So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.
Yesterday, was the last day of my 14 day fast. I am proud of myself for stick to it. Even though I had cravings, and found myself reaching for foods I was not eating on the fast. The motivation of doing this for God was the strength behind my willpower. I have decided to continue to avoid processed food and most added sugar for now on. However, I plan on making the exception for holidays and special occasions. I am also going to continue staying away from dairy, including cheese. I will make occasional exceptions to this choice as well. Make these exceptions will be about balance. So, if I make a conscious decision to eat a dairy product then I will not allow any other exceptions for that week. If I choose to eat a piece of chocolate which has sugar, then I will omit the fruit I may have eaten instead for the day. It will be about balance, and understanding my liver can only process a limited amount of sugar to remain health. I will only make these decisions if it serves me, and my body which is a temple of God. I am thankful for God taking this experience and transforming me by opening my eyes to poor past decisions. I was not eating a balanced diet. It was full of chemicals and sugar. I know this is one of the reasons why I have struggled to maintain a healthy weight for my height. I am 5’2 and weigh 190lbs, or at least last time I weighed myself. I have given up weighing myself, instead it is about being healthy not my weight and being skinny.
Now today was the first day of my next 70 days, as part of the 70 for 70 Project. These next 70 days are all about taking the small commitment I made and building on top of it with another small commitment. The commitment is to find new ways to praise and worship God. It is about more than just words, but instead living my praise through action. I will start each morning talking to God saying …..” Thank you god for the new day! What can I do today to Praise you, and serve you through my faith? ” I will pray he reveals this to me throughout the day. This is not only about praising him with my actions towards myself, but also towards others. Jesus has called us to love others as ourselves.
I want to share how last Monday as I was beginning to approach this challenge which I feel God has called me too. I knew the next 70 days will be about serving other people. I wondered how I might have the time to actually accomplish his will. Last Monday my manager came in and informed me due to corporate budget cuts they needed to separate employment at this time. With all the push back I had been getting about spending, and not having the tools to be successful at my job. I knew this was coming. I had been already looking for new opportunites. I just figured I had at least till the end of the summer. The good news is I still have 6 weeks left from my last unemployment claim. I soon realized even though this door closed, God has greater things planned for my future. In the meantime he has made space for me to volunteer around the community. Today I went and signed up to work at a local women’s shelter, they specialize in domestic violence. My mother was a victim of domestic abuse, so this is a cause close to my heart. I look forward to seeing how God can use me while I am there. I am going to work at soup kitchen which is part of my mother’s church tomorrow. God calls us to feed the hungry. So I will do just that. I also plan on stopping by the local art center to fill out their volunteer paperwork tomorrow. I do not plan on just sitting around and waiting. Rather I plan to live each day in praise and faith for the next 70 days. Once a job opportunity comes, I will take it knowing it is God’s plan. I will still continue to serve others every way I can. If that means spending my evenings or weekends doing volunteer work I will. Who knows maybe God will use this to open a door for a job. I will just remain in admiration of his purpose for my life. I will remain faithful. I will let go and trust in him.
I want to continue to bridge my past which is being transformed into who God has made me to be. I no longer want to be stuck in the middle. Instead I want to live on the other side of God’s promises. I will do everything as though I am working for the Lord and not people. Will you too take up the challenge?
I recently went on vacation. I went to visit some friends back in Boston. A few of us went down to Cape Cod for the holiday weekend. I flew into Boston early Friday morning, met one of my friends to go get the rental car. Then we picked up another person who was going too.
We arrived to the hotel after three hours of sitting in traffic. If anyone reading this is from the Boston area, it gets crazy driving down to the Cape on Fridays throughout the summer. Especially during holiday weekends. We got some great food for dinner, spent some time exploring and shopping. I really enjoyed Falmouth, MA. One Saturday we woke up early and caught the morning ferry over to Martha’s Vineyard. The ferry ride itself was such a great experience. Then we had more great food, explored , and did some more shopping. I even rode the oldest carousel still in operation, and the whole time on the ride I just kept thinking how many people had ridden this thing in 141 years. I could even see in my imagination the weekend it first opened and what a thrill it must have been. The high button shoes, the bustled dresses, little boys in knickers, and little girls in bonnets, all dressed for a day at the beach. The year was 1876, so different from those riding with me in the year 2017. It gave me a grand sense of nostalgia, for the things of yesterday.
We finished up Saturday returning on the five o’clock ferry. We headed to the beach near the hotel, once we returned. We all had just had some ice cream before boarding the ferry so none of us were hungry yet. We all spent some time relaxing and enjoying the beauty of the sea. Then as the sun was setting we walked back to the hotel and went to grab some dinner. Later that evening I felt like I wanted to spend sometime alone. I ended up sitting on the patio near the pool for about an hour. The stars in the sky were too numerous to count. As I sat there alone, I put on some praise and worship music, singing to the wonder and glory of God’s beauty. My heart was filled with a sense that in that moment I was exactly where I was supposed to be. I was completely present. I had an intimate time of prayer and reflection with God. A moment of praise and gratitude for allowing me the time to come see my beloved friends. I could see God in everything around me. The stars got brighter, as I stared into the wonder.
Sunday morning we all got up and checked out early . One of my friends, who also was a former roommate, needed to be back at her church to lead morning prayer at 9:30am. I was actually grateful she needed to be at church because I really wanted to go back and see all the great people of my former church. I also had a lunch date with the family I had lived with for sometime when I was in Boston. They were such a blessing to take me in when I needed someone. I love them all so dearly. I became overwhelmed as I walked in and sat down. The praise team was already playing. I had a moment of tears as I realized how much I truly missed the church who became my family. The people who helped me to become stronger in my faith. Those who inspired me to press deeper into Jesus. During the sermon, like most sundays there, I felt like God was speaking directly to me.
When I first left Boston, I did not understand why God would lead me away from such a strong support group. I did not understand why I had to go back to my hometown in West Virginia. Back to a place I loathed, and never wanted to go back to. Yet, as I have shared before, I now understand how important is was for me to come home, and to face the things which are rooted to my past. I keep going back to the dream I had before I left Boston. The image of the willow tree being transformed from the roots up into a strong tall oak tree. At first, I thought this was just about me climbing, and Jesus telling me I no longer needed to climb. Now I know that I am like the willow tree. Although I was standing tall, if you think about the root structure of a weeping willow tree it grows closer to the surface. It is a water seeking tree, and the roots can spread far beyond the canopy. Disturbing the roots in the slightest way can damage the tree. However, when you compare it with the root structure of an oak tree there is a strong difference. The oak tree starts with a tap root, which grows deep underground seeking a dependable source of water. Once this is accomplished, the tap root is surpassed by an extensive root system which holds the tree firmly in place. I understand now how God has been transforming my roots daily, as I have been living here back at home. I am both trees. I am being transformed, by his grace.
When I returned back from Boston, I did receive notice that I did not get the position I had interviewed for the Thursday before I left. Although, it would have been nice to make more money, and it seemed like a great opportunity. I see how the point of the job interview was not to change companies nor my position, but God simply saying I can open any door. I whole heartily believe I am still exactly where I am supposed to be. I am not even disappointed about not getting the job offer. I know the promises God has laid out for my life are greater still. I believe in the hope of tomorrow, as I learn from yesterday, and live for today. God still has more roots to transform as I come close to the end of my first 70 day commitment.
I have even been shown what is next as I continue my 70 for 70 Project. Maybe even some of you will take up the challenge and join along.
Tonight I find myself frustrated. I am frustrated by the way my mother often changes her story about what she knows and remembers about the past. I am even more frustrated by the fact that the way I was told something for years often changes. The way I remember something in the past seems to never be correct, according to my mother. I also am frustrated with the my own need to argue the point. Then the argument keeps going on until one of us walks away. It is a habit I had learned well over the years, from both parents. The need to argue. I wish this pattern would no longer continue. Not only am I complaining about this now, but I know in the past my mother has also been frustrated with her own mother for the exact same reason. It seems like in this family we often remember things the way we want to remember them; even if parts are exaggerated or false.
As I dive deeper into this thought , I feel as if seeing a character trait in other people is easy. Recognizing it in yourself proves to be the challenge. As I journey through the 70 for 70 Project, God has increased the strength of my eyeglass prescription, so I am seeing things a lot clearer than before. I was talking to my friend a few days ago, and telling her how I feel God has brought me to this place. A place where all the painful roots of my past had formed and made me grow. Yet, he calls me to change one root at a time. If I allow him to help me change my roots, then I will become the oak tree full of all his splendor, bearing lots of fruit.
As I write now, I pray to my father to change this root. Allow me to no longer need to argue to the point of frustration. Instead I want to face this type of situation with grace and acceptance. Understanding everyone’s filter is different. Even when we enter into an experience at the exact same time. the facts may be the same, but our memories and interpretation are never the same. And this is OK. God made each of us unique, like snowflakes. Not a single snowflake is alike, but together they create a magical winter wonderland. Embracing these differences will help me to stop needing to argue over the memories of the past. I can see how in the next time I face conflict, I can allow his presence to fill the space. Then I will be reminded to embrace the grace of different filters.
This week has been pretty stressful at work. I am working as a corporate recruiter for a manufacturing company. I took the job three months ago. The position is a new role they are trying out, for the remainder of the year. Their goal is to save money from all the fees associated with using temp agencies for their hiring needs. They are hoping to achieve this by having an on site recruiter.
The biggest cause for my stress comes from getting push back on asking for the tools necessary to do my job. We are fast approaching a month were the hiring needs will exceed what we have been doing. However, without the approval for the tools needed for me to do my job the most effective way possible. I am afraid I won’t be able to meet the goals and quota for the next few months hiring needs as production picks up for the summer.
My fear is because I am on contract until the position is proven, they could change their mind about the position anytime. Reverting back to the old way they use to hire. I have been able make a decent amount of direct hires since I have been there, but it varies between four to ten people a week. Like I said, knowing the goals for the needs over the next few months, I know based on previous recruiting experience it will be impossible to achieve these goals with the number of applicants we are currently getting each week. It takes 10 applications on average for every one position available. We are behind by 25 positions as of this week. I have only seen 5 to 20 applications max during any given week. With the exception of two job fair events I organized. Even those two events saw an average of 30% hire rate.
I have been especially stressed this week after I found out the company has put a freeze on budget spending for now. I feel like I am not being set up for success, because the company has not been willing to spend the budget necessary for developing a new Talent Acquisition Department. This has been the source of my stress lately.
Yet, this brings me to today. I was praising and worshiping with my Lord today as I drove to work like I have been everyday since I started the 70 for 70 Project. I realized I had been holding onto my worries about my job, and the future of my position. So, I prayed to Jesus to take my burdens. I surrendered it all unto his hands. Not only did I feel so much lighter as I went into work today, but I had a reminder that God has my back.
First I had a great day at work, where I was able to set up a good amount of interviews for the remainder of the week. Then when I got home today and checked my email, I found an email from a recruiter about a new job opportunity in my area for a permanent recruiting role. I haven’t spoken to the recruiter about the job yet. And it may not even go anywhere beyond a simple email. I don’t feel like that’s the point. Instead, I feel like god was saying to me ” I got you girl! I got you!”.
He reminded me how he has a great plan for my life. I need not worry what the future holds, because he has control. I feel confident he will always be with me. He will always have my back, and open up new opportunities. Anytime one door closes he will open another, even if it’s a window. A window which reminds us how he can guide us if we let him. If we surrender to his will and not our own. If we say yes lord take our burdens, exchange our yoke for yours. For our burdens are heavy, while yours are light.
The Lord is Good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who Trust in him.
I am not sure if anyone is familiar with the book of Nahum. It is a small book in the bible, and the message is mostly about the destruction of Nineveh. Then among the all the talk of destruction, there is this shot simple verse. It has always been a reminder to me how God’s goodness and love is there even among the hardest moments in life’s journey. And so, my hope is we can all find comfort in the goodness of God as we gather today to mourn the loss of a beloved Son, Brother, Husband, Father, Uncle, and friend.
Not only do I stand before you in mourning, saddened by all the unrealized moments my Uncle Jack will never get to have. I also stand here today in celebration of the life he lived. For me, as I imagine many of you will agree, Uncle Jack was always the type of person you noticed. When he entered the room, it was always with great declaration that he had arrived. He had a way to lighten the mood no matter what the circumstance. The one thing I will remember most, about my Uncle, is his humor. I could always expect lots of laughter when I would spend time with my Uncle Jack and the rest of the family. I view this as one of his many talents and gifts. He had such a love of life, and never seemed to take things too seriously. He also had a great laugh. I unfortunately have not been given the talents he had for telling a great joke, and as much as I would want to tell a joke right now, to lighten the mood. I am fresh out. You are in luck however, because I have a different kind of talent which God has given me. It is with great pleasure I share it with you now.
One of the things that often happens when you experience the loss of a loved one, is you find anger with the fact that such a good person has passed away. You might even question, why God would take such a kind loving soul, and did not give him more time. I know after I had the opportunity to see my Uncle on Easter Sunday, I set aside time to pray for a miracle. I am a person who strongly believes in the possibility of miracles. I know there are people who have had all kinds of afflictions, only to be cured by god’s grace in the last hour of need. So, as I prayed for God to send a miracle to my Uncle Jack; God in his infinite wisdom and grace shared with me how Jack had already been given two miracles. His miracles are his wife Stacy and their beloved daughter Allie Jo. I was reminded in my solitude of prayer, how Jack had always wanted to find someone special to share his life with and to start a family. Although, I did not get the opportunity to see how Jack interacted with his daughter as a father. I know in my heart he was a great dad, because for me and my siblings he had always been such a great Uncle.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Praise be to God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
And so, one of the talents which God has given me has been the gift of dreams or visions. As I was still in the presence of my savior, praying for my Uncle. I had a vision of Jack sitting by the water. He was looking out towards the sun – rising in the distance, and the light’s reflection twinkled with delight. As I looked deeper into the bright shining sun, Jesus stepped out of the light and towards Jack. He then reached out his hand, and Jack stood up. No longer was he weary, but standing tall in the presence of God. He took the hand of the Lord and walked into the light. I know in my heart Uncle Jack is now telling his great jokes in heaven, and God is delighted with his child.
But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
2 Corinthians 3:16-17But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
Sometimes when you are driving down the road through the mountains and valleys of life things happen that bring a fog rolling in. This past Friday I got the news my uncle had passed away. He had been fighting cancer for the past two years, and he had gotten to a point where there was nothing more the doctors could do. After I had gotten the phone call from my Dad, I had to finish up some things at work before I could leave. Even though I left work early, I still had the long commute home. As I drove home I felt emotionally drained. I was in a fog, mourning my beloved uncle. It is natural to feel this way after you find out about the loss of a loved one. The one thing that always makes me feel better when I am said is singing and listening to music. I plugged in my phone and put on my praise and worship playlist. As each song came on, I started to feel the fog start to clear. I started to focus on Jesus and the love and grace God offer’s each of us. As I was singing along with each song, I was reminded death is not the end of life. This is the encouragement I needed during my drive home.
I will honestly admit my motivation since this news has seemed to disappear. It can be hard to focus when you are surrounded by fog which makes the road ahead become blurry. I have spent more days on rest this week than I have exercised. The things which I have kept up with during this time of fog has been my daily devotional and prayer time. Actually I have been spending more of my time in prayer and devotion to the word. I have found encouragement and even joy. The fog covers the road ahead, but my heart shines brighter as I have pressed further into God’s words.
I know even though I am in a time of mourning. The veil of fog will be lifted, and the sun will shine brighter than before. Even in my loss, I feel like I am stepping closer toward God. This is why I started this voyage to begin with. I realize my reaction before I had set sail would have been different. I know this because it was different when I had experienced the loss of my biological father. When my dad died. I drifted further away from God because of my grief. Now I am seeing God more clearly through my grief. And so the veil parts like a curtain. The road becomes a little clearer. I see how I am still traveling on this voyage even though there was some fog and the wind stopped pushing the sails forward. This I am grateful for.
The following is from my journal about my experience the first ten days of my #70for70Project:
Ten days ago I got my new treadmill set up. As i stepped on it for the first day of the next 70 days, committing myself towards making different choices, I took another step towards becoming the person God wants me to be. And then the rest of the week, I felt as if negativity was following me around. It was if something, someone didn’t want me to take this step. Every time I felt fear, I prayed to God to put his armour upon me. As soon as I had prayed, I felt better and filled with contentment.
It was like the demons of my past bad decisions were following, but because I have learned Jesus is the only way to overcome. I had to keep each day going with prayer. As the second week approaches the negativity has slowly begun to disappear. I have found more motivation than I had before. I am still taking it slow. I figure I should build up my stamina first.
Here I am the first 70 days. One of my goals is to work up to 70 minutes of exercise by the end of the 70 days. Another is to spend more time praising God, and more time in prayer. I want to also read one verse a day. Which I have already been successful at. I already feel like my goals are becoming easier to accomplish with each days passing. Slow and steady, will take me through each day along my journey. I hope others will follow along with me as I keep record of this journey. I also hope my journey may inspire others to also commit to a #70for70Project of their own. It’s all about changing what you have done in the past and trying to go a different direction. So that our roots can become to run deep, into the love of God’s glory and splendor.
To often in the past I have tried to make big changes by jumping. There is nothing wrong with taking a leap every now and again. In my experience though when I take big leaps, especially when it comes to my health, I often stumble afterwards. This time around I feel a desire to start small. Have you ever made a new year’s resolution, which started out going great but after a few months you found the commitment you had made faded? In the past I would set a resolution, such as exercise an hour a day or go on a diet where I only juice for a week. Like I said, nothing wrong with taking a leap forward like this. Often when the step was to far forward, I often found resistance which will only pushed me backwards. So, since I no longer want to keep doing the same thing I did in the past, which never lasted. I am going to take one small step forward at a time.
I am going to commit to 1 hour a day for 70 days, which will equal 70 hours for 70 days. Hence, the title of my project 70 for 70. I figure this is an easy commitment, and it should have the least amount of resistance. I am hoping by the small steps I take, God will guide me through my maiden voyage. I desire for his breath to steer my sails. I will move forward slow and steady.
We have three areas of our being; spirit, soul, and body. I hope to commit 1 hour of each day over the next 70 days on all three aspects of myself. In order to devote time to the spirit, I will read one bible verse per day. For the soul, I will spend time reflecting on the verse. My reflection can take many forms whether it is listening to praise music, journaling, blogging, and/or praying. For my body, I will spend time exercising. I am out of shape, and know this about myself. Instead of jumping into a lot of exercise all at once, I am not going to set a time frame of how much I should exercise each day. Which is what I did in the past. Instead I am going to set a goal of endurance for the end of 70 days. Since 70 seems to be the magic number for this whole project, my goal of endurance will be 70 minutes of continual exercise without losing breath. I will allow myself to work up to this number. I will also allow myself moments of rest, and not become judgmental if I am exhausted from the day at work and just want to lay in my bed and watch a movie. I will be slow and steady, building my temple one stone at a time. I know this will lay a stronger foundation. I will also be more aware of my eating habits. I can ask myself, is this something which will build a strong temple. If the answer is “no”, then I will not eat the item.
I feel as though these guidelines are simple enough to get started. I am excited to see where this journey will take me. I am excited to see how God will use this project to radically transform my life forever. A transformation which will last for 70+ years, a lifetime of living a love filled life.