From the All Things New bible study by Kelly Minter.
There are so many deep truths in the letter, 2 Corinthians. This one though, that because of Jesus, we can live, because he died for us, we should live not for ourselves, but for him. 😍 Doesn't that just change your perspective? He already gave us everything, so we should endeavor to give up ourselves and follow him. 🙌🏻
Print by @abarbarianheart. 💗
I don't remember the date of when I got saved. I vaguely remember being at a middle school youth group event at Germantown Baptist and praying the words, "God, I believe you sent Jesus Christ here to die for my sins and that in his death, I can be saved." But like most people, I didn't take a next step. Sure, I prayed some, went to a handful of events, special occasion church services, read some devotions, and many many times attempted to follow a bible reading plan. I still believed. I never doubted, BUT I hadn't let God have the priority spot in my life.
“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’”
Mark 12:30 ESV
In college, I had a personal experience that rocked my faith. It wasn't that I doubted God, I just couldn't understand how He could possibly forgive me for so many sins. I used to gloss over this experience because I didn't want to examine it, but now I recognize that the enemy used my shame and guilt to drag me further and further from the Lord.
After moving to GA and meeting my future husband, he and I followed my acting dream out to California. We moved in together before we were married. We didn't attend a church, and we definitely got a little caught up in the earthly "treasures". But, as God is so faithful, He kept placing desires in our hearts to live a more fulfilling life.
In March 2013, my husband lost his job, 5 weeks before our wedding. We consider this the start of God seriously wooing us. Yes, I said "wooing". :) God took away the job that provided very well for us. With that, He took away the expensive clothes, the pricey dinners, and nights out drinking with friends. He didn't bless us with another form of employment for months. We lived on unemployment and my brand new personal training career. When we were offered a job, it was HALF of what we needed to stay afloat.
A few months later in January 2014, we decided that we wanted to try to get pregnant. This was only a handful of months after the above job started. Tim found a "better" job and while we were still incredibly strapped with some unexpected expenses, we thought things were looking good. We were dissatisfied and every single month we cried as the hopes for a baby didn't come true.
Fast forward to May 2014, I was running a successful personal training business, booked an acting job, had a new agent, and for all intents and purposes we should have been happy. We weren't. We decided that this life in CA was over and we would move back to GA. A handful of weeks later, Tim was let go from his job, again. We packed up our pup and moved across the country.
Here is where our testimony gets interesting. Each month as we tried and failed to conceive, I started pursuing God. I started reading His word, because nothing else made sense. I spent less and less time going out with friends and more and more times being quiet at home. I started listening to Christian music. I started praying for understanding. Once we got to GA, I knew life had to be different. We couldn't just keep doing what was obviously NOT working. Yet, as all of us do, we think we know best and we inevitably fall into the same temptations and traps.
God saved me from going down the rabbit hole by blessing us with our pregnancy with Calista, 11 months after we started trying. However, due to circumstances, it left me out of work and us financially strapped AGAIN.
In December 2014, I joined my first ever bible study at Johnson Ferry Baptist. I actually didn't have a wonderful experience in this mini study and decided I would give it one more shot in January. I fell in love, but don't let me fool you, I was so so so so so scared and intimidated. I had dreamed of a room full of young moms, just like me. God gave me a room full of women who could be my mom or grandmother. Those women became the best type of mentors cheering me on as I truly studied the Bible for the very first time. They let me verbalize my confusion and stumbling understandings. They celebrated when I connected the dots and praised me for bringing new light to Scriptures they knew by heart. So, I stuck around for another study.
Calista was born June 2015 and one week later my bible study leader went to heaven. That woman encouraged me until the day she died. She showed me what a woman in the word looks like. What a life lived for Jesus could be. She showed me a love that I wanted, a love that I knew I wanted to show and teach my children. Her life told me that I was right where I needed to be.
And one day, I woke up and realized God had my whole heart. I realized that I seek Him, I need Him, and I love Him. I mess up all the time and sure don't have a perfect track record of quiet times, completed bible study homework, or even of going to church. But, it was like all of a sudden, which wasn't so sudden really, I knew His way was better than my way.
In November 2015, Tim lost his job and I still wasn't working. With help from family and friends, we made it through. In March 2016, he was let go from a different job and rehired within 3 days. During those 3 days, I was prompted to ask about teaching a fitness class at Johnson Ferry and hired on the spot. Are y'all seeing God's work here? I sure do.
I started teaching fitness to worship music in June 2016. I started looking for more opportunities to train and make $, but I kept feeling God telling me to surrender to this season of motherhood. In July, we started trying for baby #2. In the middle of our 2nd month of trying, the flood happened to our friends and family in Baton Rouge. We felt called to do something about it and low and behold, 22,000 views on a Facebook video later, God provided not only the funds, but a 22 foot Uhaul truck for the victims. The Monday we left to drive the truck to Louisiana, Tim was let go from his job. The very next Monday, we found out God had blessed us with our 2nd baby.
Ok, so this is where you wonder why we have more faith now than ever, right?! God had just shown that through Him, miracles can happen. Provision can happen. His will be done. I remember praying very specifically and genuinely, "God, I know you provide, but I honestly don't see how this is providing. Please show me. Please help me see what I am missing." We were mentally and emotionally exhausted. We were out of options to pay bills. We had maxed out the credit cards from previous job losses. We had wiped out our entire savings already. We had nothing and nowhere to pull ourselves out of this. But do you know, God provided. Between the generosity of Johnson Ferry Baptist's Pastoral Care Ministry and wonderful friends, family, and perfect strangers, we made it through 3 months of not being able to pay rent. That baby is now 25 weeks in my belly and she will be here right around my birthday. But best of all, oh yes, best of all...
My sweet husband, he started praying again. He started telling me that God would provide. He started having faith again. He was the one who asked if we could start going to church on Sundays, since God provided him with a new job where he doesn't have to work that day for the first time in a decade. My husband made his way back to God too. And today, January 22, 2017, we let the world know that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior and we will follow Him wherever He leads us.
Now, I don't know where this journey ends and we still are in a financial bind, but I do know that God provides. I do know that God has plans to give us the best portion. I know that His plans are bigger and better than anything we can come up with. I mean, we've tried to make our lives work and we failed. We know that God forgives us for what we've done in the past or will do in the future, but most importantly in being in His word, we are reminded constantly of His faithfulness to His people. We see His blessings even in hard times. Sure we could be upset about the last 4 years of financial struggles, or we could look at it this way...
Without these struggles, we wouldn't know God. We wouldn't know His forgiveness, love and grace and we sure wouldn't know to simply see every single blessing He's given us. We have 2 daughters. We have a cute little rental house and we have friends and family that encourage and help us. We are blessed and as hard days inevitably come, I will keep my hope in Jesus.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”
Romans 15:13 ESV
Imagine you are trying to lose weight and finally decide how you want to do it. You decide you will do a Beachbody program like 21 Day Fix. You buy it. You do it. You crush it. After round 1, you do another round. Crush it, but now you are bored. So what's next? Now you have to start the process of deciding all over again AND you have to pay for something else. Next thing you know, it's been months and you haven't worked out and you've gained some of the weight back...
What if you didn't have to buy a different program? What if you had access to thousands of dollars worth of workouts for just one price? It would make it easier to keep your momentum going, huh?
I only mention this scenario because I've seen it happen SO MANY times. It breaks my heart to see someone invest so much into themselves and to get thrown off by something sucky like more $ or not knowing what to do. This is one reason I'm so excited about Beachbody's new ALL Access Pass to Beachbody on Demand. It's structured so that you can stay consistent, not get bored, and have access to thousands of dollars of workouts, meal plans, cooking shows, etc. :)
It gives you access to ALL, yes ALL, of the programs Beachbody has in their library for a FULL year, plus any new release for 2017. This includes new programs like Core de Force, Master's Hammer & Chisel, Insanity: Max 30, BOD Exclusives like 3 Week Yoga Retreat, and old favorites like PiYo and P90X3. There is even an Active Maternity series!
This is a LIMITED TIME OFFER, so be sure to jump in on this and share it with your friends and family.
I want to give you all the details upfront so here are a few key points:
Please feel free to ask questions. Send me a message. It's okay, I only want to help. I want to know your goals so I can help see if this plan is a good fit for you.
So now, let's imagine a pregnant woman, like me. She doesn't know what to do for workouts as her pregnancy progresses, but she has BOD. She is 22 weeks pregnant and starts doing Active Maternity: 2nd trimester and some barre and a little 21 Day Fix, and maybe a little TurboFire. Now she's in her 3rd trimester and pretty much does Active Maternity: 3rd trimester, some PiYo, Cize, and Country Heat. She has the baby. Guess what?! There is Active Materntiy: Postpartum and PiYo, which is my fave program postpartum. The baby is 4 months old and she wants to do 21 Day Fix and then P90X3, then.... you get the picture. Every single one of those workouts is included in the All Access Pass. Pretty good, huh?
One of the most common comments I get from pregnant women is "when I'm not pregnant I'll get back to working out." Barring doctor's orders or conditions that stop you from working out, there should be NO reason that being pregnant stops your workouts. In fact, working out while pregnant has MANY health benefits for both the mom and baby. Now, I am not a doctor, but I am a personal trainer who is pregnant with her 2nd child. I have spoken to many doctors and done a lot of research on this topic, but please don't just take my word for it. Talk to your doctor before beginning any workout routine, especially while pregnant. Below are some tips and summaries of what to expect while working out during pregnancy.
I have found that the first trimester can be the hardest time to workout during pregnancy. Between morning sickness and sheer exhaustion from your body producing hormones and blood, it's just hard to do anything but the basics like eating and sleeping. However, a workout can be as simple as a 20-30 minute walk and the boost of endorphins has been known to help our energy-depleted bodies. Make sure to not do any quick start and stops because of your changing blood pressure, you may get light-headed. To avoid this, simply walk side to side, a la toe-taps, in between exercises or while taking a break.
The 2nd trimester is known to be the best trimester because you have more energy and some women feel amazing. I've never gotten a huge boost from this trimester, but I do notice that I can function almost like normal. As far as workouts go, you can continue whatever workouts you were doing pre-pregnancy with few modifications. Remember that our bodies store more fat while pregnant, our joints loosen, and we lose muscle mass more quickly, therefore staying consistent with building muscle is key. Seriously, lifting weights is safe. You may need to lower the pounds or lengthen your rest times due to blood pressure changes, but you can still do it. You can still run and jump as long as that baby isn't on your bladder. ;) You do have to be careful with twisting the abdomen and will need to widen your stance as the baby gets larger, meaning during squats your feet will be a little wider than shoulders-width. Most women have a big concern about core exercises during pregnancy. Any exercise like a crunch or sit-up will become next to impossible around 20 weeks due to abdominal separation. However, anything that works your pelvic floor like a hip bridge, planks which work your transverse abdominus, aka your human girdle, and side planks that work your obliques, those are all safe! Also, at this point you can still lie on your back if it's comfortable, but I don't recommend being there for longer than 3 minutes. These small changes keep you and the baby safe, but still allow you to do all of your favorites. Exercises to focus on are squats and lunges (you need these muscles for delivery), planks (done with proper form and modifications like dropping to your knees), and isometric exercises , aka holding, to prepare for long hours holding the baby, but also pushing during delivery.
The third trimester required the most modifications and this is where walks as workouts become more regular. Your stance on squats will most definitely be wider. You may notice that your balance is off so please use the wall, a chair, or something for support during lunges and even squats. Any weight bearing exercise for your core or upper body, like push-ups or bird-dog, should be done on all 4s or on an incline. This is to remove pressure of that growing belly on your spine. You can still strengthen your lower back and pelvic floor while on hands and knees vs. on your back. Leg lifts are a big favorite in preparing for delivery. You may also want to start sitting on a stability ball in order to let your hips naturally widen as you get closer to your due date. The old standby of walking is great for this as well. No matter how tired you are, safely try walking 3-5 times a week. Even you doctor will say this is a great way to prep for baby.
Here's the thing. Safety is key. You know your body and if you don't recognize this changing, moving, growing thing that is your body simply try and pay attention and alter your plans as needed. With my first pregnancy, I hated jumping starting at 8 weeks pregnant, but with this pregnancy I am still doing limited jumping exercises at 22 weeks. I had severe hip issues my first pregnancy and nothing relieved them, while this pregnancy I have found that working out and stretching carefully with yoga and Pilates has really helped alleviate similar issues. Also, be gentle with yourself. There is no need to go 100%, your body is already working overtime. A little goes a long way with a pregnancy workout and it will also make your recovery postpartum MUCH easier. Always drink a lot of water; I try for an ounce per pound. Be sure to talk to your doctor and when in doubt listen to your body first. I just wanted to write this because I don't want women to be scared of being active during pregnancy. I want the fear and stigma of working out during pregnancy to go away, because the benefits are too great to be ignored.
Having a goal doesn't mean anything if you don't have a plan. Having a plan without realistic expectations can lead to disappointment. Here are 5 tips:
1. Be specific. Instead of saying I want to lose weight, clarify how many pounds, when you will workout, what workouts, what meal plan, and who will help you.
2. Find a healthy way to measure success. For instance, the scale can be a big fat liar, so pic non-scale items like circumference inches, size of pants, how consistent your workouts and nutrition were.
3. Make sure it's attainable. It's great to say you want to lose 40 lbs, but not very realistic to say you want to lose 40 lbs by April. The average pounds lost in a week is 1-2, so that would mean you would need a minimum of 20 weeks to lose the weight. Adjust accordingly.
4. Is this realistic? It's all fine and well to say that you want to workout an hour a day, 6 days a week, but really, is it? Start with something smaller and create consistency and success, then increase if you can. The recommended activity for us is 5 days a week, 30 minutes a day of moderate activity.
5. Set a timely goal. Just like being attainable and realistic, set a timeline for yourself ensures you work for it. We all do better with something at stake, so setting small goals and attaining them will be better for the long haul. Example, you want to lose the above mentioned 40 lbs. Set a goal for January to workout 5 times a week. Eat 5 healthy meals a day. Scale goal will be to lose 5 lbs by January 31. Non-scale goal to have checked off all those workouts by the end of the month.