Smiling Today


I ran up the stairs today, two at a time.

I realize this means nothing to you, so I’m going to tell you why I’m feeling fairly giddy about it, and then I’m going to encourage you to go find something you’re giddy about, too. That’s the plan, anyway…

When I was growing up, I had a bedroom in the basement of my parents’ house. I ran up and down the stairs many times a day, and I always, always took two stairs at a time. It was just how I did it.

But then life happened, and I had a couple of pregnancies that ripped my hips apart, and suddenly, I was doing well if I hobbled to the top of the stairs.

And then….December happened, and I started exercising like crazy, and God did some awesome things in my life and my body, and suddenly, it’s just REALLY fun to walk! I’ll be walking around the house, thinking, “It feels so good to move!” And I’ll walk around just for fun!

So this morning at church, when I realized that I needed to grab something from upstairs before my Sunday school class started, I ran up the stairs, two at a time. I did it without thinking, and it suddenly hit me about half way up that it felt awesome just to run up the stairs! I got to the top, and I felt good.

Then I ran back down. And I still felt good. And God is good.

Every single day, there are tiny little blessings that bring joy, or make us feel good, or remind us that God is still at work, and still doing amazing things.

Today I praise Him for the ability to run up the stairs!

Three years ago, I read the book One Thousand Gifts, and I started making a list. I’ve written about it many times before, but I just have to say again, this habit is completely wonderful. I love it. I’m almost at 3,000 blessings, and that makes my heart feel full!

So I want to encourage you to stop and think, right now, about something you are thankful for. What’s blessing you today? What is warming your heart and giving you joy?

I know, I know – March has no business being so cold, and it’s hard to think of blessings when we’re grumpy about the weather. But as we talked about last Wednesday, we don’t need to join the throngs of people complaining about it.

Instead, I’m going to think about the fact that I can run up the stairs two at a time, and I’m going to feel joyful, and I’m going to smile. Let’s make it contagious.:)

How I Survived, Part Two

Well, friends, turns out the story wasn’t quite over. (Maybe it will never really be over, because I’ll be learning and growing for many years to come!)

I thought I had covered all the important stuff in my last post on how I survived my December challenge.

And then Wednesday happened, and now I just have to share a bit more with you all!

After going for an entire month without any of my usual appointments, I felt the freedom to return to the most important ones. I have no desire to return to my old schedule of craziness, but I picked the three most important appointments to go to this week.

First up was Nigel, my extremely unconventional massage therapist who basically beats all the tension right out of my muscles. That was quite the appointment. I have no desire to repeat that experience again anytime soon, and am very thankful to return to my regularly scheduled beatings, when the pain doesn’t have quite so much time to build up.

But here’s the awesome part: Nigel was surprised and pleased with how well my body held up. He said I wasn’t nearly as tight as he had expected, and was “impressed” with where I was at. (And that’s coming from someone who is very sparse with praise!)

So that was really exciting, but then I went for my physio appointment, which I was supposed to be going to once a week, and my physio therapist was also very amazed with how well I was doing. She said I don’t need to go back until March!!

Last of all, my family joined me at the chiropractor, where I go once a week, and he said I only need to come back in three weeks, like Ben and the girls do.

I am so incredibly excited!! This takes a huge load off of my schedule and our finances, and is such an answer to prayer! I felt as though the month went much better than I’d expected, but I never thought my therapists would see such a difference.

I’ve thought about this a lot – how I didn’t get an instant miraculous healing, but how God has been calling me into something new. He’s leading me through a process, and really, I think it’s better this way. Not as flashy, and much more work on my part, but He’s changing me bit by bit.

He’s teaching me to make good choices, and work hard. The thought came to me one day that if we’re called to work out our faith with fear and trembling, the same could be said for health –it takes work. I believe God heals, and I also believe that sometimes healing happens when we get to Heaven.

But I also think there is so much that we can do right now, and we don’t. I don’t, because I get lazy. I want to sit on the couch, watching TV and eating chips, and I forget how I really want to be spending this life of mine.

So I’m getting off the couch, and I’m doing the work, and God’s blessing it, and we’re going to do this well! I have such a sense of hope and joy and excitement.

Ben shared this song with me last night, and it just hit the spot – “Could a garden come up from this ground?” God can do such wonderful, fantastic things that we wouldn’t ever imagine on our own. I am so excited to see my garden growing, and feeling many things in my life becoming new – physical, emotional and spiritual.

Here’s wishing you many new, beautiful things growing in your own garden!

How I Survived the Month of December

Well, my little December health challenge is over.

I wasn’t miraculously healed in December, but what I gained was worth it all! In fact, as I was thinking over the highlights of 2013, I realized that one of the biggest was this last month. I’m not sure if I can properly put into words what this month has meant to me, but I’d like to share a few things I’ve learned:

1) The end result hardly matters.

We live in a world where success is often measured by your end result, and I don’t think enough emphasis is put on the journey. Climbing the ladder may actually be the best part, instead of getting to the top….

Obviously, I would like to be sitting here, pain free, and telling you about how Jesus healed all physical difficulties for me in some kind of completely awesome, inspiring way. But that hasn’t happened yet, and I’m okay with that. I’m not even sure this December challenge was really about that – it felt like it was more about obedience.

As I’ve obeyed, and spent the month focusing on God and what He wants for my life, I can truly say that “…the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.” When I focus on Him completely, nothing else matters. I have enjoyed this journey.

Teresa of Avila summed it up well:

“Ever since I stopped obsessing about my comfort and ease, my health has radically improved.”

I think this is what I tasted, and can completely understand why it would be true.

2) Fasting from anything allows for a fresh start.

And really, this was a month of fasting. Fasting from food loosens the hold it has over us, and that’s what I feel like right now. All of the appointments, and everything I’ve been doing to pursue health in my life has lost it’s strong grip on me, and I feel as though I have a more balanced perspective of everything. I’m going to start going to some appointments, but I’m not interested in going back to the way I was living life before.

This month, I was able to see what my life can be like when I’m not focusing on a pain-free life. I had pain, and that was expected, and strangely okay. I acknowledged it, accepted it, and then went and thought about something else. Very refreshing!

And now, I get to choose what I’ll do next. I’m not controlled by the need to make my life as perfect as possible, and I will be able to go into this New Year with a stronger ability to make good choices.

3) I’ve surprised myself.

I’m tougher than I thought I was.:)

God is awesome, and can absolutely heal all, but I’m pretty sure He also wants us to do our part.

This month, I did my part.

I did stretching, exercises, and yoga every day, twice a day on most days, and it’s made a huge difference. I had no appointments to rely on, so I worked like crazy. Way back at the beginning, when I was asking God for guidance on how to handle all of this, I felt as though He said to me, “Act like a healthy person.” And that is what I tried to do. It is what I’ll keep trying to do.

Maybe I’ll have some pain, and maybe not everything feels the way I wish it did, but I’m tired of labeling myself as unhealthy, and I’m tired of carrying this weight of suffering around with me everywhere. I’ll give the weight to Jesus, and live a little lighter.

4) I’m ready for whatever comes next.

If God still chooses to heal me at some point, as I feel He’s promised, that will be awesome.

If He doesn’t heal me in this lifetime, that will still be awesome. It makes me anticipate Heaven more, and that is not a bad thing.;)

And the next time God asks me to do something that seems strange, I think I’ll be a little more ready to say yes quickly!


When I have shared my end results with others, I think some people are a bit disappointed. But once again, Teresa of Avila says it best:

I have clearly seen that He has never failed to reward me, even in this lifetime, for any of my good intentions. No matter how feeble or flawed my deeds may have been, this Beloved of mine has taken them and perfected them, polishing and giving them worth.

I offered the month of December to Jesus, and He took what I had to offer. I had weak, dark moments, but He brought me through, and it amazes me that what seemed so hard and scary just a month ago, could turn into a time of blessing, even if the blessing did not includephysical healing at this time.

Let GodAt the beginning of the month, I kept thinking about taking “a leap of faith”. It was always about jumping, and trusting God to catch me.

But about halfway through the month, I realized this wasn’t about jumping – it was about flying. It felt like soaring, to leave that cliff behind, and fly with Jesus.

Here’s to much more flying in the future.

Do the Next Thing

Since first writing about my December challenge, I’ve had many, many people share their words of encouragement, as well as thoughts and opinions. I was aware of opening myself up to this when I decided to make this challenge public, and I was a little nervous about whether I was strong enough to weather all the wise words that would come my way, without losing sight of how this all began, and what I most wanted to focus on, personally.

I really appreciate all that people share with me, but it definitely has given me a lot to chew on, and I have gotten a little confused, at times.

Some people are completely sure that I will experience healing by the end of December.

Others think I will experience spiritual and emotional healing, but don’t really think physical healing will necessarily be a part of it.

Some people think I should never go back for another appointment again, because I should just have faith I will be healed.

Others think this month will be a great month for me to relax and rest without having to run around to a million different appointments, and I will have the chance to learn more about myself and about Jesus.

A friend came over last week on a day when I was feeling super confused about everything, and we had a good talk about it all. I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t know much, and I’m not even sure what I believe myself, but it comes down to this:

Trust God, and do the next thing.

Is that not fantastic?! It’s what formed in my mind last winter when I was learning a lot about what I believe about God’s will for my life, but my pastor shared this Oswald Chambers quote with me last week, and it may be what will save me, now in December, and forever after.

It’s simple, really. Do what you know. Right now. And then stop worrying about everything else.

For me, right now, it looks like this:

1) God said He will heal me. I don’t know when, I don’t know how, I just know He can, He will, and I’ll trust Him.

2) I felt God telling me to stop my appointments for the month of December. That sounds so specific, and so “I have a direct line to Heaven”, and I don’t even like putting it into words, but there it is. So I’ll do what I know, for the month of December, and then I’ll see what happens. Maybe I’ll be healed. Maybe I’ll go back to all my appointments. Maybe I’ll only go back to some of them. I have no idea.

3) God didn’t tell me that He would heal me in December. He said He would heal me, I should trust Him, and then 2 weeks later I felt like He was asking me to give up my appointments for a month. I can do all of those things without actual knowing what needs to happen next.

I probably don’t have enough faith. Maybe I should be waiting joyously all month, just knowing that healing is coming my way within a matter of weeks. I don’t know. I was feeling really guilty about not having enough faith, and my pastor said, “Give Him your guilt. And then do the next thing.”

The song that keeps coming to my mind is “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus”. It gives me peace every single time I think of it, because it’s true – when I’m focusing on Him, worshiping Him, and dancing in my kitchen, or crying on my couch, just trying to surrender every hard moment to Him, I’m able to get past all of it, if only I fill my mind with Him.

Then nothing else matters – I could have pain for the rest of my life, and it doesn’t matter to me in that moment. I just see Him, and everything’s good.

That applies to pretty much everything in life, hey? Trust God, and do the next thing. I can do that. Little bits at a time.

So, I’m curious: What does “Trust God, and do the next thing” mean for you??