Week 15

Faith: Peace and Joy 

"The Apostle Paul had a strong and steady underlying consistency to his life. Consequently, he could let his external life change without internal distress because he was rooted and grounded in God” (from My Utmost for His Highest)

Imagine if you could live like that. Imagine being peaceful through it all. Imagine feeling joy through it all. This only happens when we fully trust God. Only when we know how much He loves us and we believe He is with us can we have peace and joy even when everything seems to be tumbling all around us. 

I know this is possible because it just happened to me.

My mom was scheduled for major back surgery. She’s 84 years old, so of course there was some risk involved with the surgery. This was going to be my mom’s 4th back surgery and I had been there for the first 3. I felt I needed to be there. I planned on being there, my ticket to Florida already bought. 

As I was getting ready to leave for my mom’s surgery, my son Neal was having issues with his health. He was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis a year prior but something was going really wrong. He hadn’t been able to keep food inside of him for a few weeks and it was getting worse. 

The day before I was to fly out for my mom’s surgery I was beginning to think Neal needed to be admitted into the hospital. I felt I couldn’t leave to be with my mom because my son needed me. 

Before I continue I need to back up about 8 years to my mom’s first back surgery. About 3 weeks before this surgery, during a prayer time, I mentioned to God how cool it would be if my mom’s favorite verse was sent out by K-Love the day of her surgery (I receive a daily verse from K-Love radio station). I wasn’t saying this to test God, honestly, I really don’t know why I even mentioned this to Him. 

I woke up the morning of her surgery, not even thinking about my prayer weeks earlier, but obvisouly God remembered itI checked my email that morning and what do you think came in? Yep, K-Love’s verse that day was my mom’s favorite, Psalm 118:24, “This is the day the LORD has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.”

When I saw this verse I remembered my prayer weeks earlier and I had this overwhelming feeling of God’s presence. I knew He was so close. During her 8 hour surgery I was at peace. Of course I wanted my mom to live, but I felt so certain of God’s presence that I was OK if He choose to bring her to Him that day. 

So, now back to my mom’s recent surgery. I so wanted to be there and felt it critical that I be there to make sure everything was done properly. My sister Nicole also wanted to be there but couldn’t get there until a few days after her surgery. As my mom was wheeled into surgery she met the 2 nurses who would be with her in the operating room - their names - Michelle and Nicole. 

When I was told this amazing news I had, once again, this amazing peace. God was with her. I thought it was so important for me to be there but God reminded me that much more importantly, He was there. While my mom was being operated on I took Neal to the hospital for more tests, to another dr. appointment and then back to the hospital. 

So crazy - I wasn’t worried about any of it. I’m serious - it wasn’t just that I wasn’t worried, I was actually so filled with joy. I couldn’t believe that God, who sits on His throne overseeing the whole world, was so personally involved with my life. He knew when I heard the names of the nurses that I would be flooded with the feeling of His presence. He loves me so much that He wanted me to have peace. 

This same God loves you too!! He wants to bring you peace and joy in all situations. When we think about how huge God is and all He does to comfort us doesn’t it seem silly to turn to food or other things for comfort?  God is The Comforter. 

Like Paul, we can have a strong and steady underlying consistency to our life. Our external life can change without effecting our internal distress because we are rooted and grounded in God. 

We know stress is bad for our physical health. Even if we can do the greatest exercise routines daily and eat the cleanest, healthiest food, we can still be unhealthy because of an overload of stress. Continue to consistently connect with God and you will experience peace that goes beyond all understanding! (Phil 4:7)

**Think of the last time you were worried or felt your stress level rising, what could you have done to turn that worry or stress into peace. How can you allow God to comfort you in times of trouble?


The Importance of Strengthening Your Core (Taken from the Mayo Clinic website).

(I loved this article from the Mayo Clinic Website. Keeping a strong core is about so much more than having a flat, muscular looking stomach, it really can improve your overall health.)

Core exercises are an important part of a well-rounded fitness program. Aside from occasional sit-ups and push-ups, however, core exercises are often neglected. Still, it pays to get your core muscles — the muscles around your trunk and pelvis — in better shape. Check out seven specific reasons to include core exercises in your fitness routine.

1. Core exercises improve your balance and stability

Core exercises train the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen to work in harmony. This leads to better balance and stability, whether on the playing field or in daily activities. In fact, most sports and other physical activities depend on stable core muscles. 

2. Core exercises don't require specialized equipment

Any exercise that uses the trunk of your body without support counts as a core exercise. Abdominal crunches are a classic core exercise. Try lying on your back and placing your feet on a wall so that your knees and hips are bent at 90-degree angles. Tighten your abdominal muscles, and then raise your head and shoulders off the floor.

3. Core exercises can help tone your abs

Want more defined abdominal muscles? Core exercises are important. Although it takes aerobic activity to burn abdominal fat, core exercises can strengthen and tone the underlying muscles.
4. Strong core muscles make it easier to do most physical activities

Strong core muscles make it easier to do everything from swinging a golf club to getting a glass from the top shelf or bending down to tie your shoes. Weak core muscles leave you susceptible to poor posture, lower back pain and muscle injuries.

5. You don’t need lots of time

You don't have to dedicate hours a day to core exercises. Instead, concentrate on doing each exercise with correct technique and proper form. Gradually build up to your strength by increasing the amount of repetitions that you do. Also remember to take a break when you need one.

6. You can do core exercises at home

Remember, you don't have to trek to the gym to do core exercises. Try them on the floor at home while you're watching your favorite shows. You can also do core exercises with a fitness ball. To do abdominal crunches with a fitness ball, for example, sit on the ball with your feet resting on the floor, about hip-width apart. Cross your arms on your chest, tighten your abdominal muscles and lean back until your abdominal muscles kick in. Hold for three deep breaths, then return to the starting position and repeat.

7. Core exercises can help you reach your fitness goals

Aerobic exercise and muscular fitness are the primary elements of most fitness programs — and stretching counts, too. But to have a truly well-rounded fitness program, you should include core exercises in the mix as well. Whether you're a novice taking the first steps toward fitness or a committed fitness fanatic hoping to optimize your results, a well-rounded fitness program is the best way to reach your fitness goals.

**During almost all of the Faithful Workouts videos we do core exercises. Make a goal of working your core at least 3 times this week. If you have back pain it could be caused by weak core muscles. 


Weekly Goals

Each week you will be asked to set goals. Your goals can be about faith, fitness or food (or all 3). I highly recommend that you write them down and post them on your mirror or someplace you will see them often. When setting goals make them action oriented goals, not result goals.  Stay focused on doing the next right thing and be patient with the results.