it comes along but don’t rely on it. Don’t stand on it for strength. Stand on the Lord and His strength and remember what He has done for you already.

One Focus That Will Change Everything

There’s a movie theater at the gym where I work out. When I first get in there, I can’t hear the movie because all I can hear is the voice in my head that says, “I don’t want to be here. I can’t do this. I’m out of shape. I’m too fat. I would rather be sleeping.” Then I hear my feet hitting the treadmill, then the sound of the treadmill belt. The sound of everyone else’s feet pounding increasingly distracts me. The beeping noises, the feet pounding, the treadmill belt—I can barely take it! The desire to punch someone out at the front desk if they do not turn up the volume is overwhelming. 🙂 

But if I take my focus off of all of those things and put it on the movie and listen very hard, eventually the movie volume grows louder and louder. Before I know it, all I can hear is the movie. Actually, believe it or not, sometimes I forget I am in the cardio room!

When 
I’m really focused on the movie, it sounds loud and very clear. I forget about all my complaints. In our everyday lives, the busyness, texts, social media, TV, coworkers, children, and friends can all be very noisy. Discouragement, loss of a job, inability to have a baby—those things are really loud. Sometimes all we can hear is our own negative thinking, our hurt feelings, discouragement beating in our hearts, self-loathing. 

BUT if we will just focus on listening for God’s voice, eventually it will be louder than all of the other things that are happening around us, inside of us, and to us. When we hear His voice above everything else, we can actually, believe it or not, sometimes forget we are in the middle of hurt and chaos! 

                                                     

Finish What You Start!

Have you ever given 100% of yourself to something? 

I’m talking about no shortcuts, no cheats, no bending the rules, but simply selling out for something bigger with everything you possess?

This world is packed full of distractions, which become hurdles in our lives. Every time you approach a hurdle, you tend to slow down or stop, and perhaps you walk around it. Yet were we designed for a hurdle to slow us down or keep us from running the race? 

NO!

We were designed to blow over those hurdles. 
We were designed to invest 100% from the start all the way to the finish!
We were designed to be overcomers. We were designed to sell out, to give it all. Have you lost your original design?

For several months, I have been taking back my health by force. I started on October 14, 2014, after deciding in August to undertake this challenge. I chose from the beginning to sell out to it—to devote my all and give my all.


Though I have followed through with this, it is not easy. I approach a hurdle every single day. Maybe my food tastes boring. I’m hungry. I want to eat what I want to eat. I’m sick of Coach Bailey telling me what to do. At times I find myself in a crunch, without any healthy snacks on me—so then what do I choose to do? Do I choose to hit a drive-through out of convenience, or do I buy a healthy snack?

Usually, I fully prep my meals once a week. Each day I pack all my meals before I leave the house, so if I end up in a crunch, I have food to eat. And I am willing to eat a cold turkey burger or frozen turkey burger because I am supposed to do so. When you’re giving 100% to something, you do it regardless of your immediate desires. You eat the frozen turkey burger; you eat the walnuts off of the ground when you drop them; you deviate sometimes from your family’s plans so you can drive home and retrieve the healthy snacks you forgot. You don’t offer excuses.

Macaroni and cheese may tempt you, or a slice of pizza—one pepperoni couldn’t hurt, right? Wrong! Caving to those cravings is not giving 100%. Every bite I take, everything I do, if I don’t do it with excellence and commitment to my goals, I always fall short of my 100%.

There is more in me, and there is more in you, but we will never find it unless we are willing to offer our all.

Those of you taking back your health, I want to push you today. 

There’s more in you, so find it! Give more; sacrifice more. 

Below I provide a few practical ideas, but be prepared: they will squeeze your comfort zone a bit.
Don’t go out of your way to make your food taste amazing. In other words, don’t go out of your way to make food pleasurable; instead, change your view from food as entertainment and enjoyment to food as fuel. When you’re fueling your body, you fill it with the best fuel. When you’re pleasuring your body, however, you will tend to make compromises.

Dont cheat yourself by taking nibbles of your kids’ food or eating a snack off-plan. Commit to this rule for four weeks. For four weeks, can you refrain from cheating? Maybe you should back up and try it for a day first; then try it for a week, for four weeks—and afterward for three months and six months at a time!

Don’t indulge in an extra helping of your allotted serving or approved meal. Instead, only eat precisely what your plan prescribes. Do what you’re told! Be an obedient follower because the most effective leaders are the most committed followers.

I believe you were called to lead and to influence nations. I believe theres more in you. I believe you can push yourself further. After all, do you desire the best version of you? Or do you want only a so-so, wishy-washy you?
Do you want to be the you who gives 100% and succeeds, or do you want the you who is always cheating “just a little bit”—always selling yourself short? “Hey, I am engaged in my transformation … but I cheat a little.” Is this the witness and the testimony you want to carry?

People may push back against you when you offer everything to ONE cause. They may seem like critics, but I assure you, they will respect you. They have probably never given 100% to anything in their lives, so don’t listen to them. Don’t listen to people’s criticisms. Bring excellence to the table and allow God to judge their criticisms.

How in the world, though, can we avoid living out of the temptations of our flesh and actually accomplish this goal? How can we accomplish 100% in living, giving, and following?

#1
This starts by taking every thought captive. The moment cheesecake or pizza starts to creep into your mind, you must intentionally put a stop to it. You need to say, “Stop! You know what? This is not my portion. I already have healthy, nourishing food to enjoy.” Turn your mind to what is wholesome and healthy: “I can walk with my kids now, and I can carry them on my shoulders. I lift them up and help them down safely. We won’t tumble or fall because I am strong.” I choose strength over pleasure every day of the week. You must learn to take your thoughts captive.

#2 

It is truly vital for you to pray against temptation. Jesus told His disciples to pray against temptation. He told them several times, yet they continued to fall asleep while they were praying (Luke 22:45). We do this, too: we fall asleep on the job. We need to pray against this! We know Jesus was tempted, but He was never tempted to the point of sin. I know if He overcame it, we can overcome it as well because His power for life—His resurrection power—lives in and for us!
I hope you are challenged today to reclaim your health 100%. Give yourself entirely to your God-given commitments and refuse in Jesus’ name to sell yourself short!

What hurdle do you need to overcome?

Talk to Your Mountain

Tonight I’m thinking about the mountains that lie before me. A mountain can be a sickness or a disease like cancer. A mountain can be some job that you have to do that seems way too big, something you can’t handle. Your past experience can’t get you through it. Your knowledge today can’t get you through it. A mountain can be a marriage that’s in turmoil. Every day, you fight with your spouse over finances or the kids or over the trash—the smallest of things—because it’s in turmoil. You don’t know what’s going on. You were once in love, and now you’re not even sure you like your spouse anymore. Those are mountains.
                           
I look at my mountains that lie before me today, and I sit here and think about how our perspective influences the way we view our mountains. What lens are we looking through? If you have to climb a mountain and you don’t like to climb, you’re thinking, “Ugh, I can’t climb that mountain. It’s too big. It’s too big for me to do. I don’t even know what tools to buy, what shoes I should wear, how I should dress. Is it cold on top? I don’t know the temperature. What kind of supplies do I need? What do I need to be safe? Do I need ropes? Do I need a professional to help me? Should I get some training? How long should I prepare before I actually climb that mountain?”

But maybe I’m a mountain climber. Maybe I’ve climbed rocks my entire life and it’s one of the thrills that I love, so I look at that mountain with anticipation. My adrenalin starts pumping, and I think, “I can’t wait to stand on top of that mountain. I’m going to take my picture out there. I’ll prepare my photography equipment in advance. And how will I get down? I’ll probably need a helicopter to pick me up.”

The professional climbers know exactly what equipment they need to climb the mountain, and they probably already have it in their tool chest. They have all the tools they need to climb that mountain. They know exactly how they are going to get to the top of that mountain. They know which shoes to wear, and those shoes are already broken in and comfortable. They love those shoes, and they can’t wait to get those shoes on the grooves of the mountain. They have all the ropes, and they have a belayer, somebody who will hold the rope and keep them safe and tight. They have confidence. They’re not afraid at all.

The beginning climber, on the other hand, is shaking in his shoes, thinking, “What if I fall? What will happen? What will happen to my family? Maybe I won’t make it.” He doesn’t have the confidence and experience of having climbed a mountain before whereas the professional knows he is going to get to the top of the mountain because he did it before with that other mountain.

Maybe you decide not to climb at all. You think, “I do not like heights, and I refuse to climb this mountain. I’m going to dig my way through this mountain. There must be a way through it.” How are you going to get through this mountain? It’s 25 miles wide—I don’t know how big a mountain is—it’s one mile wide, maybe. It’s one mile wide, and it’s made of rock and earth and heavy structure. How do you get through that?

If I dug a mine before, I probably know what tools and how many people I need to get through the mountain. If I’m a beginning digger, I’m probably thinking, “Do I need a shovel? Should I call my buddies and offer a pizza party if they help me dig my way through this mountain?”

So many times, we look at the mountain and think about how we’re going to conquer it with the resources that we have today, the physical resources that we have on hand and our own power and might. Well, I propose there’s another way to look at the mountains we face.

The Bible says that God will give us the tools. He not only gives us the tools, He also sharpens them (see Isaiah 41:15). He makes them of great quality to use. He gives you the tools, and they’re so sharp that you won’t need to climb over the mountain or dig through it; the tool is going to chop that mountain down to a flatland (also see Zechariah 4:6–7). There won’t be a mountain anymore, just crumbles of dirt.

Jesus told His disciples, “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him” (Mark 11:23 NIV).

Speak to your mountains? How are you going to speak to a marriage that is broken or in turmoil? How can you speak to cancer? Speak to it? What good does that do? Chemotherapy helps cancer, not speaking to it. Maybe it’s the homeschooling that you think you are called to do. How am I going to homeschool my kids? I can speak to it? Is that really practical?

Well, let’s put this into a practical application. God created the world in seven days. How did He create it? He created it through His words, and He holds it together with His words. All things are held together by God’s word.

A lot of people will tell you how to attack your mountain. They’ll tell you, “Look at your mountain. Size it up. Talk to a doctor if you have cancer. Do everything they say, follow their plan, and you’ll probably be okay.” If your marriage is in turmoil, people will say, “Go to marriage counseling. Keep a check on your marriage. Make sure that you’re paying attention to it, that you spend time loving on your spouse. Figure out how your spouse best receives care and love and respect from you.” There are all kinds of books written on how to care for your spouse in a better way. Females like to be loved in this manner, males in that manner. There are all kinds of ways out in the world to attack your mountain. Every day there are people trying to tell you what to do.

One of my mountains was my marriage. I’d been married for a little while. Every relationship I had before completely fell apart. I always thought it was everyone else’s fault, but I came to find that it was mine. It was my fault. It was all my fault. Why? Because I tried to let my marriage complete me and make me whole and make me someone that I wasn’t.

I tried to let my marriage be my rock and my hiding place. Well, guess what happened? After I got married, my husband wasn’t all he said he was, all he seemed he was going to be. Suddenly my hiding place had cracks in it, and I was exposed in places I didn’t want to be. This brought out emotions I didn’t really like. You know, like you hear me saying, “Are you kidding me? Are you serious?”

I really didn’t think I liked my husband anymore. I’m stuck to him, married to him, but I didn’t think I even liked him. Then I saw this book that said, “Maybe marriage is meant to make you holy, not happy.” It didn’t matter how many hours I could have gone to marriage counseling or how much I worked on my marriage and loved my husband more or did more to meet his needs. I missed that my number one covenant was with Father God.

The only way to conquer your mountain is by the Spirit of the Lord (see Zechariah 4:6). You can spend all day long listening to people’s advice or trying to figure out how to build a train around your mountain, how to climb your mountain, how to get to the other side by your might and your power. But the only way to conquer your mountain indefinitely, completely, and perfectly is through the Spirit of the living God and through Jesus Christ!

We read in Zechariah 4:7, “What are you, O great mountain [of obstacles]? Before Zerubbabel [who will rebuild the temple] you will become a plain (insignificant)!” (AMP). Wow. How many times have you heard that saying, “You’re making a mountain out of a molehill”? Well, God says you have a mountain in front of you but He is going to make it a molehill. Let’s look through the vision of God at our mountains and let’s see what’s really there. Physically standing in front of us, we might see a mountain. But by God’s Spirit, it’s a molehill.

That’s how we conquer our mountains.

Should I Get Married?


On December 22, I received a marriage proposal. It was a beautiful and wonderful night. All my family was there to celebrate. I cried. I was in shock! I had no idea. I was so excited! But after the dress was bought and the invitations sent, after the decisions had been made and money had been spent, three weeks before the big day, I made the bold decision to postpone our wedding.
The decision to get married is hard.
I always thought it would be easy.
That head-over-heels-in-love feeling helps you to float over all the hard stuff, all the doubt, all the what-ifs, all the hard questions. 

“Should I marry this person?” is a hard question.
It’s a decision that affects many: my future spouse, my immediate family, future generations, and me. This is a decision that impacts eternity. In light of that realization, how can I not want to make the right decision? 

The right decision.

Wow! It is so easy to get lost in the worldly trap of what if …?”
What-if questions can force you into confusion immediately if you don’t use them wisely.
What if I marry the wrong person?
What if I make the wrong decision?
What if there is someone better out there for me, and I’m settling?
What if I wake up and don’t like the man I married?
What if I get married only to find out that my spouse doesn’t really like me?
What if I can’t meet the needs of my spouse, so he leaves me?
What if I get left by the one to whom I’m entrusting my heart and my life on this earth?
What if I wake up every day and regret my decision?
What if I wake up one day and want out?
What if my life turns out exactly like I dread it will?
What if I’m a terrible wife and mother?
What if I’m the problem?
What if? What if? What if?
My mind is exploding with what-ifs!
The questions run one after another like a sneaky, slimy sickness creeping its way into my body.
Living in the land of what-ifs is not living at all.
Doubt has been my biggest struggle in all of this.
What has it shown me?
At my very core, I don’t trust God fully in every area.
Ouch!
That hurts me to the depths of my soul to admit. But it’s true. I don’t trust God to protect me in a marriage. I want to build my own walls to hedge myself in so I can be my own personal valiant protector. Then if something goes wrong, I will feel safe because I controlled it all. Somehow my fake, self-preserving walls actually give me confidence that I will be okay.
How sad is that?
I have spent a lot of time processing thoughts and feelings about my future spouse and marriage, but the biggest thing that has been revealed is this: 

I don’t really trust God as much as I thought I did.


No wonder making decisions has been so hard! When you can’t trust God with your life, how can you feel confident that you will arrive at the right decision?!

The world tells you to follow your heart, but I have come to realize that I don’t want to follow my heart.
I want to lead my heart.

Leading my heart means that I have to trust God purposefully, overflow with Truth, and base my decisions on the Word of God.
It is easier to follow my heart and get lost in my emotions, but that results in my stability being based on the ups and downs of how I feel. If I were to follow my heart now, what would stop me from following it later if one day I awake to the frustration of not being pursued in my marriage or I believe the lie that I married the wrong man? If I start off a marriage by following my heart, what is to stop me from following my heart right out of my marriage when I am not happy with it?
No, thank you! I will lead my heart.
And that’s HARD, people!
It is easy to think it, a little harder to say it, but much harder to live it out.

Leading my heart means making decisions on purpose every day that align with God’s voice in the silent whispers and agree with His Word. Every day I need to decide that I will not be bound by the fear that desires to hold me back in life. 
I must guard my heart in all that I do and lead my heart in Truth even when I don’t feel like it. Let’s face it, it is easy to give up on standing firm in the Truth when you don’t feel like it. I do it all the time. 
But I’m done! I want to live my life being moved by the Spirit of God instead of basing my decisions on what I feel.
If I start leading my heart now, I can develop that muscle so it will be available for use whenever I need it, again and again. 

The fact is, the decision to marry someone should be hard. I think too many people walk into marriage without really seeing the big picture, but I can see it. I am aware of the enormity of this decision, and quite frankly, it scares me.
At the Bridal fair, as we scanned through the thousands of people in line, we realized that almost 70% of the couples would not even be married in five years!
I believe couples should spend time thinking about the future and really seeking the Lord in prayer to ensure this decision is the right one for them. This decision is weighty. It will carry on into eternity. It is a huge risk to walk into it without stepping over those butterflies and fluttery new-love emotions so you can have deep, meaty discussions and work through your baggage and fears. Why wait until after you are married to ask yourself if this decision was the best one?
My decision to postpone my wedding wasn’t easy, but honestly I think it’s good that I have been wrestling with this to the depths of the fiber of my being. Now I know what I’m signing up for: 

I am making a choice to stand beside someone even when he is at his worst. I am choosing to love someone even when I don’t feel loved in return.
No one going into marriage wants to believe there will be hard days. I have sought the advice of many counselors. I know marriage will be filled with amazing days and some hard times. I don’t want to be unprepared for the bumps or unsure that I married the right person because I know if I don’t prepare, those bumps could be fatal.
I desire to enter marriage fitted with the right armor for any battle that may be in front of us. I dream of being able to stand firm against the real enemy instead of my spouse. I yearn to dig deeper into the Bible instead of falling more in love with worldly reasoning. I aspire to live in overflowing, abundant life instead of settling for even the smallest sickness, for I know that sickness is the beginning of death. I crave unity because I know that even the smallest amount of strife is the beginning of division and division can end in divorce.
Marriage is a battleground because it is a perfect illustration of the way Christ loves the church. He is coming again to swoop up His bride for the most beautiful union! The enemy desires to destroy this image of the relationship between Christ and the church by driving nails of strife into the marriage between a man and a wife.

When we dig deep into our Father’s heart, He will direct our steps to that perfect match for each of us and then supernaturally equip us to live out our marriages in unity, not strife. 

The truth is that we can fight against each other or we can 
stand together and fight for unity!


No one wants to call off a wedding. It is so hard! But sometimes you have to stop working on the temporary—the wedding plans—to focus on what is lasting. I will walk into my marriage with full confidence and no fear.

My prayer is that sharing my painful journey in deciding about marriage will help you. 

Love, 
Kathleen 

Someday Your Feet Will Be Carried, Too

Youth is celebrated.

Yet, everyone ages.
Everyone dies.

A new, baby tree is so cute and beautiful. It’s flexible; it bends to the ground in a heavy wind. Its short, unable to see the horizon over older trees. The bark is youthful and smooth, without many marks or deep grooves. The bright-green, tender leaves are small and dainty.
The older tree climbs far above the new tree. The trunk is thicker. The bark is rough and deeply grooved. It’s apparent that it has had much wear and tear over the years. The trunk is strong and stable. Its branches can hold the weight of climbing children and homemade swings. It can stand firm through strong winds. It towers over the other trees, giving it a perspective many others cannot see. Its leaves are dark and thick, veiny and tough, even coarse. Each mark and groove tells a story of a storm weathered, a season endured.
My precious grandma stayed in a nursing home. My daughter said, “Mom, nursing homes are like orphanages for old people. They are mostly alone, with visitors few and far between. People come in for an hour to visit once in a while, and then they’re gone again.” It crushed her heart.

Youth is idolized in our nation, and older people are devalued. 

Getting old isn’t glamorous. 
What’s the …

Newest trend?
Most youth-restoring moisturizer?
Coolest thing to wear?
Latest diet?

People look to plastic surgery to lift it, tuck it, change it, keep it youthful.
Everyone wants to stay young. But it’s in growing that we gain wisdom to live by and share. It’s the storm survival that makes us like that tall, sturdy tree. Our marks are testimony to our endurance. We gain perspective and can have peace in the storm because we know we will make it through, even if we lose everything. We know there’s a circle of life and we are just a tiny part of it.
The life that once seemed larger than life when we really thought we were somebody now seems so small, like we haven’t left enough of a mark.
Will anyone remember me?
How long until I am forgotten?
What more could I have done?
All those years I wasted, believing I was invincible.

Everyone ages.
Everyone dies.

Someday your feet will be carried, too.
One day you will be like the very people you see no value in now. You may end up alone in a nursing home, wondering whether anyone will remember who you are in 100 years.
When you are on your next trip in nature, remember to look at the trees. The most beautiful ones are large and weathered, with the thickest trunks and intricacies in every branch. Their leaves are larger than your hands. Their branches stretch to the heavens.
That same stunning beauty can be found in the wrinkle lines, spotted hands, thick trunk, and hunched back of an elderly person. They carry their stories in their bodies and their minds. They will mesmerize you if you just ask.
Just ask.
Maybe you will find some wisdom to help your tiny new leaves weather some future storms.

You know they’re coming.

Love, 
Sheri 

Need Healing?

The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. 
(Proverbs 18:21 NIV)

Our words are powerful. What would make us think otherwise? God Himself created the heavens and the earth with His words.

As Proverbs says, we have two choices with our words: life or death. That’s it. We are either agreeing with God and His Word or we are not. There is no in-between.

What are your words currently lining up with: life or death?

Seriously, evaluate your words right now. Do you speak life or death to your family? Your parents? Your siblings? Your spouse? Your children? Your boss? Your pastor? Your neighbors? Your friends? Yourself?

Recently my husband pointed out to me that my words about myself were not filled with life. I was actually shocked because I thought I chose my words carefully. But then I started listening to myself and realized that I would say silly things like, “Oh, I look terrible this morning.” It’s simple and maybe even factual, but it is not speaking life over myself.

So I started keeping a tighter rein on my words because I know that out of your mouth your heart speaks (see Luke 6:45). I thought, “Okay, God, what’s wrong in my heart? What am I not understanding fully? In what ways am I not trusting You? Why have my words become so malign?”

Knowing who you are in Jesus is a daily journey. It requires daily—sometimes moment by moment—reminders that this is not my home and I am a daughter of the King, adopted, chosen, wholly loved, accepted, safe, and never alone. I was created by the Potter, and I am His masterpiece. When I undervalue myself, I am really criticizing the artist. Ouch!

Our words impact not only us but also others around us. The way we choose to build ourselves and others up will be directly seen in the fruit.

This makes me think about how we see sickness and disease and battle illness or resist the enemy. Do we agree with God and speak only life, or do our words show that we agree with the enemy or the battle? I do not want my words to be destructive in any area of my life. My God is too worthy! Isn’t He?!

If you are in a battle for your life, I want to give you this free resource of healing words you can listen to so you will begin speaking life over yourself.

Your words will be either life-filled or death-filled. You get to choose. Will you be a bringer of life?

http://ikanministries.com/audiohealing/

One Focus That Will Change Everything

There’s a movie theater at the gym that I work out at. When I first get in there, I can’t hear the movie because all I can hear is the voice in my head that says, “I don’t want to be here. I can’t do this. I’m out of shape. I’m too fat. I would rather be sleeping.” Then you just hear your feet hitting the treadmill, then the sound of the treadmill belt. The sound of everyone else in the rooms feet pounding increasingly distracts me. The beeping noises. The feet pounding. The treadmill belt – oh My! I can barely take it!!!!!! The desire to punch someone out at the front desk if they do not turn up the volume is overwhelming. 🙂 

If you’ll take your focus off of all of those things and just put it on the movie and listen very hard, eventually, the movie volume—grows louder and louder. Before you know it, all I can hear is the movie. I actually – believe this or not, sometimes forget I am in the cardio room!

When I’m really focused on the movie, it sounds loud and very clear. I forget about all my complaints.
In our everyday lives, the busyness, texts, social media, the TV, co-workers, children, people—can be very noisy. Discouragement, loss of a job, not able to have a baby—it’s really loud. That’s all we can hear sometimes, our own negative thoughts, our hurt feelings, discouragement beating in your heart, self-loathing talk. 

BUT! If we will just focus on listening for God’s voice for long enough, eventually it will be louder than all the other things that are happening around us, inside of us and to us. That’s when, all you and I can hear is HIM. We can actually – believe this or not, sometimes forget we are in the middle of hurt and chaos! 
                                                     

Talk to Your Mountain

Tonight I’m thinking about the mountains that lie before me. A mountain can be a sickness or a disease like cancer. A mountain can be some job that you have to do that seems way too big, something you can’t handle. Your past experience can’t get you through it. Your knowledge today can’t get you through it. A mountain can be a marriage that’s in turmoil. Every day, you fight with your spouse over finances or the kids or over the trash—the smallest of things—because it’s in turmoil. You don’t know what’s going on. You were once in love, and now you’re not even sure you like your spouse anymore. Those are mountains.
                                  
I look at my mountains that lie before me today, and I sit here and think about how our perspective influences the way we view our mountains. What lens are we looking through? If you have to climb a mountain and you don’t like to climb, you’re thinking, “Ugh, I can’t climb that mountain. It’s too big. It’s too big for me to do. I don’t even know what tools to buy, what shoes I should wear, how I should dress. Is it cold on top? I don’t know the temperature. What kind of supplies do I need? What do I need to be safe? Do I need ropes? Do I need a professional to help me? Should I get some training? How long should I prepare before I actually climb that mountain?”
But maybe I’m a mountain climber. Maybe I’ve climbed rocks my entire life and it’s one of the thrills that I love, so I look at that mountain with anticipation. My adrenalin starts pumping, and I think, “I can’t wait to stand on top of that mountain. I’m going to take my picture out there. I’ll prepare my photography equipment in advance. And how will I get down? I’ll probably need a helicopter to pick me up.”
The professional climbers know exactly what equipment they need to climb the mountain, and they probably already have it in their tool chest. They have all the tools they need to climb that mountain. They know exactly how they are going to get to the top of that mountain. They know which shoes to wear, and those shoes are already broken in and comfortable. They love those shoes, and they can’t wait to get those shoes on the grooves of the mountain. They have all the ropes, and they have a belayer, somebody who will hold the rope and keep them safe and tight. They have confidence. They’re not afraid at all.
The beginning climber, on the other hand, is shaking in his shoes, thinking, “What if I fall? What will happen? What will happen to my family? Maybe I won’t make it.” He doesn’t have the confidence and experience of having climbed a mountain before whereas the professional knows he is going to get to the top of the mountain because he did it before with that other mountain.
Maybe you decide not to climb at all. You think, “I do not like heights, and I refuse to climb this mountain. I’m going to dig my way through this mountain. There must be a way through it.” How are you going to get through this mountain? It’s 25 miles wide—I don’t know how big a mountain is—it’s one mile wide, maybe. It’s one mile wide, and it’s made of rock and earth and heavy structure. How do you get through that?
            If I dug a mine before, I probably know what tools and how many people I need to get through the mountain. If I’m a beginning digger, I’m probably thinking, “Do I need a shovel? Should I call my buddies and offer a pizza party if they help me dig my way through this mountain?”
So many times, we look at the mountain and think about how we’re going to conquer it with the resources that we have today, the physical resources that we have on hand and our own power and might. Well, I propose there’s another way to look at the mountains we face.
The Bible says that God will give us the tools. He not only gives us the tools, He also sharpens them (see Isaiah 41:15). He makes them of great quality to use. He gives you the tools, and they’re so sharp that you won’t need to climb over the mountain or dig through it; the tool is going to chop that mountain down to a flatland (also see Zechariah 4:6–7). There won’t be a mountain anymore, just crumbles of dirt. 

Jesus told His disciples, “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him” (Mark 11:23 NIV).
Speak to your mountains? How are you going to speak to a marriage that is broken or in turmoil? How can you speak to cancer? Speak to it? What good does that do? Chemotherapy helps cancer, not speaking to it. Maybe it’s the homeschooling that you think you are called to do. How am I going to homeschool my kids? I can speak to it? Is that really practical?
Well, let’s put this into a practical application. God created the world in seven days. How did He create it? He created it through His words, and He holds it together with His words. All things are held together by God’s word.
A lot of people will tell you how to attack your mountain. They’ll tell you, “Look at your mountain. Size it up. Talk to a doctor if you have cancer. Do everything they say, follow their plan, and you’ll probably be okay.” If your marriage is in turmoil, people will say, “Go to marriage counseling. Keep a check on your marriage. Make sure that you’re paying attention to it, that you spend time loving on your spouse. Figure out how your spouse best receives care and love and respect from you.” There are all kinds of books written on how to care for your spouse in a better way. Females like to be loved in this manner, males in that manner. There are all kinds of ways out in the world to attack your mountain. Every day there are people trying to tell you what to do.
One of my mountains was my marriage. I’d been married for a little while. Every relationship I had before completely fell apart. I always thought it was everyone else’s fault, but I came to find that it was mine. It was my fault. It was all my fault. Why? Because I tried to let my marriage complete me and make me whole and make me someone that I wasn’t.
I tried to let my marriage be my rock and my hiding place. Well, guess what happened? After I got married, my husband wasn’t all he said he was, all he seemed he was going to be. Suddenly my hiding place had cracks in it, and I was exposed in places I didn’t want to be. This brought out emotions I didn’t really like. You know, like you hear me saying, “Are you kidding me? Are you serious?” 
I really didn’t think I liked my husband anymore. I’m stuck to him, married to him, but I didn’t think I even liked him. Then I saw this book that said, “Maybe marriage is meant to make you holy, not happy.” It didn’t matter how many hours I could have gone to marriage counseling or how much I worked on my marriage and loved my husband more or did more to meet his needs. I missed that my number one covenant was with Father God.
The only way to conquer your mountain is by the Spirit of the Lord (see Zechariah 4:6). You can spend all day long listening to people’s advice or trying to figure out how to build a train around your mountain, how to climb your mountain, how to get to the other side by your might and your power. But the only way to conquer your mountain indefinitely, completely, and perfectly is through the Spirit of the living God and through Jesus Christ!
We read in Zechariah 4:7, “What are you, O great mountain [of obstacles]? Before Zerubbabel [who will rebuild the temple] you will become a plain (insignificant)!” (AMP). Wow. How many times have you heard that saying, You’re making a mountain out of a molehill? Well, God says you have a mountain in front of you but He is going to make it a molehill. Let’s look through the vision of God at our mountains and let’s see what’s really there. Physically standing in front of us, we might see a mountain. But by God’s Spirit, it’s a molehill.
That’s how we conquer our mountains.