Delayed or Immediate

Hello dear Friend,

About a week ago, I found this short little ten minute workout by this woman that incorporates dance in it. I thought that is right up my alley: I love to dance, I need to work out and stop sitting around, it’s short, and free! Yay! I am not ashamed, why pay for a gym membership I will hardly be able to use when I can stand in the comfort of my own home with my boys right? Makes sense! So I was excited..this might sound silly but I have really been taking the “keep God in everything” seriously, so I prayed God would help me find a way to exercise and maintain a healthy body so I will have energy and just feel better…and He did it! The little things do matter no matter how silly they sound to pray about.

Anyways…I started a few days later and as I finished the first 10 minute workout, I thought that wasn’t bad, I’m not feeling very much strain so I am just going to keep going. I continued to do like 6, 10 minute workouts and decided that was good for the day but still not feeling much. Well…little did I know the next day I would barely be able to move an inch without wincing in pain. Every muscle felt like if I turned, reached, or bent to far they would all be stretched and maybe even rip. I am a sucker for pain. I didn’t want to move, walk, or stand all day long, but I still had 2 toddler boys needing me to do things like change them, feed them, play with them, you know just a few little things but important. So I had to fight through the pain because the reason was bigger than my pain I felt.

I say all this to say…sometimes in life, we will be strained, stressed, hurting, tired, and feel like doing the easy thing to lay down and not move. So like my muscles screaming at me to give in and STOP! I knew there was something bigger than myself relying on me to keep moving. It is always our choice to give in or press on. The question that’s important is who are you affecting, hindering and/or helping depending on your choice? Everything comes with a repercussion or consequence whether good or bad, whether immediate or delayed. The easy way in the beginning always becomes harder, the hard way in the beginning becomes easier once past the initial hump of pain. We will continue to experience pain here and there as we grow and overcome new strengths and weaknesses, but it becomes easier to take in stride because we have conditioned ourselves. Just as we do when we work our bodies, our endurance becomes easier and farther in some areas. What we have to be careful of is that when we hit that mark where we have achieved some new marks that we continue to push ourselves to new heights. There is always room for growth.

“If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. Luke 16:10

People who work out religiously or body builders are always pushing their body further and not stopping at benching 400 but keep going to 500, 600 and hurts me to think further than that and you get the point.

To have the endurance and tough skin needed to not give in when your entire being is screaming STOP, you can’t, you won’t, it’s not worth it!
You scream back GO, I can, I will, and it is worth it!

Knowing God is first or knowing Him better and then keeping Him first in everything. I hope you choose to press on when it feels the most painful and even when it feels easy and never falling prey to thinking you have arrived until the day you see Jesus.

REMEMBER: Growing pains are natural, treat them as such. Your reason has to remain bigger than the pain.

CAUTION: Keep out of reach of those looking for a free ride, the easy road, and want no pain.

(In a low monotone voice)
SIDE EFFECTS: Endurance, strength, belief, trust, fulfillment, joy, peace, success, victory.
Please consult God before moving forward and receiving this journey.

I love y’all…I hope you keep God as your strength always and I hope that through the growth pains and victories you will share with me your times of encouragement and celebration!

With love,
Jessica

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Always Hopeful

Dear Friend, 

The biggest thing I have been asking God for recently is hunger and understanding. God is a God of answered prayers, He is revealing so much to me about myself, others, the world, His Word, and Himself. One thing I love is when he brings encouragement, reminders, and love when least expected and sometimes in weird ways. Tj and I accepted a job in Birmingham this past February and it has come with relief in some areas and struggle in others. At first, my favorite thing about moving was that we were going to have our own house with a DRIVEWAY and not a parking spot. I know, kinda weird but that was something I desired so much to have our own space. Now, my favorite part about moving, Church of the Highlands. I have learned so much about God and His word than ever before which has sparked so much hunger for not only that but all areas of life. How many of you can agree the importance of being well rounded in all areas of life? How many would agree that the Faith category has to be the foundation to even be eligible to balance in the rest? 

Its funny, usually the most critical priority is usually the one put on the back burner while we say once we get our finances, marriage, job, etc in order then we will go back to church, tithe, and/or serve again. I am guilty of thinking that I was keeping God first and gave Him the correct amount of attention and time. Recently I have realized that God was my first priority in my mind and words but in reality, He wasn’t first in my heart and actions. Thankfully, He has redirected my focus and He is number 1, I don’t go to Him every single time I need to, but I go to Him more than ever before and He is moving mountains in our intimacy with one another. I say all this leading up to my real point, but also to say that our relationship with God needs to always be first. 

The other day, TJ saw a video from Britain’s Got Talent about these 2 boys that wrote their own lyrics to the song Hopeful by Twista and Faith Evans which made TJ want to listen to the actual song and shared it with me. The song is extremely powerful and I highly recommend listening to this song and pay attention the lyrics. Hopeful- Twista & Faith Evans

The song really spoke to me and the Holy Spirit brought to mind the lack of HOPE in our world. I have really been listening to the song quite a few times over the past few days and God just brought more understanding and depth to it through the sermon today. The series our pastor has been doing is titled “Closer”. Today was based on Matthew 6:25-34 and how Jesus was trying to tell us to stop worrying and redirect that energy to God to keep our eyes on Him and give our worries to Him. The opposite of HOPE is worry. Worry is doubt, doubt is fear, fear is untrust, untrust binds and prevents God from moving freely in our lives. HOPE is trust, trust is belief, belief is faith, and faith is power. We have to be HOPEFUL in all circumstances because we are children of the Most High and just as we want to give our kids all we can and keep them safe, how much more do you think God wants to do the same? 

Life Leadership gave us our hope back and through the information, it has given me a closeness with God I have never felt before and I am still not as close as I want to be or need to be. As we meet more and more people and we share with them the opportunity of freedom Life offers to those who want it, the many reasons we get of why they can’t, what they are really saying is “I don’t want to get my hopes up.” As Orrin Woodward says, ” You better get your hopes up!” Otherwise what are we living for? Do you really want to live the rest of your life just trying to make it and always in doubt and worry? Or would you rather be given HOPE for a better tomorrow? I will choose HOPE 365 days a year the rest of my life. HOPE is something God can bless. Why? Because when we believe for a brighter tomorrow, the closer we are to have it because we expected light rather than darkness.

With HOPE, comes opportunity. With HOPE, comes joy. With HOPE, comes freedom. With HOPE, comes peace. With HOPE, God will draw closer. With HOPE, comes order. With HOPE, comes hunger. With HOPE, life gets easier. 

Will it always be easy to be HOPEFUL? No. But with God, it is possible! Put God FIRST and be HOPEFUL….then prepare yourself for God to move in great ways and remember humility and thankfulness in times of plenty, times of little, times of victory, times of struggle, on the mountain tops, and in the valleys. Always remember that in the valleys, God blesses in huge ways even if it is disguised in the midst of struggle. We are stronger because of the struggle and HOPEFUL because of the victories. Decide once to live with a HOPEFUL attitude and spirit and in the times where doubt and worry creep in, lift your hands and worship God and He will bring freedom. My reminder and example of joy, HOPE, peace, worship, faithfulness, and love is PAUL! He lived a life to the fullest for the name of Christ, in the struggle and victory, he never lost HOPE and knew that no matter what he went through here on earth, his reward in the end was so much greater and he kept his eyes on the supplier of that blessing. 

God is ready to move….are you ready to be HOPEFUL and open the floodgates? 

I HOPE you say yes every single day…lets do it together shall we? 🙂 

With love, 

Jessica

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. – Matthew 6:33-34