You Are Chosen

My middle son, Chad is getting married in two weeks! It’s an exciting time in our lives to say the least. We adore our almost daughter-in-law, Katie. She fits in great with our wacky family. ThChad and Katie at UCR gradinking about my boy (yes, he’ll always be my boy!) getting married has caused me to reminisce my earliest days of marriage.

One thing that I specifically remember, is how excited I was to say these two words:

My husband.

I was especially delighted when I was able to use them in sentences such as, “My husband and I will attend the party.” Or, “Have you met my husband, Scott?”

What a wonderful feeling to know that someone cared enough about me to be mine. But what meant even more, was that my husband also chose me to be his.

What I didn’t understand when I was first married, was that God had already chosen me to be His. Yes, I was Scott’s wife, but long before that, I had been chosen.

Do you know that God chose YOU to be His?

In John 15:16, Jesus says, “You did not choose me. I chose you…”

God designed us for relationship. We see this in the Garden of Eden when God says in Genesis 2:18, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.”

Of course, we are designed for relationships other than marriage which is demonstrated throughout scripture. However I’d like to focus on marriage and its imagery to our relationship with God.

Ephesians 5:31-32 NLT “As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one.”

There is no greater gift a human being can give to another than the gift of self. So for God to compare the marriage relationship with that of a relationship to Himself—  amazing!

Take a look at this beautiful passage where God is speaking to His people (Israel)

Hosea 2:16,19-20 NLT

When that day comes,” says the Lord,

 “you will call me ‘my husband’

   instead of ‘my master.’

I will make you my wife forever,

   showing you righteousness and justice,

   unfailing love and compassion.

I will be faithful to you and make you mine,

   and you will finally know me as the Lord.” 

God chose to create people. He also chooses to relate to each one as intimately as a husband and wife. If you have not experienced this kind of relationship with God, the good news is—you can! He’s just waiting for you to ask.

Workout:TRANSFORMATION ONE STEP AT A TIME, Mary’s Journey

Once upon a time there was a young woman who suffered from depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. Because she didn’t really value herself, she saw no reason for others to value her either. She found herself in bad situations and sometimes abusive relationships in hopes of finding whatever it was that seemed to be missing. She was on a destructive path and didn’t know how to get off.

She went on and on for years like this, and so did the extra pounds, which only exacerbated her low self-esteem. But even in the darkest places, she felt drawn to God.

Her name is Mary. And this is an account of her transformation journey.  

Mary before and after

It was 1993 and Mary was pregnant, diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and had just suffered a stroke. “But even then, I lived in denial,” Mary said.

She carried on with her internal struggles for sixteen more years.

It is said that a  journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Mary’s first step in her transformation began in July of 2009 when she walk into church and recommitted her life to Christ. Slowly, one step at a time, God was beginning a work inside of her. Mary drew strength from scriptures like:

Joshua 1:9 NLT “…be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Philippians 4:13 NLT “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”

They were no longer just words, but motivation to grow. To continue her growth, she joined a bible study where she met Sean Sorey. Mary and Sean were married soon after. Then followed the birth of her fourth daughter. And then followed even more extra pounds which worsened her diabetes, anxiety, depression and self-worth—despite what she read in the bible. Mary said she struggled with negative thoughts so often,  they became like one constant voice that felt like a dark, heavy cloud hovering over her.

But God knew her thoughts. He knew how to begin healing her from the inside out. In 2011, God brought a Christian friend into Mary’s life who struggled with weight issues as well. Mary decided to take another step of faith, and the two women started a fitness journey and accountability partnership. Shortly after they began however, her friend got pregnant and Mary was without an accountability partner.

In 2012 when she became too out of breath to make it up a hill for her daughter’s graduation, Mary was devastated. Her health had gotten out of hand. Her type 2 diabetes had brought on neuropathy, and she also had bone spurs in her feet. This caused Mary to feel defeated because exercise was out of the question. Despite her feelings of defeat, Mary took another step, when she made a decision that she needed God’s help to lose weight and to tackle those negative voices that told her she wasn’t valuable.

The progress of losing weight was slow, but Mary pressed on through faith that she could do everything through Christ who gave her strength.  Mary admits that it wasn’t just one thing that gave her the push to start her transformation journey. It was several little things that she believes God orchestrated— like a song, a verse, a scripture, or a friend with an encouraging word. But always God came first. And God was where she found the strength, determination and consistency needed to press onward.

In February of 2015 Mary and her husband Sean signed up for a six-week weight loss challenge at a Camp Transformation Fitness Center. “I learned that I was capable of doing more physically than I ever thought possible,” Mary said. “One day I was trying to lift a heavy weight that seemed impossible. Then I thought about the cross that Jesus carried for me, and I was able to lift that weight and more!”

“Through this experience, I have discovered God on new levels,” Mary said. “I’ve discovered Him in the scientific complexities of our bodies and how they function. And I’ve discovered that God cares intimately for each one of us. One word that keeps coming back to me is, AMAZING.”

Since Mary’s weight loss journey began in 2011, Mary has lost a total of 100 pounds! She was a size 3X and she is now a size 8-10. As a bonus, she no longer has a need for insulin shots!

But the most important part of the transformation has been on the inside. Mary no longer feels that she is not valuable because God has given her real VALUE and PURPOSE. Mary knows what it feels like to be trapped and depressed inside of one’s own body.

“Now I have a purpose to help inspire and encourage woman. If I can do this, anyone can,” Mary said.

“Just don’t give up! You can cry. You can crawl. You can stop for a moment to rest. You can stop for a moment  to puke. But DON’T QUIT! Imagine if Jesus quit on His way to the cross?”

 

Valuable name tag

Mary would like to thank:  Husband Sean Sorey
Camp Owner/friend Michelle Croteau
Trainer/friend Reynaldo Herevia
Elizabeth Dodd
Mandy Osburn
Evy Rokes
Rossy Ruelas
Jennifer O Romero
Blanca Lopez
Elizabeth Paez
Amanda Paez
Kaitlyn Headding
Rebecca Sorey
Small group members

Workout-CHANGE THE WAY YOU THINK!

“I can’t. . .do. . .it!” I managed to say through gritted teeth.

I stopped running—bent forward, holding my ribs, and looked upward at the daunting hill ahead. It was at this point that I noticed I had stopped in the very same spot on my last three attempts to conquer the dreaded hill. This made me frustrated and discouraged. But as my breathing got a little easier, something else occurred to me.

“I won’t make it up that hill with this attitude.” I realized that I needed to change the way I was thinking. Have you been there?

running-573762_1280

I have discovered that what goes on in my mind affects me physically (my workout, overall health) as well as spiritually. I’ll admit, I have been known to throw some “pity parties.” I’ve also struggled off and on with depression since I was in my teens. I’m not saying that negative thoughts cause depression, but they surely can lead to it. Many times negative thoughts impact our mood and attitude, which thereby impacts our actions.

I looked to God and His word for how to deal with these negative thoughts.

FIRST, We need to let go of the old way of thinking. This makes room for the Spirit and a new way of thinking. Ephesians 4:22 NLT “..Put off your old self which is being corrupted..”

Practically speaking, here’s an example: A negative thought enters our mind such as, “I can’t.” That thought has to go, in order to make room for a new, godly thought from the Spirit.

We must also get rid of old, negative behaviors and habits. Is anything coming to mind?

SECOND, We need to change the way we think. Ephesians 4:23 NLT “Let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.”

In my last blog, we covered that God wants to” transform” and” renew” our minds (Romans 12:2)

The Greek word for transform is “metamorphosis”.  Sound familiar? It is used today to describe the amazing change a caterpillar goes through when changing into a butterfly. What a beautiful picture of what happens to us spiritually when we allow God to get personal with us and redirect our thoughts and attitudes. It’s a transformation from the inside out.

Practically speaking again: Once we let go of the negative thought (“I can’t”),  we now replace/renew it with what God says. A possible scripture is, Philippians 4:13 NLT “For I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.”

THIRD, We need to put on the new godly character. Our character is essentially the sum of our habits. We must choose to make it a habit to get rid of negative thoughts and attitudes and replace them with godly ones.

Philippians 4:8-9 “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me..”

That last line in the scripture above  is critical. Keep putting into practice all that you’ve learned. And remember, we are not doing this in our own power. We have the Spirit’s “dynamite” power working in us! (See my blog post, “You’ve Got the Power!” May 11,  https://beckielindsey16.com/2015/05/11/workout-youve-got-the-power/ )

With God’s help, YOU CAN CHANGE THE WAY YOU THINK!

The metamorphosis will be beautiful!

butterfly image, blue

Join me in this prayer:

(Psalm 139:23-24 NLT) “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”    

Has this post helped or do you have suggestions that you want to share? I’d love to read your comments.