blessings

Blowing Kisses

I believe that blowing kisses is one of the most adorable and simple (yet under utilized) acts of blessing, romance and love.

Think about it– when was the last time someone blew you a kiss? Was it your beloved spouse as you drove away on a trip? Or your child (or grandchild, niece, nephew, whoever) who did the audible, enthusiastic pucker blown kiss?

I just think the whole thing is kinda sweet.

But regardless of what earthly person is (or isn’t) blowing you sweet kisses… God blows us blessing kisses every single day.

The devotional Jesus Calling reminds us of this truth… Way back on February 2nd, Jesus Calling said this: “A renewed mind is Presence-focused. Train your mind to seek Me in every moment, every situation. Sometimes you can find Me in your surroundings: a lilting birdsong, a loved one’s smile, golden sunlight. At other times you must draw inward to find Me. I am always present in your spirit. Seek My Face, speak to Me, and I will light up your mind.”

Powerful stuff, huh?

God seeks to encourage us and bless us every single day with sweet little “blessing kisses.” But just like the kisses blown to us by  our darling friends or family around us, we have to be LOOKING for those kisses. A blown kiss does us no good if we are turned away or have our eyes closed.

So today, I want to share with you some of my random blessings that I have captured over the last year and a half… I have a little black journal that I record my 1000 gifts (inspired by Ann Voskamp) and as of this writing, I am well past 1500… and still going strong. Thanks, Jesus.

Here are some God blessings that I have found in my life… (So far…)

18. Hot popcorn with cold diet Dr. Pepper
61. Being completely surprised
74. Brightly colored fingernails
102. Frozen yogurt with granola and fruit on a Monday
137. Watching fish in a tank
155. Army Camo
192. Play-Doh
216. Tears of joy shed for others
233. Bobble-head moose mascot on the dash of the car
259. The smell of leather
327. Puppy hiccups
357. Eating fresh honeycomb
416. Big belt buckles
427. The day before break/schools out
461. Left-handed ink smears
483. Blooming daffodils
498. Tsk, tsk sound of the pressure cooker
522. Feather quills
542. Quotable YouTube Videos
568. Hopscotch
589. First hammock-worthy day of the year
629. Funny weather reports
673. Exclamation points in the Bible
717. Editing a resume
763. Master keys
809. Not getting worked up about the exploded pen in the dryer
857. Airport emotions
895. Secret side pockets on a pair of pants
931. Drinking a protein shake out of a beer stein
990. Arriving home after a long drive
1025. Playing “Hot Cross Buns” on the recorder in 4th grade
1070. Condensation on a water bottle
1122. Breaking a weight plateau
1159. Being the first people awake in the campground
1206. Force-flex trash bags
1226. A new shower head
1290. Bi-annual ring cleaning day
1331. Randomly guessing Sam’s club total cost and being within $1.31
1376. A successful coaching call
1408. Car washes
1508. Romans 8:28 moment

gift list book pic

Do you have a similar list? Today I challenge you to find at least five “kisses” from God… If you are feeling bold, share them in comment section below.

God desires to encourage and bless us daily– in both the great times and challenging times. But we have to be looking for Him in everything we do… Get started and catch the kisses He is blowing your way!

Catching His Kisses,
SGK

“His words are kisses, his kisses words. Everything about him delights me, thrills me through and through!” ~Song of Solomon 5:16 MSG

Categories: blessings | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

One is Enough: A Personal Reminder

You never know… your ONE act of love might be more than ENOUGH to change someone’s life.

Ministry is HARD. Heck, who I am I kidding– LIFE is hard!! And exhausting. And confusing. Yet depending on how we live our lives– it can be incredibly rewarding.

As I was driving to work yesterday, my heart was heavy… My Facebook ministry page was ticking me off, because FB decided to start filtering who sees what posts. Which means sometimes only 10% of followers will see these posts unless I literally PAY to promote it.

But I digress. SIGH.

I was thinking… “Lord, does this really matter? What am I working for? Is it worth it?”

Suddenly, God reminded me of a post I wrote last May with a flash of this statement…

“SHARITA… ONE. IS. ENOUGH.”

So today, I wanted to remind myself (and you, if you happen to be in a similar place!) that when it comes to following Christ and loving others… ONE IS ENOUGH. Here is our lil reminder… Enjoy!

***********

Husbands can be pretty useful creatures. They are great jar-openers, heavy lifters, huggers, patience-builders, grillers, laugh-inducers, Jesus-leaders, eye-roll-causers… You can probably add a few of your own to this list.

Mine, in particular, is a great perspective-keeper.

My beloved helps me to keep things in perspective. He is a great big-picture thinker. (A skill that I sometimes lack.) My type-A firstborn personality lends to me wanting to do BIG things… but He always keeps me grounded and encourages me to keep a clear focus.

Let me give you an example. Several weeks ago when we were first contacted by the Fort Benning Bayonet to do a story on our Factor of 7 Latte Love,  I was super-duper excited. Wow!! The Fort Benning Bayonet wants to do a story on the 7 Days Time ministry?!!? SUH-WEET!

I obviously told them YES. But before you could say “Make it a Grande,” either my fleshy-firstborn self or The Enemy (or a combo of both) snuck into my head. I blurted out my thought to Brandon. “I don’t want to get too excited. I mean, will it REALLY make a difference?”

That sweet man of mine raised an eyebrow, lovingly put his hand on my arm and said, “Sharita… if only one person reads that article and is moved by it… Then one is enough.”

Touché, husband. Touché.  Talk about keeping perspective.

ONE IS ENOUGH. That is powerful. So we went ahead with the story, pressing forward for Jesus. And in typical God-fashion, the Lord went above and beyond.

I know for a fact that AT LEAST one person was impacted by that article. I won’t get into details, but we received an incredible heart-wrenching prayer-request email from a soldier due to that article. I did some research and as far as I can tell, The Bayonet prints somewhere (ish?) between 22,000 to 26,000 copies on a weekly basis. Granted not all of them are read… but does it really matter?  ONE IS ENOUGH.

7 Days Time Ministry has been up and running for 88 days. That is about 7,603,200 seconds. With each article, prayer, blog post and comment… God is at work. If a single person has been positively impacted by this ministry, then it has been a success. One is enough.

But great news… We worship a God of abundance– and He is blessing this ministry abundantly. PRAISE JESUS!  The Latte Love Factor of 7 post inspired a ministry follower to do the same thing in her home town in Minnesota… She took $107 and bought/coffee lunch for the patrons who came through the line, even when here family finances weren’t exceptionally abundant  at the time. Mandy’s mission of Helping Hands & Burgers for Babies reached her goal of over $2500 to purchase a table for the preemie benefit in Fort Worth. That soldier who emailed us to share his story and now my husband and I continue to pray for him.

One is enough, folks. You CAN make a difference right where you are. Starting NOW. Pray for God to reveal to you how He has called you to share His love. We don’t have to change the world by spending a bajillion dollars or quitting our jobs to enter ministry full time. We just need to be obedient– and Jesus will do the changing.

I don’t know where this ministry is headed tomorrow, next week or 5 years from now. But if this ministry has impacted just a single person, then I shall leave you with the words of my beloved husband: “One is Enough.” YOU can do the same!!

Praising The ONE who IS Enough,
SGK

“My children, our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action.” –1 John 3:18 (GNT)

PS: How is Christ working in your life? Is He calling you to share His love? We would love to hear about it! Please leave a comment below.

PSS: Have you been moved by this ministry? If so, subscribe via email at the top of the right sidebar to receive daily posts to your inbox. To learn more about how to make a difference in small (or big) ways in the name of Jesus, check out the updated Factor of 7 tab at the top of this page. Oh, and don’t be shy about commenting and/or sharing this ministry with your friends via Facebook, Twitter etc. Remember… ONE IS ENOUGH! May God bless you abundantly 🙂

*******

Addendum for today… Turns out the article in the Bayonet about this ministry DID make a difference… We were able to minister to several folks in ways that we couldn’t have possibly imagined or sought out in our own strength. Wow. Thanks, Jesus. YOU ROCK.

Categories: blessings, challenge, change, Christ, Factor of 7, giving, humility, husband, Lesson, little things, ministry, obedience, servant evangelism, serving | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

A Patriotic Reveal

Today’s blog post is brought to you by little green army men, our pup Sweet Justus and a fun sense-of-humor-laden family project…

Praise Jesus!  I am so thankful that I can now share with all of you wonderful readers our “secret.” (I felt like I was leading a double life there for a little while.) It’s been a challenging first three months, especially learning how to be preggo plus pneumonia AND another nasty bug on top of it all (three rounds of antibiotics are now complete!)

We praise God for His faithfulness… When I told my friend Brandi a couple weeks ago about our Little Patriot, she used the phrase “bittersweet.” And that is a pretty good descriptor of the last 14 weeks or so– although, now that I think about it, it’s not been so much bitter, but perhaps “apprehensively-sweet.” We will never forget our sweet Baby Klove, but are very excited for this hopeful  journey into parenthood with Little Patriot.

In this tiny, new life, God has revealed His Love. His Hope. His Grace. His Faithfulness.

So, we rejoice. Won’t you join us?

Glory to God,
SGK

“This new life is starting right now, and is whetting our appetites for the glorious day when our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, appears.” ~Titus 2:12 (MSG) 

Categories: blessings, Family, God | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

A Gracious Recipient

“Will this be together or separate?”

<Insert cricket sounds here.>

Ahh, can’t beat that wonderful awkward moment at a restaurant or cash register as that fateful question hangs in the air.

We’ve probably all been there– dining with a friend, co-worker, or acquaintance, and then the awkwardness of that question throws us off. “Crud, we didn’t talk about this beforehand. I don’t have the cash to cover us both unless I have to, but I don’t want them to pay for me either.”

I personally don’t really ever want to be the person to break the silence and answer that question, unless I had planned to pay for them in advance… I mean, I don’t want to make them feel awkward by stepping on their toes, and I sure don’t wanna look like a self-serving person by saying “Separate” too quickly.

I’ve seen many-a dinners turn into a duel for the check. Half-hearted arguments about who is going to pick up the tab can really throw off the vibe of a great experience. There’s a super fine line between being a self-serving heifer, a mooch and an ungrateful recipient.

But sometimes, we need to suck it up and let the other party treat us, especially when they insist.

Now, don’t get me wrong– there is a HUGE and important place for generosity. I mean shoot, a big premise of this entire ministry is based on our Factor of 7 experiences when we share God’s love through being generous.

But occasionally, we need to let go of our pride and simply be a gracious recipient.

In today’s culture, many people (aka especially women) refuse to receive… well, anything. A gift from a friend? We have the awkward response of “Oh well, you didn’t have to do that” all while thinking “Now I should to do something for them in return.” Sometime tells you that your hair looks super cute? “Yeah, well my face is broken out/pants don’t fit/blah blah blah.”

What is our deal with not being able to simply be a gracious recipient??

I’ve had a crash course with this lesson over the last week. My sweet and wonderful Mother-In-Love Lex was here from South Dakota. And she treated me to several meals out on the town, a wonderful manicure and pedicure, and a few other blessed moments… Early on, I felt guilty for all of the sweet things she was doing for me. Then suddenly, I heard God speak into my heart:

“Do not be ungracious, daughter. This woman loves you and wants to spend a few days blessing you for what you have done as a wife of her son and a daughter of Mine. Be gracious and accept what she is offering you. Her motives are pure and it is from my love that she gives to you.” 

Gulp. Ok. Heard ya, Jesus.

Gifts from God… They just keep on giving.

So today’s simple (yet semi-profoundish) challenge: When someone extends to us a gift of love, a kind gesture or a sweet compliment… Instead of making excuses… Be a gracious recipient and JUST. SAY. THANK YOU.

This also applies to our relationship with Christ. God has given us SO many gifts, and the last thing I want to be known as is a girl who won’t receive it. His grace? Thank you, Jesus. The gorgeous sunrise. I appreciate that God– thank you. A moment of peace and quiet in a normally chaotic house? Lord, thank you, this means so much to me.

Do you struggle with receiving gifts in your life, whether from people or the Lord? What is so hard about it? How does it feel when you simply smile and say THANK YOU? Share you ideas and comments below!

Open your hands and receive what He has to offer. Take it all in, knowing there are no strings attached. God is a gracious gift-giver– so let’s be gracious recipients in return.

Graciously receiving it all,
SGK

“So roll up your sleeves, put your mind in gear, be totally ready to receive the gift that’s coming when Jesus arrives.” ~1 Peter 1:13 (MSG) 

Categories: blessings, God | Tags: , , , , , | 13 Comments

Bravocado, Jesus! (Factor of 7)

Few things in this life make my heart overflow with joy more than when God turns a trial into a blessing.

That was certainly the case in our latest “Factor of 7” for the month of June.

My beloved and I were in Fort Stewart for his eye surgery. (To read the back story, click here.) We were doing our best to enjoy ourselves—but when you are dealing with army hospitals and/or their plans and/or the fact that we were traveling/fasting/ eating only 7 foods for a month, it can prove to be a bit challenging.

However, I was trying so, so hard to cling to my key verse for the day found in 1 Corinthians 10:10– “And do not grumble, as some of them did…” Honestly, I thought I was doing pretty good… until we made it to suppertime.

We made the mistake of not doing appropriate recon before deciding what to do for supper. I had brought food with us from home to make meals in the hotel room, but sweet Brandon was convinced that we could eat out and be fine.

Big mistake. It was easy for him—I mean, most restaurants in America can do something that involves plain beef and normal potatoes—but my fasting requirements were a little more restrictive.

He picked Chili’s—so off we went. We sat down and I scanned the menu. Oh dear. This was going to be difficult.

I frantically scanned the menu to find something that would accommodate my need for only eggs, chicken, bread, apples, sweet potatoes, spinach or avocado. The only thing I could come up with? A plain grilled chicken sandwich with avocado.

It was the third meal in a row that I had that almost exact food combination. I nearly cried. (But held strong. Barely. Thanks, Jesus.)

We ended up explaining to our waitress Heather why we had “weird food” requests. We told her about the fast and a little bit about Jesus. At the end of our meal, we asked Heather how we could pray for her. She blinked her eyes for a moment and briefly mentioned that she was currently having some financial struggles… Duly noted.

I got up to go to the restroom since I had been chugging water trying to fill up my stomach. Brandon and I had been talking earlier in the day about what we should do for our monthly Factor of 7 act of kindness. Up until that point, we had nothing. But  when I came back from the restroom, my sweet husband asked if she could be our “Factor of 7.” He thought that since she was struggling financially,  he we should leave her at $107 tip.

I was speechless. Not only was I touched at the thought, I was downright impressed at my husband’s ability to piece that all together. (Amazing what the Holy Spirit can do, huh?) Oh, and I have NEVER been more in love with that man than at that very moment. (BE STILL MY HEART!!)

So that’s what we did. We left her a $107 tip with a note that said: “Heather, we hope that this tip is just the beginning of many answered prayers. $100 because God loves you more than you can imagine, and $7 because we all have 7 Days Time each week to share that love. God bless.”  We left her a 7 Days Time Ministry card and departed the restaurant.

My stomach might have still been a little empty as we left that restaurant—but my heart was full.

How has blessing someone else blessed you? We would love your feedback. Please leave your comments below!

So today,  we are thankful for Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives, guiding us and inspiring us to do His will in the most unexpected of places. We praise Him for turning our small trials into His triumphs.

We rejoice in the fact that God can take something small like another avocado chicken sandwich and transform it into a huge blessing.

And for that, we say Bravocado, Jesus.

Blessed by blessing,
SGK

 “Bravo, God, Bravo! Everyone join in the great shout: Encore! In awe before the beauty, in awe before the might.” –Psalm 96:7 (MSG)

Categories: blessings, challenge, Christ, Courage, evangelism, Factor of 7, positive | Tags: , , , , | 18 Comments

Real Time Warriors for Christ (Vlog: Factor of 7)

It has finally happened. I have finally gotten the guts to take a leap in to the “Vlogging” world.

For all of you newbies to the techie world (don’t worry, I only learned the term “vlog” about a month ago) “Vlog” is a simply a video plus a blog. Get it? Vlog. (I think Blideo would have been an interesting choice as a close second for techie terminology.)

Anywho… My beloved husband joined me on my inaugural vlog attempt. We were finally forced to get to crack-a-lacking on this mission after a local pastor saw the article in The Bayonet about our Latte Love Factor of 7. Pastor Heather contacted us saying that our ministry was an “answer to her prayers” as she is heading up a kids camp this summer with the theme of “Real Warriors for Christ.” The whole idea stems around defending our faith everyday, right where we are. Which is exactly what Factor of 7 is all about.

She asked if we could record a short video to share at the camp… and Voilà! A vlog was born! (I am all about doing the whole two birds, one stone business.)

So welcome to our first attempt at vlogging. (Oh, and don’t worry… we don’t talk for the entire time. There is a rather humorous interlude smack dab in the middle of this vlog.)

If you cannot view this video in your email, click here.

We would LOVE your feedback! Please leave a comment below! (And don’t be shy about sharing our video message about our mission with folks in your life. Hint, hint, wink, wink, nudge, nudge.)

Fighting on the Frontline,
SGK (and Brandon)

“Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.”–1 John 3:18

Categories: adventure, blessings, Factor of 7, fight, generosity, kingdom, positive, prayer, servant evangelism | Tags: , , , , , , | 29 Comments

One is Enough

You never know… your ONE act of love might be more than ENOUGH to change someone’s life.

Husbands can be pretty useful creatures. They are great jar-openers, heavy lifters, huggers, patience-builders, grillers, laugh-inducers, Jesus-leaders, eye-roll-causers… You can probably add a few of your own to this list.

Mine, in particular, is a great perspective-keeper.

My beloved helps me to keep things in perspective. He is a great big-picture thinker. (A skill that I sometimes lack.) My type-A firstborn personality lends to me wanting to do BIG things… but He always keeps me grounded and encourages me to keep a clear focus.

Let me give you an example. Several weeks ago when we were first contacted by the Fort Benning Bayonet to do a story on our Factor of 7 Latte Love,  I was super-duper excited. Wow!! The Fort Benning Bayonet wants to do a story on the 7 Days Time ministry?!!? SUH-WEET!

I obviously told them YES. But before you could say “Make it a Grande,” either my fleshy-firstborn self or The Enemy (or a combo of both) snuck into my head. I blurted out my thought to Brandon. “I don’t want to get too excited. I mean, will it REALLY make a difference?”

That sweet man of mine raised an eyebrow, lovingly put his hand on my arm and said, “Sharita… if only one person reads that article and is moved by it… Then one is enough.”

Touché, husband. Touché.  Talk about keeping perspective.

ONE IS ENOUGH. That is powerful. So we went ahead with the story, pressing forward for Jesus. And in typical God-fashion, the Lord went above and beyond.

I know for a fact that AT LEAST one person was impacted by that article. I won’t get into details, but we received an incredible heart-wrenching prayer-request email from a soldier due to that article. I did some research and as far as I can tell, The Bayonet prints somewhere (ish?) between 22,000 to 26,000 copies on a weekly basis. Granted not all of them are read… but does it really matter?  ONE IS ENOUGH.

7 Days Time Ministry has been up and running for 88 days. That is about 7,603,200 seconds. With each article, prayer, blog post and comment… God is at work. If a single person has been positively impacted by this ministry, then it has been an success. One is enough.

But great news… We worship a God of abundance– and He is blessing this ministry abundantly. PRAISE JESUS!  The Latte Love Factor of 7 post inspired a ministry follower to do the same thing in her home town in Minnesota… She took $107 and bought/coffee lunch for the patrons who came through the line, even when here family finances weren’t exceptionally abundant  at the time. Mandy’s mission of Helping Hands & Burgers for Babies reached her goal of over $2500 to purchase a table for the preemie benefit in Fort Worth. That soldier who emailed us to share his story and now my husband and I continue to pray for him.

One is enough, folks. You CAN make a difference right where you are. Starting NOW. Pray for God to reveal to you how He has called you to share His love. We don’t have to change the world by spending a bajillion dollars or quitting our jobs to enter ministry full time. We just need to be obedient– and Jesus will do the changing.

I don’t know where this ministry is headed tomorrow, next week or 5 years from now. But if this ministry has impacted just a single person, then I shall leave you with the words of my beloved husband: “One is Enough.” YOU can do the same!!

Praising The ONE who IS Enough,
SGK

“My children, our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action.” –1 John 3:18 (GNT)

PS: How is Christ working in your life? Is He calling you to share His love? We would love to hear about it! Please leave a comment here!

PSS: Have you been moved by this ministry? If so, subscribe via email at the top of the right sidebar to receive daily posts to your inbox. To learn more about how to make a difference in small (or big) ways in the name of Jesus, check out the updated Factor of 7 Page. Oh, and don’t be shy about commenting and/or sharing this ministry with your friends via Facebook, Twitter etc. Remember… ONE IS ENOUGH! May God bless you abundantly 🙂

Categories: blessings, challenge, change, Christ, Factor of 7, faith, humility, husband, Lesson, little things, ministry, obedience, servant evangelism, serving | Tags: , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Joy in the Mourning

It’s the day after Easter, folks… This means that in addition to Easter candy going on sale today (YAY!) and most church workers being tired after working like crazy yesterday, lent has ended for another year.

What did your 40 days bring? Mine were… um… profound.

For Lent, I “gave up” worrying. (Read “Removal of the Worrywart” for the whole story.) Long story short, God told me to stop trying to control things and not to worry so dang much about stuff. So during Lent, whenever I worried about something, I wrote it down, crinkled it up and literally laid it at the foot of a cross in my living room. Then I would write a “Faith” statement to counteract whatever worry I had. I kept the faith statements in a jar and would give myself a “refresher” when the worries started to resurface.

Well, 40 days have come and gone… God has done a number on my worrywart of a heart.

But that isn’t the “profound” part of the story.

God grew my trust in Him immensely. Here’s the profound part: My two biggest worries actually happened in the last 40 days… and God carried me through it.

Not only did He carry me through it, but I am able to write about it. And find joy… in the mourning of it all.

My first fear was miscarriage and losing our baby. I kept writing it down, laying at the foot of the cross… and it kept coming back. When that fear became a reality 27 days ago, I felt as if God had answered my prayer to prepare my heart for this baby, whatever was to happen.  Now, don’t get me wrong– if Jesus Himself came down from Heaven and asked me if I wanted things to turn out differently, I probably wouldn’t hesitate to scream “YES!” before He finished His sentence. However…

With that biggest fear of losing that baby came tiny blessings… I now understand Matthew 5:4– “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” I lost something I held very dear– but Jesus never left me. Not for a moment. Yes, my heart broke… but our Father’s heart also broke as He watched His son die on the cross. In mourning, I became closer to my husband than ever. In mourning, I became closer and more dependent on Our Father than I have been in my entire life. In mourning… I found joy that only comes from Jesus.

My second fear was my beloved husband recycling Ranger School– mainly because I didn’t want him to miss any more of the pregnancy than required. God has a plan with that as well… because Brandon did end up as a Darby phase recycle, which would be a 7 week extra wait due to Best Ranger Competition coming up. But once I told Brandon about the loss of our little one, he decided to come home to me immediately. He told me that it wouldn’t have mattered if he was going to recycle or not– he was going to come home to deal with what we were facing.

The worries with Ranger school were also realized, but under the circumstances were a blessing as God brought us through it. Oh, and did I tell you that God also planned out that Brandon would make the promotion list way sooner than expected, the day after the miscarriage and the day prior to Brandon withdrawing from Ranger school. To me, it was affirmation that God has Brandon’s career in His hand.  I guess God knows what He is doing after all, huh?

I can’t help but feel a little bit like Mary  when she discovered that Christ was gone from the grave. When she saw that empty tomb, her mourning turned to confusion… then to joy as she discovered Christ’s incredible plan. Praise the Lord, for He is Risen! His promises hold true and we can fully depend on Him– no worrying necessary!

What did you learn during Lent? Did you grow closer to God? I would love to hear your feedback. Comment here. 

I have laid my fears at the foot of the cross… and I will continue to do so. That cross will stay in my living room as a constant reminder of God’s promise, plan and purpose for our lives. God removed the worrywart in me… and helped me to find exceptional and unexpected joy in the mourning.

Rejoicing for He is Risen,
SGK

“Then maidens will dance and be glad, young men and old as well.  I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.” –Jeremiah 31:13

As promised, I set fire to my worries at the conclusion of lent. I've given them over to God... For good.

Categories: blessings, Christ, cross, dependence, faith, glory, God, joy, lent, promises, worry | Tags: , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Operation: Fortitude Fitness (Month #3)

Oh dearest readers… March was certainly “a month” for the Knobloch family. I have always hear that it was supposed to come in like a lion, out like a lamb (or visa versa.)

But for me, it kind of felt like the whole month was one big ol’ roaring lion. Baring it’s teeth. In my grill. Chasing me down the street.

However… It didn’t catch me! The Lamb seemed to save me. (Jesus = Lamb. Get it? Look at me go with my play on words. Whew.)

We are kicking off a new month (and that’s no April fool’s joke) so it is time to start fresh. But in the meantime, here is my accountability update from my “Smart” changes for 2012. (Read the Original Post here.)

SMART Change #1: Operation Fort-itude Fitness.  In short, my goal for 2012 is to log 98 miles per month via biking, swimming, running, elliptical etc to “travel” from Fort Benning, Georgia to Fort Riley, Kansas. Also, in order to stay on track with my strength training, I needed to do 2,500 various reps per month. As of last update, I had logged 306 miles Jan-Feb and “arrived” in Wallerville, Mississippi.

RESULT: GOAL MET… Sorta. I fell short on reps this month with only 2,100. But even with being exhausted from pregnancy and the subsequent miscarriage recovery, I did manage to still log 117 miles. Granted, most of these were walking or on the stationary bike. But I am extending some grace to myself this month (a task harder for me to do than running 5k!) and chalking March up to one of my most challenging, emotionally draining months of my 26 years on this earth.  I am now Turrell, Arkansas and have traveled 423 miles in 3 months. Gonna count that as a win!  America!

SMART Change #2: Spend at least one hour per day in the Lord’s presence by using my new Jesus Calling Devotional and studying the accompanying Scripture. I will also continue to keep a prayer request list in a notebook and/or iPad.

RESULT: GOAL MET!!   Honestly folks, this goal was even harder to achieve than the above physical challenge. Not only did I have company staying with us for about 12 days this month which kind of squiggled up my schedule a bit, but losing the baby didn’t help at all. I was physically, emotionally and spiritually exhausted for several days… And if I am being perfectly honest (which I always try to do in my posts) I was pretty ticked off at the Lord for a few days and really didn’t WANT to meet with Him, let alone talk to Him and spend precious quiet time together.

But I did… Many days during my quiet time, I read Jesus Calling, then cried and cried at the feet of Jesus from my red recliner rocking chair. He always had something to say to me and my quiet time is helping immensely in the healing process. Plus… I still pray every day for the folks in my iPad prayer app. It helps me keep a larger perspective of God’s plan and helps me to be commune with Him.

SMART Change #3: Complete my 1000 Gift List (inspired by Ann Voskamp’s book) by the end of 2012.

RESULT: ON GOING  I am downright shocked at the progress I made on this one, dear readers. I guess Jesus really has a hold on me. It was one of the toughest months of my life… and at last update, I was at #571…  I am now at #684. For all of you non-math folks out there (like me) that is 113 new things to be thankful for added to my list in one month. In the midst of crisis and heartbreak. Talk about digging the gifts out of the crevices and finding the blessing in the “ugly beautiful!” Praise Jesus 🙂

SMART Change #4:   Memorize a book of the Bible, starting with 1 John.

RESULT: ON GOING Uh, yeah… bout that. I made it to 1 John 3:3 (three whopping verses farther than last month) the things kind of bottomed out. Memorizing was put on a hold this month… No excuses, but considering that the day after I miscarried it took a hot minute to remember how to make a sandwich, I’m gonna play the self-grace card on this one too.

SMART Change #5: Ruthlessly Eliminate Hurry and submit to God DAILY in all areas of my life.

RESULT: ON GOING This was the most drastically improved of all the goals this month. God FORCED me physically to slow down… as in, I barely did anything for three days after our loss except cry, text and hug on my husband. In my mandatory slow down time (which is still in progress, BTW) I have been able to listen to and submit to God on the deepest level thus far in my life.  As much as I wish that God’s plan for March 2012 was different, I can’t help but feel His generous blessings flowing over us in our experience of ruthlessly eliminating hurry and submission. After all… “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.” (Matt. 5:3 MSG) 

So today’s moral of the story: Goals are awesome. They really are. Everyone should have some. But sometimes, we need grace more than goals. Have you been in that position before? I would love to hear you recount of grace vs. goals– leave a comment here.

Thanks for all of the support, love and prayers you all have been sending our way last month. While our bodies and emotions have been tired, our faith has never been stronger and more energized. What an interesting fitness blessing, huh?

“Marching” onward,
SGK

“…We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” –Romans 5:3-4

Categories: accomplishment, America, Ann Voskamp, blessings, dependence, fitness, goals, God, living, miscarriage | Tags: , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Pumping Iron with Jesus

“Ninety-eight…ninety-nine… one-hundred!”

Oh hey. Didn’t see you there. Sorry, I was just working out… you know, pumping some iron, getting in shape. (Does that sound a little too much like Will Ferrell in Anchorman?) 

Obviously, I am not pumping iron… but instead am clicking keys. At a pretty rapid pace, I might add. But I didn’t get to this typing speed overnight.

I had to train. Practice. Become stronger in my skills.  Like my love of “training” to write/type, a lot of us desire to be stronger in various areas of our lives: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.

Physical is probably the most well-known category of “strength training.” It really is pumping iron, doing lunges (yuck), mountain climbers (double yuck) or burpees. (Just that word sounds painful. Triple yuck.)

You probably have a few areas of mental strength training you are working on as well. Perhaps it is better memory or learning a new skill (auctioneering anyone?) Or, if you are really mentally motivated– possibly learning a new language (might I recommend Mandarin Chinese? That will keep you busy for awhile.)

When it comes to emotional strength training– now that starts to get a little bit tricky. If you ask me, it kind of overlaps with spiritual strength training. See, here’s the kicker– we have to be spiritually strong before we can be legitimately emotionally strong. We can’t let our feelings guide our faith– it has got to be the other way around.

So how do we build our spiritual strength which in turn boosts our emotional strength? Easy. We willingly pump iron with Jesus. Now as much as I despise burpees and multiplication tables when it comes to physical and mental strength training respectively, I personally believe that spiritual strength training can be the most painful– but also the most rewarding.

God chooses our weight and our exercise in the form of trials and challenges on this Earth. Think back to the last big, heart-challenging (possibly even devastating) event in your life. You had a choice on how to deal with it. Did you allow God to build your spiritual strength in that process?

As much as I don’t wanna admit it, all of those really tough life events HAVE and continue to make me a stronger person. (Why are Mama’s always right?) We are able to deal with those seemingly HUGE, heavy weights God chooses for us… because He doesn’t let us carry that weight alone. And He isn’t just a spotter– He is RIGHT THERE with us, holding onto that ginormous spiritual burden as we hoist it up over our head.

The world says we can’t do it alone. Well, great news. We don’t have to. We are training with God. We are becoming God strong because with each challenging life experience, we can choose to pump iron with Jesus.

Getting Spiritually Buff one Trial at Time,
SGK

“I love you, God— you make me strong…” Psalm 18:1 (MSG) 

Categories: blessings, challenge, Christ, dependence, exercise, goals, God, strength, work | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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