Monday, November 19, 2012

Renewed Health, Renewed Strength, Renewed Faith!

Today's post is by Suzanne VanDyke.

In the spring of 2009 I had just come out of one of the toughest seasons of my life. After struggling through a rare gynecologic cancer, I was finally cancer free! The chemo drugs had worked and I finally felt like I had my body back. I felt like I could be a wife and a mother again without my health holding me back. I also found myself yearning for a way to honor my faith and thank God for bringing me through this trial. This is when God brought Body & Soul fitness into my life. God showed me a renewed strength as my body felt stronger and my faith grew stronger at the same time. I also found a way to spend time with my Mother and sister outside of a traditional "health club" where everyone can participate. Regardless of fitness level, or where you are in your own faith, Body & Soul has something for everyone. We are blessed with one of the most caring and challenging instructors, Mrs. Linda Seagears. Linda has a God given ability to challenge individuals at their own unique levels in both faith and fitness. Many bonds and lasting friendships have formed and have made Body & Soul not just an exercise class, but a true blessing in my life. Last week we talked about the scripture, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5). No matter where you are God desires for you to experience joy. Body & Soul has been a joy to me and I'm so thankful for the continued blessings of this ministry. P.S. Come give Body & Soul a try at "Turkey Boot Camp" this Monday, November 19th at 7pm. Regular classes meet every Monday at 7pm and Wednesdays at 5pm in the Grace Life Community Church Gym:)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

He's Working On It

Today's post is by Alana Bell

I was in a funk. I knew it and I was sure everyone around me knew it. I was constantly irritated by people in traffic, at the gym, at the bus stop, at home. My attitude toward my daily routine and responsibilities was becoming increasingly negative. Any little thing that went wrong had me cursing the situation under my breath. My patience for my children being children was next to nothing and I found myself shouting and losing my temper constantly. I had been trying to fix it, but it just wasn't working. Every morning I would wake up and remind myself to try to do better, but I just kept failing. One evening after a particularly bad day and a rough bedtime routine that left me feeling like a mean mommy, I sat down and cried. "What is wrong with me?? Why can't I snap out of this??" Usually a few hard workouts, an evening out with my girlfriends, or a drop-everything-and-just-play-with-them session would do the trick. But I had tried all those things and I continued to feel terrible. That evening I heard that ever quiet voice whisper to me, "Proverbs 31." I could've gone straight to my old fashioned paper bible, or to my Bible app on my iPhone, but instead I plugged it into Google. I had heard of the "Proverbs 31 woman" and was a little unsure if I was ready to read a passage about everything I was not but should be. So instead of looking it up directly, I thought, let me get a little background on this. What I realized was that was exactly what God wanted me to do! The first link that came up was for the Proverbs31 Ministries. "Articles and Resources to Encourage Women in their Everyday Lives." Wow, God! That's totally what I need! I quickly came across a series of power verses that spoke to me and I felt led to write them down and meditate on them. My husband saw them sitting out on the counter the next morning and asked me if I was okay! To him the verses sounded depressing because the writers were coming from such a bad place. But in them I found hope. God was there with me and would help me to endure and become stronger. I also found a link to sign up for daily devotions and have found them to be a blessing every morning since.
That Sunday, by the grace of God, we had an easy morning getting ready for church and were actually running early. Everyone was in a good mood, and as we listened to WPER on the way to church, I was able to focus on God instead of the usual, "hurry up and turn green!! We're already late!!" A song came on that I had probably heard before but didn't notice, and it was like God said to me, "Hey, I've got something for you today, so listen up!" The girls and I belted out the song and truly worshiped the Lord on the way to church. When Kayleigh and I got into service and that very same song came on, we audibly gasped. God was really laying it on me thick. The sermon was the first half of the Fruits of the Spirit mini series. Love, Joy, Peace, and Patience. All the things that were so sorely lacking in my life. Pastor Bob really emphasized that these are not things that we can create or strive for. I realized that because of the love of Christ and grace of God, these things already exist in me. It was my flesh preventing them from growing. My own selfish tendencies and desires for everything to be my way were drowning out my ability to enjoy the multitude of blessings in my life. I left church that day actually feeling changed. The song played again on the way home, and I thought, I've got to remember this so I can tell someone, or play it at home. For the life of me I couldn't remember the title or artist after that day. It was like God was reminding me, it's not about the song. It's about you and me. I'm working on you. That's what you can tell people.
I felt that God wanted me to share my experience on the ladies blog, but I was afraid. What if I put myself out there and don't improve? What will people think? I procrastinated a bit, until today. I opened my daily devotional from P31 Ministries and it was entitled "Surviving Mommy Stress." I knew my friend was struggling after the birth of her baby and decided to forward it on to her. I had never shared anything like that with her before and was a little nervous about how she would receive it. Almost immediately, she responded to me, "You have no idea how much I needed that today." No, I didn't, but God did. He's working on it. He's working on me, and I'm learning to trust His direction, accept His grace, and let His fruit grow in my spirit.
Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.