For the past year, I have been writing. Actually, let me preface that - I have been writing since I learned to write! Recently, I found my first book which was bound by yarn, created in the shape of a panda bear's head (I collected stuffed panda bears as a kid and this book was ALL about pandas). I also uncovered boxes and boxes of journals in that purge, filled with pages and pages of thoughts, words, and even some poems. So, you could say writing has been part of my life for a very long time. It is one way I connect with God. And writing a published book that draws others closer to God has been a dream for many of those years (hint, hint!).
To the point of this post! For the past year, I have been writing a 40-day devotional for body and spirit. The seeds for this book idea were planted during my 500-Hour yoga teacher training with Holy Yoga Ministries. The idea kept growing to the point that I wrote the entire book before I ever shared it (although if you've been in any of my yoga classes in the past year, you've probably gotten a sneak peek without realizing it as I've shared some of the themes, scripture passages, yoga postures, and reflection questions with you!).
Then last summer while attending a writer's workshop at SoulFeast (a spiritual retreat hosted by Upper Room), I was nudged to submit a proposal for this project. Since summer is nearly here again, you can guess that this book has been many many months in the making. For the last couple of months, I have known we were moving forward yet certain details had to be in place in order to finalize and share. In that timeframe, I also submitted devotionals for the Disciplines 2017 publication. And finally, I can share with you that my 40-day devotional (title and details coming soon) will be published in 2017 by Upper Room Books!
Honestly, my heart beats fast as I share this news with you. One reason for this is that when I submitted the proposal for the devotional, the publisher specifically asked me to include more about me - my stroke and brain surgery story and how that led me toward work fostering care of both body and spirit. It's vulnerable to tell your story. But I believe it is important. I will tell parts of (because all those journals would never fit in one book!) my own story to escort you on the journey of body and spirit and to encourage you to embrace your story, after all.......these are God's stories!
Another reason my heart beats fast is because our son has been sick for weeks with sinus problems - which usually seems simple to heal - yet he has had many allergic reactions to medicines and it has simply been a very slow journey toward wellness. His body is tired and worn out. My body is tired as his caregiver (my awesome Fitbit helps me see how well I've rested and when I've moved, lately both have been lacking) and yet it proves I am ecstatic and full of energy at the same time (elevated heart rate!).
Recently, my grandmother (who is almost 95 and slightly frustrated with her body - as she broke a shoulder and hip last month) told me she always wanted to be a writer and that she could not imagine anything more important to write about than the spiritual life with God. My heart beats fast as I honor my grandmother and lean in to writing a book that I hope will help you draw closer to God with the gift of your own body!
My heart beats fast because God uses the gift of our bodies to help us listen and embrace our journeys (no matter your stage of life).
If you've made it this far in the post, surely you have questions because this is a unique approach to a devotional and emphasizes holy listening with your body. It will include yoga postures, breath prayers, aromatherapy, scripture passages for lectio divina, and of course journaling questions (tools we often use in spiritual direction and yoga)! I truly look forward to sharing more details with you soon! In the meantime, I'll be putting finishing touches on the book, finalizing lots of tiny details that most do not realize take place in publishing (I surely didn't), and gaining hands on experience caring for our son - in body and spirit.
Thanks for allowing my heart to beat fast as I share the news that #IAmWriting with you today! If you want to stay in the loop on details of the book (and I hope you will - there will be freebies along the way), sign up for my monthly(ish) newsletter below. The Upper Room has been a formational part of my faith journey, I'm ecstatic to be part of the Upper Room family of writers and look forward to what is to come. Hope you'll join me on the journey.
The Lenten season is a symbolic journey toward the Cross. For many today, that journey has become an opportunity to let go of certain foods, activities, or habits that distract us along the path. For others, it is a time to cling to disciplines that give life and draw us closer to our God. You may have given up chocolate or let go of your grasp on Facebook, yet this invitation is much more than cocoa or status updates (both of which I cling to often). No matter your plans for Lent, I invite you to consider this a season of receiving God’s healing and wholeness offered us through the gift of his son, Jesus.
For over a decade of my young adult years, I was plagued with chronic health problems. During an appointment one day, a practitioner asked me a profound (and what I honestly thought at the time to be rude) question. She asked, “Whitney, do you believe you can be well?” My response was silence. She shocked me and I couldn't believe she would ask me such a blunt and obvious question. Of course, I wanted to be well; I had taken the time to make an appointment to prioritize my health! My efforts proved I was working hard at it by investing time, energy, and plenty of resources.
But guess what? After my initial shock wore off, I realized I wanted to be well but didn’t believe I could be. It did not seem possible that I could live a life free from the pain that plagued me. And suddenly, as that truth sank in, I began to believe I could be well in a much broader sense than she could have understood. Her words slowly and steadily seeped into my soul.
Since that question, I have changed my thinking. I don’t believe I will always be physically well on this earth, but I will always be whole in Christ. There is nothing wrong with seeking guidance for health and wellness from wise practitioners (as a matter of fact, I recommend it), yet we can only seek true healing and wholeness within from our God. My practitioner knew this fact and planted that seed in my heart.
What is wholeness?
In order to live whole lives, we need to put to death thoughts that are not life giving. When putting to death old ways and embracing life-giving alternatives, my biggest barrier is often myself. Scripture tells us, “in Him you have been made complete” (Colossians 2:10, NASB). Did you catch that? God has already completed us. He has made us whole. It is not about stripping away; it’s about receiving that promise. That is what we are moving toward this Easter season—wholeness. And we must believe it is possible.
What’s your story? Do you long to be whole? Do you believe it is even possible? No matter your story, God is offering you healing and wholeness this season.
While there is no one answer for each of us regarding what wholeness looks like, there is one response: say yes. Yes, I want to be made whole. And trust me, you can say yes before you understand how it may even be possible. What are you afraid of? What might happen if you let go of the old patterns of unbelief this Lenten season and embrace God’s promise of wholeness?
How can I embrace God’s wholeness?
Read the following Scripture, slowly, three times. Ask yourself if there are any words or phrases that stand out to you as you read. You may even choose to read aloud or listen to an audio version of this passage. However you listen, truly hear the words Jesus spoke, as if they are spoken aloud to you today:
Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” (John 5:1–9, NIV)
Do you want to be made whole?
Do you believe you have already been made whole through Jesus’ gift to you? Do you believe you can be well? How many years have you been sitting at the pool’s edge of healing waters? Are you just sticking your toes in the water? Who or what are you waiting for? Grab your mat and walk toward Jesus this Easter season.
Giving something up is thematic for many people across Christian tradition during the Lenten season. Yet for me, giving up has been less of my focus over the years. Traditionally, I have been more likely to add a spiritual practice during the season of Lent rather than take something away. And I now realize how much I have added over the years and how "doing it all" often blurs my ability to open my heart and soul. Let's be honest, fasting is hard.
Yet sometimes we need to strip away, let go, fast. Recently I have been in a season of "letting go" in regards to my sugar addiction. I now have a new perspective on giving up and am embracing it in the kitchen. I've been on a whole foods (Whole30) plan for the past several weeks that has stripped away many of the unnecessary extras that cause my body to experience brain fog, fatigue, and anxiety. It has taken several weeks to see the fruits of my work but my body (and my soul) are thanking me for the new found clarity. And I must admit, it has taken me two rounds of this process to truly find the beauty in the letting go of my beloved sugar for a season!
I read the poem below this morning and in my reflection realized quickly that as I've let go of the extra sweeteners and not-so-natural flavorings (as well as the junk I had been feeding my body) my tastebuds can truly experience the flavor of food in new ways. We chew, we eat, we swallow. But, do we take the time to truly savor and taste? If we did, how could that change us? When we fast (not simply from food) we are invited to taste/feel/experience more deeply.
The poem is from St. Catherine of Siena, a Dominican nun, mystic and poet from Italy, who lived from 1347-1380. Her words speak to me on this journey of wellness, they remind me that God gave us the gift of food as more than nourishment, that we can see God in all things/people/situations, that our hearts and souls really do need to be fed. I hope her words offer your heart encouragement as well this Lenten season.
How will you feed your soul this season? How could "giving up" actually give your heart more strength? Are you letting go of any specific foods or activities for Lent? How are you hoping to taste, smell, experience God?
Give the Heart More Strength
(from Love Poems from God)
Herbs can help the body and give
the heart more strength
When my sight became clearer,
I could see auras around different foods.
and I now know — should I say this? --
that everything can sing.
The songs of fruits and grains will calm,
why not put them into yourself,
a new language you
And just from touching life’s requirements
close to their source
will add grace to your
More generous eyes we need.
The songs of light
Breath. We all have it. Right?
If you're reading these words, I can guarantee one thing, there is breath in your lungs.
There is plenty of scripture in the Bible that tells us our breath is a gift from God. Glance below and see if any of these stand out to you:
The Lord God formed the human from the topsoil of the fertile land and blew life’s breath into his nostrils. The human came to life. - Genesis 2:7 (CEB)
The spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life. - Job 33:4 (NRSV)
Now He drew close enough to each of them that they could feel His breath. He breathed on them: “Welcome the Holy Spirit of the living God.” - John 20:22 (Voice)
Nor is God served by human hands, as though he needed something, since he is the one who gives life, breath, and everything else. - Acts 17:25 (CEB)
Friends, God is the giver of the breath of life! It makes so much sense for us to use this gift as a constant way to commune with our creator. I stumbled upon using my own breath in a time of crisis in my life. A time when I had nothing and no one else to cling to, my breath was there and I began praying a breath prayer that affected me deeply. At the time, I didn't know this was an ancient practice.
A breath prayer allows us to pray a simple and intimate repetitive prayer before God. This prayer form has been practiced in the church for millennia. It is a form of contemplative prayer linked to the simple rhythms of our breathing.
Here is how it works:
Breathe in, calling on a biblical name or image of God that is significant to you.
Breathe out a simple God-given desire or longing of your heart.
That's it! With the reminder that each breath is a gift from God, our prayer becomes an opportunity to abide in union with each and every breath, to “never stop praying” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
Breath Prayer examples:
Creator, shine on me
Abba, show yourself to me
Holy One, keep me true
Jesus, give me peace
Lord, here I am
Father, guide me
Messiah, heal my heart
You could also breathe in God's word as you follow along with your scripture reading this week. Consider Monday's passage of Mark 4:26-34. Breathe in the words of that parable for yourself today. You could pray:
Exhale: Give me faith like a mustard seed
So, how does the thought of repetitive prayer strike you? What are the up sides and down sides of repetitive prayer? How might a breath prayer be shorthand for a longer prayer of your heart?
A prayer for you this week:
With each breath I breathe, may his glorious, unlimited resources empower me with inner strength reminding me that Christ makes his home in my heart. May I have the insight to gain a glimpse, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is for me. May I experience the love of Christ fill me just as air fills my lungs, though both are too great to understand fully. May each breath remind me of the fullness of life and the power that comes from my creator. Amen. (Based on Ephesians 3:16-19)
If you've stumbled here for the first time, welcome! On Mondays through this Fall, I'm posting a list of scriptures for reflection as well as a different way to pray each week. Pray one scripture or pray them all, this is simply an invitation to journey deeper as we explore God's peace together. Click here to find out more and join us on the journey.
God has given us a variety of senses. Last week, we listened for silence in and around our lives. This week, we'll use the gift of sight to pray. Vision is a gift that is often taken for granted. For those of us with healthy vision (well, at least with our glasses or contacts) our eyes can also be a distraction. You know this as you choose to keep your eyes on the road when driving - they roam easily and we all know that's not a safe environment for eyes to wander. Our eyes are active! That's one reason I often close my eyes when practicing yoga or seeking stillness, it lessens the distractions around me. Did you know that out of all the muscles in our bodies, the muscles that control our eyes are the most active?
Take advantage of closing your eyes to seek stillness whenever it seems right. But, this week, let's also put the gift of those eye muscles to use! You'll find Luke 7:1-10 in our scripture reflection list. A simple search on this passage allowed me to stumble on the artwork of Paolo Veronese. And, I had to start a board for "Art & Scripture" on Pinterest to save this link and return later for reflection.
Select an image or use the example above. Consider the image before and/or after you read the scripture. What does the artist capture with color and emotion? How does the image make you feel when you gaze upon it? What do you notice with your eyes that you may have missed in reading the scripture. Does viewing this art deepen your appreciation for the passage? How so?
Maybe your gifts aren't quite the same as Paolo's (maybe they are, and if so I would love to see your art!). No matter your gifts, I believe those of us with the gift of sight (did you know that approximately 285 million people in our world today have a visual impairment?), can use our eyes to see and notice God around us each day!
What if...we not only gaze at someone else's interpretation but also used the gift of the eyes to capture our own prayers this week?
Consider selecting a verse of scripture to take out in to the world and capture what may speak to you as you ponder the verse with your phone's camera. What does the scripture evoke in you and where do you see that come to life around you? What do you notice that connects back to a passage you've read - on that has meaning and purpose to you?
Once your image is captured, consider how it speaks God's word back to you? What do you notice in your image that you may not have noticed before you captured the photo?
My friend, Kasey Hitt, wrote an article recently on praying with a camera at the Guideposts Blog. Whether you capture or create your own images, allow her post to spark ideas for you as you pray with your eyes.
Detailed art, professional photographs or casual snapshots, allow God to use the gift of your eyes. Open your eyes to see God's activity all around you. Where will you find God? How will God speak to you?
If you've stumbled here for the first time, welcome! On Mondays through this Fall, I'm posting a list of scriptures for reflection as well as a different way to pray each week. Pray one scripture or pray them all, this is simply an invitation to journey deeper as we explore God's peace together. Click here to find out more and join us on the journey.
Silence. Did she say silence!?
Not sure about you, but when I cry out to God, I have a tendency to use my own words for many situations. "Lord, hear my prayer....." You can fill in the blank. And while speaking our prayers is indeed a spiritual practice, this week invites a different approach.
As you settle in to read scripture this week, prepare you heart and mind with a deep breath and a few moments of silence before you even begin. Read the scripture at least twice and then...silence. What do you hear? No, I don't mean your cell phone or the distractions outside your window. What does the scripture say to you today as you rest silently with God. No reason to set a timer (unless you need that accountability, you can start with a minimum of 5 minutes and try not jump up to check your messages when your mind wanders - as it likely will). Just breathe deep and come back to a word from the scripture if you need an anchor or centering point for your silence. We are human, find grace for yourself in this practice.
By the way, this is not a "hurry up and check it off your list" spiritual practice. Savor the silence in your quiet time and begin to notice how you may be able to incorporate silence in to various parts of your day. Consider: incorporating times of silence in the car by clicking off the radio or podcast, have your morning coffee or lunch break alone outdoors in nature, complete the chores of your household as a silent prayer of service. Does intentional silence in these scenarios help you listen for God?
Practicing silence does not necessarily mean there is no noise around you. Instead, practicing silence means letting go of the noise and restlessness in our lives. Befriending silence means drawing nearer to God and listening so that we may be refilled by God. The gift of silence is not simply for ourselves but for those around us as well. What noise can you let go of this week?
At least one day this week, your challenge is to be intentional about finding silence as you listen for God. Begin with silence before and after your scripture readings and then carry the gift of silence into other areas of your life. How is silence easy? How is it hard?
How does silence refuel your soul? How is God speaking to you in the silence?
For years I've struggled with sticking to the same spiritual discipline for more than a few months, weeks...okay, even a few days...at a time. According to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, I am an ENFP. One thing that means is, I enjoy spontaneity and crave variety (that's also a nice way to say that I have a really difficult time sticking with the "same thing" for a long period of time). The positive side of this aspect of my personality is that I've explored a variety of ways of praying. And, I've discovered that each one speaks to me in a different way.
One fairly consistent aspect of my prayer life includes using scripture as a launching point for talking with God. This summer I began using the Common English Bible for Daily Prayer and I love it! The Bible incorporates a weekly list of scripture for reflection as well as a variety of ways to pray (spiritual disciplines) for each day of the week.
As I've begun praying the scripture and purposely varying the ways I interact with God's word each day, I've been reminded that the variety in my prayer life is not a negative trait at all. Varying the ways I talk with God brings life to the scriptures and to my ability to hear God speak back into my life. My perceived weakness is actually a strength. Sound familiar (2 Cor. 12:9-10)?
In talking with others, I have found that I'm not the only one that struggles with sticking with a discipline and that many of us simply need to be encouraged to try new ways to pray. So, as we move from Summer into Fall (I know it's still hot outside but kids start school next week here in Tennessee and I'm looking forward to cooler temps), I'll be sharing a short list of scriptures and highlighting a different way to pray through them. This is not Bible study and you will not find any answers. This is simply an invitation to journey with God's word. Listen for how God may be speaking to you through the scriptures as we pray them together in the weeks to come. I look forward to hearing God speak into your life as we journey with the ancient text of the Bible.
You'll find the scriptures shared here at the blog and on social media. This week, we're starting with one thing I know is already in your tool kit - you have it everywhere you go. We're starting with YOUR body.
Some ideas for Praying the Scriptures with YOUR body this week:
If reading scripture for reflection (rather than for study) is a new practice for you, you may wish to select one passage and "sit with it" all week. After you read, select one or more ways to pray with your body:
What is God saying to you this week as you pray the scriptures? How does your body feel as you reflect? Does the scripture you are praying bring you comfort or are you struggling in your body - head, heart, or elsewhere? What does the scripture evoke in you?
Will you join me?
Follow along on social media (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook) for updates and subscribe with the form below to receive email updates! If you subscribe via email, you'll be invited to an online hangout mid-way through our journey together as well as receive a few other perks I won't be posting on the blog (it's going to be fun!). No expectations, just an invitation.
If you've read this far, I hope you'll join me as we pray God's word together. Exploring a variety of ways to pray are ahead!
This image (of me!) leaves me in awe of God. The awe is not simply because I am standing on my head.
This is me in awe of a healing journey. If this life were only viewed through my lens, this moment would not have been possible.
Instead, there is an invitation for me (and for you) to view this world through God's lens. A lens that loves and believes. A lens that heals and gives hope. God sees beauty in ashes.
Maybe when you look at this image you simply see me standing on my head amidst stone architecture. Honestly, I shy away from sharing this (or others like it) for a few reasons. We'll get to that in a bit. First, what do you see?
Maybe you see shadow and light.
Maybe you see victory and wholeness.
Maybe you see brick and motor.
Maybe you see fear and instability.
Maybe you see strength and courage.
Maybe you see healing and hope.
Images such as this one are often shared by slender, young, popular yogis and yoginis who practice their asanas at the beach or on mountaintops. This space is not a scenic destination and I am not young, slender, or popular by Instagram standards. The ground is uneven and the traffic was constant. My friend (with her camera) and I snuck into this corner during a recent retreat as I told her it would be really empowering for me to "try" a headstand on the uneven surface of this sanctuary. My feet floated to the sky on the cool uneven stone that day as I protected the sensitive spots on my head from touching the earth.
This is ordinary me doing something extraordinary - for me, for God.
It's not comfortable for me look at or share images of myself. Which is an interesting turn of events since at one point in my youth, I aspired to be Katie Couric...on screen and clearly in public view. Today it's uncomfortable for me to "see me" in images or on screen and I was not sure why until I saw this image.
It's hard to see myself through God's lens.
Yet I'm learning to see as God sees - all around me. So, that includes me. I share this in hopes that you may see through a God lens too. When I see this photo as God would see me, I see a woman of 40 who has overcome many physical health obstacles. I see a woman who mourns because she was told she shouldn't attempt pregnancy again. I see a women who has beat the odds of cancer, stroke, and brain surgery. I see a woman who loves God so very much...in spite of all that. I see a woman who believes each person is unique and beautiful and important yet sometimes struggles to believe this for herself. I see a woman who attempted things she never thought possible - physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Sometimes you look at yourself and don't recognize who you are, how far you've come, or especially how far you have to go. This image helps me appreciate each.
In 2005, I could barely consider standing on my own two feet, and definitely never considered standing on my head. The months that followed included a walker and a cane. I even traveled around SuperCenters in motorized carts. I was scoffed at a time or two for what appeared to be a joy ride by some who saw no physical scars or struggles of paralysis.
In those dark days, I knew I could praise God again (somehow) and thank him for this journey. But, I did not expect it to be my feet I raised in thanksgiving. The feet that have held me up now pull me closer each day. I never fathomed I would lift these feet to the God who made me.
But, that's what happened.
Nearly ten years of taking the next step. A step to find the right physical therapist or yoga class. A step to meet with a spiritual director and counselor. A step to finish 13.1 miles. A step to learn. A step to lead. A step to listen. A step to heal. A step to slowing down. A step to lean in. A step to savor motherhood, family, and friendships. A step to embrace losses and missed steps. A step to living in to the person God created me to be - imperfections and all.
Steps of faithfulness have included lots of boundaries and disappointments. They also included saying yes to God over and over again and being amazed by faithfulness.
The gift I received when my life was turned upside down, indeed took my feet out from under me.
In a sanctuary of stone I realized this...when your life is turned upside down, it really can be beautiful, even if you're the last one to notice it.
Look through God's lens.
Recently, we shared a meal with new friends. It was one of those fruitful times of conversation that linked lunch to dinner. By the time we got up from the table, we were due another meal. That is meeting at the table - literally.
In the past couple of weeks, "lay it all out on the table” conversations have popped up with other friends in my life. And several of them expressed how challenging and lonely this world feels at times. It is ironic that in a society that is "connected" more than ever, many of us experience feelings of loneliness or isolation that often lead to depression. These feelings are more real than rare.
My own periods of depression have stemmed from various chronic health conditions. The first of which began when I was 18 years old. I had Graves Disease, a thyroid disorder. To treat an overactive thyroid (one that made my heart and my head race) my thyroid was literally zapped. Today I no longer have a functioning thyroid. A little colorful pill awaits me every single morning. But those levels can be hard to regulate and fatigue and depression take center stage. And while these side effects that have come and gone over the last 20 years are real, this post is not about my health struggles.
This is an invitation to come to the table with your struggles and hard work, to embrace God's activity in your story. Meeting at the table means you pull up a chair and tell that story. Meeting at the table means speaking truth. Meeting at the table means inviting others to join you there because you are not alone and they feel less alone in the process.
Here is the thing, we all have something in our life that requires our hard work. My body just happens to need a lot of care and regular "maintenance." Any person with chronic health problems or autoimmune disorders will understand that statement. It requires commitment and sacrifices. And if you review our family’s budget, you’ll notice we spend far more on vitamins and vegetables than we do on cable or clothes.
But let’s say your health is stellar and you don’t have to follow a regimen other than caring for the basics: you move, breathe, sleep, and eat. You don't need a crisis, everybody has something and you have a story to tell! Yep, you sure do. I think that’s where we miss out sometimes. We know God is in the sunsets, the miracles, the sounds of the ocean, and the birth of a new child and we're happy to talk about those. Yet we struggle to see God in the crises, the catastrophes, the losses, and even the hard work of every day life. Once we do recognize God in those places, we often don't want to talk about them. And when we don't talk about them (with God or with community), we're opting to journey alone. This life was not designed to be journeyed solo.
Friends, we are not alone. God is amidst every single day, the hard ones and the less hard ones. Even the mundane ones. Anyone ever have a mundane day? If not, you can come do my laundry because there are baskets surrounding me most days. Laundry is mundane. There is a shirt in my dirty laundry that says "life is good" and I would agree with that statement but it is not easy.
Both counseling and spiritual direction have helped me cope (with others, with myself, and with God) during very tough times on this journey. Meeting at the table means we are not alone. We are invited to no longer simply cope with life challenges but to truly acknowledge God's activity there.
We EACH have a place at the table as we encourage and support one another on this journey. Start with being honest with yourself. Uncover your story, friends. Tell it. And while you're at it, listen to another story in the process. That is community.
Will you meet me at the table? Pull up a chair. Bring your baggage and your junk, you're definitely not alone.
Today is Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of the season of lent. It's a perfect time to journey toward wholeness as we journey toward Easter. My friend, Jen, and I have a gift for your journey. We're offering some spiritual food for your Body & Soul. We have put together scripture, thoughts, and activities for the next 40 days and we'd be honored for you to join us. Below is an introduction and a link to get started as we seek wholeness together.
"People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” - Matthew 4:4
Welcome on this lenten journey.
You might be surprised as you dive into this devotional journey. Yes, we are passionate about physical wellness but we’re not focusing on what you may be used to hearing in regards to healing or wholeness. We both believe that food is medicine and that movement and exercise are life-giving for our bodies. Yet, this devotional isn’t specifically about the food you eat or the number on your heart rate monitor (although we may allude to those in our reflections). Consider this weekly devotional as a dose of spiritual food during the season of lent.
We’re so excited for the answers you will find here and yet there are no answers for this journey. There is simply no predictable answer key for what God may be offering you during this season. To be honest, there are zero promises of healing and wholeness after downloading and reading this devotional guide during the 40 days of lent. What we do promise is that our own wholeness and healing has been found in our savior, Jesus. And, this season of lent gives us each the perfect opportunity to be awakened to God’s love through his son, Jesus. That is where we find all the answers.
So, what is lent? Lent is the Christian tradition of preparing our hearts and minds for the celebration of Easter. The lenten season begins on Ash Wednesday (this year that is March 5, 2014) and concludes on Easter Sunday (April 20, 2014). During lent, some Christians fast from specific activities or food items. Others may add a specific spiritual discipline for the 40 days of lent. Not all Christians observe lent with such traditions. We both grew up in traditions that did not place an emphasis on the days leading up to Easter. However, as adults, we have begun to understand that the lenten journey is parallel to the journey of life. We see lent as a wonderful opportunity to connect and re-connect with our faith and our God.
And so we’re inviting you to join us this season. Each week during lent, visit www.zoneconditioning.com to download your free short devotional and guide that includes scripture and activities for reflection. Our hopes are simply that your spirit will be renewed and refreshed this season. We look forward to this journey toward Easter together.
Jen and Whitney
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 Message:
May God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together—spirit, soul, and body—and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ. The One who called you is completely dependable. If he said it, he’ll do it!
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Whitney R. Simpson
• on a journey of #ExploringPeace
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