Friday, September 27, 2013

Fit, Fabulous, 40's, Friday

Happy FRIDAY!!
"3 Not only this, but we also rejoice in sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance, character, and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us."
Romans 5:3-5 (NET)

On Wednesday night at our Cross Fitness Class,
I shared this verse.

Sufferings, challenges, trials, the yucky stuff of life.
We all  have them, and if you don't, praise God -  and then just wait a few days.

 When God says here that we rejoice in sufferings, 
He is acknowledging that 
suffering WILL happen,
problems WILL occur,
challenges WILL stop us in our tracks,
but there is a bigger picture, here.

As we go through suffering,
problems and challenges, remember a couple of things:
1) we are never alone facing it
2)God is doing something deeper in us as we go through the suffering,
deal with the problem and wrestle with our challenges.

He is doing some heart and soul work-
He is strengthening us for bigger battles.

Sure, you can totally AVOID going through, dealing and wrestling,
but it's as though God continues to have us go into the same battle over and over until we work THROUGH it. Can I hear an, "Amen"?
So, the answer is to walk through them.
Yes, easy for me to say and put out there -
but I know it to be true.

As we struggle, suffer, wrestle and deal with problems and trials,
God is using these situations to build character, 
make us stronger.

This totally applies to our physical bodies, as well.
As we challenge our bodies to work hard, say "no" to foods when we are not hungry,
push ourselves to exercise, go that extra mile,
say "yes" to what we know is best for our bodies, 
we are building strength physically as well as mentally and spiritually.

During one of the darkest times of my life, when my girlfriend, father and a mentor passed away within 6 months of each other,
I chose NOT to battle.
I chose to do what was easier- have a pity party, isolate myself and get mad at God.
My head knew what I should be doing-fighting through it
but my heart was so broken and I felt so defeated, I had no energy to battle.

All the while, God was waiting...
and waiting....
and waiting....

It took a series of unfortunate events that landed me flat on the floor-
ashamed, guilty and defeated.
Yup, I am so totally human, and grateful that I came to my senses.

I realized where I was- in the pit and although I felt as though no one would "help me get out", I put myself there and CHOSE to stay there.

So, I decided to take responsibility and had faith that I could turn things around.
I put on my Big-Girl panties on, wiped my tears, put my boxing gloves on to have another go at it-

I knew I had to run back into His arms and when I did,
I was overwhelmed with forgiveness and unconditional love. Not just from God, but from those closest to me that I hurt.

I realized that God was doing something in me and through me, and He grew me spiritually as I spent time with Him, 
listening and 
reading His word.

The struggle produced strength to endure more, it built my character, humbled me and gives me hope that I am loved even though I am still so very far from being perfect.

What struggle are you going through?
Facing a trial that seems overwhelming?
Feel like you just can't push anymore?
Feel defeated?  

I have a solution: Trust God. How?
Pray- talk or yell out to God.
Read- His word, the Bible. 
Listen- the hardest part for me, to BE still, sit and call upon the Lord.
Journal....record what comes up....what did He say in the quietness?

The older I get the more I realize that God has and IS EVERYTHING we need, 
if we just 
ask, seek, listen, and then do - 
or sometimes, don't do! Ha ha!

He loves you and me so very much that He wants us to grow to become more like Him and we all know that He carried the biggest burden for us- our sin, out of His love for us.

You are not suffering, battling or wrestling alone. 
You have the One who is with you, who is never changing, who has always loved you and loves you now.

Dear Lord,
Thank you for my friend reading this. I pray Father, that you would shed some light in their darkness, share some joy in their pain, and Father, give them some HOPE in this time of struggle. I pray for endurance and the character to do what is right, and I pray for confirmation for my friend, that they are on the right path to becoming victorious over this battle. And if it does continue, Lord, that  they would continue to lean into You for the strength they need, the encouragement they need and the power of the Holy Spirit to do a mighty work in them.
I love you, Lord, and thank you for this reader and what she/he is going through and how you are doing a good work in them.
In Jesus' name I pray, 

How can I pray for your struggle?
Have you ever battled and have seen God's hand in it?
What is a challenge in your life right now?
Be blessed,

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Happy First Day of School!

Hi there!
I know, you thought (hoped) I was never going to post again, right?

It was a long and wonderful summer filled with lazy days and a lot of laughter!

But of course, 
time marches on and here we are-
Back 2 School!

For Team Hertogh, 
today is the first day of school for the 2013-2014 school year.
Here are my 3 Blessings!

Just yesterday they were like this...
well, more than one day- many years!
(wipe tear)

Most of the population begins the New Year on January 1st,
but for me,
after 11 years of teaching, 
(that does not include 2 years of being a Teacher's Aide, 1 year of Student Teaching
and 7 years of Substitute teaching)
MY year always begins NOW!

I set goals for the year,
think about what the kids are going to learn and accomplish this year,
and prayerfully consider what Jesus wants me to pursue,
focus on and walk towards.

It doesn't always turn out the way I planned-
in fact, it usually doesn't,
so I lay expectations down and surrender what I think so I can hear what He thinks.

ONE thing we can do for our children EVERYday is to pray for them
each child-specifically.
(their friendships, academics, self-talk, covering for protection of what they hear,
who they let into their lives, mental and spiritual protection)

If it sounds overwhelming- 
yet as a parent,
our children are our FIRST ministry from God.

And whether your children are babies or adults,
you can and should feel privileged to continue praying for them.

As I pray for them today, I am also praying for their futures-
their jobs, ministry, relationships 
thanking God in advance for all that He IS doing and WILL be doing.

My prayer for YOU today-
that you would spend MORE time with God this year-
in HIS word,
sitting with HIM,
chatting or going deep with HIM,
and listening to HIM,
and for Pete's sake,

SLOW the heck down!!

This devotional from HomeWord was really good about slowing down-
Doug Fields, one of my favorite Teachers/Speakers
wrote another good one regarding families Here

We move too fast and focus on so many things that will not be important in 
5, 10 or 20 years.

One thing I know for sure-
OUR children are out there-
and without prayer,
there is no protection or covering.

Can bad things still happen?
but I know our prayers are heard by God.

Not sure where to start? Here are a few ideas:

1. Journal your prayers to God (as if writing Him a letter)
2. Go through one of the books of the Bible (Psalms, Proverbs)
*read a sentence or paragraph and ask yourself what God is trying to say to you*
3. Purchase a Devotional such as Jesus Calling- read and write out your reflection or pray,
Stormie Omartian also has many great books on praying for your family. 
4. With all this technology- you can Google "prayer" to find blogs discussing prayer
5.Ask someone in your church for some help in this area ( an older attender or friend)
6. Use the Acronym, "ACTS" to get started.
(A-Acknowledge God for who He is
C-Confession of our sin
T-Thanksgiving for all He is doing and has done and will do
S-Supplication- where we come humbly to HIm with all of our requests through prayer
6.You can also find a local prayer group like Moms In Prayer,
 (used to be called Moms In Touch)
or start your own!
7. Allocate time EVERY day to pray -priorities are put in the calendar!
(something is ALWAYS better than nothing! Start with 5-10 min)
8. Don't guilt yourself into doing it- this is precious time spent with Jesus,
I look forward to being filled and fed by His Spirit,
but it was not always like this, do it and you will see fruit!

Though we will go through difficult and challenging times,
knowing that there is a purpose and opportunity for growth during those times and knowing that
We have God covering us, Jesus beside us 
and the Holy Spirit within us,
gives us an assurance and a peace that we cannot explain.

Dear Lord,
THANK YOU for this beautiful day!
Thank you, 
that I can come to you with all of my concerns, wishes and worries
and ask that you carry them for me!
I ask Lord, 
that you would do the same for my friend reading this today-
that my friend would be filled by a peace that surpasses all understanding.

Phil 4:6-7
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

I pray that my friend would have a JOY that only YOU can give through your Spirit!
I pray that this school year would be incredible for our children,
knowing that YOU have their lives and futures under control!

I also pray that this year would be a year that we all grow closer to you-
that we would lean into you for ALL of our needs-
physical, emotional, relational and spiritual
because you, Father,
are the Provider of all.

I love you Lord, and the friend reading this.
Please bless my friend and bless all who pass through this post!

it's NEVER TOO LATE to start praying for your children,
to start all over, 
to try something new!

Do you pray?
If so, how do you pray?
What is your process?
PLEASE share!!

HOW can I pray for you?

Love & Blessings-