#freedomin15--His Unique Creation

One of the best things about being with other believers is the (hoped for) grace usually given by all. It's March 16th and this month's freedom post is just now posted. Grace. February was a shorter month anyways, so I'm not as off track as the calendar says. How are you? Where is the Lord taking you in your freedom journey? How far off were you in your assumption of how this would go down? I was way off. Like, waaaaaay off. And I can only assume I'm still way off, even knowing what I do 2 months in. Grace again, right?


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The Lord has brought Psalm 139 to the forefront of my mind this month. Several times it has been referenced in various places, and has come across in my own study time. For me it's one of the many verses that I sort of skim over because, well, I know all about it (insert finger quotations).

I'm wonderfully made. 

His works are marvelous.

He knew me in my mother's womb.

But He knew I needed a lesson in His heart. I needed to know, in a different way, the words He knew my heart and mind longed to read.

O Eternal One, You have explored my heart and know exactly who I am; You even know the small details like when I take a seat and when I stand up again.     Even when I am far away, You know what I’m thinking. You observe my wanderings and my sleeping, my waking and my dreaming,     and You know everything I do in more detail than even I know. You know what I’m going to say long before I say it.     It is true, Eternal One, that You know everything and everyone. You have surrounded me on every side, behind me and before me,     and You have placed Your hand gently on my shoulder. It is the most amazing feeling to know how deeply You know me, inside and out;     the realization of it is so great that I cannot comprehend it.

Can I go anywhere apart from Your Spirit?     Is there anywhere I can go to escape Your watchful presence?

If I go up into heaven, You are there.     If I make my bed in the realm of the dead, You are there. If I ride on the wings of morning,     if I make my home in the most isolated part of the ocean, 10 Even then You will be there to guide me;     Your right hand will embrace me, for You are always there. 11 Even if I am afraid and think to myself, “There is no doubt that the darkness will swallow me,     the light around me will soon be turned to night,” 12 You can see in the dark, for it is not dark to Your eyes.     For You the night is just as bright as the day.     Darkness and light are the same to Your eyes.

13 For You shaped me, inside and out.     You knitted me together in my mother’s womb long before I took my first breath. 14 I will offer You my grateful heart, for I am Your unique creation, filled with wonder and awe.     You have approached even the smallest details with excellence;     Your works are wonderful; I carry this knowledge deep within my soul. 15     You see all things; nothing about me was hidden from You As I took shape in secret,     carefully crafted in the heart of the earth before I was born from its womb. 16 You see all things;     You saw me growing, changing in my mother’s womb; Every detail of my life was already written in Your book;     You established the length of my life before I ever tasted the sweetness of it. 17 Your thoughts and plans are treasures to me, O God! I cherish each and every one of them!     How grand in scope! How many in number! 18 If I could count each one of them, they would be more than all the grains of sand on earth. Their number is inconceivable!     Even when I wake up, I am still near to You.

19 I wish You would destroy all the wicked, O God.     So keep away from me, those who are thirsty for blood! 20 For they say such horrible things about You,     and those who are against You abuse Your good name. 21 Is it not true that I hate all who hate You, Eternal One?     Is it not true that I despise all who come against You? 22 Deep hatred boils within me toward them;     I am Your friend, and they are my enemies. 23 Explore me, O God, and know the real me. Dig deeply and discover who I am.     Put me to the test and watch how I handle the strain. 24 Examine me to see if there is an evil bone in me,     and guide me down Your path forever.

-Psalm 139 (the Voice)

There is so much here. And if you do like I had always done, and skim through this, you are missing a very direct love letter to that girl inside who shames herself and her body. Who tells herself that her talents aren't good enough and that her body will always disappoint. Come with me to verse 14:  

"I will offer You my grateful heart, for I am Your unique creation, filled with wonder and awe.     You have approached even the smallest details with excellence;     Your works are wonderful; I carry this knowledge deep within my soul."

Read that verse again and then stop and ask yourself this question: What kind of woman or man would I be if I truly lived these words?

What if your heart was deeply grateful for His handiwork? For the ways in which He is using you in this world? For the wife He made you to be, or the mother? For the brother He has made you to be or the son? What if you could truly open your hands to heaven, let a smile sweep across your face, and stand in wonder and awe for what He. has. given. you?
This is a big deal, brothers and sisters. Because regardless of what we feel or see with our own eyes, the TRUTH is that HIS WORKS ARE WONDERFUL. Period. There is no possible way you could win an argument against this truth. You would lose. Badly.
So trade in your debate cards on this subject for the knowledge of this truth. And begin to carry it deep within your soul. The exchange is a no-brainer.

And allow me to challenge you to something greater. To a life immersed in His truth. Ask the Lord to grow you in your ability to default to what you know of HIM instead of what you know of you when the going gets tough and the enemies taunting words of deceit seem to sound a lot like truth.

-Laura

*For added encouragement this month, go ahead and print or save this image. And make this your mantra--for March and maybe even for the rest of the year. image


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My life these days is a far cry from what it used to be. A few years ago, if you had asked me who I was I would have immediately recognized myself as an endurance athlete, but now I no longer consider myself one which is at times odd considering I somewhat branded myself as a triathlete by tattooing it on my arm. I no longer train or follow a weekly regimented plan. There are no future races on my calendar to obsess over, and honestly, I am barely practicing yoga on my own except when I am teaching.

Yet, I am the happiest I have ever been in my body.

When I reflect back on my time as an athlete, I realize now I was striving for deep perfection in body image. I started racing because I was running from deep hurt in my life, and so I identified myself through training and the way I was disciplining my body. My time on the road, in the pool, or in the gym became the spaces in my day where I could escape from life, and at times God. I found myself so ingrained in training for perfection, that I misconstrued the idea of healthy living. Though my body was probably in it’s best shape physically because I was pushing it so hard, I was never truly happy--with life or with my body image. I always needed a little more definition, more shapely abs, and less curve in my hips.

Now, as I practice yoga for healing and the sheer joy it brings to my soul by being able to connect with my Creator on my mat, I am starting to view my body in a different light. Though my legs are not lean and taut, and my abdominals are not defined, God has opened my eyes to what my body has been designed for. The way He has created us as women, our bodies are meant to go through changes, and mine, in all of it’s curves, is preparing, eventually, to house a tiny human and give life. Though my journey to the splits has not advanced over the last two months, and even in my realization that I physically may never be able to move my body into this pose because of how I am structured, my striving for this pose does not run my life. As I advance in my forearm stand, I see how God is helping me to let go of my deep-seeded distaste for my curves allowing me to freely shift my world upside down. I am letting go and learning to fly.

I am no longer practicing yoga to escape from something.

I am practicing yoga to find the woman God has created me to be. Every curvy piece of her.

-Caitlin


Yoga Poses

If you are working on your heart space, hang out here. If you are working into your hips and lower body, head on over to see what Caitlin has for you this month!

I'm so thankful that winter is over so I can get outside and cartwheel around in the sunshine. So I can #stopdropandyoga any and everywhere. It's not the easiest to kick up into handstand or hold crow pose when you've got a big ol' jacket on, boots, mittens and a hat. I'm in dire need of some dirty bare feet.

This month for me has consisted of a lot of non-yoga exercises to open my heart space.

Christina Mroz has published several great posts about opening the shoulders and realigning your posture. Please oh please head over and view her video on opening shoulders. If you don't have a bolster yet then go and get one. They are amazing and can be used to release basically any part of your body.

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I've been doing this one almost daily and just love it.

Another part of my problem is my neck. Chad Walding and his wife have created a program called Sitting Solution, and their website is chock-full of wonderful resources. This exercise has been a good one for me to strengthen the muscles in the back of my neck. Along with this I have been very aware of the placement of my head during my practice. So instead of hanging my head in plank/bear/chair/up-dog, I've been intentionally drawing up and back and engaging those muscles along the backside of my neck. image

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Sometimes it's a matter of adding a variation or another whole pose to your practice in order to move into greater openness and sometimes it's a matter of doing things off of your mat in order to create more freedom on it. Please take a few minutes and check out these resources, and see what else you can be doing off of your mat to increase openness in your heart space. Our dysfunction is still our dysfunction whether we are on our mats or not. Becoming more aware of that can be the key to greater success and fruit for your labor.

Thanks for being patient this month. March is halfway over, so I will see you in about two weeks!

Peace, dear ones.

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#freedomin15--The Magic In The "Slight"

freedom in 15 It's February! Can you even believe it!? I saw an advertisement for something on February 25th and I thought, "yes... I can't wait for February 25th because then it's nearly March." Can you tell I'm over winter? Come on Spring! Caitlin and I are so very excited about all that God has been doing even in just a month of opening up to receive and experience all that is offered to us. He's been moving hugely, and it has been nothing short of blissful being able to excitedly share these things with one another and with you. So without further ado, let's get into what the Lord has given us going into a new month.

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Meditation

It has only been within the last year that I have realized I have been dwelling in a wilderness for the last ten years of my life. Have you ever been there? A barren, desert place in life that leaves you dry and wandering? This particular wilderness space has been a place of numbing loneliness and quiet for me--I haven’t heard or felt God because I haven’t been listening for Him. I was unfaithful to Him, simply existing and not seeking.

Yet, in His goodness and love, God has been there all along, whispering to me to come back

You see, sometimes the Lord actually leads us to these wilderness places. In Hosea, a scripture that has become near and dear to my heart, we get to see God’s love for his unfaithful people through Hosea’s story. God has called Hosea to love and marry Gomer, a woman he knows will be unfaithful to him, essentially living out a real-life allegory of Israel’s unfaithfulness to their Groom.

In chapter two, after God says all that He will do for Israel’s unfaithfulness, the Lord softly speaks saying: But then I will win her back once again. I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her there. (Hosea 2:14, NIV)

The Message version says I’m taking her back out into the wilderness where we had our first date, and I’ll court her.

What a revelation that was for me, realizing that the Lord himself leads us into the wilderness, not to punish us, but to romance us. He leads us into the wilderness not to leave us alone, but to pull us away from the distractions and to Him.

Though our wilderness spaces may seem barren and dry to us, though we feel as if we are wandering, we are never lost and alone. The Lord is with us in every moment of our wilderness, whispering to our hearts and romancing us to come back to Him. These are the spaces where He works deepest in our souls, bringing us back to the days of our youth. These are the spaces where He offers us restoration and transformation.

Where He offers us hope and freedom.

Has this first month towards freedom been dry or quiet for you? Have you hit some obstacles or faced emotional battles? If so, you are not alone friends. The Lord is working in all of us, calling us to a wilderness space of sorts for this year. To move forward in freedom, we have to let go of the chains, and that means we may have to enter into places that are uncomfortable and places where we must grieve. But our faithful God is ever present, romancing us, calling us to enter in, promising freedom on the other side.

-Caitlin

*Looking for a great print for this months meditation? Check out this one from Stephanie Moors. You can also print this one out or save it to your phone for a great repeated reminder of His heart and pursuit of you.

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Thoughts On Body Image

Entering into this year I felt so hopeful that this would be my year. The year that I ditch these haunting thoughts and replace them with freeing truth. I wonder what it feels like for God to watch us head into a storm totally thinking it's just a sunshower. That was me. January 1st. Ready to get a little sprinkled. Little did I know there was a hurricane coming.

From adolescence until now, I've been in one of two modes: hiding or protecting. There's been a lot of hurt, so my body and mind have learned how to cope--how to live in survival mode. So it's no wonder God is asking me to give Him my heart and trust that it's safe out in the open and in His rescuing hands. Having said that, it is important to recognize one very important truth if we are to fully entrust our hearts to Him: our body image cannot be dependent upon another person or persons. It must be dependent upon our God alone. Just when you think you've attained a healthy view of yourself something will happen, no doubt at the hand of another, and your lens will immediately cloud with doubt and despair. And going into 2015, my body image was still dependent upon another. You see, even your most intimate of relationships here on earth can and will wound you. Most of the time not even on purpose, but the reality is that these loves of ours are fallen just like we are. So our body image absolutely must come from our view through the lens of Christ.

My body image has been shattered over and over because of the actions of others or of my hopes of what others will give me. That, my sweet sisters and brothers, is a house built on sand. And you know what? Life happens... God allows certain things in our life to shape and mold us into our original design, and He doesn't do patch work--he does complete renovations. So while I may find a recent shot to my body image earth shattering, He sees it as vital in getting a good work done.  In love He lets me stumble and grasp after false self worth and knows that with each scraped knee and scuffed hand I'm getting closer and closer to giving up on all that is less than Jesus. He's a really patient God. He wants to give me the gift of wholeness but He wants me to appreciate the freedom found there, so He's not going to give it to me willy-nilly. He's also not a rich and disconnected daddy trying to win my affection with instant gratification. He's after my heart. Not always my comfort.

So body image is a journey, and I don't think I'll ever fully achieve full satisfaction in this body, but I wonder if I'm supposed to. Our bodies are decaying, and if I were able to find complete satisfaction in this one then why would I long for my heavenly one?

I think one of the very first steps to receiving freedom in our body image is simply accepting the journey. Taking a big, deep breath and gearing up for the long haul. Like venturing out on hike up a mountainside, we step out knowing what awaits us: challenge, fatigue, small victories, breaks to catch our breath, and always, always, always beauty along the way. One day we will reach the top and the view will be breathtaking. And He is good to give us such beauty along the way, too.

Take a deep breath and venture on, dear ones. He's got this.

-Laura

Yoga Poses

If you are working on your heart space, hang out here. If you are working into your hips and lower body, head on over to see what Caitlin has for you this month!

January brought with it some unexpected bumps, but God knew what I didn't and He was faithful to supply all my needs and show me that the change is not found in the yoga but in Him. With a few simple adjustments to my day to day life as well as to my practice, I've already been able to experience some incredible freedom in the opening up of my heart space. It's so very good.

Firstly, let me encourage any of you who are looking to correct your upper body posture and create some more space in your chest--it's so about more than just your yoga practice. How are you standing? How are you sitting? How are you sleeping? Begin to check your posture in all of these places. When standing have you let your belly go? Did you know that your entire core should always be slightly engaged when you are standing? It's not just your legs that keep you up; that core of yours is vital. It's so essential to all movement. Even just the movement of living out your life.

This month I have made a conscious effort to check my posture, and when it's off I draw my shoulders back, draw my skull back, tighten my belly a bit, and bring my weight back in line with my ankle bones. You can check out Christina Mroz for incredible insight into all things alignment. She is a wealth of knowledge and has helped me immensely.

Otherwise I've just made some slight adjustments to a few common postures in my practice. Consider moving into these variations as you practice at home or in a studio, as no instructor would (or should) tell you otherwise. It's your practice so do what your body wants and needs.

Chair Pose with Heart Opener (Or as my husband calls it, "ready to jump" pose)

Forward Fold with Heart Opener

Extended Side Angle with Wide Reach (that's my own made up name for it, anyways)

Crescent Lunge with Cactus Arms

Try incorporating these variations into your practice and see if you don't notice a significant difference in your heart space afterwards. It's freeing, reassuring and oh so wonderful. I've felt the goodness and closeness of my Father just in making these seemingly "slight" changes. He's doing the work of reassuring me that my heart is safe with Him. I'm beginning to trust Him in that, and willing to keep doing the work to receive and experience all that He has for me.

Be blessed this month, beloveds! Let's see what He has in store for us in February.

laura b

Don't forget to show us how God is encouraging you to join in on experiencing the Freedom He has given by hashtagging #freedomin15. You can also tag your yoga/body-image specific posts with #experiencingfreedom and your meditation/soul-changing posts with #receivingfreedom. We can't wait to see what He does in and for you throughout the year!

This Year I'm Choosing To Receive

freedom in 15 As we begin the year, my sweet friend Caitlin and I are embarking on Freedom in ‘15: a Journey of Receiving & Experiencing Freedom, and we hope you will join us.

 Over the course of the year, we will be sharing scriptures and meditations in the hopes of helping each of us receive the freedom we are already gracefully given.

A life of freedom starts in scripture and so the first part of this journey is rooted in the Truth of God’s word with an intention settled firmly in Him.

The second part of the journey comes in the experiencing as we talk through body image issues that seem to be the struggle of many women. Two of the major areas we tend to carry trauma and self-hate are our heart spaces and our hips, so to work into those areas, we will be offering yoga poses to physically work on freeing ourselves and find healing from the trauma and emotions that are deep seated.  There is something profoundly powerful about meeting Christ on our mat and letting him work through us in our movements.

Walk with us together friends as we live, move, and breathe in Him.

 

receivingFMeditation 

Freedom. Have you ever noticed how easy it is to say or think or act as if we are enslaved to our sin or bondage?

“I’m so trapped in my body.”

“I feel like such a prisoner to my negative thoughts.”

But guess what… we’re not trapped and we’re not prisoners.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. 

-Galatians 5:1

The word “freedom” here is eleutheria which means “liberty”, saying that “true liberty is living as we should not as we please.” How comfortable is it for you to just revert to your ways of bondage? It’s way more comfy for me to just settle in with the “my posture will always suck” thoughts rather than believing that Christ has also set me free from the effects of years of self-hate. Liberty is mine because of Christ, and it is found in living according to the gospel.

If I could break up Galatians 5:1 for you, after picking apart each word’s meaning and some commentary, I would say this to you:

Christ set you free from the dominion of sin so that you might choose to live your life for Christ, according to that freedom. Sometimes that means life is lived uncomfortably. So be persistent-- don’t let yourself be ensnared by what used to hold you in bondage.  This is life lived for Jesus. Free. Rooted in what you know is true. And ready to go forward through uncharted waters in hope and faith that He is so much better.

That’s what this year is about for us. We’ve been free all along. It’s time we start receiving and experiencing it. Where are you putting the shackles back on? Where in your body, heart, practice, relationships or faith are you believing that this is just all it will ever be? Where are you choosing to turn your back on freedom?

“Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.” -Gal 5:1 (msg)

-Laura

*Click here for a PDF download of our scriptural meditation for this month. Print it out and let it remind you daily of the freedom that is already yours for the taking.

experiencingFThoughts on Body Image 

For most of my life, I have struggled with my body image.

I have never been too skinny nor have I ever been overweight. I’m a average-sized, typically healthy, little on the short side, curvy woman. I have no need to complain about my body, but we’ve had a love-hate relationship since I developed hips my freshman year of high school.

Over the course of the last several years, I have found myself running (quite literally) from a deep seated and hidden revulsion of how I have been created.

I never truly knew this until now.

In the last few months, the Lord been revealing to me that I carry self-hate as well as trauma in my hips, and just this week He has shown me that I am not alone.

So many of us are in bondage to the way we feel about specific areas of our bodies. And it’s time that we realize we are already free in Christ and begin to experience freedom.

-Caitlin

 

Yoga poses

To begin the year, Caitlin and I have chosen a few heart’s desire poses that we plan to seek freedom in for the course of the year. We are not looking to these as goal poses to work to perfection, but instead we are prayerfully asking God to move in freedom through these poses helping us to release the trauma and emotions we store and physically find freedom in our movement.

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Laura-forearmstand

 

  This year my focus will be heart and chest openers and sharing freedom finding poses to work into that area of the body. Caitlin will be focusing specifically on hip openers and will be sharing her freedom finding poses on her blog Wildly Free Life. Each month we will be offering different sets of poses that work into those specific areas and will help us in the physical aspect of the journey.

As we share these poses this month, we encourage you to do the same. Prayfully ask God what pose does your heart desire to move into freely? Where are you holding negative emotions or storing trauma? What area of your body do you tend to dislike or unintentionally self-hate? Ask Him to reveal to you the area He wants you to find freedom in, and share a photo with us (via instagram with #freedomin15 or in the comments section below) this month of the pose you hope to move into. This heart’s desire pose (or poses) are something we can continue to work through as the year progresses, a symbol of our disciplined trust in Him to free us, and a physical representation of our obedience to Him.

Caitlin and I have been praying for years that God would instill a dream in our hearts and pour forth words from our souls that would allow us to collaborate and share our stories and our lives with those around us. It is a joy to finally come together and share our mutual love of Christ, writing and Holy Yoga with you.

Our prayer is that this journey is rooted in Christ, authentically beautiful, and an adventurous romance.

He is calling us higher friends--He is calling us deeper. Changing us from the inside.

Are you willing to go where He is leading you this year?

A beautifully free adventure is waiting!

laura b

 

 

 

 

Don't forget to show us how God is encouraging you to join in on experiencing the Freedom He has given by hashtagging #freedomin15. You can also tag your yoga/body-image specific posts with #experiencingfreedom and your meditation/soul-changing posts with #receivingfreedom. We can't wait to see what He does in and for you throughout the year!

 

 

Day 18: Blessed are Those

20140303-202011.jpg "You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

You're blessed when you feel you've lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. -Matthew 5:3-4, MSG

 

Can I be honest with you tonight wives? If you've noticed  a trend in my posting, it usually doesn't happen until late at night. I had grand plans this morning to schedule my thoughts out for the week since I had the day off of school. But instead, I rose early to teach a sunrise yoga class, went back to bed and didn't mean to sleep until 9:30, worked on a tedious project all day, ran errands, did a pile of dishes, cooked dinner, and made time for my mat. If I'm being honest, I haven't showered today, put on a bra (and yes, I left the house without it), and I'm not even sure I remembered to brush my teeth.

I feel as if I am at the end of my rope. Tomorrow is the year anniversary of my grandmother's death, a day I do not want to celebrate, and like Laura yesterday, I feel my emotions all over the place. Between co-hosting this journey, leading a Love and Respect marriage Bible study, and embarking on my Holy Yoga training last week, and simply feeling hunkered down with an immense load of stress,  I have felt nothing shy of spiritual warfare raging in my life.

I've watched my husband this past week seemingly float through his days. To be honest, the enemy is tearing at my heart to harbor bitterness towards him, and messing with my mind making me believe the lie that I'm carrying it all. When in fact, my dear husband has been shouldering my burden all week.

You see, as I sit here with tears streaming down my face realizing how magnificent this thing called marriage is, I am reminded of how like Christ to the church my husband is to me. In such a grace-filled example of sacrifice and love, my husband has taken on the role of a Christ in our marriage. As I feel so heavy laden with my sorrow and stress, my husband takes that burden from me as Christ takes the church's. So as the enemy tries relentlessly to drive a wedge between the holy work God is doing in our marriage, my husband chooses to listen to my frustrations, to comfort me in my sorrow, and to carry my burdens so I don't have too.

For when I think I am carrying everything around our house and our life, in reality, he is shouldering it all.

Wives, wherever we are at tonight may we take a moment to simply thank God for our husbands. May we realize how blessed we truly are by them that they would take on such a role in our marriage and show us the purest form of love and grace.

-Caitlin

Father God, As these days journey forward, you never fail to comfort us in our sorrows, to life us up in our joys, or to take our burdens from us. This life is far from the Glory we will one day experience, but you give us snippets through this beautiful thing you call marriage. Someday, we will truly know what it is to walk beside you, to be held by you, and to never more have the heaviness of a burden upon our shoulders. But until that day, you give us a grand example of how that Glory will play out. You have blessed us as wives with a husband who would walk through fire for us all so that we may know love. Thank you for such a man. Thank you for placing him in my life. In all of this--our joy  & our sorrow, our busyness & our moments of peace, may we understand that this marriage is meant to show the world your love. Lord God, I lift up my husband tonight for as he is chasing his own passions and dreams and joys and sorrows, he also is shouldering my burdens. May you give him strength to carry this load and to lift the burden over to you. Bless my husband tonight Father with an overwhelming feeling of love. Fight for my heart God, banish the enemy, turn my soul to you, and help me to show steadfast love to my husband. For if there are moments in life when he is to carry my burdens, I so desperately want him to feel how deeply respected he is from me. 

In your most precious Son's name,

Amen.

 

 

40 Days of Prayer...

40 days of weak knees and tear stained Bibles... this is what I am hoping for and believing in these next 40 days. God is so awesome. Not the "awesome" you may hear from the mouths of tweens but what you would read from the dusty pages of your Webster's Dictionary (or dictionary.com, either way). Awesome: causing feelings of fear and wonder: causing feelings of awe. Extremely good.

Did you catch that? Extremely good. Man, isn't He?

I can't wait for these next 40 days, and I also hope they pass slowly, that I may soak in the essence of each day. The time spent with my Dad, talking intimately and deeply about His very precious child. I know that He has quite the agenda for it, and so I will strive to leave myself at the door and proceed in the Spirit alone. Laura really has nothing of value to share. She is grumpy and selfish and generally a bit too emotional as a whole. But her God is beautiful, powerful, gentle and so wise. So let those things be what you take from this experience... His goodness and His goodness only.

The God that we kneel to on behalf of our husbands, ourselves, our children, is a mighty God. His name alone has the power to make the ocean rise and fall. So as you go before Him these next 40 days, begin so by making your heart and mind right before Him... by acknowledging that this is not a chore but a privilege. Loving that man, and being entrusted into his care and love is a privilege. Being the one who allows him to feel strong, to feel a need to protect and provide, is a unique and beautiful honor. There is so much beauty in these roles as husband and wife.

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"For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom His whole family in heaven and on earth derive it's name. I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." Eph 3:14-19

Let's  back up a bit first to verse 7 where it says, "I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God's grace given me through the working of His power." That man I love was not just born into a Christian home. God purposefully and powerfully worked. He selected him for a purpose and did so with more intention than I could ever begin to wrap my mind around. The man you love isn't yours because you both went to the same University and fell for each other, or because you made some bad decisions in your youth and tried your best to make it right. God powerfully placed you together. He is not a God of chance or lackadaisical effort. He is a God of purpose. You are his wife for a purpose.

These men, they are made in the image of God, which means they have the capacity to experience the same emotions you see God experience in the pages of His Word, as well as the emotions you yourself feel. Granted, some are experienced on a microscopic level compared to ours but they are there nevertheless. So the same difficulty you have relating to the good that you are and that you have been given because of Christ is also present in them as well. Which brings me to this passage from Paul. In order for our men to grasp just how deep the love is of the Father, the Spirit of God must be home in their hearts. I find it of no coincidence that Paul first prays for them to be strengthened, before he speaks of the Spirit dwelling in their hearts. It takes strength to open yourself up to truth. The Spirit residing in their hearts produces what the Voice translation calls "the rich soil where their lives take root."

It's such a domino affect. If we can pray them through this passage, in this order, I believe we will be thoroughly praying them into a place where they could begin to catch a glimpse of the depth of His love. So today, He has made things easy for all of us by giving us His very word to pray. With a few slight textual changes on my part, pray this over your husband and yourself. Let it soak into your soul and then let it soar. Allow this to launch your prayer into whatever you may know he needs specifically. And allow yourself the freedom to allow the Holy Spirit to determine your timeline of prayer... because it could go further than you may have allowed it on your own.

Father, out of Your honorable and glorious riches, strengthen Your son. Fill his soul with the power of Your Spirit so that through faith the Liberating King will reside in his heart. May love be the rich soil where his life takes root. May it be the bedrock where his life is founded so that together, with our family, we will have the power to understand that the love of the Liberator is infinitely long, wide, high and deep, surpassing everything anyone previously experienced. God, may Your fullness flood through his entire being. (From Ephesians 3:16-19 in The Voice. Changed for these purposes with an effort to keep the original message.)

In life we are ever surrounded (usually just from ourselves) by the "should" and "shouldn't" but tonight let yourself soak in the good that you are doing as a wife. Your Father is so very proud of you. Even today, in this very moment with the very emotions you're feeling and the sins you're battling. So rest in His gleaming pride for his daughter, while you spend some time praying for the man you both love so dearly.

Laura

Side note: if you are familiar with the yoga posture "Child's Pose" might I recommend a prayer posture for you? Find a quiet space and bring yourself down into child's pose, with your bible placed in front of you. As you stretch your arms out before you, allow your forehead to rest on the Word and your hands to face heaven. With each breath let your body sink deeper as your heart opens wider. And if you're anything like me, you will soon have a very tear stained Word of God beneath you.

Exciting News! *It's not a baby... duh*

After months and months of active and passive prayer, sought out counsel and some heels stuck in the ground, I've decided to dive into a new adventure. On February 27th I will begin 10 week training to become a Holy Yoga Instructor.

What is Holy Yoga? Well, it's awesome, that's what. It's a ministry of people, all kinds of people, who love our Savior. It's also people of all fitness backgrounds and levels who come together to enjoy and further their yoga practice. But instead of me trying to explain in my own fumbled words I'll just direct you to them.

Why Holy? I've felt for some time His gentle nudge... His patient desire to use me. I would say about 90% of the time I desperately try to ignore Him. And out of that 90% I usually actually obey about 45%. But I do know that He desires to use my voice, as He desires to use yours. I guess I just finally decided to relinquish control and let Him have me. The "holy" part of this ministry, if I can be so bold, is the aspect I feel I have the most control of. Now, God knows I absolutely do not have control of it, but He, in his mercy, will show me that slowly as I travel forward in obedience. In my head and in my struggles God and fitness have always been two separate entities. It has always been a mystery to me why God would care about my physical fitness, because in my mind, it was always with the end goal of looking thin, toned and smokin'. So obviously He wouldn't be for something like that... boasting in my body? In my hotness? Not a chance. But apparently He cares a great deal about my physical fitness, but not with the end goal of making me smokin' but making me alive, well, and able to actively grow with my husband and children as we live each day. Which leads me to the "yoga" part...

Why yoga? I've practiced yoga "lightly" for several years. It has always been my favored form of exercise because it allows me to challenge myself but also feel able. Because my natural stamina does not represent that of a cross country runner, and I'm far too nerdy and insecure to hang out in the weights area of the gym, I find that I feel at home on a mat in a room of people who are (usually) all in varying places in their practice. It has a very welcoming feel to me and I like that. I would like to feel welcome when I am standing face to face with my head full of lies, and that's usually what happens whenever I approach fitness of any kind. Yoga has always allowed me to dig deep and find that confidence I usually can't find. The other thing I find enticing about yoga is that, like our faith, you never really reach a place where you have "arrived". There is always something you can grow in, a new posture you can excel in, another variation you can try. Both of these things, my walk with Jesus and my yoga practice, give me something to work towards always. And both are gracious enough to allow small, reachable goals in the process.

Why now? Well, why not? I mean here's the deal. T gets home from the far-away land mid May. My course is 10 weeks long. This is quite literally my last goal to achieve before he is home and my heart can fully smile and we can be whole again. If I waited I would be juggling curriculum hours and payment plans and going to classes while my husband tries to go to school full time and work part time and blech... just not ideal. So the timing couldn't be more perfect... but His timing usually is so I'm not surprised.

 

So I have two things for you... yes, you.

 

One) Be praying for me in this, if you would be so kind. I'm going up against some nasty, deeeeeeep rooted lies going into this and I'm praying and believing Him to be more than enough to deliver me from them through this. If you know my heart you know that my insecurity is enough to paralyze me at times, so going forward in a ministry that is about spirituality as well as physicality is slightly terrifying. But my God is faithful... this I know full well. My desire is to be obedient in this task so that others around me may see the freedom He came to give them, through the physical practice of yoga and the spiritual act of worship. My life is His, always and forever, and I long more than anything to be a vessel of hope... to show that there is so much more than what you see around you. And in whatever way He desires to use me in this specific ministry, I choose to move forward in faith and obedience.

Two) In an effort to help support myself through the financial aspect of the course I will be putting some of my lovely little "crafts" out there for the world to enjoy as well. I will be putting other things out over time, as I haven't been able to get all of the ideas in my head manifested in real life. But I do have two things currently and if you know of anyone or you yourself would be interested in them then please consider helping me out in this journey by supporting our family (and my increasing addiction to crafting).

Without further ado, let me introduce you (or your little ones, rather) to the "Drool-y"

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Ok, I realize the name might need some work but the item itself is pretty awesome. Made of cotton t-shirt material, it is essentially a baby cowl to help soak up that never-ending faucet that is your child's mouth. Yes, my child's mouth too. You may be thinking, "Man, that's cute and all but who would ever actually put that on their kid?" Well, you're "looking" at her. M wears his all the time (when he is in someone's supervision, of course. Don't leave it on during naptime) and it has been a shirt saver and a mommy-sanity saver... and a baby skin saver too. M is old enough now that bibs are no match for him. Those suckers are down for the count a mere 15 seconds after they've entered the ring. So all I'm left with is a kid with a sopping wet shirt... or changing his shirt about 5 times a day, which I'm not into.

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I got the idea from a little mustard-yellow cowl I made him while visiting family in Canada. But I'll get to that in a minute. The nice part about these versus the little mustard cowl is that, because it is made of cotton, it can easily be thrown in the wash with other laundry. With a knit or crochet cowl, if you're like me, you would want to consider hand washing that. I've got a few different patterns I'm going to come up with in the days to come but this is the pilot option and we love it.

I'm also offering what I've coined "Cowly's". No craziness here, it's a baby cowl. 

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What is great about these, despite what others (ahem... our husbands) might think, is that they truly are a chilly-baby necessity. In the winter months, when these poor little big bellied, barely walking people try to go outside, they must first be wrapped and zipped and stuffed and covered. The more mobile they become the harder it is to keep these garments on them and them toasty. M's jacket, when zipped up all the way, stabs him in the neck/chin, especially when he's sitting down or in his car seat. His hat's flaps either don't come down far enough or drive him nuts and he's done with that mess before we even step outside.

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So not only is mama a fan of the cowly but baby is too. It took him two or three wears to really adjust but now it's no big deal for him. He really loves it. And this one also serves to help with the drool factor, too.

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Bonus: by next winter they should work great as headbands! *thumbs up*

What I'm asking:

Droolys-

  • 4-8 Months: $12
  • 9-12 Months: $13
  • 13-18 Months: $14

(Also planning on having options if you want more than one.)

Cowlys-

  • 9-12 Months:$15
  • 13-18 Months: $17

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My other little buddy that I would love to make available to you is the "Lovie".

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M is quite infatuated with his blankies (and by that I mean he is obsessed with them.) It's a fight between his blankies and his robe for his true devotion. At the end of the day these always win out. I made his first one when he was 8 months, and it didn't take long to realize he needed another one. I'm not about to spend precious hours searching for a blankie because he needs it to go to sleep.

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There are SO many options for this it's ridiculous. Between the minky fabric to the pattern piece on the front it's endless. I wanted to put the feelers out and go from there. These are about 15 inches in diameter, so they are a good size for little hands to carry around the house, and not too big to worry (as much) about them suffocating themselves in a fit of rage. (Is my kid the only one who has to bite a mouth full of his fist or his blanket when he's angry? Yes? Alrighty then...)

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One thing I will recommend with these though, is to consider getting two. It's nice if they can be similar in color, so if you have to swap one out for the wash, little buggy doesn't throw a fit when you throw him or her the color they don't like as much. I'm a little crazy and I tried to "ask" M when he was 7 months old, what color he preferred. I personally leaned more towards green, but in a show of paci's (blue or green) blue won out. So I stuck with the same minky blue and chose different patterns for the middle... keeping variety and security in the same blankets.

For the Lovies:

  • Standard 15" cotton and minky mix- $18
  • Anything larger, like the crib comforter I made M, would really depend on the size and fabric but they are definitely doable and so cute. (M's is a minky hedgehog print on one side and a flannel birch forest print on the other. SO cute. I'll post pictures soon.)
  • If you want to get two then they would be $32.

Please, please, PLEASE give me feedback. Let me know if you are even remotely interested in any of these. I can post some pictures of color options but really the sky is the limit for all of these things, so you can let me know what colors you would enjoy seeing. M is often drug through the fabric store so it is a frequented destination for us.

I realize for some of my very crafty and talented friends these items are not anything super challenging. So to that I just ask you to remember that this is solely as a way to help support my journey into the Holy Yoga ministry. I know and believe that God will provide, and I also know that He has provided me with these talents and there is no reason for me not to put them out there for others to enjoy too.

 

So again, PLEASE let me know if you're interested. I need feedback to know if I should keep going down this road. And we're at the halfway point with winter, so take the opportunity to save your little ones neck during the last half.

 

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