challenge

How to Deal: “Rug Rippers” (Repost)

We’ve all been there. We finally feel like we’ve gotten our balance. We are walking on solid ground. Things might not be going absolutely grandiose perfecto, but they are going. We take what we can get and relish the stability. When suddenly…

WHOMP!!!  Someone (or something) rips the rug right out from underneath us.

Yep. We all have ’em in our lives. Those dreaded people/things that knock us completely off-balance and throw things out of whack.

I “fondly” call them the “rug-ripper-outters-from-underneath-us-ow-that-hurts.” That’s kind of a long name to refer back to in a blog post, so for the purposes of this post, I will refer to those people/events/things as “Rug Rippers” aka R-squared for short.

Sometimes we go from keeping our balance-- to falling down the stairs... Or tripping when the rug is ripped right out from under us.

If only we could have as much fun as this guy when we lose our balance…

Depending on the season of life, I seem to have a lot of rug-ripping moments. Sure, I bet some of that can be contributed to the fact that I am incredibly uncoordinated and trip UP the stairs on a regular occasion… but it also comes with the territory of being a Christian, an army wife, a minister, a friend…

Heck, just LIVING and BREATHING sometimes seems to be the ultimate set up for a rug-ripping experience.

It happened to my hubby and I last Friday night at 10pm. We were finishing up an evening of  rare together time at a holiday military function. All in all, it was a decent night and we were treasuring the time we had with one another. Things were going smoothly, we had survived another rough phase in army life over the last month or so. PRAISE. GOD.

Then a few unexpected phone calls and some changed (yet previously un-communicated) schedules later, the rug was ripped right out from underneath us. WHOMP!! 

We were faced with a decision. Do we let this unexpected circumstance derail all of the blessings that we experienced from God in the previous hours? Or do we somehow engineer a way to recover from our frustration?

We silently pondered (ok, steamed would probably be a better word for me) for a few minutes. We arrived home and I found myself in a battle– my flesh was frustrated and ticked, the Enemy was all up in my Kool-aid trying to get me to be upset at my husband even though he had about as much control over the situation as I did. All the while, God was telling me what I should do: Release it to Him.

Barn and I headed to bed shortly thereafter. We have a policy not to go to bed angry so we talked and vented for a while (fortunately, we managed not to get tick at each other– thanks, Jesus.) And then my Beloved suggested the perfect remedy to restore our balance that the R-squared event caused.

“Sharita… I know it’s really hard and we might not feel like it right now. But let’s pray about this.”

Confession: There was not a single bone in my body that desired to pray. I mean, I was MAD. Fortunately, there WAS a spot in my heart that KNEW I had to… So we prayed. Together. Out loud.

As we said amen, our balance was restored. Not even kidding. Immediate. And even with the jacked-up schedule we were facing the next day, our weekend wasn’t “ruined.”

I have continued reflect on this “rug-ripping” experience. And God gave me this vision. We live in a fallen world. Which means we are ALL going to be knocked of balance from all directions.  Picture it:

If the rug is ripped out from behind us… we end up falling forward… On our knees.

If the rug is ripped out from in front of us… We end up flat on our backs, wind knocked out of us… peering towards the heavens.

Both positions are IDEAL to pray, taking the issue or circumstance to God.

It might take a hot minute (or twelve) for us to recover from our fall. But if we go to God– He will help us back to our feet.  He WILL restore us. AND our balance.

No matter how big, unexpected or painful your rug-ripping experience is… God is sovereign over all. Nothing surprises Him. And when we are at our most unbalanced and weakest– that is when we are closest to God.

Restored Daily,
SGK

“He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ.” ~Romans 3:24 MSG

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Embrace the Suck

Sometimes, life sucks.

Yeah, I said it. And yeah, I said it on a Jesus-loving Christian blog.

But its the truth. Sometimes life sucks.

We live in a world of pain. Of hurt. Of disease. Of evil. Of hard circumstances. Of moments where we wonder how the heck we are supposed to continue to function.

“Sucky” things in life range from the seemingly small and trivial (I lost my stupid wallet– again!) to the painfully large and unexplainable (Sandy Hook school shooting. Boston bombing. Explosion in Texas.)

So yeah, it’s the truth. Sometimes life really just kinda sucks.

Which might be why this world is not our home. (THANK YOU JESUS! Can I get an AMEN?!?!)

For those of you who have been around 7 Days Time for a hot minute, you know it’s my policy not to leave things on a negative note. So if life sucks… What are we supposed to do about it?

Embrace the suck.

image

Now, I don’t mean we have to welcome it. Or enjoy it. Or even ask for the hard times to come our way. But we all know that hard times, aka the sucky stuff, is inevitable in this life. We live in a fallen world and really there’s no getting around it.

But instead of wallowing in the suck and turning our eyes inward… We can embrace it knowing that we have a Lord and Savior that has been there, done that.

And no matter what suck you are going through right now, we can take solace in the fact that this world isn’t our home and we have the promise of heaven closer than we can imagine.

“Well, Sharita, this ’embrace the suck’ idea is all fine and dandy… In theory. But seriously. What can we do about it?”

Great question. Glad you asked. 🙂  Here’s a few tangible thoughts…

*Pray. A lot. God doesn’t care if it’s a huge suck like battling cancer or a seemingly minor suck like a newborn baby who has gotten her days and nights mixed up and refuses to sleep. (Not that I would know that one from experience or anything.) Remember, if it matters to you, it matters to God. He will hear your plea for help. He might not fix your suck, but I promise He WILL be with you through it!

*Rejoice. I know it’s hard in the moment… But 1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to rejoice IN (not necessarily FOR) all circumstances. That’s where making a list of your blessings and small God gifts in life come into play.  Be thankful.

*Share. Find another Christian or person you trust and share the “suck” in your life.  God made us to live in community and bear one another’s burdens.

*Keep perspective. This one is also easier said than done, but sometimes taking a quick step back and trying to look at things from God’s perspective can be a huge help. It might require extra meditation, prayers, quiet time, a mini-sabbatical, rest or a variety of things. Ask yourself not WHY… But WHAT God is doing in your suck situation.

*Embrace Jesus. This is something we can (and should) do whether or not we find ourselves in a “suck” part of life or not. Again, he’s been there, done that– a thousand times worse than we could ever imagine. He understands. He is always with you. Yep, even in the midst of the suck of life.

Be encouraged today, sweet reader. If you are in a suck season and desire prayer, please feel free to contact me by leaving a comment below, sending me a message on Facebook or holler at me via email at sharita{dot}knobloch{at}gmail{dot}com.

Take heart, friends. Embrace the suck by embracing Jesus. He’s got your back– always.

Embracing Him Wholeheartedly,
SGK

“So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.” ~2 Corinthians 4:16-18 MSG

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You just gotta ask yourself…

Sometimes you just gotta ask yourself: “How can I BEST represent Jesus in this situation?”

Kinda sounds like the old WWJD trend, right? (Who has a bracelet? You know what I’m talking about.)

But seriously– we sometimes find ourselves in super sticky situations that really seems to have no productive solution. I found myself in that very place a couple of weeks ago. I was genuinely stumped and my heart was torn.

Fortunately for me, it was prayer week at church.

See, three times a year, our Church Body puts the whoa on evening activities and invites everyone to come to church to pray. No, it isn’t a time for us to gather and pray for each other’s needs (although sometimes the Holy Spirit works that in.) But instead we worship for a little while, then we sit and listen to what the Lord is saying to us via a theme or prompt or Scripture set… then we come back together at the end and listen to whomever has something to share.

Sometimes God speaks very powerfully to me. Other times, He gives me answers I’ve been needing or leads me to some pretty cool Scripture. Or sometimes He just wants me to CHILL OUT and rest in His presence. (Yes, resting and napping is permitted if that is what your heart/spirit/body needs and the Holy Spirit  leads you to it!)

Anywho, I was wrapped up in a sticky, messy situation with no brilliant ideas on how to fix it. Our theme for the year at Christ Community is “His Work, Our Peace.” Honestly, peace was the LAST trait you could have used to describe me at that point. So I headed to church, hoping for answers– or at least a little sliver of His Peace.

The theme for the night was the first work of Christ– His incarnation. After I had a good (and much-needed!) cry by myself in the back row of chairs, I sat… and captured this message directly in my journal.

So today, I just wanted to share what God revealed to me in the midst of my yuck.

****

“Jesus became a man. He understands our struggles and has been slandered and persecuted. Yet even on the cross, He forgave those who hurt Him and He never stopped loving.  He didn’t care about people’s’ approval– He only cared about His Father’s heart and approval. 

So as I face this hurtful situation, I must be like Christ. It’s kind of like bringing back WWJD. He wasn’t just a man of theory, but of action. Sometimes you just gotta ask yourself “How can I best represent Christ in this situation?” Philippians 2:5 says “In your relationships, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus…” In the study section of my Bible, it says this about the verse: “Christians are to have His attitude of self-sacrificing humility and love for others.” 

It’s scary. It’s hard. But I must remember the words of the song we sang during worship… 

‘No power of hell, no scheme of man, could ever pluck me from His hand.’

I embrace the truth that My Beloved is Mine and I am His. 

I am safe and protected. He is the ONE I answer to. So as I reflect on the person in flesh of Jesus, He is… 

HOLY. FULLY LIGHT. UNCOMPROMISING. PURE. GOOD. MERCIFUL. COMPASSIONATE. AWARE. ATTENTIVE. RIGHTEOUS. SERVING. GIVING. POWERFUL. MIGHTY. GLORIOUS. AWESOME. AUTHORITATIVE. WARRIOR. JOYFUL. SENSE OF HUMOR. FORGIVING. LOVING. SACRIFICIAL. LOVE PERSONIFIED. PROVIDER. CARES FOR US. RESTORER. REDEEMER. VICTORIOUS. LIFE GIVER. 

So Jesus came to us in flesh. He understands. He lives in us. We CAN be all these things by clinging to the one truth that He loves us unconditionally. Always. This is done not in our power–but in His power and grace.” 

****

So yeah… Sometimes you just gotta ask yourself– how can you BEST represent Christ in your situation?

What’s YOUR answer?

Grateful for His Grace,
SGK

“Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.” ~Philippians 2:5-8 (MSG) 

jesus was journal

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How to Deal: “Rug Rippers”

We’ve all been there. We finally feel like we’ve gotten our balance. We are walking on solid ground. Things might not be going absolutely grandiose perfecto, but they are going. We take what we can get and relish the stability. When suddenly…

WHOMP!!!  Someone (or something) rips the rug right out from underneath us.

Yep. We all have ’em in our lives. Those dreaded people/things that knock us completely off-balance and throw things out of whack.

I “fondly” call them the “rug-ripper-outters-from-underneath-us-ow-that-hurts.” That’s kind of a long name to refer back to in a blog post, so for the purposes of this post, I will refer to those people/events/things as “Rug Rippers” aka R-squared for short.

Sometimes we go from keeping our balance-- to falling down the stairs... Or tripping when the rug is ripped right out from under us.

If only we could have as much fun as this guy when we lose our balance… 

Depending on the season of life, I seem to have a lot of rug-ripping moments. Sure, I bet some of that can be contributed to the fact that I am incredibly uncoordinated and trip UP the stairs on a regular occasion… but it also comes with the territory of being a Christian, an army wife, a minister, a friend…

Heck, just LIVING and BREATHING sometimes seems to be the ultimate set up for a rug-ripping experience.

It happened to my hubby and I last Friday night at 10pm. We were finishing up an evening of  rare together time at a holiday military function. All in all, it was a decent night and we were treasuring the time we had with one another. Things were going smoothly, we had survived another rough phase in army life over the last month or so. PRAISE. GOD.

Then a few unexpected phone calls and some changed (yet previously un-communicated) schedules later, the rug was ripped right out from underneath us. WHOMP!! 

We were faced with a decision. Do we let this unexpected circumstance derail all of the blessings that we experienced from God in the previous hours? Or do we somehow engineer a way to recover from our frustration?

We silently pondered (ok, steamed would probably be a better word for me) for a few minutes. We arrived home and I found myself in a battle– my flesh was frustrated and ticked, the Enemy was all up in my Kool-aid trying to get me to be upset at my husband even though he had about as much control over the situation as I did. All the while, God was telling me what I should do: Release it to Him.

Barn and I headed to bed shortly thereafter. We have a policy not to go to bed angry so we talked and vented for a while (fortunately, we managed not to get tick at each other– thanks, Jesus.) And then my Beloved suggested the perfect remedy to restore our balance that the R-squared event caused.

“Sharita… I know it’s really hard and we might not feel like it right now. But let’s pray about this.”

Confession: There was not a single bone in my body that desired to pray. I mean, I was MAD. Fortunately, there WAS a spot in my heart that KNEW I had to… So we prayed. Together. Out loud.

As we said amen, our balance was restored. Not even kidding. Immediate. And even with the jacked-up schedule we were facing the next day, our weekend wasn’t “ruined.”

I have continued reflect on this “rug-ripping” experience. And God gave me this vision. We live in a fallen world. Which means we are ALL going to be knocked of balance from all directions.  Picture it:

If the rug is ripped out from behind us… we end up falling forward… On our knees.

If the rug is ripped out from in front of us… We end up flat on our backs, wind knocked out of us… peering towards the heavens.

Both positions are IDEAL to pray, taking the issue or circumstance to God.

It might take a hot minute (or twelve) for us to recover from our fall. But if we go to God– He will help us back to our feet.  He WILL restore us. AND our balance.

No matter how big, unexpected or painful your rug-ripping experience is… God is sovereign over all. Nothing surprises Him. And when we are at our most unbalanced and weakest– that is when we are closest to God.

Restored Daily,
SGK

“He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ.” ~Romans 3:24 MSG

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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

Stay In Step

“TTWWWWWEEEEEETTTTT!!”

Click, click, click, click… “One, two, three, four…”

Oh, the glory days of marching band. Now, before you start the cracks about being a band nerd, know that my high school was kinda tiny. Tiny like I graduated with 18 people in my class. And had about 80 people in our entire high school.

Which meant you were either in the band… Or you weren’t. (And seriously– who really wanted to go to an extra study hall? Pshaw.)

So yes, I was in the band. Played the flute actually. From 5th grade to senior graduation. I wasn’t a stellar player. I mean, I showed up for band every day for 7 years, so I could play– just not awesomely. Oh, and I am really uncoordinated. Which is why MARCHING and playing the flute at the same time really caused some issues. (I tried to be a front line pom-pom girl or in the flag corp for most of my marching band career.)

Our tiny little marching band would hit up various local parades ever couple weeks from about September to the final Christmas parade in December.

We were a small group. Our band director Mrs. Buckle was incredible. And brave. She dealt with teenagers. With instruments. Which is probably why she yelled a lot. She had to contend with the trumpets and the bass drum. And those instruments tend to get a little noisy.

Plus, it turns out I wasn’t the only uncoordinated one in the group. Teenage boys and girls playing instruments, following music and trying to stay in step? Yeah, sometimes it wasn’t pretty. (Which is why we never had white shoes with our band uniform. Always black. Harder to notice when someone is blatantly out of step.)

Not a picture of our marching band. Our uniforms weren’t QUITE that nice.

I as I think about those fun memories, and Mrs. Buckle’s voice still resonates in my head:

“LEFT, LEFT, LEFT, RIGHT, LEFT!!!”

“HEY TRUMPETS, GET IN LINE!”

“STAY. IN. STEP!”

Fun times. But seriously. As I thought about my experience with marching band and the importance of staying in step, I couldn’t help but think about how important it is for us to stay in step today… With God.

We have to trust Him, knowing that He is walking beside of us. If we stop to look at our feet, we will lose our rhythm and mess up the whole formation He has lined up for us. We have to let Him set the pace, not falling behind Him or  trying to gallop out in front. <<That would be me.)

Are you letting God direct your life like the a drum major or band director? Or are you trying to do your own thing? What does it feel like when you are out of step? In step? What steps can you take to make sure you stay in step with Him marching beside you? I would love to hear your thoughts. Leave your comment below!

We are all marching in this life. It doesn’t matter if you are lugging a tuba, a piccolo, snare drum or are a member of the flag corp. We all have to march. So the question is: Who is directing your band? Follow Him closely and you will always stay in step.

Marching to the beat of a heavenly drum,
SGK

“The very steps we take come from God; otherwise how would we know where we’re going?” ~Proverbs 20:24 MSG

Categories: challenge, God, obedience, path | Tags: , , , , , , | 16 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

Think “Fast” (7 Experiment, Week 1)

It has been one week of eating only eggs, chicken, bread, apples, sweet potatoes, avocado, and spinach. That’s right folks. I’m eating only 7 foods for thirty days.

If you missed last week’s entry about this fast, let me catch you up. (Or you can click here to read the entire post.) My beloved hubby and I are fasting for 30 days by only eating 7 different foods. Only water to drink. No seasonings other than salt, pepper, olive oil (sparingly) and cooking spray.  This concept is inspired by Jen Hatmaker’s book “7: The Experimental Mutiny Against Excess.” In short, it has two main purposes: to seek after God at a deeper level and to restore a heart of gratitude for all the incredible choices we have in this world.

We started on June 4, so we are one week into our experience. In two words: EPIC. CHALLENGING.

The first two days kinda sucked. Like, a lot. My beloved and I both had a headache, which honestly was to be expected. We were no longer drinking any caffeine. Plus, I was probably going through sugar withdrawal.

But once we made it through Monday and Tuesday? It has been epic. We are using the extra time that we would have normally spent grocery shopping/cooking/discussing what’s for supper to spend time in prayer and in the word.

Additionally, this has been awesome for our food budget. Great for our heart. And our physical bodies feel pretty incredible.

PLUS (yes, it goes on) God has brought out my hidden gift for creative and resourceful cooking. Seriously, I have created more shockingly tasty meals with limited foods than I have in my entire adult life. Here’s a brief glimpse of some of my creations:

Breakfast:

  • Power breakfast sandwich– egg, avocado, shredded chicken on toast
  • Eggs & toast
  • French toast with unsweetened applesauce
  • Scromlet– scrambled eggs, spinach, shredded chicken
  • Fritatta– eggs baked with shredded chicken & spinach with avocado on top

Lunch/Supper:

  • Spinach salad including any/all of the following– shredded chicken, avocado, spinach, apple, hard boiled egg, salt, pepper, olive oil
  • Sweet Potato Chicken soup– chicken stock, chicken, sweet potatoes, salt/pepper (BEST. INVENTION. EVER.)
  • Baked Chicken dredged in egg and coated in bread crumbs
  • Egg/chicken/avocado salad sandwich (It looks a little funny  but tastes fine)

Snacks:

  • Dried apple chips (homemade)
  • Toast with unsweetened applesauce
  • Hard Boiled egg
  • Croutons (homemade)
  • Apple Leather (it’s like a fruit roll up, homemade out of applesauce put in the dehydrator)

My sweet potato chicken soup and spinach salad… with homemade croutons. Nutritious, colorful AND tasty. Thanks, Jesus!

God has really brought about a new, refreshed and grateful heart in the both of us. He has also revealed how I turn to food when I am stressed– but now I am turning to Him first. Here’s to returning to our First Love!

So in short, it’s going great. Definitely still challenging every time I pass by a Starbucks or see free oranges for the taking at the gym. (And don’t get me started on the Diet Dr. Pepper situation.) But guess what… I have one more surprise for you.

I am doing a giveaway at the end of this experience. The prize will be… well, a surprise. (But it won’t be lame. I promise.)

To enter, you can share this post via Facebook, Twitter, email etc. You can like my Facebook page if you haven’t already done so. But to make it an “official” entry, leave a comment below with your guess of how many eggs my husband and I will consume by the end of this fast. (Hint: We like eggs.)

Random, I know. But hey, don’t judge me– I haven’t had any sugar or caffeine for a week. 🙂 Plus, I think it is going to be eggstremely entertaining.

What do you think so far? We would love your feedback–leave a comment (and your eggsact guess) below.

Loving this Jesus eggsperience,
SGK

“Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” –John 6:35

Categories: blessing, budget, challenge, Christ, food, God, gratitude, life | Tags: , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

Think “Fast”

The sand was warm underfoot. The water flowed gently, the current making a gentle swishing sound. Puppy Justus was exploring, sniffing, digging and splashing. I was reading the first chapter of a book out loud to my husband.

It’s amazing how simple, serene moments can change your life so quickly.

My beloved and I were enjoying a sliver of time last Saturday, relaxing in our mushroom chairs on the pseudo “beach” area near a small river on Fort Benning. I had recently gotten a copy of Jen Hatmaker’s book 7: An Experimental Mutiny against Excess. The general premise of the book deals with the fact that we live in a society obsessed with stuff. The book documents Jen’s month-by-month experiment to eliminate the “junk” in life. Each month, the author chose a different area of her life to focus on.  Month #1? Food.

For 30 days, Jen ate only 7 different types of food. I was intrigued by this book right away, mainly because there has been quite a buzz in the writing community– plus we all already know how magnetic the number 7 has become to this ministry.

Wanna join the party? Click the image to get yourself a copy of this remarkable book!

As I finished reading the first chapter out loud to Brandon on the “beach,” he turned to me and said: “Ok, wife. I say chicken, eggs, bread…”

Wait. WHAT? I was floored. If I wasn’t sitting down, I certainly would have fallen over. My husband actually wanted to DO this?!? I mean, I had considered briefly and sort of pitched it to him a couple of weeks ago, but he looked at me like I was crazy.  I continued to pray about it, the whole idea weighing on my heart… But when he started naming and numbering foods indicating that he wanted to participate, I couldn’t help but be shocked. (The book was very convincing. Thanks, Jen.)

Oh. Plus he’s a man. An army man at that. Food is in his top 3 most important needs. Seriously.

So yes. My beloved and I started the first month of this “experiment” yesterday. It has already opened my eyes to just HOW MANY food choices we really do have and our fingertips and can easily afford. Honestly, its kind of blowing my mind. (If you want more info, get a copy of the book. It will change your life. Or at least your perspective.)

From June 4th to July 4th, my husband is only permitting himself to eat chicken, eggs, bread, beef, apples, peanut butter and potatoes. My menu choices are similar: chicken, eggs, bread, apples, sweet potatoes, avocado and spinach.

That’s it. We are only permitted to season with salt, pepper, olive oil and use cooking spray.

This is gonna get crazy, folks. I’ve barely started and am already seeking God more deeply than I could imagine. (Not to mention rejoicing at the free time of trying to decide what to cook for supper– chicken or… chicken?)

I am so excited (ok, and really nervous) at the potential spiritual growth that will result. Challenging but worth it. Oh, and let ‘s not forget how kind this will be to our time and budget. (I am anticipating some productive physical changes too.) I will be periodically keeping you all updated as we go.

Yes, there are a few things I already miss. Cheese. Diet Dr. Pepper. Chocolate. Salsa. My beloved protein bars. But I am so grateful that I still have PLENTY of food in my fridge, even if it is in “limited” varieties.

Brandon and I would appreciate your prayers as we work through this experience the next month or so. My sweet mother-in-love has joined us on this journey and if you feel so led, pick up a copy of Jen’s book and come with us as we seek the Lord.

Have you ever fasted before? What was it like? What do you think about our quest? Wanna join in? Leave a comment below!

To paraphrase Jen: “Jesus, may there be less of us and our junk and more of You and Your Kingdom.” 

It’s scary. It’s awesome. It’s hunger-inducing. But we are grateful for this opportunity to think “fast.”

Is-it-just-me-or-is-it-hungry-in-here,
SGK

“You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.” –Matthew 5:6 (MSG) 

Categories: adventure, attitude, challenge, changes, Christ, food, gratitude | Tags: , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Operation Fortitude Fitness (Month #5)

Is it seriously June? Last I checked, June is month #6 in our calendar, which if my stellar math skills prove correct means we are nearly halfway done with 2012… seems like just 5 minutes ago we were ringing in the New Year.

I guess time flies when you are living for Jesus.

But a new month means another monthly reflection of my Smart Goals for 2012. So let’s hop to it!

SMART Change #1: Operation Fort-itude Fitness.  In short, my goal for 2012 is to log at least 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 need to do 2,500 various reps per month. As of last update, I had logged 551 miles Jan-April and “arrived” in Thayer, Missouri.

RESULT: GOAL MET…  Sorta. May was a good month for working out. I started training for another 5K, which surprisingly kept my average mileage about the same but boosted intensity significantly. (It’s officially sweat season in Georgia, just for everyone’s info.) I still have about 3 weeks until my next 5K race, so I am excited to see where this training leads. (I have continued to break some personal records in this area… Praise you Jesus! I might become a “runner” after all.)

So this month, I logged 131.5 miles, mostly running on foot and at a higher intensity on stationary bike and elliptical. This brings my grand total to 682.5 miles since January. I have “arrived” just on the outskirts of Springfield, Missouri. Yeehaw! (Springfield is a great town. If I didn’t have to stick to a schedule, I might have to hang out there for a few days 🙂 )

Oh, and as far as the “sorta” part of this goal? Yeah, totally didn’t do much with strength training reps in May. Really gotta get back on that.

SMART Change #2: Spend significant time Lord’s presence by using my 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: ON GOING I really lived and loved this goal in May. God’s Spirit is truly working in my life and I am watching prayers answered daily. (PS: I just received a new big kid parallel NIV/MSG study bible. I already LOVE it!) Oh, and in addition to this goal: In case you missed it, I attended the Blackaby Spiritual Leadership Coaching Conference. Talk about experiencing God in a whole new way!

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

RESULT: ON GOING  This month, I am at #941… an increase of  105 gifts from last month! I am relatively confident that I will “complete” this goal by reaching 1000 in June. But I shan’t be stopping. This is a wonderful scavenger hunt for God’s love!

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

RESULT: ON GOING Yeah, kinda fell short on this one– Didn’t make a lot of progress as far as memorizing new stuff this month, still hovering around the 1 John 4 area… But those first 3 chapters have created some new revelations and are really starting to sink in!

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

RESULT: ON GOING God is working. I keep asking to help Him to submit. It’s awesome. (I could write an entire post on this one alone. But I will spare you the details. For now.)

So yes, we are nearly halfway through 2012. Has God put any surprises in your path on your way to accomplishing your goals? How has he modified your walk with Him? I always dig your feedback– comment below.

Now if you will excuse me– a 4 mile training run is calling my name.

Marching onward,
SGK

“So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you’ll see it yet! Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it.” –Philippians 3:15-16 (MSG)
Categories: 2012, accomplishment, challenge, exercise, fitness, goals, God | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

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