Kegs and Jesus


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As I sit and share the weekend with a friend that radically fought for the best version of me she says something that stops me in my tracks and so here it goes….

“When we walk in excellence in our callings God is highly glorified. Sometimes Christians overly mystify their calling….BE EXCELLENT AT WHAT GOD HAS MADE YOU GOOD AT. It takes sacrifice and it takes work, but when we are walking in our callings we are very happy and very effective humans.”

I have been training my tail off for the last 5 months. It has been fun, it’s been hard, it’s hurt, it’s been rewarding. I’m constantly asking The Lord why am I doing this? Shouldn’t I be doing something more noble?

I will not go into the story, maybe I will save it for another time. I just want to say that God has absolutely blown me out of water with my calling, where I am in this season. I have been faithful in competing and through CrossFit and two competitions after this weekend two women I just met absolutely have stepped into a new place of God’s heart. It was the most amazing and beautiful thing ever.

It was so wonderful as I got to walk with them this weekend and see God radically move in their lives…I used to be defined, identified and found value in my accomplishments. I had the honor of winning a competition this weekend but that seemed so unimportant in comparison to the freedom these women found and the friendship that we found as we let the Lord be the center of the weekend. I really have been set free from being identified by what I do. I am a vessel for the Lord doing what He’s asked of me.

What are you good at? Go after it with great excellence for you never ever ever know when God will place people in your lives that just need to be loved on and to hear your story. Our experiences, our stories matter and you never know when they might change the course of a life.

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Do They Make you Better or Just Make you Feel Better?


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After having coffee with a friend yesterday morning this question has continued to bounce around in my brain….

Why do I hang with the people I do?

Everywhere we go there are cliques, at church, at the gym, at school, at a party, etc. We all have those people that we are drawn to, that we choose to spend our time with, that we feel comfortable around.

This is going to be short and sweet…

I want you to just take a little bit of time and decide why you run with the crowd you run with…

Do they feel safe to you?

Do they challenge you?

Do they love you enough to call you higher?

Do they let you vent and vent and vent and then affirm all of your feelings, or do they let you vent and then challenge you to live unoffended?

Do they make you feel better about yourself?

Are they broke like you?

Are they wealthy like you?

Do they love like you do?

Do they speak truth?

I want my answer to be because they make me better, regardless of their financial situation, their attire, their religion, etc. I want to surround myself with people that challenge me, call em up, and even call me out (with love). I want to live a life surrounded by people who will not allow me to stay the same, I want them to assist me in my growth.

Then in turn I also want to be a friend who loves well and speaks truth always.

Owning It. Part II


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“Mom if I had muscles I could be beautiful like Lu.”

That simple little phrase couldn’t have come at a more perfect time…

Out of the mouths of babes comes words that can penetrate the very deepest parts of who we are. 5 year old Sophia did precisely that. As those words came through a text I was undone…crying and wondering how in the world that little girl had known how my day had gone.

I had seen a picture of my arms taken that morning and to me they looked huge…I then proceeded to head to get a massage. The conversation began with me saying nothing and Danie saying, “Lu just as the body of Christ needs all of its parts, so do you. You gotta say yes to every part of you.” I had not even told her anything from the morning. She then proceeds to say even more and I basically cry through my entire massage and then she does some modality that feels like she is attaching my arms back onto my body.

Later that night the text comes through…

What I see as a part of my body that’s huge Sophia sees as beautiful. She decides that arms like mine will make her beautiful. It’s not the arms it’s the realization that who you are is beautiful. We all aren’t supposed to look the same, we all have different giftings and callings. The part I find so wonderful is that a little 5 year old girl looked with her little laser beam right into my heart and spoke a truth I struggled to believe…I’m saying yes to em.

This weekend I got to be an athlete in a competitive setting again. I was prepared, I had trained, I was so excited, and for the first time in my life I was competing because I was born to do it, because it brought glory to the one who created me. I had fun and I worked my tail off. I can look back and say I held nothing back and I knew that in my performance that I was brining the Lord pleasure and I could feel it.

Are you brining the Lord pleasure in your life?

Owning It. Part I


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Cassandra has been a client of mine for several months now. She’s a woman on a journey. I will be following up today’s article with a part two as her sweet daughter penetrated my heart with the very words that penetrated her mama’s. Welcome Cassandra, thank you for sharing your story!

Sitting on my couch with my daughter I saw that Lu posted a video of herself lifting. I was so excited to see what she achieved since I really found inspiration from her strength. My daughter on my lap and my phone in hand we watched Lu. My daughter immediately started cheering “GO LU!” She had me play it at least 5 times and with each view of the short video she cheered just as enthusiastically. She turned to me at the end of our last view and said,“ Mom I would like to have arms like Lu” I told her she could work on her “lumps”, her name for muscles. My daughter turned to me again and said, “ Mom if I had muscles I could be beautiful like Lu.” I looked at her and realized she was so wise beyond her years. She had no idea that comment was so profound to me. She saw the beauty in strength.

I realized my daughter didn’t care if I was a size 0, that wasn’t beauty to her. She saw strength and that was beauty. She saw a beautiful women lifting weights and said Mom I want to be like that I want to be strong and that is what I needed to hear at that moment.

I have battled with self image my whole life. I always felt invisible and not good at anything I did. Looking for guidance from my parents when it came to sports I wanted to try such as crew, the answer was always you are too small or no. My only option, in my parents opinion was dance. I did love it but I didn’t feel I fit. Being a shy and anxiety ridden person I found solace, oddly enough on stage. I would be on stage and feel safe because I couldn’t see the faces just hear the praise from the applause.

I was sucked into the image of a dancer being 90 lbs and always suffering from the fear I was not tiny enough. I was thin but weak. I knew I had more in me. I mentally strong but physically not. I was addicted to the praise for being so small. I was somehow visible and worthy if I was a size 0 and 90 lbs. I was not happy though, I had the praise of others appeasing the vane side of me but my heart was empty. I was always looking to material things and others acknowledgements to fill the dark hole in my heart.

I made the decision to get in the gym. I was sick of being unhappy and knew that there was a doingness that comes with happiness. I needed to do something to help me to get to where I wanted to be. I had 3 children and wanted to be healthy and strong for them. I couldn’t just wish myself into being healthy and strong. I was inspired by a friend who made an amazing change when she started training with Lu and I was at a point in my life that I too was ready.

The first couple weeks were awkward. I remember Lu saying about something I was doing “this needs to be athletic not pretty!” I was so lost. How do I make myself into an athlete? I had been so disconnected from my body after the last 10 years of surgeries and illness. The whole process was hard and I wanted to quit so many times until Lu had me lift weights for the first time. I felt for the first time that I had found something I was good at. I felt strong, free and empowered. I felt I was shedding every burden I had ever carried every time I came up from that weighted squat. I felt amazing. I was stronger than I thought! I was hooked!

I realized that Lu had brought me through my fears and weakness by putting that weight on that bar and believing I could do it. She has helped me get back to me. I felt free. With that freedom started a new journey of really getting to know who I am all over. I am taking the first few steps on this new path and enjoying each new thing. I have had to shed fear and insecurities and just be there in the gym ready to create the person I want to be. I am now creating the person I have seen in my mind since I was a little girl but I let others considerations dictate my path. This time I am taking full responsibility for me, my life and my body. I am work in progress and loving every minute.

Never The Same


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Welcome my wonderful, amazing, inspiring sister to the blog!!!! She’s had an amazing journey and had decided she wants to share it with you all! She’s come so far in such a short amount of time and I’m so dang proud of her.

I was raised a Christian, but things happened to me and others around me that led me away from my intended relationship with God. I can sit here and tell you that I wasn’t angry at God, but that would be dishonest and counterproductive. It took me a long time to realize this. After a few heated conversations with a well intentioned sister I finally swallow my pride and realize I was letting the past effect my walk with The Lord.

I thought my relationship with the Lord would be better without church. I had experienced judgmental and hurtful people in the past. No where did I recognize man to be finite and fallen because I didn’t recognize myself that way.

Whoa! Talk about prideful!

When looking back at my relationship with God I never was mad at Him for the hardships, I just needed to know where He was during them!  I recommend if you have asked the same questions, ask Him. It’s an insanely powerful thing and His desire is to show. I had never heard from Him before, so an answer was not what I was expecting.  HE DID!  When He did there was so much peace, forgiveness, brokenness and anger. Now it was time to deal with the heart issue that I had now accepted as reality.  I didn’t know how, but He showed me.

The God of my understanding faithfully revealed Himself to me. When He did, He was so completely different from who I had believed Him to be. I had put Him in a box. I believed Him to be distant, cold, mysterious…. What??

My God is none of those things and He showed me! That day He showed me He had always been there, I just wasn’t listening.

I did not think He had a sense of humor. Now if you know me or my husband at all you know we love to laugh! Mine is loud and Zach loves to make me bellow!!! As I read “Beautiful Outlaw” by John Eldridge, it shattered my ideas of Jesus!

“God is more playful than we are.” 

God gave us our laughs and made things for us to laugh at!! Like a sloth or monkeys that throw poo! My point is, my relationship with God has shifted. I still struggle to hear that sometimes small voice but He has shifted my view of myself. I took the time to sit and fully ask Him who I was and he told me! He told me things I never thought I would be, but I will be!! I am less angry. I joke less at the expense of others. I am less offended and I am daily striving for a healthier me. It’s a fight somedays! The chocolate cries out to me, but I know I’m meant for more! I am not claiming to be perfect, but I am aware of places I gave the enemy strongholds and daily I am fighting to break free.

DAILY!

I have the knowledge that my Poppa fighting for my life right beside me and that makes everyday less daunting.

IMG_6089Ellie is the wife to the amazing Zach Marley.  The two of them together will make you laugh til you pee.  They carry so much joy.  Ellie is a nail artist at The Lockhouse Salon in Jacksonville.  She loves to cook and this woman can’t wait to be a mama one day.

I Must Be Crazy


Hi guys….

Wow it’s been a long time since the last post. As this journey over the years has unfolded as has the vision and the workings of God in my life. As the heading of the blog says, TRUTH, PASSION, STRENGTH I’ve had a vision for what that looks like. Patience has been the key, waiting for the Lord to lead the way. I am sure this will be a constant process, but as of right now I am adding a new blog to this thing.  Soon these will all be linked together, but for right now there’s a couple blogs going on.

www.HonorYourGift.Wordpress.com

I will be logging the STRENGTH portion of the journey. I have felt like I need to start a log of my training. A place to share what my training looks like, but to also share the challenges and the victories. Just because I’m a trainer doesn’t mean that this all comes crazy easy to me. It’s a season that I am and God is using it in crazy ways to breakthrough in my life.

Feel free to post, ask questions, join in the fun or whatever you feel works best for you! Thanks guys. Tomorrow look for a new post here from little sissy. Until then head on over to Honor Your Gift.

What Feeds Your Desires?


I’m just going to be real, here. Is that okay?

I figure I can pop on here every week or so and copy and paste from some fabulous diet and fitness website, and I can throw in some good scripture here and there, and I could list the rules for healthy living and I could call it good. And you, Lu’s gracious readers, would probably be too kind to call me out. You might call it good-ish, because you don’t know what else to say, or you might not comment at all. But still, I could just call it good and move on to the next step of my self improvement according to the latest trending topic online and hope no one sees what a fake I really am.

But it wouldn’t be good. Because it’s not honest. I’m shredded. God’s exposing some things in my heart and I don’t want to miss out on what He’s doing in me. So I would rather be real than good. I would rather risk this time in the freedom of being honest than to be a rule polisher. Is that okay?

Here’s the deal. It all comes down to trust.

Do I trust Jesus? Do I really trust him, or do I just know the list of stuff I’m supposed to do or not do as a Christian? Is my life meant to be about rules or about freedom? Do I trust him to do a new thing in me; something I’ve never seen before?

Look at Noah. God asks him to build a cruise ship 5 miles from town in the middle of the desert. He doesn’t waste a bunch of time asking why or how. He just grabs his hammer and gets to work. And here’s the thing; researchers say that rain did not exist before that time. Water from the sky was something Noah had never seen before. But Noah knew who he was. And Noah believed and lived as if God would do something new.

Look at Abraham. God asks him to sacrifice his own son; the precious son through which God was going to fulfill his promise to build a great nation. But he doesn’t waste a bunch of time asking why or how. He just grabs his knife and starts up the mountain. And here’s the thing; as far as I have heard God had not raised anyone from the dead before. Calling someone out from the grave was something Abraham had never seen. But Abraham knew who he was. And Abraham believed and lived as if God would do something new.

Look at me. God asks me to end my romance with food. He asks me trust Him to feed me. He dreams of lavishing blessing on my life, but I’m too busy blessing myself! I don’t want to waste a bunch of time asking how or why. I just want to tell myself NO for once, and say YES to whatever God wants to fill my life with. I want to know who I am. Looking back on my life I have never completely trusted God to fulfill my deepest desires and longings. I have searched for ways to delight myself, instead of delighting in Him.

This is Lu here…I want to make sure you are hearing what Jenna is saying!  She was filling her hearts desires with food…let that sink in……deeper, deeper, deeper!

But I am reminded today of who I am. And I believe Jesus and am determined to live as if God will do something new in me.

This might get messy. But I’ll take messy over good any day.

I trust Him.

From “Oceans/Where My Feet May Fail by Hillsong”

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

YouTube Video of Oceans

Jenna is married to her prom date (David) and is the proud mom of Ethan (22), Evan (20) and Ellis (18). She is learning how to live like Jesus and to love urgently, extravagantly and invisibly. She is a hopeless coffee freak, a mentor for teens and college kids, and blogger over at JUMPING INTO AWKWARD.